Baldur’s Gate 3 features a fantastic cast of companions. Each of which have their own secrets and motives as we try to survive the grotesque ceramorphosis. Dread, fear or even anticipation… All of our companions are reacting differently to the series of events they’ve experienced.
But even without the wriggly little tadpole between our eyes, all of our companions have other issues at their backs. Each of which, we’ll no doubt have some kind of sway in. Whether we want to help or hinder our companions. That’s what Baldur’s Gate is all about, the freedom to do exactly whatever you want.
Although we’ve only got five out of eight of the companions out, I’ll go through what my theories for the current ones are. So consider that these are all theories, so take it with a fair share of salt!
Astarion – The Pale Elf
Astarion prowled the night as a vampire spawn for centuries, serving a sadistic master until he was snatched away. Now he can walk in the light, but can he leave his wicked past behind?
So far what we know about Astarion is that on the surface he’s a very self-centred man. One who’s currently indulging in his newfound freedom. Having been a slave to a cruel, sadistic master for 200 years. He ended up copying a few of his master’s flaws. An easy way to please Cazador would have been to become similar to him.
One of the best examples of this is in a datamined voice lines from Cazador has. Cazador refers to Astarion as ‘darling’ which we all know is something Astarion often says himself. But clearly, Cazador has his talons in Astarion still. In fact, it’s obvious that Astarion’s coy nature is one that’s played up. Again, another datamined voice line from the narrator, when playing Astarion’s origin says something along the lines of him faking his smiles as he does/did so often (forgive me for not finding the quote!).
This only reminds me (and you I’m sure) of all the people who suffer abuse or trauma but choose to disregard it. Brush it aside and put on a smile which we know Astarion does A LOT. The few moments we see his composure break is when Cazador is mentioned or when we talk down to him much like Cazador would. In which case he becomes very defensive and lashes out.
A vampire’s self discovery
I think Astarion’s story is one that focuses mainly of self-discovery, rebirth, and redemption. His story is one of abuse. He has been a victim of both emotional and physical abuse for centuries and now all of a sudden he’s gotten the closest semblance to freedom there is.
I think there are a few ways his story might go regarding this and they’re all going to be related to how he deals with his past. As we see, on the BG3 website: ‘[…] but can he leave his wicked past behind?‘.
He needs to forget his past and move forward. Many abuse victims eventually reach these crossroads and must choose, and usually they hope to do so with a friend at their side. It’s sad to say that a small minority of abuse victims become abusers themselves because they were never able to move on, they lash out at a world they were scorned by. Whilst those who can let go of it often find happiness and self-worth again. And so with all this in mind, here’s a very basic summary of what I think Astarion’s end goal could be!
We kill Cazador. We also cure Astarion of vampirism and give him freedom from Cazador and Vampirism.
Astarion (and us) kill Cazador but don’t let Astarion feed from him. Leaving him a spawn and possibly freeing the other vampire spawns he has. Astarion is free but is not given the power a true vampire would have.
Feed Cazador to Astarion and let him become a True Vampire.*
Bad ending explanation
*My reasoning for this is mainly to do with how he would cope with his trauma. Not to mention, there is a brief moment where Astarion himself says:
Player: “You’d have to drink Cazador’s blood to be free?”
Astarion: “Free and a true vampire, capable of creating my own coven? Yes. Although I’d settle for just killing the bastard. I wouldn’t be a ‘true’ vampire, but I’d be free of him.”
I don’t think he cares much for becoming a true vampire, all he wants is his freedom again. His freedom > Power. Which is a balance I believe we, the player, will be tasked with looking over. Don’t let him fall into the trap that will lead him to becoming just another Cazador. Of course, curing vampirism isn’t an easy feat either and maybe only a Wish spell could do it. But then again we also have our dear friend the Skeleton who’s got some close ties to Kelemvor. I do think at least once in the game we’ll be given a chance to use a Wish spell so maybe this’ll be one of the choices for it!
What’s the downside of being a Vampire?
Now allowing Astarion to become a full vampire might be seen as good for some but I’ll explain why I think it’d be the worst thing for him. Becoming a true vampire would be in essence falling right into his past, he would become his past. The man is a victim of abuse and given the power his abuser had over him would change him, in fact, he might see his new power as a means of using it for revenge.
Astarion does clearly want power but that’s because I think he wants to reclaim the lack of power he had for so many years. He wants to feel worth again. He could start his own coven himself and eventually, he’d be synonymous with Cazador himself. Remember the line: “Can he leave his wicked past behind?” If he were to become a full vampire, it would never leave him. Yes, he’d be insanely powerful but ultimately, I think it would just throw him deeper into his own pit of repression.
Gale – The Wizard of Waterdeep
“Gale has one ambition: to become the greatest wizard Faerûn has ever known. Yet his thirst for magic led to disaster. A Netherese Destruction Orb beats in his chest, counting down to an explosion that can level a city. Gale is confident he’ll overcome it, but time is not on his side.”
Now Gale’s a tricky one for me, only because I have other theories related to him! There’s even another theory circulating that Gale is just Elminster.
Gale’s objectives right now are clear. Get rid of the Orb inside him. But we also know his ambitions beyond that, he wants to reclaim Mystra’s love. He wants to become the greatest wizard in the world! However, those last two points are the same because Gale believes he can only become the greatest wizard in the world with Mystra’s love. So far, we know that Gale was an insanely powerful wizard before he lost Mystra’s love.
He basically paraphrases that he could likely cast 7th level or above stuff. And yet we’ve never really heard of him before, which to me implies he’s not used his magic for the betterment of others but more for the sole purpose of enhancing his own life and his bonds to Mystra. Unlike Wyll who we can say we’ve heard of, Gale is new to us. He lived in Waterdeep, free from others and could devote himself to his Goddess.
A magical prodigy
I think Gale’s story revolves around his own sense of worth. For the longest time, Gale seems to think his own merit lies in his magical abilities. He was a gifted child with magic and has used it ever since, his skills were even encouraged by Mystra herself. Suddenly Gale’s entire life become a devotion to the Weave and Mystra. He wanted to do everything for her and magic. Until suddenly, she stopped caring. She turned away from him which left him a confused and conflicted mess until he went to extremes to regain her favour. I’ll tell you what this reminds me of: child prodigies.
He was adored, he was told by everyone how great he was and then his own hero came to tell him how great he was. Then he grew up. Mystra didn’t exactly stop caring, she just wasn’t as impressed with him anymore. When a child performs brilliantly on a piano, it’s far more impressive than an adult performing the same piece, because there’s a sense of wonder there. But Gale grew out of it, he was just as skilled if not better but I’m sure Mystra found someone more interesting. So of course, Gale lashes out. He does the only thing he thinks will get her attention back because, without her attention, he feels nothing. He feels no sense of worth and needs her gaze to feel valued. With this in mind, here’s what I think his story will entail:
Gale removes the Orb and returns to the way he was. Gale finds a new sense of worth. No longer obsessed with Mystra, he learns and teaches magic not for her but for himself. Using his magic to aid others rather than impress her.
Gale removes the Orb and returns to the way he was. Returning to Mystra and serves her as best he can.
Fails to remove the Orb. Dies and unleashes its power. (Maybe he knows his death in inevitable and works to make himself into a Lich)
Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about these. Only because Gale’s story hasn’t been focused much on in the EA, I feel like his story is more of a slow-burner so I don’t have much to go off! But I do think Gale’s main point is to move past his obsession and feel proud of himself, not for her but for himself.
Shadowheart – Daughter of Darkness
“One of Shar’s dark disciples, Shadowheart was sent on a suicide mission to steal an item of great power. While wrestling with her faith and strange, untamed magic, Shadowheart has enemies on all sides – and a long-buried secret to uncover.”
Now Shadowheart is the hardest one to decipher only because in EA she’s very secretive. We know very little, which is to be expected. But there have been hints as to what might be really going on with her. In fact, you might have heard the theories about her not actually being a Shar Priestess and in fact once serving Selune. But we can’t know nor will we until the full game is released! As such I don’t feel too comfortable assuming her plot just yet because I don’t want to make too big leaps.
Secrets upon secrets
Shadowheart is not only hiding something from us but something is being hidden from her. As we have seen in Shadowheart’s leaked origin story, there’s mention of everything being a blur before her servitude to Shar. She tells us most Shar worshippers do this, to truly devote themselves to the Lady of Loss.
Yet, it’s also worth mentioning. In one of the first locations, the crypt, there is a book about a specific story on a devotee of Shar. A woman who devoted herself to the Lady of Loss completely, and even in death, she expected to be met with her Goddess. But Shar never showed up, instead it was Kelemvor who took pity on her but could not intervene. And with the final line of The Unclaimed being the most ominous.
“This cleric of the Lady of Loss, unclaimed despite her worthiness, might yet have one more lesson to learn: That not of forgetting, but being forgotten.”
A line so specific, a line that strikes a chord with us. This can’t be coincidence, right?
She remains loyal to Shar and remains in her servitude.
Wyll – The Blade of Frontiers
“Noble by birth, Wyll made his name as the heroic ‘Blade of Frontiers’. He keeps his pact with a devil well-hidden, and is desperate to escape the hellish bargain – even if that means rescuing the seductive creature that made the deal.”
The man who rarely even calls himself by his name, instead he goes by his self-appointed title. Wyll is clearly a bit enthused about escapism. He doesn’t like who he is, so much so he unknowingly made a deal with a devil to become a hero. Wyll’s quite simple to read so far, in my opinion. He’s a rich kid who wanted to become famous, he wanted to be a hero but he went about it in the wrong way and now has to pay for it.
Freedom from a devil
Wyll wants to be the person others think he is, and the first step in that is not being tied to a devil. But Mizora clearly has a tight hold on him and I think even when we do get the chance to help her, she’ll only offer more power to Wyll to keep them ‘together’ and if it means it’ll boost his reputation, he’ll take it.
Wyll is another character who doesn’t have too much going on right now other than what’s surface level and honestly I’m excited to see more about him. He’s charming and kind, but that means he’s not got quite the depth the others do. So again, until we find out more about him and Mizora, I’m not gonna say too much about him!
Lae’Zel – The Githyanki Warrior
Lae’zel is a consummate warrior, ferocious even by the standards of a githyanki creche. Faced with transforming into the very monster she has sworn to destroy, Lae’zel must prove herself worthy of rejoining her people – if they do not execute her first.
Lae’Zel is a grade-A fanatic. Even when compared to the other Githyanki on patrol and her interactions after, she’s clearly a lot more ‘devoted’ to Vlaakith than most other Githyanki. Lae’Zel has a simple goal, to become Kith’Rak and serve her Queen the best way she believes she can. Even if that means seeing her life as worthless!
An alien on an alien planet
Lae’Zel is the hardest person to empathize with, she’s bitter, cruel and almost a bit sadistic. But then again, she’s a literal alien. It’s hard for her as well, being trapped on a strange world believing she’ll become the very thing she’s sworn to hate. She’s only accepting our help now until the second her problems have been solved, at which point it’d be no surprise to find her attacking and killing us. So I think one of the biggest things for us and Lae’Zel is gaining her trust and showing her the value in other worlds. But honestly, considering Lae’Zel is the way she is… It’s hard to read her.
So as with Shadowheart, I don’t want to think too much on Lae’Zel because I think we’re missing crucial plot points for her. Which will likely be discovered once we get the creche!
See the common thread?
The one thing that links all of these characters together. It’s there, but it’s not all too obvious unless you start thinking about it. Their relationships. All of these characters are in what would be considered a very toxic relationship. Especially considering the power dynamic. Astarion with Cazador. Gale and Mystra. Wyll and Mizora. Lae’Zel and Vlakith. Shadowheart and Shar.
And I suppose you could say our character and the tadpole too!
Even then (spoilers ahead), there’s also been information on the two other companions. Karlach is under the control of Zariel, or at least she was. And the other character, a werewolf… an unstable power dynamic with herself!
It certainly seems as though this is a theme of the overall game, and such it would make sense for the ideal scenario to be to break free!