my own da confessions

One of you has a poor grasp of pronoun usage.

Also, I hate this line. Don’t get me wrong. I love how corny and over-the-top the Anders romance is. That’s why I play it. But I do sincerely wish there was a way to say “It didn’t work out” without insulting anyone.

I always feel as if I must defend my choices when it comes to Anders, as if the fact that these options are in the game is not enough proof of their validity.

I like Anders. I’m not sure why I find him so endearing, but I do. I like the Anders romance because superficially, it is a juvenile, cornball romance that is problematic in a lot of ways. Perhaps it was written the way it was as a way to capture the awkward intensity of a man who has never allowed himself to fall in love. He has absolutely no idea how to go about it, so he acts as if he read about it in a Wiki How article. Or perhaps it was written as a storybook romance that has gone horribly, tragically wrong. I don’t see why it can’t be both. And in a way, the progression of the romance does make sense despite its apparent jumps of logic. Attraction is attraction, and we can’t help who we like. Finding out that interest is reciprocated is a giddy experience. When embarking on a relationship, it is easy to say “Everyone has flaws” and let it go at that. Love happens, and you learn to accept those flaws as the way it is, even if you might wish they were less unhealthy for the person you care about. The person needs help - and a place to live - so you offer it. Love is give and take, and sometimes, one person has to give more than the other. And then the person’s emotional health deteriorates. It seems wrong to leave someone just because they’re sick, so you try to be supportive. Taken as a whole, the entire thing is a slow-moving trainwreck, but individually, each step makes sense. Is it an ideal (or idealized) romance? Of course not. But maybe it isn’t such a juvenile one after all.

Anyway, people like what they like. I intend no disrespect or discourtesy toward other people or their preferences. I seek only to explain my own.

Meanwhile, in an alternate universe where Hawke listens to nothing Anders says…

One of the most common charges leveled against Anders is that he is selfish. Is he? Does any single thing he does benefit him personally in any way? I suppose that living with Hawke is a nice perk, and it beats living in Darktown, but if they are lovers, Hawke is benefiting just as much as he is by having him there. But that isn’t what his detractors are talking about. They are referring to his companion quests, specifically Justice.

He lies to Hawke in the most blatant and obvious manner imaginable in order to enlist his or her aid. Who does he believe will benefit? All mages. The actual beneficiary does not matter at all. If we are talking about Anders’s motivations, we must restrict ourselves to his expectations, not the eventual consequences. Anders himself does not expect to live, so he is not doing this for his own sake.

All of the companions make demands. Oddly enough, the only two who are accused of gross and unforgivable self-interest are the ones who will not directly benefit from their quests.

Anders: (no quests benefit him directly)

  1. Rescue a friend.
  2. Seeks evidence to support his claim that a templar is plotting a mass Rite of Tranquility.
  3. Assembles and positions explosives while attempting to forcibly free the Circle from the Chantry.

Aveline: (all quests benefit her directly)

  1. Obtain a promotion.
  2. Obtain a spouse.
  3. Hawke defends her against charges of nepotism and corruption.

Fenris: (all quests benefit him directly)

  1. Track his former master and attempt to kill him.
  2. Infiltrate the base of his former master’s disciple and kill her.
  3. Confront his sister and destroy his former master.

Isabela: (all quests benefit her directly)

  1. Confront and kill the man who is hunting her.
  2. Acquire an artifact that can be exchanged for her freedom.
  3. Negotiate a permanent end to her hunter’s pursuit.

Merrill: (1 quest benefits her, 2 quests do not)

  1. Accompany her away from the clan that no longer welcomes her.
  2. Acquire a tool that will enable her to restore an artifact of vast cultural significance.
  3. Protect her clan from her, should she become possessed while attempting to complete her repairs on the artifact.

Sebastian: (2 quests benefit him, 1 quest does not)

  1. Enact vengeance on his family’s killers.
  2. Confront a rival about his family’s murder.
  3. Attempt to persuade an agent of the Divine to ignore Kirkwall.

Varric: (all quests benefit him directly)

  1. Help finance his expedition.
  2. Resolve a family dispute.
  3. Clean a property prior to resale.

Notice a pattern? 

I am convinced that if Anders had asked Hawke to solve some personal crisis for him, such as killing a group of templars who were about to invade his clinic, he would have been instantly forgiven.

Perhaps the problem is that Anders does not ask for his own sake. The others involve Hawke in personal matters, but Anders’s requests aren’t personal. They’re just important. Perhaps people feel that the impersonal nature of Anders’s quests is a sign that he is not personally invested in the relationship, that his feelings for Hawke are less, or not genuine. That he is using Hawke.

If that is the case, well, that’s just the way it is. No one can force another to understand. Empathy must come from within.

That is what Anders is. He is literally made of issues. They comprise a huge portion of his consciousness and he lives with them every moment of every day. Those things he does want for himself - love, life, and liberty - Hawke already supplies, so his personal demands are already being met. He wants nothing else.

TL;DR: Anders is not using Hawke. He is trusting Hawke with nothing less than his hopes and dreams.

This is all I’m going to post to this blog today. It has been bothering me for days, and it’s a relief to finally write it out. Thanks for enduring the rant.

There’s been some discussion recently about the Circle in Ferelden and how much better it was/is than the Kirkwall Circle, and this may indeed be the case under the direction of Irving and Greagoir, but there are hints of a darker past.

When you play the mage Origin, you come across a lot of cells. The first few seem to have been used for storage…

But further in, you start to see signs that things were once very different. At least the gibbets seem unused.

Finally, you stumble across these cells, and that kinda says it all. Those are human bones on the floor. At one point or another, somebody died here, and they were not even afforded an Andrastian burning. It makes me think of Asunder, where Cole died of neglect because the templars stuck him in a cell and forgot about him.

The cells have no doors, so if mages were imprisoned here, there would have to be some kind of barrier to prevent their escape.

A while ago, someone posted a confession that Anders was imprisoned in a cell like this one when he was in solitary, but we don’t see him here. Perhaps he was imprisoned elsewhere in the tower? Some high, remote cell with broad windows, but no glazing. Which kind of sets Templar Bran’s sarcastic remark about leaving via the windows in a very different light. It is possible to torture someone without laying a finger on them.

“You like your freedom, don’t you, mage? There it is, just waiting for you.”

I headcanon that those were the templars seduced by the desire demons. They had no sense of purpose to protect them from demonic influence.

I wonder if it’s possible to use the Winter Forge to change human-style robes into elven-style. They’re much prettier, IMO.

The human-style mage-rank robes are this weird miasma of baby-poop yellow, insipid blue, and innards pink. The elven-style mage-rank robes as shown above are glowing gold, ice blue, indigo, and sage, with cool textures and ornamentation. Alas, I know nothing of texture modding, or I would surely remake the human female and male robes in the elven female’s image. Look at the shoes! They’re lace-up boots instead of ballet flats! Much more practical

I don’t know why I have this fixation with mage robes, but I do. I ignore fashion in real life, wearing whatever I please and limiting my ornaments to funky scarves and watches with gemstone or bead bands that I make myself, but in the game, I pay a lot of attention to what my protagonist wears.

Gamlen is not the game’s most moral person, but he may get more hate than he deserves.

He gets some hate that he does deserve. He’s a bigot and he’s crude, and he says unpleasant things about the LIs, for which folks are only too happy to drag him over the coals and leave him there. Okay, fine. He sets himself up for it and deserves what he gets on that front, but that isn’t the only charge leveled against him.

He’ll take full responsibility for squandering the family fortune, and he did spend some of it (or what was left), but he did not spend it all. The family fortune came to him in an already-compromised state, of which Leandra was completely unaware.

According to the Codex entry for the Amell family:

Lord Aristide Amell was one of the most wealthy and influential men in Kirkwall, known for the opulent balls he would host at his mansion. Following the arrest of Lord Viscount Perrin Threnhold by the city’s Templar Order, it was universally agreed that Lord Amell would succeed Threnhold as Viscount. Even the Templars agreed that the Amells were worthy successors; however, misfortune struck when Aristide’s niece, Revka, gave birth to a mage child. The child was given to the Circle Tower in Ferelden to be raised, but the ascension of a family “tainted” by magical blood would have been a scandal, and Marlowe Dumar was appointed Viscount instead.

After that incident, the fortunes of the Amells soured. Damion was accused of smuggling, and Fausten nearly bankrupted the family paying to get charges dropped, while Aristide’s treasured daughter Leandra shamed her parents by eloping with the apostate Malcolm Hawke and running away to Ferelden.

Apparently, while Leandra was planning her elopement, her father and cousin were busily exhausting the family fortune even before Gamlen had anything to do with it. Leandra was living her own romance and was unaware of her family’s precarious situation (which may have been the reason Aristide was so keen to arrange a marriage to the prosperous DeLauncets!), so she just blamed it all on Gamlen. His pride - and the knowledge of how sacred she held her father’s memory - would have prevented him from explaining the details. She already thought he was worthless. I can totally see him shouldering responsibility for the debt (and assuming the blame for mismanagement) to prevent her from thinking ill of the rest of the family.

I don’t know why I defend him so fervently when all the world seems determined to hate him. Maybe it’s because I know that look that says “Yeah, you may as well make me the bad guy. I’m already fucked no matter what I do, so you may as well lay that one on me, too.”

I love Cullen, but I don’t ship him with Amell or Surana. He might have inclinations toward her, reciprocated or otherwise, but he’s too conscious of duty for that. I think he’s aware of how problematic that kind of relationship would be and is keen to avoid it.

This is my interpretation of the character, not necessarily anybody else’s, but I think he considers himself her jailer. Under those circumstances, no consensual relationship is possible. I don’t think he’d be willing to compromise his own integrity by doing anything more than daydream. I won’t fault him for that, though. It’s certainly possible - and often expected - that people should restrain themselves, but no one is capable of negating attraction entirely. We like who we like.

“Following the Qun” chokes me up more than any other quest in DA2.

A lot of people are deeply moved by “All That Remains,” and I don’t blame them, but this one hits me harder. In AtR, the emotional burden is borne by Hawke and it’s up to him or her to find closure. The outcome is outside Hawke’s control, but reaction to that outcome is not. In FtQ, the Viscount bears the emotional burden, and the entire city will suffer the consequences. Seamus was an innocent - idealistic, but an innocent all the same - and Viscount Dumar’s grief is gut-wrenching. On some level, children expect to outlive their parents, but no father expects to survive his child.

It just makes me sad.

And this is where I stop believing that the Chantry empowers women. It still attempts to regulate women’s sexuality. It still defines women by their sexuality.

Why must priests be chaste? It isn’t about choice. It’s because they’re the symbolic brides of an absent male god.

I could understand if priests were forbidden to become close to others because of the fear that emotional intimacy might distract them from their duties, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. They only discourage physical intimacy, from what we’ve seen with Lily and Sebastian. Not everyone chooses to show affection through physical means, and asexual friendship a perfectly natural way of expressing oneself, but it kind of loses its meaning when it’s a mandate instead of free will. One might argue that Lily was not a good candidate for the priesthood, that her inability to suppress her sexuality doomed her, but I’m not so sure. She seemed to enjoy serving the Maker. She just didn’t want to be celibate.

I’m probably over-analyzing things. But I would have had an easier time accepting the Andrastian Chantry if they did not link faith with abstinence.

More mage robe issues. Why does she have 40 belt straps hanging from her skirt? Were they taken from templars who tried to capture her? If so, cool, but I think they were going for a cobbled-together look. Are the acres of side boob absolutely necessary? I don’t object to cleavage, and I routinely dress my female protagonists in equally skimpy outfits, but I don’t pretend they’re practical. Why not just leave it at the string bikini bra? The navel cowl she wears can’t offer anything in the way of warmth, protection, or support, so why wear it? I could see if it was a super-interesting fabric and she loved the way it looked or felt against her skin, but it doesn’t appear to offer anything in either of those directions. Don’t get me wrong. I do like her look… but it makes no sense. I don’t offer comment on her jewelry. That does make perfect sense, considering her character. Hey, maybe she wears that outfit because it draws attention to her bling? OK, that works for me. Headcanon established.

Edit: Not that she has to justify her wardrobe choices to me! I was just trying to figure out why she liked her outfit so much.

He never tells him.

This whole sequence left me shattered. Not necessarily because of Leandra’s death, as emotionally devastating as that was, but in the interactions with Gamlen, the LI, and Aveline afterward. The voice acting, the facial animations, the postures and blocking, the whole thing was just so genuine. Beneath the grief, the anger, and the guilt, there’s a sense of dread, the anticipation that more feels are on the way, and they won’t be pleasant. It’s like stubbing your toe and waiting for the pain. Or being trapped in a narrow alley with a bus bearing down on you and no way to escape it. You brace yourself and wait for the impact, but it may never come.