But let me tell you about what I like about the games anyway.
There’s plenty to love about it because it is possible to be critical of something you love, just like it is possible to love a friend, even though they annoy you sometimes.
1. Sera - ah. She, one of the acceptable targets within the fandom. For all her immaturity and the dick move where she gave you an ultimatum: her or your gods, I find her to be shrewd, vulnerable, a little bit mean, a whole lot afraid. She copes the only way she knows how: by being meaner and quicker and laughing louder than her enemies. Love her to bits.
2. Wynne, but I already wrote an essay about her and I’m not about to do it again.
3. Anora mac Tir and Loghain, another ones with a whole essay of positivity about them.
4. The Haven and Sacred Ashes sequence of Dragon Age: Origins. Always my favourite part, absolutely haunting. And I love the cultists there, especially Kolgrim and his reaver fuckery. And there’s so much about that temple that is a mystery, especially its clearly elven origin. Could it be that it was a site of worship? Like Mythal’s temple, or Dirthamen’s? Repurposed by humans. I find it interesting that Andraste’s ashes were carted off there, to a remote location in the mountains. Remind you of something?
5. The mystery of Kirkwall. I tend to ignore a lot about the game, it was… ok. But Kirkwall itself, from its visual design to its origins to what lies beneath it and what was done above it is amazing. That’s an eldritch location for you, and for that alone I’ve played DA2 a few times, to learn more about that messed up place.
6. I like Varric and his clear signs of shell shock and depression. Or maybe I just feel kinship because we both hate everything. I love his voice acting, too.
7. I love the Exalted Plains. Its level design is great, and it’s a very, very elven site. I assume that Ghila’s Grove was from the days of the Dales. And the fact that once again the place is littered with Solas’ statues - both the smooth stone wolf and the howling dogs with vallaslin on their body hints at a lot about Ghilan’nain, but also old worship, and certainly
8. I love a lot about Solas, provided that he is treated as the antagonist he is. I really don’t like Weekes as a character writer, but I think that he purely accidentally made Solas a more interesting character - because we’re clearly supposed to think that Solas is incredibly wise and very witty when in truth, he’s really neither, and he’s 6,000 year old former god with 6,000 statues all over Thedas dedicated to his legend. His lies unravel faster than you can say ‘you are an ancient elvhen artifact’. His arguments and his ‘witty shutdowns’ leave the player’s mouth open with how weak they are. He’s grossly out of touch and one has to wonder just how long he’s been Pride, not Wisdom (my guess is when he was forced to take a material body is when he changed to Pride).
And I can love an interesting, compulsive liar of a villain.
9. Vivienne. She gets so much shit, but there’s calculating compassion behind her traditionalism. I trust her opinion on mages more than I trust Leliana’s. I love it that she gets into a verbal spat with the fucking Avvar Skywatcher over the outfit she wore to the Fallow Mire. And I love it that when she has a low opinion of you, she exudes effortlessness, but is never above telling you what she thinks of you, because an ice queen she is not.
10. Zevran, because despite some really unfortunate biphobia in his writing, I find him emotionally to be one of the best ones. I can’t abide by Alistair’s neediness and Anders’ manipulation or Solas’ thinking you’re his victim and not his equal. Zevran has none of that. He’s self-sufficient, even-tempered and is always upfront about how things are. His jokes suck ass and it’s endearing to me. He has tons of baggage and asks you to carry none of it. Even his personal quest is something that he doesn’t ask you to do, because it literally seeks you two out. I find him a thoughtful, rational and careful character who does not impose himself on other people, except to troll the shit out of them.
11. The elven god lore. I love thinking about the immediate aftermath of the Veil, the nature of magic. I want to know, who did the elves fight, what made the evanuris go from chieftains to gods. Who did they have to defeat, what wars were waged? How did the Qunari happen? How about the scaled ones? Are they like an elf/scaled one crossbreed engineered by Ghilan’nain, as Solas and Corypheus insinuated? They’re definitely dragony.
12. The titans. What is their nature? Why are they so afraid of the Breach? Why did Mythal sever the dwarves from the Titans? How are titans and dragons connected, because Dragons are said to be the blood of the world, whereas titan’s blood is the blood used for magic. Why are the seven old gods dragons? Are they really a lock that keeps the tainted titan at bay? I believe I read somewhere that there’s also seven titans. Could it be that the locations of their rising are also the approximate locations of titans?
13. Demons. Why do they take those shapes? Do envy and fear demons have something to do with Dirthamen and Falon’din? Especially considering that some of the statues, ESPECIALLY in the first game, are said to be Dirthamen and Falon’din, and those statues look A LOT like envy and fear demons. The despair demon is cloaked in a raggedy cloth looking like an ice cold hobo. Solas also looks like a hobo, is associated with sadness, and, see this, he starts out the game using ice magic (he’s got an icy staff. could be coincidence, could not). Despair demon’s battle style is also very evasive, relying on barriers and being just out of reach.
Could Pride be Ghilan’nain? Look at the horns on Pride’s head. Are they not vaguely like a halla’s? And Ghilan’nain’s pride is referenced to in all three games, including the story where she created all those creatures but was asked to destroy them, and so she did, with the exception of the halla because she was too proud of it.
Rage demon, the burning one, could clearly be emulating Elgar’nan.
The demons here are the biggest most stupid and reaching tinfoil for me, but here’s something I love about the games: it allows me to tinfoil.
14. What do the Qunari know? Did you see Saarath and what his magic was like? They unlocked the eluvians! They’ve studied elven artifacts more extensively than anyone else. What do they know? What is the Triumvirate waiting for? Could the conquest of the Qun be a better alternative because regimes rise and fall but death is permanent?
There’s so much more that I love about the game. And I’ve addressed my loves in countless headcanon/meta posts or quips about the characters, but they never get as much attention as my criticisms.