A little bit of a rant here.
That scene in Odyssey? Is one of the most amazing scene in the entire game and no I don’t take criticism.
Because no matter if you play as Kassandra or Alexios, this scene holds both very heavy symbolics in the aftermath of one of the most difficult bosses of the game. (Man, that Medusa fight was hardcore.)
Think about it. You just fought the Writhing Dead that was terrorizing the whole island of Lesbos after finding out that the “Writhing Dead” was, in fact, only a name, since this condition is a curse passed down to the first one who touches the artifact (Apple of Eden?) once the physical state of Medusa is destroyed. The Eagle Bearer even wonders “How many people have become the Writhing Dead over the centuries”.
And then you think about Bryce and Ligeia; how Bryce was ready to go into the Petrified Temple even though it is known that those who wander there never return; she’s willing to go back for her lover, moreover a huntress of Artemis who’s clearly the most fitting out of the two to fight back the Writhing Dead (and we later learn that she was, in fact, strong enough to kill the monster, since she is the one who picked up the artifact and got turned into Medusa). And there’s this dawn-breaking realisation that Bryce was turned to stone by her Ligeia, who couldn’t be saved anymore. It was too late for the both of them. Bryce is doomed to stay still forever in the Temple where Ligeia was lost.
And all that’s left of the both of them is a single rose. (The rose which made Bryce late to her meeting with Ligeia; the rose that prevented her from seeing her dearest ever again.)
And then the Eagle Bearer kneels. And they quote Sappho.
Now bear with me. If you’re playing as Kassandra, obviously there is a lot of feels to break down in this scene. Because you’re playing as a woman whose sexuality isn’t defined in the game and which you can choose. If you played Kassandra as a sapphic woman this hits very close to home. (Especially if you’re a queer girl yourself because, hey. Sappho quotes am I right.)
If you played Kassandra as a sapphic woman AND romanced Daphnae (because at this point in the game, the level required to do the Medusa quest is high enough for you to have slain all the Legendary Beasts) this hits even closer to home because Daphnae was a huntress of Artemis, too. (And you lost her, too.)
BUT if you played as a strictly straight Kassandra, this scene still holds a very heavy emotional feeling. There is a silent women’s bond there. Kassandra is one of the very first playable women of the franchise– yes, I know Evie & Aveline were there before, and I’m all for them too, but let’s be real. Evie shared the game with her brother, and Aveline was in a game created for PS Vita which is, well, not a console as big as a PS4 or an Xbox One. Kassandra is the first female protagonist to be the only one in her story in a big Assassin’s Creed game– she’s the “canon” protagonist. So, yeah. Big wahoo for female representation. And as she kneels down for Bryce & Ligeia, there is this silent prayer she’s making: “I’m sorry I couldn’t save you both”. She honors them both by quoting Sappho, and then she leaves. Because she’s being, for us players, an embodiment of female empowerment.
Now, if you played as a strictly straight Alexios, that’s kinda the same thing, but it bears so much respect there. Because a straight man kneeling for lesbians is rare in media and in real life. Straight men are usually predatory for sapphic women (male gaze, fetishism, yay) but Alexios? Alexios kneels. Alexios tried to save them. He couldn’t do it and now he’s doing the best he can to leave them at peace. That’s such a powerful move.
And if you played as a queer Alexios, this respect evolves into solidarity. (Yeah, that legendary mlm/wlw solidarity!) Alexios, who may have had a thing with Alkibiades; Alexios, who melted for Lykaon; Alexios, who shamelessly flirted with Thaletas, understands in some kind of way. Of course this is Ancient Greece and mindsets weren’t equals at the time (straight wasn’t even a word yet) but again, for us players, it bears this symbolic. For a game out in 2018 it bears this meaning.
So, yeah. That scene where the Eagle Bearer kneels down and quotes Sappho at a dead lesbian’s rose? One of the best.