Hokay, so this is the ‘other anon’ I was referring to last night, and I was just too tired to respond with anything actually thoughtful then lmao, so that’s why this took so long.
But anyways, I don’t think it changes much at all, really. It’s still a matter of him revealing a vulnerability, because he’s not actually lying to Hawke. And I can’t even figure out how it could be considered manipulative, but that’s besides the point.
Alright, so as I said last night with the first anon, some of what I said there definitely tied in, so I’m just going to copy it here again.
And then it paints his attachment to Hawke, and a lot of his dialogue,
in a new light. I think the reason he suggests he never let himself fall
in love was because he didn’t want to believe he did. Even when Karl
first left, Anders wanted to pretend he didn’t love him, that he didn’t
care, that it didn’t matter, that it didn’t hurt so fucking much.
It was some powerful denial, and I don’t think he ever got passed it
simply because it worked very well as a survival technique.
I definitely do think Anders loved Karl (and I thought that long before this info came out too), but I don’t think he ever admitted it to him, or to himself. He knew the rule against falling in love, and he knew it would end badly. so he told himself it wasn’t love, that he never broke the rule. Even after Karl was gone, he couldn’t let himself believe he loved him, because he wanted to deny it hurt as much as it did, like I said above.
I think he might also be a bit ashamed to think he fell in love, to think he could be so vulnerable, to have let himself have something the Templars could destroy him with (and they arguably did just that). That’s why he lies to himself about it and refuses to acknowledge that he did love Karl; because it hurt too much and it only did because he wasn’t careful enough and broke the biggest rule of living in the Circle. He can’t admit to himself that he did. He knew better, and it shouldn’t have happened, in his mind.
I do think a little part of him does know he loved Karl, he just won’t acknowledge it, even to himself. Because he’s so forward with Hawke, so loving. That could be because he never had that chance with Karl. He never told him how he felt, and then he was taken away. Karl died without ever knowing how Anders really felt about him, because Anders can’t even admit to himself how he felt about him. And that little piece of him, even if it’s subconscious, never wants that to happen again. If he and Hawke are ever separated, there will be no fucking doubt in their mind how he felt about them. He’s damn well made sure of that, even if he can’t accept why he’s thinking that way.
And I do think he would realize the truth after being with Hawke for a while. Because while love is different with every person, you can still tell it’s love. And when he realizes he loves Hawke, and they get together and everything is great, he might think back to how he felt about Karl? I think that would be the moment he realized that he’d truly fallen for him. Not before. Not when Karl was first taken away, not when he died, not when he first started loving Hawke, but after he had a second case of a real, loving relationship in his life. That was probably a painful moment for him, one Hawke would’ve had to help him with.
So yeah, anyways. I think he was lying to himself, not Hawke, for all the reasons listed above. Feel free to message me again if you feel this is inadequate though ^^