duncan what are you doing

What Could Have Been

Imagine a DA:O where Duncan survives the battle of Ostagar, grieves for Cailan, and tells you stories of the man Loghain once was, his eyes darkening as he thinks of how far the Teyrn has fallen. 

Imagine him biting his tongue as Goldanna demands sovereigns from her “half brother,” knowing all the while that this woman holds no relation to Alistair, but still thinks they should help for the sake of her impoverished children.

Imagine getting to know more about him during fireside talks. He becomes a father to you, just as he has to Alistair. He tells you how sorry he is for conscripting you at the worst possible time, but eventually admits that he doesn’t know how he and Alistair could have done it without you. 

He still accompanies you and your ragtag gang of heroes on your adventures, but hangs back like an advisor, too wounded by the battle to run around like everyone else. Still, he waits at camp and weighs in on your decisions until he’s finally healed enough to attend the Landsmeet and face the Archdemon.

Instead, Morrigan offers no dark ritual this time. The Archdemon is nearly slain, and now you face a decision: either you, Alistair, or Duncan will have to make the final sacrifice.

And as you turn to Alistair with tears in your eyes to decide which one of you it will be, a fierce battlecry rings out above the chaos. 

He did it for you, his pride and legacy. For Alistair, the boy he once cradled in his arms. Duncan saves you both, saves Ferelden, and dies doing what he set out to do. 

In death, sacrifice.


“Hello, wife.”

“Hello, husband.”

I had an urge to draw Cullen and Tessa’s daughter and Alistair and Eryn’s son together all of a sudden because babies are precious. And I had people asking about Sophie’s SO so I decided to draw him. 

Number 36 in a series

Others in this series: Basil Rathbone (Fox), Martin Freeman,  Jude Law,  Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams,  Jonny Lee Miller, Vinette Robinson, Jeremy Brett, David Burke, Andrew Scott, Nigel Bruce (Fox), Robert Downey, Jr., Jon Michael Hill, Two Violets, Mark Gatiss, Basil Rathbone (Universal), Nigel Bruce (Universal), Rupert Graves, Evelyn Ankers, Louise Brealey, Lucy Liu, Edward Hardwicke, Christopher Plummer, James Mason, Una Stubbs, Gayle Hunnicut, Hugh Laurie. Robert Sean Leonard, Yasmine Akram, Ronald Howard, Martin Freeman (TAB), Benedict Cumberbatch (TAB), Howard Marion-Crawford, Archie Duncan/Richard Larke, Peter Cushing, Nigel Stock


Duncan Keith’s parents always knew he was highly motivated, but there is this indelible snapshot that stands out from his childhood.

“We looked out at our backyard one day, and Duncan had two or three tires strapped to his waist, climbing uphill,” his mother, Jean, said. “And he was only about 15. He had this bent for fitness and nutrition.”

“In Grade 4, he had a teacher, Mr. Ron Grabowski,” his father, Dave, said. “Duncan wanted to become a hockey player, and Mr. Grabowski talked to Duncan about what he would do if that didn’t happen. You know, did Duncan have a plan B? Well, Duncan was devastated. Cried for two days because he thought Mr. Grabowski meant he wasn’t going to be a hockey player. Mr. Grabowski was just doing his job, but Duncan didn’t want to hear it. I once suggested he find a summer job. He informed me that would interfere with his training. Duncan was driven.”

Selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round (No. 54) of the 2002 NHL draft, Duncan Keith joined them in 2005 and never looked back. The franchise was struggling then, but Keith matured into a fixture on defense with a young roster that forged a modern dynasty, winning the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2015. Along the way, Keith earned the Norris Trophy in 2010 and 2014, plus the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player in the 2015 playoffs.

When he wasn’t the quarterback on Chicago’s blue line, Keith’s two-way excellence and zeal for a heavy workload served his country well. He won a gold medal with Canada at both the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and the 2014 Sochi Olympics. But only those who surmised that Keith was too small to realize his dream were surprised. He decided when he was 8 or 9 where he was headed. Take the piece of paper Dave and Jean discovered one day, a fearless forecast their son authored in a felt-tip pen: “Duncan Keith will make it to the NHL.”

Among the early believers, count Rob McLaughlin, who was coaching bantams in Penticton, British Columbia, when the Keith family moved there from Fort Frances, Ontario.

“We heard about this big new defenseman coming to town,” McLaughlin said. “Then this tiny kid shows up. He was 5-foot-4, 117 pounds. Skinny, short. Then, I watched him play and was blown away. A fabulous skater with a tremendous hockey IQ. Duncan not only controlled the game, but his work ethic rubbed off on other kids. He was a quiet leader. [When] practice or the game ended, he would be out shooting pucks like crazy. He had been told he was too small. And he was going to prove everybody wrong.”

Keith attended Michigan State University, then as a sophomore switched to Kelowna of the Western Hockey League. Upon signing with the Blackhawks, he played two seasons with their American Hockey League farm club, Norfolk, from 2003-05. There, Keith credited coach Trent Yawney, a former NHL defenseman, with mentoring him on the ways of a professional. Yawney fantasized that, one day, Keith might actually want to play an entire game, 60 minutes. When Keith showed up at Chicago’s training camp in 2005, a year after his trajectory was delayed by a canceled NHL season, hockey’s profile in one of its Original Six cities had dipped precipitously.

“The team was down and so were the crowds,” Keith said. “If I wasn’t dressed for an exhibition game, I could sit in the stands and have a whole area to myself. It’s great to see how things changed.”

Indeed, the revival of the Blackhawks was seismic. Although still in his mid-20s, Keith soon stood as a tenured leader beside such prodigies as Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Keith and his customary partner, Brent Seabrook, emerged as one of the league’s most effective and durable tandems. Keith in particular thrived under coach Joel Quenneville, who took over early in the 2008-09 season and espoused an upbeat, puck-possession style. Keith finished the season with 44 points and a plus-33 rating.

The Blackhawks were poised to take the next step. It has been posited that had Keith been a mailman, he’s the one who would have taken a walk on his day off. When he’s on the treadmill, it’s the treadmill that wears out first; on the grueling VO2 max test, Keith scores off the charts. But besides his superior conditioning, there is passion and grit.

In Game 4 of the 2010 Western Conference Final, a puck careened off the stick of San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau. Keith took the brunt of the blow in the mouth, losing seven teeth – three on the top, four on the bottom. He adjourned for repairs and returned to play 12 minutes in the third period and a game-high 29:02. He blocked five shots, and the Blackhawks swept the series and went on to win the Cup for the first time since 1961. Keith capped his season by becoming the fourth Blackhawks player to win the Norris as the League’s best defenseman (Pierre Pilote 1963-65; Doug Wilson 1982; Chris Chelios 1993, ‘96). Keith won the Norris Trophy for the second time in 2014.

Keith starred on all three of his championship teams with the Blackhawks, but his performance throughout the 23-game postseason run in 2015 stood apart. He averaged 31:07 of ice time per game during a two-month marathon that included five overtime games. One of them – Game 2 of the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks, a 3-2 Chicago victory – became the longest in franchise history at 116:12, of which Keith played 49:51.

In that year’s playoff opener on the road against the Nashville Predators, Keith scored the winning goal in a 4-3 double-overtime victory after the Blackhawks had fallen behind 3-0 in the first period. Then in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, Keith fired a drive on Ben Bishop, the towering goalie for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Bishop shunted it with his pad, but because he is forever in motion, Keith followed his shot, gathered the rebound and deposited the puck into the net, breaking a 0-0 tie. That goal was the winner in a 2-0 victory that brought the Blackhawks their third Stanley Cup championship in six seasons. It was Keith’s third goal of that postseason, all of them game-winners.

“You want to keep being a part of these things, because they never get old,” Keith said upon receiving the Conn Smythe Trophy. “You don’t get awards like this without being on great teams with great players.”

Well after Keith’s bravura postseason performance, it was revealed that he had played with a torn meniscus in his right knee. Keith said that he sustained the injury during the Final against Tampa Bay – he wasn’t certain whether it was in Game 3 or 4, but who was counting? One thing was for sure: Keith would not seek a doctor’s note or sympathy until he finished his hockey business. He had all summer to heal.

As it turned out, Keith still ailed when the 2015-16 season began. At first, he ascribed the problem to the usual “nicks and bruises and pains” one incurs during a career. When the knee still bothered him in training camp, he took a few weeks off starting in October, and would have surgery that month. By then, Keith had received yet more championship jewelry. Quenneville said he was unaware of Keith’s wound. Is there any wonder why Quenneville, and many of Keith’s teammates, often and fondly refer to the defenseman as a freak?

Keith, a humble man who speaks up sparingly but effectively, established Keith Relief, a charitable foundation assisting families and individuals encountering medical crises. Every year, Keith oversees a benefit concert in Chicago, where he evolved into one of the city’s most admired athletes. As Dave Keith said, his son once had other plans about where to settle down.

“Way back when we were still living in Fort Frances, we went to Minneapolis for a squirt tournament,” Dave Keith said. “Kids from all over the world, including Russia. Ilya Kovalchuk played for the Moscow Selects and scored four goals. Duncan’s team lost 7-3, and he was crushed. So he said to me, ‘We have to move to Russia, so I can get better.’ I told him, 'Son, we are not moving to Russia.’

“It all worked out, didn’t it?”

—  Duncan Keith: 100 Greatest NHL Players
(Workhorse defenseman has won Stanley Cup three times, Norris Trophy twice, Conn Smythe Trophy with Blackhawks)


“What are you doing up there? Why aren’t you at the feast?”

“Too hot, too noisy, and I’d drunk too much wine. I learned long ago that it is considered rude to vomit on your friends.”

actually, let’s do a headcount here.

There are ten companions in dao, plus non-companions  Anora, Eamon, and Duncan who are major characters.

of those thirteen, one is black (Duncan), two are brown(Alistair and Zevran), one is a whitewashed member of an indigenous? black? ethnic group (Morrigan), and one is non-human and visually coded black(Sten). One, the antagonist, is visually coded as Jewish, and shown participating in the slave trade. None are Asian.

of the humans and elves, all of them except possibly Loghain and Morrigan are biracial. You can kill Zevran without ever talking to him, Duncan dies no matter what you do, and there’s nothing within the game itself that outright confirms Alistair as biracial, you have to go to the novels. You can kill Alistair twice. Same with Loghain. Alistair and Zev are both whitewashed in later appearences.

in da2, there are eight companions plus your sibling, MEredith, Orsino, Dumar, Arishok, Bartrand and Leandra as major characters.

One of your companions is black(Isabela), one is South-Asian(Fenris), and one is whitewashed from her brown appearence in da:o, so if you come in without playing Dalish origin, you tihnk she’s white(Merrill). Beth/Carver and Leandra can be Asian, brown, or Black, but no matter what you do, two of them die, and the third can die as well. Zevran is whitewashed.

In the comics, Isabela is shown participating in the slave trade, and in the game you can lose her very easily. Aveline, the white woman, and Varric, who’s also white, are the only two companions in the base game that you never get a chance to kill. Isabe;a is also constantly slut-shamed.

in dai, there are 9 companions, 3 advisors, plus Samson, Calpernia, Barris, Fiona, 3 potential rulers of Orlais, the Bull’s five Chargers, Morrigan, Lucius, and Giselle. Unlike the other games, none of the companions are coded Jewish.

Of those, 4 are whitepassing so if you don’t read the books or codexes you wouldn’t know it (Cole, Cassandra, Fiona and Briala), 3 are black (Vivienne, Barris, and Giselle), one is an unspecified brown (Josephine, possibly latina but I’m not sure if that’s canon)and two are Asian (Dorian and Krem).Alistair is whitewashed, and Morrigan’s whitewashing is not corrected.

Either Barris or Fiona must die depending on the player’s choices,  Krem can die. All three black characters are supporters of the Chantry. Dorian, one of two Asian characters, supports slavery.

If we add these numbers together, here’s what we get.

54 major characters in Dragon Age games.

5 are black, 3 only 2 of whom you are required to meet, and 1 who dies no matter what.

3 are South Asian. Two of them are optional and can die.

2 are latin@. One of them can die without ever being spoken to.

2 are Middle Eastern. They are both whitewashed. One can die.

0 are East-Asian.

9 are ambiguously brown or visually coded as poc. 7 of them are whitewashed. Almost all of them you can  go the entire game without realising they’re (coded) poc. Four are optional. Three can die.

21 out of 54. If we take out the ones who you need to read codexes and out side of game material to know they’re poc, we have 15.

That’s it, really. I just wanted people to think about that.



I didn’t know much about Alistair Theirin before I played Origins, I just saw tumblr posts and other stuff on the internet warning me that if I persisted long enough with him I’d never see the light of non-Alistair life again. They were right. Here I am, a year on. Head over heels for a bunch of gorgeous pixels, with beautiful hair and a love of fine cheeses.

“Not all those who drink of Alistair survive, and those that do are forever changed” - What Duncan should have told you during the joining.

For eternalshiva as part of my giveaway!

Request: Duncan recruiting Alistair for the Grey Wardens.

Under a cut for length. 

On the first day of Bloomingtide, a tourney will be held in respect of our visiting Grey Warden guests. Those lucky and skilled enough to enter the winner’s circle will be considered for recruitment amongst the honored order. Only the best recruits need apply. May the best win, and be blessed by the Maker’s will.

It was on the Chanter’s Board that Alistair first saw the announcement, and he jumped at the opportunity. The Grey Wardens—it would be his salvation, his way out from a life of servitude in the chantry. He was still young, but years spent training as a Templar had left him with many skills, and confident in his talent as a warrior.  As he read over the leaflet again and again it was the most hopeful he had been in years.

The sharp ring of metal on metal echoed through Alistair’s ears as his sword hit his opponent’s. He dug his feet into the ground, straining to keep his strength up as he pushed back against the weight of the other man. It was more difficult than he realized. The fight had been challenging for Alistair as soon as it began, his rival, Ser Kalvin, a highly trained warrior in the art of swordplay. Alistair barely managed to counter each swing, dodging attacks by the skin of his teeth.

Exhaustion was already pulling at his bones, and he panicked. It couldn’t end this soon, not when the tournament had just begun. Already he had lost his other matches, and without a win, he’d be ousted. He wondered if it was fair that he had been matched with somebody who was obviously a more superior soldier when he realized it had probably been done on purpose. The tourney was simply a method of weeding out the weak, like him. Only the best could serve the Wardens.

Keep reading