Character relationships are an integral part of many games these days. In rare cases the protagonist goes it alone; often he or she meets many people along the way who can help them in their quest. It’s dangerous to go alone, after all.
But when I think about relationships, a huge part of me leaps outside the box. I feel like a romantic relationship is too cliche and sappy, but hey, it’s a relationship and can be very important to the game. When I did this meme a year and a half ago, I chose Cortana and Master Chief. No they’re not romantic, but they’re a fantastic couple who work so well together that they really are greater than the sum of their parts.
But since I’ve gone the platonic route, and since in the last 18 months or so I’ve played Dragon Age, I think I’ll be sappy and romantic and choose The Warden and Alistair.
I preface this by saying that Bard is well aware of my feelings on this, but he’s not threatened by a game character, because he’s awesome and lovable like that 🙂
Oh Alistair: pixelated manflesh at its finest. Alistair could possibly be a perfect man. He’s dutiful, he’s built, he gives you a rose if he likes you, and he’s saved himself for the perfect woman. He’s funny, a little insecure, and endearingly awkward.
My favorite origin in Dragon Age: Origins is the human noble. I played through once, romanced Alistair, and loved it so much I tried it again. Only this time I created a character with a stronger backstory for the world I was in, rather than just put myself in the game. I created Fianna Cousland: pain in the arse youngest daughter of one of Ferelden’s finest and oldest families. She’s a dual-wielding rogue, but I gave her a lot of unconventional personality quirks and behaviors for someone raised as high nobility.
Now, I know Cousland/Alistair, or “Coulistair” fics are a a dime a dozen on fanfiction.net. It’s a great pairing, really, especially once Alistair reveals certain things about himself and his past, and potential future. It seems everyone writes them, and while I like to do some things differently, I really loved Fianna and Alistair’s story.
I think because it’s about more than just falling in love with one another. It’s about two people forced into the worst situation by the worst circumstances, and they have to learn to work together. Through that, they help each other find themselves. Alistair’s sense of duty to the Grey Wardens helps Fianna realize that she has a duty not just as a Warden, but as Fereldan nobility, and she should probably suck it up and do that duty. But her confidence and her refusal to care what anyone thinks inspires him to accept his role in all of this. Where he’s insecure she’s confident; where she’s irresponsible, he’s duty-bound. They complement one another well in those ways.
Plus, my Warden recognizes Alistair’s abilities and talents. So often I see fics where Alistair is what my friend deagh and I have termed, a “Warden!Bitch”. Basically, Alistair fawns all over the Warden (of any origin, but mostly in the Coulistair fics) and lets himself be led on and falls madly in love while she does all the work. In the relationship I cultivated between Fianna and Alistair, she respects him for what he knows and what he’s able to do as a fighter and as a Warden–and later on as a potential king. He understands her position as a noble and how it can advance their goals, but knows she’s not a pawn. And he picks a rose for her, dammit! That counts for something!
Now, many other DA players and fans, including some who read and comment on this blog, will have different views of Alistair and the romance with the Warden. Bearonthecouch has written some very lovely pieces featuring Alistair along with a human mage Warden (that made me cry they were so beautiful), for example. And there are other great Coulistair fics out there. The beauty of Dragon Age is in all the options for character creation and interaction and eventual outcomes. But for me? I think I have to go with Alistair and Fianna as my favorite couple for the above-stated reasons… and also because I’ve put in about a year at this point of fanfic that builds and develops their relationship. But I really do have a life. No, really, I do!
Tomorrow: Day 8, Favorite Soundtrack. I quit right now. Okay, not really. But I want to. So… much… to choose… from…