Jacob Frye/Maxwell Roth

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Pairing
Pairing: Jacob Frye Maxwell Roth
Alternative name(s): Rothfrye, Froth[1], JaRoth[2]
Gender category: M/M
Fandom: Assassin's Creed
Canonical?: Yes
Prevalence: Somewhat common
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Spoiler Warning: This article or section may contain spoilers. If this bothers you, proceed with caution.

Jacob Frye/Maxwell Roth is a ship in Assassin's Creed fandom.

Developer's views

It has been confirmed by Jeffrey Yohalem, the lead writer of Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, that Roth did have romantic feelings for Jacob. "The kiss between Maxwell and Jacob is not for laughs," he said in an interview on The Assassin's Den podcast. "Maxwell is in love with Jacob and Jacob may have reciprocated. The goal was to make that moment ambiguous."

Loomer, the fan interviewing him, responded "I didn’t see it quite like that... They kissed and he says why not? Some people has made comparison of Roth with the Joker, it’s like Joker just randomly kissing someone, like Batman."

Jeffrey answered, "I mean for me, Maxwell Roth was very clearly in love with Jacob. [...] In his misguided crazy way, he’s trying to seduce him."

And again, about Loomer having seen their relationship more like "a father-son type vibe" he answers, "No, I mean it’s very intentional that Jacob has no love interest in this game and that the sequence with Roth is the love interest sequence. I’m not saying that Jacob reciprocates. BUT, I think that Jacob is very much drawn to Roth and that the kiss is not entirely one sided. [...] the fact that in Assassin’s Creed games the main character always has a female love interest and that that’s missing from this game is telling."[3]

In March 2018, a fan wrote a message to Yohalem on his Facebook account asking if it was "true that Jacob was bisex and he was in love with Roth", to which Yohalem confirmed "Hey, he was in love with Roth."[4]

Fan Perspectives

It’s definitely not my cup of tea for various reasons (like the implication of an incredibly large age gap, like he looks old enough to be his father, and the fact he’s willing to murder children and innocent people – something again Jacob is definitely not comfortable with, which is an understatement to say the least). But I wouldn’t mind writing it for the sake of character exploration. [...] Like the way I interpret their relationship is on the one-sided end. I say one-sided because while Roth is very much into Jacob, Jacob’s feelings, while canonically ambiguous, I feel like he’s not in the place or position to be in a relationship.

And on that note, frankly, when they meet, I don’t think Jacob was ready/needed a romantic partner. He needed a mentor/father figure, something that he thought Roth was to him. And I feel like this is why it wouldn’t fly. I don’t think Jacob would’ve gone more than that, at least in so far as 1868 is concerned.

Again, in my opinion, Jacob wasn’t into Roth – or at least aware of being romantically in love with him, I’ll argue that there was a physical attraction at best – but did feel a very strong connection. And since they were intimate, at least in a platonic sense, this is why Jacob was definitely hurt and betrayed. [5]
I personally think Jacob may not exactly have been in love with Roth, I mean being in love is a big thing. Though I do believe it’s very possible for Roth to have been in love with Jacob since he’s not exactly the chillest man on the planet and strikes me as someone who gets obsessed with people[...]

Jacob on the other hand seems to have a crush on Roth. He’s very clearly infatuated with him, which becomes evident in the scene where he tells him what a sly bastard he is but also right at the beginning of their relationship when he smiles and lowers his gaze abashedly when Roth compliments him. You can also see it in the way he seeks Roth’s approval and is trying to say the right things constantly to impress him further even though Roth continues to reassure him he already thinks of him as the bravest man in London. [...] Often, Jacob is shown staring after Roth admiringly. He looks impressed and fascinated and enamored at the same time. It’s rather cute actually. He’s like a lovestruck puppy ;)

The thing that draws Jacob to Roth is quite obviously the fact that they seem to share ideas about freedom and fun. In Roth, he has finally found someone who understands why his freedom is so important to him and why he thinks blowing things up in a dark alleyway is fun. Especially since his sister Evie doesn’t share these ideas at all, he probably feels like a thirsty bull that has finally come across some water. [...] In many ways, Roth is exactly what Jacob has always wanted and he probably falls for him way before he realizes.

When he finally does realize, Roth’s blood is on his hands and his last breath on his lips.[6]
Firstly, it needs to be said that regardless of how things ended up - Maxwell Roth WAS in love with Jacob. No question. It was startlingly obvious. I’m not just saying that to be argumentative - this has been 100% confirmed by the lead writer of the game, Jeffery Yohalem. You can clearly hear him talk about it in his Assassin’s Den YouTube interview with Loomer (it’s still on there if you search - skip to 1:15:32 for the discussion) [...]

SECONDLY - In light of this and what the lead writers intended, (which I will always 1000% believe and stand by as canon over anything that came after because they wrote the damn story for the entire game and aftermaket book to be made from) it’s so clear that Roth absolutely DID NOT manipulate or use Jacob. He never once in the whole of sequence 8 made Jacob do anything against his will. They were both on the same page and were quite happily singing from it right up to the point where Roth crossed the line at the factory. And this is an important point that is often glossed over.

And also, Jacob was not a pushover. Jacob did not agree to blowing up the warehouse with children in it! [...] If Roth had such a powerful and manipulative influence/hold over Jacob, then Jacob would not have reacted so quickly and gone against Roth’s wishes. He would not have stood his ground on that rooftop and argued with Roth. He did not do as Roth wanted. I repeat. Roth did not manipulate Jacob or force him into doing anything he wasn’t comfortable with.

Roth’s reaction to that perceived betrayal was clearly obvious, as was Jacob’s heartbreak. Jacob was hurt because whatever they had together had come to an end and he knew he would have to kill Roth…the person he’d grown to care about.

But if we want to talk about manipulation, then we also have to acknowledge that it was Jacob who manipulated a lot of other characters in the game, as Loomer mentioned in the above interview and Yohalem (again, the actual lead writer) completely agreed with. The whole mission with Pearl is an example of this mutual manipulation for mutual gain. [...]

So, again, from what I (and many others) saw and the writer intended, Roth was not manipulative and there was attraction on both sides. I am not saying that Roth was a good person, he clearly wasn’t in the past, and clearly reacted badly to Jacob’s perceived betrayal, but please remember - right up until the warehouse scene he didn’t show any signs of being anything other than Jacob’s closest ally and love interest. [...][7]

Archives & Fannish Links

References

  1. ^ "Froth Me, Baby, One More Time-" series by Frothy Mouth (MyDaedricGravemind), 2016, AO3
  2. ^ JaRoth by allegra-chaos, April 1 2016, deviantART
  3. ^ Partial transcript of the episode, Nov 29 2015. (Archived April 16 2018.)
  4. ^ tumblr post by crookedexpectations, Mar 28 2018.
  5. ^ tumblr post by Blue, December 28 2015
  6. ^ tumblr post by al-cantrez, August 25 2016
  7. ^ tumblr post by my-shippy-dippy-sideblog, April 30 2019