How do you feel about Dorian Pavus' homosexuality?

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spiritbomb

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So, by now, many are familiar with Dorian Pavus being an exclusive romance to male inquisitors and his gay orientation. To the uninitiated, Dorian Pavus is a romance option for only male inquisitors and will not be romancable with female. This stirred a lot of controversy with some video game commentators applauding this decision. Other video game commentators, such as MundaneMatt, question why Dorian was advertised as a gay character to begin with and whether it should matter at all.

Before, many video game commentators raise the question of whether the presence of homosexuals should even be raised as an issue. Many say that “you should write gay characters; you should write great characters who happen to be gay.” Indeed, homosexuality or bisexuality doesn’t even become an issue when romancing Iron Bull, Sera or Josephine. However, what happens when the character’s homosexuality is integral or makes up a large part of the character, such as Dorian?

Other video game commenters, such as StarduskLP (whom I respect, since he's done analysis on Dragon Age Inquisition.) say that Dorian's sexuality was perhaps too heavy handed.

Do you believe Bioware made a good representation of gay characters when they wrote Dorian? Was it forced? Was it heavy-handed? Was it too on the nose? What are your thoughts?

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Milkman

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I haven't played the game so I can't comment on this specific case but in general, I don't see any problem with a character's sexuality being a big part of who they are or their characterization. If being gay had an influence on a character's backstory, then that should be important.

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GERALTITUDE

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#3  Edited By GERALTITUDE

I think they represented that character fine. I think the statement "made a good representation of gay characters" is a little dangerous...

One gay character in one game has nothing to do with all gay characters in all games. This is just one single character. Every straight character is not a representation of all straight people. Every black character is not a representation of black people. That is one character, one person, end of story. The biggest problem in our times is we look at a character like Dorian and say "he is a representation of gay people" - no, he is a gay person ; Bayonetta is not a representation of women, she is *a* woman; Shaheen is not a representation brown people, he is *A* brown person.

Now that is not to say that representations of minorities are maybe not more important. Because there are fewer representations, each one speaks louder. But still.

To say that the game shouldn't care they are gay is a little ridiculous when in real life people's parents/friends/randos really *do* care if you are gay or not and obviously that affects your life in both past and future.

Dorian is a decent character. Gay or not I just didn't use him that much in my party. It would have been interesting if all characters' sexuality was a little more central to their stories. People deny this but often in life sex is a huge part of who you are.

Frankly I think it is a good decision to advertise Dorian as gay. Unfortunately our world is full of hate towards gay people and to have a large, mainstream company making big, bad ass games full of gayness - *and* publicly promoting them as such probably does do some good. Though yes, it will bring out shittyness too. Hard to say honestly, but at the very least I am not against Dorian. Iron Bull gives you the other side of this conversation. He is bisexual and who gives a flying F he's Iron Bull. So really I feel like Dragon Age gives you both ends: the character to whom gayness is integral, and those to whom it is ancillary.

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ShadyPingu

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This topic belongs in the Dragon Age: Inquisition board. Hopefully a mod will remedy this shortly.

As for Dorian... saying that a character's sexuality shouldn't be "an issue" is a perspective advantageous to heterosexuals. It's easy to shrug your shoulders at the whole thing from a position of great social advantage. Sexuality is a huge part of a person's life experience, doubly so if they find themselves outside established cultural norms. No reason why it shouldn't be more than a passing reference.

The world of Dragon Age doesn't seem to give a shit who you have sex with, which is perfectly valid, as the prejudices of this fictional world don't have to reflect our own; the exception is when one's sexuality interferes with the accumulation of social capital, such as the birthing of heirs. That was the case with Dorian's loyalty quest, and I had no objections with them broaching that issue. We can discuss whether Dorian's arc was well-done or not (personally, I found the idea of a blood magic-fueled "straight camp" to be a bit silly), but questioning whether they should've brought it up at all seems a pretty myopic viewpoint.

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Zevvion

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#5  Edited By Zevvion

This thread confuses me on so many levels.

First, I didn't realize if a character was written as gay he was immediately meant to be a representation of gay men. I haven't played Inquisition, but does that mean that if this Dorian character is evil, all gay men are seen as evil? Doesn't make sense to me.

Next, I didn't realize that putting a gay character in your game means you are 'raising an issue'. Can't you just write a gay character because it happened to make sense how you saw the story and setting go; as a writer? Which, while on that point, you point out that many 'applauded' this character being written as gay, just because he is gay, and others say you should write positive gay characters? That is ridiculous. You shouldn't do anything but write a great story. If that story happened to have a character in it that was gay because it made sense, then go for it. If that story happens to have exclusively gay characters in it because it made sense, then that's fine too. If it doesn't have any gay characters in it at all because that made sense, then that is also fine.

Maybe this 'issue' confuses me because I live in a free country, but that's what it does. Besides, there have been gay characters before, so that makes it all the more confusing. Lesbian and gay guy in Mass Effect 3, lesbian in Gone Home, and more.

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Cerberus3Dog

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#6  Edited By Cerberus3Dog

Yo, I think Dorian is a baller. I think if you proposed this same topic with the other gay (lesbian) character, Sera, people would realize that making a good representation of gay characters and making a good character do not go hand in hand.

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DonChipotle

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@zevvion said:

Lesbian and gay guy in Mass Effect 3, lesbian in Gone Home, and more.

The difference being the gay guy in Mass Effect 3 was a really bad character who was practically defined only by his sexuality and Dorian is actually a good character that happens to be gay.

I have to wonder why people aren't raising a fuss over Sera. She's a lesbian.

Calling Dorian the 'gay character' is some backwards shit and once people realize that defining people by who they are attracted to is kind of fucked we'll all be better off. Personally I thought Dorian was one of the better party members, and I appreciated how he was one step away from winking and nodding to the camera, specifically to the people that make a big deal out of this. He literally says something along the lines of "It's not like I introduce myself like that. 'Hello, my name is Dorian, I like men!' Maybe I should, it's all people seem to care about."

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Jazz_Lafayette

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The prior commenters have summarized my thoughts pretty accurately. I'll add that it grates me to no end when I see/hear rhetoric like "does anyone still care?" or "it's not a big deal, get over yourself." It takes a tremendous amount of wilful ignorance to not understand how deeply people can be disadvantaged by inherent biology; visually apparent or not.

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Zevvion

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#9  Edited By Zevvion

@donchipotle said:

@zevvion said:

Lesbian and gay guy in Mass Effect 3, lesbian in Gone Home, and more.

The difference being the gay guy in Mass Effect 3 was a really bad character who was practically defined only by his sexuality and Dorian is actually a good character that happens to be gay.

I didn't think he was that bad of a character, he was just not fleshed out and a little flat. I don't see why there is suddenly a huge difference. I haven't played Inquisition, but I fail to see how Dorian being supposedly a good, well thought out character makes him being written as gay suddenly a big deal and he must be an accurate representation for gay men and whatnot. Just doesn't make any sense.

@jack_lafayette It takes a tremendous amount of wilful ignorance to not understand how deeply people can be disadvantaged by inherent biology; visually apparent or not.

We are talking about a very specific situation here. Nobody is saying being gay isn't a big deal in whatever society you live in. But just because this character is written as gay, doesn't make it a big deal per se.

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korwin

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I didn't feel anything about it either way, is what it is.

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pweidman

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#12  Edited By pweidman

Dorian is a character in DAI that is very well done imo; he's well voiced, has well written dialogue, and his back story is very interesting. He happens to be gay. Don't think it was heavy handed at all, and I found his character to be pretty damn compelling. Good on Bioware. Other characters were also well done and very compelling in DAI. Why are we singling Dorian out again?

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Oldirtybearon

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Dorian's a cool dude. I liked having him in my party because he's a cool dude. We were ballin' all over Thedas and it was a really good time.

I'm not even sure what this thread is about; I just like Dorian.

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RonGalaxy

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#14  Edited By RonGalaxy

I didn't even really know he was completely gay until you just told me. I gathered he was into guys after awhile of playing the game, but I just assumed he was bi. Where/when was he advertised as gay?

Also, he's my go to mage. Also one of my favorite party members

Edit: oh wait, is this a spoiler? Please mark spoilers when posting

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TheHT

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Dorian is a great character.

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Nasar7

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Dorian was one of my favorite characters in DA:I. I didn't even realize he was gay until I saw it in a FAQ. The bromance was strong with my inquisitor.

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nasp

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i think he is one of the best characters in the game.

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The_Ruiner

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Dorian's a great character. He's hilarious, charming, well dressed and kind of an asshole. He happens to like having sex with men and only men. In a game where the fan based has a billion questions (via twitter, tumblr, and forums) about who's romancable and by whom, I think Bioware was just keeping people informed.

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ShadyPingu

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#19  Edited By ShadyPingu

@geraltitude said:

I think they represented that character fine. I think the statement "made a good representation of gay characters" is a little dangerous...

One gay character in one game has nothing to do with all gay characters in all games. This is just one single character. Every straight character is not a representation of all straight people. Every black character is not a representation of black people. That is one character, one person, end of story. The biggest problem in our times is we look at a character like Dorian and say "he is a representation of gay people" - no, he is a gay person ; Bayonetta is not a representation of women, she is *a* woman; Shaheen is not a representation brown people, he is *A* brown person.

Now that is not to say that representations of minorities are maybe not more important. Because there are fewer representations, each one speaks louder. But still.

I'd say people's tendency to extrapolate singular minority representations to the entire group is a big reason for why there are fewer of them.

Nathan Drake's portrayal will only be perceived to reflect upon him, because he is in many ways the default protagonist for an action story. A character like Dorian, though, who occupies a group you could say is nonstandard, will be taken by some portion of the audience as a reflection of the entire group, which has the potential to go nuclear if people believe you got the character "wrong". That's some risky shit right there for an industry that has every reason to avoid it.

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stryker1121

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#20  Edited By stryker1121

It doesn't matter to me. Dorian's flamboyant but there's nothing pandering about him. His sexuality doesn't define him, in my limited interactions with the character thus far.

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csl316

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*shrugs*

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Karkarov

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#22  Edited By Karkarov

What does the fact that Dorian is gay mean to me? Absolutely nothing.

Like all well written, well performed characters he comes off believable, someone you can relate to on some level, and likable/dislikable for different reasons. He is one of the best characters in the game but his sexuality has nothing to do with it at all, it is just part of who he is. He is not a gay character named Dorian, he is a character named Dorian oh and he happens to be gay. Though I think being from the house Pavus, a Tevinter mage who was expected to join their mage council, pressured into a political marriage he didn't want, and at heart being a patriot despite it all probably have a ton more to do with defining his character than his sexuality.

I have to say I find it funny no one makes a big deal out of the fact that Sera is a lesbian.

EDIT: Oh PS - he is not romancable by a male inquisitor only. If you aren't involved with him or Iron Bull they actually have a fling later in the game. Not kidding. Also his sexuality is not in your face. I could easily see a player going through the whole game, just not doing his ally missions, and never even knowing he is gay. Even after he reveals it he never puts it in your face are rarely talks about it.

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ThatOneDudeNick

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I haven't get that deep into the game. Is it a character that just happens to be gay? Or is it like "Look, we put a gay guy in here! Look at him!"

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ShadyPingu

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@karkarov: I get the impression that Sera isn't exactly the most warmly-received Bioware character ever, so maybe no one wants to discuss her. It's also true that, unlike Dorian, Sera's sexuality is largely incidental to her character "arc".

But I suspect - and this is quite cynical, I admit - that whatever the particulars, gay female characters just don't raise the gaming community's hackles like gay males do.

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EthanielRain

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I dislike when people say things like "the first black/gay/female..." or what have you. Unless it's pertinent to a specific discussion, highlighting that stuff always seems racist/sexist/etc and makes me feel weird. "Dorian is a great character" as opposed to "Dorian is a great gay character".

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Brodehouse

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#26  Edited By Brodehouse

I think him being gay is awesome, but I think the bug where his personal quest doesn't trigger, thus making it impossible for him and my dwarf to get it on, totally sucks. They were eye-fucking each other for the entire game but noooooo....

Y'all motherfuckers apparently need to tune your gaydars.

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MEATBALL

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#27  Edited By MEATBALL

Commenting from a straight white male perspective: from what I've played so far he's a great character (one of my favourites) and there hasn't even been any kind of hint of what his sexual orientation may or may not be, so it seems to be handled pretty well in that they're not being all classless about it like "HEY, HERE'S YOUR RESIDENT MALE HOMOSEXUAL OPTION!!" (mind you it probably wouldn't be an issue if he introduced himself with "Yo, I'm Dorian and I love the D!", that's cool too if it's consistent with his character, man).

I really like that Dorian is a character with actual preferences/orientation and not just something that molds to the player like in previous games. That's something that Dragon Age Inquisition seems to do pretty well in general, where in Dragon Age II it felt like everyone was just down to bone no matter what. By all means have whatever sexual orientation whether that be gay/straight/bi/multitude of other orientations, but make them actual characters and not just things that bend to the players' will come romance option time.

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Dan_CiTi

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I didn't know until I played the game, he's a good character. That being said if they did market it (in a token way) that's a bummer, but it is cool to have him just existing in the game.

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Jazz_Lafayette

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I dislike when people say things like "the first black/gay/female..." or what have you. Unless it's pertinent to a specific discussion, highlighting that stuff always seems racist/sexist/etc and makes me feel weird. "Dorian is a great character" as opposed to "Dorian is a great gay character".

It's notable because there are so few decent homosexual characters in our media, and especially in video games. Sometimes I seek out notable minority roles specifically because they still feel like a novelty to me - which is fucking crazy - and that type of critical language is helpful for people like me who are trying to gauge whether a character is another lame stereotype or someone they can invest themselves in.

I'd read it as "Dorian is a good gay character, and that's worth mention" rather than "for a gay character, Dorian suffices."

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nophilip

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#30  Edited By nophilip

I think Dorian's great! He's really entertaining. Upon recruiting him to the party, I immediately swapped him in for Solas (Solas was a dick about my Dalish heritage). I enjoy all the catty arguments he gets in with Vivienne. I also liked it when I found out that he and Iron Bull started their own fling. Why don't more games like this have relationships that can happen with people other than the main character?

I feel like Bioware did a pretty good job in this game in regards to the sexuality of its characters. Most LGBT people I've met in real life don't go out of their way to constantly inform you of their sexuality. I don't see why a video game character needs to either.

EDIT: Also, Sera is the worst.

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emfromthesea

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I really liked Dorian. His sarcastic, charming nature made him very likable. Though homosexuality plays heavily into his story arc, it doesn't encompass the entire character. It's a part of him just like Cassandra having a feminine side is a part of her.

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SethPhotopoulos

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I didn't know he was gay. I played as a female and flirted with him a little.

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triplestan

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#33  Edited By triplestan
@zevvion said:

First, I didn't realize if a character was written as gay he was immediately meant to be a representation of gay men.

I think this is the heart of the matter. Each given person will have their own baggage associated with their sexuality, and I think the fact that Dorian has quite a bit of said baggage justifies the emphasis on his sexuality. Contrast that with Sera's homosexuality or Iron Bull's bisexuality, which are clearly not as big a deal to them, and it only makes it seem more real. Just as an individual gay or lesbian person does not represent all gay or lesbian people, Dorian does not automatically represent all gay video game characters.

Bioware (and specifically David Gaider) is great at writing characters that almost feel alive, which is one of the reasons Dorian might be my favorite character from Inquisition. It's exceptionally commendable that in Dorian they've addressed the fact that, for some gay people, being accepted as gay isn't always easy.

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DefaultProphet

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such as MundaneMatt,

You lost me

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HatKing

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#35  Edited By HatKing

Games media froths for every droplet of information they can post to their homepage pre-release and then complain about companies advertising. Fuck that.

Anyway, they didn't do too good of a job advertising the fact because I didn't know the man was gay until the conversation with his father. I thought it was handled well. A little on the nose, but tasteful nonetheless. It gave a depth to the character that I appreciate, and he went from somebody I didn't give a shit about in the game to one that I started going out of my way to talk to.

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Redhotchilimist

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I like Dorian. He's confident, flamboyant, fun, flirty, ultimately a good person who wishes to help others and has a lot of righteous anger going on. The conflict he had with his father(and in my case, how they began talking again) felt believable and was appropriate for the setting(If they have changed something major about Tevinter since the first game, I can't recall it). Didn't romance him, and I did romance Bull, so I also lost out on some scenes and I wish there was more of him. Thought he was an interesting contrast to Vivienne, who's also a confident, arrogant mage with about the same amount of scenes, but her "my dear"s and personal story couldn't hold a candle to Dorian's personality and history. That's my impression as a white, straight man, so take it for what little it's worth. This wasn't the case for everyone in this thread, apparently, but from the moment I saw a video of him I just assumed he was gay, because he reminded me of how I picture Freddie Mercury.

I think it's fine if Bioware wants to advertise this, also. Having interesting characters of different sexual orientations that you can get with is pretty much the strongest pillar they have got, and it's a part of every Bioware game I have played. They have a fanbase that was going to ask those questions.

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beforet

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#39  Edited By beforet

See, my only problem with Dorian is that it seems like his romance scenes got the shaft. I watched my roommate play DA, and he essentially flirted with everyone until something stuck, which was Dorian. And when he started dating Dorian, most of the minor romance scenes were bugged, and what scenes he did get were underwhelming. He got more romantic, datey scenes with Sera, and he was obviously playing a man!

As for Bioware going a little hard on his marketing, maybe, but I'm willing to give them a slide. Bioware is one of the only AAA developers willing to reach for the bare minimum of inclusiveness and diversity, so I'm not going to fault them for it. And honestly, gay characters along with all other LGBTQ could use a bit more publicity in that way.

Also, like someone else here pointed out, Dorian was the only LGBTQ character for whom their sexuality was a significant part of their story and arc. And that's great, because there were several LGBTQ characters! It would be bad if Dorian was the ONLY not-heternomative character, because then DA would be following the trend of "there can be only one gay character and everything about that character must center around their sexuality and how it makes them miserable". But, because there's quantity and diversity in the cast, they have space to tell multiple kinds of stories with them, including a story that heavily addresses the character's sexuality.

I'm not entirely certain what my point was from start to finish, so in short, yeah, Bioware was clumsy with Dorian. That is without a doubt. But it's a step, maybe even a baby step, in the right direction, so I'm gonna give them a pass. Dragon Age: Inquisition has plenty of other things to criticize.

Edit: Full Disclosure - White, heterosexual, cisgendered male here, so take my word for whatever that's worth to you.

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Grelik

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Poor developers. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Dorian was my favourite character. I never finished the game, and only now reading this thread am I learning he is gay.

Still the cool guy I thought he was.

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JasonR86

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Horny? Attracted? Aroused?

Honestly he was my favorite character in the game. If you don't like him we have problems kid.

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Corevi

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#42  Edited By Corevi

He's the second best character in the game.

Bros 4 Lyfe.

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Nardak

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I dont judge people by their sexual orientation but by the way that they behave.

Some of the greatest men in human history have been gays (like Alexander the Great, Alan Turing etc.).

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Vamino

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#44  Edited By Vamino

@nophilip said:

EDIT: Also, Sera is the worst.

Care to expand on this? I'm honestly just curious because I see a lot of people hating on Sera and personally I really liked her. Is it just because she acts immaturely?

Edit: On topic, I thought Dorian was awesome. Always one of my go to characters. Infact, one I had him, Sera and Iron Bull, those three never left my party unless they HAD to.

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Lab392

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Wait. So "MundaneMatt" doesn't care that the character is gay, but he makes an 8 minute video about it? I mean, the "big deal" that he thinks people are making about it amounts to two small paragraphs from one of Inquisition's writers. He totally compares that to a gay pride parade.

That whole video smacks of overreaction.

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nophilip

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@vamino said:

Care to expand on this? I'm honestly just curious because I see a lot of people hating on Sera and personally I really liked her. Is it just because she acts immaturely?

I can't stand her attitude. I don't like that she acts immaturely. I feel like the writers intended for her to be funny, but nearly everything she says and does rubs me the wrong way. I don't like her manner of speech. I don't think her voice acting is up to the same quality as most of the rest of the stuff in the game. She's easily my least favorite character in the game and might be my least favorite video game character since Claptrap.

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Vamino

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@nophilip said:

@vamino said:

Care to expand on this? I'm honestly just curious because I see a lot of people hating on Sera and personally I really liked her. Is it just because she acts immaturely?

I can't stand her attitude. I don't like that she acts immaturely. I feel like the writers intended for her to be funny, but nearly everything she says and does rubs me the wrong way. I don't like her manner of speech. I don't think her voice acting is up to the same quality as most of the rest of the stuff in the game. She's easily my least favorite character in the game and might be my least favorite video game character since Claptrap.

Fair enough. Thanks for the explanation. I did find her to be funny, so I can see how if it didn't work for you she would not be a strong character at all. I liked the way a couple of her conversations essentially had you jokingly insulting her because that's the way she works. It reminded me of chatting shit with friends I've known for years and how joking insults among good friends aren't insults at all. I also thought her voice acting was really solid, so I'm definitely a bit more perplexed by that.

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joshwent

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I've finally got around to playing Saints Row 4 and so far my female Boss has "Romanced" one guy, two ladies, a robot, and I'm gonna keep hitting X until Keith David gives in to my Pompadored seduction.

Why is every gay character in a game still a deeply ponderous point of inquiry for straight people?

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Humanity

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I didn't really feel one way or another about it honestly. Apart from the one sidequest involving his family I didn't see it ever come up, although I also didn't use him too often in my party opting for Solas instead. So it worked as it should in real life: it was his thing that he didn't seem necessary to mention every other moment and it was something that really made no difference to me either way.

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Hunter5024

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I like that Dorian's backstory is heavily influenced by his sexual preference. I don't understand why people want characters who "just happen to be" gay (or black, or transexual or whatever). If you're going to make a character gay, it's more interesting if you do something with it. Isn't the whole point of asking for a more diverse set of characters so we can get more varied and unique stories?