The Ghoul and Lucy staring at each other in Prime Video's Fallout series
Screenshot via Prime Video YouTube

In Defense of Ghoulcy: Why Lucy and the Ghoul Have Romantic Potential

Rads are all the rage now.

Amazon Prime’s Fallout is a glowing example of a video game adaptation done right. In its skillful delivery of classic Fallout humor, the show has also given us compelling main characters in the form of Lucy MacLean, Maximus, and Cooper Howard as the Ghoul. Despite signs of a budding romance between Lucy and Maximus, shippers seem especially drawn to the fiery dynamic between Lucy and the Ghoul. 

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Here at GameSkinny, we’ve already covered why VaultGhoul would never work. So why does Ghoulcy continue to dominate Fallout fanart and fanfiction?

The Infamous Enemies-to-Lovers Trope

Lucy and the Ghoul side by side in Prime Video's Fallout series
Screenshot via Prime Video YouTube

It’s hard to blame people for viewing Lucy and the Ghoul’s interactions through a romantic lens when the two have hit almost every beat in one of the most famous romance tropes of all time. The enemies-to-lovers trope hones in on the inherent tension between two opposing characters who eventually set aside their differences to form an alliance— usually after trying to kill one another at least once. While no one is stating that the dynamic between the Ghoul and Lucy is exactly healthy, it’s nearly impossible to find a single relationship in the Fallout universe that isn’t built on violence and deception.

Tensions are naturally dramatized in this fictional world, so scenes like Lucy being used as bait for the Gulper, for example, are used as roadblocks in the development of her personal quest (and eventual bond with the Ghoul) rather than the truly traumatic incidents we’d see them as in our reality. After all, this is a world in which a dog at death’s door can instantly be revived to full health and energy with a single Stimpak. Our familiar concepts of pain and danger are transformed in Fallout, which makes it easier to forgive the initial hiccups — lost fingers and all — just as we would while playing a video game.

The Delicious Foil Dynamic

The Ghoul staring at Lucy in Prime Video's Fallout series
Screenshot via Prime Video YouTube

Despite representing opposite ends of the moral spectrum, Lucy and the Ghoul have a lot in common. Not only were they both betrayed by the one person they trusted most in the world, but those betrayals were made to serve the insidious agenda of Vault-Tec, a company that failed them both. Furthermore, they balance each other out: Lucy is the good angel on the Ghoul’s shoulder, urging him to remember his humanity and make merciful choices. Meanwhile, the Ghoul challenges Lucy’s naive worldview and pushes her to become a stronger version of herself that can survive the Wasteland. In this way, they become true equals who bring out one another’s strengths. Fallout Season 2 will likely show the Ghoul warming up to Lucy’s positive influence and hopefully depict more badass Lucy scenes as she, too, is affected by the Ghoul’s mannerisms.

While many fans choose to see their interactions through a father/daughter lens, just as many viewers find that interpretation to feel forced. Criticisms that the relationship between Lucy and the Ghoul is too toxic to be considered romantic, even in the wacky world of Fallout, neglect the fact that a father/daughter dynamic is equally as problematic given the beginning of their history together. While there is no “wrong” way to view their relationship, there’s also no denying the initial rocky start to their companionship.

‘Your Husband Could Be Anyone’ Episode One Hint

Lucy on her wedding day in Prime Video's Fallout series
Screenshot via Prime Video YouTube

In Fallout‘s pilot episode, the banter between Lucy and her brother Norman has given Ghoulcy shippers ammunition to predict a future VaultGhoul romance. As Lucy heads to Vault 32 to greet her mystery marriage partner, Norm teases his older sister about how her “husband could be anyone,” creating off-putting ideas about her future spouse. “It’s what’s on the inside that counts,” Norm says. “And in that respect, he could be a cannibal or … crammed full of tumors.”  

In Episode 4, Lucy meets Roger just in time to witness the Ghoul shoot his old friend in the head — a mercy kill, as Roger was quickly turning feral. She watches with disgust as the Ghoul begins to feast on the remains, claiming that sometimes “a fella’s got to eat a fella.” Not a particularly charming way to set the mood, but this scene does connect back to Norm’s earlier prediction about Lucy’s husband.

Will Lucy and the Ghoul End up Together?

The Ghoul and Lucy in Prime Video's Fallout series
Screenshot via Prime Video YouTube

With all these counter-arguments made in defense of the VaultGhoul ship, does that mean I believe these two were meant to fall in love? No, probably not. I think it’s much more likely that Lucy will end up with Maximus if she ends up with anyone (since Lucy doesn’t need a romance arc to be an interesting character on her own).

With shipping being such a personal affair, no two people are going to interpret scenes involving their favorite characters in the same exact light, and that’s all a part of the fun. Whether you ship Ghoulcy or not, we can bet on these two developing a stronger bond in Fallout‘s highly-anticipated Season 2.

For more fun post-apocalyptic content, check out other GameSkinny Fallout articles.

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Sierra Windham
Sierra is a freelance writer at GameSkinny with a focus on the site's emerging romance niche. In the past, she provided ProGameGuides with extensive coverage on Genshin Impact and other titles, and wrote zodiac-inspired Skyrim lists for TheGamer. She can be found playing Baldur's Gate 3, sampling new teas, or daydreaming about Mass Effect's Garrus.