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So, something I keep seeing coming up all over Twitter, Tumblr, Discord, and Reddit is discussion that Mystra is a child predator who groomed Gale into a romantic and sexual relationship when he was a child. I have absolutely never come across anything in my own gameplay suggesting to this, but from what I see, it might be coming up in his Origin and Romance? Is this actually how Mystra is written in BG3? I see this EVERYWHERE from all corners of BG3 fandom; every time I see a post calling Mystra a groomer, it gets tons (hundreds or thousands, even) of positive responses never questioning it at all. So I'm very confused on whether Larian actually wrote Mystra as a child groomer, or this is some weird misunderstanding that's gained popularity?

I really like Mystra as a character, she's been one of my favorite DND characters for years, so the idea she'd be written in such a way when there is 0 canon basis would honestly be upsetting.

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remember the church is above the law so no its not true


Luke Skywalker: I don't, I don't believe it.
Yoda: That is why you failed.
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I hate, hate, hate that people are using the word 'grooming' to talk about a silly RPG story. Like you I'm not happy with the way Mystra is portrayed but I am even more upset with the fandom for using word with the moral weight of 'grooming' to talk about the story. It minimizes and trivializes a very serious issue.

Not only that it feed into the current political panic in the US. Right now bad actors are describing drag queens, trans people, sex educator and host of others as 'groomers'. This is a time to very careful about our word choices not a time to a throw around explosive words with abandon.

The word has been so degraded that the very existence of drag is taken to be a form of grooming. You probably don't want to click on this:


This IS having a 'cry wolf' effect and will only get worse. School districts are that much less likely to investigate claims of grooming because these bad actors - and parts of the BG3 fanbase - have so degraded the term that is now all but meaningless.

Well meaning school principal: "Allegations of grooming? No, I'm not investigating that. We get complaints every month and have just concluded that the term is some right wing chew-toy"

Now having vented my spleen at some parts of the fanbase let me turn my ire to Larian.

Like much of BG3 Larian's attention for forgotten realms lore wanders in chapter 3 and we are back to the DoS2 model. In DoS2 the gods are the real villains of the story. To lesser extent the same is true of the world of PoE. But is absolutely not true of the Forgotten Realms. "are the gods really this petty"? No Shadowheart, Shar is that petty, Mystra and Selune are pretty great, actually.

No, the gods don't unravel the skein we good mortals weave and, no, they are not responsible for all of Faerun's ills. Do the people who wrote those lines know that most of the fallen empires of Faerun - Ramuthar, Narfel, Netheril - fell because they rejected the gods? It's one of the many ways that chapter 3 is off - which is strange because they nailed the Selune-Shar conflict in chapter.

So you're right, the depiction of Mystra is off. I didn't really notice how off it was until I romanced Gale. I liked Gale in previous, non romanced playthrough. Gale, the loyal cleric of Mystra, sacrificed his life to kill the Elder Brain. He conquered his own hubris and became the real hero of Sword Coast.

Sadly I liked Gale so much that romanced him on my subsequent run and I made the mistake of asking if he still had feelings for Mystra and I got a pretty toxic reply. Gale, it's my fault for asking but few things look as unattractive as man complaining about his crazy ex. You weren't her plaything, she made you into a living saint and you fucked up. You figured this out when we were friends why did romancing you make you so awful? Look, the sex in a magic boat was great and, until a few minutes ago, you seemed sort of adorkable but its over now. Looks like you messed up another relationship. Let's hope the third is the charm.

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BG3 doesn't present a flattering portrait of her. The power disparity in their relationship is off the charts, not to mention Gale being a near-friendless isolated introvert. It was her responsibility to handle with care.

She's not canonically a sex predator, although there are mortal-divine trysts in her background. I think they are with her chosen, make of that what you will.

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Gale is incomparably more open to the person he's romancing than to the friendly version of Tav. That's why his story is different from the perspective of romance and without. Only he knows what it really was, whether he felt like a victim during his relationship with her, or if he started to feel that way when Mystra told him to kill himself. For me, the whole story is twisted, not just Mystra or Gale himself. A combination of circumstances caused something strange and hurtful.Mystra doesn't have to be evil per se, but with a mortal who is a genius of magic, the whole arrangement makes both her and Gale "corrupt".

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It's a theory, whether it's true or not for you depends whether you subscribe to the interpretation or not. From what I have read, most of the reasoning behind this stems from how Gale describes the development of their relationship from teacher to muse to lover, how very young he was when his talents became noticeable, and how firmly his self-worth is tied to his magical skill and general usefulness.

While I don't agree, I can see where the grooming theory comes from. I think it misses the point though, because Gale's story isn't about exploitation of the body (that's Astarion's side) but about him being reduced and, in turn, reducing himself to his skills as a scholar and wizard. I am glad when he finally gets angry at Mystra, since her orders were - if you value mortal lives - cold on a personal level and monstrous on the larger scale. Obeying her in Act 2 probably destroys more lives than Cazador's ritual - granted, without minting any soul coins.

Where you stand on the matter of guilt also seems to largely depend on whether you have a more devoutly religious or a humanist mindset. The religious crowd seem to be of the opinion that Gale should have listened to the boundaries his goddess set for him, while the more humanist minded point out that he is a wizard, not a cleric, and he was encouraged to develop his magical prowess. Mystra showed Gale what he could achieve while at the same time denying it to him, feeding into his issues. The topic of being "worthy" comes up time and again. Gale thinks he has to proof himself worthy by demonstrating great skill and knowledge, while Mystra & all think he already was worthy because of his good nature. If you wish to refrain from a more nefarious interpretation, this is a serious communication issue at least, one that also rests on the shoulders of Elminster and Tara.

I like the relationship with Mystra in Gale's Origin much better because it allows for healing and understanding, which is not possible in the scripted audience. I loved that I could call her out for intending to sacrifice so many lives with her orders (which felt like a very Gale thing to do) but also that it provides insight into why she asked for the sacrifice in the first place, making the deal she eventually offers seem like a compromise between her duties as a goddess and her sympathies for Gale. In my game they parted ways as friends and Mystra seemed happy to see him leave and lead his own life without being so closely tied to her influence, while Gale is apparently hunting down rogue shadow-mages again even though he's not a Chosen any longer.

In the companion version the relationship is probably also less cordial, to keep it level with the stories of the other companions and their gods and masters.

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I've read that Gale talks about his other lovers in the romance option, so Mystra wasn't his only lover and he wasn't completely possessed by her. I think making Gale a helpless victim comes from only looking at a piece of history that is dramatic. It's not looking at the big picture.

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Originally Posted by Tauriel
I've read that Gale talks about his other lovers in the romance option, so Mystra wasn't his only lover and he wasn't completely possessed by her. I think making Gale a helpless victim comes from only looking at a piece of history that is dramatic. It's not looking at the big picture.

To avoid confusion: I wasn't suggesting that he was a helpless victim, but that his self-perception was seriously unhealthy and the people closest to him didn't do anything to balance this out. Gale also mentions that he had friends and colleagues whom he shut out once he became aware of how dangerous the orb could potentially be.

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What I wrote about being a victim didn't apply to your post smile More generally, to the theme of the vile Mystra. But when it came to his friends, I had a different understanding of what he was saying, that he never really had them, or that there were as many of them as a pinhead. He cut himself off because of his situation, not from his friends (after all, he had some contact with Elminster) but from his colleagues.I imagine that even if Gale had very close friends, they wouldn't have been able to reason with him about Mystra. Gale is already written in such a way that only a new love showed him that he can have an earthly relationship, where more or less everyone has the same status.

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Mystra is old, fat and stupid - but no groomer!

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To give an answer to the original question:A lot of people misinterpreted the lines in the game. I think the whole groomer thing comes from a throwaway line from Gale and something Minsc says. After the people just ran with it.

It can be a gross imbalance of power without it being grooming in the literal sense.

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Some really good responses in this thread but I wonder if I'm doing the right thing by having the discussion in thread contributes to the degradation of word / a concept that should never lose its moral weight . . . Would be nice to have a "Justice for Mystra" thread where people who are fond of Forgotten Realms lore could talk about how Mystra was misrepresented.

But I am happy to agree with @druidofthestars and I always find @Anska's contributions to be insightful.

You are right, Anska, that it comes down to humanist / Forgotten-realms-lore perspective. My Tav is a wizard / cleric of mystra multi class and sometimes they have identical responses. On one quick save "praise be that Mystryl was reborn as Mystra" is labeled [cleric] and another [wizard]. You have two options that garner the same reply from Elminster. One is something like "Eliminster Umar, greatest of all archmages it's an honor" and the cleric of Mystra is something like "Eliminster Umar, most exalted amongst the chosen of Mystra it's an honor" so the distinction isn't as stark as it would be in setting that had a humanist movement.

IMO humanism would be the default setting of the PoE world. It's an early renaissance setting and indeed the ghost you meet at the end of PoE1 strikes me as an atheist prophet; I could see humanism emerging from her teachings. It's harder to see humanism springing up in Greyhawk - it's such a grimdark setting - but it's because Greyhawk, unlike the realms, doesn't have a mechanism in place that encourages people to worship gods it's possible. (Greyhawk doesn't have a wall of the faithless or a fate of the false and it's possible to be a cleric of a concept like 'goodness')

While the loss of faith Gale might be satisfying end for some BG3 fans who thought Mystra treated him badly, the non ascended Gale faces a grim afterlife where he would spend eternity as a brick in the wall of the faithless unless he made a deal with devil or he was snatched to the hells by some demon. I wish my cleric could have reminded him of this - it would show that Larian showed the same attention to Forgotten Realms lore in chapter 3 as they did in chapter 2. Atheism just isn't a smart choice in the realms. (but it is a smart choice DOS2, PoE and possibly Greyhawk)

In chapter 2 clerics of Mystra get two good lines when speaking with Elminister

On of which is "I'm surprised Mystra would ask this, it's hardly her way" to which Gale responds "I'm glad I'm not the only one". And if you keep Gale as a friend and encourage his faith Mystra seems like Mystra in the tabernacle meeting.

BUT if you romance him her responses do indeed seem cold and uncaring. And that's out character.

Mystra cares for humans. Her first act as a god was saving the few Netherese cities she could. And Mystra is a patron of the harpers, Gale should have been able to mention how many harpers would have died.

Mystra should have either brought Gale life to be at the party or she should have sent a divine messenger to let us know that Gale had been redeemed and was enjoying an afterlife full of reading, writing and discovery.

At the least Withers should have a had a line like the one Karlach got. "She wouldn't come". Preferably something like "Gale was redeemed in Mystra's eyes and she has exalted him in Elysium.

So much of Act 3 lacks the polish and care of the earlier chapters and I suspect that whoever wrote the Mystra lines was not a forgotten realms fan. (and I'm equally convinced that who wrote the Shar and Selune lines *was* a Forgotten Realms fan)

While I liked the romance scenes and dialogues I ended up thinking that Gale's is the only romance where the love affair makes him worse: full of bitterness towards his ex and equally stuffed with hubris. Be careful Gale, if you nurse that bitterness too much and Shar might take an interest . .

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Yes, Act 3 lacks polish and I think the main problem with the Mystra audience is this weird hybrid state it is in.

Before the scene starts you are informed that it is an audience for Gale only, which makes sense, it should be a private conversation given their relationship. When the scene starts however, you are still privy to it and in the adjoining conversation Gale knows that you witnessed the whole conversation. This is very weird. I am not sure why they did not either make a scene that the player character is part of like for Shart and Shar, and Lae'zel and Vlaakith - or just give Gale dialogue to only talk about his audience. Instead it seems to me that they ran out of time and chopped together parts of Gale's Origin audience and added it to the normal game.

Then there is a tendency in the game to make the romanced versions of certain dialogues more relationship and player focused than the friendship version - which is something I really detest. I looked up the friendship version of Gale's Act 2 scene, in which he is expresses his fondness for the whole tadpole group, while in the romanced he is focuses solely on the player character. I would have liked it if the importance of the rest of the group was at least mentioned. In the same way I hated that when facing the Act 2 finale, with romanced Gale you can only choose between using love as a pressure tool or telling him that using the orb isn't his decision. Why not use the argument of innocent lives lost, which is the one that always works with Gale?

But I digress. I think the reason why romanced Gale's Mystra feels somewhat colder depends on both the focus shift to the romanced PC and that you have no input in the conversation. I felt that when I could actually choose my replies in Origin, the whole conversation felt very rational. "Why did you defy my orders?" is, when you can actually answer, an open question and the conversation as a whole gives you good opportunities to make your feelings known (though some are more bitchy than others). If you are only watching the conversation, you are forced to swallow your resentments if you have any - and I feel a lot of people on the anti-Mystra train have those. I also got the feeling a lot of people of the anti-Mystra train don't understand that Mystra, Gale, Elminster and Tara are all Int based characters, capable of rational discussions and decisions which just aren't very fluffy.

I think that if you go down the ascension path, you definitely make Gale extremely bitter, while he mostly felt a little lost to me at the end of a very cordial romance. That spot of resentment wears of rather quickly in the "good" path after all - or at least it did in my version. Though I still think that Astarion's romance - which I had in Gale's origin - works better for Gale than his own romance does. Having the vampire's little confession that he started the romance with ulterior motives but didn't want this deception any longer, was just an insanely good story beat for Gale.

Edit: And while we talked about this before, Withers can't tell you Bomb Gale is in Elysium because he simply isn't. Withers spirits Gale's soul away before Mystra can remove him. I also don't think that atheism is really possible in a world in which the gods chat with you. Humanism - placing the human experience over the value of the gods or at least on the same level - is still a viable option. I am ok with Gale wanting to use the orb in Act 3 to save his friends and the Sword Coast (though I'll always talk him out of it), even with wanting to use it to remove orb and crown from existence, I will never be ok with him wanting to use the orb to gain Mystra's forgiveness.


@Tauriel, yes his circle of close friends seems to be tiny. I was more thinking about how when you end up with God-Gale, you get a very heartfelt letter from Elminster in which he mourns the loss of Gale the person and when reading it, I thought that these were sentiments that maybe should have been expressed a little earlier.

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Mystra did come across as a bit off to me.

I think of it from Gale's perspective. Here's this ultimate fantasy, right? He's intimate with a Goddess! Not just a Goddess, mind you, but a Goddess of the one thing he loves the most: magic. It's obvious why this feels great to Gale. But then... Gale gets a little bit older and starts to look around. Wait, he thinks. I understand why I liked that, but why did *she* like that?

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I wouldn't say BG3 is guilty of portraying a groomer for a god, especially compared to all the crap in real life mythologies that are far more explicitly that. They just put the defining trope of tabletop wizard bullshit into the game. You wouldn't believe how many people still to this day run campaigns just to speedrun loading themselves up with magic to have sex with gods in their imaginations. Gale is a little love letter to that fantasy brought down to earth by the logical consequences for that kind of self-fellating ego so that he can have a real personality and real character development.

The worst way I can manage to read it is like ahania already said, gross imbalance of power is not itself the same thing, and the information we have does not itself indicate anything worse than the unavoidable gross imbalance of power. All the gods tend to be jerks in their own ways in Faerun and Mystra certainly is no exception, but she's not evil and reading evil into a relationship we just don't have that many details about while ignoring Gale's own positive opinion of his own experiences in his tender middle-aged years is silly.

Also yeah I agree with almost everything KillerRabbit has said.

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@Anska, I felt like Tav was the first person in Gale's life that she was really close to. Even a conversation with a close friend like Elminster seemed formal and a bit stiff. With Tav you can see a completely different Gale, and I'm talking about the friendly version, because my Tav didn't have an affair with him. I think his huge commitment to his relationship with Tav, whether it's friendship or love, is because he understood the lack of that in his life. Perhaps even the vision of love and friendship was distorted by a lifestyle of isolation and obsession.So I think Gale wasn't used to sharing real feelings before he met Tav. After all, love with a goddess is not a "normal" emotion for a human being. Elminster talked a lot and pompously, but I didn't feel a deep emotional connection between them.Perhaps it was only in a letter after his death that he allowed himself to vent his emotions.

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Originally Posted by Tauriel
Elminster talked a lot and pompously, but I didn't feel a deep emotional connection between them.Perhaps it was only in a letter after his death that he allowed himself to vent his emotions.

I think so too. Elminster, Tara and Mystra herself seem like very rational people - using the word loosely - to me, who might show righteous anger at times but are overall not very emotional or affectionate. Tara clearly loves Gale but she is also very proper, she gets furious at Mystra after Elminster stabilises the orb, but her way of dissuading Gale away from the command is to remind him to "use his head" and one of the ways the dialogue can end is that she reminds Gale that they wouldn't want to cause a scene. None of them seem to share Gale's more playful side or his joyful enthusiasm for magic, nor do they seem well equipped to help with his emotional needs - or willing to accept his darker notions. "Patched up and pushing on" seems to be very on brand for all of them, very no-nonsense.

I was wondering, if Gale is your Tav's friend, does he also have an option to check in on his mental well-being? I was very surprised the first time around, that his conversational romantic topic isn't concerned with the state of the relationship at all but purely asks about how he is feeling.

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In the friendly version, you can ask him how he feels. How much he talks about his feelings or thoughts about life in the later moments of the game is in stark contrast to how introverted he was at the beginning. However, Gale's distance from the rest of the group is still felt. Tav seems to be the focal point in his development, both in love and friendship.

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That's just an issue with the game, the party never really feels like it comes together and feels like a cohesive group. It just always feels like Tav and our friends, with us being the ony significant relationship the others build within the group. Shadowheart and Lae'zel have more of a meaningful arc, but it never feels like, beyond them, the rest of the party graduate from the "getting to know each other" stage.

As for Mystra herself, I don't see the relationship as actively abusive, but I do think it was ultimately unhealthy for Gale for a number of reasons, high among them being the simple fact that she's a goddess. The power balance of that alone makes any relationship kind of dubious. But beyond just the power balance, Mystra's just endowed with so much responsibility that any relationship is almost doomed to fail. She may love mortals, but she is in a position to impact basically all of them with her choices. She can't devote herself to Gale because she has to see to the well-being of every mortal. That's only further complicated by the fact she's the goddess of magic, which Gale already loves deeply and ties to his identity. Of course he's going to come away from that relationship feeling lesser. Fundamentally she could never put him first when it really mattered. Even if she would have truly wanted to.

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That's why Tav seems like a key figure. She (or he) is the one who solves problems, helps heal traumas, or deepens them, depending on where she "pushes" the character. I like it very much. In this arrangement, I do not miss the relationships between the others. Finally, there was a game where, for the first time since Shepard, I felt that the main character had power.

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