Summary: Marian Hawke has never been a good sleeper. But insomnia allows her to watch the shadows and learn about others. What can you learn in the dark that you cannot see in the light? Here is what happens in the holes and shadows… .
Status: Work in progress
Rating: T for this chapter, but other chapters will be rated NC-17
Notes: Sometime before Act 2
XXVIV. Things to do
In the waning light, the moaning light, stories emerge. Individual voices melt into a chorus. Conflicting details smooth into a singular description of a conflict: a gang in Darktown, preying on Fereldan refugees. Gangs are not unusual; they are really an indigenous species. But clearly they are branching out: they have only appeared in Hightown, the Docks, and Lowtown. Places that might actually post a profit. No one has money in Darktown. Darktown is poor refugees and poorer elves and hacking coughs.
30. Your hopes for Dragon Age 3
The last one! Sadness.
I’m not really sure what to say. If you had asked me to create a sequel to DA: O, it would not have been DA 2. At best, it would have looked like Awakening. Which I like just fine, but I loooooove DA 2.
I’d love to know what happens to the companions from DA 2, but I hope DA 3 continues the tradition of brand new companions and minor characters elevated to companion status. Wouldn’t it be sweet to see Dagna again, for example?
Though. I love Bodahn and Sandal, and Bodahn says they are heading to Orlais. I don’t care about Orlais, but I do care about seeing Bodahn and Sandal again.
Other than that, as long as DA 3 is another deeply layered compelling narrative, I’ll be happy. No, that’s a lie, I have one wish: That the main character be fully voiced. Everything else could go back to how it was in Origins, but I really want the main character to speak.
29. If you made a deal with a demon what would your bargain be?
This is the kind of question where I simultaneously have no answers and a lot of answers.
My original answer was nothing. Most of the characters we see who are tempted by demons or make deals or are possessed have some overarching need, purpose, or desire. Anders and j/Justice, Merrill and her people’s history, Isabela and her ship, Wynne and helping the Warden, the Templar (in “The Broken Circle Quest”) and a family, etc etc. The only two that don’t really fit in to this schema are Connor (I saw it as a demon taking an opportunity to possess an inexperienced mage as opposed to Connor actually desiring something) and Aveline (who feels guilt over Wesley’s death, but doesn’t exactly want to avenge it).
The only singular things I desire or want are abstract ideas and I don’t think one could make a bargain with a demon to end poverty or something.
In that way, I suppose I am most like Aveline. I definitely have a lot of guilt in me over my parents, who are both dead. I could see making a deal with a demon…I don’t know what. Not bring them back to life. But maybe assuage my feelings. Or maybe cause some pain to other people, the way Aveline wants to hurt Hawke, even though that won’t solve any problems.
Anyway, here are my “real” answers to this question.
1. Funny answer: to end poverty or make sure everyone has enough to eat or something like that. (Maybe “cheeky” is better than “funny.”)
2. Semi-serious answer: That it was easier to see my friends. Most of my friends are spread out all over the U.S. And some people I only know through the computer. I wish they all lived here or it was cheaper to fly out.
3. Serious answer: This is my “Feynriel in the Fade” or “Broken Circle” answer. I wish I had either less ambition or more drive. I think a Desire or Sloth demon could help me with that. I have all these ideas but not enough follow-through. I wish I could be content with where I’m at, or the will to do more.
tl;dr: navel gazing
28. Worst Part of the Games
I hate the Fade. I mean, I love the concept. It’s really intriguing, this world inhabited by demons that mages can access, this place we all go when we sleep. (I read Sandman, I dig.)
But I’m terrible with mazes and things like that, so I find it very confusing. I hate the music; it sets my teeth on edge. I hate the design because it’s too good: I have very vivid dreams (and they are often quite terrifying), and the Fade captures the feel of my dreams, if not their actual look. So being in the Fade in-game is actually kind of distressing for me.
I actually think the Fade level in Awakenings is the worst. It’s so detailed because it’s actually Blackmarsh, as opposed to be a more generic TEMPLAR HALL or whatever. But the boats in the air, things like that…yikes. I can’t handle surrealist artwork, either.
I’m very happy that the Fade section in DA 2 is optional and quite straight-forward. I hope if the Fade is in DA 3, it’s also optional and linear.
I know where I would be. A lot lonelier, hating my life a bit more, and less engaged with the world around me.
Dragon Age changed life, and maybe saved it.
I am a medievalist; the bulk of my study has been on Geoffrey Chaucer and his works. Chaucer, most well known for The Canterbury Tales, was intrigued by the concept of gentlenesse. At the very least, many of his works (including Tales like The Wife of Bath’s Tale and The Clerk’s Tale) deal with this issue.
Gentlenesse is about the qualities that make one gentle or genteel. What is nobility? Is it something one is born with? Or is it something one can aspire to be? Can a person born in poverty be noble, be gentle? This was an important topic in the Middle Ages as a new middle class emerged. Did wealth make one a noble? Lineage? Actions?
The Dragon Age world is also intrigued by this question of gentleness, of nobility. I do not know if this is by design or by coincidence. Surely one member of the writing/creative design studied Chaucer. :)
Alistair is the best example of this conflict, and perhaps one of the most interesting ones. He is a noble because of his birth…yet he doesn’t actually know anything about kingship or politics, he knows very little about even basic leadership. Anora is technically from a lower class, yet she was raised to be part of the court, and has been ably ruling, if only from the sidelines, for years. Which one is more worthy of being called a noble? Which one possesses gentlenesse?
In most games, most narratives really, the emphasis is on the blood, on the “rightful heir” even if that heir is a farm boy or something. But here, that choice isn’t so clear. Alistair taking the throne could lead to stability, and he’s certainly smart enough to (at the very least) surround himself with smart advisors. But there are plenty of valid reasons not to put him on the throne. Either choice is acceptable, or more importantly, understandable.
This question of gentlenesse appears elsewhere. Hawke herself embodies it. Her mother was some kind of noble…does Hawke herself deserve the old estate? She does once she has enough money (though to be fair, she works really hard for that money). Hawke’s actions seem to point to her nobility, not just her birth: she journeys to the Deep Roads, she helps the Viscount, etc.
Orzammer examines the issue of gentlenesse writ large, as we learn about the rigid caste system and see its debilitating effects — and that it leads not to stability but to stagnation. Since this is a societal problem, it is more difficult to grasp (I think), than in the individual cases of Alistair, Hawke, or other characters. The few caste problems are somewhat easily solved, comparatively speaking.
Gentlenesse is still a part of our own society. Consider the issue of “famous for being famous” — why is Paris Hilton a celebrity? Because her family has a lot of money? Surely others are more deserving of fame? Or consider that many politicians come from wealthy families. A poor(er) man or woman may make the most excellent president or senator, but they might not have the capital to support a campaign, and thus never get the chance to run. Does that mean they are less deserving?
Chaucer did not shy away from the difficulties of this question. I love that the Dragon Age games don’t, either.
27. Best part of the games
There are many many things I love about the games. In brief, the animation, the acting, the morality/personality/characterization options, the amount of choice (though DA 2 has fewer options in that you are a specific human, one can still choose to be male or female, mage, rogue, or warrior)… .
But the absolute best part is the intricate story telling. As an English major sort, I love being able to dive in and uncover the many layers of the Dragon Age world.
I think this is especially apparent in Dragon Age 2 since the major events have to happen in a certain order. Something that is minor in Act 1 becomes important in Act 2 or 3. Consider that we see Evalina in Darktown before we are forced to confront her later, or that the Starkhaven mages appear in the Gallows after they are recaptured.
Dragon Age and its various spin offs and sequels is just bursting with meta-textuality. The games talk to each other, connect, overlap. This can pay off in the loveliest ways — such as Cullen telling Hawke, “I knew an Amell once. I won’t meet her like again.”
And these are all characters that grow and change during the course of the game and between the games. Many clearly disagree with some of these changes (not just with Anders, either, there was a recent confession about changes to Merrill’s character), but I think we can at least say these are logical changes. In the same way, I dislike certain characters (Fenris, Jowan), but their personality and actions are logical given the framework of their in-game experiences. There are long running TV and book series that don’t have this kind of character development.
The other best part is its treatment of gentlenesse, which I will discuss in another post (I’m sure everyone is on the edge of their seats).
25. Scene that made you cry
Origins’ ending is pretty heart-rending, no matter what decision you make. I always take Morrigan up on her offer; I just can’t bear the alternatives.
But nothing delivers a gut punch like “All That Remains.” I always need to take a break after concluding that quest.
I feel like I know Hawke better. A big part of that is the voice acting. I like my Warden, but I still don’t really know her. The “smallness” of Dragon Age 2 makes me feel more connected to all of the characters. With the Warden, it’s hard for me to just pick a personality and say “My Warden is X.” But for Hawke, once I choose Diplomat/Charming/Aggressive, I pretty much stay that way for the entire game. Plus, I feel like I’m part of Hawke’s family; I get to know Bethany (or Carver), Leandra, and Gamlen.
I just finished Origins with a Cousland Warden. Yes, Howe’s treachery is personal. At the same time, Cousland’s quest to find her brother gets dropped. She’s not a person, she’s a means to an end (stopping the Blight). It’s cool that there are so many characters to choose from, yet the fact that they are interchangeable makes the Warden feel…ultimately unimportant. The Warden is the Hero because she and Duncan happened to be in the right place at the right time.
Hawke is fully a part of her world. She has a past. She has a place in time. We’ve gotten to see her grow and change, and her world change, over 6-ish years. And then — POW! Leandra dies in Hawke’s arms. And it’s worse than “there’s nothing I can do” because in theory, Hawke could have done more. So many parts of DA:O and DA are inevitable, but this one really feels like it could have been different, if only Hawke had… .
I’m just kinda curious how many of us are out there on tumblr is all. Indulge me?
this is the most appropriate thing to begin my tumbling day with. if it’s not terribly obvious already. “fander” is making me giggle, but in the best possible way.
I’m a huge Anders fan and a faithful follower of Sir Pounce-A-Lot Church. XD
I also follow the Church of Aveline, though. It’s tough.
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