• Shadowheart is a central character in
    Baldur’s Gate 3,
    witnessing more of the story unfolding than other characters.
  • She possesses a mysterious artefact that is closely tied to the main plot and the safety of the entire party.
  • Shadowheart is an important Cleric character, even though Clerics are the least popular class in the game, and she is often chosen as a companion due to her role as a healer.

When players start a new campaign in Baldur’s Gate 3, they get to create a unique character of their own or choose to play as one of several pre-made characters, referred to as Origin characters. Any unchosen Origin character (except the Dark Urge) can be recruited into the player’s party during the first few hours of the campaign.

Updated on July 10, 2024, by Matthew Weideman: Baldur’s Gate 3 remains a fantastic game that players come back to over and over. With fun gameplay, great writing, and phenomenal characters, it’s no wonder so many people are enthralled by it. This list was updated to include a few extra arguments for why Shadowheart could be considered the game’s main character.


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Legendary Actions introduce new challenges in Baldur’s Gate 3. Some add difficulty in indirect ways, but others just dole out massive damage.

While most players will connect the closest with their chosen character and see them as the campaign’s protagonist, it can be argued that one of the Origin characters is, in fact, Baldur’s Gate 3‘s true protagonist. Many of these arguments point to Shadowheart as the game’s main character.

12 The Game Shows Her Backstory

Players Get To Actually See Her Youth

Shadowheart as a girl in a cutscene

  • Gain enough approval to see this cutscene

Most of the cutscenes in Baldur’s Gate 3 involve the player’s chosen character. The only exceptions are ones that showcase the Chosen, the Emperor, and Shadowheart.

The fact that the focus is taken away from the present day and characters to show the origin of Shadowheart’s phobia of wolves showcases the importance of her character. All other character backstories are given in dialog with the player character.

11 Her Questline Gets Personal

Her Past And Her Family Are Linked To The Quest

Shadowheart's mom in the House of Grief in Act 3

  • Shadowheart and Wyll are the only characters who go into detail about their parents

All of the companion questlines are deeply tied to their character’s backstory and growth. Shadowheart and Wyll both have quests tied up with their childhood and family, and the player has to make important choices for how things play out in both cases.

However, Shadowheart has to relearn the truth of her own past because Shar had her memories erased. The impact on Shadowheart as she uncovers what happened with her parents during her childhood is enormous. Learning the truth about her own backstory and making decisions in light of these revelations is an emotional and powerful aspect of her story.

10 She Can Be Recruited During The Prologue

For Many Players, Shadowheart Is A Companion From Start To Finish

bg3 free woman in pod

  • Along with Lae’zel, she likely spends the most time in the party

The prologue is a tense and confusing series of encounters for new players. The Nautiloid is a hostile place and likely entirely alien to players unfamiliar with official Dungeons & Dragons lore. There are only two friendly humanoids on the ship, but Shadowheart is the only one who doesn’t threaten the player’s life.

Joining the action so soon after character creation is done, Shadowheart witnesses more of the story unfolding than other characters do, making her more of a central character in many respects.

9 She Has The Githyanki Artefact

The Artefact Is An Important MacGuffin

baldurs gate 3 shadowheart sad

  • Her mission essentially kick-starts the campaign

Shadowheart has a mysterious prism with her. While the source of its power isn’t revealed until much later in the game, it is clear early on in Act 1 that this prism is why the player and their party have not been turned into mind flayers.

Thanks to Shadowheart having her memory partially wiped, she does not even fully understand what the artifact is or why she needs it. All the same, it is an important motivator for her to get back to her fellow Sharrans in Baldur’s Gate. Since the artifact is so closely tied to the main plot, Shadowheart’s story, and the safety of the entire party, it makes sense to say that the one who procured it is a key figure.

8 She Is An Important But Underrated Class

Clerics Are Needed, But Few Players Choose To Play As One


  • Healers are necessary members for most player character builds

Clerics are integral to most party compositions in Dungeons & Dragons. Since Shadowheart is the only Origin character that starts as a Cleric, she is invaluable for keeping players alive. When Larian Studios released player data, they showed that Clerics are the least popular class in the game.


Baldur’s Gate 3: Best Cleric Class Build

The Cleric is much more than just a typical healer, but for one of the best support builds in Baldur’s Gate 3, look no further than this setup.

Since so few players have chosen to create Clerics, it can be assumed that many players bring Shadowheart into their active party most, if not all of the time. Following that, it makes sense to think that Shadowheart can easily have the most time outside the camp out of any of the Origin characters.

7 She Has Direct Ties To Two Goddesses

Shar And Selune Both Want Her To Follow Them

Gauntlet of Shar in BG3

  • Connections to the gods often signify importance

The twenty gods and goddesses in Baldur’s Gate 3 largely play a minor role in the story, with a few exceptions. Apart from the Dead Three, the backers of the game’s main antagonists, Shar and Selune play the most prominent role out of all the divine beings. Shadowheart’s backstory and questline directly involve both of them.

Shar created the shadow curse that impacts the environment and every character, plot line, and quest in Act 2. That alone is enough for her to be considered a villain, even before everything about the Nightsong is revealed. Her sister and adversary Selune, on the other hand, stand with good-aligned characters like the Harpers and most player characters. The two goddesses end up clashing over which one Shadowheart will follow, marking her as the central character to their involvement in the game.

6 She Has An Appearance Change

Changing A Main Character’s Appearance Is a Common Trope

Shadowheart best build baldur's gate 3 bg3-1

  • Regardless of her choice at the end of Act 2, Shadowheart’s look is different in Act 3

Goku turning blond when he goes super saiyan, Spider-Man’s suit turning black because of the symbiote, and Sora’s outfit changing to fit the theme of different worlds are all examples of how appearance changes help show viewers (or players) that a character has undergone a major shift.

Without installing any mods, none of the Origin character’s appearances can change with one exception: Shadowheart. At the end of Act 2, she changes her hair to show off more of her face and reflect her journey of self-actualization. The change is more dramatic if she rejects Shar since she also colors her hair white to really show off her opposition to the Lady of Loss.

5 The End Of Her Quest Is A Climactic Battle

The Main Character’s Story Needs A Climactic End

Viconia DeVir Baldur's Gate 3 Shar Shadowheart

  • She has to face a familiar face for Baldur’s Gate 2 veterans

Shadowheart’s quest starts when she is recruited into the party on the beach in Act 1 and goes well into Act 3 when players find The House of Grief in the heart of Baldur’s Gate. The House of Grief is a secret base for the hidden Sharran cult led by Viconia DeVir. Unless players agree to simply give Shadowheart to her, a very difficult fight breaks out between the party and the Sharrans.

Viconia is an extremely tough opponent to face, making this battle a climactic end to a storyline that began so early on in the game. The fight and the decisions Shadowheart must make in its wake feel like a satisfying conclusion to a storyline that many games would feature as the main plot.

4 Act 2 Highlights Shadowheart’s Story

Ketheric’s Betrayal Of Shar Can Foreshadow Her Decision

the tollhouse in the shadowcursed lands from baldur's gate 3

  • Shar’s influence over the Shadow-cursed Lands is similar to her influence on Shadowheart

The village of Reithwin and the surrounding area have been enveloped in supernatural darkness for a century because of Shar. She put this blight on the land when Ketheric Thorm, a man who was her Chosen at that time, was defeated. During Baldur’s Gate 3, Ketheric has been resurrected and serves a different dark god, but Shar’s influence on the region has not waned.

Shadowheart struggles with her faith since her patron deity is so obviously a villain to the Shadow-Cursed Lands. Act 2 emphasizes this struggle and utilizes it to build tension toward the inevitable clash at Moonrise Towers. It becomes clear that Shadowheart, like Ketheric before her, can choose to shun her goddess and live. Her backstory, faith, and inward struggle feature more prominently in this part of the game than those of other companions.

3 She Is The Only Character That Must Join The Party

If Ignored, She Will Still Join The Player’s Party

Shadowheart holding a githyanki artefact

  • No other character shows up as often if ignored

Recruiting companions is typically an active process; Gale is rescued from the portal, Lae’zel is let out of the cage, etc. Shadowheart is one of the few characters who joins the party even if the player has rejected her previously. If the player has rejected Shadowheart and she is still alive, she will join the party when the player crosses the bridge into the goblin camp.


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Knowledge is power, and these books harbor some incredible gifts to those willing to read them in Baldur’s Gate 3.

Assuming that Shadowheart isn’t just killed by enemies or the player, she has to show up in the party, at least for a little bit, since she has the artifact. Her importance in the events leading up to the prologue makes her a necessity for the plot, unlike the other companions.

2 She Is The Most Romanced Character

Romance Plots Tend To Involve The Main Character

bg3 shadowheart romance guide

  • 51.3% of players romanced her when Larian released statistics

Love stories are universal, regardless of age, place, or the type of media. For decades, video games have featured romance storylines, but role-playing games take them to another level by letting players decide how relationships play out.

Baldur’s Gate 3 offers many different romance options. At the end of 2023, Larian revealed the statistics of different player choices, including which companions players had their characters romance. More than half of all players chose Shadowheart over the other companions, making her the character most likely to be in a relationship.

1 She Faces Choices Like Those Of Other Game Protagonists

Decision-Making Is Traditionally Reserved For The Main Character


  • Players have multiple big choices for Shadowheart to make in multiple Acts of the game

In many role-playing games like Mass Effect, Fallout: New Vegas, and Dragon Age, the player’s choices really matter. Those choices are usually presented as binary options, where players must choose good or evil, rescue one of two companions in danger, or side with a specific faction. While it’s true that other Origin characters in Baldur’s Gate 3 face choices like these, Shadowheart’s are more in line with ones faced by player-controlled characters like Commander Shepard.

At the end of Act 2, Shadowheart has the option to kill the Nightsong and follow Shar or turn her back on the goddess she’s served for a lifetime. In Act 3, she faces a far more personal decision after defeating Viconia. She must choose the fate of her own parents minutes after finding out that they have been alive and held prisoner in the very compound that she lived in since she was a child. Only the main character faces multiple difficult choices like this in other choice-focused RPGs.



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