It’s common to want to settle your differences with someone you don’t see eye to eye with. The negative energy ruminating in your brain just isn’t worth it for every person. But maybe, sometimes, it’s enough to reconcile with a video game character you don’t like.
I love Dragon Age II despite its flaws, but it took me three playthroughs to like the character Fenris. Deep down, I knew that I had the capacity to like him, but during my first two playthroughs, I just couldn’t do it. For those who haven’t played the game, Fenris gets confrontational with every single other party member when banter is triggered. It felt like whenever I had him tag along, he would find some way to start something with another character and I would quickly redirect myself towards the nearest party select spot.
Then I started my third run of the game, which I was set on making the best playthrough possible in preparation for my second playthrough of Dragon Age: Inquisition. (Yes, I know, I have a problem.) Part of my vision for this run was befriending all of the characters, even Fenris- no, especially Fenris. I’d also like to mention the fact that I was playing as a mage, which, long story short, makes him double grumpy.
Despite this extra obstacle between him and my character, I did my damndest to be as sympathetic and understanding to him as possible. And you know what? He started to do the same. I expected him to roll his eyes at my snarky jokes, but he added on to them. When I listened to his opinions on magic, while also acknowledging how his past trauma informed them, he tried to see my character’s side of things, too.
Fenris toasted to my Hawke, proudly stating, “a finer mage I have never met,” and I somehow felt at peace. I could finally see what many other fans saw in their beloved favorite and take part in their shared affection.