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.
Today, we’re wrapping up the Dragon Age half of the series with the third installment where we explore your responses to the poll’s open-ended questions. Cheers!
The first optional open-ended question in the poll asked which characters FemHype readers wish that they could have romanced in the Dragon Age series, including characters who are only romanceable for certain types of characters. Here are the characters holding the top ten spots, ranked from most to least mentions:
- Varric Tethras—45 mentions
- Cassandra Pentaghast—28 mentions
- Cremisius “Krem” Aclassi—16 mentions
- Scout Lace Harding—15 mentions
- Morrigan—14 mentions
- Aveline Vallen—11 mentions
- Vivienne de Fer and Sten—9 mentions
- Solas and Bann Teagan Guerrin—6 mentions
- Cullen Rutherford—5 mentions
- Cole—4 mentions
This installment is all about your comments, not mine, so I’ll just say that I’m not too surprised by these results, considering your burning desire for many of these characters displayed in the past rankings! We wrapped up the poll with another open-ended, optional question that prompted you to provide any additional comments and questions, and you sure had a lot to say.
One reader feels disappointed by the lack of decent black representation in Bioware games, especially when it comes to romanceable options:
Like seriously. It’s telling to me, a black man, that BioWare dropped the ball and went out of the way to engineer reasons for Vivienne to not be romanceable, they delayed the game to give Cullen a romantic subplot with the inquisitor. It was telling when Dorian, who I wanted to like because I’m pansexual and it’s nice to see brown characters who aren’t straight, spout the [silliest], whitest, musings on slavery I’ve ever seen in a game. It was like seeing Gater [David Gaider?] pull the puppet strings in the background. When they destroyed a romanced Jacob Taylor’s character in Mass Effect 3? I wrote the series off as a waste. I don’t have time for that anymore.
My standards are too high to accept “respectfully treating black characters as humans” as some kind of socially progressive step forward in video games. It makes me wary of ever purchasing any of their games ever again, especially if the people writing these character, making these mistakes, and feeding the racist fandom continues to be a rotating list of white people. At one point I was ride or die for Bioware, but now I know better. At least there’s segments of the fandom to go to, because canon is awful.
I’m glad you found other fans who resonate with you, friend, but it really doesn’t make up for a lack of proper representation, so I can totally understand why you’re weary of Bioware’s games now.
Two readers found Varric’s relationship with Bianca Davri toxic and abusive:
But seriously, Varric is one of the best written characters in the whole Dragon Age series, and he obviously has a significant emotional bond to Hawke, so it made no sense that you couldn’t romance him. Then, you get to Inquisition and he’s still perfect and still unromanceable, and now that he’s Viscount of Kirkwall, there’s basically zero chance that he’ll ever be romanceable.
And about Bianca. I have no problems with Bianca (the dwarf not the crossbow) as a character apart from her romance with Varric. She’s fascinating. A surfacer dwarf so brilliant and inventive some people want to make her a paragon? Super dope. However, her and Varric’s shoehorned romance is terrible all around. She has the balls to feel possessive and protective about Varric to the Inquisitor after she dropped them in hot shit after leaking the location of the Thaig. They can never be together, they rarely see each other and it’s mostly just drama when they do. Their relationship is toxic and terrible and Varric deserves better than that. He deserves someone who can be with him and take care of him as much as he tries to take care of the people he cares about. /endrant
One thing that bothered me is that Dragon Age: Inquisition did not even seem to acknowledge that Bianca was emotionally abusive and manipulative to Varric. It made that part of the game really uncomfortable for me.
Yeah, that quest in Dragon Age: Inquisition was a shitshow. At least we can all agree that Varric’s relationship with Bianca the crossbow is pretty healthy.
Four readers, whose responses I coded as “Dwarven Lament,” are really fucking upset that they can’t kiss a dwarf:
I just want to romance a dwarf dammit!
JUST GIVE US A CUTE DWARF PLEASE.
…Where the fook are my dwarf romances?
Dwarves are great, okay? (sob)
Me, too. I personally wish Dagna could have been romanceable. I was happy as a clam when I realized that the dwarf I helped in Dragon Age: Origins had come so far in life!
Two lady-loving members of the FemHype crew found the woman/woman romances in the Dragon Age games lacking:
Lesbian thirst is real ya’ll, stop making such lovely women het only!
I really wish the lesbian romances were better.
Cosigned on both fronts! Bioware has had tons of experience with implementing same-gender romance options in their games, so you’d think they’d know by now how to handle this sort of thing.
A good chunk of you had thoughts to share about the poll design:
I also really like befriending Leliana and Morrigan, just not romancing them.
The survey is sadly limited since some of my favorite friendships are amongst the romance options. (Leliana, Zevran, Merrill, Fenris, Cassandra, and Josephine all come to mind.)
I was hoping the romance options can be added as friends too. For example, I really liked befriending Morrigan as Fem!Warden.
Some of the companions that I enjoy befriending the most are only listed here under the romance question. Why is that?
Zevran and Dorian are actually my favorite characters to befriend, but not romance …
While she isn’t a favourite romance, Cassandra is a favourite friend.
HOW AM I ONLY SUPPOSED TO CHOOSE ONE OF THE ABOVE IT WAS SO HARD TO RESTRICT THEM ALL TO LIKE 5 lol. thanks for not forcing one choice!
Thank you for letting me know what you think about the poll’s design! I’ll send all of these answers to Dagna here from our Research Magic Division. (We totally have one of those to do our math, by the way, as opposed to just me, equipped only with Google Sheets and my fingers and toes.)
In all seriousness, I did not include romanceable characters in the friendship ranking because I was worried that the characters who scored high on the romance ranking would also score high on the friendship ranking. I’ll definitely have a good long think about how I can finagle the question phrasing and answer format to ensure we have the best of both worlds in the next poll! At least having the ability to choose multiple characters seems to be a good decision.
Speaking of the next poll, this wraps up the Dragon Age half of “Your Bioware Crushes and Squishes,” meaning that the Mass Effect poll is the next step! I am currently doing intense research on the series (by which I mean playing the games over again), so it probably won’t be until after Satinalia that you’ll see it on FemHype’s social media. Which, by the way, you should totally follow.
Anyway, I’m off to the FemHype undercroft to show that silly blacksmith Owen how to use formulas in spreadsheets. Feel free to drop a comment down below or tweet me @LongLiveMelKing—it’ll pop up on my beeper. Have a good Satinalia, kiddos!