mage's plight

Anders: A Good Person with a good heart who is coping with mental illness and who is inherently good, devotes time to helping people and cares greatly about his cause and the plight of mages, selfless. A victim of abuse.

Writing in DA2 and DAI: badbadbad, that Anders guy? He’s bad. Selfish, manipulative, gosh just so bad. Look at him. Bad. How dare he save/improve the lives of all those refugees? God what a dick.

World building, characters, and the DA Fandom’s propensity to ignore nuance.

I have borne witness to both some serious Cullen Critical posts and Pro Anders posts in the last twenty-four hours and…ugh. I feel the need to put something out there.

As people who have played the protagonists of the Dragon Age games, we are skewed to be more magic-leaning and forgiving than the normal, average joe of Thedas, and it’s disheartening and irritating that a lot of the fandom seems to have a very basic issue with noticing this and applying that mindset when they look at issues in the game, particularly with certain characters.

Under a Read More for length, and there’s a TL;DR at the bottom.

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The Wrath of Heaven

Cullen as a templar has definitely been on my mind after a bit of comparative Cullen/Alistair meta this week so be warned, it’s heavy. And it should be. tw: blood, violence, anti-mage sentiment. 1233 words.

PS. This is in no way meant to excuse behavior, it does, however, intend to explain how religious indoctrination works. Especially when started at a young age. People don’t usually think “oh, I’m the bad guy, doing bad things” and the ones who do aren’t usually the ones who try to change. 

Those who oppose thee
Shall know the wrath of heaven.
Field and forest shall burn,
The seas shall rise and devour them,
The wind shall tear their nations
From the face of the earth,
Lightning shall rain down from the sky,
They shall cry out to their false gods,
And find silence.

-Canticle of Andraste 7:19

Cullen is eight years old when he receives his calling, a revelation as clear as a clarion echoing out of the summer sky, as if the Maker himself has turned his face upon him for a single heart-stopping moment. Branson and Mia tease him; they claim he’s arrogant, addled, a long list of names children call children who don’t quite fit in. His parents believe he will change his mind, but Cullen is stalwart. He knows his heart, and he knows his hands. The Maker has built them for war, and the templars down at the chantry tell him that’s what they’re at. No matter what he’s heard, there is a war coming, there is a war now, no matter how sad some would claim the plight of mages. And so Cullen begs for stories, drinking up lyrium-soaked tales of bravery and divinity from the men and women who guard the small chantry in Honnleath. 

Then he begs for training, determined to be the Maker’s arm, to do His will.

He knows that he must prove himself worthy to serve. He shows up almost daily, swings a wooden practice sword with the devotion of a veteran. If enduring the ridicule of his siblings and the fond exasperation of his parents is just another test, well, the Maker is not without compassion. Cullen knows he’ll never be truly alone. Rosie understands. She says the animals call to her as urgently, just as clearly as the Maker called to him. She too young to truly sympathize, but Cullen accepts the solidarity for what it is. Only a decade later will he dare to wonder if it’s something else whispering to Rosalie—some fade-tinged temptation staring back at her from the behind the falcon’s bright eyes—but he never has the courage to ask her.

He tells himself, in the endless empty hours of the worst nights, that he would have the strength to do his duty, no matter what.


He’s thirteen when the Order finally accepts him. Being a templar recruit is everything Cullen ever dreamed it would be. He never quite fit in with the village kids, never quite fit in with his siblings come to that, but there’s fellowship here, unity, strength in like-mindedness. Boys and girls with the same calling, the same faith. Cullen would have never said that he was lost, but he feels as if he’s come home somehow.

He throws himself into study, into training. He’s desperate for both, as if he’s been drowning in ignorance all his life and now there’s so much air just to breathe. He gulps it all down, takes it in, makes it his own, fills a greedy mind with books, empty hands with sword and shield and he thrives beneath the Chantry’s banner.

They have made him who he always knew himself to be.


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Carver and Bethany

Hey everyone!

Today’s topic is Bethany and Carver and the relationship of the twins. Primarily I will be focusing on Carver’s reactions and emotions relating to the loss of his sister, just because usually people seem to think that he doesn’t care, whereas Bethany does.

I however believe this to be untrue: Carver cares, deeply.

Pre-Game

The World of Thedas Vol 2 provides us with some interesting snippets about Carver’s relationship with his family, and is supposedly a direct account with someone who was Carver’s superior or comrade back at Ostagar.

“ Said he wanted to protect his family. That someone had to, because his father had died and, well you know how the Champion turned out. Carver took it real serious…”

Along with a love of using a sword, this was Carver’s motivation for signing up with the army, the Blight was threatening his home, and his family, and he saw it as his duty to protect them.

“The more ground we lost, the harder he swung that plank of a sword of his. He was shouting that we had to win, that it was to keep our homes safe. I swear he was crying when we finally tackled him, but damned if I’ll hold that against him. It took three of us to drag him to cover. I had to slap him back to his senses, to make him see that killing five, or ten, more ‘spawn wouldn’t matter. The wall was on us, and dying there wasn’t going to help anyone. I said if he wanted to do his family good, he’d get them safe. “

So despite there being insurmountable odds, hordes of Darkspawn everywhere, and men and women being slaughtered all around him, Carver kept fighting, kept trying to rally the men because his home was in danger, because he’d promised to protect them. It took three men to drag him from the battle and he was crying as they did. He felt that this was his failure, that it was his fault that the battle was lost, and the Darkspawn victorious. And he was told that if he wanted to help his family he had to run, run and get them out before the horde descended.

We don’t know what exactly happened in the days it took Carver to flee north, hunted by Darkspawn all the way. But we do know that he’d barely gotten home when the darkspawn overran Lothering.

This account does not paint a picture of someone who wouldn’t care if his twin sister, or his elder sibling died does it.

Prologue

Bethany: We should have run sooner, why did we wait so long?

Carver: Why are you looking at me? I’ve been running since Ostagar!

This is the first interaction of the twins, and comes after Leandra mourns all they lost at Lothering. Bethany pronounces the first half of her sentence looking at Hawke, but looks at Carver with a frown on her face for the second half. He seems surprised, and defensive at her attack, but the disagreement is quickly broken up by Hawke and Leandra.

Carver: Then let’s go, lead on.

This is directed at Hawke, and is devoid of any snark, sarcasm or bitterness. He genuinely trusts his elder sibling to lead them. This indicates that Carver’s bitterness hasn’t always been ingrained in him.

Bethany: Wait, where are we going?

Carver: Away from the Darkspawn. Where else?

In this cutscene Carver’s concern is for the now, for the immediate threat of the Darkspawn looming in on them. While the others decide where they’re going he stays quiet until the very end.

Carver: If we survive that long. I’ll be happy just to get out of here!

Again there is no bitterness here, no anger at Bethany, or at his mother or Hawke.

The next scene is when they meet Aveline. Carver stays quiet during the conflict with the Templar, but when the scene cuts to him he can be seen standing with his arms folded. Likely he is backing up his siblings, letting them handle it until they require him.

Finally it’s the ogre attack. We see Carver dive to the side, but the Camera doesn’t cut to Carver until Leandra angrily blames Hawke. He’s seen kneeling beside his big brother, looking at Bethany.

Carver: If we stand here weeping, the darkspawn will take the rest of us too.

Listen to his voice during this line, he sounds choked up, there’s a tremor there, like he would like nothing better than to break down and cry. But he can’t. Bethany is gone but the rest of them are still in danger.

Dialogue in Act 1

There aren’t many mentions of Bethany for the rest of the game, but there are a few, and Carver’s reactions to them are interesting.

We all know that in Act 1 Carver is extremely bitter and resentful. He feels out of place and alone. His mother seems obsessed with reclaiming the Amell glory, of reclaiming her life before them, which he sees as a rejection of his farm boy upbringing. Hawke meanwhile is assisting and has acquired respect and interesting friends and companions, where Carver seems to have nothing. Everyone seems to have moved on, from both Bethany and Ostagar, and Carver hasn’t really had time to grieve. 

He can’t grieve with his mother because he doesn’t want to hurt her by reminding her that Bethany’s gone. And he can’t grieve with his elder sibling because Hawke and Bethany were both Mages, they had a special bond, and Hawke seems to be doing just fine now. And no one wants to hear about Ostagar. 

So mentions of Bethany tend to get one very cross reaction.

Case in point: Anders:

Carver: What are you looking at?
Anders:  (If Hawke is male) Your brother is a mage. As was your sister and father?
(If Hawke is female) Your sisters are… were both mages, as was your father?
Carver: And I’m not. What of it?
Anders: Nothing, it’s not always passed to all siblings. But it’s good to know that you understand our plight.
Carver: Shove your plight.

Anders: I’m sorry about your sister. She sounds like a special girl.
Carver: Why? Because she was a mage?
Anders:  (If Hawke is male) Your brother says she had a good heart. Being on the run never made her bitter.
(If Hawke is female) Your other sister says she was a good person. That she never turned down a chance to help people.
Carver: Yes, yes. I’m sure the Chantry’s got a shrine with her portrait on it.
Anders: I was trying to be nice.
Carver: Stick to surly. It works for you

Anders: You don’t like me, Carver?
Carver: I don’t like you.
Anders: That’s unfortunate. Hating someone just because they’re a mage is a shameful thing.
Carver: I don’t hate you because you’re a mage. I hate you because you won’t shut up about it.
Carver: Oppression this, templars that. I’d heard enough long before you.
Anders: Maybe it’s time you put some thought into it.

We see here the full force of Carver’s bitterness. Anders, as we know, is a little fixated on the Mage Plight, which is a sure fire way to ruffle Carver’s feathers. His whole life has been about hiding from the Templars and protecting the Mages of his family. He’s sick of it, especially since he was supposed to protect Bethany.

So when Anders brings it up, Carver guesses that he’s bringing it up because of the Mage connection, both of his siblings were Mages, yes, and so was his father. Doesn’t mean anything. He has no patience for Anders’ Mage Rights campaign. He doesn’t care anymore, because Bethany is gone, and she was the one who needed his protection.

Then Anders brings up Bethany again, “She sounds like she was a special girl.”

And Carver snaps, because what does Anders know about Bethany? He only cares because she had magic.

His jab about the Chantry is because she was good, she was kind and good and the Chantry would have hunted her down. and locked her away in a tower. He misses her so much, that being reminded of her goodness reminds him that it should have been him that died. He probably wishes it had been him before her.

So he isn’t really disposed to like Anders, and the last banter reflects that. He doesn’t dislike Anders because he’s a Mage. He dislikes him because every second word out of his mouth is about Mage rights, templars, Magic….all things that remind him of Bethany.

Legacy Act 1

Legacy is particularly useful when looking at Carver’s feelings about Bethany, simply because this DLC is about the Hawke family, and has a lot of Darkspawn encounters.

Anders: It must be hard being around so many darkspawn. After what happened to your sister.
Carver: I’d happily spend the rest of my life doing nothing but making them pay. For everything.
Anders: Have you thought about joining the Grey Wardens? They’ve got a whole club for people just like you.
Carver: If I did join the Wardens, you can be bloody sure I wouldn’t run away to go live in some sewer.
Anders: But we’d all be so sorry to see you go…

This is unusually sanguine for Carver in Act 1. Normally he just snaps and brushes Anders off, but this time he gives more of an answer…at least until Anders teases him again.

Fenris: You must hate the darkspawn, after what they did to your home.
Carver: And to Bethany.
Hawke:(If Hawke has a diplomatic/helpful personality) Mother is still sick with grief.
(If Hawke has a humorous/charming personality) Well, I hate them a lot.
(If Hawke has an aggressive/direct personality) There was nothing we could do back then.
Fenris: I never knew her. I’m sorry for your loss.
Carver: Thank you.

Legacy Act 2

The banter with Fenris is performed even after Carver has chosen a new path. But the responses differ.

  • Fenris: You must hate the darkspawn, after what they did to your home.
  • Carver: Absolutely. And the magic that brought them to this world.
  • Fenris: Then we’re agreed on something.
  • Fenris: You must hate the darkspawn, after what they did to your home.
  • Carver: (Rival) I don’t know that I hate them exactly. It’s… deeper than that. But yes, after what happened to Bethany, I won’t let that go. So I fight.
  • (Friendship)  I don’t know that I hate them exactly. It’s… deeper than that. But I hate what happened to Bethany, and many more like her.

It’s interesting in itself that in Act 1 and as a Grey Warden Carver voluntarily continues speaking about Bethany, but as a Templar he does not. But make of that what you will. It’s worth noting that Carver as a character seeks Fenris’ approval during Act 1, as I’ve stated in other posts. So he doesn’t jump down Fenris’ throat like he does down Anders’ who he sees as only caring about her as a mage, rather than the woman she was.

Legacy (Bethany Lives)

We find out in a Rogue!Hawke or Warrior!Hawke playthrough, and Bethany lives, that Carver invented a jig to cheer her up

He probably looked ridiculous doing it, but he would do it any time Bethany was sad, or hurt.

In conclusion

Carver becomes a far more bitter character in Act 1 than he was in the Prologue. He is snarky at times in that small segment of play, but he’s not bitter, not like he is that second year in Kirkwall. Personally I attribute it to the lost battle at Ostagar and feeling like he had failed his family, and the loss of Bethany. The two are intrinsically linked to him.

Just as he failed to protect his family at Ostagar, so too did he fail to protect Bethany. As such he is rude, brusque, and pushes away his older sibling, who he sees as over it and rising up in the world, and his mother, who is reclaiming her noble heritage, a heritage he feels like he has no part in.

He most likely suffers from PTSD, and survivors guilt, but no one seems to take the time to get to know him, other than the time also spent with Hawke.

He lost his twin. The other half of him.

And now he feels alone.

So please. 

Please. 

Don’t say that Carver didn’t care that Bethany died.

Anders was halfway through his third mug of ale, which always heralded the beginning of another rant about the plight of mages. This one, Fenris thought, was even less comprehensible than usual. Only Merrill seemed to be paying attention; Varric was staring off into space, eyes glazed, whilst Isabela was discussing swordsmanship animatedly with a pretty bartender who used (so she claimed) to work for the Coterie. Hawke sat beside Fenris, close but not too close for comfort. He smelled faintly, but not unpleasantly, of dog.

“…beyond inhumane,” Anders was saying, hands sketching shapes in the air as they always did when he got worked up. “Can you imagine wanting to rob someone of all their faculties just to provide yourself with some sense of security? It’s twisted. I mean, I don’t know what I’d do without my mind.”

“It doesn’t take a huge leap of the imagination,” said Fenris into his glass. Hawke kicked him under the table.
—  you made a slow disaster out of me (a work in progress)
The Anders Post: Why Rivalry is the Right Answer.

First off, if anyone wants to know where I stand on various Anders issues, I want you to check out Part 1.

The short version: I love Anders with all of my heart. I really, really do. I romanced him, on the rivalry path. But that doesn’t mean I put him on a pedestal.

I have the same problems with the infamous Jennifer Hepler post as the rest of you do. I have made several posts already about how mage issues cannot be likened to mental illness—or any real-world oppressed force for that matter—because mages are legitimately dangerous and those with disabilities are not dangerous in and of themselves. However, she does make a point that I agree with, to an extent.

The theme of Anders’ character arc is that you cannot save him.

This is true of both the romance and the non-romantic route, but I’m going to be focusing mostly on the romance, since that was my experience. Anders’ and Justice’s corruption into Vengeance and subsequent fall to it is not something you can stop, regardless of how much love and support you pour into him.

And I think this is wonderful.

Right now, I’m going to outline the rest of this post. And then I’m going to dive in.

  • First, I’m going to outline the exact parameters of Anders’ corruption. From Act 1 all the way to Act 3.
  • Second, I’m going to talk about why the fandom is so angry about this corruption, and why I love it so much.
  • Third, and finally, in the context of all of this, I’m going to talk about why I think the Rivalry path is the objectively correct answer for dealing with Anders, and defend my decision to kill him in the end.

With that in mind, let’s dive in.

(This post ended up being really really long so I’m putting it behind a cut, but I highly encourage you read it.)

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I’ve been thinkin a lot about the Fallout 4 characters in the Dragon Age universe. More specifically the Inquisition.

- Piper would be an ex-Orlesian bard with a price on her head after uncovering horrible secrets about the current leader. As such she’s been shunned by the hierarchy and is on the run from assassins sent after her and her younger sister (The reason she even became a bard was to put food in her sisters mouth). She’d be an archer with the Bard Specialization. Her romance sidequest would be her having to marry a noble who promises to help her get the truth out to the Orlesian court. The protag challenges him to a duel. Fails horribly but keeps trying until its outed that the guy was an assassin all along but he’s moved by how much the protag loves her, agrees to keep the assassins off their tail, and wishes them both luck.

- Deacon would be ex-benhassrath. He’d join the inquisition because he quite likes living and also to turn the inquisitor towards the plight of mages in a time like this. His backstory is that is ‘wife’ whom he married after leaving the Qun was a mage. The qun were content to let him be but his squad found out and tortured her, tearing her tongue out, stitching her mouth shut and chopping off her hands. She bled to death and he carried out bloody revenge on all of them. After the mage rebellion he helped thousands of mages find safety and one of the ways you can gain his approval is by helping mages. His personal quest deals with him stopping a qunari plot to make contact with spies in the south. You can either help him slaughter the Qunari or hand him over to form an alliance with him. He’s a dual wielding rogue with the Assassin subclass.

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I’ve been seeing stuff about Inquisitor Fenris on my dash but okay here me out for a sec

How about Inquisitor Anders

Potentially with Anders hiding his identity at first, which would make sense considering how a lot of people’d like to kill him for Kirkwall and also his presence at the death of Divine Justinia would make him look PRETTY DARN GUILTY, again considering Kirkwall.

But like consider it. It sort of makes  sense–the Conclave was supposed to be a big turning point in the mage/templar war, and with Anders being as invested in the plight of mages as he is, it would make sense for him to be there, to be invested in it, when shit hits the fan. 

Also imagine a big dramatic reveal of who he is when Justice shows himself. Imagine what might happen if Anders PHYSICALLY went into the Fade now there is a fun idea.

The First 'I Love You' DA2 Edition

Anders says it like a gift. Its a promise, and affirmation. The words come off his lips as sure as the dedicated language of his letters and rallying manifestos. He’s waited a long time to say it, to someone who mattered more than a quick tryst or a friendly face that shielded him from the Templars. And once hes said it to you, he’ll repeat it as often as necessary to remind you that he cares as much for you as he does for the plight of mages. There could be no greater honor in comparison.

Isabela doesn’t like how serious the phrase is, thus she uses flippantly it to describe much: Drink, sex, the sea, dueling, the tits on her favored prostitute. So when she says it to you, its easy to miss the inflection in it, easy to miss the shift in her body language and the serious glint in normally playful brown eyes. But Izzy won’t let you ignore it that easily, so she’ll grab you by the shoulders and say it again. You’ll blink as the realization dawns on you. Then you’ll kiss and she’ll call you an ass, and turn away with a bounce in her step, glad she got it out and off her chest.

You never thought Fenris would be the first to say it. Indeed you kept your own version to yourself, not wanting to push him. For Fenris is more broken then he lets on, and you both want him to figure it for himself. Eventually, he comes to you one night, affixes you with a look somewhere between pleading and severity and tells you square, unflinching. When he sees your expression light up, its reflected on his own. A sublime joy and happiness he never suspected he was capable of feeling, one that sunders some of the invisible chains that bind him still. He’ll say it again a few more times that night, just to be sure its real.

Merrill tells you sooner than expected, but its easy to see how much you mean to her. She stutters initially, asks if its alright, several times actually, but she never presses you for it back. There’s a companionship between the two of you, an aching void in her that yearns for acceptance and trust. Tender care will enliven her, and she’ll say it again and again, each time more confident than the last. For you are her rock against the storm, and she wants to be your guardian against the evils that go bump in the night.

Its been a long time since Sebastian cared romantically for anyone. He grapples with the feelings on the matter, finally settling with the reassurance that he may adore you in a way that is neither sexual, nor in disregard to his piety. While together, he is nothing but a prince, polite, attentive, stealing small moments to compliment you, to run fine, strong fingers, down your cheek, or press chaste kisses to your fingetips. When he finally admits to his feelings openly, you find yourself having known a long time. He is not shy about it, but he is tempered. He promises you whatever happiness he can bring with his heart, or whatever protection he must summon with his bow.

Origins Edition

I imagine when Aveline and Cassandra meet they quickly become the bestest friends

I mean:

- badass female sword and shield warrior tanks
- leader types but let someone else (Hawke, Inquisitor) lead instead
- support templars but still sympathise with the mage plight
- somewhat justified disdain for Varric
- headbands

Examining Anders and the Closing Act of Dragon Age 2

For far too long I have seen fans of Anders ridiculed and mocked, called “terrorists” and the like just because they like him.

To start things off, yes, I am a fan of Anders. In fact, he is my favorite romance (though Isabela is a close second).

I’ll be the first to admit that he has flaws, just like literally everyone else in the Dragon Age universe. I’m not saying he’s perfect, I’m not saying he’s completely right in everything he’s done. What I am saying is that he is not the heartless psychopath that some people seem intent on making him out to be.

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archiveofourown.org
A Mage's Plight - Chapter 1 - urdnot - Dragon Age: Inquisition [Archive of Our Own]
An Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works
By Organization for Transformative Works

Chapters: 1/?
Fandom: Dragon Age: Inquisition, Dragon Age
Relationships: Female Mage Inquisitor & Cullen Rutherford, Alistair/Anora Mac Tir, Zevran Arainai/Female Tabris, Stella Tarbis/ Zevran Araiani, Fenris/Female Hawke, Ebony Hawke/ Fenris, Dagna/Sera (Dragon Age), Cullen Rutherford/Mage Trevelyan
Additional Tags: Original Character(s), Minor Character Death, Eventual Relationships
Summary:
A Mage’s Plight is a retelling of Dragon Age: Inquisition, it follows Augustine Trevelyan through many trials of her adult life, from motherhood to earning a glowy green hand and to fighting a crazy mutated Magister who intends to rule over Thedas.

So I get that Justice was supposedly corrupted into Vengeance, but

…don’t we just “know” that because Anders said so? Is there any source besides Anders that says that? Because Justice could be just fine, and it’s only Anders’ low self-esteem telling him otherwise.

  • Anders: (Observes Justice’s personality)
  • Anders: (Has an idea of how strongly Justice feels toward the plight of mages)
  • Justice: (Merges with Anders)
  • Justice: (Sees every single injustice against mages that Anders has ever seen)
  • Justice: WOW that is very unjust. I’m kinda angry about all that. If I’d only known it was this bad, I would almost certainly have tried to take action before the merging, but no sense dwelling on what-ifs. Let’s fix this mess, Anders!
  • Anders: OH NO I broke him with my anger. I always break everything I touch. I’m a horrible person.

CONFESSION:

Vivienne in a sense has been a metaphor for me growing up. In the first game, I learned about the mages plight and got interested but not too invested, in da2 I became a bleeding heart mage supporter who wouldn’t listen to anything else, and now with inquisition, Vivienne has shown me that a complete pathos appeal to the problem is both annoying and problematic, and you need to get messy to figure this out.
If I continue to just blindly support mages and cry for them without thinking, history will just repeat itself (Probably on the opposite side) , discussions are good.

dragons-are-better  asked:

I get really angry when I see people that dislike Anders and are like ''I kinda liked Anders in DA:O Awakening! And look at him now! What happened?!", like gee, it's almost like being imprisoned and tortured for years changes you, who knew? :/

Especially because it comes with the “justice changed/ruined him!” accusation, ugh.

Anders cared about the mage plight just as much in Awakening. He shows bitterness and anger toward the templars just as much in Awakening.

A thing that people may not realize is that his jokes may be a way of hiding his own hurt. Take his banters with Nathaniel, and you can absolutely see that he simply jokes to avoid Nate’s questions, for example.

Though, I’m also sure that he’s been truly happy in Awakening too- finally free and in a secure/stable place within the Wardens, and with friends. He’s had moments of true happiness in da2 if your Hawke was nice to him, too, I’m sure. But… Still.

In da2, he doesn’t hide his hurt as much as before. Maybe because Justice made him be more straightfoward with his emotions. Maybe because he doesn’t have the energy to hide it as much anymore. Probably because there is a Lot of hurt and anger in him during da2 because it’s a very very bad time of his life.

But he’s always been sad. And angry.

And it’s funny, too, because some people stopped liking him when he actually showed a lot of emotions, some being negative, and it’s like Lol, y’all are gonna stop liking someone as soon as they’re not acting all happy and joking all the time? Ok then!

I mean literally the dude is living in the sewers, doing all he can to help mages, with almost everyone around him gaslighting him and not caring about his cause- some even downright being anti mages to him and calling him a dangerous abomination, and he has to witness all the abuse the templars inflict on mages in the Gallows, and just..

You can’t expect him to act all happy during this.