Welcome to “Your Bioware Crushes & Squishes,” where I report on the FemHype crew’s favorite Bioware romances and friendships! Both the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series are near and dear to many of our hearts, so I thought I’d throw a virtual sleepover of sorts where we talk about our ~tru luvs~ and brush each other’s hair. Romance not your cup of tea? No worries! We’re gonna talk about our best buds, too, since friendships are just as valid. After discussing heavy theory and social issues, sometimes it’s nice to just kick back, relax, and cry about video game characters.
You might have seen the poll that Jillian and Paige were spreading around on FemHype’s social media accounts where you, dear reader, were asked to spill the beans about your favorite Dragon Age characters to smooch and befriend. One hundred and fifty of you (myself included) chimed in. After crunching some numbers, I put together the definitive rankings for FemHype’s favorite Thedasian romances and friendships. Respondents were able to choose more than one option, so the percentages listed will not add up to 100.
In this first installment, we’re going to focus on the romance side of things. Cheers!
17. Sebastian Vael
Despite his skills in archery, I guess Sebastian just didn’t have any of Cupid’s arrows in his quiver, since he landed the bottom spot of the ranking with only 4.0% of readers preferring his romance. It may have to do with the fact that you have to pay $7.00 USD for him to even exist in your game, but who knows? At least he’s got Andraste on his side.
I’m not gonna lie—while playing Dragon Age: Inquisition, I had some moments where I would think that I had finished talking to all of my companions, only to stumble into Blackwall, who I had completely forgotten about. He’s just a straightforward man who likes wood carving and doing good, which certainly isn’t a bad thing, but other characters overshadowed him enough to garner him the next to last spot at 10.7%.
Taking fifteenth place at 13.3%, our favorite Witch of the Wilds just couldn’t charm her way into most of our hearts. This might be because she can be only romanced by characters who are men, and most of our community has a marginalized gender identity of some sort. I think she’d rather be off doing cool magic stuff anyway, so no big.
Sera was never quite an agreeable girl—so she snagged 13th/14th place at 16.7%. Thanks to her portrayal in fandom, I’ve come to like her, but some fans like Jillian aren’t so happy with her character, and I can’t say I blame them. Your mileage may vary, but at least bees are eternal.
Lady Nightingale, Left Hand of the Divine, and nug cuddler Leliana’s romance just didn’t resonate with many FemHype fans, tying Sera for 13th/14th place at 16.7%. I have an inkling that we just aren’t big on dating super faithful Andrastians, since our old friend Seb didn’t fare too well himself. Two readers mentioned that they really like their friendship with her, just not romancing her, so that could be it, too.
Personally, I’m a fan of Anders. I really relate to the fact that he loves cats and social justice. But boy, is he a shit-stirrer. Sometimes, that’s gotta happen to make actual change in the world, and his heart is certainly in the right place, but I guess his tendency to flex his debate skills about mage rights turned some fans off, netting him 12th place at 18.0%.
In my opinion, Merrill is an interesting character because, like many of her fellow members of the Dragon Age II cast, she has her faults laid out to bare from the beginning, and we have to pass judgement on her while keeping those faults in mind. While I think a lot of members of the community really like Merrill and becoming her friend in the game, her lack of experience likely caused them to opt for her older castmates as a romance option, so she got 11th place in the list at 20.0%.
9/10. Cassandra Pentaghast
I can hear the lady loving ladies making disgusted noises from miles away. Why did Bioware have to make Cassie straight? Bioware basically slapped a big “no homo” sticker on her forehead when writing her character, but even though she’s only romanceable by characters who are men, our community picked her to take the 9th/10th spot at 24.7% with an unlikely partner …
9/10. The Iron Bull
I would write something here about what I like about Bull, who also got 9th/10th place and 24.7% of responses, but I can’t help but laugh at the fact that he’s sharing a spot with Cassandra. Right now, I’m imagining them chilling out on the 9th/10th place couch together. While Bull takes up about ¾ of the couch, he’s asking Cassie all about her family’s history of dragon slaying, making terrible puns the entire time and, of course, Cassie’s just sitting there all squished making disgusted noises.
8. Josephine Montilyet
At the end of September, Rem interviewed Josephine’s voice actress, Allegra Clark, about her performance as Josie and general geekery. In that interview, Allegra mentioned that she actually romanced her character in one of her own playthroughs. Apparently, even Josephine wants to kiss Josephine, so she obtained 8th place in our hearts, getting 28.7% of our votes.
If you ask me, I think Solas did pretty eggcellently—garnering 29.3% of votes and 7th place. While the ending of his romance didn’t exactly turn sunny side-up, he has a dedicated fanbase who thinks he’s so hot you can fry an omelette on his shiny bald head. You can find his Twitter page right here if you consider yourself among their ranks.
6. Dorian Pavus
Like Sera, Dorian’s a bit of a controversial character. Some fans think his personal quest is very relatable and touching, and others think that it’s too cliché. There’s also the important issue of whether his moustache is tacky or incredibly stylish. (If you ask me, he’s kind of scary looking without it.) Pro-moustache or not, we all agreed that he belongs in 6th place at 32.7% of votes.
There’s a third and final tie in our ranking, and its first half likes big boats and she cannot lie. Isabela takes the 4th/5th spot on our list of Dragon Age crushes at 40.0%, along with all of our money, special edition Pokémon cards, and cheap ale. Huh, she didn’t even bother to steal any pants …
4/5. Zevran Arainai
Fittingly enough, Zevran shares the 4th/5th spot in the poll at 40.0%, and he didn’t even have to assassinate anyone to get it. I was wondering why it smells like Antivan leather in here.
3. Cullen Rutherford
Cullen reigns supreme as the highest ranked ascended extra on the list, riding into battle at 3rd place with 40.7% of FemHypers’ affection. His story in Inquisition is one of redemption, where he leaves behind his mistakes, his lyrium addiction, and his ramen noodle hair.
I’m going to get my heart ripped out for writing this, but I don’t care. Fenris came into my house and kept throwing wine bottles on the floor until I gave him second place in the ranking at 46.7%. (It’s an oddly specific percentage, but I wasn’t going to risk asking questions.) My Cabernet Sauvignon is all over the floor, and I’m never getting the stains out. So much for ethics in video game journalism.
It’s time to announce the winner of the survey and crown them as the ruler of our feelings. Can I get a drum roll, please?
1. Alistair Theirin
Holy shit, folks, you sure do think swooping is bad. Alistair demolished the poll with 60.7% of FemHype crew members choosing him as a preferred romance option. If you scroll up a bit, that’s exactly 14% more votes than Fenris, who got second place, and according to the numbers, most of the other characters only have a few percentage points of difference between them and the next character in the hierarchy.
If you ask me, I think it’s because his romance—much like the Robin/Chrom romance in Fire Emblem: Awakening—puts the both of you in a place where you’re two partners working together to save the world. It just adds so much more weight to the last few hours of the game to know that one of you might not make it and how much you have to sacrifice to even allow the possibility that you’ll stay together in the end. Plus, he likes memes. All hail the meme king! Long may he live in our hearts!
What were my top picks, you ask? When I entered my results, I picked one person from each game—Alistair, Merrill, and Josephine. What can I say? I’m a sucker for pure cinnamon rolls.
Anyway, while we mingle at Alistair’s coronation as the meme king and have heart to heart conversations with the companions we’ve traveled with on a long journey to save the world, feel free to stop by the comments section and tell me about your thoughts on the results. In the meantime, I’m going to go grab some cheese and crackers before some loser named The Hero of Ferelden hogs them all. See you in the next installment!