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Characters / Mass Effect - Liara T'Soni

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Dr. Liara T'Soni / The Shadow Broker
Give me ten minutes and I can start a war.
Her appearance post Shadow Broker
"You were marked by the beacon on Eden Prime — you were touched by working Prothean technology. That is why I find you so fascinating."

Voiced by: Ali Hillis

An asari scientist, an expert on the Protheans, and a powerful biotic with powers that can only be matched by an Adept Shepard. Joins Shepard's team after being attacked by the geth. One of three characters who can join your party in all three games - permanently in 1 and 3, and temporarily in 2, via DLC. She is a romance option for a Shepard of either gender in both Mass Effect and Mass Effect 3. She is also the only trilogy character to be voiced in Mass Effect: Andromeda.

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  • Action Girl: Prothean ruins are a popular target for pirates and mercenaries looking for quick cash. If you want to excavate them alone, you've got to know your way around a fight.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Although she'd rather just be an archaeologist. She occasionally makes references to encounters with pirate gangs and hostile wildlife in unexplored systems. Which is actually shooting closer to the actual archaeologist's life in parts of the world.
    Liara: Our travels now are somewhat different from my normal excavations. I would prefer lengthier studies... and fewer explosions.
    Wrex: It's good for you. A nice explosion now and then keeps the mind sharp.
    Ashley: I think you speak for scientists everywhere, Liara.
  • Adrenaline Makeover: Compare Liara when you meet her in Mass Effect to Liara by the end of Lair of the Shadow Broker. Though of course whether the getting the guy/gal part gets played straight/averted/subverted/etc depends largely on the player's own choice.
  • Affectionate Nickname:
    • In a manner of speaking. Whenever Shepard's being sarcastic, they will switch to calling her "Doctor" or "T'Soni".
    • Her mother calls her "Little Wing" if she's with Shepard on Noveria when they're forced to kill her mother Benezia. Its origin is revealed in the third game by her "father" Aethyta.
      Aethyta: You're treating her like a baby bird, Nezzy, but she's gonna raise one hell of a storm with those little wings.
  • Air Vent Escape: How she's reintroduced in 3. While being chased by a pair of Cerberus operatives.
  • Alien Blood: In the Extended Cut DLC when injured, she's shown with several blood-stains splattered across her body - which, due to the color of Asari blood, makes her look covered in grape jelly.
  • All for Nothing: In 1, if you wait until the last possible moment to recruit her, she is enraged that she spent her entire life studying the Protheans only for the answers she was looking for to simply fall into Shepard's lap.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: It's implied throughout the trilogy that she falls in love with Commander Shepard regardless of whether or not you romance her. Obviously averted if you do romance her but played straight if you don't.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Due to being a "pureblood."
  • Anger Born of Worry: If romanced, she shows it, though in a subdued way, when Shepard dives into the ocean in Leviathan, especially after they start coughing uncontrollably and going cold.
    Liara: Don't EVER do that again.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Made one for Alec Ryder during the events of the third game, just to be on the safe side.
    Liara: I don't know if you'll even receive this message, but we corresponded years ago. I remember you spoke about a plan to settle Andromeda. I don't know if your arks made it out of the Milky Way, but the worst has happened here. I'm with Commander Shepard and a brave crew. We're trying to build a weapon to turn the tide, but I fear that the civilization you remember, the people of the Milky Way as you knew them, could be gone forever. You may be all that's left. Please, don't forget us. Keep us alive in your hearts, and tell your children of the wonders that once were. On behalf of the crew of the Normandy SR-2, this is Dr. Liara T'Soni signing off.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: In the third game, Liara seems to be in complete denial when Javik reveals that the asari goddess Athame and her guide Lucen were actually Protheans. When Liara claims that it is impossible, he snarkily comments that it must be an amazing coincidence that the statues and artwork of their myths just happen to look exactly like him. She even has the attitude if Javik isn't present, and the other squadmate points it out instead, saying they can't be sure, even as the other squadmate gets increasingly tetchy with her.
  • Art Evolution: A subtle yet noticeable one. In Mass Effect 1 and 2, she had less striking features, such as lighter lips and eyes, pink around her face, and a rather standard casual uniform. Come Lair of the Shadow Broker, she has darker lips, intense blue eyes, more defined skin features, and wears a kickass yet sexy uniform.
  • Aside Glance: Of gratitude when Shepard refuses to give her up to the krogan on Therum.
  • Attempted Rape: Twice in Redemption—a batarian and his cronies attempt to proposition/rape Liara. Both times they end up dead.
  • Babies Ever After: Alluded to during her romance scene in Lair of the Shadow Broker.
    Liara: So, tell me what you want. If this all ends tomorrow, what happens to us?
    Shepard: I don't know. Marriage, old age, and a lot of little blue children?
    Liara: You just say these things!
  • Badass Adorable: In the first game, she's easily flustered and generally socially awkward, especially when dealing with people outside her species. She's also a biotic death machine.
  • Badass Bookworm: For a girl who spends all of her time buried in her books, Liara is horribly deadly with her biotic powers. How badass is she, you say? She's the only other character besides Adept Shepard who can use Singularity, and her other biotic powers rival or even surpass Samara's, who has daughters that are several centuries her senior. She's powerful enough that she can send a powerful biotic Spectre with armed backup running for her life. Then again, her grandfather was a krogan.
    • Hell, from her comments about looking after herself when encountering pirates and looters at Prothean dig sites, she seems to be the Space Indiana Jones.
  • Badass Family: Liara's mother is said to be a powerful biotic even by asari standards and proves to be a difficult opponent when the player fights her. Liara's father is also unusually powerful for an asari and once took down a krogan with a head-butt. Liara's paternal grandfather was a veteran of the Rachni Wars and both of Liara's paternal grandparents fought in the Krogan Rebellions, on opposite sides; they killed each other once he found out the truth.
  • Baritone of Strength: Her voice becomes somewhat lower and huskier after the first game, to go along with her tougher and darker attitude.
  • Battle Aura: Uses her biotic glowing to dissuade some enemies a few times.
  • Battle Couple: With Shepard if romanced.
  • Best Friend: Throughout the trilogy, Liara, alongside Garrus and Tali, grows to be Shepard's most devoted associate and confidante, even if they aren't romantically involved, as evident in her unique ability to consistently get Shepard to drop The Stoic mask and to open up to her about the constant stress and fears they're facing.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Yet again. Liara's a very demure young asari who is entirely capable of turning an entire horde of geth into tinfoil with her brain. Ask the Shadow Broker how seriously crossing her tends to go. Oh wait, you'd just be asking her.
    • Doing a quest for her reveals that one of her assistants is a mole. After informing her of this, the player can go to her office and find out that not only did Liara already kill her assistant, she disposed of her body as well. This is especially hilarious if Shepard calls her to identify the traitor from just outside her office as it can make it appear that she killed and disposed of her assistant in a matter of seconds.
    • Exemplified when you reunite with her in the third game. The Cerberus mooks that were chasing her in the air duct get swept up in a singularity and both take a shot in the chest as they flailed about. They fall to the ground, completely vulnerable to Liara. The demure little blue lady exudes cold blood in her facial expression as she casually double-taps the two mooks.
    • Liara is capable of telekinetically lifting a Geth Colossus — which is an armored war machine that single-handedly wipes out small armies, one-shots tanks, and is the size of a three-story building.
    • In the comics, she holds back hundreds of tons of water with her biotics.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Asari reproduce by "melding", where they join their entire nervous system to their partner's and use the electrical impulses to randomize some of their own DNA for the offspring. Galactic science waffles on the subject, but it often turns out Lamarck Was Right Aethyta had a krogan father, and notes that she seems to have "a bit of his mouth."
    • The asari are the setting's only innate telepaths, and they use it as part of the mating process. It's not only logical that asari daughters take after their parents psychologically, it's almost inevitable given the depth of the melding. That, or it has something to do with the fact that every asari that the players know take after an alien parent was also raised by said parent, making it Nature Versus Nurture.
  • Boobs of Steel: Her Mass Effect 3 model is very well endowed, not to mention that she possesses deadly biotic superpowers.
  • Break the Cutie: By the time of Mass Effect 2, she's much less innocent and kind as she's had a rough couple of years by then. Cranked up during the Fall of Thessia mission in the third game. She's a complete wreck even during the mission, to say nothing about after.
  • Break Them by Talking: Liara manages to piss off the Yahg Shadow Broker by basically figuring out how it managed to get off of its home planet and become the new Shadow Broker, giving a smug grin upon reminding him that he'd been used as a pet.
  • Broken Bird: By Mass Effect 2 she has become one.
  • Broken Pedestal: Javik is... not remotely what she expected from a Prothean. For a good while she tries to be neutral about it, but in the Ardat-Yakshi monastery she hears him say that the Protheans would never let such monsters walk among them and rather acidly asks "They didn't care for the competition?"
    • After the fall of Thessia, she angrily calls out Javik for not even caring, that she's spent her entire life studying his people and feels like it was for nothing. He's a Prothean... he was supposed to have all the answers.
    • After that, she grows up a little, no longer feeling betrayed but also discarding the pedestal entirely.
    • The Thessia mission is a shock even without Javik. Learning that her government's been breaking its own laws about Prothean technology for centuries rocks her entire worldview.
    • Both are tied closely. Liara has this view of what a culture she idolizes is like, and it very much corresponds the image the Asari in general try to present to outsiders, a peaceful, fostering, advanced, spiritual and scholarly culture. She projects those ideals on the Protheans and on her own people, and she reacts poorly when both fail to meet her expectations, the Protheans by being militaristic and imperialistic, and the Asari by having hoarded knowledge in secret for their own benefits and their spirituality being nothing but a sham from the Protheans who uplifted them.
  • Came Back Wrong: One of Liara's fears regarding Shepard, after having handed the Commander's corpse over to Cerberus for the Lazarus Project. However, if she's romanced she says she knew it was really Shepard since the first time she touched them again.
  • The Cameo:
    • Is the only main party member from all 3 games to make one in Mass Effect: Paragon Lost.
    • In Andromeda, you can come across some audio lectures on studying extinct civilizations, back from when Liara was just an obscure archaeologist. She also sent Alec Ryder a message during the events of the third game.
  • Captain Obvious: During parts of Lair of the Shadow Broker. Frequently lampshaded by Shepard.
  • Character Development: In the first game, Liara is a stuttering, bookish, nerdy girl (justified, since by asari standards, she's little more than a teenager). In the second, she has become a ruthless information trader, but her tough attitude is revealed to be a defense mechanism if you romanced her in the first game. And by the third, she's double-tapping Cerberus mooks without batting an eyelash.
  • Character Focus: Becomes more and more prominent over the course of the series to the point where she becomes the Deuteragonist.
  • Character Tic: Whenever something fascinates her, she adopts what could best be described as a standing up variation of the Thinker Pose.
  • Child Prodigy: According to her, her intelligence was noticeable even in her youth. In fact, by asari standards she is still very young (human equivalent of around 19, even though her true age is over a hundred) when she meets Shepard.
    Liara: Most scientists dismiss my work. But I'm young and asari, and they're getting older, so we'll see who has the final word.
  • The Confidant: Notably, Liara is the only person Shepard will open up to, as they drop their stoic facade to confess their true feelings on the war against the Reapers.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: In the second installment, where she's somehow become an information broker despite no prior evidence that she had any skills in the field. (she does mention horizontal skill application, her talents in handling data and information for her archaeological digs, putting together information and clues from various worlds and discoveries, is very similar to what information brokers do but with more recent information with living creatures) If the terminals around the Shadow Broker's ship is any indication, she also doesn't seem to stop some of his business practices.
    • Still presented sympathetically given that she had to do this to succeed as an information broker and also only uses the resources of the Shadow Broker to help the war effort.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Along with Cutscene Power to the Max. A really weird hybrid occurs when you first rescue her in Mass Effect. You're confronted directly by a Krogan Battlemaster and a small squad of Geth Shock Troopers after exiting the room you found her in via an elevator. In the cutscene right before the fight begins, you see her start glowing with a blue aura and balling her fists, which usually means she's about to unleash a biotic attack. Then the gameplay actually starts and she just cowers on the floor while the battlemaster charges you.
    • However, she had been in a stasis field for a while by this point, so it's possible she flared her biotics in an attempt to fight back but the strain of doing so was simply too exhausting. The Codex and 3 mention that biotics require a higher calorie intake to keep their abilities at full strength, it's safe to say she's not at her full strength during that scene.
      • My Greatest Failure: During the Shadow Broker DLC, Liara tells Shepard she was ashamed that all she could do was cower in a corner while they fought the battlemaster.
  • Dating Catwoman: Technically, this is her romance with Shepard in 2. They're a law-abiding Spectre while Liara's the Shadow Broker. However, it makes no problems between them because they care for each other too much.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Mass Effect: Redemption and Lair of the Shadow Broker. In the third game, she's also a mandatory squadmate in the missions on Thessia and Eden Prime.
  • Deadpan Snarker: She becomes this in 2, and doesn't hold back from that point.
    Shepard: That phone call was pretty damning stuff. How'd you get it?
    Liara: It involved the weapon's biometric data, salarian intelligence, and a hanar prostitute with camera implants
    Shepard: (*beat*) Seriously?
    Liara: No, but the truth is boring.
  • Deuteragonist: Undertakes this position by 3. It can also be argued she's one for the trilogy as a whole despite only being a DLC squadmate in 2, thanks to her critical role in stopping the Reaper threat and her close relationship with Shepard even if you treat her like dirt as a Renegade; behavior that becomes less pronounced as the games go on in regards to how they treat their squadmates.
  • Developers' Desired Date: Liara is perhaps the one romance option most favored in the series. Aside from being instinctively drawn towards Shepard due to their contact with the Prothean Beacon, she has Plot Armor that prevents her from dying until the very end of the series and gets a lot of interactions with Shepard.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: In the first game, Liara's attempts to explain why she's so interested in you in purely scientific means leads to a series of flustered, ever-escalating double entendres.
  • Distressed Damsel:
    • You recruit her by rescuing her from a horde of bad guys, she doesn't fight once throughout the entire level, and she almost faints even after you've got her on the ship. Add this to her general naivete and she seems like the poster child for this trope. Then you actually take her into battle, and quickly realize that she can take care of herself. Lair of the Shadow Broker has her suggest that she's ashamed she had to rely on Shepard back then, like she is now. It should be noted that when you rescue her, she's unarmed and fatigued from being held immobile for goodness knows how long (if you save that mission for last, she thinks she's hallucinating Shepard's party).
      Kaidan: When was the last time you ate? Or slept?
  • Double Tap: How she finishes off a pair of Cerberus operatives chasing her during her reintroduction in ME3. After having already trapped them in a singularity and shot them center mass in mid-air.

  • Enemy Mine: With Cerberus, to save Shepard's body from the Shadow Broker and the Collectors. The fact that she beats herself up over handing Shepard's corpse to the Illusive Man explains in part her behavior during the second game.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Notable if you bring Javik to Thessia.
    Liara: Incredible, the Beacon seems to think you are Prothean, Shepard. It must be from the Cipher you got back on Feros, all those years ago.
    Javik: Or it could be the Prothean standing right next to you.
    • Possibly subverted, as the Beacon works the same way even without Javik being present, so she is probably right in this regard. Still funny though.
  • Famed in Story: By 3, her research on the Protheans has become the stuff of legend. One datapad found on Mars has a scientist practically squeeing about getting the chance to work with her. In Andromeda, Sara Ryder recognizes her name due to her time spent body-guarding archaeologists (as opposed to Scott, who doesn't).
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: In 3, she is the Mage to James' Fighter and EDI's Thief in the triad of party members you are guaranteed to have.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: Taking a cue out from the Protheans in 3 she plants several time capsules across many worlds to warn future species in the event that the Reapers aren't stopped. She even has a section devoted to the heroics of Shepard, and you can tell her how wish it told. If you choose the Refusal ending in 3, it turns out that her capsules are successful, and the next cycle defeats the Reapers.
  • Foil:
    • Liara and Tali have character traits that play off one another. In the original game, Liara was cast as the dorky Cutie who loved Shepard and practically worshipped the ground they walked on. But, after she took a Darker and Edgier path in the second game, all of those traits fell to Tali. Further, they are both extremely smart and capable women, but extreme opposites in gameplay. Liara is a powerful Squishy Wizard with exceptional biotic abilities. Tali is a Gadgeteer Genius specced entirely toward Tech. Even their firearms contrast: Liara wields a pistol used at a safe distance, while Tali is outfitted with a Short-Range Shotgun, meaning that even having both in the squad at once means the team is prepared for every conceivable obstacle.
    • During the course of Mass Effect 3 Tali can play a large role in retaking her homeworld - in the best case anyway. Shortly therafter, Liara loses her world to the Reapers and rather unfairly blames herself for this. This even gets Lampshaded by Tali, by pointing out that she might not be the best person to comfort Liara given the irony of the situation.
  • Friendless Background: Liara admits that she never had friends before because of her heritage as a pureblood and was often made fun of because of her interest in science.
  • Gay Option: For female Shepard.
  • Genius Bruiser: She is a briliant scientist, who also happens to have enough biotic power to, essentially, lift a freaking ocean
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Liara seems to be on the brink of this in the first game if you decide to rescue her after the rest of the main story missions. By the time you get there, she's completely convinced you're a realistic hallucination. So, yes, all that time you spent flying around, she's been locked in stasis.
  • Good All Along: Throughout the first game Liara's loyalty is often called into question because she's Benezia's daughter. In the end, she proves she's a hero by doing all she can to fight the Reapers.
  • Glass Cannon: She isn't the best at avoiding or taking damage, but her biotic abilities pack quite a punch, and she arguably has the most powerful Psychic Powers of anyone to serve on the Normandy.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: She's got blue skin and is regarded as attractive by most other characters.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: In the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC mission in the second game.
  • Handgun: One of her weapon types in the third game, along with submachine guns. In the first game, she was just as terrible with handguns as she was with every other gun, though their innate accuracy still made them her go-to weapon.
  • Headbutting Heroes: She doesn't get along very well with Javik after the Fall of Thessia.
  • The Heart:
    • Though she doesn't shrink from the fighting, she's (usually) the one who advocates Paragon options, and is generally the "can't we talk this over" squad member.
    • There's one exception in the first Mass Effect game: if, during a major Paragon/Renegade choice (like what to do with the Council, for example), your other squadmate is Kaidan, Kaidan will advocate the Paragon option and Liara will go for the Renegade option. If your other squadmate is anyone other than Kaidan, Liara will always go Paragon.
  • Heroic BSoD: After the Fall of Thessia. Her homeworld is burning, she and Shepard have failed their mission, and Kai Leng casually slapped her aside and took the vital Prothean data. On top of all that, the Illusive Man coldly held his successes over her while all she was able to do in response is threaten him over a hologram.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Towards Shepard big time.
    • In Lair of the Shadow Broker, it's shown that her apartment is filled with souvenirs of her travels with Shepard from the first game, Prothean relics, a painting of Ilos, fragments of Shepard's N7 armour and a framed picture of the Normandy on her bedside cabinet. At the end of the mission, she returns Shepard's dog tags to them, saying she got it from Admiral Hackett. Why she would bother to retrieve that from him probably says a lot about how highly she regards Shepard.
    • In the third game, she programs a series of time-capsules to be sent across the galaxy in case the mission fails, with one whole section of the archive devoted solely to tales of Shepard's exploits. If Shepard encourages her to be the one to decide how they will be remembered, she practically gushes over them.
  • Hidden Buxom: If her later appearances in the series are any indication, her scientist uniform in the first game was very effective at concealing her figure, though it may also be that the armor on Liara's new outfit is making her look more endowed than she actually is.
  • Hidden Depths: Lair of the Shadow Broker features this in abundance.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: She adopts a facade in ME2 to allow herself to operate in Illium's underworld. "You're threatening to flay people alive now?" Comes back to bite her on the ass when her father mentioned that bluff or no, it made the asari higher-ups nervous enough to consider assassinating her. Her father convinced them not to go through with it.
    Liara: [flustered] I had to make them take me seriously. I wasn't going to actually do it.
  • Homosexual Reproduction: Both her mothers are asari. Which is why she's shunned so much, as asari-asari relationships restrict genetic diversity... and have a higher chance of causing genetic defects like the Ardat-Yakshi.
    • Monogendered asari are "female" in the eyes of every other race, possessing the same sex organs and characteristics as would be expected for mammalian females, though one asari serves as the "father," and upon meeting her, she doesn't know who her mother Matriarch Benezia's partner was.
    • Ultimately averted. Her "father" is shown in the third game to be Matriarch Aethyta, the bartender from Illium and then the Presidium, assigned to keep an eye on Liara after Benezia went evil. Even though Liara's father is "female," she is very adamant that she is Liara's father, not her second mother, because she "didn't pop her out". When Shepard mentions that humans would call her Liara's "other mother," Aethyta says "Well I'm not human, am I? Anthropocentric bag of dicks."
  • Hot-Blooded: Liara definitely comes across as this in the second and third game. Matriarch Aethyta, her father, believes that this is because she's a quarter-krogan. "Well, don't go all blood rage on me."
  • Horrible Judge of Character: In the Redemption comic, when Feron tries to warn her that Cerberus is a pro-human hate group, she simply responds "I wouldn't call them a hate group, exactly". Potentially after witnessing their crimes firsthand in the first game, and after dozens of Cerberus agents tried to kill her.
  • Hypocrite: At the end of Lair of the Shadow Broker, if the player chooses a certain dialogue option, Liara calls Ashley/Kaidan shortsighted for not trusting Shepard. It doesn't seem to occur to Liara that she could have prevented that whole conflict if it hadn't been for her own shortsightedness in obsessing over revenge to the point of forgetting to tell any of Shepard's other companions what was going on.
  • Hypocritical Humor: One of her recordings in Andromeda has her describing how one can't let their own perceptions color opinions about the Protheans. Naturally, her following summation of them is her biased interpretation of them as obviously benevolent and enlightened.
  • Iconic Outfit: The primarily white suit she wears first during the Shadow Broker DLC and then all throughout the third game has far overshadowed her original clothing in the first game.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Can be invoked in the first game by Female Shepard when Liara reveals her feelings to the Commander.
  • The Ingenue: Shy, sweet, and easily flustered? Yep.
  • Innocently Insensitive: During an elevator conversation with Kaidan, she remarks that having a turian drill instructor at BAaT was probably better than an asari, apparently not knowing that said turian was a terrible instructor, massively racist, and wound up getting killed by Kaidan in self-defense because of said racism.
  • In-Universe Catharsis: Lair of the Shadow Broker provides closure for Liara's two years of mourning, grief and pain after Shepard's death.
  • Irony: She's first encountered trapped in a Prothean force field. One of her main abilities is Stasis.
  • I Shall Taunt You: When confronting the Shadow Broker, she brings up his status as the previous Broker's "pet", triggering his Berserk Button. Judging by the files on him, wherein the previous Broker warned him to watch his temper and that losing it costs him his better judgment, he would have been a far more dangerous opponent in the subsequent battle if Liara hadn't pissed him off.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy:
    • If you have progressed far enough in the romance with Ashley or Kaidan by the time you get her romance dialogue, she admits she has a huge crush on Shepard but gracefully backs down, saying it is obvious Shepard already has strong feelings for Ashley/Kaidan and that she doesn't want to come between them.
    • Also, in the second game, whether Shepard cheated on her or remained faithful to her, she will tell them that if they want to move on, she can accept that and be happy for them.
  • Implied Love Interest: Being the only character you can initiate a romantic relationship with across all three games when including DLC, her importance to the narrative by 3, and boasting a staggering amount of scripted dialogue with Shepard, romance or not, depicts her as the clear favorite of the dev team. Her final goodbye before the very last mission also has romantic undertones, should you choose to accept it, no matter what. She's also one of few characters who survives to the end no matter what, unless you have low EMS or pick the Refusal ending.
  • It Gets Easier: In the first game, she's one of the least experienced squadmates. In the third, she's introduced stoically and efficiently killing Cerberus troops. If she never talks with Aethyta, she and Wrex have this to say in Citadel:
    Liara: Killing people gets less troubling after the first few hundred.
    Wrex: It does indeed.

  • Karma Houdini: Liara caused a lot of trouble when she didn't tell any of the SR1's alumni about the Lazarus Project. She is never called out or faces any consequences for it, and even Kaidan/Ashley, the squadmate who suffered the most from being left in the dark, remains on friendly terms with her and doesn't even give a What the Hell, Hero?.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Becomes this by 3 after going through a Break the Cutie in between 1 and 2 and getting her In-Universe Catharsis in Lair of the Shadow Broker.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!":
    • When on Ilos, every other party member remarks on how creepy and wrong the planet feels. Not Liara. She wants to go over everything with a fine-toothed comb.
    • Her reaction to meeting Javik, a living Prothean, in 3. Lampshaded by everyone, with Shepard joking that they'll hand over questions to Liara because she looks like she's about to explode.
    Joker: So has Liara stopped bouncing yet? I'm guessing there may have been some bouncing.
  • Knight Templar: During the interim between the first and second game, though Paragon Shepard can pull her back from this.
  • Knowledge Broker: Becomes one in the second game to get revenge on the Shadow Broker for his part is stealing Shepard's body and what he did to her friend. Regardless of whether or not Shepard aids her against the Broker, Liara defeats him and inherits his power base, information network, and contacts, turning her into one of the most powerful people in the galaxy.
  • Lady of Black Magic: The demure Liara qualifies by the third game. She's an Adept who focuses on devastating enemies with biotic powers, and, by then, wears a graceful white outfit and has become more stoic and composed.
  • Lady of War: Her Lair of the Shadow Broker outfit, which is also her default attire in Mass Effect 3, gives her a graceful aura. Having biotic powers and being a member of the most graceful race in the galaxy give her bonus points too.
  • Light Is Good: Her outfits are all white and bright colors, showing her heroic character.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Throughout the duration of Lair of the Shadow Broker, there is frequent humorous banter and interaction between Shepard and Liara.
  • Like Mother, Like Daughter: Her mother, Benezia, was an influential asari theologian before her Face–Heel Turn. Her father, Aethyta, is a skilled spy with high-level contacts and is unafraid and very willing to resort to violence as needed.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Subverted of course since she's a necessary party member, but in her childhood she was thought of as a weirdo because of her admiration for science. Liara admits that she doesn't fit in with others, but Shepard can coax her out of this.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Is very young for an asari at over a century old, and can have a romantic relationship with Shepard, who is only in their early thirties. Like most asari, she chooses not to dwell on the fact that she will probably outlive Shepard by a very, very long time.
  • The Medic: Her class skill in the first game adds to the amount of HP healed by medigel on top of the first aid ability.
  • Meaningful Name: Her name may be derived from the Hebrew name "Liora", which means "I have a Light". Shepard, romanced or not, is her guide and primary motivation throughout the games.
    • In 1, she is fascinated by Shepard because they have been touched by a Prothean beacon, and later get to possess the Cypher. It is also then she developed a crush on them.
    • The whole plot of Redemption is about Liara refusing to let Shepard go.
    • In 2, when she has lost Shepard, she becomes noticeably darker. After the events of Lair of the Shadow Broker, she returns to a lighter mood. The possible kiss scene is even bathed in light amidst the dark
    • In 3, she openly admits that if it could save her homeworld, she could become like the Illusive Man. However she keeps to her vow to use her influence to help Shepard rather than fix the problems as she sees fit. After the Fall of Thessia only Shepard can push her into regaining composure and acting productively.
    Liara: Shepard I... I'm yours...
  • A Million is a Statistic: Downplayed. She's sympathetic to the losses inflicted by the Reaper invasion, but she isn't really shaken until she sees it first-hand on the asari home planet of Thessia. This despite having seen it first-hand on Earth (from Mars), Palaven (from Menae), Tuchanka and Rannoch — and being a Required Party Member on the first two.
  • Mind over Matter: Usually holds the spot of most powerful biotic on your squad.
  • Minored in Ass-Kicking: Most people find it more than a little odd that an archaeologist would be so good at combat. Then Liara points out that, since they have potential for containing incredible technology, Prothean ruins are popular targets for pirates and mercenary raids. And Liara has worked in Prothean ruins. Alone. For decades. It also helps that she is from a race of natural biotics, and she is the offspring of two powerful matriarchs.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Her romance scenes are by far the most revealing out of any character in the game, and she's notably the only character in 3 to get completely naked. Also, in the first game she has a unique fidget animation where she puts a hand behind her head and stretches in a way that shows off her body. Neither of the other female party members have any such animations.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Considering that she's attractive and loves science, this trope was bound to follow.
  • Never My Fault: Liara has a tendency to blame others for things that she is responsible for: She yells at Javik frequently for not being what she wanted in a Prothean, but also criticizes Ashley/Kaidan for their distrust of Shepard when Shep is working for Cerberus in the 2nd game, even though she'd given Shepard over to Cerberus two years ago, and never told Ashley/Kaidan about it.
  • No Social Skills: In the first game. Thanks to a mix of a lonely childhood, long periods of working alone and just what's implied to be natural cluelessness, Liara has very little idea of how to interact with people. At all. Naturally, the time skip between 1 and 2 means she grows out of this.
  • Not So Above It All: Her romance shows that Liara's not really as high and mighty in terms of personality as she seems to other characters. She seems to enjoy both Paragon Shepard's and Renegade Shepard's sense of humor.
    Liara: I don't want to put pressure on you.
    Shepard: I have fond memories of the last time you put pressure on me.
    Liara: (Smirks) So do I.
  • Not So Similar: In 3, if she's brought along to Cronos Station, she momentarily wonders if she would go as far as the Illusive Man has if it would save Thessia. Shepard is quick to tell her otherwise.
    Shepard: You're not the same as him. You never could be.
  • Not So Stoic: Still has moments of genuine emotion namely when she and Shepard kill the Shadow Broker, when she hooks up with you later in the Shadow Broker DLC, hearing about a colony that nuked itself rather than face the Reaper invasion, when Thessia is attacked by the Reapers, and during certain romantic scenes in the third game.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Her doctorate is in archaeology.
  • Number Two: In Mass Effect 3, she acts as an unofficial XO for the Normandy, with her office in Miranda's old quarters.

  • Offhand Backhand: In Lair of the Shadow Broker, she uses her biotics to swat aside a Broker Agent without even looking as she runs past, while pursuing Tela Vasir.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: If Shepard never goes through Lair of the Shadow Broker, then Liara assembles a mercenary army and takes down the Broker herself.
  • Older Than They Look: During the first game, she's 106 years old, which would make her 109 in the third, "barely more than a child." Asari live for about a thousand.
    Ashley: Damn, I hope I look that good when I hit your age!
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist:
    • Averted. In Peak 15, she may say the following upon the end of the first engagement against the rachni:
    Liara: Xenobiology is not my field. Maybe someone in the labs knows.
    • Appears again in the third game, where she explains on Eden Prime the difference between an archaeologist and a paleontologist upon being asked about fossils, only to realize midway through her explanation that the one who asked was just kidding.
    • While she most likely understands written Prothean, she cannot understand the spoken language and relies on Shepard to explain that a VI recording found on Ilos was a distress signal.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: Liara threatening to flay a human alive on a vidcall gets thrown back in her face by Aethyta, who tells her saying things like that made the Asari leadership nervous.
  • One-Woman Army: Tears through a couple dozen mercenaries during the events of the interquel comic, Redemption.
  • Open Secret: By the third game, everyone and their mum seems to know that she's the new Shadow Broker.
  • Out-Gambitted: No matter what Shepard does, she ends up being outsmarted by the Illusive Man. The entirety of the Lair of the Shadow Broker was a gambit by the Illusive Man to get Liara to kill off his biggest rival and gain his assets, potentially while wasting a company of mercenaries in the process. She had to sacrifice her base and most of her resources to stop him from obtaining them. He still manages to track her down and dispatches troops to finish her off on Mars (albeit incidentally; their primary mission was the Mars Archive). When Shepard finds her, she's the only survivor in a base overrun by Cerberus operatives with no way out.
  • Parental Abandonment: She never knew her second parent's identity, only her species (another asari — a major societal no-no, because asari value genetic diversity and also because that's where Ardat-Yakshi come from) and her relationship with her mother was apparently strained. And that was before Benezia joined up with Saren and co. In the third game, Shepard can find out that her father is Matriach Aethyta, and encourage Liara to go talk to her, because at that point, as the Shadow Broker, she does know who her father is.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: If not romanced, Liara will have this type of relationship with Shepard by default.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Liara apparently didn't think the rest of the old team needed to know about the events of Redemption, so when Cerberus began leaking information to isolate Shepard from their old contacts, Ashley/Kaidan didn't have the information they needed to see through it. This likely comes from her desire for vengeance distracting her from anything else, as even when Shepard does come to see her, she is clearly distant and almost completely focused and hunting for the Broker. She remains oblivious even after the Shadow Broker is dealt with and has the nerve to criticize Kaidan/Ashley for being shortsighted. She then wastes a six-month Time Skip that could have been used to repair some of the damage she caused.
  • Power Perversion Potential: If romanced, Liara is revealed to use biotics during sex.
  • Practically Different Generations: With her unseen half-sister. Liara states that her age of 106 is a very young adult by asari standards, and Liara was born after her parents had already been together for over a century. This means Liara's sister would have been over a hundred when Liara was born; roughly the same age Liara is during the trilogy. Given Aethyta's advanced age, the difference between Liara and her sister is likely even greater than the minimum.
  • Pragmatic Hero: In the second and third game.
    • Softens up at least a little in the third game, becoming a Knight in Sour Armor. She has the dubiously legal Shadow Broker resources at her disposal, but uses them to help the war effort, and shows empathy toward all victims of the Reaper invasion.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Designed her own version of the Prothean Beacon, in case they failed to stop the Reapers. Judging from the Stargazer scene or the Refusal Ending, they performed their task admirably.
  • Redeeming Replacement: To the Shadow Broker, though she wasn't interested in redeeming his name so much as she thought that the organization was too useful to let go to waste.
  • Redundant Researcher: If you save recruiting her for last in the first game, she'll lament how you've learned more about the Protheans in days than she has in her decades-long career.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Liara can be pursued as a romance in 3 even if you previously turned her down in the first game.
  • Religious Bruiser:
    • In the first game, at least, it's implied that she is quite religious.
    • Javik believes she goes into denial when she rejects his assertion that Athame, the asari goddess was actually a Prothean and that his people influenced early asari civilisation.
  • Required Party Member: During Lair of the Shadow Broker in Mass Effect 2 and twice in Mass Effect 3. The first is on Eden Prime in the "From Ashes" DLC, where you need her knowledge of the Protheans. The second is the mission on Thessia, Liara's homeworld. She also takes James's place in your squad once you encounter her on Mars.
  • Revenge: Her primary goal, as of Mass Effect 2, is to track down and kill the Shadow Broker for trying to sell Shepard's body to the Collectors. The DLC Lair of the Shadow Broker lets you achieve that goal in spectacular roaring rampage style.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: Lair of the Shadow Broker is all about Liara rescuing Feron from the Broker after he was captured at the end of Redemption. Liara becoming the Shadow Broker is just an added perk.
  • Sanity Slippage: The longer you delay recruiting her in 1, the more erratic she becomes. If you recruit her after Virmire, she spends the first half of your conversation with her convinced you're just a hallucination.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: Regardless of whether the player downloaded the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC, Liara is still the Shadow Broker as of the third game. It's just that how she got there is a bit different: If Shepard didn't help Liara take down the Broker, Liara hired dozens of mercenaries — all of them the best of the best — and took on the Broker in a Zerg Rush. Since they're not Shepard, apparently they all died.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Potentially, if you make her fight alongside you to take down her mother in the first game. This is actually suggested by a party member, though, since Liara would know more about her mother, who's causing problems for everyone, than anyone else, and you have to fight Liara's mother one way or another. Subverted in the third game when it turns out her "father" is still alive.
  • She Who Fights Monsters: Played with. She becomes incredibly ruthless by the second game in her hunt for the Shadow Broker, even if Paragon Shep is continuously trying to pull her back. Ultimately subverted, since while she does kill and even take the place of the Shadow Broker, she vows to only use the vast power to help Shepard fight the Reapers, which may be why Traynor is the one scoring all the victories against Cerberus; Liara's been focused on the Crucible since before Shepard encountered her on Mars.
  • Sheep in Sheep's Clothing: In the first game, everyone distrusts Liara because she's the daughter of The Dragon and they assume that she's really a spy trying to sabotage Shepard's mission. She acts like a shy, awkward girl who wants to befriend Shepard, but...she really is an innocent girl who wants to help. In the end, she proves to actually be Shepard's most loyal ally.
  • Shout-Out: An archaeologist called L(i)ara...
  • Shrinking Violet: In the first game.
  • Shutting Up Now: Does this a few times when speaking to Shepard in the first game while alone with them.
  • Signature Move: Singularity. She can use it in all three games, and is one of a handful of biotics who can; she even uses it in her introductory cutscene in Mass Effect 3. The only other biotics who can use it are Adept Shepard, Human & Phoenix Adepts in 3's Multiplayer, and her 'father', Matriarch Aethyta.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: She's very demure and well-spoken, but she's also an immensely powerful biotic who can more than handle herself in a fight. The silk gets ripped away temporarily in 2, where she's pursuing a one-woman vendetta against the Shadow Broker. She wins.
  • The Sixth Ranger: If you wait until after Virmire before going to Therum.
  • Skewed Priorities: After talking with Vigil, Liara wants to stay and chat with it a little longer. Despite, y'know, their being on Ilos to stop Saren and Sovereign summoning the Reapers to kill everyone everywhere, something they are five minutes from doing. Shepard calls her out on it, and Liara immediately concedes she got distracted.
  • Skilled, but Naive: At least in the first game. No longer naïve in the second game.
  • Slasher Smile: In Shadow Broker, she gets off a nasty one after dressing down the Shadow Broker, pressing all of its Berserk Buttons.
  • The Smart Guy: Certainly isn't lacking in the brains department.
  • Squishy Wizard: Liara can only wear light armor and has low health. She makes up for it with spectacular biotic capabilities. Something of a downplayed example, as while her health is very low, her barriers are actually somewhat above average thanks to said biotic capabilities. Still fragile in general though.
  • The Stoic: Post time skip and post Break the Cutie in the second and third games she tends to act like this, almost never raising her voice and becoming somewhat The Comically Serious mixed with Broken Bird.
  • Story Branch Favoritism: In addition to ascending to the role of deuteragonist, in addition to being one of the very few love interests you can romance in all three games, in addition to being one of the only characters who can be a squad member in all three games — as if she didn't need enough prominence — she's also the character with the lowest density of Plotline Death options (specifically, none. She is one of only four party members who are guaranteed to be alive after the trilogy's final combat segment, and the only one of those four who was recruitable before the third game).
    • In general, she occasionally has to be reminded of reality by more world-weary characters. For example, if taken on the Ardat-Yakshi Monastery mission alongside Ashley, they get into an argument over the capabilities of a seasoned asari veteran. Liara, having been told that asari commandos are the best soldiers in the galaxy, brags that the centuries of experience of the asari makes them immune to fear and disorganization. Ashley, using her greater knowledge of military matters, counter-argues that when a mission goes bad, there's no knowing how a soldier might react, and that the asari are no more immune to this than anyone else.
    • Her final message to Alec Ryder has her acknowledging they were putting all their eggs in one basket with the Crucible plan, and that there was a very good chance of them still losing despite their best efforts.
  • Survivor Guilt: In addition to the guilt she feels for handing Shepard's body to Cerberus, it's heavily implied (especially in a romance) that she felt great guilt for surviving while Shepard was killed.

  • Tempting Fate: In her recordings heard in Andromeda, she describes the Protheans as pretty much utopian society, although in the end she briefly notes that without any living specimen, this cannot be fully confirmed. She finds one about four years later. Let's just say she was setting herself up for quite a disappointment.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Her first conversation with Shepard, in which her fascination with their exposure to the beacon leads her to referring to them as an interesting test subject. See her quote above.
  • Took a Level in Badass: She starts out as an awkward and bookish archaeologist. In ME2, she works as a ruthless information broker and is trying to take down the Shadow Broker. When Shepard meets her again, she is threatening to flay someone alive with her mind. She tells Shepard (and in the third game, her father) that she was just bluffing to scare the guy and wouldn't have really done it, but still, quite a change.
    • Mind you, that was before she chased Vasir by jumping out a window, and dropped plasma on the Shadow Broker. Not to mention how many of the Shadow Broker's mooks she tears through.
    • What makes that scene even more powerful (and chilling) is that she's practically channeling Benezia at that point. "Have you ever faced an asari commando unit before? Few humans have." Her mother told Shepard the same thing in ME1.
    • Even before working to kill the Shadow Broker, she displays a lot of determination and ruthlessness in the Mass Effect: Redemption comic book. Apparently, working with Shepard was a very significant influence.
    • Lair of the Shadow Broker has her take two giant levels in badass. The first is when we encounter her in the trade center, where she's chasing down a Spectre and hurling Shadow Broker agents around like toys. Let's repeat that for clarification: Liara is making a freaking Spectre flee from her. The second makes her potentially even more powerful than Shepard.
      Liara: Give me ten minutes and I can start a war.
    • You know how each character is introduced or provided a tag line? The Convict, The Scientist, ect? In the DLC Liara is introduced as The Elite.
    • Her introduction in the third game has her drop out of an air-vent, suspend the Cerberus troops chasing her with a Singularity, draw her gun and casually shoot them... then once more, just to make sure.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In Mass Effect 2, combined with Took a Level in Badass above, she also became a lot more ruthless during her quest to take down the Shadow Broker, ordering hits, coldly dismissing civilian casualties as a necessity, being extremely cold to Shepard (her potential love interest) and more. Mellows out a bit again after the end of the DLC.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Shepard, possibly moreso than anyone else in the series, including other party members. Can also fit with Violently Protective Girlfriend below.
  • Uneven Hybrid: A chat between her and her father reveals that she's 1/4 krogan. Liara insists that it doesn't work that way; her father's response is how Liara finds out that she has a half-sister.
  • Unreliable Expositor: If asked in the second game about why she gave Shepard's body to Cerberus, she claims she did it because she thought the Lazarus Project could bring Shepard back. The Redemption comic reveals this to be, at best, highly questionable. The Illusive Man simply tells her to retrieve the body for him without telling her why, and she does so, with her only given reasoning being that Cerberus and Shepard are both human... even if Shepard lost his entire team to a Cerberus operation and spent a significant portion of the first game trying to destroy them. Liara actually asks The Illusive Man point blank why Cerberus would want a corpse, and he simply says that, as an asari, she could never understand human traditions- basically indirectly saying that they only plan to bury Shepard, though she arguably might have still felt obliged to do it anyway out of loyalty to Shepard. She's only told about the Lazarus Project after she's already dropped off the body with Cerberus. At the end of the comic, she flat-out tells Miranda that she didn't bring Shepard back for them to revive, and thinks Shepard should just be left to rest. Granted, it's possible she just didn't want to set herself up for disappointment if it failed, but it seems more likely that she just didn't want to admit to Shepard that she never actually believed Cerberus could succeed in bringing them back to life. This is reinforced by her greeting Shepard in Mass Effect 2, where she is shocked by seeing Shepard in the flesh despite supposedly being well-aware what the Lazarus Project would do, that they were active in the galaxy again and even paying for their docking fees well before their meeting. This may also explain why she never told anyone else on the SR1 about what she did.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Even if you don't romance her, Liara's friendship with Shepard still has a level of this to it. In the third game, Aethyta will note this if the two of them talk, stating that she's surprised that Liara's underwear hasn't caught fire yet.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Liara is unique amongst the first game's party members in having no military training. In addition to (and partly as a result of) this, she has only one ability that isn't dependent on her biotics,note  can only wear light armor, and can only use the weakest, most basic weapons (particularly in the first game, where she is the only squadmate without a weapon talent). She makes up for this by being an extremely powerful biotic, especially for her age. Considering her mother Benezia, it seems that her power is In the Blood.
    • In the Redemption comic a group of five or so regular mercenaries manage to subdue her with relative ease, despite her having psychic powers potent enough to lift a tank, and fighting with lethal intent while they weren't. How? Two mercs approached her from the front, she splattered them with a enormous biotic attack, and another merc simply flanked her, grabbed her, and put a gun to the back of her head while she was distracted and on a cooldown. If not for Cerberus's intervention, she certainly would've been killed.
    • By the third game, this is basically gone; on Mars, Liara not only has that Establishing Character Moment where she handles two mooks via combined biotics and gunplay without breaking a sweat, she then replaces James on a fireteam consisting of two trained and highly-decorated Alliance Marines (specifically, Shepard and the Virmire Survivor), and is seen employing standard breaching maneuvers with them. The Doylist explanation is that BioWare (understandably) didn't want to make custom cutscene animations for her for this scene, but a Watsonian interpretation is that the campaign against Sovereign would give just about anyone a thorough education in infantry combat. (This is perhaps underlined by the fact that the three coordinate the maneuver silently, which can only be the product of long experience.)
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend:
    • Following Shepard's temporary demise, she took up a one woman crusade to get their body back from the Shadow Broker and the Collectors. As of the end of the second game, she's still working to track the Broker down and make them pay for daring to touch Shepard. Or to rescue/avenge Feron, who she may or may not be interested in.
    • She doesn't even need to be a girlfriend for this. Even if it's just a friend relationship, she will destroy you if ever try to harm Shepard.
    • When you've got a millennium-long lifespan, spending a decade or two hunting down the jerk who messed with your buddy doesn't sound so unreasonable.
  • Virginity Makes You Stupid: Though she's depicted as naive, she's not exactly an idiot. Still, she's less streetwise than Tali, who hasn't even spent any time off of a ship, since she spent most of her time alone in Prothean ruins with the only people she ever meets being pirates or looters, who tend to wind up dead.
  • Visual Development: Her preferred outfit in Mass Effect 2 and 3 reflects her new Stoic, Lady of War tendencies.
  • Vocal Evolution: In the first game, her voice is rather high-pitched, and her speech has much more of an awkward, stilted cadence compared to later games. Justified in that she's rather innocent and immature when you first meet her, having spent much of her life not interacting with others socially.
  • Warrior Therapist: Shares this role with Garrus towards Shepard in Mass Effect 3, trying to keep them from falling completely into despair.
  • "Well Done, Daughter!" Girl: Yes. She has more than a little friction with her mother, Matriarch Benezia, trying to do something to overcome being the daughter of a highly esteemed individual and a union between asari and she never knew her "father" either. Unless you coax the two into talking in the third game.
    Liara: Children shouldn't be burdened with the successes of their parents any more than their failings.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • During the Shadow Broker DLC, if Shepard tries to press her to talk about their relationship, she retorts that Shepard has either moved on (if they hooked up with someone else) or is acting like she can just undo two years of mourning and separation.
    • Shepard can give a number to her for her more extreme actions in her quest to get revenge on the Shadow Broker.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: In 3, she realizes that she could live long enough to see the whole invasion through, and admits that while she used to feel sorry for shorter-lived species, she's no longer sure. The Extended Cut's Refusal ending implies that she lives for quite a long time after the Crucible does not fire.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Paragon Shepard's interrupts in Lair of the Shadow Broker reminding her of how she was when they met and urging her to not descend into Well-Intentioned Extremist territory, not even to protect them.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: After she and Shepard kill the Shadow Broker, she takes his place. She's at least the third person to hold the title.
  • Youthful Freckles: She is only 108 years old.