So, yeah. Isabela.
I don't hate her, but the idea of a romance with her makes me uncomfortable. It's not exactly because of her complete carelessness during Act 2 which leads to so many deaths without her suffering any real consequence or even feeling regret for it (unlike anders. I can't say that Anders is 'sorry', other than maybe on the full rival path, but he's at least 'slightly sad'.) It's because of the way the whole set of shenanigans reveals how little she trusts 'me', and especially because of what happens if you 'betray' her.
Huge spoiler time - Isabela is supposedly searching for an artifact that she promised to give some dude as recompense for having freed his 'slaves' (captives), because otherwise he'll kill her. This is a really stupid plot to begin with - is he actually going to forgive and forget when you hand over a valuable thingie? Surely she should realise that if she caves to threats and demands he'll make MORE threats and demands. Also, he's one guy. She could easily put a dagger in his ribs. She could more easily have US put a dagger in his ribs. (Which *is* one of the eventual options at the end of this plotline *anyway*.) It is baffling to a player to understand why she's even bothering to try and find this thing for this dude.
We understand HonorBeforeReason characters pursuing stupid things. We understand why the people who this item belongs to (getting to that) will not change their minds ever. But why is Isabela so intent on this? It makes no sense. Maybe we were supposed to get more explanation of her relationship with Castillon somewhere, and why it mattered to her to keep his approval? Even if she wanted him to get her a new ship, SURELY there are other people she could hire on with. Sigh. Anyway. So, her plotline doesn't make sense to me from the start.
The item she's supposedly looking for - which she had briefly and then lost - is a sacred relic of the Qunari. Who *are* HonorBeforeReason types and are not leaving this city without it, no matter how many years it takes. Their presence ramps up tensions. Many of them get killed. Many citizens get killed. The Qunari eventually get fed up with the whole thing and attack the city, killing a whole lot of people including the city's ruler... Only after that, maybe, IF you've built a relationship with her, will Isabela show up and go 'Oops. Here, have that relic of yours back.'
Now, to be fair, during most of those years she didn't know where it was either. However, she certainly knew what was going on with the Qunari and opted not to tell us. Okay, fine, she doesn't trust us much. But then if you try to hand her over to the Qunari - the only way to make them leave without any more bloodshed - she gets all upset about it. Even though they're not going to kill her, and you could quite reasonably expect her to escape (as it's rumored that she does). In fact, in a later quest, handing her over to someone who wants her and then rescuing her is EXACTLY THE PLAN. That could have been done here. Or, if she'd trusted Hawke at all, they could have worked something out ahead of time, faked Isabela's death or something.
Even the way it was done here, with Isabela being hauled off and then (probably) escaping, she could have come back to have it out with Hawke. Instead she leaves forever. Well, fine, then. I can treat her as a casual acquaintance, someone fun to hang out with. But she certainly doesn't love me and I'm not going to pretend to love her.