Set in a monastery where you become the teacher of one of three houses, the aptly-titled Fire Emblem: Three Houses sports a tremendously large cast of students and associates for one to interact with. Aside from gameplay, it is these characters that give the game its spirit. Their perspectives and differences make conversations more insightful, the basis of togetherness in a time of war more meaningful. With so many faces comes the inevitable ranking game that fans have become accustomed to. This is a list of my favorites, wrapped in a warm, sociopathic embrace. These are my top 10 favorite Fire Emblem: Three Houses waifus/husbandos.
Before moving on, I wanted to note that to qualify for this list, characters must be able to have support conversations with Byleth or other students. I’ve seen people rank characters like Kronya or Thales, which I find bizarre because they have so little depth. I wanted to focus more on characters that make up a better part of the experience. Names like Lady Judith or Rodrigue, while respective individuals, will not appear here.
The only non-student to appear on this list (spoiler?), Shamir is a former mercenary-turned-knight who serves Lady Rhea as “a debt.” Her place in the story doesn’t become regular until chapter four, when she can be found around the monastery as an almost-permanent fixture. What makes her stand out is her apathetic attitude and bluntness in dialogue.
One could easily stereotype her as an edgy female “badass” for the sake of it, and there’d be some truth to it. Even so, Shamir has reasonable self-awareness to instruct, advise, and encourage, albeit in her own way. While her cold demeanor makes her hard to approach, she has a knack for making an impact. Her sniping skills are legendary in the world, and her knack for killing all sorts of insects by throwing daggers is fairly humorous. People’s reactions are humorous, more so, but I digress. Shamir is as lovable as she is aloof, particularly if you enjoy robust personalities.
Here’s a funny anecdote: In my first playthrough of Three Houses, I didn’t recruit anybody. I found it disrespectful to other houses to “steal away” their students when I had a decent amount for myself. One option I did take advantage of was “Mission Assistance,” in which I seemed very fond of recruiting Annette. The extra support proved meaningful, both in battle and through supports, as it made me fond of her exuberant persistence.
Annette is hard-working—perhaps too hard-working. Her clumsiness makes for much wasted effort, but the thought makes it more endearing. She wears her emotions on her sleeve and is fond of sweets and studying, a dutiful young woman. Her passion for singing also gets her into some humorous circumstances with various members of the student body. There’s a measure of depth to her that makes her feel more grounded than other characters. Dutiful, but cute; diligent, but clumsy. One of the more well-rounded personas of the bunch, Annette provides a balanced and somewhat carefree approach to conversation.
The first appearance of a husbando rather than waifu is one that many may not have expected. Among the dozens of striking appearances in the game, Ignatz is a blander choice that some may find odd. I don’t find it odd. I love Ignatz. He’s a cool guy.
Perhaps there is a little more gusto from empathy on my part, peering at a character that behaves similarly to my current self. An art aficionado and someone who cowers from confrontation, Ignatz gives off timidity straight from his round, baby-ish face. But these qualities only make his development more engrossing, showcasing the positive elements of his good nature and kindness. Eventually, he becomes stronger in his socializing and becomes ample support for his peers. For where he started, it’s great to see someone come into their own like Ignatz does… even if going from timid to not-as-timid is among the easiest character traits to develop.
From scouring the internet for fan feedback, it seems that besides Edelgard, Dorothea is a popular choice for best waifu. Perhaps her flirtatious nature, outfit, and fashionably girly style makes her an attractive option for recruitment. Lying underneath that, however, is a desire for dependency and companionship, which may also prove desirable. It worked for me, but I also like the subtle quips of anti-war attitude.
Dorothea is both an open case and a complex identity. She is constantly going out with attractive suitors in an effort to find someone qualified to support her in the long run. With Manuela as an idol, it seems her nature is the shadow of an aging starlet wanting something more than casual affairs. Beyond that, her flirtiness also extends to her companions, constantly showering them with lovely praise and intimate compliments. But it’s her perceptiveness that gives her an edge. With a flair for dramatics, Dorothea is no stranger to spitting daggers, and some hostility towards nobility surrounds her temperament. It’s this back-and-forth that makes her an entertaining, as well as somewhat tragic, character to care for.
The meme man himself. At least, everyone supplied him with that title, even though I don’t think he really fits it. To me, Claude is more of an aloof individual with good intentions, even if it means being too confrontational. To be frank, Claude was originally going to be higher on this list, but replaying some of his support conversations made me realize that he can be quite daft with sensitive people, which I find detestable. Even so, he’s my favorite house leader by far (spoiler?) and an easy choice for a spot on this list.
What makes Claude so lovable for me is actually past a point in the game I won’t get into for spoiler reasons. For vagueness sake, I’ll say that what he becomes is an exemplary figure that I was overjoyed to work with. His heart, determination, and selflessness are what made finishing the game worth more than simply completing the story. He may be a memelord to many, but to me, he’s my dependable, lovable house leader (and husbando). Indeed, I picked Golden Deer first, and I do not regret that choice.
This is a good case of a character becoming less one-dimensional as time goes on. Leonie’s shtick is that she was Jeralt’s, Byleth’s father, first and only apprentice. As such, she goes to great lengths to remind people at almost every turn. She’s constantly draping herself on him and always internally trying to meet his expectations. If one were to take a shot every time she mentioned Jeralt by name, they’d die. Like with Clude before her, it’s the end that makes her so likable.
Even outside the Jeralt fanaticism, Leonie has a lot of appreciable traits to her. Independent, knows what she wants, and unquestionably strong, she’s fairly developed even just starting off. Some humor involves her reaction to people questioning her femininity, which in turn adds further depth, with little trinkets of information building more into her character. It would feel almost wrong to refer to her as a “waifu,” considering her perspective. Her strength is in her actions, which she applies to every situation. In truth, she’s a little bland without any sort of obvious quirk (excluding Jeralt). Yet I always liked her from beginning to end. That should count for something.
Dedue would be like taking Shamir and making her male and with a heart of gold. Dedue is absolutely too pure for this world, and I adore him for it.
After an event labeled “The Tragedy of Duscur,” people from the far-off land of Duscur (Dedue included) become shunned for their supposed involvement. Evidence of this is provided on a regular basis, with Dedue warning Byleth not to get too close to him and other students commenting on how untrusting they are of him. It’s a tragic outcome of association for Dedue, who is way too sweet to be grouped into such hostility. It’s one of Three Houses‘s premiere talking points of looking down on xenophobia. Faced with such animosity, he simply accepts it and chooses to serve Dimitri to the best of his abilities. To not only face it head-on but to acknowledge people’s ill feelings is what makes Dedue great.
It would be easy to lash out, to say “I’m not a bad guy,” but would that really help the situation? Even more, he at one point acknowledges that not everyone from Duscur are good, and that some involved in the tragedy were likely just bad people. All places have bad people, but that shouldn’t allow for others to generalize. Dedue is essentially the writers’ magnum opus for the intricacy of societal behavior towards outsiders. Perhaps it would be more fitting to exclude this from Dedue’s character, but his involvement makes him even more appreciable. Really, Dedue is just a cool, stone-faced, barely audible dude who happens to be shunned by most of society.
Self-depreciative writing is, in my view, annoying. Humor is one thing, but to see a character constantly put themselves down without reason is a pet peeve of mine. Marianne is a wonderful example of this, though there is, in fact, a reason for this later down the line. Starting out, she looks decrepit, tired, and unsure of her own worth. I felt like Lysithea whenever speaking to her, wishing to tell her to “STFU” and quit with all the negativity. Marianne wouldn’t be anywhere near this list if she remained the way she was. But she didn’t, so she did.
Of all the characters in the game, I feel Marianne makes the biggest jump in quality of development from Part One to Part Two. To see her more vibrant, more self-assured, and more comfortable with pushing forward is an absolute delight to witness. This jump alone allowed me to appreciate the journey that I’d been put through and the ways it changed the students I cared for. While still reserved and timid, Marianne provides a guiding light through her good intentions, most notably to animals. Her interactions with others, notably Ignatz, Hilda, and Raphael, are adorable and allow me to appreciate the power of friendship and teamwork, however corny that is. With each run, I try to diversify my team somewhat, but Marianne always seems to sneak her way in there.
Petra is actually very similar to Leonie in my mind. She’s so developed and grounded initially that she almost comes across as bland. Her shtick is that she’s from a far-off land that doesn’t speak the Fódlan tongue, meaning she speaks in broken English (or whatever language you play on). Much is made on this humor-wise, with figures of speech becoming lost on her. But this isn’t what makes Petra so lovable—it’s her heart (and foreign flair).
I haven’t spoken much from a visual perspective thus far, but Petra has a very striking appearance with first glance. The tattoo under her eye, (and all over her body, as evidenced later on), the braided purple-red hair, and the powerful presence gives off a unique vibe. Petra just has the look of bonafide waifu, though it helps that all the personality traits are there, too.
She’s even somewhat similar in personality to Leonie, now that I think on it. Independent, favor hunting and weapon training, and strive for the goodness of the world. Petra is a little more attuned with her femininity, but less aware of the social expectations placed on women of that age (she at one point remarks she wishes she could wear less clothing). At times, she appears a little lost, but is never shy in stating how she feels. Petra is just an all-around great character who’s strong, visually-appealing, and kind. Granted, she probably couldn’t read this entire article.
Indeed, any good top 10 list should assume that the writer is completely sure of their placements. They should have good motivation, good foundation for why things are where they are as a means of showcasing their sincerity and insight. To not is to spit in the face of the reader, toying with them as a means of sociopathic entertainment. Not from me, no, sir. My #1 waifu is Hilda for a great reason, coined by my six-year-old brother many years ago:
Because that’s why.
Getting back on topic, I really don’t understand it myself. Three Houses provides so many great characters to interact with. Hilda has a lot of irritating qualities. She’s lazy, manipulative, and perhaps insincere with others. And yet… there are feelings of immense adoration. The way she defends Marianne so staunchly, her playful antics paired with Claude, the fact that her strength stat is off-the-charts despite her “delicate flower” facade. She’s such an enigma—something of a strange, dedicated fascination with duality. She doesn’t care, but she does. She doesn’t like to work, but she works hard. Hilda is a complicated mess of all sorts of things, and hardly as romantic as she appears. I’ve always adored puzzles. That could be why she speaks to me.
In the end, it may just be a gut feeling. I adore Hilda because… that’s why. I just do. It’s weird.
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