grandenchanterfiona:

grandenchanterfiona:

Thank you to tumblr user casijaz for letting me use her art.

Thanks to everyone else who helped me make this vid.

And thanks to all of you watching this vid! 😀

If you have any feedback at all, please give it. Thank you so much.

Script here

Captions: -A
small section of the melody from Captivity by Inon Zur briefly plays-


Before
I begin, there will be spoilers for most, if not all, pieces of media
in the Dragon Age Series, including all three games and their various
DLCs, The Masked Empire, and the comics.

Also,
to note, unless a character is canonically a lesbian, as Sera and
Celene are, I will default to using woman who loves women or some
other term, as many of the women in question are bisexual.

Dragon
Age is better than most games in terms of LGBT representation.

In
terms of just companions, three out of ten of your companions aren’t
straight or aren’t cis in DAO.

In
DA2, four out of nine companions are bisexual, plus Tallis, a
temporary companion from mark of the assassin is open to kissing a
Hawke of any gender.

And
in DAI, three companions out of nine, and two advisers out of three,
aren’t straight.

But
it’s not perfect, especially when women are involved.

Let’s
start in in-universe chronological order.. Keep in mind, I’m not
touching on relationships between love interests and the Player
Character in this, only in LGBT women NPCs. Though, I will touch on
the number of romances open to a player playing a woman who loves
women, versus the number of romances open to a player playing as a
woman who loves men.

As
far as I know, there aren’t any canonically LGBT women in The Last
Flight. And I’m fairly certain I don’t remember any in either The
Stolen Throne or The Calling.

So,
next in the timeline would be Leliana’s Song.

Leliana’s
Song is an interesting standalone prequel DLC for DAO and it’s
honestly one of my favorite games despite having a run time of
roughly half an hour.. It’s got beautiful music, and somehow manages
to have visuals I still find stunning despite being made in DAO’s
engine. The best part: It revolves around the relationship between
two women and contains a stunning three out of six primary character
who are women who love women.

What’s
not to love?

But
Leliana’s Song centers around Leliana’s relationship with Marjolene.
And Marjolene is abusive. Not only does she attempt to manipulate and
control Leliana, but she, at one point, stabs Leliana.

Now,
I think this game is amazing, and if it existed in a vacuum , it
would be perfect.

But
this game chronologically features the first relationship between two
women in the Dragon Age series and it features something that will
come up in regards to relationships between women in the Dragon Age
series. Abuse.

In
the main game, Leliana, who is the only woman companion romanceable
by a woman Player character is very difficult to find, especially if
you don’t play many video games. I personally missed her on my first
playthrough.

There
is another abusive relationship; that of Branka and Hespith. Branka
is so desperate for Caradin’s anvil that she’s willing to turn the
woman she loves, Hespith, into a broodmother to do it. Hespith kills
herself to keep from turning, and you must either side with Branka
and begin to turn casteless people into golems, kill Branka, or
convince her to destroy the anvil and kill herself.

There’s
another thing women who love women in Dragon Age tend to have in
common. They die. A lot.

Leliana
can be killed at the Temple of Sacred Ashes, though she ‘comes back’
in the next two games (apparently in DAI you find out she was a
lyrium spirit? I don’t know about that, I’ve never completed a
playthrough where Leliana dies so I don’t know about that.)

You can
convince Leliana to kill Marjolene to harden her. Branka and Hespith
both die. Iona, who can be flirted with, and slept with by a Cousland
of any gender, is violently killed off during the Cousland origin.
Again, many of these deaths make sense within the narrative, and if
they existed in a vacuum they’d be fine. But this is a trend.

Iona
is also the only woman character one can have a mini-romance with if
one is a woman, whereas a woman who romances men has Tamlen and
Gorim, and can also express interest in Jowan and, I believe, Cullen.
A female city elf is also automatically given a fiance who’s a man,
rather than a woman, which makes sense from a lore perspective, but
again, is another ‘mini-romance’ a character can’t play as a woman
who loves women.

Transgender
women in DAO also are mistreated. In the Pearl, in Denerim, there are
sex workers labeled ‘female’ companions, with female in quotes, as
opposed to other women sex workers without the quotes. This is
transmisogynistic, as these women are clearly intended to be
transgender and the flavor text implies they are somehow not real
women because they’re transgender.

Also
at the Pearl, while I personally don’t mind it and think it in
character for him, Oghren will approve if you are a woman warden who
hires a sex worker who is also a woman, which many people might find,
if not homophobic, than uncomfortable. 

He also faints at the idea of
the PC, Leliana, and Isabela having a threesome. (I’ll also add
that the only way you can get the threesome to happen is if you kill
Marjolene, which hardens Leliana.) Um, this is uncomfortable for a
lot of reasons because something the player wants to have happen can
only happen with the death of a woman who loves women, and it also
implies that polyamory is somehow a bad thing. Which makes no sense
from an in-universe lore perspective, as Andraste had two husbands
and probably an elven lover on the side. She probably doesn’t care
that Leliana is having sex with her girlfriend and a hot pirate.

Also,
in DAO, there was originally intended to be a scene where a woman Warden and Morrigan did the Dark Ritual together, but that was
apparently ‘too weird’, and it was decided that having a woman warden
convince either Alistair or Loghain to have sex with Morrigan,
despite neither wanting to, and Alistair, in fact, hating her, was
better.

In
DA2, things are better.

There
are two full romances for someone who wants to play as a lady Hawke
and romance women, as opposed to three choices for a lady Hawke who
wants to romance men (Two in the base game, one in the DLC.)

But
there are still problems.

Isabela
is, like Leliana, very easy to miss if one does not think to go back
to the Hanged Man after recruiting Anders. She can also leave midway
through the game if one is not close enough friends or rivals with
her. And she can be returned to the Qunari, who will likely torture
her.

Also,
Merrill, another woman companion interested in Lady Hawke, can be
killed if one sides with the Templars and does not have a high enough
friendship or rivalry with her.

But,
by far, the biggest problem with DA2 is Serendipity, a sex worker who
works at the Blooming Rose. While Bioware claims Serendipity is
intended to be a drag queen, this is not clear in the game at all,
and she seems to many, including one trans woman I spoke with, a
really offensive representation of a trans woman.

The
woman even told me she was unable to finish the game for days after
meeting Serendipity and that only finding out she wasn’t intended to
be a trans woman, but in fact a drag queen, was she able to play
again.

Next
chronologically is the comics to clarify: I mean the
Alistair-hunts-for-Maric comics, The Silent Grove, Those Who Speak
and Until We Sleep. I think Mage Killer is set during DAI, though I’m
not sure as I’ve not read it, so it’s touched on further in.

Maevaris
is featured in the comics. She’s a trans woman magister from
Tevinter, and Varric’s cousin’s widow.

She’s
an amazing, dynamic and interesting character.

But
she’s revealed to be trans by having her top ripped open while being
tortured. I have to wonder if Bioware would put a cis woman through
this same treatment.

The
Masked Empire and Asunder are both next.

The
extent of LGBT women in Asunder is the appearance briefly of Leliana.
Though I also personally Headcanon Adrian as having a crush on Grand
Enchanter Fiona. Oh Adrian, you are truly the only person anywhere to
understand my pain!!!

But
the Masked Empire is centered around a romance between two women.

Again.
Like Leliana’s Song, it’s abusive.

Celene
commits an act of genocide against Briala’s people, the elves, and
manipulates and verbally abuses her. Her abuse is textbook.

But
we’re not told any of this, including the fact that she commits
genocide, in DAI, even though both are things Leliana would almost
certainly know. We can even get her and Briala back together and,
while I’m glad  two women end up together is shown as a good ending,
an abuse survivor should never be put back with her abuser.

Celene
can also be killed during DAI. This is another thing which makes
sense in context, and, in a vacuum is a very good thing for the
reasons mentioned above, but this makes her yet another LGBT woman
killed. This is a trend.

In
DAI, if one plays as an elven woman interested in men, the origin
with the most choices, one has four romance options. If you play as
an elven woman  interested in women, you only have half that, and a
mini-romance-thing with Scout Harding.

Josephine’s
romance, despite being in the works for longer than Cullen’s, has
very little content to it. And Sera, the first lesbian companion in
any of the games, can be dismissed at any time for any reason. She’s
the only character you can do that with.

It’s
also worth noting Bioware chose to make another man romanceable by
women, rather than, say, expanding the mini-romance between the
Inquisitor and Scout Harding, which would have added another full
romance for women who love women.

There
are two relationships between NPCs where both parties are women in
DAI.

One
is Ritts and Eldredda. Ritts is a scout for the Inquisition. They are
NOT in an abusive relationship, which is impressive, but Eldredda is
killed by templars during the game and you cannot save her. Ritts can
also be killed, but you can save her.

A
second is between Dagna and Sera. It’s a really cute, happy, not
abusive romance. But on the downside, you need to have a DLC to see
it. Much the same way, in terms of race, the only way for you to have
a character  in DAO who had a non-white family member was buying a
DLC and having DLC be necessary to get representation is silly.

As
for representation for trans women, Maevaris appears again, this time
in war table missions. There’s not much to note regarding that, but I
like that she shows up.

But
then there’s a codex entry which makes things BAD.

The
codex entry, titled ‘A Nutty Affair’, which appears in Therinfal
Redoubt if one sides with the Templars, or can be purchased in
Val-Royeaux if one sides with the mages or misses it during the
quest, is terrible.

Like.

Textbook
transmisogyny.

It’s
about how, after a Divine died, a rumor began circulating that she
was a man. Because someone apparently swore she had a penis.

Which.
Okay. No.

A
woman with a penis is still a woman.

Apparently,
a squirrel had crawled into her casket and up her skirt.

Like,
I get that this codex entry is supposed to be funny. But it’s not,
for a number of reasons.

One,
it equates genitals with gender. The Divine, in Southern Thedas, is a
woman. If the Divine was a woman, which everything indicates she was
before she died, why should her genitals matter?

Two,
it adds nothing lore wise. This codex entry literally tells us one
thing. There was once a Divine called Divine Clemence the second.
That’s it. It tells us nothing about what she did, it tells us
nothing of interest about her, it tells us nothing, except ‘haha
women don’t have penises!’

Third,
it could have been the chance to give us a GREAT codex entry about a
Divine who /was/ a trans woman.

Just
a rough codex entry off the top of my head:

Divine
Theodora the First was born in a mountain village north of Carthal’s
Crossing in Ferelden. Her family thought when she was born that she
was a boy, and tried to raise her as such, but quickly they realised
they, in fact, had a daughter. Other than that, little is known about
her early life.

Like
many, Theodora was pledged to the Chantry at a young age. She became
a Sister at age ten, and a Mother at age seventeen. She was well
liked, and rose through the ranks rather quickly.

After
the death of Divine Remilda the first, Theodora was chosen to be the
next Divine.

Today,
she is usually remembered for only one thing. The Exalted March on
Starkhaven, which she called down after King Fyruss’s throne was
stolen by his Tevinter allies. The conflict was short, but still cost
the lives of many hundreds of men and women.

Like,
it’s not perfect as a codex entry, but it’s much better than the one
above.

Bioware
could have done better.

I
know they could have done better.

And
they didn’t do better.

Finally,
there is Mage Killer.

I
don’t read Mage Killer. I don’t like Mage Killer.

Mage
Killer apparently has two women who end up together and it’s not
abusive and neither of them die.

So
I might need to read Mage Killer.

In
summary.

Of
the five relationships between two women in the Dragon Age series,
three are abusive, four have at least one member of the relationship
who can die, and only one ends happily, provided you don’t dismiss
the woman involved in the relationship.

Out
of seventeen or so women who are LGBT, EIGHT can die That’s almost
half. Three of those die no matter what you choose.

And
transgender women have it worst of all, with only one character, who
so far has been primarily in the comics, to represent them, and
nothing but cruel, transmisogynistic jokes otherwise.

So,
Bioware, you’re doing better than most companies out there,but don’t
rest on your laurels, you can do even better, please try, for your
fans.

Thank
you very much, have a wonderful day guys!

Like
if you like this video, subscribe if you want to subscribe.

Thank
you so so much for watching. I’m so glad you guys are here watching
my video. Have a wonderful day. G’bye.

-The
first bit of Mage Pride plays over end credits.-

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