Romance in Dragon Age: Inquisition is deserving of criticism


(Edit: Made some grammar edits… because no matter how many times I try to edit myself before I publish something, I always catch problems only after I’ve published it.)

One of the reasons I love BioWare games is that they include romance stories.  At first, in Knights of the Old Republic, it was a very lame side quest that took up little time, what you did in the game did not really effect the romance story and visa versa.  It was there to acknowledge your character and the other characters around you had sexual organs that were functioning properly.  In the Mass Effect games and the Dragon Age games, romance became more involved.  Who your character was and the choices that your character made effected who you could romance and how these romance stories played out.  The best example of this is when my human noble married Alistar and became queen of Ferelden.  While there is a lot to praise about Dragon Age: Inquisition in regards to its romance storylines, there is also a lot to be critical of.

First, I feel the need to point out WHY be critical of romance storylines in the first place.  Many people, like my father and brother, discredit romance stories because all too often they are exposed to the vast amounts of horribly written romance stories that are little better than literary porn.  Its easy to assume all romance novels are that kind of drivel.  I admit, there is a lot of drivel but its only because romance stories are probably the hardest kind of story to do WELL.  People who actually write good romance stories are few and far between.  The only author my mother and I regularly return to is Nora Roberts.  Up until a few years ago, Dad and Bear always gave my mother and I shit for religiously reading her books.  ‘Bodice Rippers’ they USED to call them.  That is, until Sir Terry Pratchett set them strait.

Sir Terry Pratchett came to Seattle, Washington several years ago on a book signing tour.  (For those of you who do not know Sir Terry Pratchett’s work… I’m sorry.  You are less of a person.)  My father went to get his copies of ‘Thud’ signed in order to give them to my Mom on Christmas.  When it was Dad’s turn to meet his idol, he asked Sir Terry Pratchett to sign the book ‘I’m better than Nora Roberts – Sir Terry Pratchett’

How did this great man reply to such a request?  ‘I’m sorry, I can’t do that.  I love Nora Roberts.’

Sir Terry Pratchett signed the copy of ‘Thud’ with ‘I’m as good as Nora Roberts – Sir Terry Pratchett’

My father and brother are too stubborn to admit they might have been wrong.  The prevailing culture discounting romance novels is so powerful that if they admitted they were wrong, somehow, apart of their masculinity might be lost.  My mother and I used to be teased whenever they saw us reading a Nora Roberts book.  He intended to add fuel to that fire but his plan backfired.  He gave US a weapon in this argument no one can beat.  Nobody beats Sir Terry Pratchett.

I admit, there are a lot of books Nora Roberts writes that are based on a formula.  She publishes these books on a regular basis, and while well written, once you read enough of them its hard to discern one story from the other.  While she publishes these formulaic books, she also works on the books she actually cares about.  THESE books, trilogies like the ‘Sign of Seven’ or ‘The Circle’ are fantastic works of fantasy fiction, deserving of far more praise than they receive.  If they were written by any other author, they would probably given a lot more credibility in the geek community.  Another one of my favorites is ‘Tribute.’  In this book, the primary male lead is a comic book artist and an active member in the geek community.  I find to be ‘Tribute’ particularly fascinating because Nora Roberts is not a geek, but like any passionate author she did a lot of research on the geek community.  When I was reading it, I felt like the character she created was apart of my world.   She did a fantastic job, and its very interesting to read about my community by someone who has carefully observed it, but is not actually apart of it.  It is true that these stories make romance a key part of their construction, but I don’t see this as a bad thing.  Romance stories are very entertaining when they are done well.

It is unfortunate that the worst romance storyline in Dragon Age: Inquisition was the one I played first.  Solas’s romance storyline is so poorly executed it reminds me of the ‘romance’ from the Knights of the Old Republic games.  Most games I play don’t include romance, so if the other romances were similar to Solas’s storyline then this conversation would be more along the lines of ‘what they could do better’ rather than ‘wtf were they smoking?’

Real romances in the real world have three different aspects: intimacy, commitment and physical attraction.  Usually to have a good romance story, you need at least two of these three aspects.  (Very rarely have I seen all three brought in, and its even more rare to find a romance story that brings all three aspects in and does a good job.  Props Sid and Izumi from Fullmetal Alchemist.)    Romance requires the writer to get the viewer emotionally invested in the relationship while keeping it entertaining and including at least two of the three aspects of a real life relationship.  From what I have seen thus far, Bioware did a fairly good job.  You eat cookies on the roof with Sera, you drink with Iron Bull after killing a dragon and you get Varric to write the next edition to the trashy romance novel for Cassandra.  You can play chess with Cullen and there is even a scene when you play poker with a group of your friends.  These scenes are crucial for any good story about relationships (romance or otherwise).  The player involves themselves with their lives, their trials, their failures, their worries and the shit they gotta deal with.  Your relationship changes with them based on the actions you take, which is a perfect way of adapting a romance/friendship story to a video game like this.  I particularly enjoyed Iron Bull’s story because it delves into bondage.  You begin your relationship with him by establishing a healthy master slave relationship.    You can keep this casual or you can push the issue and your relationship becomes far more serious.  Love blossoms, intimacy is semi established as you are both friends with him and intimately involved.  I would say the story is weakest in the intimacy department.  Eventually your relationship becomes very committed but in how a Qunari would define the relationship.  For a video game, its the best romance storyline I’ve experienced.

Anything you need to know about the Solas relationship story is expressed in the comic.  There is no other interaction with him aside from discussing a few stories about his journey into the fade.  That’s it.  Maybe it would have been acceptable in Knights of the Old Republic, but putting that ‘romance’ story next to other stories like Iron Bull’s?  They really thought they could get away with that and nobody would say ‘hey um… you guys realize this romance story sucks right?’

Why does it suck?  Well for starters, there is no sexual encounter.  While I could theoretically enjoy a romance story without a sexual component, it would have to be very well done in other areas in order to make up for it.  Lets face it, we are sexual creatures and sex is entertaining.  I’ve read many forums discussing Solas, and lots of people say ‘I don’t need a sexual component for Solas, just a little bit more content!’  I think this is horse shit.  I want to see Solas ass.  In order to remove the component of physical attraction from the story, you would have to include intimacy and commitment.  Commitment can’t be established because Solas must eventually leave the Inquisitor.  If there is any commitment to be had, then it has to come from the Inquisitor.  As the Inquisitor is a player character, you can’t rely on the Inquisitor to provide a key component to anything.  Choice means commitment may or may not be apart of the story.  That leaves you with Intimacy.  In order to properly establish intimacy, you need a lot of entertaining scenes where the characters are interacting, bonding and otherwise doing shit together.  Intimacy is about trust, respect and friendship; all of which Solas could never fully give to the Inquisitor without revealing his true nature.  Intimacy at its core, is the ability to talk to your partner without fear of judgement.  This requires trust, and trust can’t be formed by keeping secrets.  A form of suto intimacy can still be established but, I can’t think of an entertaining way to do it without the sexual component.  There is just too much commitment and intimacy missing to leave out sex and still have the story be entertaining.  Worthwhile? Maybe, but not entertaining.  Not compared to riding the Iron Bull.

Despite its challenges, there is a lot of potential left in the Solas romance.  There is a promise of more story involving him at the end of the Dragon Age: Inquisition primary storyline.  Bioware has also said they are going to continue to add content.

If I were them, this is how I would do it.  Solas is only interested in elven women and the only elves you can play are Dalish.  This offers a way to establish intimacy provided the Inquisitor is open and willing to learn from him.  They could spend more time in the fade together.  Solas could introduce her to his spirit friends, show her his favorite memories and become a teacher if the Inquisitor wants to learn more about her heritage.  This provides ways to bond, without revealing much about the man.  What keeps the inquisitor and Solas from having sex in the fade while dreaming?  Eventually the inquisitor could ask things like ‘why do we never have sex in real life?’ or ‘You show me so much but you never reveal anything about yourself?’  This could, and should, culminate in real life sex between the Inquisitor and Solas.  You could make it hard to achieve, only if Solas has a very high approval rating or if you said the right things in all the scenes with him up until that point.  This would offer the player a reward, offer choice (which is very important in a Bioware game) and it would give Solas a reason to say what he does in the final break up scene.  ‘I’ve been selfish’ means nothing when he and the Inquisitor have done nothing!  There was a theory that poised breaking up with the Inquisitor is also apart of his inherent nature as an Elven god, not to control the lives of mortals.  He could come to this conclusion naturally, realizing how much love the inquisitor has for him during a culminating sexual encounter in real life.  Nothing drives up entertainment in a romance storyline than drama, so lets create some real drama while we are at it.  Lets make him leave his friends in the fade too (He already did so with Cole), leaving the Inquisitor with new friends and all of them are feeling his empty presence.  Upping the stakes further, lets get the Inquisitor pregnant.  Why not?  Other Dragon Age male characters have had the opportunity to reproduce, so Bioware could kill two birds with one stone here.  Getting pregnant ups the drama (which ups the entertainment value) and it allows a female player character to reproduce for the first time in a Dragon Age game.  Enough time can pass between storylines where she can give birth, or you could have a pregnant character adventuring.  BioWare LOVES doing things that have never been done before.  This would be a perfect opportunity.

This is just my idea of how the romance storyline with Solas could go.  So many possibilities are not taken advantage of.  This romance plot line sticks out like a sore thumb compared to the other romance and friendship storylines with other characters.   Not only are other storylines more involved and entertaining, they introduce concepts and ideas that are controversial.  To name a few; Iron Bull introduces bondage and the idea someone can be attracted to anyone, Dorian is gay, Sera is a lesbian and Iron Bull’s second in command is a transgender male (born a female, but really a male).  You can’t introduce controversial and diverse stories with other characters and leave it out of another storyline in the same game.

I love the fact that they are adding romance storylines into video games.  After I play through these other romance storylines, I intend to criticize each storyline as compared to other good romance.  I hope that one day, Romance stories will be seen as important and entertaining aspects worthy of attention, praise and criticism.

12 thoughts on “Romance in Dragon Age: Inquisition is deserving of criticism

  1. Tell your father and brother that every story has romance in it. Romance changes the trajectory of the main character, who probably wouldn’t be in trouble without romance involved. There’s just a bit more… purple prose… involved with modern novels.

    Oh, and I’m going to get ” I want to see Solas ass.” printed on a bumper sticker, thanks to you. Great post, and I love that someone is talking about Bioware’s romance options on this one. I feel like everyone’s just giving them a universal thumbs-up.

  2. Hmm, I agree it was a somewhat distant relationship, but sex would be the wrong answer in my opinion. I only really got into romance stories through manga, and a key component is often the tension of sexual attraction without the payoff. Given that they were writing a tragedy, that would make a lot more sense to me in the long run.

    More time in the fade would have been great, but having sex there might be dangerous. More than that, I’d liken the dream state to being a bit like getting drunk, so it would also be morally ambiguous from his perspective. If they were to have sex, I think the ball would have been the best opportunity. It felt like the only time Solas let go and had a little fun, rather than being depressed all the time. All that danger and intrigue could be intoxicating.

    Nevertheless, his story is one of many and I would argue that the sad, frustrating and ultimately tragic romance needs to be enhanced, not changed. Anything that would have made it better for me would have fit into a friendship as well (like Sera’s cookies and Bull’s chargers). But more than anything, I really wish he had more conversations in him aside from just giving lectures. Some characters always seem to have something to say and some run out of discussions way too soon.

    • I like what your saying, and I think it could work theoretically. The reason I mentioned sex is because, even if we are talking about a ‘tragic romance’, the story still needs to be entertaining. Tragedy needs to be balanced with something else (what would Romeo and Juliet be without the sex?). This ia particularly important when this Solas story is placed alongside the other romances in Dragon Age Inquisition. Ultimately all the romance stories could really use some work and integration into the story, but they could at least make them all equally entertaining. Currently they are not. This saddens me. Also, if sex is dangerous in the fade, what happens when someone has a wet dream? We are also dealing with a wolf right? Solas is an ancient elven god and we don’t have a sexual component? Gods are very sexual creatures. The thing about tragedy is, the closer the couple gets the more tragic it is when they are split up. The Solas story is frustrating, not tragic. You need to have a relationship for it to be tragic.

  3. I guess we both agree that it could be more than it is. After that it’s about taste, right? Most of the romance stories I’ve invested in never get to sex, or they only get there after a long, involved, emotional journey. My point, though, is that there are plenty of entertaining romances in Dragon Age already. I’d rather push for variety than make them all equal. Since we’re threading on spoilers anyway, the fact that his romance is so heavily tied to the main plot already makes it more involved in some ways than the other options.

    I think you have a particular type of romance that you enjoy and you’re mistaking a different story as a bad idea because it wasn’t implemented very well. Some of the greatest romances are about restraint. The tragedy of Solas story can’t be contained in the romance, because he never fully gives into the temptation Levallan represents to him. You have to look at his story as a whole, and that’s not something the game presents up front (which made it better for me, for the love of lore).

    • Stories are stories, regardless of what genre they happen to include. They are reflections of ourselves, as varied and diverse the people who write them. I do not ‘type’ stories or characters because I feel that is little different from ‘typing’ people in the real world.

      What I like is a good story, which the Solas romance storyline isn’t. It’s not tragic, not entertaining and does not fit into the universe it was placed.

      You keep on saying ‘tragedy’ in regards to the Solas storyline. Its tragic maybe that the story is so lacking, but there is nothing tragic about it. Solas and the Inquisitor don’t have a relationship beyond a few kisses. It’s sad that he rejected her? Yes, but real tragedy requires a real tangible loss. It’s a tragedy when a child dies because they have lost their future, which is the basis for Romeo and Juliet’s tragedy. It’s a dramatic tragedy when Genji (in The Tale of Genji) looses the throne to his Son because he’s lost whatever future he could have created as Emperor to someone who should not have existed. (If we are talking about the greatest romance epics, why not pull out the big guns? 🙂 )

      The Solas storyline is often compared to the Morrigan storyline of Dragon Age: Origins. Two characters crucial to the plot that give you lots of exposition. Both character’s can be romanced, but both romances are doomed to ‘fail.’ For all of my problems with Morrigan’s visual appearance, I actually loved her character and romance storyline. The player’s relationship with her culminates in one night of love where you KNOW she will conceive, but you won’t ever be around to see it. The tragedy isn’t that she had to leave, it was the loss of what could have been years of happy domestic bliss. This is tragic enough on its own, but they added another element of tragedy into this if your a lore fanatic like myself. (Layers of depth is necessary for a great story in my opinion.) Alistar says to the female warden if he’s made king and you don’t take the ‘queen’ option at the landsmeet that he has to break up with you because Grey Wardens have a very hard time conceiving. It’s not just years of happy domestic bliss that is lost, but the possibility of being a father to the only child your character is likely to have. To add more tragedy on top of the tragedy, this child will play host to the soul of an old god.

      Such as it is, Solas’s personal story may be tragic (only if your a lore hungry fan who read enough about Solas to recognize his personal tragedy) but his personal relationship with the Inquisitor is not. I often look at relationships in stories based on the Triangular theory of Love. This theory is used by psychologists in the study of human sexuality. It states that a relationship cannot exist without one of the three core aspects of a relationship: Intimacy, Passion and Commitment. Without one of these three aspects you can’t have a relationship. Since good stories are reflections of ourselves, then we should judge stories by the same ways we judge ourselves.

      Solas can’t have commitment, because of very reasonable lore reasons. Solas can’t truly create intimacy with the Inquisitor because intimacy can’t be created between two people without trust and talking with each other about very personal things. There are very reasonable lore reasons why Solas can’t tell the Inquisitor about what he’s feeling or what he’s going through. You could argue this is a tragic element, but since this is never revealed during the story (not even in hints) its tragic in retrospect and does not add any element of tragedy to the story itself. As I said before, you could create a kind of pseudo intimacy, but it would not hold up for very long. What is left when Commitment and Intimacy are left out of the equation? Passion. This is the reason why I said that the Solas storyline should include a sexual encounter (several, in fact), because without it there is no relationship that resembles an actual adult relationship worth loosing. Understanding the lore makes it better (and you won’t find a bigger Dragon Age fan than me) but a good story should not require the viewer to have any extra knowledge in order to make it good.

      Do I want to see Solas ass? Yes. Is it the reason why I think they should add it? No.

      From the Inquisitor’s point of view, you had a few kisses, the guy strung you along and when it appears that he’s gonna confess his love, he tells you he can’t continue the relationship. That makes Solas a self absorbed narcissistic dickwad. The only reasonable course of action is to get mad that he strung you along, go spend the night drinking with Iron Bull and Dorian and move on the morning after. The only sadness you should be feeling is that you allowed that jerk to string you along for so long. There is no tragic aspect to this storyline at all. Its just frustrating. I have trouble every time I have to refer to the story as a ‘romance.’ It’s not a romance. Its petty drama at best; certainly not something I want to see after spending 60+ hours playing a game. Your right in saying the other storylines have sex. They also have entertainment, and fun.

      Which ties back to my original point. The Solas storyline has a lot of potential that it does not utilize. Perhaps the reason why people keep on tagging this story as ‘tragic’ is that it’s tragic to see the potential wasted.

      • Okay, that’s a long ass reply, let’s see if I can bring it back or if I beat it, haha. Thanks for engaging by the way, I literally know one person in real life who’s finished the whole game, and he got stuck on a bug chasing Dorian :/

        First up, Solas story has clearly entertained me and many others or I wouldn’t still be going on about it. I’ve literally been researching his character since I finished the game and I’ve been piecing together the story of Fen’Harel for a future blog post (which will take a while).

        Secondly, while I continue to agree that it could have been told better, the Solas story is really, really tragic. Maybe not from the point of view of Levallan, it was a fling and he wandered off, but like I said, he’s not just a romance. We are barely introduced to this character in the actual game experience, and yet I garnered on my first, naive play through that Solas was a deeply troubled person. The fact that that gets better after knowing lore doesn’t diminish the initial experience for me. Like I said, I was completely naive while following Solas around like a lost puppy…

        I wouldn’t like it if Solas got me pregnant and ditched me, and I don’t think it would suit his character… so just an opinion there, not a necessarily bad idea. Sex would feel like fan service though. I like sex, I like smutty stories, and I’m not saying sex would ruin this one, it could absolutely be done well. But fan service is when writers give their audience something satisfying in the short term to the detriment of the character or long term narrative.

        I mentioned restraint before. It’s an important element of a lot of Japanese romances, period dramas and need I say supernatural romances (vampires, werewolves, have you read Gail Carriger?). I don’t know if that’s your thing, but I do know why so many people are drawn to these stories. The passion builds up, creating much more emotional and sexual tension than if the character keep releasing it with sex.

        Restraint is often due to social dynamics, shyness or misunderstanding, but in this case we didn’t know. We did, however, know that he must have had a reason, because he kept on the ‘I want you but I shouldn’t’ track most of the way through. The level of passion is relative to the amount of restraint we see, and I felt a lot of it. Especially when he walks away from the balcony (who does that after confessing their love, poor Levallan…)

        Where Bioware failed, in my opinion, is in letting this tension weaken too much between encounters. The fact that he hardly talked to me let me down. If he had more to say, and if the other characters had commented on our relationship more, it would have been much better. I’ll never forget Wynn winding Alistair up in Origins while we were out and about, that was amazing.

        Obviously I’ve lost at bringing this back down to size, but screw it, I’m enjoying the waffle 😉

        Anyway, I think my last defense is for the final scene and the fact that all that passion amounted to nothing in the end… I could tell that Solas was expressing a love he fought really hard against by now. I didn’t know why, but when he started going on about truth, I hoped I’d find out. And then he bottled it. I was properly heartbroken and confused and they are not feelings I’m used to experiencing from a game.

        So maybe I’m a glutton for punishment, but getting that response from plenty of players from a fictional character is a masterful play. It doesn’t serve the same purpose as your usual romance, and it could’ve been a lot more tragic for Levallan, but it still floored me.

        I understand your point about being strung along, but as Levallan you can choose whether you believe he was playing with you, or if he really was conflicted. I think they did a perfectly good job of expressing the fact that he was actually conflicted and really planning on telling you everything and giving in to that passion before he got scared and bolted.

        If you’ve ever dumped someone you like, but not enough, or you knew the relationship was bad, you can see an analogy for this. Maybe it’s better that they hate you, but does it make you a dick for not knowing where it would all lead when you took the chance in the first place? You didn’t set out planning to dump them.

        Solas still has a lot of potential, it hasn’t been wasted, it’s barely been explored. His story is obviously not over, and I really hope he remains complex and doesn’t become a cookie cutter arch villain. I won’t feel all that sorry for him if he goes all ancient evil after that superior morality shtick he goes in for.

        Anyway, I’m super invested in his character now in a way I couldn’t have been if I hadn’t followed his romance first. And that’s the one and only reason they added the romance late in development. To make me even sadder than I would have been anyway…

        Sorry, that really did get out of hand… I’ll be back to steal some of this for me ‘Damn it Solas!’ post, haha. I hope my point is actually coming across!

  4. First I would like to say, your very eloquent and I think that you should continue to hone these skills. I have enjoyed our conversation, but I feel the need to point out a few assumptions your making.

    Anime and Manga do not represent Japanese literature as a whole. I can tell based off of what your saying that you’ve not really gone beyond Anime or Manga, If you had, you would not be saying what your saying. It is not your place, or mine, to speak for a culture’s literary heritage. I know enough, through my relationship with Yuji and reading Japanese literacy outside of Anime and Manga, to know that what you’re saying is inaccurate. If your curious about exploring more Japanese literacy, Yuji and I can suggest a few books for you that you may enjoy.

    Same goes for the vampire romances. I’ve read those books you speak about, and they are not representative of supernatural romances on a whole. Try reading Anne Rice, Nora Roberts, Anne McCaffery, Mercedes Lackey and Spider Robinson.

    I don’t want to tell you what you should enjoy, or why you should enjoy it. There were three things that bothered me about what you said, so I will only address those now.

    Any outside information you’ve discovered about Solas is all well and good, but this still does not add anything to the romance story. Everyone has tragic pasts, and we have no idea how this tragic past effects Solas. You are making assumptions about his character, placing things upon him that he never reveals to us. This makes him a vessel for your hopes, dreams and conjecture, which I find to be a wholly unhealthy. Its tragic I suffer from pain every day, just like its tragic my brother suffers from PTSD. Neither of these things make our current state tragic. A reserved nature could mean many things, and until we know more details, its only insulting to speculate. If it helps, I too have read all the lore because you never quite grow out of the fangirl phase… as much as I try to.

    The other thing that bothered me is the assumption that sex is the ultimate release of tension within a romance story. This is untrue and inaccurate. Sex is a perfect way to build up tension, because when your having sex you don’t have to talk to one another. If you want a good example of how sex can be implemented into a story without loosing tension, try Callahan’s Lady by Spider Robinson. Sex can create tension, but only if implemented correctly. The romance story with Solas does not implement it correctly and could not possibly implement it because of the reasons I already stated. If you want a good example of a story that uses sexual tension to its advantage read Sanshiro by Natsume Soseki. I guarantee once you read that story, the sexual tension you were telling me about will become a cheap party trick by comparison.

    The third thing I disagree with is the idea that sex is a fan service. Stories reflect who we are as human beings, and we are sexual creatures by nature. I feel that sex is cheapened by thinking of it as some kind of reward for the viewer. Sexual entertainment can be the cheapest piece of garbage or the most moving pieces of literary genius, depending on how its used. Since you seem so interested in Japanese literature, I highly recommend reading The Tale of Genji. Like Shakespeare is for western storytelling, The Tale of Genji is the core from which most Japanese storytelling is built off of. It also invented romantic serial drama. It’s filled with sex, tension, drama and intrigue. Emphasis on the ‘lots of sex’ part.

    When I say the Solas storyline needs sex, I’m speaking from the perspective of someone criticizing the story construction of the Solas Romance storyline. I don’t know enough about Solas to assume anything, but he appears very interesting. Interesting enough to inspire my curiosity and my ire. If this story is supposed to be tragic, then it needs to be tragic. Players need to feel real loss, not just the kind of loss we enjoy feeling. In order for something truly tragic to occur, something special needs to be built up. A rose blossom about to bloom cut from the stem. In order to do this, the story needs to be rewarding and fulfilling for the player; so when its taken away we actually feel a genuine loss. Because Solas can’t offer commitment or true intimacy, what we are left with is passion. A passionate romance has the ability to build up so many promises and possibilities while keeping it interesting. How many people have built a relationship on passion, gotten married, had kids then one day they looked at each other and realized they knew absolutely nothing about each other?

    The more sex they have, the more tension is created because questions start to pop up… who are you Solas? What are you? Your amazing for me but I don’t know anything about you. Why don’t we talk more? Every time I see you I can’t keep my hands off of you. Where is this going? When we do talk we have so much fun. How come we can’t talk more? Solas? Solas? Where are you going!? Please talk to me! I love you! We are so good for each other! SOLAAAAAS!!!!

    See what I mean?

    If you like, I can go into fangirl speculation to offer another point of view. A reserved anxious personality does not necessarily cancel out the possibility of sex. He could just be discreet, we don’t know because not enough is revealed about him to speculate on that. Solas is an ancient elven wolf god, if that is not sexual I don’t know what is. I did wonder if perhaps the ancient elves thought about sex differently, then I remembered the ancient elves lived for a VERY long time. If you live for that long with birth control (and they would have had it with that level of magic) then a sexually restrictive society makes little to no sense. I think my biggest problem with speculation is that I have a lot of people close to me who are anxious and reserved people. They often point out that it is unfair of others to assume their intention or how they live their lives just because they are more reserved. Solas has had a LONG time to find ways of dealing with something like anxiety or shyness. I think that would be awful to say ‘yup, thousands of years and the man still can’t do anything but grab a girls ass when he’s kissing her. I guess you shy people just need to go to a corner and cry, because there is no hope for overcoming these tendencies.’ I’ve seen shy, anxious and/or reserved people develop very healthy coping mechanisms while still being themselves. I guess what I’m trying to say is, it seems unlikely Solas’s reasons are the reasons you’ve given. At least from my point of view.

    The pregnancy suggestion was just another way to create a promise of a future that is lost when Solas leaves the player character. It does come from my personal annoyance. So far, male player characters have had two opportunities to have kids. but the female player characters have not. Its about time that changed 😛

    • Thanks, you too. I feel like you’re misrepresenting my points of views here though, so I really want to pull back (but probably can’t).

      What I actually said on restraint was that it’s an element found in these places, not that it was representative of them. This is just sidetracking though.

      I’m a role player. I experienced Solas character from the subject view of Levallan, a character that I seeded with a personality and history that doesn’t match my own. Experiencing the story in this way isn’t the same as reading it from a third person perspective.

      So when I’m ‘making assumptions’, I’m talking about how I experienced the story, not about my conjecture. My objective conjecture, mid Solas, was pretty minimal. I kinda though vampire for a bit… not far from the actual truth when you think about it, heh.

      Calling that unhealthy? Well you could look at an unexplained breakup and presume they’re at fault. That’s unfair to them and unsympathetic. You could presume it’s your fault. That sure is unhealthy and unfair to yourself. What’s unhealthy about presuming they had a reason that had nothing to do with you? What’s insulting about wanting to know? I didn’t presume I knew the reason, only that he had one.

      I never said sex was the “ultimate” release of tension, but I think you’re missing my point with the whole sex thing from the start. So let me rephrase. It could be used as a device to release tension, enhance it, complicate issues or any number of things, but this can all be achieved without. I just think sex would be a lazy option that would make this particular story more generic in the context of the other romances.

      And I guess the crux of my problem with your focus on it is that we are not all sexual creatures by nature. Asexual people can and do have romances too. Again, I’m not personally against sex, I really quite enjoy it and some of my favorite mangas and novels (and games) are riddled with it. But acting like it’s a necessity cheapens the varied experiences of real people. I’ve already explained why I don’t think passion necessitates sex narratively.

      Break to go tinfoil hat! Woo!

      Solas is not a god by his own definition and presuming he’s super sexual is totally conjecture, so I’ll put that on a shelf.

      I don’t know where you picked up that I thought Solas was shy… I think I said conflicted? That’s not the same thing. I wasn’t making a judgement on his nature, I was wondering what his ‘considerations’ were. Why it would be kinder to not give in on the balcony etc…? My own lofty conjecture would run into the idea that elves were long lived (immortal), considering people who took their time with everything. But even Solas is a bit impulsive from that angle.

      I do kinda like the idea of pregnancy, I have to admit. Bioware has been very socially aware of late though, so consent would be a major issue for them if they were to include it. Solas is lying about his identity, which makes consent murky. So fun idea, but I doubt it’s something that today’s Bioware would do.

  5. I am so sorry this was your first romance. I’m half way through it and upset already.
    I have had 0/5 good main romances in dragon age/mass effect series but at least with prior relationships, there was intimacy and swooning. Just bad endings.
    As for Solas, you really can’t pick up on what he is (unlike Anders where you can tell he is crazy) you just think he is nerdy. I also thought he was just reserved.
    He actually wasn’t Romanceable until the final cut of development and they put it in. Honestly, I’m not sure why they allows you to romance him. You shouldn’t be able to.
    Basically, it’s you getting rejected the whole time. The only sweet part is in the very beginning when you kiss him and he has the biggest smile and kisses you too (only time I saw him smile in whole game) it was so sweet.
    And I guess dlc is him rejecting you again! I will not be buying that! Lol

  6. I’m so glad that I saw this post as my friend and I both played through this at the same time and she romanced Solas and got very into the relationship and I couldn’t understand why as I thought he was a bit boring, and there’s so much fan art about him too! I thought I was alone in thinking it wasn’t a great romantic storyline!

    • His dullness is a good component for the story as a whole. He’s a necessary character. However, his romance storyline definitely leaves something to be desired. I’m glad you found this too!

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