Posted by: Jess Riley | September 18, 2008

Belated Thoughts On Romance

Sure, romance week is well and truly over, but I had some lingering thoughts on the subject that I thought might be worth persuing further.

The subject of interracial breeding has been covered by others in the past,  and I don’t care to venture further opinion on that – except perhaps that I really, really hope that he’s right about the taurens and the gnomes. Actually, about the taurens and anyone. I just don’t want to go there.

My thoughts have been more specifically about the cultural acceptance of interracial dating on Azeroth – specifically, whether it’s considered the equivalant of, say, interracial dating in the real world (ie. some are going to have problems with it, and it was a bigger problem to people in the past, but mostly it’s accepted these days), or more like bestiality (ie. only very, very few people are comfortable with the notion and most either consider it horrifying or don’t think about it at all). Does it depend on the race of each of the people involved?

While I’m far from an expert on the subject (however much I’d like to think otherwise), I would personally wager that it depends on the races of the people involved. For a start, cross-faction dating would probably be taboo if they could even communicate (the latter point making it unlikely to be an issue in roleplay from the start), and would probably be seen as no less than treason by the fanatic groups, and would make most people very uncomfortable. This isn’t to say it can’t happen – if you were able to work out the cross-faction communication issue, it could make very interesting roleplay fodder (very likely only with someone you knew in real life, however, so you could coordinate things with the greatest of ease).

Within factions, however, there are many factors to be considered. Gnomes and dwarves, and dwarves and humans are probably similar enough to have a romantic (and sexual) relationship, while I would guess that most gnomes and humans wouldn’t be able to have a sexual relationship, though an unconsummated romantic relationship could be an interesting take, especially if the deeper issues of attraction were dealt with on the sidelines; while some of it gets into much too mature content for World of Warcraft, the notion of a human who is attracted to gnomes opens a lot of questions about what else they may be interested in.

Between gnomes and dwarves, and dwarves and humans, I daresay there would be moderate to high acceptance among others of those races. I don’t think it would be common by any means, and it may raise eyebrows, but most people would be tolerant of such a relationship if they noticed it. Certainly, some more extreme people would see it as a problem – what is the standing of the church on interracial romances? Does the Light frown on it? I don’t know, but it’s possible – and that could make for an interesting roleplay idea as well.

The Night Elves and the Draenei present an interesting point, as they are more removed from the dwarves, humans and gnomes. My assumption would be that an interracial relationship with either of these two races and any of the other Alliance races would raise more eyebrows and probably cause more whispers than those between humans, dwarves and gnomes. Part of this is grounded in the idea of the Draenei as an “alien” race, and part of it in how removed their cultures are from the remaining three. This isn’t to say it would necessary be considered a social taboo, but certainly would be cause for a lot of raised eyebrows.

When it comes to the Horde, I consider this the more interesting group. Orcs and trolls are probably in the same category as the humans and dwarves – it would quite probably happen, and some people would be unnerved by it or raise eyebrows at it, and there would be those who disapprove, but it’s generally a tolerated practice. Between the remaining three Horde races, I would consider there to be much less tolerance.

Generally, I don’t feel that the Tauren people would judge too heavily if a Tauren felt romantically towards another race, but I do think it seems likely that a relationship with a Tauren would be viewed as, at the very least, highly unusual to any of the other races. I’ve seen this subject briefly touched on, in terms of romance, as mutual romantic feelings between a Blood Elf and a Tauren which, as far as I know, were not acted on in any further capacity. A part of me wanted to find out what would happen if the feelings were acknowledged and something came from it… but I’m, frankly, a bit sick and twisted like that.

This isn’t even touching on sexual relations with the Tauren, though. If you don’t mind, I’m not going to broach that subject. I like being sane.

Now, onto my favourite part (no, you don’t get a prize for knowing this was coming, it was far too obvious): The Forsaken! I’ve seen this one actually roleplayed out before, between an Undead and a Blood Elf (those elfish sluts*, always moving in on the other races), and I really admired one thing in particular about it: when my character (another Undead) responded unfavourably to that, both parties ICly and OOCly acknowledged that disgust was an expected reaction from other people and that, unfortunately, not enough people really got that. This really surprises me, because really, if nothing else, other races should have a problem with witnessing an Undead macking on another race. They’re Undead! They’re rotting! They’re maggot-ridden! Let me spell it out for you:

Eeeeeewwww!

It’s unnerving enough to see two Undead being physically intimate, but a Blood Elf and an Undead? A troll and an Undead? No thanks, I like being healthy! While romantic relationships may flower amongst them (a subject I’ve discussed in detail in the past), I certainly wouldn’t think it would be accepted by other races, and very possibly not by a lot of Undead. Remember, the Undead are part of the Horde through necessity, not loyalty; several may feel it is unwise or worse to be emotionally attached to any other member of the Horde, romantically or otherwise.

In spite of what I’ve observed, with Blood Elves making up half of, well, all the interracial Hordeside dating I’ve seen, I wouldn’t have thought it would be all that common. I can certainly see a particularly addicted Elf schmoozing for a hit from just about anyone that goes her way, but the race as a whole seems snooty enough that they’d consider it “beneath” them to be involved with another race.

All said, this is very much an answer to Sean’s point that romance plots are hard to do because of the lack of  complications. There’s a great many built-in complications to interracial Azeroth romances, ranging from minor to extreme – assuming it’s in-character to get into the situation to begin with.

*Disclaimer: I’m not being serious here, please don’t hurt me.

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