Byleth is the main protagonist of Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Like other games in the series, the player character is able to romance (S-rank) other in-game characters. Until the release of Fire Emblem Fates, players were unable to have same-sex romances. However, the options within Fates faced ire and controversy. Although Three Houses has added more same-sex romances for the player character, they still face similar ire and controversy.
The above image from Twitter user @TheCyanYoh compiles the available same-sex S-rank options for Female and Male Byleth (F!Byleth and M!Byleth respectively) at the game’s launch on July 26th, 2019. The text underneath each character shows positives and negatives to each option that other fans agree or disagree with (as can be seen in the replies to @TheCyanYoh’s original tweet). Fans have critiqued these launch options for skewing towards WLW relationships, reading this imbalance as catering to the fetishization of lesbians for the straight male gaze and limiting MLM relationships to not make straight male players uncomfortable. Fans have also critiqued the inclusion of Edelgard, one of the other three main lords, as a same-sex option while excluding Claude and Dimitri, the other two.
There have also been critiques of Nintendo queerbaiting with two of Three Houses‘ MLM launch options, Alois and Gilbert, as well as with one of the three main lords, Claude. Alois and Gilbert, despite being S-rank options for M!Byleth, remain close friends with M!Byleth as he marries an anonymous village girl. The ending is the same for F!Byleth, with an anonymous village boy instead. Claude on the other hand is not an S-rank option for M!Byleth but flirts with the protagonist regardless of gender, including a scene where he takes the player’s hand to dance at the school’s Ball, with Byleth hidden out of frame while the scene plays out from their perspective. The only same-sex S-Rank option at launch for M!Byleth that ends in marriage or romance is Linhardt. Linhardt being the only option has been critiqued by fans for fitting the mold of the stereotypical queer “lithe, pretty boy/effeminate characters” of the last two Fire Emblem games (Niles in Fire Emblem Fates and Leon in Fire Emblem Echoes). It is worth noting also that he has a special ending portrait that no other units at launch have. On the WLW side, fans have critiqued the female options for being exclusively femme or in the case of Sothis, for following the “loli” dragon trope of looking like a child and actually being much older.
After the game’s launch, version 1.1.0 added the character Jeritza as an ally character on the Black Eagles: Crimson Flower route. He is a romance option for both Byleths and has a special ending portrait like Linhardt did at launch. Fans have critiqued this romance option, saying that having one of two romance options for MLM relationships be a serial killer obsessed with killing or being killed by you is problematic. Also, Jeritza’s ending card does not imply romance or marriage, while his S-support is quite romantic (found here at 9:11). The same can be said of Linhardt however on the Black Eagles route, while the rest of his endings on other routes mention marriage.
Additionally, in Wave 4, the final wave of DLC content in the Fire Emblem Three Houses Expansion Pass, four new recruitable characters were introduced, one being Yuri LeClerc, who is available as a romance option for both Byleths. He has been critiqued by fans as being another stereotypical effeminate gay option. It is also worth noting that he is an MLM option only to those who have purchased the DLC.
Byleth’s same-sex romance options are listed below, with explanations as to why we have classified them the way we did:
- Edelgard: She has four same-sex paired endings outside of F!Byleth, with none explicitly ending in romance or marriage, but her support conversations with Dorothea show her interest in Dorothea. We have classified her as Bisexual Explicit.
- Linhardt: He has one same-sex paired ending outside of M!Byleth, that mentions settling down with Caspar. We have classified him as Bisexual Implicit.
- Dorothea: She has three same-sex paired endings outside of F!Byleth, with two explicitly mentioning love. The one that does not is her ending with Edelgard, but her support conversations with Edelgard show her interest in Edelgard. It is also worth noting that in the original Japanese text, she seems to mention not currently being interested in men, with Edelgard being heavily implied to be the cause of this. In her ending with Petra, it explicitly states that Dorothea became the person Petra loved most. Love is also mentioned in her ending with Manuela, but it is more vague in that context. It still could be implied romantic love, as they retired to a private life together. It is also worth noting that in the original Japanese text, it says they lived their lives only for each other. Additionally, Dorothea regularly flirts with other women, such as with Ingrid after her Paralogue Battle or during their supports. Also, when speaking of finding her special somebody with Manuela during their supports, she uses gender neutral pronouns. We have classified her as Bisexual Explicit.
- Mercedes: Although Mercedes is a romance option for F!Byleth, her other supports and endings do not explicitly mention or imply love or marriage. For this reason, we have classified her as just a romance option.
- Gilbert: He has one same-sex paired ending outside of M!Byleth with Dimitri that does not mention love or marriage. Although he is an S-rank option for both Byleths, neither his ending or supports with either Byleth imply any romantic feelings. His ending along with Alois’ are the only same-sex pairings for M!Byleth that don’t end in marriage. Because of this, we have not classified him as anything, as he is not technically a romance option although he’s available for an S-rank.
- Alois: Although he is an S-rank option for both Byleths, neither his ending or supports with either Byleth imply any romantic feelings. He refers to himself as a “proud big brother” to Byleth. In his Black Eagles ending, he introduces Byleth to a person of the opposite sex and they get married. In his Blue Lions ending, he doesn’t do this but Byleth still gets married. Fans have expressed outrage over this, as it seems like a “bait-and-switch” pursuing an assumed to be gay/bi character to end up marrying someone in a heterosexual relationship instead. Because of this, we have not classified him as anything, as he is not technically a romance option although he’s available for an S-rank.
- Rhea: She has one same-sex paired ending outside of F!Byleth. Neither explicitly mention love or marriage, however, she does propose to Byleth and express love for them regardless of selected gender. As she does not express romantic feelings towards any other woman, we have classified her simply as a Romance Option.
- Sothis: Her only same-sex paired ending is with F!Byleth. Her ending is the same regardless of gender. As she does not express romantic feelings towards any other woman, we have classified her simply as a Romance Option.
- Jeritza: His only same-sex paired ending is with M!Byleth. His ending is the same regardless of gender (which has no mention of marriage or romance, but his S-rank support does). There have been critiques of his inclusion as an S-rank option however, as he is portrayed as a serial killer. As he does not express romantic feelings towards any other man, we have classified him simply as a Romance option.
- Yuri: He has one same-sex paired ending outside of Byleth, but his ending with M!Byleth does not mention love or marriage. They do however have a marriage proposal in their S-rank support. Yuri is known for being a flirt, and Balthus offers to show him his shirtless body in exchange for not having to reveal a secret during their C support. This alludes to Yuri’s interest in men, so we have classified him as Bisexual Explicit. It is worth noting however that he is only available in the DLC.
It is also worth noting at the time of writing this that not all Japanese supports have been translated to compare to how they were localized, so some queerness may be lost in translation. If you have evidence of this, please let us know by getting into contact with us.
LGBTQ references in this game series:
Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 (1999): Marty and Dagdar
See also QRM’s entry for this game series
- Byleth. (n.d.). Retrieved June 17, 2020, from https://fireemblemwiki.org/wiki/Byleth
- Dandelionel. (2019, July 23). (Mild/Necessary spoilers) Watch out for the M/M options. Retrieved June 17, 2020, from https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/boards/204445-fire-emblem-three-houses/77883308
- Dandelionel. (2020, January 16). Yuri being the new LGBT rep is dissapointing. Retrieved from https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/boards/204445-fire-emblem-three-houses/78335273
- FewixFwaldawius. (2020, June 8). R/fireemblem – Hot Take: Three Houses Has A Lot of The Issues Everyone Thought Fates Had. Retrieved June 17, 2020, from https://www.reddit.com/r/fireemblem/comments/gyul82/hot_take_three_houses_has_a_lot_of_the_issues/
- Four-Loose-Screws. (2020, April 03). Dorothea / Edelgard A Support Translation. Retrieved from https://four-loose-screws.tumblr.com/post/614316243584991233/dorothea-edelgard-a-support-translation
- Four-Loose-Screws. (2020, June 05). Dorothea Endings Translation – Pt. 3. Retrieved from https://four-loose-screws.tumblr.com/post/620023932448292864/dorothea-endings-translation-pt-3
- GoddessBlade231. (2019, July 14). Honestly, as a lesbian, I am not loving any of our options either. Ya got the fascist, the pope, Nowi… and they’re all so… femme [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/GoddessBlade231/status/1150424443098992640
- Hours Left. (2019, June 12). It’s not looking good for male same sex romantic supports in FE: Three Houses, and that’s not acceptable. (Support Spoilers). Retrieved June 17, 2020, from https://www.resetera.com/threads/its-not-looking-good-for-male-same-sex-romantic-supports-in-fe-three-houses-and-thats-not-acceptable-support-spoilers.122922/
- Justonegamr. (2019, August 3). Dorothea & Manuela Support Conversations – Fire Emblem: Three Houses [Switch]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHVylOUFJGM
- Justonegamr. (2019, August 8). Dorothea & Ingrid Support Conversations – Fire Emblem: Three Houses [Switch]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0PK97LtRwk
- Libertynyan. (2019, July 14). it’s the lesbophobia: the fetishization of lesbians for the str8 male gaze and the homophobia: str8 men feeling uncomfy when male characters show interest when they’re also playing the male character this happened in mass effect: andromeda this isn’t lesbians are more accepted [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/Libertynyan/status/1150400982528012289?s=20
- Linkmstr. (2019, July 28). Fire Emblem: Three Houses – Paralogue: Rumored Nuptials [Hard/Classic]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/TrX_f_yTItM?t=2415
Nintendo Utopia. (2019, August 8). All Male Byleth X Male Marriages (S Rank Supports) | Fire Emblem: Three Houses ᴴᴰ (2019). Retrieved from https://youtu.be/690Eu7958e8?t=359
- Noobsaigon. (n.d.). Fire Emblem Three Houses Endings. Retrieved from https://fe3h.noobsaigon.com/
RedRawNes. (2020, May 30). Fire Emblem: Three Houses – Male Byleth & Gilbert All Support Conversations (Japanese Voices). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=114euBWdjXg
- ShirakoZXTV. (2019, November 08). Byleth (M) & Jeritza All Support Conversation C-S Rank: Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/fqIfVDjyXgo?t=551
- Substitute Thapliyal. (2019, July 29). Fire Emblem: Three Houses Is Catching Heat for Queerbaiting. Retrieved from https://www.pastemagazine.com/games/fire-emblem/fire-emblem-three-houses-is-catching-heat-for-quee/
- TheCyanYoh. (2019, July 13). Here’s a handy guide to current LGBT options for M/F!Byleth in Three Houses alongside some general pros and cons regarding the present gender imbalance. I’ve seen a fair bit of scattered information, so I’d like to consolidate it to one image. #FireEmblem #ThreeHouses #fe16 [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/TheCyanYoh/status/1150187787410452481
- Various. (n.d.). Lolita (term). Retrieved June 17, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lolita_(term)
- Yic17 Studio. (2019, October 13). Fire Emblem: Three Houses ★ Edelgard x Dorothea 【Support Conversations + Epilogue】. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qvZ42Guy5s
- Yic17 Studio. (2020, February 15). Fire Emblem: Three Houses ★ Yuri x Balthus 【Support Conversations】. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvMJ7VucOnw
- mokkacci. (2019, July 14). Wait whaaaaaaaaat Why Eldelgard can and Claude or Dimitri can’t… Or even another options… a least I guess my M!Byleth is gonna be straight ! [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/mokkacci/status/1150312218640179200