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Spellbinding Radiance is a Self Insert fanfiction written by Foxwolf Jackson.

John is a typical musician going to college. However, after a freak automobile accident, he finds himself thrust into the world of Fire Emblem, specifically Path of Radiance. It's thus up to John to journey along with Ike, Elincia, and the gang on their quest to save Crimea from the clutches of the nation of Daein, as per the game. Along the way, though, a lot of things change...

Be careful, as it is an incredibly LONG read. However, it is entirely worth it.

The following tropes apply to Spellbinding Radiance:

  • A Day in the Limelight: Ike and Mist both get one after the events of the Serenes Forest.
    • Ilyana also gets a chapter to herself.
    • Rhys gets one as well.
    • Jill gets one later on.
    • Jay gets one even later on.
    • Selena is having one to the point of becoming an Ascended Extra with the latest filler arc.
  • Action Girl: Just about every woman in the fic.
  • Almost Kiss: Boy, does this happen a lot.
  • Always Someone Better: Karel to Karla
  • Anyone Can Die: It's a fanfic in the Fire Emblem universe, what did you expect? The trope applies more extensively as found here, though. John himself even dies. He gets better, though. Both times. Everyone else... not so much.
  • Ascended Extra: Patrick as of the Dawn Brigade arc.
  • Attractive Bent Gender: Shinon hits on John Sophia in the short arc of the spying mission.
  • Badass Princess: Elincia.
  • Bag of Spilling: By the time the Radiant Dawn story arc has come around, John is quite rusty and far less proficient than he was during the final battle with Ashnard. Justified in that he's been sitting around studying magic and learning to play instruments than practicing his magic and swordplay.
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: Elincia, Mist, and Jill respectively. The author has commented on many occasions that he jokingly called them John's version of Charlie's Angels.
  • Better as Friends: John and pretty much every girl in the story he becomes close to.
    • Platonic Life Partners: It started with Elincia and John, now Micaiah and John are moving in that direction.
    • Just Friends: John and Karla seemed to be this for a while.
  • Betty and Veronica: Earlier chapters of the story seemed to have this trope in spades with John being too oblivious to notice the situation, though YMMV which female is in which situation. Early chapters hinted at Mist being Betty and Karla being Veronica, until John started dating Karla in a short-lived relationship. There is also speculation about later on when it seemed to be hinted at that Elincia was Betty and Jill was Veronica. There was also option in other characters, such as Natasha, Carin, Nino, Selena, and the list goes on. However, it appears that currently, this trope no longer applies (although one can assume this is only temporary). Whew...
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Mist
  • Big Damn Heroes: Several:
    • The entire Crimean army comes in to help John while he's defending Leanne from Oliver.
    • Petrine's death involves a huge one against the Black Knight.
    • Soren manages to pull one off in Chapter 74, marching in on the battle with Ashnard as if he owned the place and insisting that he would take care of the Mad King himself.
  • Big Eater: Ilyana.
    • Then again, she canonically is like that.
    • Burning the food stores becomes a Berserk Button for her later on.
  • Big No: When Jill dies.
  • Bi the Way: Karla, though any real exploration of this seems to be done off-camera
  • Black Magician Girl: Nino.
  • Blah Blah Blah: John does this in the one time Soren's tactical meetings has been shown in story (Chapter 47). The situation results in John coming back to attention at the wrong time.
  • BLAM Episode: The April Fool's Day chapter.
  • Brick Joke: See Magic A Is Magic A below.
  • But for Me It Was Tuesday: Ashnard's general reaction to just about every atrocity he's responsible for save for killing Elincia's father.
  • Butterfly of Doom: Okay, so technically John isn't time travelling, but he DOES know what's going to happen in the future thanks to playing the game god knows how many times. Sadly, his very presence in Tellius is enough to make sure that a LOT of stuff is changed.
  • Canon Foreigner: A lot of the cast of Blazing Sword somehow manages to end up on Tellius, as well as a few cast members from Sacred Stones. The entire Black Fang even shows up in Crimea as an honest mercenary company in Begnion. And then there's Carin, A.K.A. Cassandra from Soul Calibur. Ashley has also been confirmed to be one, with many hints dropped to the observant that she's from Mass Effect; more specifically, her iteration from the self-insert fanfic Mass Vexations by Foxwolf's friend Herr Wozzeck.
    • Confirmed, as of chapter 44 of Mass Vexations 2.
  • Cardboard Prison: Patrick breaks out of capture so quickly and easily AND manages to get his hands on so much stuff that one has to wonder whether or not he had inside help. However...
  • Cast From Hit Points: John does this when trying to not only attempt a high level spell, but a spell that requires a lot of power when he was already worn from the battle. Although the desired result of stopping Naesala, it came with a cost of John losing his life.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Selena and Calill have a conversation about boys while attacked by beast laguz. One has to wonder if the author has any psychological dislike or distrust of his gender with how much male bashing is done in the story.
  • Celibate Hero: John has traces of it, although this is more based on the fact that he fears he may still be drawn back into his own world - thus leaving the object of his affection alone - than it is an aversion to romance. After he comes to terms with the fact that he's probably not going back to his own world, he becomes a bit more like a mild case of Chaste Hero instead.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: John let one go in chapter 88 when they found themselves surrounded by tigers.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The 'chocolate cake' bit from when John first runs into Karla comes in handy when Karel shows up.
  • Chick Magnet: Arguable, depending on how you interpret the girls' friendships with John.
  • Cross Dresser: John is forced to become one for an infiltation into the Daien camp planned by Soren. Needless to say, he is not amused.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: Poor John finds himself on the losing end of these frequently...
  • Cute Bruiser: Karla qualifies in the rare example she uses a blade. Jill also qualified as one before she died, although her dream self seems to continue this theme.
  • Dark Action Girl: Petrine early in the story. She enjoys terrorizing everyone, puts John through a moral dilemma early, ships him off to prison, mocks John at the Daein border when he's at a moral low, etc. Even the trope page cites the canon version of Petrine as one.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: John appearantly has quite a bit of talent using Dark magic. He also happens to be a real swell guy.
  • Dark Magical Girl: Petrine seems to morph from Dark Action Girl to this trope as her character is explored. She wants approval from Ashnard, it's hinted that she's smart and talented but has never really gotten a break, she has a reputation of being harsh to the troops and delights in torment and punishment. The flame lance upon which she uses to battle can also be considered magical, thus fitting the "Magical" part of the trope name. While she laughs at John's attempts to recruit her to Crimea at first, it seems that Ashnard leaving her prisoner to Crimea sparked a change in her that eventually transforms her into an atoner making the ultimate sacrifice.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jay, oh so very much...
  • Demonic Possession: Karel. Also Karla to a small extent.
  • Denied Food as Punishment: Oscar seems to love leaving Tanith in charge of food when he was gone. One has to wonder what happened that Oscar would leave a punishment that even Montressor would shudder at.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Guess who defeats Ashnard after he's revived though the power of the medallion a la Hard Mode. No, it's not Ike. No, it's not one of the Laguz. Nope, not John. Given up yet? It's PATRICK. He's about as surprised as the reader.
  • Disguised in Drag: John has to dress up as a female whom he arbitrarily names Sophia Domivere. This is one of the uncommon cases where, overall, it isn't Played for Laughs
  • Dope Slap: Ash delivers one to John in Chapter 86.

 Ash: What was that?

John: The bartender keeps staring at us. I used the act to cover up the fact I was scrutinizing him.

Micaiah: What did you find?

John: That waitress is pretty good looking.

Ash: *slap*

  • Dragon with an Agenda: Patrick as of the Radiant Dawn arc.
  • Dramatic Ellipsis: The author of this fanfiction loves this about as much as Poe loves dashes.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Micaiah appears in Crimea looking for Sothe during the Path of Radiance arc.
  • Easy Communication: Happens all the time in the story. Lampshaded by John when he is temporary leader of the Crimean Revolutionary Army and he has no idea how to issue commands to the entire army like Ike.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Lute. Just... Lute.
  • Everyone Can See It: John and Jill. You know it's pretty bad when someone like Petrine made note of it.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Thankfully subverted in this portrayal. Although Princess Elincia fits this trope in the original game, the author has managed to essentially restructure her character into something less sue-ish and more useful and developed.
  • Evil Overlord: Ashnard in the first part of the fic.
  • Face Heel Turn: Patrick! And HOW!
  • Fauxlosophic Narration: Beginning of Chapter 13 seems to fall into this category.
  • First Law of Resurrection: John finds a way to come back to life twice. The first time, Gatrie takes the price. The second time, the other people in the camp are given a one-use staff that they use to bring John back to life.
  • First-Person Smartass: John seems to be this a good deal of the time. Bonus points in that virtually no one gets his pop culture remarks when he does voice them. Well... until Ash comes along, anyway.
  • Freaky Friday Flip: As part of an April Fools' Day prank, John and Art found themselves in this situation.
  • Free-Range Children: Nino, Linde, Mist... and a young man in charge of a massive revolutionary army.
  • Fridge Horror: The person who was responsible for the death of Gatrie as well as the cause of great amounts of torment for John early in the story just happened to be a time-travelling ex girlfriend who was also once a friend of Gatrie's and mourned his loss. She also happens to be the same person who killed John in the story. Ax Crazy much?
  • Friendly Enemy: John and Petrine
  • Genre Savvy: Well, John, obviously. However, recently Soren has got into the action as well.

 Soren: As a tactician and an important person to Ike, I cannot die," Soren said. (Chapter 74)

    • Patrick seems to want in on this, too, since the Radiant Dawn portion started.
  • Giving Radio to the Romans: John comes into Tellius with a pocket watch (which is never explained what happened to it), a wallet, a trumpet mouthpiece for some reason, and his cell phone. Subverted when he throws the cell phone into the water instead of using it to improve life for the citizens of Tellius.
    • Word of God says that throwing the cell phone was supposed to be a symbolic action of letting go of the past.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Chapter 33... the holiday celebration chapter.
  • Groin Attack: John suffered a rather nasty one at the hands of Patrick. He considers it one of his many specialties.
  • Hero of Another Story: It's a little known fact that recurring Bit Character Patrick (that guy with a crush on Ilyana) is supposed to be one, with him being the main character of a Spin-Off fanfic created by one of Foxwolf Jackson's friends. Sadly, his story is currently Dead Fic. Subverted in that Patrick has now become a recurring antagonist instead.
    • In an entirely different way, there is a Supporting Protagonist of Another Story with Ash. It's not explicitly stated in Foxwolf's fic itself, but those who have read Mass Vexations can immediately catch that Ash is from that fic. She even mentions Art, the hero of that story, at one point. And then there's Chapter 83, in which this is outright stated to be the case in an A/N, as well as in Ash's descriptions of the ME universe.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: John apparently really wants Jill.
  • Hurricane of Puns: If Patrick wasn't one already, he certainly became one upon stealing General Wallace's chained axe God of War bullshit.
  • Implied Love Interest: John and Elincia seem awfully close together... if only we could have a Word of God to sort that awkward friendship between the two out.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Instead of selecting from the normal Fire Emblem arsenal of swords, lances, knives and axe, Shinon decides to use a staff composed of two sections connected by magic during his final battle with John, since a bow wouldn't really be practically in the situation. John actually planned on this. Word of God has said that this random change to Shinon was part of the reason the chapter took so long to write.
    • Patrick attempts to be one of these when using Wallace's spring loaded chain axe despite having no prior training with it at all. The results were as expected.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog: There is a small, hilarious exchange between John and Titania in their mock date.

 JohnWell, um... you're like a really great mom... or something

Titania... what?

JohnUh, I think I gotta go to the bathroom.

  • Inverse Dialogue Death Rule: This trope has been played straight and subverted in the fic.
    • Kieran and Gatrie both had little lines so their death wasn't so bad.
    • Conversely, John's and Jill's deaths both subvert this trope were rather anti-climatic despite their huge roles. Sothe also plays this straight in having a huge death scene despite having almost no lines in the story. It is, however, excusable given the fact that it firmly establishes that Anyone Can Die is in FULL swing, since Sothe is one of the few people who CANNOT die in Path of Radiance under ANY circumstance.
  • Joisey: John's from there.
  • Kuudere: Karla, though your milage may vary.
  • Lady of War: Princess Elincia and Mist can qualify as one, although Mist starts as a White Magician Girl.
  • Lampshade Hanging: So many!
    • "It was like some kind of comic relief in the middle of a heavily serious battle. If only my adventures on Tellius were some kind of self-insertion fanfiction, I am pretty sure the author just decided to do that to try to relieve tension." (Chapter 65)
    • John seems to point out in his thoughts that the theory of Buxom Is Better had translated from the video game to reality.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: John saves Petrine from the fate that she, by all accounts, should have gotten. John eventually befriends the extra character slowly, but surely. The result is Petrine saving John, Ike, and Mist from The Black Knight aka General Zelgius in the battle at Castle Nados leading to a Villainous Rescue.
  • Lethal Chef: Tanith, and how!
    • This is from actual canon.
  • Light Bulb Joke: Chapter 35!

 John: Hey, Jill! How many wyvern knights does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Jill: A... light bulb?

John: Three! Two to fight over who's going to do it and one to bark orders!

 Patrick: TV Tropes. Unusual Euphemism. Look it up.

  • Papa Wolf: Do what you will to John, but you do NOT mess with his friends if you know what's good for you.
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: For those rare moments where John isn't getting his ass royally handed to him, he certainly qualifies. Patrick is perhaps even more of a contender, considering he was the one to off Ashnard.
  • Precision F-Strike: Selena is always portrayed as a calm character, always being a gentle, kind guide to the rash hero of the story. However, Chapter 88 has a gem that is very rarely seen in the form of a rare moment of despair.

 Selena: Well, shit.

    • There is another one in chapter 91 with Selena as well.

 Selena: What in Ashera's name—what the fuck are you doing?

  • Redemption Equals Death: Petrine. Despair was had all around.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Elincia becomes one way earlier than she was supposed to in the original game.
    • Nailah seems to be one in canon and her little skirmish with John proves she's just as badass in game.
  • Running Gag: A few:
    • Chocolate cake is something of this for Karla before it becomes a Chekhov's Gun. Ash picks it right back up during the Radiant Dawn arc.
    • Tanith's horrible, horrible cooking. Also, Oscar's heavenly cooking.
    • "Are you an orange?"
    • How about John and Elincia's dance around titles? "Your Highness" and "My Lord John" has been used for satire often. Actually, how about John and titles in general? He insists upon being called John, but never seems to get through to the soldiers.
    • And now in the Radiant Dawn arc, Ash facepalming at almost all of John's spoken pop culture references.
    • Selena questioning John about his Pokemon Battles.
    • There's also the artichoke, which is treated with such reverence that a newcomer to the story may think it's supposed to be a MacGuffin.
  • Scry vs. Scry: Patrick versus Jay. Both have played the game. Both know the future. Yet one seems to want to fight against canon for unknown reasons while the other seems determined to help preserve it. Cue John, the former oracle, who seems to be nothing more than a pawn in this match now.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Sothe, Gatrie, and Kieran. Jill, too, could qualify.
  • She Is the King: Apostle Sanaki. You'd never guess it was a girl just by name. You might even guess it's a guy if you didn't know better.
  • Ship Sinking: Patrick pretty much took his relationship with Ilyana and shot a cannonball at it. John and Jill has also been thoroughly sunk thanks to The Reveal of Jay.
  • Ship Tease: Happens rather frequently, often without the author's intent. However, given John's nature, it'd take some doing to make something out of it.
  • Shout-Out: Quite a few.
    • As he becomes a more proficient mage, John names his custom-built spells after certain special attacks. Some of his spells? Rasengan, Tri Attack, and Indignation Judgement.
    • An entire chapter is also an homage to the first Christmas of World War 1, in which soldiers on both sides of the battlefield engaged in one big, happy Christmas.
      • And during that chapter, John finds out that Canas' last name is Lualdi.
    • John's first time dying while in Tellius grants us some insight into some of the character's thoughts on the event. The whole thing is somber enough... until we get to Patrick's thoughts, which promptly go from mourning John's passing to accidentally making himself (and the readers) lose The Game and reciting a certain love ballad to himself in hopes of using it to win over Ilyana. A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read, indeed.
    • General Wallace's spring loaded chain axe has been constantly referred to as "chained axe God of War bull$#!@" by Patrick. Upon stealing it, Patrick immediately flies into more references to the series, as well as breaking out the infamous DO NOT PURSUE LU BU.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Princess Elincia is portrayed as a kind-hearted person toward John. Even if she isn't the Mary Sue that many fans consider her to be in the games, she is still relatively peaceful and calm. Just don't anger her or force her hand into combat. Therein lies a Badass Princess behind that veil of formality and peacefulness.
  • Smug Snake: Patrick. Ignore the fact that he technically knows almost everything worth knowing about the Dawn Brigade. He fits this to a tee.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: The staff that Shinonuses.
  • Synchronus Episodes: Chapters 39 (Do or Die) and 40 (Do or Die: Jill) start at roughly the same time and end roughly the same time, except Chapter 40 has a little funeral blurb tacked on to the end. They even have some scenes that are the same in both chapters. One has to wonder if this is brilliance by the author to combine the two chapters or sheer laziness.
  • Take That: There are quite a few in Chapter 74, although the ones to the new Clash of the Titans movie, the new War of the Worlds movie, and Tales of Symphonia Dawn of the New World are the most prominent. It seems like the author just MIGHT have something against sequels...
  • Ted Baxter: Patrick has this quality in SPADES.
  • Tempting Fate: "It was nice to be in a town where we weren't worried for our lives. I think we'll be safe in a secluded, out of the way desert town. It's finally a time of peace for us. What could go wrong?" (Chapter 87). Cue the spotting of a Begnion soldier in town.
    • Subverted in that There wasn't a battle like was seen in previous chapters. Turns out the soldier is just Meg.
  • The Lost Lenore: Type B, assuming you consider Jay and Jill to be the same person.
  • The Not Love Interest: Mist seems to be this way.
  • The Stations of the Canon: Lampshaded, both when they're being followed religiously and when they're not. Being able to stick to the stations of the canon in Radiant Dawn is going to be exceptionally difficult given that he killed off Sothe and revealed the Black Knight's identity way earlier than it happened in either game.
  • The Wonka: John. Just ask Selena or Micaiah.
  • This Cannot Be!: Zelgius flies into a combination of this and Unstoppable Rage after he gets his ass kicked not by Ike, but by Mist.
  • This Is Sparta: This happens in the story a lot.

 John: That. Is. AWESOME! (chapter 19... at the magic breakfast he got.)

    • Note, though, that it never seems to work that well whenever John tries to invoke the trope by name...
  • Took a Level In Badass: John takes quite a few by the time the fic gets to the final quarter of the Path of Radiance arc. The cincher comes during chapter 57.
  • Training From Hell: Poor John gets this a LOT. One can easily assume the same was the case for Patrick, given he learned to fight under General Wallace.
    • This seems to have gone Up to Eleven since Radiant Dawn started
    • John seems to have taken after Selena's pushiness and Shinon's tactics when apprenticing poor Leonardo.
  • Trapped in Another World: John. Patrick, to some extent.
  • Trial by Combat: John and Jarod near the end of the Path of Radiance portion of the story.
    • It seems Patrick and John are heading in this direction considering Patrick seems to be of a higher status in the Begnion army and John seems to be right-hand man to Micaiah in Sothe's place.
  • Tsundere: Jill alternates between beating John up, admitting he's cool to talk to, insults him, becomes a good friend, kills him, then ends up dating him. All over the place, that one is.
  • Two Aliases One Character: Jay/Jill
  • Unfortunate Name: Jay's REAL name is LisaMarie Pheobe. Really. It's also Jill Fizzart, but she's not embarrassed about that one.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between John and Jill. It seems to be acted on when she starts dating him, but alas, Ashnard killed her.
  • Villainous Rescue: Petrine rescues John from the Black Knight in Castle Delbray.
    • Petrine does again later on in the story but pays the price with her life.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Boyd and John certainly qualify for the second version of this. There's rarely a moment when these two are together where Boyd isn't either spoiling a nice Ship Tease or trading vocal jabs with our protagonist.
  • Wham! Episode: Chapter 82. Patrick became an Ascended Extra, pulled a Face Heel Turn, won a Curb Stomp Battle and got his own Hatedom... all in one chapter!
  • Wham! Line: Twice in the same chapter.

 Ashley: Who is Jay? [And then, much later on...] Do the words 'Spellbinding Radiance' mean anything to you?

  • Write Who You Know: John, obviously.
    • It's starting to become subverted as Word of God has mentioned numerous times that fiction John and author John have become so different that it's like writing a whole other character.
  • You Suck: John and archery do not mix. At all. Even when he finds out he's a natural mage, he struggles throughout basically the entire first three quarters of the fanficPath of Radiance story arc to even be up to par with every other mage in Elincia's army. And then he starts sucking again at the start of the Radiant Dawn arc.
    • To be fair, while John's improved in the last quarter of the Path of Radiance arc and is on the rebound in the Radiant Dawn one, he seems to have INCREDIBLY bad luck still.
  • Your Mom: John and Boyd have a rather weird exchange of these in chapter 37.
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