On Dorian & Banter
I just love Dorian’s banter so, so much. There are so many beautiful little pieces of character writing in there.
Cassandra: You’re smiling a great deal these days, Dorian.
Dorian: I always smile. People like my smile, and they should! I have excellent teeth.
Cassandra: Do you always do it while staring dreamily into the distance?
Dorian: It depends how long until dinner.
God, you two. It always makes me happy to see my favourites getting on. And oh, Dorian. This is why I miss the old Origins options where you could just pull your companions aside and have your character give them a good snogging. Because believe me, my Inquisitor was tempted. Dorian’s deflecting with humour because of his depth of feeling, and how afraid he is of showing it.
I actually love Cassandra and Dorian’s slow-build friendship in general. Their banter is lovely. Her quiet understanding after the mess with his father, her eventual approval of him and the Inquisitor, the way he finally stops laying into her about the Seekers because he understands being ashamed of the people you thought you knew (”Knee-jerk defence of your former comrades? I quite understand,” he snarks at the beginning, but that comes to be sincere), and that they both understand the gilded cage of being nobility in their respective homelands… By later in the game, he grandstands less with her and obviously respects her, and I love it.
His sarcasm is rarely cruel - it only tends to come out that way when he’s baited - and when it is, he usually knows when to step off. For instance, he’ll ask the Inquisitor if he teases him too much, and I respected and loved him so much for this:
Dorian: So, I hit a nerve with the whole “murderer Grey Warden” business.
Blackwall: Are you speaking to me?
Dorian: Yes, you. “Blackwall,” or whatever your name is.
Blackwall: “Blackwall” will do.
Dorian: I’m saying I understand wanting to atone for one’s actions.
Blackwall: Is that so?
Dorian: Enough to know when I’ve stepped in it. So I apologize.
Blackwall: It was wrong of me to lump you in with peers you hardly resemble.
I love his surprising friendship with Sera and the way he genuinely seeks to understand her - he does that with everything, a true scholar in the best possible way, right from the beginning. (“How does that work, exactly?” he asks the Inquisitor, who has just closed a rift, when they meet.) He’s constantly asking questions and actually listening to the answers, following up on them. He’s curious and open-minded. It’s an utter joy to go round on quests and hear the constant mutters of “Fascinating,” in that hushed tone only a true geek can manage, and his musings on the Veil, spirits and demons.
And most of all, he’s kind. He may sometimes cover it with snark, but loss of life seems to greatly upset him in any form. In Crestwood, when everyone else is focused on vengeance and wanting to throttle the mayor, it’s him and Sera who focus on how upsetting the whole thing is. If I recall, his take on it is: “What a sad mess.”
He’s far less haughty than he pretends. He cares, even if he wasn’t allowed to show it so much back in Tevinter and is trying to get out of some unhealthy conditioning. (It takes him a long time to call the Inquisitor a friend or pursue a romance with them, because he means it and he’s afraid of leaving himself vulnerable.) After all, his people “have no reserve - not in war, and not in love.”