Welcome to another edition of one step forward, two steps back! It’s time to go over Fire Emblem: Three Houses and its gay romance options — or lack thereof. Players hoping for some better queer love stories after the last couple games in the series fumbled or ignored it… Should probably look elsewhere. Well, you’re not completely left in the cold, depending on a choice you make early on in the game, but we’ll get to that. Let’s start to break down all the gay romance options in Fire Emblem: Three Houses.
First, let’s talk about the basics. Fire Emblem: Three Houses incorporates romance between your main character, Byleth, and many of the main characters in the game. It’s just not available right away. You need to make it about 20-30 hours in before you unlock romance. To be specific, the feature comes into play after a five-year time skip occurs in the plot.
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Update: This guide was previously and incorrectly omitted a few same-sex relationships. We’ve updated it with the current full list.
By that point in the game, you need to have whoever you want to woo already on your side. This is where things get tricky. Your romance options will be restricted based on decisions you make at the start of the game and after the prologue. You cannot romance any house leader if you did not throw your lot in with them early on, for instance. Only Black Eagles players can romance Edelgard; only Blue Lions players can romance Dimitri; only Golden Deer players can romance Claude. (And if you’re looking for advice on which to choose, check out our guide to which house in Fire Emblem: Three Houses is right for you.)
There are further restrictions based on gender. And they’re pretty damn severe. But generally lady Byleth gets a much better deal than her gentleman counterpart. Only five romance options for female Byleth are same-sex. You can choose the commoner and opera singer, Dorothea, or you can go with the determined queen of the goths, Edelgard. There’s also Mercedes, a noblewoman who just pretends to be a commoner. Finally we have the motherly but zealous Rhea later on. Sothis is also a romance option for female Byleth. We don’t necessarily recommend that one, though, since she’s designed to look like a literal child…
This means that female Byleth players only get the maximum number of same-sex options if they join the Black Eagles. Dorothea starts with that faction, too, but Edelgard is only available if you sign up with them. No such restrictions apply to players who select male Byleth.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses Gay Romance Guide & Explanation
Sadly, that’s partly because… you only have one option. Linhardt (also of the Black Eagles) is the only true gay romance option if you play as male Byleth. Period. That discrepancy isn’t super surprising. A lot of media (Japanese games and anime in particular) has more of a problem depicting men together than women. But it’s still disappointing.
You can reach a rank S relationship (the Fire Emblem term for romancing someone) with two other male characters. However, the story doesn’t actually acknowledge it as such. In the epilogue of Three Houses, if male Byleth starts a “romance” with Alois or Gilbert, you actually wind up just friends instead. Mechanically it still counts as an S-rank, but you wouldn’t know it based on the plot.
On the bright side, if you want to look at it that way, it’s only those epilogues that really matter. There are no time traveling babies this time — like in Fire Emblem: Fates and Fire Emblem: Awakening. Gay romance, straight romance: either way, you only really see major results in Three Houses at the very end of the game. And that will take dozens upon dozens of hours for most players. Take from that what you will!
Maybe the bevvy of Fire Emblem: Three Houses DLC on the way will give us some more options… It’s still not a great look when companies make marginalized groups pay extra for the privilege of representation. But it still might be better than nothing.
We’ll be sure to update this guide if something does change. In the meantime, keep an eye out for more Fire Emblem: Three Houses coverage on Fanbyte!