(Spoiler Warning: Some of the information below includes plot spoilers and some character/romance spoilers. Read at your own risk/leisure.)
I have started two games on Dragon Age 2 and have made many different decisions regarding storylines etc. Most of the time, my choices are easy as I like to remain polite, diplomatic, and sometimes funny. However, something I can’t seem to change yet is my ability to want to romance other characters. I know I’ll eventually do it, but I just can’t resist the rogue, pirate Isabella. She’s so damn charming. All the other characters are moody or tortured while Isabella is laid-back and sassy. What does this say about me? I don’t know. But, I thought I’d take a moment to recap my character’s romance with Isabella and why she’s just so irresistible and deeper than people might give her credit for.
Our First Meeting
My first encounter with Isabella was at The Hanged Man – Kirkwall’s popular hang-out for well…everyone. It seems to be the only hang-out where you can get an alcoholic beverage. (And indeed, you can order and drink some beer here. Unfortunately, no obligatory drunkenness results like it does in Fable where you run around until you throw up. Bioware’s keeping it classy.)
Isabella is sitting at the bar slugging down a drink and receiving some major flak from a group of bandits. They want their monies and they want it now. As threats start flying, she’s had enough and manages to single-handedly beat the crap out of the entire group. After scaring off the remaining bandits, she coolly turns around and gets back to her drink like nothing happened. So badass.
When the time came for me to walk up and say hi, I was ready to do whatever it took to impress her and have her join my party. (My party being the team of people that fight evil with me. That is, NOT a social event. Come on, I’m not that desperate.) She mentioned she needed some help and without hesitation, I agreed. After a relatively short jog through the streets of Hightown, I helped her get rid of some “trouble”. And thus began our journey and courtship.
My general interactions with Isabella were either nice or playful. I was never rude or stern with her. Some time in Act 2, my character does the deed with Isabella and they start to fall in love. (Well, in my opinion.) Isabella opens up about her past and how she was sold by her mother into a loveless marriage. It was then that she fell in love with a man who ended up assassinating her husband and became a captain of her own ship.
Isabella is truly a bisexual woman. She likes men and women with equal zeal. Bioware made a woman who seems to be in control of her sexuality and still fully capable of having a serious relationship. This isn’t evident at first, but her character is willing to grow with the decisions you make throughout the game. And I think this is why I like her so much. She seems the most honest out of everyone you meet. The other characters are crafted to react to you whether gay or straight but Isabella openly talks about her sexuality. She seems to have a good sense of who she is but still struggles with her identity and opening herself up to people. Even the other characters in my party will banter with her and make references to her sexually fluid status. (That is, how she likes having sex with tons of people – calling her a prostitute, etc.) But she handles it with ease and always has a clever retort back at them. Isabella shows that she can experience love, regret, and good old fashioned feelings for people. Her confidence is through the roof and that’s really, really sexy.
Betrayal and Redemption
On our long road together, Isabella is constantly looking for a relic that will get this dude Castillon off her back. As the story goes, apparently Isabella let a bunch of slaves go that were being delivered to Castillon and her ship was attacked and so on and so forth. Apparently, to make up for this betrayal – Castillon instructed Isabella to steal this relic. We don’t find out until later that the relic is actually the thing keeping the Qunari in Kirkwall. In other words, Isabella is starting a mother effin’ war.
Isabella eventually comes clean about what the relic actually is and I reacted with some hurt and sadness over her deception. WE WERE IN LOVE. When I tell her to do the noble thing, she begrudgingly agrees. Cue Isabella running off with the relic and leaving me in the dust to deal with the Qunari. A war breaks out and I end up running through Kirkwall trying to patch everything up, killing tons of Quanri, still scorned from Isabella’s betrayal.
Once I finally reached the Arishok (the leader of the Qunari), he informs me that he’d pretty much had enough and in general…people suck. Very angsty. Luckily, Isabella storms in at this point and returns the relic. She felt compelled to after I had convinced her to “do the right thing.” True love wins! But the Quanri wish to take her with them to pay for her crimes. Thus begins a duel for my love.
I won. I’m just gonna leave it at that and show you the picture to see what I had to go through.
Continuing On and True Love 4 Ever
Isabella’s approval rating goes down a bit when you meet back up with her in Act 3. I don’t really remember why she was upset at me. (Ah isn’t that how it happens in real life?) I think it might’ve been because she had to deal with Castillon – but I dealt with him too. I haven’t gotten much farther as I’m really sad about having to beat the game. I think I keep sabotaging myself so it won’t ever end. I just love this game so much. Eventually, Isabella will completely and utterly fall for me. It’s inevitable.
But as I said, Isabella is a complex character who isn’t given the credit that’s due to her. Sure, she can be a stereotypical fantasy with her busty and scantily clad look. But, I find her personality to be much more attractive. She’s confident, honest, believable, and sweet. (And she has a good heart. Remember how she let those slaves go?) Like I said before – it’s hard not to romance such a likeable character. So, if you’re looking to play this game and want to know who to romance, don’t write off Isabella as the typical choice.
I think I’m going to stop writing now. I live a very happy life but just noticed how long this post actually was. While I adore this character, my analysis is purely an homage to a lovely character. (Lest any of you actually believe I think I live in Kirkwall.)