Reading a book is a deeply personal experience, and though I know better and totally get the limitations of time and budget and the personal perspective of the writers/directors are different then mine, I get actively mad if what I see on screen isn’t what I experienced when reading. An example is Gollum (among other things) from LOTRs. He is so far from what I imagined it burned me and I was not fun to watch the movies with. (Don’t even mention The Hobbit)
This is why I’m reading the Song of Ice and Fire books after the corresponding season(s) of HBO’s GoT series. I love experiencing the story with a community in real time. I am actively struggling to keep from reading ahead and spoiling the fresh experience with my friends, family, and co workers. I love discussing theories on what will happen next or who will do what. I know all those answers are out there but Its a kind of culture that I don’t want to separate myself from.
I feel the pain when readers are upset when something goes off course and scream “But you don’t understand, its not like that!” and go off into a tangent about what it really is like. I would be that person. I don’t want the Gollum thing to happen again.
A major scene was spoiled for me while looking up a character I forgot about. It was kinda fun to see my boyfriends reaction when it happened. I’d imagine it kinda living vicariously through GRRM’s evil high as characters are murdered horribly and it sorta feels nice. Personally I’d rather feel the feels with my friends and family as a community as it happens.
Yes, I am sick of the many troupes such as the Alpha Male characters and Sexy large boobied women to have sex with in video games. A recent review had me thinking why I never seemed to have a problem with the WItcher Series, despite the many copious chested women that you can have sex with. In short the review complained that in The Witcher 2 you are forced to play as an alpha male character that sleeps with any female that moves. While I admire the movement of third wave Feminism and wait for the day that women are interesting developed characters rather then decoration and prizes I feel the reviewer was quick to lump the game with others of this archetype. (also i guess they were unaware that the games were based on a series of novels and short stories about said alpha male, and not all games, especially based of an already established story, can have a customizable character)
I will give the reviewer credit that yes in the FIRST Witcher game (which they did not mention) its actually really easy to accidentally sleep with half the women you talk to. Normally I would find this offensive but in this game the women actually truly just want to have sex because its fun or they’re a prostitute (more on that later). They don’t act like they owe Geralt, or are submitting to him or act like “I really shouldn’t but I want to” and there isn’t a shred of shame in having fun sex for the sake of having fun sex. Other then the type of awkward sex that goes on in video games (and replacing awkward animations with an awkward card collecting weirdness) the interactions leading to sex seem natural and fun. After thinking about it, American culture with sex=shame strikes me as kind of unhealthy. Growing up in that environment really fucked up my coming too as a women who enjoys sex. It took a long time to in a loving relationship to enjoy it as is rather excusing it (in my own head mind you) as making my boyfriend happy. I would have loved to have more examples where women’s sexuality is a normal, healthy, and fun thing rather then a sin.
One of my Favorite side characters, Margot.
I cannot remember any video game (wait Assassins Creed!) that I have played where a female Prostitute isn’t a slave or a girl who’s fallen on hard times and has submitted to prostitution because there is no other option in life for them.(Deus Ex, Wolf Among us, ect) If they don’t need saving they are shameful, drug addled awful, humans. Sometimes they are just background noise to establish that the main character is in a morally corrupt environment.
While I’m not ignorant this absolutely happens in real life (as i wont deny disrespect to women and rape which is also prevalent through out the series) its a much refreshing view to side of the story of the worlds oldest profession, the sex worker.
In Witcher 2 I even witnessed a mob stand up for the local Madam Margot who sassed talked the sheriff. “Margot is a good women!” A good women! Not a women in trouble, just a good person who is also a prostitute. I cannot think of one other time that his happened in all the media I have absorbed. It’s described she is even adored by the town of Flotsam. She is a strong character, witty and sassy, a hard business women who is loving to her workers rather then exploitative (another trope) She’s is also older and beautiful, not washed up and desperate like most older prostitutes are portrayed. She is not background noise but rather an important part to story, depending on which path you take. It still doesn’t shy from the troubles that comes with the profession but doesn’t focus on them.
I think it is worth mentioning In the first game you are hired by a Knight to look for his little sister who he believed was forced into prostitution. Geralt later discovers she fled to the cat house, seeing it as a life of independence and freedom rather then be fated to married off to some old lord of her families choosing.
During the time period when the series takes place, women really weren’t allowed to have independent jobs unless it was in connection with helping out you’re family. Prostitution was pretty much the only career that allowed women freedom to not be property of their family or husbands and many women choose it rather then servitude. Many real life prostitutes in history started to pave the way for women’s rights. They used their profession to gain power with men in power by using their talents as really amazing lovers.
While I did not choose to sleep with any other women so I can’t talk about them, in Witcher 2 the sex scene with Geralt and Triss was as beautiful as weird polygon sex could possibly be. It was as free and fun as sex between two lovers should be. Triss is a free women, not indebted or ashamed in her enjoyment. Having sex with women in video games is not the problem. Beautiful women is not the problem. Making them prizes or limiting their role as the girlfriend is. This is not what Triss is. (Or Yen who we will meet in Witcher 3 if you haven’t read the books)
While the women are at time where the story takes place, servitude was expected I felt none of the women were weak character, villans and heros and all those in between. Saskia, Triss, Yen, Ciri, and even Eilheart are women I can actually admire. Dressing them up in pretty or revealing clothes does not change that. Their sexuality does not change that. I would love to dress like that and openly be free with my sexuality and not give a flying fuck what others think. If anything, many of them men really seemed emotionally charged, stupid and weak, often being defeated by their own stubbornness and arrogance.
While I’m at it, most of the villains (many who died horrible deaths) where the tyipical alpha male. They weren’t even very developed as villains go. I do believe that Geralt is far from the archetypal alpha male. I also admit my feelings are rooted after what I read in the novels. I cannot be unbiased to the character in the games without knowing a more intimate history.
Generally he stumbles where life takes him, almost never taking charge of any situation that doesn’t involved protecting is friends or hunting monsters. He hides under the excuse that his humanity was taken from him going under the witcher mutation, only proving over and over its kind of bullshit. If I had to summon the series thus far (english translation) its about a man trying really fucking hard to stay neutral (until its to late) and is frustrated why everyone hates him for it. While I know the game can portray him by his actions alone rather then his internal narrative I cannot unread Geralt as hopelessly lost in unrequited love. I cannot unread him as an adorable idiot when it comes to some basic human interactions. Dandelion, the fashionable bard who screams in perfect tenor, is more of an alpha male (except to fighting) then Geralt. At least Dandelion fights and risks his life for when he believes which is imop why Geralt values his friendship so much.
I don’t know why that review bothered me so much. While I understand there are issues within the game I feel it was unjustified to write off something so complex so quickly.
If anything I have a much bigger concern with fantasy in general in regards to dealing with race issues and passing off an actual people with elves and dwarves instead of different nationalities and skin color. I feel its a cowardly work around rather then having minorities, possibly built on Tolkin-esq foundations at a time where that would have been inappropriate.
Okey- rant is now done.