I can’t believe the Micaiah-Mary Sue arguments are still going about. But I always wanted to give my 2 cents on Micaiah on a past forum, and I guess now will be a good time. I must say, I really don’t care and won’t argue if she is considered a Mary Sue because everyone has their own definition on the term by now. What I will talk about is on characteristics and details she is called out for (mostly for bashing, but also a few to defend her).
-Being Branded/Apostle/Voice of the Goddess: The mention of these is what most irks me, because Micaiah was solely introduced in the series for this role, to be one of the two lost heirs, but most specifically, to be the heir of the Empire that is oppressing the kingdom she defended. And to be the Apostle/Empress, she had to be Lehran’s descendant and thus a heron branded, which are rare, because there’s supposed to be One True Apostle per generation or so, and they became almost extinct. I could talk more of the symbols, allusions and messages that were meant to be conveyed through her character, but I will not go into detail on those now.
-Having Silver-Hair: There are 3 main reasons why she has silver hair: 1) she’s a main character and needs at least one distinguishing feature (e.g. among other features, Ike has his headband, which may not seem like much considering it’s popular elsewhere, but tell me one character in Tellius with the same style of headband as him); 2) it is to show that she is older than she looks; 3) white hair > white heron, it is to associate her with the herons because we haven’t seen brown herons before, only the white royals, so no assumptions could be easily made if it was a normal color we’ve already seen many characters with it before, including most civilians.
-Unique Abilities: And what should be even more hinting than her white hair, are her unique abilities. First off, Sacrifice. Have we forgotten the free-heals from the heron skill Blessing? At least, they made it cost HP or else it would be broken. It does allow for good combos with Wrath and Resolve, but some of her detractors have trouble keeping her alive at full health, so suggesting this for warning levels of HP would just have them rage over her fragility, when it was more a matter of tactics. Anyway, back to her skills, Sacrifice, like most default skills, is a representation of her ideology and how she cares for others on her side more than her well-being. Also, being attuned to people’s feelings is a heron skill which Rafiel and Leanne use in the first parts of the game. Listening to Yune’s voice and singing the release galdr are perks of being apostle. On the foresight though, that is a bit too much, but her skill is quite limited and I question it. She doesn’t really see the future, I don’t recall any instance where she specifically saw things, she just had an advance on her feelings on a certain matter, like something will go wrong with the civilians in 1-1. The ability may be in part aided by Yune, but obtaining a feeling on the current an d near-future environment is something I believe all laguz but only those attuned with it can comprehend, like the herons and Ranulf to some degree. It’s probably something akin to the stench laguz can smell from the branded, except visual/spiritual.
-Learned things out of nowhere: Eh, where did Micaiah, Soren and Pelleas learn magic/other matters? From their foster parents/teachers of course, aided by their predisposition for magic of the type they master. Yes, she created battle plans that got her praise, but they were nothing original, just creative. Anyone can pull off strategies like hers if they set their minds to it. Soren probably did not find them as impressive as people make it seem; he was mostly mocking her, and using his bluntness and sarcasm to poke her at the place he knew she would feel hurt and wished to regret on her actions.
-The Oil-Spill, laguz skirmishes and other questionable tactics: I find it hypocritical that people who usually bash Micaiah for following orders by leaving out most of their ideals, are usually the ones who are most defensive of the non-main villains who do just that, and maybe to worse extremes. Micaiah fights for the people she cared for, her nation’s people, and puts her trust on the king she perceives as good-natured above those she does not know and threaten them. Yes, Micaiah thought of some ruthless strategies by herself, but it is a war. From a pacifist viewpoint, nobody should even be laying their hands or weapons on each other for it to be fair or moral. But there is a very big difference from the oil-spill and Izuka’s plan to poison water supplies or Naesala’s betrayal of Phoenicis by flying soldiers for a surprise attack. And that is, it didn’t involve killing innocents, it involved soldiers that might have died anyway if the war where to continue. Micaiah chose a plan that would have kept most of her nation’s army alive to continue on. I don’t see much difference between cutting their limbs off and burning them aside some extra seconds of suffering depending on each situation. She’s not as smart as she is cut out to be, but she at least has a dumb sense of motivation and fulfillment of her goals.
-Being the Triad of General/Strategist/Figurehead: The first and third should be put to blame on Lehran’s part for both Ike and Micaiah, because neither of them wanted to be the figure, except their queen/king placed them in such role through Lehran’s indirect influence/setting them on the right time&place to meet. There’s a lot of allusions from Micaiah back to Ike, which are then lampshaded in Ike and Elincia’s conversation at the endgame of part 2. Of note are the spirits-rallying speeches Elincia/Pelleas give near the respective endgames of PoR/RD part 1, where both Ike and Micaiah leave it to them to do it, because they are the rulers (except Micaiah needs the Black Knight to capture attention, Ike sets it up). On the second, it’s because Ike was not raised like Soren and Micaiah, nor showed as much interest in intellectual tasks (correct me if I am wrong, but I recall a line or two from him on how he didn’t care for books). If being a ‘natural-born’ leader and strategist at the same time is an indication of Mary-Sue-ness and bad protagonist, then Micaiah is a quite horrible main character and Mary Sue by merit alone. She must be too perfect for the world then.
-The writers didn’t give her a guilt arc: They did not, but it does not matter really. Micaiah ended up passing by her bad decisions without much of a visible burden like what would be expected of her.
-People who hate Micaiah don’t know how to play well/had theirs turn out wrong/are mad she’s a female protagonist taking the attention from Ike/Elincia/etc: Even if there’s a bit of a correlation, you can’t imply a relation here, and even less one from sampling just a few of the vocal ‘haters’ on tumblr/gaming boards. There are quite a lot who have very valid reasons for disliking her and Micaiah’s very far away from being the ideal anything. She has serious flaws as a character and an unit.
And this ends my post, but not my take on Micaiah. She’s not a character I love, nor one I greatly dislike (I’m unable to hate characters in FE aside Riev and Izuka), but I mostly came to sympathize with her after all the bashing she has received ever since I knew of her. I was introduced to her as a Mary Sue, and it was not until I finished playing the game that I realized they only saw her superficially. I still call her Micky Sue from time to time, but mostly affectionately since the name sounds good to me, but not because I actually think she is. And yes, I would prefer her as a queen, she seems to me like the type of person who would be a great ruler (like Elincia), but horrible in most other matters where she is forced to make decisions that go against her morals. To end like I started, I can’t believe I wrote this much; Notepad is misleading.