Lady Dimitrescu from Resident Evil Village could have been my absolute favorite character in the entire game. Instead, she became the character I came to hate the most. I’m so saddened by this, because I was so sure we were going to receive a deep and compelling character. I saw such a great promise in her. Now, I just feel that she was not the character I hoped she would be.
To be absolutely honest, I find her to be a flat our offensive character on principle. The issue is, as a villain she shouldn’t have been offensive in the very specific way she turned out to be.
Yes, her character design is absolutely the sort of representation we need in gaming. Women aren’t often portrayed as strong and assertive. At least, not nearly as often as we gamers might like.
I can respect her for that, but what I can’t do, is pretend she’s a good character when it comes down to dialogue.
Listen, she’s a man-hater, plain and simple, and the issue with her is that she could have been very compelling to have in Resident Evil Village with that mindset. However, it didn’t end up compelling, because the way she displayed that hate was just resolute mindlessness.
Lady Dimitrescu is many things, but she’s not supposed to be reduced down to a nitwit, and that’s ultimately what happened. When you listen to her speak for any length of time it becomes clear. Her insults are gender based more times than not, being prefaced with the word “man” in some way, shape or form.
Worst still, we know she has passed this ideology down to her daughters. Even they are very much obsessed with the concept of gender based ideologies, that just don’t have meaningful extrapolation.
Do we really need a reminder that our character has “man hands”? Does him being a man somehow lessens his complete and total existence? Is this really the best insult a person of such high bloodline and education can make? Is she really that lacking when it comes to turns of phrase?
Well, no, she shouldn’t be. She shows she can be far more than that. Yet, she doesn’t become more than that. That’s ultimately my problem with her…
Look, I get it, she’s a villain, but that’s the issue. She gets reduced down to a stereotypical woman angry at the male gender for seemingly no good reason. Lady Dimitrescu is supposed to be a very intelligent woman, thoughtful in her words and deeds. In short, she’s not a total and complete idiot. Yet, this is the best dialogue that they could come up with?
This is not the first time an issue like this has cropped up. It won’t be the last. A notable example is in Last of Us 2, showcasing a transgender character being horribly mistreated based on a performative interpretation of how they wished to be identified. A large contingent of the trans community, myself and Kreshenne included in that wide and diverse spectrum, took great issue with that.
Now Kreshenne hasn’t played Resident Evil Village, and and can’t speak to it meaningfully, but I have played it and I can speak to it.
I can’t in good faith have the issues that I do with the handling of Last of Us 2, unless I take those same issues with Lady Dimitrescu when referencing the male gender. It all comes down to the same problem. A complete and total lack of care when considering how best to handle the character.
I’ve done my research. Plenty of blog posts out there explain Lady Dimitrescu as a character. They go into detail, and I’ve looked for clues I may have missed. I just don’t care for how she was handled.
Her hatred of men doesn’t help the narrative in any meaningful or heartfelt way. It only does damage. I don’t mind seeing difficult topics handled in games, but they must be handled with careful consideration, and Resident Evil Village failed to do that.
When you reduce insults and slander down to gender continually without any real need to do so, it is absolutely flat out bad writing. I don’t care what gender a character is, when insults are reduced down to that level, it makes everyone doing it look bad.
Lady Dimitrescu is not above this, and she really should be. She is tall not only in stature, but in personality and refinement. Even in combat, she fights with poise and grace until her final form. She is an aristocrat of the finest order, proud of that esteem, and her three daughters.
She is orders of magnitude above the other sorts of people our main character has faced before, and that alone should be intimidation enough. Yet, there is still something more. She hungers for more favoritism from Mother Miranda, and she’ll go to great lengths to get it.
She’s smart, cunning, and more powerful than she lets on. It is very heavily implied and shown that she is an intelligent woman. Apparently Dimitrescu maintained an almost feudal-like rule over the peasantry near her castle. Yet, for all of those amazing qualities, we see so little of them.
What little we do see is bogged down by her constant use of gender based insults. Unfortunately, we have no clear and obvious reason for her to hate men. Still, she treats the male characters she’s around with disgust and vitriol with no discernible reason for her to do this.
She doesn’t clearly voice a reason why she seems to look down on men, only that she does. It’s too heavy handed to place it aside. If you’re not speed running through the game, you’ll hear some of those insults more than once.
If you were like me, taking your time to play the game, you stayed in her domain long enough to hear those ideologies more than a few times. These ideologies coming from Lady Dimitrescu herself, and all three of her daughters.
Having one female character like that is one thing. Having four women in the same vicinity with that ideology is a bit problematic, don’t you think?
Lady Dimitrescu looks down to men like children, or the pure scum of the earth, some notable quotes are “Ugh, just another simple little manthing.” and “Stupid manthing! You won’t live long, even if you run!”oh, and let’s not forget the best one: “Oh, so gauche. What do you care for bread and circuses? The manthings suffering is assured, regardless.”
Look, here’s the sad part of all of this. She actually had the vast potential to be a far more compelling character. We see hints of it beneath it all. My absolute favorite line shows just how well educated she is, and just how cunning she can be when she says this:
“The man is of no real use to anyone else, and my daughters do love… entertaining foreigners. Furthermore, I can assure if you entrust the mortal to House Dimitrescu, my daughters and I shall deliver to you the finest cups of his slaughtered blood.”
There, see that? An insult, a threat, and a promise all encapsulated within the confines of her station and abilities. She can still see herself as a superior, but she does so in a thoughtful and meaningful way.
Now, that is a compelling villain. This is the sort of dialogue that shows just how prim and proper she can be, with that incredible ruthlessness we expect from her. It’s classy, it’s “well-to-do” as expected from an aristocrat. Above all it shows, her true grace and intellect as a ruler.
It shows how she was able to rule over the lands for so long, before becoming infected by the mold. It is characterization that is paramount for her, and we get too little of it.
We should have had more of that sort of dialogue. Grim promises, deeper threats to our livelihood, and a grace all her own. All of that from a ruler who doesn’t take idle shit from anyone.
Instead, a lot of her repetitious vocal lines fall under those before mentioned gender based insults, and that’s just sad. It diminishes her in a way that is well and truly a letdown, because she could have been so much more.
In attempting to defy stereotypes, Lady Dimitrescu become one of the worst ones a female antagonist could be. She became a mindless man-hater, with no real explicable reason for why that is, or what drives that deeper hatred of men in general.
We can’t assume she isn’t one. All we see is Dimitrescu talking down to her brother, or down to the main player character himself. There’s no other male for her to defy the precedent she sets for herself in a useful way.
It’s just so sad, because if those lines had been handled with just an ounce of care and mindful foreshadowing, she could have been one of the best villains to ever show up in a Resident Evil game.
As she is, only her looks will stand the test of time, her characterization will be too easily forgotten. That’s a real shame, isn’t it?
Well, that’s just my opinion. I know it will likely be an unpopular one, but that’s my view. In any case, this has been Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”, where stupidity is at its finest, and level grinds are par for the course.
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