Happy Goth Day to These Video Game Women I Am in Love With
Look. Listen. Listen. I generally think all the “goth gf” memes are stupid and annoying because I’m just getting old and cantankerous. But even I have to admit my weaknesses. And as a bisexual woman who plays video games and grew up listening to The Cure, I must admit … I have a strong weakness for goth women in fantasy games.
I didn’t realize this until I started playing Baldur’s Gate 3 and met Shadowheart, the half-elf cleric who makes a habit of negging you just for funsies. Normally, characters with that kind of attitude annoy me and end up getting benched. But I guess I’m a sucker for a pretty face, because Shadowheart has become a staple in every playthrough of that game—including the one I’m playing with TMS’ Alyssa Shotwell, who’s had to bear with me every time I’ve had to “check up on my wife.” I love that Shadowheart is secretly incredibly sensitive and a little bit of a romantic. Clearly, there’s a lot more to her than meets the eye, which has made her my go-to romance.
But Shadowheart certainly wasn’t the first goth fantasy chick that I got all moony over. That title OBVIOUSLY goes to Morrigan, from Dragon Age: Origins. Morrigan is a swamp witch who has dark hair, raven feathers on her sleeves, a black leather skirt, and very ostentatious deep-purple eyeshadow. She also has a habit of negging the player, yet we give her a pass because she’s Morrigan. She’s clever and has a lot of interesting insight, and once you start to break down her barriers, you see her for who she is: a deeply lonely, hurt young woman who’s only just starting to find her place in the world, thanks in large part to your company. I always thought that a WLW romance with her would be incredibly powerful and interesting, but alas, Morrigan is for the dudes. Tragic.
Thankfully, when it comes to the last woman I want to get moony-eyed at for this list, you’re automatically playing as a guy so you don’t have to get straightzoned. I’m talking about Yennefer from The Witcher 3, baby. In her video game debut, Yennefer greets us with her dark hair, her raven-inspired clothing, and her ice queen attitude, and my god, I live for it. It’s always been so funny to me that the choice between Yen and Triss has been such a great debate amongst fans of the series, because to me (and my bi friends with similar tastes), it’s never been a question. Hmm, do we romance the smart, sassy, mature, and well-written goth baddie with an impeccable wardrobe and purple eyes? Or do we romance, you know, Triss?
I think what I love the most about these women is that, for some reason, the choice to make them pretty gothy also elicits characterization that’s inherently independent, morally complex, and just plain cool. The fact that they can be so polarizing in their respective fanbases only speaks to how well they stand on their own, and that only makes me like them more; while their aesthetics might have been designed with a certain angle in mind (you know, oinga boinga and all that), their personalities aren’t designed to be palatable and likable. They’re complicated and messy, without sacrificing their strength. And honestly? That’s goth as fuck.
Goth women are the cornerstone of any good fantasy game, and we salute them for their contributions to the genre. Hellspeed, you beautiful downers.
(Featured Image: Larian/Bioware/Studio Projekt Red)
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