Fire Emblem 9/10 – Soren: Gay or Nay?
****Contains Fire Emblem: PoR and RD spoilers!****
It will be hard to argue this without bias, as I am a huge Soren fan. His blunt, condescending wit led me to play both Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn again and again in the hopes of unlocking more of his support conversations, which range from hilarious to tear-jerking. And the more I watched Soren interact with Ike, the more I believed that Soren was in love with him.
I feel like in order to justify myself properly, I need to further explain the relationship between Ike and Soren. From the beginning of PoR, Soren’s dedication to Commander Greil’s son is evident. He speaks to no one else unless required to but bluntly tells Ike that he’ll “be watching over him” in the coming battle. Huh? Where did that come from? Warm emotion from the cold, analytical mage? And after Greil’s death, when some of the company left the new and inexperienced commander, Soren stays by Ike’s side without question. He becomes Ike’s major pillar of support.
Throughout Ike and Soren’s support conversations, the bond between Ike and Soren deepens. There is a tenderness in their conversations that not only is proof of a great friendship, but perhaps something more. Eventually, Soren confesses to Ike the harsh treatment he received from society when he was a child. Ike, not understanding the cause of Soren’s misery and insecurity, pushes him to reveal his greatest secret: that he is a Branded – half beorc, half laguz. At first Soren resists and cries, “Curse you! Why can’t you leave me be?! I don’t have any friends, Ike! I don’t have anyone else! If I tell you and you turn on me… I… I… I don’t think I can survive it.” Soren, who knew nothing but brutal treatment because of his secret, cannot handle the thought of losing the only person he ever cared about, the source of happiness in his life, to the main cause of his misery. Ike, of course, accepts him anyway. To this, Soren says that Ike is his “only friend”.
And then there’s the death quotes… oh, the death quotes… Most of the Fire Emblem’s character’s dying mutterings are so corny I just do a facepalm and skip through them. But in some levels if Ike dies, Soren pops up and cries, “Ike? Ike! This can’t… It can’t… What am I… If you’re not here, what am I to do?” This suggests dependence beyond that of friendship. And another of Soren’s death quotes: “Ike… Please live… Even if all the cities burn, and the seas swallow Tellius… You mustn’t die… Not you…” Dedication like this is the kind reserved for true love, reminiscent of the famous relationships between Achilles/Patroclus and Alexander/Hephaestion. Deep friendship, passionate love, and an unshakable loyalty.
The way all the other characters perceive Soren and Ike’s relationship hints very much at homosexual love. Most refer to Soren as “the boy always by Ike’s side.” Shinon taunts him for “hiding behind Ike’s apron”. Strangely, the only time he rises to statements like this is when he fights Micaiah in Chapter 7 of Part 3 in Radiant Dawn. She says to him, “Your heart is frozen, but I feel a warm core trying to melt through that ice. I see… You have someone you cherish very much. Someone you rely on.” Soren snaps that she is a ridiculous girl, but only because her words struck truth: the intimate depth of his devotion to Ike. Micaiah has the ability to see into people’s hearts, and Soren is shocked that she can read his guarded soul. His entire identity revolves around Ike, and for someone as cold as Soren to feel so much for one person, well… it has to be more than friendship.
Lastly, if Soren and Ike have an A relationship at the end of Radiant Dawn, they leave on a journey together, never to be seen again. Ever heard of two friends running off to live alone together, and never return? Enough said. But if you think I’m wrong, I would love to hear about it.