Character Design: Cassandra Pentaghast

Concept art for Cassandra. Of note: angular face, armour, and heart symbols.

Concept art for Cassandra. Of note: angular face, armour, and heart symbols.

Since I’m on a bit of a Dragon Age mood right now, having just beat the third game (not Game of the Year material in my view, but good characters nonetheless), I figured I’d have a look at the design of one of its poster children: Cassandra Pentaghast.

Of all companions, Cassandra may be the one most heavily featured in the media, pre-release. She and Varric adorned pages, the first revealed companions, and while Varric was popular enough I imagine he was somewhat sidelined as “the returning companion”. Cassandra, for all her earlier appearances, was free to be its face. It may also be worth noting she is one of three companions (the others being Varric Tethras and Solas) you have to recruit.

And, yes, she owes this somewhat for being the first face you’ll see in the game, as well as how she’s probably the most obviously related to Inquisition‘s theme of faith (not a theme I find always done well, not even in the game). But likely it is due in part to her striking design. Sharp, powerful, and, to be blunt, unlike the stereotypical depiction of a fantasy woman she’s not running around in the nud.

I’ve seen some criticise her for not being “attractive” (she is an optional romance in the game, after all), though that seems to completely miss the point of her design. For what it’s worth, she is to me a fairly attractive figure, but that’s not the point of her design (cynically: it may be a sidegoal, however). What is? “Authority”, mainly. Continue reading