Can’t get enough of the lords of Fire Emblem? Luckily, we’re back to cover Celica from Gaiden/Echoes: Shadows of Valentia!
What’s in a Name?
Compared to some lords, Celica’s name is rather straightforward. Celica comes from the Latin caelica, meaning “heavenly.” Of course, that’s not even her real name. Her true name, Anthiese, comes from the Greek anthos, meaning “flower.” Both names are quite in line with her presentation as the pretty princess.
In considering Celica’s character, I find there is little arc to her. At least in the early Fire Emblem games, lords were slaves to their own destinies. Alm was an improvement over Marth, but not by much. He’s still fundamentally generically good with no particular flaws. Similarly, Celica is generically good too. What distinguishes her from Alm and Marth is deportment.
Celica already knows her destiny, as opposed to Alm. She knows she is the heiress to the throne of Zofia. In her time in hiding, Celica learns courtly etiquette and all the niceties of polite society. Her caretakers groom her for her role as the future queen. She is polite, well-spoken, and thoughtful: all the traits of a well-born lady. She’s also brave and kind. This is all generic goodness again. She has a rare flash of temper when she accuses Alm of seeking the Zofian crown. That’s the exception rather than the rule, though. Celica is mostly an amalgam of all the virtues a noblewoman should have. Going from “I will be queen” to “I am queen” isn’t a very sweeping arc (unless talking in very broad terms) but at least Celica has moments of warmth and humanity when dealing with her comrades.
Her bond with Alm is meaningful in that he is the first person she opens up to willingly. His plain, genuine kindness makes her open up like a blossoming flower (hence the name Anthiese). She deeply cherishes friendship, being somewhat lonely as a result of her hidden identity. This makes her hold fast to Mae, Boey, and even a ruffian like Saber. Not having known either of her parents and having lost her brother at an early age makes her inclined to protect those closest to her, even if it means doing something foolish.
Alm and Celica start off as childhood friends. When she is sent to an island priory for her protection, she does not resist but accepts this with a precocious solemnity. She grows up there in secret, only leaving for the mainland when she goes on a pilgrimage to the Temple of Mila. Mila, patron goddess of Zofia, disappeared without a trace. This causes suffering and hardship throughout the land. Celica wants to know what’s up with that. Celica’s offense at Alm’s sojourn at Zofia Castle stems from being Princess Anthiese, the scion of the Zofian royal family.
Later, Celica reaches the Temple of Mila to discover that Emperor Rudolf of Rigel sealed away the goddess. She presses on, meeting the evil high priest of Duma, patron god of Rigel. The high priest offers her a deal: sacrifice her soul, and Duma’s madness will end. In a very naive move, Celica takes the deal. Fortunately for her, Alm comes to rescue her so the two of them can vanquish Duma together. As Alm is Emperor of Rigel and Celica is Queen of Zofia, the two unite their respective nation-states into the Kingdom of Valentia.
Celica is a good person and a decent protagonist. She is a bit stiff, though she has streaks of boldness that make her a figure others rally to readily. This is what makes her a more enjoyable character than Marth. Celica is steadfast in loyalty and has a strong sense of morality that drives her to do the right thing. While she is fated to do these things anyway, she never really dwells on that. Candidly, it was a missed opportunity for her arc not to be more about loosening up. Ultimately, we like Celica because of the alignment of her moral compass. However, she remains rigid throughout the game, which makes her do crazy things like bargain with an evil purple alien fresh from the set of Star Wars.
That’s all we’ve got for Celica. Next up, the first great lord of Jugdral, Sigurd!