Okay I had to work through all the back-story stuff from WoT and sort of feel my way through it. We get the story, but not so much the motivations. Not what Dorian thought and felt, not how and why these things really happened. So the following admittedly very lengthy piece in large part recapitulates the text of the preview excerpt (which thankfully is mostly complete, I think?) but then adds in my personal interpretation of Dorian’s thoughts and emotions during all of these events.
Certainly don’t expect people to read all of this; I’m posting it more for my own reference and future characterization reasons. Feel free to do so if interested though, and feedback is welcome if you do.
The pressure of it all, the pressure to be the perfect mage, perfect body, perfect mind,
the perfect heir. The only son, upon whom all of it rests. It is warping, that
weight. Dorian was so afraid of not being perfect, afraid ever to be wrong,
afraid ever to disappoint his father. He felt twinges of queasy self-loathing
in his throat every time he couldn’t answer a teacher’s question and the other
apprentices saw it, saw his shame. He was afraid of their laughter, afraid to
be seen as anything other than the best. Afraid of never being able to be what
he was meant to be. Afraid of his own desires, afraid of his own future and
what it would mean. Afraid of being suffocated.
But when he was doubted, when he was insulted, he couldn’t
let that stand. He couldn’t just take it. He challenged them. There were many
duels, and there were many ‘incidents.’ And every time they sent him home to
his father, and Dorian looked into his father’s eyes, he became a little more
numb to it all. Making mistakes got easier, because that weight of expectation
lifted off his shoulders a little more each time.
Eventually, it was easier to just fuck up on purpose.
Eventually, it felt like freedom.