When the movie version of Jenny Han’s novel To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before hit Netflix, I wasted no time in hitting the couch with a bowl of popcorn. Han and I graduated from the same high school, so I’d read the sweet, poignant novel years before. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before tells the story of Lara Jean, a high schooler whose secret, unsent love letters to her crushes get mailed.
And the movie is—dare I say it—even better than the book! The budding romance! The awkwardness! The longing!
The movie reminded me right away of a few more love stories: every romance option in a BioWare game. As Lara Jean relived each of her crushes through the letters, so, too, did I think back to all my crushes on companion characters with sweet smiles and tragic backstories.
So, to all the BioWare boys (and girls!) I’ve loved before: here are my declarations of adoration, confusion, and love-hate.
To All the BioWare Boys I’ve Loved Before
Bastila Shan – Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
I was going to start this list off with Carth Onasi, but who am I kidding? I didn’t have a crush on Carth. I had a crush on you, Bastila. I hadn’t figured out that it was chill to have crushes on other women yet, so I told all my friends I just felt admiration towards you. And you were admirable! You could kick an entire army’s butt with your mind. You were always honest, even if it meant other people didn’t like you. And you knew how to wield a double-bladed lightsaber.
It was more than that, though. Your blue eyes! Your clipped, polished voice! Your flashes of vulnerability! Your oddly attractive hairstyle! It was enough to make a hormonal tween swoon, and swoon I did. Frequently.
Kaidan Alenko – Mass Effect/Mass Effect 2/Mass Effect 3
Ah, Kaidan. My white-bread, vanilla boy. I romanced you in the first Mass Effect game because I thought your biotic abilities were indicative of a more complex romance arc. I was wrong. You are predictable.
Thing is, though, predictable is not bad. Mass Effect fans love to hate you, Kaidan, but I thought you brought the balance and calm that Shepard needed. I mean. Girl is out there constantly putting her life on the line for the galaxy. She needs someone who is going to do her laundry, order some intergalactic Pad Thai, and convince her to watch a few episodes of Queer Eye in between missions. You would totally do that, Kaidan.
Also, your eyebrows are strong and thick. Like our love.
Thane Krios – Mass Effect 2/Mass Effect 3
I like my men like I like my cold-pressed juices, which is to say: green, powerful, and really, really extra.
Thane, you are a man of mystery, and I am into that. You are strong and sensitive. You can knock an enemy out in a matter of seconds, and you can also recite your memories as if they’re poetry. You’re sort of a downer, though. Like, have you ever laughed? Is it physically possible for drell to laugh?
Look, I get it. You had a terminal illness, which you dealt with heroically. (The deathbed scene in Mass Effect 3 had me weeping buckets.) But slap a black, shaggy wig on you and you could have been mistaken for a member of My Chemical Romance.
Garrus Vakarian – Mass Effect/Mass Effect 2/Mass Effect 3
Garrus, my lizardy love. I thought it was weird to have a crush on you until I realized that every player adored you. You look like a Komodo dragon wearing a mech suit, but your voice! Wry! Sweet! Caring! Tell me again about those calibrations, would you?
You are the definition of loyal. You always have Shepard’s back, no matter what. Even more importantly, you are respectful and honest. When the opportunity arose to progress your friendship into romance, you were open about how nervous that made you.
How could anyone say no to you? We can test your reach and my flexibility any time. *winks*
Alistair, my darling, you are the perfect boyfriend. You’re strong enough to cleave a darkspawn in two, and your jokes are just as killer. Your rakish smile ends up being a front for your inner romantic. You treat women with respect and admiration, and you support the Warden as she kicks butt and takes names all over Fereldan, and that is hot.
Shame that Fereldan’s full of racists, though, because when you were forced to become king, you relegated my poor elven Warden to the status of royal mistress rather than marry her. Oh, and you also intentionally fathered a demon-spawn by sleeping with my Warden’s best friend.
Okay, I admit it, you have some drawbacks as a boyfriend.
I have a type when it comes to women: dark-haired, mysterious, powerful, cold on the outside but cinnamon-roll-soft on the inside. I was destined to fall for you the moment I saw you, Morrigan. Your sarcastic barbs are as sharp as your bangs, but inside is a woman who just wants to feel luuuurved.
Alas, you’ll never return my affections. You’re not into women, which I was crushed to discover in my first Dragon Age: Origins playthrough. That’s all right, though, because your friendship arc with a female Warden is just as guaranteed to tug at the heartstrings.
Still, I would like you to teach me all your Witch of the Wilds magic. Like how you keep your boobs improbably covered with scraps of cloth and some string, even in the middle of battle. That seems like a useful skill to learn.
Who among us is not head-over-heels in love with you, Dorian? I’ve already told myself that it’s useless, that you prefer men, but I can’t help it. The mustache! The dashing swoop of the hair! The wit! The charm! The style! The tortured and well-written backstory!
Look, I figured out pretty quickly that you wouldn’t be into my female Inquisitor. My heart still did somersaults whenever you sauntered into a cutscene, though. Lots of games with queer romance options don’t engage with the prejudice those queer characters may have experienced. You are not like that. Your family shamed and bullied you because of who you are, but you never let go of your identity. You are steadfast to yourself.
That is damn attractive.
And that kind of writing is why I find myself besotted with BioWare character after BioWare character. If the upcoming Anthem turns out to be any good, I hope my heart will be able to handle the waifus and husbandos.