Wait, are you kidding me? When I saw Emmeryn pop up, it made me question if people were playing the same Fire Emblem Awakening that I did. Because most of these reasons were completely ignoring the actual facts of the story. For this reason, I’ll be defending the Exalt. And because of spoilers (and length), it’ll be under a read more tag.
I assume people call her helpless because she’s a non-combatant. But the game explains very early on why this is; her father, the previous Exalt, was a power-hungry war monger. His war and aggression not only devastated the neighboring country of Plegia, whom he invaded, but also the people of his own kingdom of Ylisse. For this reason, when he died, even the people of Ylisse were filled with contempt and hatred for their own royalty.
That is the reason why Emmeryn became a pacifist, and tried to rule through peace and diplomacy rather than force. She knew that in order to heal the scars left by her father, she had to be his opposite; an envoy of peace rather than a bringer of war. That is the very reason why she tried to avoid war with Plegia to the very end, even when Plegia’s King Gangrel made obvious attempts to try and spark a war; she knew that if she were to turn to war and fighting, it would just be a repeat of what her father did. So yes, she avoided fighting at all costs, but only to avoid repeating the mistakes of her father; mistakes which hurt everyone involved.
"purposely puts herself into danger"
Again, this is an example of Emmeryn trying to differentiate herself from her father who ruled before her. During his wars, her father put his own interests above that of his people; he became unpopular because he pushed his citizens and his shoulders well beyond their limits to achieve his goals. As a result, his own people suffered greatly, and hated him for it.
Emmeryn, on the other hand, always tried to think of her people first. She did try to avoid danger at first, by fleeing the capital to go to a safer location until the war ended. However, when she heard that Plegian forces had invaded the Capital regardless, she realized that Plegia would stop at nothing to find her, and she did not wish to sacrifice her people for her own sake. As a result, she opted to return to the Capital in one last attempt at diplomacy, even though she was warned it would likely lead to her capture.
So yes, she does put herself in danger. However, she does it in order to remove her citizens from danger; once they had captured Emmeryn, Plegia retreated back to their own country, and stopped pressing the attack on Ylissean towns, thus sparing the citizens.That seems rather noble for a ruler, rather than a cause for hate.
"kills herself for no reason"
Okay, were people not paying attention when this happened? There was definitely a reason for this.
Emmeryn was standing on the cliff to be executed, after the Risen Archers that Aversa summoned had killed Philia and her pegasus knight squadron that was to rescue Emmeryn. At that point, Chrom is given a choice; give up the Fire Emblem to Gangrel, or watch as Emmeryn is killed. Emmeryn knew that giving the Fire Emblem to Gangrel would have disastrous results, but she also knew that there was no way Chrom would ever sacrifice her. Plus, in all likelihood, even if Chrom had given up the Fire Emblem to save Emmeryn, they likely would have killed her anyway.
She chose to sacrifice herself by taking her own life, knowing it was the only way to keep the Fire Emblem out of Gangrel’s hands. However, doing so also had an unforeseen second attempt. Many of the people of Plegia still had feelings of hostility towards Ylisse and Emmeryn due to the actions of her father. When she sacrificed herself, however, due to choosing to end her own life rather than continue the fighting, it led many of Plegia’s own soldiers to see her as a martyr, and question the purpose of the war their king had forced. They began to lose morale, as they felt they had become the aggressors, rather than having a just cause. Of course, the revenge-hungry Gangrel chose to try and stomp this out by force, which further decreased morale, to the point where most of his soldiers abandoned him. This ultimately leads to Gangrel’s defeat at Chrom’s hands.
Emmeryn is not your typical ruler. She is very much a pacifist, and chooses to put her people before herself. Doing so does not make her worthy of hate, though; it simply makes her a benevolent ruler. Do not bash the character; all of the ‘reasons’ for hating her are easily explained if one pays attention to the story.