|Madeline as depicted in Farewell|
Strawberry (by Theo)
|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 multiple times throughout 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, who 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 appear 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 more unrealistically. 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 (in some chapters) 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 that, in almost all of Celeste's official art, Madeline is 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 suggest this. Notably, there are small pride and trans flags near the computer in the end cutscene.
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, being the legal age for buying alcohol in Canada.
Biography[edit | edit source]
Prologue thru Epilogue[edit | edit source]
Madeline first appears in Prologue as a very determined person, with the ultimate goal of climbing the mountain. Her goal is to reach Summit to prove and challenge herself. She refuses to listen to the Old Woman, who warns her about the mountain's dangers. On her way, she meets Theo, depending on which chapter he's found, who wanders around the place to find places worth showing on his InstaPix account. On their first encounter, Madeline appears rather shy, distracted by her own goals. They work their way up, with Theo occasionally meeting 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 reflection 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, and avoids contact with her as much as possible, making encounters with her even more intimidating as the story goes on. Examples include 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, or the entirety of the Mirror Temple which has unleashed a terrifying world full of monsters and deadly hazards that were sitting inside Madeline's mind.
Despite her goal, Madeline tries to help other people who are struggling as well. She attempts to help Mr. Oshiro, overwhelmed by the events that happened in the Celestial Resort, which ended up being interrupted by Badeline, who told him that her only reason for helping him is to "fuel her twisted ego". She also rescues Theo, who gets lost in the Mirror Temple encased inside a giant crystal structure.
In Chapter 6, she has a conversation with Theo where she reveals that she has been struggling with depression and anxiety for a long time, causing various negative effects such as lashing out at other people on the internet, or the consumption of alcohol. She also explains that she's been chased by Part of Her that she isn't happy with, concluding that she may want to free Badeline to live without her. She also thanks Theo for teaching her the feather technique during the gondola ride in Golden Ridge, which has been helpful to cope with panic attacks. Theo tells Madeline about his journey and supports her psychologically.
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. The protagonist attempts to calm herself using the feather technique, however Badeline cuts the feather in half, causing her to drop all the way down and to a deep cavern, being a turning point of the game. 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 advises 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 Badeline at the rock bottom of the area, and apologises for the behavior. Badeline doesn't trust her, and suddenly the roles switch - Madeline starts chasing the Part of Her. Eventually, they stop, and she convinces Badeline to talk to her, comforting her and telling her that they both can get back up if they cooperate. They fuse, giving the player an additional dash. After climbing back from the giant pit, they find their friends, who further encourage them to complete the climb.
Throughout the entire climb up the summit, Madeline talks with Badeline, 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 Granny's shack, where they meet friends and Madeline bakes 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 occurred after the main game's conclusion. Later, she enters the mysterious cave and finally 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 at her gravestone, apologising for not attending 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.
Throughout 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 finds it stuck, but the bird does nothing and tries to leave. Madeline starts to lose hope that she may meet Granny again. Badeline 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, so they lead it out.
Madeline manages to encounter Granny for the last time, presumably in heaven, and she apologises for not being able to attend her funeral, thanking her for all Granny's done throughout her climb. Shortly after, Granny disappears and the protagonist finally wakes up. She hears a call from Theo and picks it 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 also see Granny (known as Celia on the picture); they were friends and they shared the mountain with themselves, much to Maddy's excite.
Renaming[edit | edit source]
Upon creating a new save file for Celeste, Madeline may be renamed to anything else up to 12 characters. This does not impact gameplay or the plot whatsoever, except that all characters (in the base game at least) will use 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, 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 curiosity has grown about the possibility of Madeline being transgender. This has officially been confirmed on a blog post by Maddy Thorson, on the 6th of November, 2020.
- In the blog post, Maddy also explains how the development of them and the character has gone through changes, and that her gender identity was purposefully shown very subtly to give Madeline and the trans community respect without it feeling forcefully shown, as well as they realized over time that they've been writing a trans narrative all along. She also wanted to make sure everyone could relate to her story without feeling alienated.
- There are a couple of hints towards Madeline being trans, such as the pride flags, prescriptive pills, a short-haired picture of her in the Farewell ending cutscene, and a photo of her with rainbow socks on Theo's InstaPix.
- The consistent usage of mirrors as a theme, visualization of Badeline, Madeline's reactions to taking selfies, and the hidden lament in the Mirror Temple theme reference common struggles of people dealing with gender dysphoria.
- Many emojis about Celeste are Madeline emojis. Many are based directly on expressions she shows in the game. Others simply consist of something completely unrelated with Madeline's hair stamped on top. The most notable example of this is Frogeline with its many variations.
- Maddy Thorson has made joke tweets revealing Madeline's height (213.36 cm), last name (Madeline McButt), and the contents of her backpack (full of spiders).
- Goslin, Austen (August 28, 2018). "TowerFall arrives on Nintendo Switch this September". Polygon. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
- @MaddyThorson (August 10, 2022). "hmmm i'd say about 213.36cm" (Tweet). Archived from the original on August 10, 2022. Retrieved November 7, 2023 – via X (Twitter).
- @MaddyThorson (August 10, 2022). "McButt. She's Madeline McButt 😔 sorry gamers" (Tweet). Archived from the original on August 10, 2022. Retrieved November 7, 2023 – via X (Twitter).
- @MaddyThorson (July 28, 2022). "It's full of spiders 😬" (Tweet). Archived from the original on August 9, 2022. Retrieved November 7, 2023 – via X (Twitter).