“You are very beautiful, Morrigan. Maybe we could get you in a nice dress one day. Silk. No, maybe velvet. Velvet is heavier, better to guard against the cold in Ferelden. Dark red velvet, yes. With gold embroidery. It should be cut low in the front of course, we don’t want to hide your features. It’ll be fun, I promise! We’ll get some shoes too! Ah, shoes! We could go shopping together!” —Leliana the Bard
To me, some of the most interesting heroines are the ladies who would make damned-fine villainesses under different circumstances. Lovely Morrigan from BioWare’s Dragon Age: Origins is one of the first permanent characters to join the Grey Warden’s quest to unite Ferelden against the Dark Spawn, but she’s fairly misanthropic toward society in general and highly antagonistic toward those who blindly follow its norms. ‘Tis interesting to me that while the two things Morrigan seems to value most are power and independence, it’s not really the authority figures she shows disdain for, so much as the peons who follow those authority figures so blindly. Were she instead a villainess in the story, I could see her as an antagonistic pain-in-the-ass, leading our heroes into traps and ambushes on a merry chase through the Korcari Wilds.
While Morrigan’s character is brilliantly written, and her witty misanthropy toward society and all who choose to be a part of it is both hilarious and endearing, BioWare, I think rightfully, received a huge amount of criticism for her costume—particularly in contrast with the all-around decent selection of effective armors and spell-caster robes to be found throughout the game. I mean, okay, so she has a decent set of leather boots and pants, with padded leather skirt to protect her hips and studded straps to protect her knees, plus she has that wrapped leather manica to protect her left arm—which is the side she keeps toward her opponents in battle. All of these are excellent attentions to detail and battle readiness. But her bikini top and burgundy… wrap, I guess, make no sense at all for combat or adventuring. She has no torso protection at all, and is thus vulnerable to weather, cold, foliage with thorns or toxic leaves, even trees with rough bark, let alone the swords and arrows of her enemies. And given the jagged edges and barbed hooks found on Dark Spawn weapons, any cut or stab she takes to the torso will likely pull things out with it.
I get that her outfit is supposed to help define her as a character who flouts societal norms and views her sexual allure as part of her power over others. But at the same time it displays an uncharacteristically incompetent disregard for the dangers of her own wilderness homeland, let alone the perils of battle.
Thus it was with a certain amount of delight that I discovered Almighty P’s portrait of Morrigan in this smart, lovely set of enchantress’s robes. The robe itself is made from a fur-trimmed, burgundy fabric: perhaps a heavy velvet like Liliana suggested, but more likely a fleece or similar warm, heavy fabric. Morrigan’s dress is long and loose for movement in any environment. Her shoulders are covered by a set of feathered pauldrons. The feathers may be mere decorations, or they may cover solid leather pads for protecting her shoulders. Her right arm is covered by a fur-trimmed shoulder cloak, for warmth, slights of hand, or even as a makeshift hood to cover her lovely head in inclement weather.
To protect her arms in a scrum, Morrigan wears wrapped bracers of hardened cloth with light gloves for unhindered spell-casting and stave-use. Her boots are similarly all-purpose: knee-length flats to protect our cunning enchantress from disabling blows to the knees or legs. Her other accessories include her trademark necklace, a belted harness for mounting her pouches, and that sash of feathers and gold medallions.
Not sure where the raven came from, though Morrigan often gets depicted with animals. Her only visible weapon is her mage’s staff, which serves as a focus for her arcane powers, but likely also shoots fire or beams of light. (I’ve never quite understood why videogame spell-casters always put their staves across their back when not using them. Why not use them as walking sticks like you would expect from a traveling wizard? Is it a graphics issue?)
Anyway, massive thanks to The Almighty P for letting me borrow her Morrigan redesign for the blog. Additional screen capture taken from gameplay. Thanks, as always, for reading, folks! Take care and stay awesome!