Note: This is the second in a series of articles exploring the diverse cast of BioWare’s Dragon Age: Inquisition. The following contains details from all points of Dorian’s sub-plot in Dragon Age: Inquisition, including his ultimate romance sub-quest.
Characters who are members of marginalised classes often get a raw deal when it comes to personal storylines, narratives and histories. Gay characters, for example, often occupy a very tricky position in media: focusing too heavily on the fact that the character is gay can make them seem trite, stereotyped or farcical; however, downplaying, dismissing or outright ignoring their sexuality and its impact on their lives can be detrimental for wholly other reasons, making them “gay enough” that the character counts for some token diversity, while not being “too gay” to cause any boredom, discomfort or disgust in bigoted audience members, who can then relish the character as one of those character who’s gay, but like, it’s not even a thing, and that’s some real good gay representation there. Or, y’know, maybe not.
Dorian is the first companion in Bioware’s Dragon Age series who was specifically written for, and will only romantically engage with, a male protagonist. Although this may seem like just a cursory piece of programming – a “rainbow” flag, if you like – the inclusion of a gay male character whose sexuality IS totally, like, a thing, is powerful: even moreso when the storylines that focus on their sexuality are impactful and meaningful, but at the same time not a trope-laden rehash of irrelevant, inappropriate or misunderstood aspects of gay identity as we’re so often obliged to be thankful to receive.