Binders Full of Women: Collecting All the Ladycards in The Witcher – part 8
It’s Chapter 5, the final chapter, and these are lean times for ladyhunters. Not only are there just three cards left to get in the game, each playthrough only allows you to get one of them! I’ve been following the questline that aligns you with the non-humans, so I am tragically only capable of witnessing the following lay in its full interactive glory. No, I am not playing through 50+ hours again (twice!) just for sexcards. Even I have my limits.
This is a bit of a let-down, unfortunately, even if I had been hoping we’d get into this rebel-girl’s pants for a while now. Look, tell you what, here’s the video, see for yourselves. I watched it to see the other Chapter 5 sexcards, so that I could talk about them, but as I haven’t played them in person, do let me know if there’s additional context I’m missing.
I suppose we have to assume that the character models are lacking, and Ghenghis actually has a super-seductive sex-stare, because otherwise Toruviel comes off as slightly deranged. She goes from insisting she’s utterly not in the mood to sighing “Oh what the hell. Strip.” in precisely zero seconds. Geode just stands there, looking confused. Let me translate what Toruviel is really saying here: “Sex? now? …oh whatever. I’m tired, you’re tired, the writers are tired. I seriously cannot be arsed to think of a reason we should bone, but we all know it has to happen, so let’s just get it over with.” While it’s not actively terrible, it’s so half-hearted, and I’m disappointed because I thought this pairing had lots of potential for hotness.
21b. White Rayla
Rayla is a Tough Woman who can defeat any man… but she secretly wants one to dominate her and teach her who’s boss! Le sigh. This really is one of my least favourite tropes. Heaven forfend that we see a man take on a role in a relationship where he is perceived as being submissive to a woman! Doesn’t matter what he or she might prefer, or feel comfortable with! He would be judged by patriarchy as Unfit to be Male, and the writers certainly can’t have Gherkin doing anything like that. Thus he can’t sleep with Rayla because she’s strong and that’s hot, it has to be because she’s strong but he’s stronger and can “tame” her. Bleh.
I do like Rayla’s alt-butch character design though. And it cracks me up when they bicker about whether Genesis would beat up a girl or not. (Rayla: “You would not!” Geralt: “I WOULD TOO!”) For the record, I agree with Gizmondo – he would totally beat up a girl, and I say that with approval. He knows the battlefield is no place for chivalry (is anywhere?) and doesn’t strike me as someone who underestimates women. Unless you decide he is, because one of the unused dialogue options in that video appears to be “I don’t fight women”. Apart from all the monstrous ones he’s killed so far in the game, then?
21c. OMG NURSES!
I can’t believe this game had a secret threesome with nurses hidden in it ALL ALONG, but I can’t have it because I wasn’t neutral enough. Being neutral is apparently the True Witchery Way, so as far as I’m concerned, nurse threesome is canon. You have to escort them through the battlefield, and then they are, y’know, grateful. I’m afraid I don’t know if it’s the novice from earlier, as they all look and sound the same, but let’s believe it is, and that she is a provider of alchemically significant bodily fluids no longer. Look at the card, though… don’t you think they seem much more interested in each other than Grendel? Maybe he was just an excuse for them to get it on with each other. I’m choosing to believe that, because otherwise it’s yet another gross rescue-reward fuck.
I don’t have any screenshots of the nurses, but you can have this one I took earlier in the game. It seems appropriate enough.
Since we’ve been so cruelly starved of digital sex in this chapter, I’d like to make up for it by thinking about sex Gemini didn’t have. Ships that never sailed, if you will. Consider the following scene…
Galbedir finally catches up to the mysterious witcher he has been tracking for much of the game, Berengar. Although the two are bound by shared experience and outcast status, Berengar is initially hostile, distrusting all members of the witcher order he was forced into. Before the conversation can continue, the pair are attacked by alps and bruxae, highly sexualised naked lady monsters! What follows are actual quotes.
Berengar: Nice style, but not perfect. During a half-pirouette, you leave your groin unprotected… [Wait, he’s in battle, and his eyes are where?]
Geralt: I don’t think so.
Berengar: [Definitely not winking or anything] I’ll demonstrate when we get out of here.
More monstrous women attack, and must be defeated! Then…
Berengar: Who said I wanted to talk? [almost coyly] You gonna force me?
Geralt: [Seductively] I hadn’t intended to. I was thinking…
Berengar: …that since we’re both witchers, somehow we’d come to an agreement?
He insults Gumtree for a bit with more sexual-tension-charged hostility. Then OH NO here come more hordes of aggressively naked women who must be literally fought off if they are to be together!
Look, these scenes with Berengar are super-homoerotic. I’m sure I’m not imagining this, although it’s hard to be sure, simply because the social limits for platonic interactions between men are so incredibly narrow. By this I mean that almost any form of warmth, bonding or physical contact between men is often perceived as homosexually tilted, at least, in the modern English-speaking culture I’m writing from. This is very sad, because coupled with homophobia, it leaves many men incapable of expressing their feelings for their friends, for fear of being seen as gay. For this reason, I’m sometimes hesitant to call out what I see as queer undertones – sometimes male/male affection is just that! But… seriously. This scene is flirty, dammit.
Geralt: Can we talk?
Berengar: Fine, but not here. Let’s go outside… sit by my fire.
Despite the romantic fireside location, the most we get is some more bickering about Groupon’s groin opening (I’m really not making this up) and Berengar telling Gaenor to leave, as he is “beginning to doubt [him]self“. Well. Definitely no way to interpret any of that remotely sexually, then. If you’re nice to Berengar, he gradually thaws towards you, turning up later in the game to help at various points and even sacrifices his life in the final battle. They never fuck, though.
It’s not just Berengar, either, there’s chemistry a-plenty to be found in Gingham’s interactions with Yaevinn, the idealistic elven revolutionary. Yaevinn admires Gurren, but is frustrated by his unwillingness to commit (to the fight for freedom). Gentian is drawn to Yaevinn’s fiery desire (for freedom), but fears he may go too far, and become as brutal and ruthless as those he opposes. Can he save him from his own passion (for freedom)? I’m telling you, the slashfic writes itself.
Let me make it clear: I’m not saying that Gerbold should have been written as bisexual. I would undoubtedly like to have more queer protagonists in games, but Ginseng”s an established character, and nobody’s saying we need to start turning straight characters queer to meet some imagined diversity quotient. CD Projekt could have chosen to do it if they’d wanted to, as they’re not required to stick to the books, but it’s also fine that they didn’t. I’m not saying they did anything wrong here.
What I am saying is that if Grovyle were bisexual, it’d be interesting, because they are leaving a lot of potential sexcards on the table! If I were creating a game about a serial seducer, then I’d want to ensure that the sexual encounters were varied enough to seem worth the player’s time and effort. Generic NPCs who want a random gifted item do not fit this brief. Including people of different genders allows for more variety of interaction, since the social dynamics are different. You also defend yourself from evil feminists writing about how sexist it is to collect and objectify women, if you have some men in there, too. It’d still be commodification of sex, but at least it’d be equal-opportunity commodification.
Next time: Final thoughts and hopes for the future!