eponymous_rose: (ME | Victus)
[personal profile] eponymous_rose
Finally got to the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC in my replay of ME2. It is still pretty much the best thing ever and, as an added bonus, I caught a Twin Peaks reference I'd missed last time around! Sneaky. Even the loading screens are awesome. "Shoot the lightning capacitors to make them explode." If that's your helpful hint, you know whatever's coming up is going to be pretty epic.

Mostly, though, it's still the character stuff that gets me in this one. Banter! I do so love the banter. And Shepard and Liara circling each other in a wary, not-quite-comfortable way that's unexpectedly subtle and well done and true to the characters. And plot twists and character evolution and that ending. Yesss.

So that got me to thinking that Liara T'Soni is one of my favourite characters - because helloooo, character development, what with going from socially awkward archaeologist to kinda ruthless spymaster. She's not a "soldier" character either, like so many of the others in this franchise, and I love that they kept that about her. So hey, that got me to thinking that I should make a post with pretty pictures expounding on Liara's awesomeness. As you do.

All images are clickable to get to the source.

Okay. When we meet Liara in ME1, she's full of awkward and adorable. She's a total geek about the long-dead Protheans and their culture, and when Shepard mentions that spending so much time at isolated dig sites must be pretty lonely, Liara is genuinely baffled. Not having other people around is what she loves most about her job. And bam! I immediately adore her, just for that.

Awesome fanart by Derlaine8.

She's also 106 years old in the first game. See, the asari are extremely long-lived, and by academic standards, she's very new to the field, despite having spent the past fifty years studying the Protheans. Essentially, her theories are given about as much weight as a graduate student's, which means that she writes papers that aren't likely to be read. And like any shy-but-frustrated academic, once you get her going on her field of study, she'll open up completely. (Is there pre-series Liara-in-academia fic? Because that would be awesome.)

Banter with Garrus. Liara is very good at taking things literally. (And Garrus/Liara is one of my completely random ships in this fandom, so there's that.)

Since Shepard's just been getting up close and personal with the Protheans, Liara is instantly fascinated by her, and what starts out as a sort of puppy-love-ish hero worship eventually evolves into something deeper. I'd argue that it does so whether or not Shepard pursues a relationship with her - their love and friendship, be it platonic or otherwise, is one of my favourite things in the entire series.

Mind you, I also ship Liara/Shepard like burning.

And then ME2 comes along, and with it comes a strain on that relationship, because hey, Shepard was dead for two years and then came back expecting the same nervous, geeky scientist who was trapped in an escape pod while Shepard was spaced. Yeah. So Liara's character gets a whole lot darker - she talks pretty blithely about the betrayals of the past two years, and it's very telling that when you help her out in ME2, you start racking up Renegade points. Eep.

In a lot of ways, her evolution in the intervening two years mirrors Garrus's - after Shepard's death, they both tried to build something on their own and had it crumble down. They have a very similar obsession with revenge, too, and on Liara it's a lot scarier because it's a facet of her character that Shepard's never seen before... and Shepard herself is indirectly the cause of that change. And while a Paragon Shepard can eventually talk Garrus down from his rage (and I could write pages upon pages of meta on that interaction alone), Liara just keeps pushing forward and carves her way to where she needs to be. She forces a new distance between them, builds herself a new role that's independent of the friend who keeps saving the day, and that's when the true character development starts. Basically, the whole thing fills me with Fannish Feelings.

When in doubt, stand moodily in front of model ships.

I can't say too much about the Liara romance plot specifically in ME3, since I haven't imported the relevant save yet, but from what I've heard, it's full of awesomeness and Liara trying to find that middle ground, where she can still recapture that old innocence without letting Shepard eclipse her completely.

This gif is pretty much Liara in a nutshell, I think, with all the trappings of her new career behind her... and that little smile breaking the uncertainty. ♥

One of my favourite things about ME3 is that the entire premise is basically "hey, there's an apocalypse on, let's smash up everyone's home planets and explore how they feel about that". It's a fic-writer's dream, really. And Liara's reactions ring true, especially how she doesn't quite make the emotional connection until she sees Thessia burning - until they actually get to Thessia, it's all abstract, all distant and scientific. She's very, very good at distant and scientific, and dealing with anything else is an utter shock to her system. It's excellent characterization, that bit right there (and the added blow of finding out about the asari's secrets is really, really intense).

But gah, my favourite thing she does in ME3 is making that time capsule, in case the entire galaxy gets wiped out and nobody's left to tell the stories. It's a sign of utter defeat, a worst-case scenario that seems pretty morbid but carries with it this incredible optimism that everything will be all right, sometime, somewhere. Liara takes the long view by habit and by necessity, and it's such a neat contrast to all the soldiers who are so utterly focused on the next battle. When there's no hope in the present, she finds hope in the distant future, and when she shows it to Shepard, for just a little while, it's enough. And I love that this scene happens regardless of whether she and Shepard are romantically involved - it's just that important.

Aww. And now, to end this on a lighter note, have my all-time favourite scene from Lair of the Shadow Broker: the flying car chase.

In which Liara is a total backseat driver, and it's awesome.


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