Accidentally In Love? – How My Male Shepard Got Locked Into A Romance With Liara

One of my favorite playthroughs of the Mass Effect series has been playing as a female Vanguard Shepard. A while ago I fired up my Xbox to do a second run of the series, but as a male Shepard who is an Adept. The experience of playing as a male Shepard has been interesting so far. It took some getting used to, mainly because I’ve been really attached to my female Shepard for the longest time. Regardless, I vowed to romance the pants off of Ashley Williams. You can consider this as both figuratively and literally speaking. Take your pick.

You will fall for Shepard, Ashley. Don't try to resist him!
You will fall for Shepard, Ashley. Don’t try to resist him!

Considering the Mass Effect series is easily one of those games you have to play again and again, this means I’ll be trying every romance option available to me. I also accept that it’ll take me years to eventually complete every possible story thread and romance out there. Let’s not focus on that for now. So why Ashley as my romance pick for my first go as male Shepard? The gunner chief, based on public opinion, has never been a huge favorite as a friend or love interest. The amount of vitriol this character receives is overwhelming. I tried combing blogs and forum discussions for a more favorable opinion of Ashley, but those are few and far between. I want to believe Ashley isn’t as bad of a character or love interest everyone is making her out to be. Hey, I’m killing off Kaidan for you, Ashley! You know how difficult that is for me?

I spent the entirety of the first game having my male Shepard be the most charming man Ashley couldn’t possibly refuse. He has been the consummate gentleman to Ashley by being kind, showing genuine interest in her family, and having the utmost sensitivity and respect for her religious faith. Everything seemed to go according to plan. She started to warm up to my Shepard and even tossed in a few flirty glances and comments his way. All Shepard needed to do is close the deal. Simple, right? Then, in comes Liara…

Sure, Liara looks sweet and innocent now, but that's her way to catch you off guard so she can come in for the kill
Sure, Liara looks sweet and innocent now, but that’s her way to catch you off guard so she can come in for the kill

Liara T’soni is an Asari who works as an archaeologist studying everything there is to know about the extinct Prothean race. With Liara becoming a new addition to the Normandy after being rescued by Shepard and his crew on Therum, this particular Asari comes off as the cute, shy, and quiet scientist type. She’s naturally curious about Shepard and maybe a little too eager to finally have living company to talk to, instead of the lifeless objects she spends hours examining. Maybe eagerness has also translated into Liara coming onto Shepard a little too strong. There’s no denying how much Liara kind of acts like a dog in heat when she sees Shepard. She says and does things that makes you realize Liara may not be as shy and quiet as she would have you believing.

My Shepard is a nice guy who is a bit of a harmless flirt, but he’s loyal. He stands by what’s good and right. He takes love seriously and won’t look for anyone else once he finds the right woman (or alien). Shepard strictly has eyes for Ashley and no one else. Or so he thought. Being the nice guy Shepard is and the responsible commander, he has to make sure Liara is comfortable and her health isn’t in any jeopardy. He’s just doing his job. What’s wrong with making Liara feel at home on his ship? Apparently, being too nice to Liara is a dangerous thing in this game. Without warning, Shepard found himself swept under Liara’s big blue eyes and that glowing blue complexion of hers. Next thing he (and I) knew, Shepard and Liara are making out with each other…among other things.

The plan to romance Ashley ended in failure. You’re looking at an Adept class Shepard who is now in a committed relationship with…Liara. Even the best laid plans never go down quite the way you expect them to. Obviously, I somehow screwed up in my conversation choices with Liara to somehow reject Ashley from being a romance option for Shepard and have him forever locked onto Liara instead.

Damn it, Shepard! Why are you too nice? We had a plan, man! You’re supposed to go after Ashley, not Liara! Why didn’t you try harder to resist Liara’s charms? Uh…anyway…I know I can have Shepard break it off with Liara if I wanted to. The two of them can chalk it up as a one night, we-thought-we-might-die-tomorrow kind of a thing. I refuse to have my Shepard do it though. Shepard isn’t a jerk, at least not in this current playthrough. If it’s going to be Shepard and Liara and not Shepard and Ashley, “Operation: Romance Ashley” will just have to wait for another playthrough of Mass Effect.

Moral of the story? Don’t be too nice to Liara when you are trying to romance someone else. It just causes a whole slew of complications.

Should I tell her I really meant to be with Ashley? Nah!
Should I tell her I really meant to be with Ashley? Nah!

12 thoughts on “Accidentally In Love? – How My Male Shepard Got Locked Into A Romance With Liara”

    1. I think I got lucky that my female Shepard managed to avoid getting sucked in by Liara’s mysterious juju she has to get men or women to fall for her.

  1. This is too funny. I can totally see this happening, and it almost happened when I romanced Kaidan in ME1 too. It’s hard when you’re playing a Paragon Shep who’s nice to everybody!

    It reminds me of Dragon Age 2 when you get to a moment with Anders. You get three responses when he hits on you — one flirt response and two rejections to break the heart if you don’t want a romance. But that means that if you don’t want to romance him, you have to be totally mean to him! Both rejection lines come off kind of bitchy, if I remember right. I guess that’s what it takes to get people to stop falling all over you in these BioWare games… BUT at least in Dragon Age 2 it’s clear when you’re flirting with someone, so you can avoid it!

    Well, enjoy your Liara romance. I like that you’re rolling with it. Maybe she’s just the one your Shepard secretly wanted, and he didn’t even warn you! =)

    1. That’s one way of looking at it! 😛 I figured if my Shepard is choosing Liara then I’ll have to accept it. My jaw dropped when I saw them go for the almost kiss. The entire time I was thinking, “Uh oh. I screwed up somewhere. Damn it!”

      I romanced Anders in Dragon Age 2, but I did hear that some of the rejection lines in the game were pretty harsh. I don’t know why there weren’t any lines that lets the other person down gently. I agree that at least Dragon Age 2’s conversation system helps you know when you’re flirting or not. It helps to avoid potential landmines in the romance department.

  2. I don’t know why Ashley gets such as bad rap. I’d be a little bitchy too if I’d had Ashley’s life. That said, I found her tough to romance with my male renegade. Or, I should say that I kept getting confused by some of the dialogue options – those that looked like they were good weren’t. Eventually I kept a specific save point and wrote down the options that properly progressed with the romance. Frankly, it was an exhausting process. (But it kinda made me get why guys sometimes find us hard to understand! :D)

    Liara’s great, but I think she’s a little too easy…er, the game makes her a little too easy to end up with.

    1. I like Liara too, but wow! She’s one character that practically wants to jump the bones of all Shepards the minute she lays eyes on them. Remind me to never isolate myself for long periods of time without any human contact. If Liara’s any indication…yeah…it ain’t pretty.

      I think I’m a little nervous about romancing Ashley at a later date now. Based on what you’ve said, Ashley sounds like she won’t make it easy to woo her. At least if I don’t get bamboozled by another romance with Liara. I suppose us women are complicated, but I don’t make it that difficult for men to understand me!

  3. It’s funny that you mention the amount of vitriol that Ashley seems to receive, I’m one of the few stalwart ‘Ashley Defenders’ out on the blogosphere. I’ve always found her to be both complex enough, and relateable. You can see how her character traits are formed from her history, where her priorities lie, and how she’s formed her personal moral code.

    But I’ve found myself in similar situations, planning to romance Ashley, but finding myself getting closer and closer to romancing Liara. Managed to hit the abort button before I was locked in at least once, but like Crystal said, mysterious and intelligent blue aliens are not the easiest to turn down…

    1. Yeah, I read your piece in defense of Ashley on your blog not too long ago. I have yet to finally romance her, so I don’t have much of an opinion on her, but I do think it’s a matter of trying to understand the character from her perspective. I think she’s a largely misunderstood character above everything else.

  4. Ok, well, I’m going to be that guy… I hate Ashley Williams.

    Now it should be noted that I didn’t always hate her. In fact at one point I actually really liked her and defended her! But as time went on… I grew to hate her. And it all comes down to one reason: trust.

    Shepard goes through some serious shit. I mean, he/she dies and gets resurrected as a super cyborg for Pete’s sake. You’ve had to do some questionable things and team up with some questionable people to get the job done; but at the end of the day, paragon or renegade, it was all about saving the galaxy.

    Yet Ashely seems to forget this. Again… and again… and again. She goes from one of Shepard’s staunchest supporters to distrusting him/her at EVERY turn. It doesn’t matter what you do, who is allied with you or how much you prove yourself; Ashley will question you and wonder if you’re “the same old Shepard”.

    I grew to hate it. To hate HER. Because no matter what I did it wasn’t good enough for her. I could trust every other squad-mate to have my back when the shit hit the fan, but Ashley? All it would take is some bad guy to start claiming I am still secretly working for Cerberus for her to hesitate and get us all killed. Indeed, such a situation is exactly one of the ways she can get killed in ME3. I just got sick and tired of it.

    Her ability to question authority and thing outside the box makes her a good specter though! So when the time came for her to join my ship in my last play through of ME3, I refused her, and told her to go hang out and help Hackett. Both because I was sick of having her around just she she could doubt me, and because having the only two human Specters in history aboard the same ship seemed like a bad idea. Like, for real. That would be the worst plan ever. It’s bad enough I got the Shadow Broker on my ship too… but at least her job doesn’t actually require her to physically go anywhere. So I let that one slide.

    Just my $.02

    1. I respect your opinion on Ashley. Again, I can’t really say much about her since I haven’t tried a romance with her yet.

      The points you made about why you ended up hating Ashley is interesting because it’s the same opinions some people had with Kaidan as a romance. Some were pissed about how he treats Shepard after the whole thing on Horizon and how he acts in the first half of Mass Effect 3.

      I was part of the camp that didn’t get pissed at Kaidan for how he reacts to Shepard–not trusting her after she comes back from the dead and has to join up with Cerberus. To me, it made sense why he may not be so forgiving towards Shepard. If I were in his shoes, I can understand how hard it would be to accept my significant other back into my life after mourning their death for two years. To have them come back and pick up where we left off as if nothing had happened is too much to take in. Add in Cerberus, then it’s just a slap in the face knowing what kind of organization they are.

      Would I be able to sympathize with Ashley when I finally go down the romance path with her? Who knows. Either way, I’m willing to give her a shot and reserve all judgement until then.

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