With the game's imminent release, I reckon it's about time it gets a thread.
If you haven't seen it yet, the latest Nintendo Direct contained a short 5 minute video of what to expect in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, due to release on July 26 (assumingly) worldwide. While the trailer didn't directly (heh) show much of the story, there's a few things that can be assumed or speculated based on what we're shown.
Disclaimer: While this post will only talk about what I interpreted from the trailer, and will only represent my opinions, I will be discussing some things which may be considered story spoilers (hidden in the spoiler tags, of course). Feel free to discuss anything you want about this game (like why Edelgard is the best Three House Lord and how the others are lame), I'm just putting this out there to at least start some discussion.
The Map of Three Houses
Yes, I'm copying and pasting the ó in Fódlan over and over for this section. At the start of the trailer, we're greeted with the map of Fódlan, the continent in which Three Houses is set in. The name of the continent seems to be based on the Irish goddess Fódla, who, funnily enough, is part of a triumvirate with her sisters Banba and Ériu. For those who don't know, a triumvirate is basically a group of three officials who share joint rule (think of the 'First Triumvirate'; Caesar, Pompey and Crassus, who shared rule of the Roman Empire in 60 B.C.E.). This fact is a little unsurprising, considering that the theme that Three Houses is going for is...well...literally three Houses. At least the continent has a name though! Stares at Nolore of FE: Fates
However, the map also reveals surrounding continents: Albine, Threne, Palmira, Brigit and Morpheus. These names have very little relevance to Fódla though; the closest is Brigit, whose another Irish goddess with two sisters. Not sharing a lore-related connection, it can be safe to assume that these continents will play little part, if at all, in Three Houses. They may either be the Regna Ferox of the game (i.e. some characters will have travelled to Fódlan from those countries), or they are most likely there just as filler to show that Intelligent Systems is actually capable of developing decent maps. Stares at Nolore again
The Three Houses
Next, the trailer reveals the name of the three Houses of Fódlan. First is the Adrestian Empire, ruled by a 1000 year old dynasty. The name comes from the Greek goddess Adrestia, the daughter of Ares and Aphrodite and goddess of balance and stuff. Interestingly, Adrestia's grandfather is Zeus, who's sacred animal (the eagle) appears on the Empire's family crest. A more likely explanation for the eagles though is that it is a very popular animal on Germanic heraldry, and we also know that the name 'Edelgard' is Old German in origin, AND we know that the Holy Roman Empire's crest featured a double-headed eagle, very much like the Adrestian crest we are shown. What I'm trying to get to is that the Empire may be a military based country inspired by Austrian-ish culture that also has it's own unique view on 'balance' and what it really means to them is likely to be part of Edelgard's character. Phew...
The second House we are shown is the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus (which honestly just reminds me of kids named Abcde). Straight to the point, I'm 99.9% sure this is meant to be inspired from Fergus, unless it's just a misspell Fearghus, which is a Celtic name that means 'manly' (although the meaning of Fergus isn't too far off from that either). Anyway, whether it's spelled Faerghus, Fergus, Fudge-sicle or Far-gas is pretty moot, as the name itself is very heavily featured in Scottish and Irish mythologies and folklore. The family crest of the Kingdom is a knight atop a proud griffin, and while the creature isn't featured in any Scottish or Irish legends I'm aware of, the griffin is a powerful symbol in heraldry as it represents both the king of the beasts (the lion) and the king of the birds (the eagle). The narrator continues to say that the Kingdom is ruled by "the royal family and its knights", suggesting that the country is run by a feudal system very similar to medieval Britain (which does feature the griffin as an important heraldic figure). If the Adrestian Empire is the Austria of Fire Emblem, then The Holy Kingdom of Faerghus would be the United Kingdom + Ireland (or really, just all of the northern European isles). I imagine that loyalty to the royal bloodline would be the main theme of this kingdom.
Finally, we're introduced to arguably the most interesting House of all three, the Leicester Alliance. Legends say that Reginald Fils-Aimé is a Leicester City supporter, and after they won the definitely-Fire Emblem-related Premiership League in 2015-2016, he held a soccer ball football to Intelligent System's funding account, threatening to delete Fire Emblem Heroes if they didn't include the football team's hometown in their next game.
Jokes aside, the fascinating thing about this kingdom is that it's not run by any sort of monarch at all, but rather an alliance of nobles. I memed a lot on this one as I really have no clue what to make of it. I don't recognise a lot of the heraldic elements, and Google isn't helping me work out the ones I can point out. All I can say with a touch of confidence is that the Alliance is likely to be the most 'progressive' of all the nations shown, meaning that they focus on trade and mutual benefits to circumvent their relatively lower military prowess (after all, if any one of them were stronger than the other, or stronger than the surrounding nations, they'd have no reason to be in an alliance).
I think that's enough blabbering, so I'll focus on one more thing.
I'm putting this one in spoiler tags as it contains (very likey IMO) plot points.
Before the trailer begins, we're greeted by a young girl, who's revealed to be Sothis during the trailer itself. Right off the bat, for those familiar with the Fire Emblem games set in Archanea (Marth's games), Sothis is pretty much Tiki of the next generation. Looking at her features closely, she is undoubtedly a Divine Dragon, as is the dragon featured in the mural when the Church of Seiros is revealed. However, the lady in the mural is shown to have brown hair, which is very different from the distinct green hair colour that all female Divine Dragons seem to possess (especially those in power i.e. Naga). This might be an irrelevant point however, as Intelligent Systems might have realised that not all female Manaketes need green hair (after all, no male Manakete is shown with green hair), and have finally decided to flesh them out a little bit more. A little bit.
The 'priestess' lady of the Church of Seiros has green hair though (as does her right-hand man), but it's interesting to note that they do not have any other Manakete features. This may suggest that Divine Dragons settled on the continent and had children with humans, who inherited some physical features but obviously not the ability to transform into Manaketes (perhaps the blood became too diluted over the years as more and more generations separated the descendants and the original Divine Dragons).
One thing for sure though, wherever there's Divine Dragons, there's baddie dragons who are there to be a pain in the butt for the characters with their hell-bent world domination plans. I bet my left kidney that the MC of the story is a descendent of this evil dragon in some way or another, and Sothis provides the only path for them to kill the dragon without killing themselves (cue dragon teeth swords and the power of friendship).
Well, I think I've written enough to actually start discussion on the game. Feel free to talk anything Fire Emblem related! I might make another one of these posts when I get more time, focusing more on the game mechanics itself rather than the lore.