I think another reason Edelgard is a contentious character is how impersonal her train of thought is. Dmitri is the polar opposite where his motives are purely personal and he has to learn to factor non-personal motives into his decision making, Claude's motives of making Fodlan a more open an accepting society stem from prejudice he faces, and Edelgard's goal of removing the Church and Crests has very little to do with what the Agarthans did to her.
This difference also extends to how they treat their allies when facing them in combat. She's the only house leader to not visibly mourn the deaths of her comrads. And those differences extends to her enemies. Dmitri shows little respect for his foes, Claude rarely mentions anything about them, while Edelgard makes a point to say that she sees them as lost potential rather than evil.
Edelgard just interacts with the world on an impersonal level, and it's hard for her to express emotion, and the relatively lack of personal reactions from Edelgard caused by her inability to feel on a moment to moment basis can definitely turn people off and make them assume she doesn't care.
The reason Edelgard can't feel emotions properly is because of the trauma she endured from TWSITD. Multiple lines of dialogue state that she the experience fundamentally changed her, specifically "The Edelgard who cried died a long time ago" and "The girl you knew died a long time ago." The death imagery in both of those statements is extremely interesting, especially considering how poor her memory from before the experiments are. Like a part of her quite literally died. But that's more speculation than canon fact.
It's more in Edelgard's supports that her inability to feel her own emotions is apparent. In her C support with Byleth, she talks about the death of her siblings and her being experimented on, but an interesting part of that support is how little the event looks like it bothers her, especially compared to Dmitri with the Tragedy of Duscur. It's not that she isn't traumatized by the event; she was just having nightmares about it and it caused her significant memory loss. But she can't feel that pain in that moment. In Bernadetta's B support, Edelgard tries to get her to talk to her without having a panic attack from the experience. She's able to be annoyed, but she doesn't seem to feel remorse for scaring her (like Hubert does) or concern for Bernie, she's just focused on trying to find a solution to the communication problem. Her relation with everyone else is more or less the same. Even with Hubert, she's concerned for him, but sees that concern as something to fix more than anything else. She fails to communicate that she values Ferdinand as a close friend until one of their late supports. None of this is out of malice or self-centeredness, she just can't feel these emotions or form intimate connections because of it.
And that contributes to why Edelgard is a big-picture thinker. It's really interesting how Edelgard chooses to work with the Agarthans to deal with the Church before taking them on, because Edelgard doesn't see her personal desires as important. This can also be seen when she turns herself into the Hegemon beast. It's ok to do potentially permanent damage to herself because her needs aren't as important as her ideals. At least, to her.
And this clashes in an interesting way with how personal the story of Three Houses is. You're literally pinning loved ones against each other. Three Houses is a game where everyone is personally motivated by something and that determines their actions, everyone except Edelgard.
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It was seeing a bridge getting burnt,
Falling into the ravine nary a grunt,
An emotionless facade a front,
The pain was sharp as it was blunt.
Grim as a fucking grave,
Emotions destroying everything in a wave,
Emptied, dried and nothing more to pave,
Wrung and dry with nothing more to save.
©Bea Marie Luther
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