Something about Morrigan and Leliana that I appreciate (and I am sure this has been said better by someone else):
I feel like it’s fairly common in fiction to have the two contrasting female love interests represent Good Femininity and Baaaad~ Femininity (I believe this is called the Madonna/Whore dichotomy). Like, you’ll have the Good Feminine love interest who is sweet, sheltered, and pure and full of hope like a Disney princess, and the experienced, cleavage baring, black-or-red wearing Bad Feminine seductress who represents everything women aren’t supposed to be–but of course is still alluring.
And this is absolutely tied to sexuality. The Good Feminine love interest is supposed to be sexually pure and modest, while the Bad Feminine love interest has slept around and actively tries to seduce the (usually) male hero. Even if this isn’t explicitly stated in the story, it’s supposed to be understood from how both characters act/dress. A good example of this is Mikaela and Carmen from the famous opera, well, Carmen.
Leliana and Morrigan fill this criteria pretty well at first glance. They’re the two female love interests for a male PC. Leliana fits into the Good Feminine box pretty well. Wearing modest clothing? check. Full of hope and optimism and goodness? check. She’s even a chantry sister, the equivalent of nuns in this universe–so she has to fulfill the sexual purity aspect of this trope, right? And then there’s Morrigan. Revealing outfit? check. Cynical and dark? check. And a lot of her comments about men and their ego, plus the fact that her ultimate goal is to sleep with the male protagonist seems to make her fill the seductress role.
…but then when you actually talk to them it turns out Leliana was a bona fide seductress and is probably about on Zevran’s level, even if she isn’t as blatant about it. She’s had plenty of experience with relationships, sexual and otherwise, and her optimism and hope don’t stem from ignorance or being sheltered–it’s a path she has chosen after living a pretty full life and having seen much of the world, even the uglier sides of it.
Meanwhile Morrigan is the sheltered one. She’s never had a relationship in her life, barely ever talked to people besides her mother, and (if I recall correctly) hasn’t had sex. She makes some attempts to “distract” a male warden by playing to his ego, but her attempts at seduction are really obvious and clumsy. Plus when she’s romanced she acts like a giggling schoolgirl who’s dating for the first time. As for her dark and cynical view on the world, it doesn’t come from experience with people or society at all. It comes from one person, her abusive mother, dominating her perspective of the world and twisting it to shape who Morrigan is. More of a Disney’s Quasimodo situation, if you will.
And I wouldn’t call this a subversion exactly. The point of this isn’t a twist/shock reveal that Leliana seems pure but actually isn’t, or that Morrigan is secretly good and sweet (she’s still ruthless and cruel). I would say it’s dismantles the set up, especially since in the end neither Leliana’s experience nor Morrigan’s lack thereof is presented as shameful.
Perhaps it’s not super progressive, and perhaps it’s been done before, but it was a dynamic I appreciated.