Here’s why so many players can’t help but fall for Ascended Astarion in BG3

Emily Stander
Ascended Astarion in Baldur's Gate 3

Ascended Astarion is evil and terrible in Baldur’s Gate 3, this is no secret. So why do we tend to fall in love with him anyway? Turns out there’s a real reason, and it’s got a little bit to do with psychology. 

Astarion’s story in Baldur’s Gate 3 is one of the most emotionally taxing ones, especially if he ends up ascending after you defeat Cazador together. 

What may be one of the saddest aspects of his story is if you started a romance with him before he ascends. The relationship becomes toxic and manipulative, and he’s extremely clear about his not-so-subtle immoral intentions. 

However, there is a reason why so many players choose Ascended Astarion despite the drastic change in his attitude toward you – and it’s the simple use of manipulation tactics. 

If you refuse to continue a relationship with Astarion after he has ascended, there’s a pertinent line that speaks volumes about what he turns into: “I’m willing to share all of this with you, what’s that if not love? Of course, if that’s not enough, if you need something more, perhaps this isn’t for you.” 

He’s trying to manipulate Tav so they can stay with him and give him what he wants. It’s a complete 180 from what you experienced with him before. This is difficult to swallow when you’ve just spent countless hours with the Astarion from the start of the game, the one who wanted to end Cazador’s reign. 

Astarion killing Cazador was by far the most emotionally powerful scenes I experienced in the game, and that amplified the tragedy that is letting Astarion ascend.

He essentially turns into Cazador, the man he hated so much. With that comes a power-hungry and material-obsessed Vampire who merely looks like the Astarion you get to know over the course of the story.

He doesn’t learn how to love properly, and his only recourse is to manipulate you into feeling too bad to leave him after what he becomes. This is a classic tactic used by narcissists. 

Because, at the end of the day, that’s what Ascended Astarion is. He doesn’t care much for Tav, he only cares about what he can get out of them. And what he wants is for Tav to become his Vampire Spawn.

He changes completely from someone who once might have had true feelings for you to someone who only sees you as a pawn for a greater scheme to make himself more powerful. It’s depressing, frankly, and it can be difficult to accept it as a reality in BG3.

It is important to note that even though Ascended Astarion is evil, this doesn’t mean that he’s not capable of love. But, unfortunately, this happens so late in Baldur’s Gate 3 that it’s impossible to tell what would have happened if this ending had more time to develop.

With the information we do have, it’s pretty clear that Vampire Spawn Astarion is the happy ending, especially considering that he thanks you later for “saving him from himself.”

Whichever ending you choose, remember that Tav deserves better than becoming someone’s pawn in a game for power, and no, you can’t fix him.

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About The Author

Emily is a Games Writer at CharlieIntel. Most of the time, you can find her playing RPGs and platformers - but she enjoys engaging in the rage of Overwatch 2 or Apex Legends from time to time. Emily has a Masters in Media Studies and has been working as a journalist for over 5 years, both freelance and full-time. You can contact her at [email protected]