8 Best Dragon Age Inquisition Romances, Ranked
My favorite consensual workplace relationships
Recently, I finally played through the entire Mass Effect trilogy, so to say my emotional capacity right now is both raw and blubbery is almost an understatement. Part of what made this series so impactful was how the player engaged with the characters, in particular the romances. Oh, Thane. My baby. My murder-y baby.
Bioware just has a way of crafting characters that rub off on you, and Dragon Age is certainly no exception. So, in anticipation of the upcoming animated series on Netflix, Dragon Age: Absolution (and to help me move on from my alien paramour), here is every single romance in Dragon Age: Inquisition, ranked from worst to best.
Okay, let me be crystal clear before any Cassandra stans go nuclear: her romance is not bad!!!! It’s very sweet, with a surprising amount of spice. But you have to understand, there are eight romances in this game, and some of them are just ever-so-slightly less captivating.
No, she’s not at the bottom because she’s straight. Don’t insult me, and don’t insult Cass. I love her, she’s hilarious and tough as hell, and she’s a hottie to boot. But I just felt like her romance was this shallow, surface-level thing, since Cass seemed to have romantic and sexual standards based on literal fiction. She admits to wanting the “ideal,” and that’s all well and good, but it ends up making the Inquisitor feel more like a prize than a partner.
Then again, that’s just my perspective. Maybe some men are into that. All I know is that if my partner called me a “wild man,” and I wasn’t a human, I’d probably gtfo before it was too late. Next thing you know, she’ll start talking about “our beautiful half-elven babies.”
No, I don’t hate women. I love women. Women scare me and I love them for it. They just put weaker sauce into the femme romances in Inquisition, for some reason.
Josephine is gorgeous, charming, and something of a rarity in the world of Dragon Age: non-combative yet essential. She’s incredibly smart and diplomatic, and as someone with baggage surrounding sexual pressure, I really appreciated the fact that her romance doesn’t hinge on sex. You can interpret your relationship with Josie however you’d like, with the emphasis being on your bond with her. Cute!
And also, unfortunately, boring–not because of the lack of sex, but because there just isn’t enough content with her. As well as this, for some reason, she also suffers from “Inquisitor-is-a-fantasy Syndrome,” just like Cass. But she gets points for dismantling that fantasy before it gets too carried away, in one of the best romance scenes in the franchise.
I, too, would like to sword-fight on behalf of my girlfriend’s honor. Avast ye, knaves.
Ahh, BDSM. I don’t personally enjoy you but I respect and adore what you stand for. Concurrently, I love that Bull’s romance is what it is. It’s not often you see kink and sexual exploration done properly in video games, and it makes sense that Dragon Age would be the game to do it right.
And if you approach Bull’s romance properly, and with the right mindset, it really feels like one of the most authentic, beautiful relationships in the game. My issue with it is that it leaves room to totally objectify Bull. You can romance him with the intentions of framing him as the big, sexy, “exotic” horn-guy, and that is a little gross, even if it’s just a video game. This is only exacerbated by the fact that he’s a follower of the Qun, a dogmatic faith and culture that deliberately objectifies him. Therefore, the game primes the guy to be an object of your pleasure.
No thanks! If I want a big, beefy hunk to tie me up and call me Sally, it’ll be on equal footing, thanks.
Ugh. I like Blackwall, but I don’t personally like his romance, although I’ll admit, it’s solid. Blackwall tricks you into thinking he’s gonna be a normal beefy older man, and he’s a Warden to boot, so he fulfills multiple niches for a large part of the Dragon Age playerbase. Top it off with the tragic attitude and broody disposition, and how he’s so “Oh my lady we cannae do thise it wouldnae be juste,” and you’ve got yourself a winner.
…except he ends up being a massive loser, which, for spoiler reasons, I will not get into. All you need to know is, it turns out, the guy wasn’t just being self-deprecating when he was telling you that you shouldn’t date him. He was kind of right. It’s a very well-written romance for the sort of person who’s into this sort of thing, and it’s a rare redemption arc that actually gets the redemption part down pat. It’s incredibly tragic, with beautiful twists and turns that feel earned upon completion.
I just…well, personally, if I wanted to rock a regretful older man’s world, I’d pick someone more like Arthur Morgan. Blackwall is very much someone‘s type, so to you I say: hell yeah, climb that wall, babe!
Cullen has a weird place within the Dragon Age fandom, people regard him with extremes. There’s the ones who haaaaate his guts, since he used to be a Templar in Kirkwall, where Templars were wildly abusive to mages, and he doesn’t go as far as Blackwall does when it comes to his own redemption. Then there’s the ones who only pick him because he’s young and conventionally attractive, and they take the nuances of his character and whittle them down to him just being “Cully-Wully.”
I’m in neither camp, I just think he’s a well-written character and a realistic portrayal of someone who endures intense trauma. People don’t always process trauma in palatable ways: often they end up becoming abusers themselves. It’s something we don’t like to acknowledge, but it’s the truth, and I think Bioware did a decent job portraying that with Cullen. And I don’t know if this was the writers’ intention, but from my perspective, it’s clear that he’s only just starting to redeem himself and has a long way to go, so his attitudes make sense to me.
Yes, they could have gone the extra mile and really make the guy pay his dues, and it’s a bit annoying that they woobified him for fanservice, but the parts of him that are well-written make him, and his romance, feel very, very real. It’s romantic, it’s healing, and it reveals that underneath all his wear and tear, he’s still just a frightened young man who hasn’t really had anyone look out for him since shit hit the fan.
“Sera’s annoying, Sera’s dumb, Sera’s the real blight in this franchise!” Okay word, you hate young women when they don’t cater to you. You’re so smart and mature, why don’t you move onto a different list where you can show off how smart and mature you are.
Sera is complicated. Yes, she’s annoying, but the amount of hate I see directed towards her is really unnecessary. I think the writers took a smart risk with Sera, who is deliberately designed to not fit in a box and is trying to figure herself out because of it. As a result, she’s frustrating, but I’d rather have “real and frustrating” than yet another eye-candy lesbian designed for the male gaze.
In that vein, Sera’s romance is frenetic, just like she is. She’s a young woman with undeveloped world views and it shows. At times, it’s uncomfortable: she’s incredibly objectifying when it comes to Qunari women, and as a self-hating elf, she’s incredibly cruel with elven partners. But I think this all makes her romance feel realer than most romances in the series. Sera is working things out. She’s a woman in her early twenties who needs help figuring it out, after doing a lot of things by herself. And the Inquisitor is a stable force who provides her with some balance.
And what I love about Sera is, unlike a lot of the romances on this list, Sera gives back. She brings fun into the Inquisitor’s life! She’s attentive when it matters, and she brings “Inky” back down to earth when all seems grim. I used to love her romance when I was younger, and while I’ve since outgrown her, I still adore what she stands for and who she is.
Okay now that that’s outta the way, Dorian’s romance is beautiful. It’s one of those things that’s hard to capture in words, so I recommend you either watch a playthrough on YouTube or play it yourself. Dorian himself is one of the best-written characters in the franchise, full of contradictions and hurts that he’s sorting through. At times, he’s a total rich kid asshole and you want to smack him upside the head (sir, on what planet is elven slavery better than poverty lol). But most of the time, Dorian presents himself as such a vibrant person, full of promise and hope, even with the odds stacked against him.
And this translates within his romance. He’s had horribly traumatic things happen to him because of his sexuality, but he still regards the Inquisitor candidly, ready to feel more even if it’s painful. Admittedly, since I’m not a gay man, I feel a little weird playing this romance–the last thing I want to do is exploit a good thing that isn’t meant for me. But I still love what this romance is, and if it weren’t for the fact that the next romance is so plot-heavy, he’d absolutely be topping this list.
Sigh. Okay Madeline, get it together.
Solas is a condescending dick who deserves to get his bald head dunked on by a bunch of trendy eighth-graders at the mall.
And…his romance is the best in the game.
I hate this, I really do. I’m trying to romance the guy for the first time and I hate myself for how easily I’m enjoying it. It’s taken years for me to stomach this romance, solely because I despise the guy, but I’m realizing I only despise him because he’s tragically my type. It’s Anders all over again. But at least Anders had a pretty head of long, golden hair.
Solas’ romance is Blackwall’s with, like, ten thousand extra steps. You think he’s just holding back because he’s used to being alone, but then the game pulls the rug out from under you and curb stomps you on the cold, hard floor. Solas’ romance is tragic to the umpteenth degree, with all the right notes of romance, wit, and sexiness–YES, SEXINESS, THE EGG IS SEXY OKAY? NOBODY ELSE GRABS YOUR ASS LIKE HE DOES.
I just…god dammit I hate this guy! I hate him! I hate you Solas, please call me back!!!
(Featured Image: Bioware)
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