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The Love System (恋愛進行, Ren'ai Shinkō lit. Love Progress in the Japanese version) is a gameplay feature that appears in Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War. The basic idea behind the Love System evolved into the support system featured in later games, as well as the marriage and child mechanics that appear in Fire Emblem Awakening and Fire Emblem Fates.

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Playable characters can fall in love with other playable characters of the opposite gender. Which couples fall in love is determined by the player's actions. Select playable characters such as Sigurd and Deirdre are not eligible for this system, as their relationships are guided by the story.

If one of the playable female characters in the first generation falls in love and marries, her child will appear as a playable character in the second generation. If a female character does not fall in love and marry, her child will not be born, and instead a substitute character will take the child's place.

Female characters start off with a certain amount of Love points with all of the eligible male characters. Each turn (but only up to Turn 50), they will gain Love points with each male; the exact amount gained per turn depends on the male. Love growth can be sped up by ending turns with female and male units standing adjacent to each other (making the couple gain 5 extra Love growth per turn) or by initiating specific, time-limited events. Love growth is further affected by a hidden Jealousy System.

Once a female reaches 500 love points with a male, they become married. Whilst married, the couple has the option to transfer their individual gold reserves to each other, and they also receive a combination bonus if they fight adjacent to one another.

First-Generation Pairing Guide

Pairings in Fire Emblem 4 can be very elaborate, and the passing on of traits, Holy Blood, and weapons is among the deepest systems of the game (or any game of its era). Below is a sample guide to get new players started, listed in order of the bachelorettes that join your army.

Edain

Edain's children are Lester and Lana, the first a physical-type bow-wielder and the second a magic-type staff-user. Lana will turn out fine no matter the father, while Lester values fathers who can pass down decent Strength growth, bows, and the Pursuit skill.

  • Midir fits all the aforementioned criteria, easily falls in love thanks to conversations he shares with Edain, and can gain a Brave Bow to pass on.
  • Jamke has higher Strength and Defense growths than Midr and also passes on Bows and the Adept skill. Lana doesn't need Pursuit, so Jamke could pass Lester the Pursuit Ring and both children will turn out great. Jamke does pass on less Skill growth, and most bows aren't highly accurate in the game, meaning a Skill ring might be helpful to compensate.
  • Azelle and Claud are more Lana-oriented fathers. Both share Edain's movement, and Azelle has a love-boosting conversation. However, with these fathers, Lester will take a serious hit. Azelle will still provide Lester with Pursuit, albeit weak growths; Claud, on the other hand, basically ruins him. Both fathers will allow Edain to gain the Rescue Staff, but Edain can only pass it to Lana if Claud is the father.

Ayra

No matter the pairing, Ayra's children will have Pursuit, and good Speed and Skill growths thanks to her minor Od blood, meaning any suitor could pair well with Ayra. However, some in particular are standouts.

  • Lex's largest weakness as a father is that he lacks Pursuit, something Ayra ameliorates. He passes on strong physical growths and the fantastic Paragon skill. He has a conversation with Ayra to get the Brave Sword. A very strong pairing. The only downside is that Lex can't pass on Swords.
  • Chulainn likewise can't pass down Pursuit, and partnering him with Ayra fixes that problem and gives the children Major Od Holy Blood, meaning exceptional skill to consistently trigger either Astra or Luna on their many strikes. Like Lex, he has a Brave Sword conversation.
  • Naoise passes on good Strength, Defense, and Skill growths, as well as the fantastic Charge and Critical skills.
  • Jamke passes on strong growths, and his Charge and Adept will synergize with Ayra's Pursuit and Astra to have children that squeeze off 4+ attacks every time they swing a sword. However, he cannot pass on swords to Scáthach.

Some of the weakest fathers in the game (Arden and Dew) probably have their best pairing in Ayra, but they are so far behind the others that they will probably remain unpaired.

Lachesis

Lachesis's children are both mounted physical-type units. Nanna could use some magic growth to help her staves, but that's not very necessary. What is very important to Lachesis's children is the Pursuit skill, especially to Diarmuid.

  • Beowolf provides Pursuit, good growths, and lover conversations to make the pairing work. He also grants Charge as a nice little bonus.
  • Azelle provides Pursuit and magic growths, and Lachesis's minor Hoðr blood will compensate for Azelle's low physical growths. A boost to Magic growths means the children will be much better with Magic Swords, and Nanna will be slightly better with staves.

Other fathers with Pursuit (Alec, Finn, and Midir) could be passable, but their growths and their inherited items make them pretty strict downgrades from these two.

Silvia

Silvia's children are support-type units. No matter the father, Lene will turn out as an average dancer; meanwhile, Coirpre joins very under-leveled and very late in the game. Some prefer Silvia remain unpaired, as Laylea has the Charm skill, and Charlot has the Paragon skill, and the children can get the exclusive items Barrier Blade and Berserk staff; however, certain pairings can definitely result in good children for Silvia that have distinct advantages to the substitute characters. Perhaps the most drastic of these is that the children can inherit items - in particular, Lene can inherit the Knight Ring and/or the Leg Ring from her mother.

  • Claud is probably the preferred partner for Silvia. Coirpre is one of two units who can inherit the Valkyrie Staff and other A-ranked staves from Claud, and is generally considered preferable to the other potential wielder, Ced. Claud can also pass on staves that Coirpre can spam to get to promotion. Lene will get little from Claud, but a slight improvement to Resistance growth means she can avoid some of the Sleep Staff wielders throughout the second generation and tank more magic.
  • Dew's Bargain skill is most useful on these children. Lene can afford the Knight and Leg Rings much easier, and Coirpre will be able to fix his expensive staves for much cheaper.

Erinys

Erinys grants both her children Pursuit. Ced is a unit who will be competent no matter the father, so it might be prudent to focus the pairings on Fee.

  • Lewyn is supported by the game mechanics, and creates two exceptional children. Fee becomes very well-rounded, sporting high Speed, fair Skill, Pursuit, Adept, and Critical, though her Strength will suffer somewhat (though this is compensated by a Chapter 10 conversation). Ced will become a monster - with the Forseti in his competent hands, he may rank as the best unit in your army until Seliph obtains Tyrfing.
  • Naoise or Lex would be good physical-type fathers to bolster Fee, sporting Strength and Defense Growths, as well as relevant skills: Charge and Critical from Naoise, Vantage and Paragon from Lex.
  • Claud is difficult to pair, comparing his low mobility with Erinys's high mobility, and lack of love-bolstering conversation; nevertheless Ced is able to inherit the Valkyrie Staff, and he will enjoy Claud's Magic and Resistance growths. Fee would also be able to use B-rank staves after promotion.

Tailtiu

Tailtiu's children are both mage-type units that can vary wildly depending on the father.

  • Azelle will make the most well-rounded children. He will give the highest Magic growth of any male suitor. He also gives the Pursuit skill, and he can pass down a variety of tomes. This pairing will make very consistent and steady children.
  • Lewyn can pass down the monstrous Forseti tome to Arthur, and Arthur can have it well before Ced or Coirpre join the army. This boost will make many of the early fights in the second generation much easier. Arthur also has great mobility after promotion to go along with his powerful weapon. However, his stats cap lower than Ced's, and he and Tine will both lack Pursuit with this pairing (but the large Speed and Skill boosts from Forseti will allow Arthur to compensate with Adept and Critical; Tine will trigger these far less often).
  • Lex grants the children the powerful Vantage / Wrath combo, meaning they will clear every Arena, and in the field they'll be capable of slaying whole armies on their own. The Paragon skill is also always very helpful. However, this results in poor Magic growths, so a Magic Ring is recommended to compensate. While Arden also gives this combination of abilities, his lack of Paragon is a major hindrance: Arthur can't one-shot many enemies with his meager Wind tome, but once he promotes, he can make use of Ishtore's dropped Thoron. Paragon is helpful in getting there. Further, Lex gives less Strength than Arden, but more Skill, Defense, and Luck, which are all more relevant than Strength to the children.

Brigid

Both of Brigid's children are physical units. Febail comes equipped with Pursuit as a class skill, and while Patty doesn't have it inherently, she will gain it after promotion. Thanks to the boosts from Yewfelle and his mother's strong inherent growths, Febail will always turn out competent, so a focus on Patty might be preferred.

  • Chulainn's minor Od Blood will allow Patty to inherit the Brave Sword, and she receives his Luna skill as well. Febail will also enjoy the good HP and Skill growths.
  • Jamke, Naoise, and Lex are relatively greedier pairings. While Patty will be great after Promotion, before it she will suffer. Each is more focused towards Febail, giving better Strength growth, and skills like Adept and Charge from Jamke, Charge and Critical from Naoise, and Vantage from Lex. Admittedly, Lex's Paragon will propel Patty to Promotion much quicker.
  • Beowolf could be considered a compromise between the two children, as he'll give all right stats and Charge for Febail, and all right stats and Pursuit for Patty.

Second-Generation Pairing Guide

Pairings in the second generation are significantly less important. However, they do have three key effects worth considering. 1.) (The least important) Many endings are affected by character pairings. 2.) Pairings will allow lovers to score Lovers' Criticals and get Lovers' proximity bonuses. 3.) Lover conversations have fair stat boosts, especially in the final chapter.

With these boosts, #2 and #3 are slightly at odds. Several sibling conversations and love-boosting conversations require that neither sibling is paired yet, meaning you should delay pairing your units until the last moment. However, the sooner your units are paired, the sooner they can benefit from the Lovers' Critical and combination bonuses.

Lana / Muirne

Lana has two conversations to boost her Love Points: one with Seliph in chapter 6, and one with Febail in chapter 10, gaining 3 hp each time. Lana's lover gains 3 points of Resistance from her Chapter 11 Lover conversation, and to trigger the conversation, the lover must be Seliph, Scathach (or his replacement Dalvin), or Febail. Muirne is similar, although she doesn't have a lover conversation with Febail; if she has one with his replacement, Asaello, he gets 5 hp instead.

  • Seliph comes out the gate with a love-boosting conversation, both are foot-locked until Seliph's promotion, and even if they only sit together for a little, the two share a lot of in-game time, meaning that love growth is slowly but steadily building up. Seliph's Resistance growth is occasionally high enough to cap it, but in the case it's not, Resistance is definitely an embarrassment of riches for Seliph, capping at 18 and gaining another +20 from Tyrfing. It's important to also remember that Lana will remain foot-locked her whole career, while Seliph will mount a horse. This disparity in mobility may make Lovers' Critical more difficult to achieve.
  • Scathach is very likely to get the full +3 bonus, as most fathers give him rather mediocre Resistance growth; on the other hand, the difference between having a 5 Resistance and an 8 Resistance isn't exactly night-and-day. Their comparable movement and his high Skill will make Lovers' Criticals fairly consistent.
  • Febail's high HP means that a bit of Resistance won't necessarily mean life-or-death against late game enemies like Hilda, the Deadlords, or Julius. However, like Scathach, most fathers don't give him much Resistance, so this can shore it up a little. Similar movement speeds also means a higher chance for Lovers' Criticals. Asaello is significantly worse than Febail, and Lana doesn't give any boost to him, but if you have Muirne and you're not interested in giving 3 Resistance to Seliph nor Scathach, then 5 hp is an okay boost.

Larcei / Creidne

Larcei is the way to recruit Iuchar or Iucharba, and her only love point conversation is with Shannan in chapter 7. Her lover conversation in the Final Chapter boosts Strength by 3 points. This conversation can only be had with Seliph, Iuchar or Iucharba, or Shannan.

  • Shannan's Achilles' Heel is his oddly low Strength growth. Okay, maybe Achilles' Heel is an exaggeration, as Shannan will still do fine thanks to the high power of Balmung and his many ways to attack multiple times, but the higher the Strength, the fewer swings he'd need to use. Shannan will almost always be quite a few points shy of his cap, meaning Larcei is there to help him just over that last ridge. Their identical movement and high skill means more Lovers' Criticals.
  • To be honest, Iuchar and Iucharba could use some real help, and Larcei getting them those last few points of power to squeeze more damage out of the Brave Axe might be just what the doctor ordered. Of the two, Iucharba is shy 1 point of Strength compared to his brother when you factor in promotion bonuses, and he and Larcei have the same movement, compared to Iuchar's much higher mobility.

Seliph will almost certainly cap his Strength on his own.

Julia

Julia can be very difficult to pair, as she has no lover conversations, and only gains Love by ending her turn next to someone, as opposed to the passive love growths that many other female characters have. She needs to be paired basically by the end of chapter 9. She also has no lover conversation in the Final Chapter, and pairing her does little to affect the story. However, having a combination boost can tip the scales in her favor against Julius, especially if she failed to promote.

  • Scathach will have to slow down a little to keep pace with her, but because they both join the game so early and have similar movement speed, he may be the most practical.
  • Arthur shares her Movement, but starts a little farther away and has to take a little to walk over to join her, and that may be the difference between paired and unpaired. If he promotes, their movement diverges drastically.

Lester, Diarmuid, and Oifey are also male suitors who appear early and have enough time to pair with her, but doing so would kneecap their Movement for four entire chapters.

Fee / Hermina

Fee's only love-boosting conversation is with Arthur in Chapter 8. In the Final Chapter, her Lover Conversation grants 3 points of Skill to only Oifey, Seliph, or Arthur. This is a problem, because these units' Skill cap at 22, 24, and 22 respectively, and all have good enough Skill growth to cap it without help. Even with a father with the poorest Skill growth, Arthur's Skill growth will still be high enough to cap thanks to his minor Thrud blood. Fee is effectively free to pair with any male suitor in your army. Her high mobility means that mounted units are probably preferred in order to try to achieve more Lover's Criticals, but again, she is free to pair with anyone.

Patty / Daisy

Patty is quite the player. She has love-boosting conversations with Shannan, with Seliph, with Coirpre, and with Lester. She also gives out some real goodies - the Balmung to Shannan, a Brave Sword to Seliph, and 3 hp each to Coirpre and to herself. In the Final Chapter, her Lover Conversation gives out both 3 HP and 3 Speed.

  • Seliph enjoys both boosts, his Speed being among his lowest growths. 7 Movement isn't all that different from 9 Movement, and if you're not rushing through the game on a ranked run, she should be there to grant Lovers' Criticals and Combination bonuses.
  • Lester is less thankful for the HP and Speed. He is likely to cap his Speed on his own. Still, assuring that cap and getting 3 more hp is nice.

While Patty and Shannan are closer in Movement and thus closer in Lovers' Criticals and Combination Bonuses, Shannan will have more than enough Speed without Patty's help, and is much more tied up with Larcei, who has identical Movement to him and gives a Strength boost for him.

Nanna / Jeanne

Nanna and Jeanne are actually interesting in how they differ. Both have a conversation in Chapter 10 with Leif. For the Lovers' Conversation, Jeanne can talk to Leif (+5 hp) or Seliph (+3 hp), while Nanna can talk to Seliph (+3 hp), Leif (+3 Defense), or Ares (+3 Defense).

  • Leif is easy to fall in love with, and a Defense boost is generally better than an hp boost. In Jeanne's case, 5 is better than 3.
  • Ares likewise wins out over Seliph because Defense is generally better than hp.

Seliph gets better growths from Patty, but if she's with someone else, and you really want that hp boost, this works.

Lene / Laylea

Lene and Laylea have no Lovers' Conversations, neither to build Love Points over the course of gen 2, nor to give a boost to their Lover in the final chapter. However, they still grant Combination Bonus and Lovers' Criticals. Marriage also helps her get enough gold to afford the Knight and Leg Rings.

  • Ares enters the story very close to the dancer (and with a massive pool of Love Points), meaning they might just end up together on accident.

Most of your foot units share a Dancer's movement speed. If she carries the Leg Ring, most of your mounted units share a Dancer's movement speed. If they're not paired, anyone could benefit from Lovers' bonuses and criticals.

Tine / Linda

Tine and Linda have only one conversation that boosts their Love Points, and it's with Seliph. Their Lover Conversation in the Final Chapter gives a +3 Magic boost to Seliph, Ced, or Leif.

  • If Ced had a more physically-oriented father focused on improving Fee, partnering him with Tine can be a great way to partly make up his Magic deficit. After Promotion, the two share a Movement speed, meaning they can stay close for combination bonuses and Lovers' Criticals. Even if he comes up only a few Magic points shy, these two are probably each others' best pair.
  • Leif could use a boost to magic, as he may be using the Light Brand, and as a Master Knight may pick up staves like Mend or Tomes like Tornado.

Seliph needs no Magic boost. He's already got his 50+ kill-count Silver Sword or Tyrfing, he doesn't need a Magic Sword as well.

Quick-Pairing Guide

If you're just getting into to Genealogy of the Holy War and want a quick-pairing guide that will result in well-rounded and decent children, see below.

First Generation

Edain x Midir --> Lana & Lester

Ayra x Lex --> Larcei & Scathach

Lachesis x Beowolf --> Nanna & Diarmuid

Silvia x Claud --> Lene & Coirpre

Erinys x Lewyn --> Fee & Ced

Tailtiu x Azelle --> Tine & Arthur

Brigid x Chulainn --> Febail & Patty

Normally, the mothers pass down their equipment to their female children, and the fathers to the males; however, this is reversed with Brigid and her husband, and with Quan and Ethlyn.

Second Generation

Lana x Febail

Larcei x Shannan

Julia x Scathach

Fee x Arthur

Patty x Seliph

Nanna x Leif

Lene x Ares

Tine x Ced


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