|Madeline as depicted in Farewell|
Strawberry (by Theo)
|Age||between 20 and 30|
|Family||• Mom (unnamed)|
• Theo |
|List of characters|
Madeline is the protagonist of Celeste, and is the character whom the player controls in nearly all instances. She is a trans woman that struggles with her mental illnesses, depicted throughout multiple times throughout the course of her ascension of Celeste Mountain. Even though her motives for climbing the mountain are left open to interpretation, her determination manifests itself throughout the events of Celeste's first seven chapters, and continues even after that.
Presumably because of Celeste Mountain's influence, as foreshadowed by Granny, Madeline is frequently confronted by a doppelganger, known as a part of her, whom attempts to convince her to return home and to give up; this character, known more commonly as Badeline, serves as Celeste's primary antagonist between chapter 2 and chapter 6, being responsible for many of her pitfalls.
Outside of Celeste, she and Badeline make an appearance in the Nintendo Switch version of TowerFall Ascension, an earlier game by Maddy Thorson, as playable characters. Additionally, Madeline makes an appearance on many pieces of Celeste-associated merchandise, often alongside Badeline.
Appearance[edit | edit source]
Even though Madeline takes a more "realistic" appearance in many of Amora B.'s works and many pieces of fanart, within Celeste itself, especially when it comes to portraits used during conversations, she is depicted in a more unrealistic fashion. Madeline appears to be a relatively short Canadian woman with pale skin, brown eyes and a distinctive cowlick near the center of her hair. Her hair is typically auburn in color, but shifts to cyan blue after dashing, or pink after acquiring a second dash (via Badeline). Throughout the game's events, Madeline is depicted with a turquoise-blue hood-less winter jacket, charcoal gray pants, black-and-gray winter boots and (depending on the chapter) a brown backpack containing a red sleeping mat and a water bottle.
Within Celeste's official art, Madeline is depicted reaching for a winged strawberry; in other official art, including Theo's InstaPix account, more details about Madeline's appearance are revealed; for instance, she is depicted with an indigo shirt underneath her jacket, and in photos taking place after the events of Celeste, many other pieces of clothing. Despite all of that, in practically all of Celeste's official art, with the exception of Chapter 8's end card, Madeline continues to be depicted with her auburn hair and distinctive cowlick.
Madeline's status as trans is impossible to decipher solely from her appearance; however, hints shown in Farewell's end cutscene may suggest this. Notably, a photo of Madeline during her childhood shows her with much shorter hair.
Her age is technically unknown and up to interpretation, however due to certain acts and references, such as her being able to drive a car and her having a possible alcohol addiction, it's implied that she's over either 18 or 19 years old, it being the legal age for buying alcohol in Canada.
Biography[edit | edit source]
Prologue thru Epilogue[edit | edit source]
Madeline appears first in Prologue as a very determined person, with the ultimate goal of climbing the mountain. Her goal is to reach Summit in order to prove and challenge herself, refusing to listen to the Old Woman, who warned her about the mountain's dangers. On her way, she meets Theo, depending on which chapter he's found, who wanders around the place with the intention of finding places worth showing on his InstaPix account. On their first encounter, Madeline appears as a rather shy person, being distracted by her own goals. They end up working their way up eventually, with Theo occasionally meating her through different chapters.
After reaching the mirror in Old Site, Madeline encounters a Part of Herself she's not happy with. It's a culmination of her anxieties, worries and other thoughts she's afraid of. Badeline tries to convince Madeline that the mountain climb might be too hard for her, and that they should turn back, however the protagonist refuses to listen to her, and pushes forwards. It shows Madeline's stubbornness and desire to reach her goals. She thinks that her other part tries to hurt her even more, avoiding contact with her as much as possible, making encounters with her even more intimidating as the story goes on, such as lashing out at Mr. Oshiro in the Presidential Suite, multiple panic attacks such as at the end of Golden Ridge, when the gondola got stuck in place for a short period of time, or the entirety of the Mirror Temple which has unleashed a terrifying world full of monsters and deadly hazards that was sitting inside Madeline's mind.
Despite her priorities, Madeline doesn't refuse to help other people who are struggling as well. She attempts to help Mr. Oshiro who appeared to be overwhelmed by the events that happened in the Celestial Resort, which ended up being interrupted by Badeline, who told him that her only reason of helping him is to "fuel her twisted ego". She also rescues Theo, who gets lost in the Mirror Temple, ending up being encased inside a giant crystal structure.
Chapter 6 is the turning point of the game, revealing during a conversation with Theo, that Madeline has been struggling with depression and anxiety for a long time, causing various negative effects such as lashing out on other people, or the consumption of alcoholic drinks. She also explains that she's been chased by Part of Her that she isn't happy with, coming to a conclusion that she may want to set Badeline free, and be able to live without her. She also thanks Theo for teaching her the feather technique, which has been helping her to cope with panic attacks she learned during the gondola ride in Golden Ridge.
Once the night passes, Madeline wakes up and attempts to talk to Badeline. She explains that she'd like to set her free, and that they both would be happier that way. Badeline, scared of the consequences, attacks her, causing a panic attack to happen. The protagonist attempts to calm herself using the feather technique, however it wasn't successful, causing her to drop all the way down to a deep cavern, leaving Part of Herself behind her. Heartbroken, the protagonist wanders aimlessly through the area, trying to find a way out. She eventually finds the Old Woman, who laughs at her for giving up. Deep in her heart, Madeline doesn't want to give up yet, but the long fall caused her to lose all hope in being able to get back to the top. The Old Woman advices her to try to talk with Badeline and find out what she's afraid of. As the conversation ends, the protagonist goes down through a deep ravine, trying to find Part of Herself at the rock bottom of the area, and apologises her for the behavior. Badeline doesn't trust her, and suddenly the roles switch - Madeline starts chasing towards Part of Herself. Eventually they stop, and she convinces Badeline to talk to her, comforting her and telling that they both can get back up if they cooperate. They fuse together, giving the player an additional dash. After climbing back from the giant pit, they find their friends on the way.
Through the entire climb back to the summit, Madeline goes on a conversation with Part of Herself, apologising for their mistakes and trying to move on, quickly reaching the top of the mountain at the end of the chapter. They later come back to home, where they meet friends they met on the way, ending up baking a strawberry pie for them.
Core and Farewell[edit | edit source]
A year after reaching the summit, Madeline meets up with Granny again, at the entrance to the Core. They talk about what events have occurred during the time span after the main game has concluded. Later, she enters the mysterious cave and reaches the center of Celeste Mountain, finding her inner peace.
A long time passes by, and Madeline discovers that Granny has passed away, and within her dream, she arrives to her gravestone, apologising for not attending to her funeral. She finds the Bird, thinking that it might know where Granny could be found. Badeline tries to convince her, that she's in denial and that it's just a dream. The protagonist refuses to listen to her, and embarks on the journey without her help.
Through multiple locations, Badeline appears several times, trying to convince Madeline to wake up, with no effect. Madeline pursues to catch the bird, trying to get information on how to find Granny, but it escapes every time. After several attempts, she manages to find it stuck in an area, but the bird does nothing and tries to leave. Madeline starts to lose hope that she may meet Granny again. Part of Herself finds her again, and apologises for her harsh behavior, attempting to tell her that they will both face the future together. The protagonist agrees, but also she feels guilty for trapping the bird in the collapsing dimension. They end up leading it to the end, through a hazarouds path.
Madeline manages to encounter Granny for her last time, and she apologises for not being able to attent to her funeral, thanking her for all she's done through the entirety of the game. Shortly after, Granny disappears and the protagonist finally wakes up. She hears a call by Theo that she decided to pick up, apologising for her absence due to the struggle of coping with the loss of someone. Theo decides to share an old picture of his grandfather, on which they could see both him and Granny (known as Celia on the picture), who were friends and they shared the mountain with themselves.
Renaming[edit | edit source]
Upon the creation of a new save file for Celeste, Madeline may be freely renamed to anything else beneath ten characters. This does not impact gameplay or the plot whatsoever, except that all characters (in the base game, at least) will adjust their dialogue to mention Madeline's new name. However, there are two exceptions (both easter eggs). If Madeline is renamed to
Alex, the same name as Theo's sister, Alex will be renamed to "Maddy". If Madeline is named Fwahaha, Kevin blocks make a different sound when they are dashed into.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Madeline technically has her own voice lines, however they're hidden inside the "In The Mirror" track, which if reversed through an audio editing program, will reveal a hidden lament voiced by Lena Raine, talking about her (presumably in Madeline's name) own struggles, fears and thoughts, followed by quiet sighs and sobbing.
- Upon Celeste's release, especially after Farewell has been introduced, a huge amount of curiousity has grown about the possibility of Madeline being a transgender woman. This has officially been confirmed on a Medium blog post by Maddy Thorson, on the 6th of November, 2020.
- In the blog post, Maddy also explains on how the development of them and the character has gone through changes, as well as explaining that her gender identity was purposefully been shown very subtly to give Madeline and the trans community respect without it feeling forcefully shown, as well as they realising over time that they've been writing a trans narrative all along. They also wanted to be sure everyone is able to relate to the story without feeling alienated.
- There are a couple of images hinting towards Madeline being trans, such as the pride flags, prescriptive pills and short-haired photo of her in the Farewell ending cutscene, and an image of Madeline wearing rainbow socks on Theo's InstaPix.
- The consistent usage of mirrors as a theme, visualisation of Badeline, Madeline's reaction to taking selfies, and the hidden lament in the Mirror Temple theme can be seen as references to common struggles of trans people dealing with gender dysphoria.
- Many emojis about Celeste are Madeline emojis. Even though many are based directly on expressions she shows in the game. others consist simply of something completely unrelated with Madeline's hair stamped on top. The most notable example of this is Frogeline.
- Goslin, Austen (August 28, 2018). "TowerFall arrives on Nintendo Switch this September". Polygon. Retrieved January 9, 2021.