This ‘Baldur’s Gate 3’ Plot Is Unable To Shake Harmful Fantasy Tropes


PREMO Member
**Spoilers for a boss fight in “Sunlit Wetlands” (Fetid Bog) in Baldur’s Gate 3.**

Turns out she’s been making deals with wretched people and screwing them over for her own gain. Her most recent victim’s family (Demir and Johl) are desperately trying to rescue their sister, Mayrina. When you find out why, it goes downhill so fast. I seriously kept telling myself, “Maybe more context will make this not what it appears.” Nope. After exploring the dialogue tree across three play-throughs, my fear was confirmed.

Blood libel in fantasy, again​

After losing her lover and father to their future child, Mayrina works out a deal with Ethel. Ethel (a witch who transforms into a swamp-like hag) will resurrect Conor in exchange for Mayrina’s child, who she’ll teach magic. Ethel reveals plans to EAT THE CHILD to make a hag daughter. If this plot of a magical person, who shares features with historically antisemitic caricatures of Jewish people, trading or coercing someone to give up a child that will be consumed in some way sounds familiar, it’s because it is.

This story is a common storytelling device in fantasy that came from the extremely antisemitic trope of blood libel.

While emerging theories among historians place the origin around 600 AD, most agree it stems the brutal murder of an English boy, William of Norwich, in 1144. William’s family blamed Jewish people, accusing them of a ritualistic blood sacrifice of Christian children in observance of Passover. The conspiracy theory stuck around past the Middle Ages as an effective scapegoating tool during turbulent times.

Any kind of upheaval (economic, social, political, etc.) has consistently been blamed on Jewish people since. This includes art and stories (like fairytales) that together created the fantasy genre. BG3 is not the only huge fantasy game in 2023 with links to blood libel.

This trope isn’t the only strike against Ethel for antisemitism; it’s the strongest in a growing list. She transforms into a described less humanoid creature with an elongated nose. There’s a literal poisoned well sitting outside her teahouse, although the in-game consequences are limited (so far). As a fraudulent businesswoman (even with Mayrina, as you see by using the wand “Bitter Divorce”), Ethel also evokes the trope of the greedy cheat. If it were just one of these things, it would be kinda iffy, but it’s the combination that really makes it hard to ignore.



Well-Known Member
So now any story with a witch that eats children is antisemitic? Is Hansel and Gretel the true reason Germany perpetrated the holocaust?

Or are some members of the Jewish community forced to go to new extremes to compete now that their race card has been devalued by a million new woke subcultures being issued their own cards?


Mostly settled in...
Ad Free Experience
Interesting look at a part of game playing in which I have not participated all that much.
The last computer game I played was an early Traveller one for WIN95.
Did play Evony for a few months a little over 10 years ago.
Have never owned a dedicated gaming console.


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