Though it shames me a little to admit it, I am a little bit filthy, and while I’m plenty picky about quality writing and good story, it’s very rare that I take the time to read a fic that has no sex in it at all. A recent exception has been Bellus et Bestia by CandidCantrix on AO3. The story is a Dragon Age: Inquisition AU about Dorian and The Iron Bull that takes place before the game’s story. It really delves into Qunari culture and Iron Bull’s mental state, as well as taking a slightly different approach to Dorian’s past. It is very, very loosely based on the story of Beauty and the Beast, but instead of taking the obvious tack and making the eight-foot-tall horned Qunari the “beast” character, Iron Bull is actually the one who gets captured and held captive by Dorian, who is rather horrifically less pretty in this AU than in the game.
Late to the party as usual, I recently started playing a little game called Dragon Age: Inquisition, a stellar endeavor in videogame storytelling, and a goddamn work of art as far as I’m concerned. Also, it has butts. In my play through I opted to romance Dorian, the gay necromancer from Tevinter, but I then learned to my delight that had I not opted to romance Dorian, he would have begun a background romance storyline with a massive, intimidating Qunari mercenary called the Iron Bull. I found this aspect of the story both hilarious and charming, but after discussing it with my lunchtime friend, Dillon from Goldburgers, he remarked blithely, “that is definitely some kind of bestiality.”
This statement perplexed me a bit. Sure, Qunari aren’t human and have some distinctly un-human features, but they’re far from the first or the most exotic humanoid fictional race to acceptably get it on with humans. Even people who have never seen Star Trek know that Captain James T. Kirk has banged no shortage of space babes. In virtually every high fantasy novel, some human or other gets into it with some elf or other. Why does no one think of these human/non-human relationships as bestiality? In the context of non-human but sentient races, what defines bestiality, and does the concept even apply? Which people may we acceptably bang and why may we bang those people and not others? These are the real questions.