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Sunday, April 1, 2018

Woman of the Month: Grace Nakimura

Grace Nakimura from the Gabriel Knight trilogy
As it happens, this post constitutes the very first Woman of the Month who's derived from a game: the heroine of the Gabriel Knight trilogy, Grace Nakimura.
It has occurred to me recently that many writers are so conscious of their female characters being role models that they forget to make them human, replete with weaknesses and flaws. Sometimes I don't blame them, as any flaw on a female character will inevitably be amplified to the point of absurdity by fandom, forcing others to become so preoccupied with defending her right to merely exist in the story that they lose any chance to explore her as a three-dimensional character – but I digress.
The point I'm trying to make is that Grace is a Japanese-American woman with plenty of foibles: she's an overachiever and a workaholic and a ballbuster, who's bossy and stubborn and bad-tempered, not to mention susceptible to jealousy, cattiness and sarcasm (though also quick to apologise when she realizes she's in the wrong). And you can't help but love her because of her flaws rather than in spite of them – especially since she's a fundamentally good person.
Going from a research assistant and distressed damsel in the first game to a playable (and thereby proactive) character in the sequels is a testament to her depth, and that her adventures reveal tenacity and raw, analytical intelligence as her most important character traits is deeply satisfying.
She's a history major and a researcher who investigates historical (and supernaturally-tinged) mysteries in the defence of good against evil. That's living the dream.

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