Since the Dragon Age series takes place in different places and times within BioWare’s fantasy universe, we have had the opportunity to hop around the universe and kiss men from different eras of the, well, Dragon Age. But while we may love our video game love interests, perhaps it’s worth reflecting on whether or not these relationships would be feasible were they not bound together by a world-ending event like The Blight or the invasion of Corypheus.
Sure, Iron Bull’s romance in Dragon Age: Inquisition is undeniably hot, but what happens when the hole in the sky is no longer spitting demons out into the real world and you just have to live with each other?
That in mind, let us rank the Dragon Age boyfriends on how much they are actual, real-life boyfriend material.
I don’t have to hypothesize as to whether or not Solas would be a good boyfriend because he was already a terrible one in the Dragon Age games. This guy spends the entirety of Inquisition lying to you about the real reason he’s been helping you, which is to help get his world-ending plan back on track after he fucked it up. Even if you’re in a romantic relationship with the guy, this truth doesn’t come to light until after he dips at the end of the game and tells you why he ghosted you in the DLC. Yes, it’s tragic, it’s angsty, and it makes for great drama, but one day you, too, will be old and tired and want someone who’s just gonna be there when you get home from work. This man is too busy trying to destroy the world for a righteous cause to care about seeing you every night. Worst rl boyfriend, easily.
9. Sebastian Vael
Look, Sebastian sucks. In Dragon Age II, the guy is so beholden to the church that he’s constantly judging people, including you. He’s also a chaste romance, if that’s your thing, but if it’s not, you’re gonna be left wanting at the behest of a god who left you and everyone else behind a long time ago. He’s not trying to destroy the world, so he does get to come out above Solas, but you can do better, friend. We have eight bachelors yet to go…
I love Fenris. He was my romance option every time I’ve played Dragon Age II, and the rival romance between him and a mage Hawke plays out as delicious angst. But as the years have passed, I’ve cooled a lot on the relationship because it just has a lot of abusive undertones. The sex scene is sparked by an argument, then Fenris shoving you into a wall, lit up with his lyrium tattoos ready to reach through your chest and crush your heart. It illustrates the abuse Fenris has gone through, and the scene itself is very earned. It works well in a video game and on An Archive of Our Own, but in the context of a real romance the red flags keep popping up. Yeah, by the end Fenris and Hawke grow and have a better relationship, but if that shit happened once, it can happen again.
7. Cullen Rutherford
Cullen is a wildcard because his romance scene in Dragon Age: Inquisition shows he knows how to give you that good good and throws all his shit off his desk to do it. But he also seems like the kind of guy who, after you’d gotten well and settled, would start asking why you haven’t made dinner for when he gets home from work and tell you that your job should be to take care of the children, rather than having a career and life of your own. He seems sweet and chivalrous, but that can also come from some extremely backward views on relationships. So proceed with caution. You know the joke about liberals who look like Republicans? That’s Cullen, and it’s a coin flip for what you’re actually going to get.
Look, I know. But please hear me out before you start throwing tomatoes. Anders is possessed by the spirit of Justice, but he’s also possessed by his devotion to his cause. And that devotion extends to you, as well. You want a man who is obsessed with you? That’s Anders. You think a man who blew up a church in an act of terro—uh, revolution is going to ever half-ass your birthday or not appreciate the big moments of your lives together? No, this guy is gonna do something explosive for every life event you there is…so long as he doesn’t spot some great injustice happening elsewhere in the world that might distract him. Good thing the world is a completely just and good place in which no one is being disproportionately harmed by societal structures, right?
Blackwall is a liar, and as we established earlier when we talked about Solas—not to mention in the Mass Effect boyfriend ranking—that’s pretty bad. But Blackwall’s lie is a good lie, because he’s trying to keep the legacy of a better man alive while trying to atone for his sins. Unlike Solas and the others, his lie is not selfish. Assuming Blackwall’s identity did allow Thom Rainier to avoid his tortured past, but he owns up to it and then there are no secrets between him and the Inquisitor. Then you just have a guy who is a broody gentleman that will fight and die for you.
4. Zevran Arainai
When you meet Zevran in Dragon Age: Origins, it’s because he’s trying to kill you. But when you defeat him, the assassin tells you that he’ll turn on his employer in exchange for his life. In the early bits of the relationship, Zevran is out for himself. You overcome that detachment in the romance, until eventually you’re left with a funny, horny goofball who brightens your day with his antics. If you want someone who’s going to turn your frown upside down during the darkest times, you can’t go wrong with this assassin turned golden retriever puppy.
Surely Alistair is the least experienced of the Dragon Age boyfriend pantheon. That means he’s got a lot to learn, but since he’s not been playing the game, you can assume some level of purity in his intentions and willingness to feel the relationship out. Where Cullen feels like a risky proposition because he seems the type to harbor prehistoric views, Alistair seems too naive to want to do anything other than worship the ground you walk on. He’s a doofus, but he’s funny and kind-hearted. Just don’t ask him to take up the responsibility of being a king or he’ll resent you forever.
2. Iron Bull
As SZA once said in an SNL sketch, “it’s cuffin’ season, and all the girls are leavin’ to get a big boy.” She was definitely singing about Iron Bull. This qunari giant is all about boundaries and consent, and serving you and your needs both in and out of the bedroom. Iron Bull is the kind of guy who will do anything to protect and serve his mate, and the man will not rest until you are content with every aspect of your life and relationship. Iron Bull won’t give up on you, unless you completely betray his trust and get all his friends killed. Which is valid, because in that case you were the problem in the relationship.
1. Dorian Pavus
Dorian is too much of an idealist to ever want anything other than the best for you. When he’s not being a revolutionary tearing down the corruption of his homeland, Dorian is the kind of man who will come home and worry that you’re running yourself ragged with your own responsibilities. He deflects with humor when you ask him about how he’s doing, but then opens up because he’s just as comfortable with you as you are with him. He’ll have some internalized homophobia to unpack, which comes from growing up with an oppressive, prejudiced upbringing, but once you’ve helped him untangle that abuse, he’ll be your rock, just as you are his.