I picked up Skyrim in the first time in ages the other day. After getting back to grips with this amazing masterpiece, I recalled getting married last time I checked. Out of curiosity, I returned to Whiterun to see my character’s wife, Ysalda. She was walking around the market and greeted me with nothing but loving words. She was delighted to see me. I entered a conversation with my darling wife and discovered I only had a few responses. My chosen response was: ‘Can you make me a homecooked meal?’ Not even a please. She scurried off to complete the task and I realised, to my horror, I had become an abusive husband.
I first married a character for two reasons: the achievement and the idea that it would make my hero more three-dimensional, adding more weight to the game. While most players seems to marry Lydia, their bodyguard, or Aela, the ferocious warrior of the Companions, I wanted to try another route. I liked the idea of my character being a sort of cop for Whiterun and marrying one of the villagers, like Ysalda, made that idea work better. She was the symbol of everything I was trying to protect. In the simplest terms, there is not much to her character, seeing as she is meant to be background material. She is innocent, helpless and submissive. Little did I know, marrying her personality was the first symptom that I might be a bad partner.
Think about it. My wife waits at home for me, while I spend god knows how long off on these adventures (fast travel is meant to symbolise days of your character travelling, remember). And when I return, I cannot really converse with her properly, my options limited to demands and asking her the same questions that her character was meant to be asked to progress the story, when we first met. We awkwardly try and find something to talk about, but accidentally come off as distant. Spending time with this wife figure became awkward and, although I feel compelled to acknowledge her, the conversation is so sparse, bumping into her on my travels around Whiterun became something I wanted to avoid.
At the risk of coming off as sad, I did realise there was one option left to me. I could buy a house and ask her to move in with me. At the time, I was staying at her place. I had never considered investing in a house, as it is 5000 coins expensive. But I spent the next few hours, doing simple bounty hunting missions, selling my old relics and making as much coin as I could. I bought the house and refurbished it to the point where it looked amazingly new. I spent so much cash on it, I was left penniless at the end. Just to keep the relationship going and make me forgive me for my past grievances. Afterwards, I soon realised this was another step in an abusive relationship.
Enter Lydia. As I bought the house, I noticed Lydia knocking around the palace of Whiterun. I remembered the Jarl giving her to me as a bodyguard, but she was so terrible at stealth I asked her to return home. Fancying the company, I asked her to resume her services. However, bumping into the wife became really awkward, as I had this strong, beautiful woman always following me around. Lots more uncomfortable silences. I noticed Ysalda following me a lot. Sometimes I would be leaving the castle to see her walking down the steps. Remember Ysalda’s character has no reason to come close to the castle, so it felt out of place for her character to come this far in Whiterun. The only connection was me and she only started doing it when Lydia showed up.
Gradually, things got worse. At the moment, I may have even cheated on her. I slept in my bed one night, resting up for my next adventure. When I awoke, Ysalda was gone. She often works on the market early. However, by my bed, standing there, watching me was Lydia. Of course, sleeping isn’t shown in the game, as that would be boring, but I don’t know what I did with Lydia in my room. Was she watching me all night? Or did she come to me when my wife woke up and left? Am I having an affair?
If you take anything from this, I guess it would be a request to Bethesda. When the next Elder Scrolls game comes out, could you add a bit more depth to the wife figure? I know this sounds really soppy, but even if you add an ‘I love you’ option, I would be happy. I just feel awkward once all of the dialogue options with my wife are done and I can only ask her for money and food. This feature would just be for the players that like to role-play a little more with their hero, but I am sure it would be appreciated. At the very least, it would do no harm to the gameplay.