Welcome to this week’s article of The Good, Bad, and What The?, where we took a good, long look at characters in movies, video games, anime, and books and put them on the judgement table to see if they are worthy to be in their respective stories. I strongly believe that well developed characters are more important than anything else in a good story, so I always judge them hard. At the end of every character’s evaluation I will give them one of four ratings: Good for those characters that are developed and deserve their place in the story, Bad for those characters that have no place being made or interacting with anyone else in the story, What The for the characters I just can’t figure out, and then the characters who are dull as dishwasher will get the rating of Sack of Potatoes. Today on the judgement table: Triss Merigold, the main love interest in “The Witcher 2.”
“The Witcher 2” follows the continued story of Geralt of Rivia, the white wolf. The game takes place shortly after the first game. Geralt is a witcher. Witchers are genetically altered super humans who hunt down monsters. The opening sequence shows Geralt locked up in a cell and being interrogated. Through the interrogations, Geralt explains the events leading up to him being in the cell. This part gives you the main plot of the game. The king Foltest was murdered by another witcher and Geralt has been framed for the murder. Geralt must track down this witcher to clear his name and try to stop nations from warring. Triss is at his side for much of this adventure and his the main love interest for the game.
Triss is a powerful sorceress who is ironically allergic to magic. She has been by Geralt’s side since the very start of the first game. She is a strong and smart women who did a lot of background work to help Geralt in “The Witcher.” Her relationship with Geralt drives a lot of her actions although the two have a rather strange relationship. They claim to love each other, but it doesn’t seem to always appear that way. Triss is the kind of women who would get annoyed if Geralt insisted on saving her. This held true for “The Witcher”, however, when the second game rolled around things seemed to change.
This is a M rated game and is very much intended for old audiences as there is sexual content going on. The beginning of the game Geralt wakes up in a very royal looking tent next to Triss, who is totally naked. There are a few scenes were Triss is seen naked. I don’t put this as a penalty to her character; it’s a mature game, and the developers want to throw in some mature stuff. The problem is that in the second game there are some points where Triss feels a bit too much like a sex object. In the first game, she didn’t try to hide her desires or anything but she was a bit harder of a nut to crack and she was a bit more independent. “The Witcher 2” however gave me a weird vibe that Triss’ urges have gotten a lot stronger all the sudden. I can’t exactly pinpoint what caused this feeling because she does still have the same personality, but then it also feels like she keeps giving Geralt “the look.” Like I said before, she does say that she loves Geralt, but something about the way she starts to act feels a tad off. I assume that the reason for this is because it is the second game the characters have had more time to grow closer. I don’t know if I would say this is a bad or good thing toward her character, but it has me a tad stumped. I can say there is something that happens in this game that definitely isn’t a positive.
At one point in the game Triss gets captured by the Kingslayer, the name given to the enemy witcher. He needs her to create a portal for him and then bring her with him to an enemy king. At this point Triss now becomes a “damsel in distress” and Geralt is off to saving her. Now before everyone flips their tables and freaks out about this trope, I would like to explain why in this particular game I don’t think it is quite as bad as usual. First, Geralt was going to chase after the Kingslayer and take him down regardless, he already had a motivation to go for the guy beyond just capturing Triss. I mention this because it means the damsel in distress is not the main plot point of the game, so in this instance it’s not quite as bad. Second, Geralt is not just trying to save Triss so he can get some. This is the women he genuinely loves and wants to live a normal life with after all of this is done. He isn’t just gonna “hit it and quit it.” He admits earlier on in the game that he wants to live a peaceful life with her. Third, you do not have to choose to save her. The game gives you multiple paths to go on, although I did choose to save Triss on my play through. Giving multiple paths means that there is more to this point in the story than just saving the girl. This is especially true because Triss is an influential person with important information, not just “Geralt’s gurl.” So I don’t think this particular game uses the damsel in distress part as a super negative and boring plot point like the way “Mario” does. Yes, the distress and damsel is there but there is much more under the surface.
Now I said I didn’t think this part was positive so let me explain that now. I say this part is not positive for Triss as a character not necessarily for the overall game story, that is a different discussion. I think this is bad for Triss as a character simply because it takes her off screen for far too long. She is gone and turned into a figurine being carried around. In the first game she was almost always there scheming and showing off her brains or magic talents helping Geralt and such. In the second game though because of her capture you see very little of her. You don’t actually get her back until almost the end of the game. This means she doesn’t get to show her greatness like she did before. She is basically feels a bit thrown aside. I think if she wasn’t taken out this way she would have been a lot better as a character and one more throughout the game. It causes you to wonder what she would be doing to help if she wasn’t gone.
Alright, now how about some of that verdict goodness. I give Triss Merigold the verdict of What The?. I was originally going to give her Sack of Potatoes because of her being gone for so long and acting different in “The Witcher 2”, but I thought it over a bit more. I give her What The? because I feel kind of conflicted and can’t really give a straight forward good or bad. In the first game I liked her a lot and in the start of the second game she still shows that strengh, but it doesn’t seem to stick around as much. She disappears for a large portion but does return with some vigor. Most importantly, I’m not sure if her acting more loving and feminine is positive or negative. I think the real verdict on her character will be best decided once “The Witcher 3” is released and we see want she does there.