Stardew Valley: Every Marriage Candidate Ranked

A long time ago, I ranked every marriage candidate. But feelings change with time, and I figured it’s time to revisit the topic – now in one easy to digest list for your convenience!
(Notice: Do not digest the list. It is not food or otherwise sustenance)


Time To Rank Fictional People Again!

There are 12 marriage candidates in the game. In time, my opinions on them have probably changed. Or maybe they haven’t. Hell if I know, but I’m praying to Yoba above that I’ve become a better writer in that time, so hopefully y’all enjoy this mess. <3

Reminder that these are all my opinions. Obviously. If you disagree with me at any point, make sure to yell at me and make an incredibly clever joke about me forgetting an NPC that’s not a marriage candidate in the comments. You’re very clever.

Number 12: Sam

Ah yes. The world record holder for most boring man of all time.

Is that the main export of an early summer coop in year one, or Sam? Because Yoba be damned, that’s a jar of mayonnaise of a man if I’ve ever seen one, and not in the good way. The most interesting things he does in the entire game are being a decent enough older brother to whatever boy child’s name is, and believing a raw egg is a good quick snack (He’s really not beating the mayo man allegations with that one).

He’s so nothing that he even manages to suck the fun out of going against Mayor Lewis’ word directly in front of him. That borders on impressive. But hey, maybe being undesirable just runs in the family, considering 1 Willow Lane as a whole houses the most concentrated area of ‘I don’t care’ NPCs in the entire game. The least desirable married woman in town (Ranking of moms coming soon), War vet, and boy child. If I’ll give Sam one genuine thing, it’s the fact that he’s the most interesting member of his family. But it’s close.

Number 11: Emily

Hey, look! It’s girl Sam!

That might be a hot take, because Emily has a lot more to work with, but here’s the thing – she’s so interesting that it wraps around fully into overcompensation, and becomes meh. My proof for this is that all her heart events could, essentially, happen in any order. They barely matter, except what? She gets a random parrot? Other then predicting Ginger Island, I don’t believe that there’s much value to be gained from that, or from any of her other cutscenes, as funky as they may be.

This may hurt a younger me – Emily was the first spouse I ever went for in this game. Back when I was dumb, and went “Woah, blue hair! I like blue. I’ll marry Emily.” I also barely cracked a quarter of a million gold by the end of year four in that save, so. Take from that what you will.

Number 10: Shane

Oh, huh. I can hear the controversy from here.

Shane is, unarguably, an interesting character. I enjoy his story and growth as a person, his willingness to change, and how much he loves his chickens. But it’s a long climb to get to the best of Shane, and frankly, he’s not my type before or after. Before, he’s a jerk who drinks too much, and in the end, once you’ve helped with, he’s – well, he’s definitely there. A bit more flavor then Sam or Emily, but once I get past the incredibly wholesome eight heart event, I don’t have any desire to tie the knot.

I’m happy for Shane. I hope he has a great life. And to all the very fair Shane enjoyers out there, please, take him all to yourself. I don’t want him lol.

Number 9: Penny

If there weren’t eight candidates above her, she’d definitely be higher.

I need to make something incredibly clear. Penny is lovely, amazing, wonderful, and an entire following list of positive adjectives which I’ll refrain from listing. Anyone who calls her boring or the worst spouse in the game is completely and entirely incorrect, these just being opinions be damned. That being said, we’re still in the boring end of the list, and poor, lovely Penny just doesn’t have all that much going for her besides my desire to get her out of Pam’s “””house”””.

If this ranking was based purely on how nice each marriage candidate is, then Penny would be at the top every day of the week. Unfortunately for her, I’m a dumbass, and people are more complex then that. And to end this off, I’ll bring something back from my first ranking list – if I hear about any of you denying Penny in her 10-heart event and making her cry, I will give you a whole lot to cry about.

Number 8: Elliott

Beach man.

He’s hot. Let’s get that out of the way real quick, he’s attractive, and if he was a woman – like I thought when I first started playing – then my lesbian ass would be in heaven. But we respect genders around here, even when it makes us question things about the infinitely complex nature of romantic attraction. I digress.

I respect his lifestyle, and honestly wish I could live it sometime. Being an author living in a cabin on the beach sounds lovely. If I had that lifestyle, though, I wouldn’t be overly pretentious about it at every opportunity, no matter how fantastic my hair is. He just has this aura around him, like he’s always trying to get across that I’m not as good as him. That’s not what I’m looking for a man. Now, I mentioned that I’m a lesbian in the last paragraph, so I’m not technically looking for anything in any man, but y’know. Life is complex. And Elliott isn’t all that complex, so he’s number eight. Yaaaay.

Number 7: Sebastian

Frog guy.

Sebastian has a lot going for him. He has a motorcycle, builds a frog sanctuary, likes obsidian because he wants to turn it into a dagger, the list goes on. Unfortunately, while this may sound strange, there’s not much to say beyond that. He has a lot of interesting qualities, but they’re all kind of just – there? His events border on Emily levels of disconnect, because he programs – no wait, look at his motorcyc – oh, we’re playing Dungeons and Dragons now? Social anxiety?! No, right, we’re back to the motorcycle. Also by the way, frogs.

I appreciate Sebastian a lot. But his quirks define him a lot more then the actual basis of his personality, and that leads to the true Sebastian becoming lost and muddled. I’m not saying characters can’t be complex, and have a lot of different traits, but I think I’d like him more if there were more through lines.

Oh also he’s really cute. I like his hair.

Number 6: Alex

The “boys will be boys”-est boy of all.

I’ve really warmed up to Alex over time. He’s sweet, he’s passionate, he’s a fan of the sportball and all that. In a lot of ways, he’s the opposite of Sebastian, having a very singular focus. He cares about sports and has a complex family relationship, and every event essentially aligns with this. Unfortunately, I believe it’s a bit too simple, and it’s somehow led to Alex and Sebastian being almost in the exact same spot. The reason I’m giving Alex an edge is simply because his story has a bit more of an emotional appeal.

Just as Alex is a simple man, this is a simple entry. Let’s move on so he can get back to watching the game.

Number 5: Harvey

The best boy.

You remember how Elliott had an unlikable aura? Well, Harvey has perfected having the exact opposite. Whenever I’m around Harvey, I feel safe and comfy. Whenever I’m heavily injured, I go to Harvey, and sure that’s partially because he’s the only doctor in town, but you get the point. He’s a sweet, wonderful man, who gives so much twink and otherwise boywife energy that I, for one, greatly appreciate.

I also love his interest in pilots, and how his 10 heart event ties to heights directly after it. It’s a balance between the previous two bachelors – some of the events tie together, some of them are completely unrelated, but all of them come together to define an interesting personality and fun little story at the same time. Harvey is the perfect bachelor in this game.

So, that’s the end of the list, right?

Oh there’s four women left? Of the six total in the game? It’s a good thing I already proudly declared that whole lesbian thing, otherwise I’d have a hard time beating the fruitiness allegations.

Number 4: Maru

The only good thing Demetrius has done for the world.

Maru used to be my personal lowest bachelorette, and then I finally remembered that whole “I used to be dumb” thing from the Emily entry. Honestly, a lot of the reason I didn’t like Maru relates to Demetrius being my least favorite character in the entire game, and that’s entirely unfair to Maru. Along with this, I didn’t like the fact that by romancing her I would effectively be halting her dreams, but that’s kind of a theme in this game? So many characters suddenly halt their growth the exact instance they become a spouse, and Maru might just be one of the most egregious examples of this given her clear and impressive potential.

However, this is a video game about farming where a parsnip grows in six days, dwarves and shadow guys are racist against each other, and the end goals are some big-ass clock and running out of things to do on purpose because a blue guy told you to. It’s not meant to make sense. So focusing on this idea isn’t ideal, especially given that this entry should be about Maru.

Maru is absolutely brilliant, yet her story feels so genuine and grounded. It’s exclusively personal preference keeping her from being higher on this list, where she honestly might deserve to be.

Number 3: Haley

I know this line is supposed to be a short joke but why does Haley’s 14 heart event on the Stardew Valley wiki have a link the the wikipedia page for the phrase “In the doghouse”. You can look it up right now, it’s there. What a world.

Anyway, I could get up on my soapbox and ramble about Haley’s mean-to-nice character arc like the basic ♥♥♥♥♥ I am, but everyone has done that. I’m here to stand my ground and say that y’know what? Blonde girls who are mean to me for no reason is one of my biggest types, and I will not apologize for that. Oh, I’m gross? I’m weird? You don’t like my outfit? I can’t properly put into words how much I want to kiss you on the mouth right now.

But also, fine. Her growth is incredibly sweet and all of her cutscenes are so important and cozy to me, and before you say it, yes. I do include the pickle jar in that. It’s short, sweet, and cuter then anyone gives it credit for. I also love her passion for photography, and almost wish we could see more of it. Even without that, Haley is one of my favorite bachelorettes, and easily earns the number 3 spot.

Number 2: Leah

Ethically Sourced Robin.

Leah is the culmination of story being told through heart events. Harvey was good, Haley was great, but Leah is where everything truly comes together, and we get to follow a full plot. We get to see Leah grow and gain more confidence as an artist, all while dealing with Kel, the winner of the “Character who should technically be my least favorite in the entire game but they’re not only because I’m unnecessarily spiteful towards Demetrius” award. The best way to describe it is rewarding – I feel lucky having the chance to get to know Leah.

Also, she has to be one of the lesbianist lesbians I’ve ever had a chance to romance. She gives you a whole sculpture about her feelings during her sixth heart event, she’s an artist who loves nature, you have to deal with her ex being clingy and she completely abandons her old house to U-haul in with you. I hope I find a girl who I can draw a pretty picture in the woods with some day.

Leah is so close to being number one – is the nice thing to say, because it really should be a lot closer, but if I’m good at one thing, it’s overly strong, potentially bad opinions.

Number 1: Abigail

I won’t apologize for the way that I am.

I’m not going to pretend that Abigail is some perfect character with a complex, brilliantly written story which rightfully puts her over all the other marriage candidates. She’s a pretty goth girl who plays video games with you and likes swords and has a bad relationship with her parents. She eats rocks. She plays the flute. She accidentally confesses using a Ouija board. She has a guinea pig named David Jr.

She’s my go to marriage candidate every single time. I probably need to start switching that up, since I just listed eleven other candidates, some of them being really cool. But again, I won’t apologize for the way that I am. Abigail deserves the love she gets, and while I can understand those who say she’s basic, I simply can’t bring myself to agree. Abigail is the best marriage candidate in Stardew Valley.

Number -1: Krobus

If you were still thinking of commenting that whole “Uh, you forgot Krobus” thing after I called you out in the opening section, then I hope you feel extra silly now. Or validated I guess.

He’s not technically a marriage candidate, but Krobus can live in your house, and that’s basically the same level of commitment as marriage. Krobus is better then spouses in some ways, like how he doesn’t attempt to force children upon you, and how he’s technically the only character in the game responsible for giving you two stardrops considering he both sells you one and can give you one at 13 hearts of friendship.

Everyone say thank you to Krobus for being Krobus. Thank you, Krobus.

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