The Librarians, Dragon Age: Inquisition, And Couples Who *Sort Of* Work Together

I don’t remember how old I was when I realized that not everyone’s parents worked together.

See, I was a faculty brat. My parents met because they both worked for at the same prep school*– and my friends were mostly the kids of *their* friends, who were in basically the same situation. Married people didn’t always do the exact same thing – Mom taught Latin and mythology, Dad taught math – but they spent all day in, more or less, the same place. (Also, grown-ups got long vacations too: not as long as ours, and they had to do paperwork or take calls, but everyone could go away for two months in the summer. Finding out otherwise pretty well shattered my morale re: adulthood.)

Did TV shatter my illusions? Probably not–partly because I was raised by hippie wolves and didn’t get to watch anything but PBS until I was nine, but largely because, in most fiction about adults that’s not about a family (or a group of friends with rotating SOs), couples *do* work in the same office. It makes sense: if the focus is on the workplace, having characters work together makes it easier to give everyone screen time, and the audience is going to want main characters to get together with other main characters. (There’s no emotional investment in randos.)

This isn’t a trope I mind–it works for the narrative, and my parents are proof that people can spend eight hours a day sort of together and still want to hang out afterwards, as baffling as I find that general concept.** But two of my recent media indulgences have stretched the co-worker couple trope in ways I find interesting.

1) Dragon Age: Inquisition

I’m a Bioware girl, as a general rule. Epic fantasy plus dialogue choices plus a number of hot NPCs offering semi-explicit sex will nearly always get my money, and Bioware gets extra points by blatantly shutting down the complaints of fragile straight dudes who can’t handle having the option to hit on a guy, or something.

Inquisition continues all of these elements. (Also mounts and weird collect-all-the-things sidequests, but I don’t care.) One of the interesting departures from previous games, though, is the War Table/Advisors system. Short version: you get three advisors who you can use to take actions that don’t directly involve wandering around and killing things and/or talking to people. Two of them are potential romantic targets–and due to my inclinations (clean-cut boys with full heads of hair and good abs, plus the military thing is hot) I went with Cullen.

When talking about Origins, I mentioned that I loved how game mechanics pretty much dictate that romance plot avoid sexist tropes: none of your male love interests gets snitty about having a female leader, or tries the horrible “I am overprotective to show how much I care” routine.***

Since your advisors don’t come with you in Inquisition, this goes double. Cullen’s the commander of your forces, so you’re both physically fighting for the cause, but you’re generally not together. Each of you sends the other off into danger, not without trepidation but without any attempt to stop the other from doing their job, because you’re both adults and you act that way.

“Two adults acting that way,” is pretty much a requirement for me as far as romance goes these days, but it’s still a refreshing change to encounter it so blatantly in a video game.

2) The Librarians

Sequel TV show to three All The Myths Are True movies, this series reminds me of early-season Buffy, in the best way. (Less eye candy for me personally, though Jones the thief isn’t bad, but you can’t have everything.) Everyone is snarky but mostly adult, people don’t get let off too easily for what they do, and there’s a good balance between MOTW and lasting arcs.

(In the grand tradition of Buffy, the costuming department has also decided that “geeky redhead”=”fashion sense of a six-year-old,” and as a geeky redhead myself, I wish that would stop being a code. Willow was forgivable due to age, but no adult woman should be caught dead in baggy one-strapped short-alls, let alone those *and* white tights.) (Free fashion advice: the occasions on which white tights look good on a grownup all involve figure skating competitions in 1983.)

So, in the first episode, the Guardian (person involved with protecting the Librarian(s), in this case an ex-HSA badass) gets involved with Noah Wyle’s character. But because he’s Noah Wyle and doing other things, his character then disappears to investigate other dimensional wacky hijinks for multiple episodes at a time, occasionally returning for a cameo.

Now, I am uncertain about the plausibility of a long-distance relationship (or any relationship) with someone you’ve known for two days; my headcanon is that there’s obviously a What Happens In Other Dimensions, Stays In Other Dimensions deal going on, because there pretty much has to be. That said, given the relationship existing, the characters handle it very well. They’re clearly glad to see each other when they do, but there’s none of the “you can’t leave me” angst: they like each other, they have things to do, that’s how it goes.

It’s a nice change.

In other news, my plan from here on out is to update roughly every Thursday, except for blog tour links and other announcements, which I’ll post as they go up. (Normal schedule will be suspended when I’m on blog tour, because no.) Every third post will likely be semi-controversial: I’m not looking for sensationalism, but I have some opinions that maybe aren’t for everyone, especially for anyone who might be reading this while related to me.

Next time, my take on How To Like Problematic Things: The Romance Edition, or, Lots of People Like Lloyd Dobler And Go On to Have Productive and Fulfilling Lives, I’m Sure.

*In the Outward Bound program. Meanwhile, I’m Shelley Long at the *start* of Troop Beverly Hills. Go figure.

** For those new to me or this blog, I’m the least romantic romance novelist working. Fictional men are great because they don’t hang around having opinions about where to get takeout or trying to start conversations when you’re doing something else.

***I love this meme. And inevitably someone on FB will ask well what if he doesn’t like you staying out really late or talking to sketchy people, to which my answer is: a) I *have* a mom, b) *my mom* grasps that I’m an adult woman and can make my own choices, c) if your boyfriend is less healthy about this shit than my mom, go back to the inside of the heart locket.

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About isabelcooper

I'm Izzy. I write stuff: mostly vaguely fantasy stuff, and most notably the following books: Hickey of the Beast, published March 2011 by Candlemark and Gleam No Proper Lady, published September 2011 by Sourcebooks Lessons After Dark, forthcoming in April 2012 from Sourcebooks I also like video games, ballroom dancing, and various geeky hobbies like LARPing. I have been known to voluntarily purchase and eat circus peanuts. Like, a whole bag at once.
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8 Responses to The Librarians, Dragon Age: Inquisition, And Couples Who *Sort Of* Work Together

  1. Aeryl says:

    “and due to my inclinations (clean-cut boys with full heads of hair and good abs, plus the military thing is hot)”

    I have SO got to introduce you to the Sailor.

    We actually met at work, at a summer camp. Our next jobs were together too, working at Meijer. We don’t work together any longer though.

    “What Happens In Other Dimensions, Stays In Other Dimensions deal going on, because there pretty much has to be.”

    Might have to check that out!

    “, but there’s none of the “you can’t leave me” angst: they like each other, they have things to do, that’s how it goes.

    It’s a nice change.:”

    For REAL

    I still have to say my favorite “Working Together Couple” is Echo & Paul Ballard. Plus that ending still makes me cry

    • isabelcooper says:

      “I have SO got to introduce you to the Sailor.

      We actually met at work, at a summer camp. Our next jobs were together too, working at Meijer. We don’t work together any longer though.”

      Yay! And there definitely seems to be a “met while working together surrounded by Nature” element to the lasting work-couples I’ve encountered. Makes me wonder if my persistent and preferred singlehood is related to my “roughing it is a hotel without room service” outlook. (Worst pagan ever, here.)

      “Might have to check that out!”

      It’s worthwhile! Admittedly the DADT arrangement I’m presuming is only headcanon, but…I mean, come on, they don’t even bang and then they’re in separate dimensions for months? The only exclusive scenario where that works involves very specific orientations; otherwise I’d think they’d get the interdimensional weirdness quest equivalent of freshman fall going on.

      I’ve not seen Dollhouse, but you make a strong case for it here!

      • Aeryl says:

        Dollhouse is SO GOOD!!! It can feel kind of squicky, because of the content, but it’s worth it, because it is one hell of a ride. The first few episodes are bumpy, but once you get to the one titled “Man On The Street” it takes off.

        ““roughing it is a hotel without room service””

        Ha Ha! That literally describes our “dates” for the first few months(working at a summer camp doesn’t provide many opportunities for privacy)

  2. As someone who’s seen your controversial opinions elsewhere, this could be fun.
    The old blacksploitation movie Cleopatra Jones did a nice job on Don’t Leave. She’s a butt-kicking globetrotting DEA agent, he’s a drug counselor running a halfway house in Watts. So they don’t work together but their goals overlap, and they accept that being apart is part of that. Plus he’s the one staying at home while Jones is off having the adventures.

  3. Mike Timonin says:

    Mmmm, The Librarians. Personally, I prefer Jake Stone – also from Leverage – because, I guess, I prefer my men broody and muscled? Said the mostly het male…

    • isabelcooper says:

      Broody and muscled is also not a look to which I’m averse. Stone, though…he’s got a good body/accent/hair trifecta, and from certain angles he’s pretty cute, but in full-on shots his face is just…IDK, there’s a squishiness around the edges or a weird chin thing or something. I’m sure the man’s a lovely person, but Not Really For Izzys, in the end.

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