I think you're missing quite a bit in your assessment of Ferdinand.
First of all, Edelgard doesn't actually want to completely abolish the nobility, and she doesn't, sanctioning Ferdinand's position as head of house Aegir (in CF) and allowing Hevring and Bergliez to maintain their positions as ministers of internal affairs and military respectively to ensure unity within the Empire during the war. As you previously said, her qualms are with crests and the crest-based nobility, obviously not hierarchy in itself. Ferdinand is certainly distraught over Edelgard's power grab and disruption and weakening of the noble tradition that he sees as a net positive for Fodlan, let alone his complicated feelings about his father's legacy, but he has plenty of reasons to stick with Edelgard. Beyond his noble leanings, he has a patriotic pride in being a part of the tradition and grandeur of the old and consequential Adrestian imperial tradition, and if recruited in the other routes, always expresses his conflicting feelings about going to war on but dismantling the empire that he had felt duty-bound to serve for the duration of his life. Much like how Hubert takes great pride in carrying on House Vestra's traditional role in protecting and advancing the interests of the Hresvelg Emperor as Minister of the Imperial Household, Ferdinand, obviously proud to be heir to house Aegir, is just as proud to (presumably) be Adrestia's future Prime Minister. Not only does this prospect reinforce his personal duty to the people of Adrestia and Fodlan as a whole, he makes it clear in his later supports with Edelgard that part of that obligation he felt as prospective Prime Minister was, as (in theory at least) second most powerful and visible leader of the empire, to serve as a conservative counterweight of sorts to reign in Edelgard's radicality while also collaborating with her from a policy perspective, proposing to her the idea of universal government-funded education to substitute the educational tradition lost by the uprooting of the majority of the noble governing class. It's a great conclusion that cleverly takes the one-sided rivalry between the two seen earlier in the game and turns it from an indication of contention and divergence between the two to an understandable, albeit probably misguided effort by Ferdinand to prove some form of parity with respect between the two to ensure his voice is heard in their future co-governance. Ferdinand may be a man of principles, but he is not above compromise for the betterment of his empire.
I'm frankly quite shocked you question Dorothea's commitment to Edelgard and her cause,
considering that she is, perhaps more than the Emperor herself, by far the most openly contemptuous of nobility in the entire game. Growing up a destitute orphan on the streets of Enbarr, Dorothea has more than anyone else seen the true impact that centuries of poor governance has wrought, and as a songstress at the Mittelfrank Opera Company, the decadence and corruption of the Enbarr nobility. As the only true commoner in the Black Eagle House, her upbringing shapes her ideas and values in a variety of ways, bringing a wonderfully different perspective to the Black Eagles, from a political standpoint Dorothea is obviously not afraid to share her opinions and notions about nobility and her contempt of classmates like Lorenz and Ferdinand who take pride in their nobility. Her presumptions about the nobility are challenged, of course, but when Edelgard starts sharing her reformist ambitions in their C support, she absolutely eats it up. Meritocracy? Cracking down on the corrupt and long-established nobility? That's opera-tier ambitions in Dorothea's book, and it doesn't hurt that Dorothea is presumably more comfortable with her as a woman compared with the other two male leaders. It is true that post timeskip, Dorothea's enthusiasm is understandably tempered somewhat when faced with the reality of war. Considering her challenging upbringing, she understands better than most others the impact it has on the commoners of Fodlan and as an orphan values the new relationships she has developed at Gareg Mach. She is pensive and conflicted over the war in all routes, but understanding Edelgard's role in initiating the conflict, these concerns can provide a reasonable "bridge too far" moment in her loyalty to Edelgard, but does not invalidate their shared political convictions, creating a compelling internal conflict that is apparent in her generally more serious attitude post-timeskip. Although I am a Ferdinand fan, Dorothea is an absolutely brilliant character and one of if not the best written in the game.
As for Bernadetta, I think her past should give her more than enough motivation to support Edelgard's programs, but I can't recall any point when a support directly makes the connection. She's certainly one of the weaker characters in the Black Eagles, but I still really like her. I don't think there's a bad (playable) character in this entire game. There's one pretty mediocre one that's distinctly worse than everyone else, but even he isn't bad by any means.
This is true, although I believe that Ferdinand and Dorothea both have very strong motivations to support Edelgard, The Noble State of Aegir put it well in his previous post. perhaps stronger than someone such as Petra or Caspar who are not necessarily as personally invested to the Empire's success.
I should have clarified that I wasn't talking about her commitment to the world that Edelgard is creating, rather her hatred for fighting. She seems constantly depressed by it, which isn't necessarily a problem. It's not really that big of a problem.
I'm not gonna respond to the rest of your points in the interest of not having a dozens-long message chain on this specific topic, and in general almost all of our disagreements on this subject come from differing personal interest in specific characters and principles. Still, thanks for discussing it with me! :)
I don't really understand how the disagreement can boil down to different personal interests in specific characters. Whether Ferdinand or Dorothea are necessarily in the right or my personal opinion on their ideas isn't relevant, only that their motivations to stick with Edelgard are sound, logical, and substantiated in-game, which I'm confident that I've established pretty well. If you have any reasons to believe otherwise or see my assertions as inadequate in some way, I would love to hear your ideas.
...which is your opinion. Whether something is well-substantiated is a wholly subjective question. I'd also like to add that I'm still playing the other routes of the game and fully understanding Fódlan and its characters. Further:
I don't think that Dorothea doesn't have good reasons to be on the Empire's side, I was more talking about her aversion to war despite being on the battalion that is supposedly the leading force for the Empire. The same is true of Linhardt, although to a lesser degree because he is a healer. My point was more that I think they should have explored further her coming to terms with being on the Force and the horrors of war. For the most part, she just is constantly depressed, which isn't an issue of itself and in fact is a completely normal reaction to war. In fact I agreed with almost everything you said in your last post about her, and quite like her, so I apologize if my posts made it sound like I disliked her. I just think she could have been explored even more in supports and such.
As for what you had to say on Ferdinand: maybe I missed it, but it definitely didn't seem like Edelgard was in favor of retaining the nobility at all. After the war she allows, say, Caspar to be the new war minister despite his lack of inheritance to that position. Perhaps the game is just vague enough that either result could be interpreted from it. She certainly doesn't turn Adrestia into a democracy, seeing as democracy isn't really something that is thought of in that time era of Fódlan, but I don't understand how she could lead a meritocratic, egalitarian Empire if she did not abolish the system of nobility. I'll pay more attention to stuff like this during my new game plus CF playthrough.
Finally I want to say that I wholly agree that there are practically no bad characters. I may be criticizing all of them, but I even warmed up to Ferdinand and Hubert, which were my least favorite Black Eagles, because they all have convincing motivations to believe what they believe. My only issue with all of them is their tendency to fall into tropes, which is especially present in the Black Eagles.
Depressed? I suppose I never saw Dorothea as "depressed" when compared with some of the other characters. I essentially understand your desire to hear more about her conflicting opinions on the war, but I personally can't expect too much more than they provided, considering that aspect of her character only emerges after the war begins and most of her A supports should be focused on concluding the arcs of their respected support series. Many of her A supports touch upon this change in mentality and how it impacts her perspective on other characters and issues, which is great, but I'm not expecting an in-depth discussion of her mentality on that when there are so many other interesting dynamics to deal with. I think her post-timeskip monastery dialogue does a solid job of addressing this on its own, supplemented by the bits in-support.
The matter isn't that Edelgard doesn't want to abolish the nobility, but that taking and maintaining control of a feudal state like the Adrestian Empire naturally necessitates the loyalty of enough of the upper classes. She certainly doesn't execute as dramatic a "purge" as she might ideally like, but without the proven loyalty of the general population, many of which still associate with their lords as was customary in feudal society, how could she get anything done. It is a matter of political necessity that she retains Bergliez's and Hevring's loyalty, and if Ferdinand can successfully make personal inroads with her as a close and loyal advisor, perhaps he could ensure that the nobility retains some of its past honor, if only in a titular or vestigial form? Regardless if Edelgard intends to abolish the nobility in its entirety or not, the other reasons I mentioned still apply, let alone the fact that Ferdinand does not necessarily need a government sanction to continue to represent House Aegir, his ancestry and prestige alone can grant him and his descendants his noble pride.
I've played all 4 routes, and of the routes, Black Eagles is my least favorite. I'm not sure if that is because I did Black Eagles last, or if it is because it is my least played route. But I just enjoy the Golden Deer and Blue Lions better.
You mean CF I presume? Even though it was my first, I think SS is by far the worst
It's just an objectively inferior version of VW, CF may be short, but it's the most unique route and offers the opportunity to fight at Tailtean Arianhrhod and against different people from a different perspective. CF's short length does limit it though.
Both CF and SS were done after I completed at least one run of VW and AM. It doesn't help that I ragequit on CF endgame because of all that damn fire chipping everyone to death. Just the idea of all the wasted potential for both SS and CF doesn't help any either.
I went SS->CF->AM->VW. AM was distinctly more polished and distinct than the other three, and had I not done SS first, I almost certainly would have found it very boring. Interesting to hear you had so much difficulty with CF's final map. I found it to be a decent challenge on Hard, although less so than AM with its massive swarms of gremories and mortal savants and SS, where I found the IO much harder to beat (on normal) What difficulty were you playing on?