Sunday, February 18, 2018

Meaningful Banters: Tied and Tantalized (Companions on the Iron Bull's Romance)

The War Table? It's evidently quite sturdy.
Cole: She submits, but you serve.

NOTE: This post is part of a continuing series ("Meaningful Banters"), in which I shine a spotlight on especially important or revealing moments that occur between companions in banter, during the course of the games. As I've been writing a series of pieces on character romances, and most recently, The Iron Bull's, I thought this would be a fun and timely companion piece (and that it might cheer you up if you happened to just read the romance analysis segment discussing a Qun-Loyal Bull).


CONTENT AND TRIGGER WARNING: This post has NSFW elements and includes some frank dialogue referencing The Iron Bull's BDSM relationship with a romanced Inquisitor.

Bull's romance is one of the most complex in the Dragon Age universe, and as it evolves, Cole may perform his usual mind-reading magic to illustrate some of the relationship's more private elements—to the slightly embarrassed dismay of Bull and the Inquisitor, and to the delight of the rest of the companions.

I analyzed the Iron Bull's romance with the Inquisitor in more detail herehere, and here, but Cole's banter conversations about Bull and the Inquisitor's romance are also incredibly revealing about the dynamics of the relationship in the minds of both the Inquisitor and Bull—and are more than a little blushworthy (please note as always that I'm referring to my Inquisitor by the gender of my own Bull-romancer): 
Cole: She almost says the word sometimes. Katoh. She tastes it in her mouth, sweet release a breath away, tongue tying it tenderly like you tie her. But she doesn't. For you, and for her because it makes it mean more. A fuller feeling, a brighter burst.
Iron Bull: Yeah. (Coughs.) How's she feel about you saying this in front of everybody?
The Inquisitor can then respond with or without embarrassment, or matter-of-factly, and all the choices result in some funny reactions from our companions (I admit it, I usually take option #2—it's funnier, and more apropos): 

Inquisitor (Answer Option #2): If a rift opened up right now and swallowed me, I'd be fine with that.
Solas (if present): Provided it tied you down first, one assumed.
Varric (if present): Listen, do whatever works for you. You don't have to act restrained in front of us.

If your Inquisitor romances Bull, Cole will eventually broadcast several
of your most intimate thoughts to any companions in the vicinity!
 
This is just another one of those little character moments that I love in the game, because Varric's not the only one being mischievous; quiet, proper Solas is once again reminding us that he's possibly a lot naughtier in the sack than he may appear to be, as well.

Inquisitor (Answer Option #1): Bull and I are consenting adults, and there's nothing wrong with what we choose to do in bed.
Cole: Not just in bed. Sometimes it's up against the wall. Once on the War Table.
Sera (if present): (Laughs.) Hope you took her right up the Dales.
Dorian (if present): (Laughs.) Ahem.
Blackwall (if present): I look forward to informing Cullen!
Or the Inquisitor ends the conversation without further delay:
Inquisitor (Answer Option #3): Moving on.
Cassandra (if present): I could not agree more.
Vivienne (if present): Please do.
Cole: Oh, sorry.
Cole brings up the romance again later on, and again, it's unexpectedly revealing, on both sides:
Cole: You act like you're in charge, The Iron Bull, but it's really her. She decides when, and you measure it carefully, enough to enjoy, to energize, but never to anger. She is tied, teased, tantalized, but it's tempered to what she wants. She submits, but you serve.
Iron Bull: Do you mind, kid? If you take away all the mystery, it's not quite as hot.
Inquisitor (Answer #1): Bull? Yes it is.
Iron Bull: Right! My mistake. Carry on, kid.
Cole: What's an Orlesian Tickler?
Iron Bull: I'll tell you when you're older.
Cole: No, you won't.
Iron Bull: No, I won't.
What I think is amusing here is that Bull is pretty obviously very much aware of the psychology Cole is describing. He just maybe isn't too keen on having it revealed to the Inquisitor (or their companions).

Or depending on our reply, we get this option:
Inquisitor (Answer #2): Bull, is he right?
Iron Bull: The kid? Please. (Pause) Next time we're alone, I'm going to pin you down and do things your body won't believe.
Cole: But...
Iron Bull: Ahem.
Cole: Sorry.
It's interesting that Bull's fine with all the teasing and banter about his
relationship with the Inquisitor, but when asked for actual details by Varric,
he refuses, noting, "That room is for her and me. No one else invited."
The Iron Bull's romance is discussed with other companions too, and as always, these little moments can be surprisingly insightful about specific characters. Take Varric's request for information, below—Bull's completely not okay with that. He wasn't kidding when he said that what happens in the Inquisitor's bedroom stays there:
 

Varric: So, Bull. You and the Inquisitor, huh?
Iron Bull: Mm-hmm.
Varric: I'd love some impressions. Imagery. Something for my next book.
Iron Bull: Sorry. That room is for her and me. No one else invited.
Varric: Safe harbor from the storm outside?
Iron Bull: All right, now you're just making it weird.

Then Sera gets in on the discussion, later, as well:

Sera: You're bedding the Inquisitor.
Iron Bull: Sometimes. Usually it's just against the wall.
Inquisitor: (Laughter.)
Sera: What's so funny? Ooh, because you do it standing. Pfft. 
Or:
Inquisitor: Bull! No!
Bull: She sort of asked.
Sera: Ooh, because you do it standing. Pfft.
Cassandra: Moving on.
Varric: I usually describe a fireplace by this point.

Bull and Cass also banter again later a few more times, and it's as charming and funny as always:
Iron Bull: That was some solid work back there, Seeker.
Cassandra: You, as well.
Iron Bull: The way you backhanded that guy with your shield and then damn near chopped him in half?
(Then, if romancing the Inquisitor): Any chance I could have the Boss borrow your armor later? For, uh, personal reasons.
Cassandra: No.
Iron Bull: I'd clean it after.
Cassandra: Absolutely not.
Iron Bull: (frustrated sigh)

And then again later, in which Bull notes his commitment to his relationship with the Inquisitor (a detail I love, considering Bull comes from a culture in which that kind of commitment is utterly foreign):
Iron Bull: You know, Seeker, your style doesn't have to be so defensive.
Cassandra: Excuse me?
Iron Bull: You've got armor. Let someone scratch the paint a bit. You can wind up for a shot that will really ring their bell. Some part of you wants to just cut loose. I can feel the frustration in your swings.
(If romancing the Inquisitor) I'd offer to help you get rid of that frustration but, you know... I'm in a committed relationship.
Cassandra: Unlucky me.

And Cassandra has more to say, after the interruption incident (when she, Cullen and Josie walked in on the tryst between the Inquisitor and Bull):
Cassandra: You are aware her room has a lock, Bull?
Iron Bull: Sure.
Cassandra: Some people might find that useful. In future.
Iron Bull: I'd rather focus on--
Cassandra: Yes. I'm sure the room and its... contents... are very distracting. Thank you.

Although Cassandra notes to Bull that (after interrupting their liaison earlier)
the Inquisitor's room has a lock on it, what's fun to point out is that the room
where they were discovered was plainly not the Inquisitor's quarters
.
The funniest thing here is that the room Bull and the Inquisitor were caught in was visibly not the Inquisitor's quarters at all, but in actuality appeared to be the cluttered, empty room around the corner from the top floor of the Herald's Rest. (The one with the ax in the headboard). So this also made me headcanon that perhaps there was a period in the early days of the Inquisitor and Bull's romance where they were basically getting caught all over the place.

It's funny to envision—especially if you imagine Leliana and poor Josie having to actually sit the Inquisitor and Bull down and lecture them like naughty teenagers on which locations at Skyhold are less appropriate for, ahem, romantic moments.

Taarsidath-an halsaam!

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