Video Games: Would the ‘Dragon Age: Inquisition’ Love Interests be Good Partners? (Pt.1)

Screenshot of an Inquisitor and Blackwall from the ‘Trespasser’ DLC in ‘Dragon Age: Inquisition’. Copyright goes to BioWare.

Hey! Hallie here!

The ‘Dragon Age’ fandom has recently been deep in an argument surrounding the best romance options in ‘Dragon Age: Inquisition’. Many of the romance options in this game are proving themselves very controversial, with arguments either expressing complete hatred for a character or undying loyalty towards them. As I’ve gotten some distance from my initial obsession with this game, I’ve realized I have a few strong opinions of my own. And not all of them are positive. Before I get into this post though, this is your warning that these are all my personal opinions. I don’t take these types of conversations very seriously because, really, it’s just a bunch of people expressing their love for the same game. And there definitely isn’t any reason to get up in arms about which characters people like vs which ones they don’t. In any case, let’s go through all of the romance options from ‘Inquisition’ and figure out which ones I think would be great in a relationship, and which ones I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole!

Cassandra: Cassandra is one of those characters that most people either love or hate. She’s logical and reasonable, with the capability of keeping a surprisingly clear head compared to the other companions in the game. But she can throw out insults off-handedly, and especially if you’re a Varric fan, that can 100% rub you the wrong way. While Cassandra can be easy to disagree with, her strong-willed nature is admirable. And though she might be at odds with you, she’s always respectful of the Inquisitor’s decisions. She’s also kind of adorable. She’s a complete romantic who loves poetry, trashy romance novels, and cheesy declarations of love, but also becomes awkward in romantic situations. Overall, Cassandra can come across as occasionally cold and very stubborn, but I don’t think that affects her ability to be a good partner. I think Cassandra’s the type of partner who might accidentally start a few arguments, but she’d be quick to try to find a solution to them. I also think Cassandra would respect the thoughts of her partner regardless of whether or not they were at odds. Plus, sometimes it’s just nice to date someone who’s more than willing to keep romance alive in the relationship.

Dorian: Yes, he would be a good partner. Is this even a question? Dorian is the best character in the entire game! Getting past my bias here, let’s actually look into what makes Dorian so great. For one, he’s really open-minded and never judges you harshly for anything you do unless it’s outright cruel. He’s both hilarious and supportive, delivering some of the most sarcastic lines in the game as well as some of the most heartwarming. He’s privileged, but he spends the game actively trying to learn from those around him and better himself. He’s traumatized because of the way his sexuality was treated by his father and by Tevinter in general, but he makes a point of working through his trauma during his romance route. As a romantic partner Dorian will always remain very snarky, but also very attentive. He’d be constantly aware not just of his partner’s thoughts and feelings, but his own. He comes across as the kind of guy who would set healthy boundaries and come up with healthy ways of resolving conflict because of his past trauma. And I’d be willing to say he’d be one of the most supportive partners on this entire list. Dorian’s just a really kind and intuitive partner in the game, which can only lead to good things.

Blackwall: Blackwall is a really nice guy. He has a very clear and commendable sense of right and wrong, and he’s very devoted to the Inquisitor regardless of whether or not you romance him. But Blackwall definitely has his issues. Despite the fact that he’s the one pretending to be something he’s not, he’s suspicious of everyone to the point of rudeness. He’s also so stubbornly ticked off by anyone of a higher class than him, that he will pick fights over small issues. Dorian once refers to him as brutish and it’s accurate. Blackwall can barrel into arguments without thought and without any even attempted politeness. But, much like Cassandra, I don’t think that makes him a bad potential partner. It’s harder to decide what kind of partner Blackwall would be considering he spends most of the romance speaking cryptically in order to keep his secret from you, but he does grow past this stage in the game. I think a relationship with Blackwall would take work. It would be hard to get him to confide in his partner, especially at first, and he is definitely the type who would say something accidentally insensitive. But I think his caring nature and loyalty would ultimately make him a sweet and gentle partner with more awareness of his occasional insensitive tendencies.

Sera: No. Not in a million years. Let’s put aside the fact that Sera would be the type of partner who would pull the kind of mean pranks that get criticized on the internet. Sera has so many unresolved issues that she’d need to deal with before entering a relationship. One is her internalized racism, which would make her an absolutely awful partner to any elf. The way she treats elvish Inquisitors who talk about their heritage is deplorable. The way she treats Solas when he wants to talk about his heritage is deplorable. She has a strict bias against being “elfy” and any elf who portrays those qualities immediately gets written off as stupid and pretentious. Moving on, Sera has no sense of boundaries. She’s constantly prying for personal information and acts neglected when you don’t play into her prying questions. A lot of this behavior is clearly because of past trauma, but she doesn’t work through most of it in the game. She’s majorly insecure and clearly not ready for another person in her life.

Iron Bull: This one feels like an obvious yes but actually…maybe not. Iron Bull is another sweetheart who demonstrates loyalty similar to Blackwall’s. Unlike Blackwall though, Iron Bull views the Inquisitor as his employer and doesn’t even approach a romantic relationship with the Inquisitor as a full relationship. Bull first thinks that an Inquisitor who chooses to romance him is just interested in sex and he’s all business when you’re setting up a relationship with him. All of this seems to imply that, if we’re talking about an Inquisitor as his partner, the power dynamic between them is immediately questionable. If we put aside the whole employer/employee thing, Bull is even more attentive than Dorian. But he’s also not great at setting boundaries. When he romances Dorian he talks about their intimate moments to others even when Dorian asks him to stop, and he doesn’t even lock his door when he and the Inquisitor are having an intimate moment. While Iron Bull at first seems like he’d be a good partner, I think he’s too used to having relationships where sex and the conversations about sex are the only important things to consider. Until he gets over that, I’d say he wouldn’t be a great partner.

I’m going to stop this post here. I’m unfortunately running out of time tonight but I definitely have plans for the second part to this post, including a surprise character who isn’t technically a love interest but who I want to talk about regardless. ‘Dragon Age: Inquisition’ has some of the most diverse and well developed romance options of any game I’ve ever seen. I think it’s worth praising for that alone. But just like any game, the romances might not be for you. We’re all going to have different opinions on the romances based on personal preference. But in the end, I think all of us love this game and these characters too much not to respect the fans who adore the romances we might not like as much. My next post will probably be about episode one of ‘The Last of Us’, so look out for that before I start on part two of this one. ‘The Last of Us’ is one of my most anticipated shows of the year and I’m dying to see how good it is!

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

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