The god Fen’Harel was asked by a village to kill a great beast. He came to the beast at dawn, and saw its strength, and knew it would slay him if he fought it. So instead, he shot an arrow up into the sky. The villagers asked Fen’Harel how he would save them, and he said to them, ‘When did I say that I would save you?’ And he left, and the great beast came into the village that night and killed the warriors, and the women, and the elders. It came to the children and opened its great maw, but then the arrow that Fen’Harel had loosed fell from the sky into the great beast’s mouth, and killed it. The children of the village wept for their parents and elders, but still they made an offering to Fen’Harel of thanks, for he had done what the villagers had asked. He had killed the beast, with his cunning, and a slow arrow that the beast never noticed.
This is a story of Fen’Harel found within The Masked Empire. I believe that it is an allegory for Solas’ rebellion. Solas wanted to save the slaves, but he couldn’t do it all at once. He needed time to plan and build his rebellion. So he fired his arrow( the rebellion) into the sky. It would strike the beast (the elvhen pantheon) unaware, but it wouldn’t be immediate. Solas is pragmatic and fatalistic. He knew that in order to save future generations, there would have to be sacrifices.
In Inquisition, Solas often speaks of having to make difficult decisions for the betterment of the populace. He believed that his rebellion would only end in a better life for the slaves and servants of the Gods. However, once he wakes up and sees the squalor the elves have been living in, both Dalish and not, he second guesses himself.
This is especially clear in the fade at Adamant, as the terror demon draws on his deepest fears. My best interpretation of what it says to Solas goes as follows: “Tell me, rebel. Did your victory mean nothing? Pride does not exist.” Meaning, that by destroying the hierarchy of ancient elf society, he also stole from them their pride.
Long story short, Solas isn’t evil, nor is he necessarily benevolent. He wanted justice for his people and was willing to pay a high price for it. He simply failed in doing so the first time. Will he be any more successful on his second attempt? Who knows. He’s obviously learned a lot from his mistakes, but despite his arrogance he still doesn’t have perfect foresight as evidenced by the events of DAI.