“...My fondest wish will be granted... To spend the rest of my days in the embrace of my loving wife once more...”
—Orson, revealing his motivation for betraying Renais
Sometime before the events of the game, Orson was well-known among the knights for his love and devotion to his wife, Monica. After her death, his behavior greatly changed and he made a deal to betray Renais and side with the Grado Empire in exchange for Monica's resurrection.
He is first seen when he is accompanying Ephraim, Kyle, and Forde during their assault on Renvall Castle. Unbeknownst to his allies, Orson has secretly betrayed them, as shown at the end of Chapter 5x where Tirado refers to him as a "friend on the inside".
At the end of Chapter 7, Orson appears outside Castle Renvall, urging Eirika and Seth to come inside. Upon doing so, he insists to have Eirika's Lunar Bracelet for safekeeping, deducing that Grado would not be chasing her if he had it. However, Seth notices several flaws in his story, and he admits the truth to them. Tirado arrives and dismisses Orson, and the paladin returns to Renais to be with his wife.
In Chapter 16, is is revealed that Orson has been proclaimed as king due to the absence of the royal siblings. Orson becomes increasingly deranged, leaving Renais to rot, refusing meals, and staying in his chambers, refusing to let anyone in. He enters with a gift for his wife (believing that she is still alive, when she simply just says "Darling") after which he is interrupted by Lyon and Riev, which upsets him. When Lyon states that Ephraim and Eirika are on their way back to the castle, Orson apologizes to Monica and heads out to confront the siblings. In the end, he is killed and his resurrected wife is euthanized.
*Only on Ephraim's route and Creature Campaign
**Only on Creature Campaign
***Only on Eirika's route
Orson has good HP, Strength, and Defense as a Paladin. Also, he's dependable when it comes to strong opponents, with good growth stats, of course. Even so, he can be useful if players want to clear levels at the Tower or Ruins, and can be a good substitute for Seth in Creature Campaign. In addition, he does come in handy with the Runesword in his arsenal, since he can heal himself; even if you don't use him, the Runesword can find use with units like Colm or Marisa. Be careful though, as he has horrible luck.
In Chapter 5x, he is a very strong unit capable of killing most, if not all enemies in the level. As he is no longer playable after Chapter 5x (excluding Creature Campaign), it is recommended before seizing the throne that his items be traded to Ephraim, Kyle and Forde.
“This wound... It will slow me down. I must retreat.”
—Retreat Quote as an ally in Chapter 5x
—Death Quote as an enemy in Chapter 16
“...I won't let you come between us. Monica and I will live here happily together. Forever...”
—Orson's default battle quote in Chapter 16.
- Forde: Sir Orson...Why did you have to betray us? Your departed wife is weeping in shame.
- Orson: You're wrong, Forde. My wife is happy. We are so very happy.
- Kyle: Sir Orson! You betrayed your master, Prince Ephraim, to Grado. Have you forgotten what it means to be a knight?!
- Orson: Kyle...You know nothing...I am happy now.
- Orson: Seth...So you've come, have you?
- Seth: Sir Orson.
- Orson: You're an impressive knight, Seth. You would sacrifice your life for king and country. Not even a moment's pause. It's a pitiful, unrewarding life, through and through.
- Seth: It is my charge. It is my hope. Sir Orson...Prepare yourself.
- Eirika: Orson...Why would you betray us?
- Orson: Princess Eirika... If anyone could understand my feelings, it might be you. For the one I love...I betrayed everything. My country, my lord and master...Everything...
- Orson: Prince Ephraim… You never did know when to quit. Renais is already lost. It's too late...
- Ephraim: Orson... You will move from that place. That is my father's seat. It is his throne... You've no right to sit there.
The name 'Orson' is an anglicization of the French word 'ours,' meaning 'bear,' itself derived from the Latin word 'ursinus.'
- Orson's status as a temporary character is foreshadowed in that he cannot be selected as a link arena character.
- Karin suggests for Ilios to use the name 'Olson' in Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, because she thinks it is more befitting of a commoner.
- Orson is the first playable character in the series who permanently leaves an army and has no circumstances to avoid it.