hotandcoldaf: A Blastoise with glasses reading a newspaper (Default)
AF ([personal profile] hotandcoldaf) wrote2013-01-28 03:52 am
Entry tags:

FE6 Meta- Hector and the Rebellion

Original Post on Tumblr

I propose that Hector saw the Ostian rebellion in FE6 coming and prepared accordingly. Here is a lot of words about why.

[DW Addition: This post didn't really have meaningful screencaps attached, so here's a general link to scripts for the relevant chapters: 7: The Rebellion at Ostia and 8: Reunion.]

I'm gonna start from my conclusion and work backwards after a sort here and talk first about what I think it was that made him suspect it, because I think it's easier, structurally, to lay it all out in chronological order here.

So, then, let's talk about Leygance. He was one of Hector's advisors, we know. The game does nothing to suggest that he is a particularly trusted advisor, and, indeed, if you attack him with Lilina or Barth, he calls Hector stupid/foolish, which suggests that Hector was not in the habit of taking his advice much (or perhaps at all, knowing Hector).

Still, Leygance was Hector's advisor and thus it was his job to tell Hector what he thought the best course of action in any given situation was. And, well, we already know what Leygance thought the best thing to do about the possibility of Bern invading Lycia was: surrender and hope for the best. A plan that, of course, Hector would reject without the slightest consideration. (Hence, again, Leygance calling him stupid.) But still, Leygance most likely suggested it anyway, which means Hector knew that he was thinking of surrender. I'll admit it's a bit of a leap from that to "and he's enough of a shithead to rebel to do it" but, well, Leygance was enough of a shithead, Hector likely knows the character of his own advisors enough to know it, and, hey, there's no harm in being prepared just in case, right?

Which brings us rather nicely to the crux of this post, that Hector's actions in FE6 can be tied together quite tidily with the explanation that he was preparing for a rebellion.

He hires a band of Ilian mercenaries. What for? To help fight Bern, right? So then, what were they doing in Ostia, exactly? It's clear on the other side of Lycia from the border with Bern. Similarly, it's not terribly close to Ilia. And Hector wasn't there, he was at Araphen and likely not planning to return to Ostia until the matter was settled, what with being the leader of Lycia's army and all. So why would he send them to Ostia instead of to meet him or at any likely front lines? Did he want them to help defend Ostia? The famously impregnable Ostia, defended by the similarly famously impregnable Ostian knights? Well, that would probably be practical enough, the castle isn't actually perfectly inassailable and all, but still, you'd think that if Hector went through all the trouble of specifically hiring some Ilian mercenaries, then he'd surely want to put them somewhere where he'd get his money's worth from them, rather than keeping them at home as a desperate last measure back-up plan. (Which they would definitely be if Bern's army got as far as Ostia; again, clear opposite side of Lycia from the border with Bern, if Bern's knocking at Ostia's door, things are pretty far down the shitter.)

Ah, what was it that Ilian mercenaries are famed for, again? Oh, right. It's their absolute, unbreakable loyalty to their employers. Sounds like a thing that'd be pretty useful to a guy who's expecting that maybe his regular employees might betray him, wouldn't you agree?

(This also helps explain a little why he hired cavalry instead of getting pegasus knights who could provide actually helpful aerial support against the wyvern riders he's ostensibly hiring them to fight against; because he's not actually hiring them to fight wyvern riders. I mean it doesn't entirely explain it because seriously Hector why but it helps a little.)

So, next question, what else does Hector do before leaving for Araphen? He sends Lilina off to pay her respects to Eliwood. Doesn't that strike you as kind of odd in its timing, if nothing else? I mean, he's sending his daughter, the most precious, important, dear thing he has in his life off to Pherae, which, I might remind you, is right on the border with Bern. Now, even if you think I've been pulling bullshit out of my ass up to this point, surely you must agree that Hector would never send his dearly beloved progeny into such a potentially dangerous situation without a damned good reason, and saying "what's up" to Eliwood does not even remotely qualify, no matter how sick he is. (I mean, Araphen is right next to Pherae, if it was that pressing, surely Hector would go himself?)

So how are we going to explain this one? Did he send her out of concern for the safety of his too-ill-to-defend-himself BFF Eliwood? That doesn't seem too likely given that Eliwood 1) has his own knights to defend him, 2) is chivalry given flesh, and 3) rightfully terrified of what Hector would do to him if a single hair on Lilina's head was harmed. Or, to put it another way, what happens with Eliwood and Lilina in chapter 1? He tells her to go hide, and when she protests that she can fight, too, he tells her not to be ridiculous and that he wouldn't know what to say to Hector if something were to happen to her. All pretty much direct quotes there. So yeah, I think if he were really that concerned about Eliwood's ability to defend himself, he would've just arranged to assemble the army at Pherae instead of Araphen (which would've backfired hilariously, certainly, but then again, given that Pherae was apparently in danger of falling to chapter one bandits, maybe he should've been a lot more concerned than he was).

No, I think the best way to explain this is not thinking of it as Hector sending his precious daughter away from the safety of Ostia to go to the potentially dangerous Pherae, but instead him placing her in the care of Eliwood, someone whom he knows he can trust absolutely.

Well. Whom he can trust absolutely to not deliberately do her harm. Apparently Eliwood never got the memo to keep her there and instead opted to send her straight back into danger in sweet blissful ignorance. Yup, Eliwood, Lilina returning to Ostia sure did ease the tension of the people, you were right on the money with that one, good job.

(I really do like Eliwood, I swear, but, like I said, he is chivalry given flesh and as such, bless his dear heart, there is not a single politically-minded bone in his body. He just doesn't have the capacity to understand shitheadery of that level, hence sending Lilina back to Ostia out of concern for the tension of the people and not once thinking that hey maybe Hector sent her out here while he was gone for a specific reason or something.)

In conclusion, Hector needs to work on his communication skills and maybe that's what he should do with all that free time he has now that he's dead.

Wait. Wait, that wasn't the point I started with at all, was it? Fuck, maybe I need to work on my communication skills.
kyusil: (awwwww yeah)

[personal profile] kyusil 2013-08-06 12:01 am (UTC)(link)
I'd read this a while back, but I just saw the Emblemology link and it's on DW so now I can comment! Yaaaay.

As with the first time, I found this essay interesting in the sense that I'm definitely a member of the opposite camp (ie. Team Eliwood-is-more-politically-savvy, which I'll get to in a moment), and it was neat to see arguments for the other side that weren't "Hector's awesome and Eliwood is a wimp." You make good points that got me thinking a lot, and that's the best thing a meta can do IMO. And, yeah, at this point I would tend to agree that Hector did see the rebellion coming.

That said, after reading it over again I was left wondering exactly what Hector's plan was with regards to Ostia. To sum up your assessment, he removes himself and his daughter from the most important city in Lycia-- and an entry point to Etruria, Bern's only real opponent-- knowing full well it's about to collapse upon itself, and the only presumably trustworthy people in town are a handful of Ilian mercenaries. What next? That seems to me less like a calculated political maneuver than an emotionally-driven one: he's scrambling to get Lilina to safety and chooses the option for defending his city using more sentiment than strategy (might be worth noting that 2/3 of his marriage options are Ilian mercenaries!).

Eliwood's decision to send Lilina back to Ostia, on the other hand, seems a lot more heavily deliberated. He's already steeled himself against letting sentiment cloud his leadership ability (well, mostly*) by appointing Roy to lead Pherae's army (and later on, Lycia's). I'd just as soon figure that, while he's sure to keep Lilina out of harm on his watch, he's also looking at Ostia and thinking, "um, shouldn't somebody be watching that?" Sending her back is a risk, but I think Eliwood understands that; in his reckoning, having Lilina there is better than having nobody there, even if she is grossly inexperienced. At the very least, the throne would not be open to the taking, and a certain percentage of the populace would respect/fear Lilina enough to not join the rebellion forces (especially since this is all decided before Hector's death).

But there's still the issue of why Lilina was in Pherae in the first place. The events surrounding chapter 1 are confusing and I feel like I have to break them down:

- Lilina goes to Pherae to "pay her respects" to Eliwood.
- After Lilina has already arrived, Eliwood sends for Roy to come back to Pherae, gather his army, and head over to Araphen. This is treated as an abrupt thing.
- Somewhere in the mix, Hector heads to Araphen himself.

There's also a bit where Roy mentions letting Lilina go ahead of him, which was sort of tripping me up, but that might just be Roy's tendency to berate himself and take on more responsibility/blame than he has any right to. In any case, I agree with you that "paying respects" is a flimsy excuse to travel across the country during a crisis, and does nothing to explain why Lilina went to Pherae independently of Roy. However, nothing suggests that this was explicitly Hector's doing. Like you said, he would've wanted her someplace safe, but like you also said, Pherae is not a safe place on paper-- the only distinction being Eliwood's status as a trustworthy figure. If Hector's just concerned about Lilina's safety, why not send her with Cecilia?

Well, regardless of how much of a say Hector had here, I believe Eliwood wanted an opportunity to talk to Lilina, which explains why she went to Pherae first. A big part of why I'm not convinced that Hector is blessed with a tremendous amount of foresight has to do with Lilina. While she's confident in her combat abilities and personal strength, she's totally blindsided by the rebellion, and in fact had no clue as to what led up to it in the first place (see Lilina-Ogier supports). A "warrior's daughter," sure, but not so much a marquess's daughter. At the very least, Eliwood's aware that she'll have to take on Hector's job eventually, which factors into why he sends her back to Ostia.

*Of course, there is a glaring problem with Eliwood's course of actions here: he doesn't tell Lilina the full extent of what's going on, either. This may have to do with him simply not knowing about the rebellion: it could be a communication issue, like you said, or it might have to do with a previous Pheraean marquess who was involved in another rebellion plot against Ostia, and Hector was deliberately withholding that information from Eliwood. But, given his veiled directions to Lilina, I think he does know, and I think it kind of gets at a fundamental weakness of Eliwood's, the place where he lets sentiment get in the way of his judgment: he can't actually bring himself to break the bad news to those kids. And I would argue that it's because he, of all people, does have the capacity to understand shitheadery of that level, even if he doesn't partake in it himself (so yeah, maybe Hector has an advantage as a politician if he's willing to play dirty and Eliwood isn't). Not only is Eliwood put through the ringer emotionally in terms of losing people close to him during FE7, but he never gets an answer as to whether his father was guilty of treason or not. In other words, FE7 took his idealism and stomped on it with big cleated boots, but there's something in him that keeps him from being the one to do that to Roy and Lilina. Which, actually, may have ended up being for the best, as FE6's central conflict boils down to Zephiel's cynicism vs. Roy's faith in humanity. But it's not like Eliwood has a cheat sheet detailing the game's thematic elements, so the fact still stands that he sends those kids into danger pretty ill-prepared, which is a fairly serious character flaw.

So Eliwood doesn't tell Lilina everything, but I like to think he tries to impart as much advice as he can. This also might help to explain how she knew where to find Durandal (Hector can be deployed on that chapter, but Eliwood's the only one who goes all the way to the altar).

tl;dr, my only point of contention is about Eliwood's political competence. Like I've said before, I think there's something to the fact that Bern left Lycia alone once Eliwood took the helm, and what he lacks in conniving and treachery he makes up for in negotiation skills (hey, like you said-- communication is key!) and the ability to keep a cool head.

Thanks for posting this!
Edited 2013-08-06 00:09 (UTC)