exactly that

Posts tagged ‘Dragon Age II’

In Spite Of…

There have been some things eating at me since I made this post yesterday. Something about the pushback against some of the things I said when writing it have been sitting wrong with. Not for the simple matter of disagreement, because certainly there is plenty of that going on, and I had one of the best discussions on the topic late last night while mulling this over.

No. The thing that is niggling at the back of my mind, and the left, front, and center of it too, is this pushback against the idea that we aren’t supposed to love and otherwise care for people with mental illness and disability in spite of said disabilities, or illnesses, or anything else.

Anders, a blond, pale, man in green robes with feathered pauldrons and a mages' staff, looks into the camera (so to speak) while Justice manifests as blue flashes and glowing eyes.

See? A perfect parallel! Mental illness always manifests so obviously.

(more…)

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30-Day Challenge: Day 5 — Least Favorite Love Interest

I was going to pick Alistair, but magesmagesmages already did such a fantastic takedown of that one, that I would only be rehashing what she already brilliantly said.

A pale blond man in green robes clutches his head.

I will have to go with Anders, and I say this as a person who almost can NOT resist clicking that little heart icon every time it pops up. I have completed the Anders romance more times that I have completed the others combined.

My issues with the Anders Romance have almost nothing to do with Anders as a character, his actions, or how I feel about him in-game at all. Once again my criticism comes down to mostly writing and game mechanics. (more…)

30-Day Challenge: Day 4 — Favorite Love Interest

Sebastian Vael, an olive-skinned man (though that isn't apparent with the lighting here) with bright blue eyes and auburn hair in armour with a seemingly lambskin-lined hood.

 

I am expecting some real laughs for this one, but this thought is completely based on a random in-game bug that happened to me, where the game put me into a friendmance with Sebastian even though my Hawke was already in a friendmance with Anders.

 

My favorite love interest at the time of this writing is Sebastian. (more…)

30-Day Challenge: Day 1 — Your Favorite Character

A Fangirl’s Manifesto Praising Grumptastic Little Brothers Everywhere

 

This should come as a surprise to absolutely no one.

 

Carver Hawke from the game Dragon Age 2. A pale man with chin-length dark hair pulled back on the top and sides wears plate armour over a blue and grey-scaled tunic. He has a greatsword on his back and a fairly surprised expression on his face.

The best and most lovably grumptastic little brother anywhere.

As an older sister of a young man who was an absolute PAIN IN MY ARSE until we were adults, I have to go with that lovable younger brother and all-around adorable grump, Carver Hawke. (more…)

The Case For Justice

Anders, a pale man in green robes with feathered pauldrons stands over the body of a dead templar in plate armour.

"Uhh... I didn't do it."

[ETA:] Welcome, BioWare Social Network Anders’ Thread peeps! Happy to have you stop by! I am hoping to get to each and every one of you, but I would ask that you please take a peek at my Comments Policy if you are here for the first time. Thanks, Miri! Your check is in the mail!

How far would you go to escape abuse?

How far would you push to ensure that the abuse you had faced never happened to anyone you loved ever again?

Where would you draw the line between your life and the life of someone who was threatening your own?

In my never ending quest to defend (and my slight obsession with the character) Anders from Dragon Age 2, I’ve decided to take a step out onto a limb and discuss some of the reasons that, in addition to finding the lynchpin mage an exceptionally dynamic character, to explain why he makes complete sense to me. (more…)

Pop-Culture and Passing

“Passing” has always been a touchy subject for me. As a mixed-race person I have always felt as though I lived in a rather “damned if I do” place with regards to how I identify. My life experiences and upbringing were very much centered on my Native American heritage. My appearance, however, always made the acceptance of that by both myself and other people very difficult. It’s not easy to present as differently than you identify because there will always be plenty of people to tell you how you should identify. I am constantly reminded that because I present as white to their eye then I should accept that I am in fact a white person. There are two problems with this: I am not a white person, and it is not the decision of anyone outside of myself to decide how I get to identify. There is no proper way to present as a person of color/non-white person, and for anyone else to press a definition of what is or is not properly “of color” is unacceptable.

I don’t recall a ton of pop culture that deals specifically with the politics of being mixed race or presenting differently than you identify. It is one of the reasons that when I picked up and played Dragon Age II that I was so startled and taken with some of the missions surrounding the character Feynriel.

A screencap of a very pale young man with fair hair, light eyes, and very thin features, including a slender nose, and shallow-set eyes. He is meant to look half-human and half-elf, and should appear all human.Feynriel is a half-human/half-elf young man that you meet when his mother is distressed because he has come into magic in a way that has caused him to possibly become a danger to himself. A funny thing about Dragon Age is that the writers, most notably I imagine being David Gaider who wrote the novels where I noticed this lore most heavily played upon, have given us a situation where a person born of mixed-race origins will always present one way. In this case, a child born of one human and one elf parent will always present as human, and in a world lacking DNA science, there is no way to tell otherwise. Dragon Age provides us through the course of two novels and three games with two fairly prominent characters who depict this background. One I will not spoil for you if you are not aware of it or do not consider it canon (though to me it is completely obvious that this is in fact exactly his lineage and quite intentional). The other is Feynriel. They do, however present very differently.

Both are men, and one is the very picture of a stereotypically “ideal” looking man, while Feynriel looks far more elven. He has the narrower features, flatter forehead and more shallow set eyes of the elves in DAII. He is more fair and thin. I even found his ears to be slightly pointed. I found it interesting that both characters seemed to prove my basic idea that no mixed race person will every look exactly a certain way.

I wish that BioWare had taken a slightly less Caucasian approach to presenting a face of a mixed-race person, but in my mind the variation in features provides a little bit with me to work with that I might almost be willing to let that pass. Almost.

Feynriel’s second largest problem is that he doesn’t feel like he fits in anywhere. When he lives among humans he feels as though he stands out as obviously an elf (a point I found odd given that half-human/half-elf children should always look human, until I thought about it more). Considering that elves experience extreme levels of racial hatred and discrimination this is understandably an uncomfortable place for him to have lived his entire life. His first largest problem being that he is also a mage, subjecting him to hatred and fear above that status. Feynriel wants to live among the Dalish Elves, a nomadic clan of elves, and when (if) he is there, despite finding some help with his magical woes, he feels, again, that he stands out due to his human parentage.

Wow. Can I relate.

Feynriel made me feel a little like I could relate to that situation. Not quite ever belonging in one place or to any one people because no matter where you were someone was going to see you as the other. Additionally, his situation made me re-examine the thoughts that pounded instantly into my head when I watched his woes unfold before me. My initial reaction of “Hey! He looks awfully elf!” really hit home when I realized that that assumption is the very thing that I get upset with people for. I loathe people for telling me that I look very white, dismissing my Native background, and I had just done the same thing, albeit to a pixelated character, but done it all the same.

Chally at Zero at the Bone has written many great things about this topic, and I recommend this part three of a series she has written: The Privileges and Pains of Passing.

The Spirit Within

I have a new post in my series “The Games We Play” up at Bitch:

Horrible acts of violence, when linked to mental illness in pop culture, perpetuate the stigmatization of people with mental illness in real life as potentially violent. They give audiences the idea that it is OK to strip the rights of persons with disabilities because we could, at any moment, become a danger to the public, even if we never have before. All of the mages in Kirkwall were deemed in need of control because they were all going crazy, another stereotype of the mentally ill. Eventually their deaths were all called for, because they were deemed too much of a threat.

 

Read the rest here!

 

Also:  Access This

The Straight Male Gamer’s Privilege

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