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At the end of Brotherhood, Edward sacrifices his gate in order to bring back Al with his body. While doing so, the Truth being associated with Ed's gate tells him:

You've defeated me. Take everything you want!

So why didn't Ed get his leg back, when he can get everything if he sacrifices his gate?

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  • Note that it can't be that Edward can have literally "everything" if he sacrifices his gate: for instance, it would be extremely for him to be able to have his mother back through this means. – Maroon Dec 19 '16 at 5:22
  • ya but at the least he can get his leg back – Bej Dec 19 '16 at 5:27
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    Arcane's answer already covers what I think is the core issue, but I'll also note that in the Cantonese dub of the same episode, Truth appears to say something more along the lines of "Take what you came to retrieve, then [now that you've defeated me]!" rather than "Take everything you want!" – Maroon Dec 19 '16 at 5:40
  • @Maroon Nice bringing that up. Cantonese got it right since he only went to Truth, i.e. do Human Transmutation again to get Al back. – Arcane Dec 19 '16 at 8:29
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This is probably difference in translation. In the manga it is made pretty clear. The entire conversation is about Al only. Look at the following transmutations and the sacrifices. Ed sacrificed his leg and Al his body for their Mother. Ed sacrificed his hand for Al's soul. Al gave his soul for Ed's hand. Ed gives up his transmutation gate for Al's body and soul.

I don't remember the entire conversation in the Anime, but in the Manga, Following conversation takes place. Ref: Chapter 108 of the Manga

The Truth: Come for your brother, Eh? But how do you plan to extract an enitre human being? How will you pay? Will you offer YOUR entire being?
Ed: I've got your payment right here. It's really big though. [..]
The Truth: That's the right answer Alchemist. You've beaten the truth. Claim your prize. All of it.

Thus to me it seemed that the bargain was Al's entire being. All of it.

Now, you could always argue that the exchange wasn't "equivalent" and Ed should have asked for his leg back as well. We could talk about this all day! But just touching on the very surface, its about the main themes of FMA. Personal Responsibility and Sacrifice. Both Ed and Al are ready to sacrifice everything for each other. But Ed wouldn't use a philospher Stone or even Hohenheim himself to bring Al's body or his limbs back. This has been reiterated several times. In the end Ed is satisfied with what he can get and be normal, because he still has his friends.

Edit: @Maroon also highlights the difference in translation, by mentioning the Cantonese dub. This further supports the differences in translation.

I'll also note that in the Cantonese dub of the same episode, Truth appears to say something more along the lines of "Take what you came to retrieve, then [now that you've defeated me]!" rather than "Take everything you want!"

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    would like to add that the refusal to use a Philospher Stone or Hohenheim was because of the lives that were sacrifices for both and both Elrics wanted to gain back what they lost but not at the cost of another's life – Memor-X Dec 19 '16 at 5:33
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    @Arcane in the anime too, they start by saying that Ed has come for Al but, since the truth said "take everything " i got this doubt. Thanks for clearing it out. – Bej Dec 19 '16 at 8:57
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In the English dubbed FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood on Netflix Part 5 Episode 11. The conversation between Ed and The Truth goes like this...

(After hearing the voices of all his friends)

Ed: Who even needs alchemy? When I’ve got them.
The Truth: (Smiles) You’ve done it. That’s the right answer.
Ed: (Claps his hands)
The Truth: Good Job. You beat me.
Ed: (Turns around and touches the door to the Portal of Truth)
The Truth: (Stands up) Go ahead. Take him home.
Ed: (Transmutes his Portal of Truth)
The Truth: (As he disappears with the door) The back door is right over there. (Points behind him to Alphonse) Goodbye Edward Elric.

It’s quite clear throughout the entire conversation (including dialogue not mentioned above) that they are only talking about Alphonse. And if you look at all the transmutations and sacrifices made by Ed and Al in the show, by the end it’s an "equivalent exchange".

In the beginning:

To get their mother - Ed lost his leg and Al lost his body.

To get Al’s soul - Ed lost his arm.

In the end:

Al lost his soul - To get Ed’s arm.

Ed lost his alchemy (Portal of Truth) - To get Al's body and Al's soul.

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It's because of the Equivalent Exchange:

  1. Ed exchanged his arm for Al.
  2. Al then exchanged his soul for Ed's arm.
  3. Ed then exchanged his ability for alchemy to get Al back.

That completed the Equivalent Exchange between the brothers.

The price Ed paid for the human transmutation of their mother was his leg. That was a different matter all together.

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