“What… what if he was your son? Surely, you would move mountains to save him!” – Isolde, Dragon Age Origins.
The picture above is from the Redcliffe Castle story arc in the game Dragon Age Origins, the section follows the emergence of undead after a demon has possessed a young boy with magical abilities. The boy’s name is Connor and the plot line can be resolved by either attacking the demon in its world by performing a special ritual or by killing the boy which banishes the demon.
This particular quote caught my attention when I was doing an evil character playthrough that led me to murdering children for role playing purposes. Isolde is Connor’s mother, standing in the way of a warrior armed to the teeth while unarmed she begs for his life while knowing that he harbours the demon and has brought ruin to the town.
A mother’s love, the strength to stand for the child no matter what he has done. Even a fantasy video game touches on something so special and true to life. I’ve seen pride in the eyes of women I know when they talk about their children, I’ve seen my parents smiling like the Cheshire Cat watching my school plays when I was younger and I’ve heard stories about sheep tearing wolves apart to protect their young. Something strange that’s built into almost everything alive that just has a beauty, a purity you’d struggle to find elsewhere.
Something happens in a DLC quest too relating to a child being possessed by a demon, in that situation the player can stop it happening without killing a child. In that quest the demon wishes to live as the girl, knowing her father wouldn’t notice the possession for the joy of having her back. Again the strength of a parents love.
Dragon Age is quite good at letting the player make or reverse decisions so you can take back your actions or you can knock Isolde unconscious to murder the boy. Although so many stories dwell on racism or similar issues, the writing here is so good that they cleverly address one of the more beautiful things in life even though the game world is shrouded in darkness. Brilliant.