Original Post Date: August 19th, 2017
Edit 1: Adjusted slightly for typos and additional clarity.
Edit 2: Added a blurb about transforming Noble Phantasms.
I wasn’t expecting to have to deal with this so openly, but it’s apparent this needs to be addressed. I laid out all the framework over the 800k words that generally show what the memorial essences actually do, but I left it for the readers to see what influences they had. Some have come to a different conclusion, so I’ll clear that up immediately to set the record straight.
We’ll start with the entire premise of the memorial essence. By default in any grail war, only a piece of the original heroic spirit is summoned from the throne: You never get the real, complete one. Arturia was a different story because she was still alive at the time. That aside, this is where the memorial essence idea comes into play.
First, a memorial essence only becomes possible if a servant with the same hero base is summoned. If there’s too many differences (gender counts as a big one), they will manifest as a different spirit instead. This is why Arthur broke the rule. If they’re not even a possibility, but an entirely new existence based off of someone’s perception of a legend (Jeanne Alter), then they also manifest separately. These exceptions are few and far between.
Second, the Fate System summons servants from the throne and records their saint graph. If a servant answers the call again, it has the chance of getting a different slice of the actual hero. This is completely and specifically explained at the beginning of Kiritsugu’s Fragment (16).
The memorial essence allows that hero to gain memories and possibly a new noble phantasm. That’s it.
There is no direct or total personality change as a result of just receiving it. There are no regrown/redecided parameters. The original Saint Graph does not change. They get memories of another timeline and an accompanying noble phantasm of the proper class they may freely wield. Invoking the noble phantasm will activate it on a rank-down if they are in the wrong class, however. Additionally, any noble phantasm that requires a physical transformation will requirethe correct class, material body, and saint graph to invoke.
That’s it. I’ve ensured this was stable time and time again with every example I’ve shown.
Where readers are likely getting confused is why some act differently after receiving the memorial essence. This isn’t because they invoke any of the things above I said they don’t. Your answer is in a question. What else do memories come with? Emotions. The most vivid memories are driven by emotions, and that is what can influence the original servant present in Chaldea. Their perception and outlook can shift, but they will still be based off of the original’s disposition.
An outward attitude and perception can still be affected by the emotions contained within the memories. It has been shown that servants can have direct conflict with the memories received, but do come to accept them in some manner. After comparing them with their own, they can then choose in what manner they interpret it. It all boils down to how willing the original is to let these memorial essences influence their outlook, but a direct and sweeping overhaul does not happen.
I will now go over in detail the various examples of memorial essences.
EMIYA: This is a clear example of its use, but I can see where some may have drawn the wrong conclusion. The distinct personality differences between EMIYA and Shirou are there, but the written lines are specific. He has gotten used to these memories from Fate Route Shirou and has even accepted them. They’re so close to how he was, that only a bit of time was needed. The new emotions influenced his feelings towards Arturia, making the relationship possible again.
Vlad III: Likely the biggest culprit for confusion. Berserker and Lancer Vlad (Apoc) do act very differently canonically. While the berserker version is more impulsive due to being influenced directly by the legend of Dracula, his lancer side opposes it. By granting the berserker the memories of his lancer counterpart, he was given all the negative emotions against being a vampire. Those harsh beliefs alone would do much to stabilize him.
But why hasn’t he tried for the class shift like Lancelot? That will be revealed in his fragment when the time comes.
Lancelot: This one was very clear, yet also convoluted. His Mad Enhancement was released, allowing him to act like the remorseful yet determined knight seeking redemption. He found all of it in Their Guiding Light, and even gained a daughter. This led him to be the first servant in Chaldea to undergo the class change. Long after, Mata Hari stated in Ishtar’s Fragment, “He has become flirtier with his class change.”
The Class change is what influences a personality slightly because it directly changes the saint graph. The saint graph is the determining core and parameters of the servant, so by manipulating that, the chances of shifting the personality directly are higher. Simply getting a memorial essence of the same or different class (that grants a different noble phantasm) can not shift it alone: The saint graph itself needs to be directly adjusted.
The Child Servants (Fragments 27, 28, 29): Remember what Gilgamesh’s youth potion did? Besides revert the king back to his childlike self, it shifts the personality to that time as well. That explains the shift in personality for everyone. This is not a memorial essence example, though it did allow Arturia to actually feel like her happier, younger self (which she did get in TGL).
Kiritsugu and Irisiviel: Through them, I was able to show a willingness to change how they act based on the very different emotions they feel. Their memorial essences granted them the same thing the FGO variants never felt before: genuine love for a significant other and child. Love is a powerful as hell emotion, which cannot be denied. It leads people to do very different things. It led both of them, who had never even met before, to become a couple based on the emotions in their counterparts’ cherished memories. A stark personality change, yes, but how long did it take Kiritsugu and Irisviel to accept them? It wasn’t instant, and it was after much internal conflict, debate, and deliberation.
Altera: She seemed a lot happier around Nero after her memorial essence, but knowing what you do now, could you blame her? The normally stoic and warrior-driven hero just received her memories from Fate/Extella True Path. It is assumed she was greatly loved and appreciated by Nero, as shown in her original fragment. With these memories in full clarity, of course she’s going to be absolutely ecstatic that her adoptive sister never turned her back on her.
This might have been confused as a personality change, but it wasn’t. It was an overall mood disposition shift. The personality adaptation came with her time and experiences in Chaldea.
Arturia: This is where I put the nail in the coffin. She received her Lily essence at the end of Their Guiding Light. This had absolutely no outward influence on her in such a short period of time (hours) after receiving it. Even if Lily is overly chipper, they’re just fond memories for Arturia. While not as conclusive as the next point, they showcased that it’s just a bundle of memories with emotions (plus noble phantasm in this case).
As shown in Redemption from Sin, she has received the memorial essence for Arturia Lancer. However, her personality remained the same after the events of Their Guiding Light and the fragments. There is no discernible personality change or issue. She has simply come to accept the memories, and the newfound weapon’s power.
Speaking of which, it also displayed the issues of using a different noble phantasm in the wrong class: The unleashed attack suffers a rank down. This is just to ensure that “changing a class” does actually have certain benefits. It’s also to prevent someone like Arturia from just getting all these noble phantasms and throwing them around like it’s nothing. That brings us to the final, concerning member of memorial essences.
Gilgamesh: He’s received the lost memories of him as a child. During Iskandar’s fragment, he’s more agitated than usual. There’s no clear personality change in the king anywhere. It can be argued that the king’s disposition is immoveable due to how self-aware he is, but then Redemption from Sin happens.
Suddenly he’s a touch more attentive and lenient at the behest of his memorial essence, but that’s not the whole truth. Do not forget, Gilgamesh has gone through a lot of bullshit (from his POV) upon arriving in Babylonia. His friend tried to kill him, his counterpart is disappointed in him, and his citizens are scared as hell. All of these are making an impact on him and opening the window. Combined with the memories of his childhood, which show the exact opposite, he’s going to be more curious and open, even if only a touch. Never forget the conditions and influences of a setting.
There’s a few other minor ones like Elizabeth, but I think it’s all self explanatory at this point.
That aside, you can now see the circumstances and specifics of the memorial essences, meaning these next two questions have been answered:
I’m certain you can determine the answers to these now that I laid everything out next to each other.
Upon receiving a memorial essence from either Rin or Ishtar, only her mood, outlook, and possible list of friends/enemies will change. Upon her summoning and merging with Rin, Ishtar’s dominant personality had already been solidified with the saint graph as stated in Babylonia canon; There is no “granting control” if the identity has been combined permanently. I’ve been over this before, but FGO’s depiction of Ishtar was the exact opposite of the pseudo-combination of Waver/Zhuge Liang. Only Rin’s subtle quirks and influences on the goddess’ personality will appear. The class change makes it a possibility, but that’s if Ishtar decided to go through with it.
As for Saber Alter, this is fairly obvious as well. She’s far too close to Arturia to manifest as her own servant if she was summoned to Chaldea. If she did arrive as a memorial essence, there would be no full personality shift or split. This isn’t like Gilles De Rais, who has that duality issue to begin with. Him receiving a memorial essence would only further agitate and bolster the voices due to the memories. Arturia would just be frustrated with dealing with rather disconcerting memories.
Sorry to say, Saber Alter’s fans, but her chances of actually being summoned in fragments are slim, but do not forget there are supplements and minor singularities. There’s always the possibility to make something happen and I catch everyone off guard in some way. I shall leave the random speculation to you, but don’t come looking for answers. You just have to be patient, because I didexpress the intention to have every servant featured in some manner.