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)
- Rescue a friend.
- Seeks evidence to support his claim that a templar is plotting a mass Rite of Tranquility.
- Assembles and positions explosives while attempting to forcibly free the Circle from the Chantry.
Aveline: (all quests benefit her directly)
- Obtain a promotion.
- Obtain a spouse.
- Hawke defends her against charges of nepotism and corruption.
Fenris: (all quests benefit him directly)
- Track his former master and attempt to kill him.
- Infiltrate the base of his former master’s disciple and kill her.
- Confront his sister and destroy his former master.
Isabela: (all quests benefit her directly)
- Confront and kill the man who is hunting her.
- Acquire an artifact that can be exchanged for her freedom.
- Negotiate a permanent end to her hunter’s pursuit.
Merrill: (1 quest benefits her, 2 quests do not)
- Accompany her away from the clan that no longer welcomes her.
- Acquire a tool that will enable her to restore an artifact of vast cultural significance.
- 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)
- Enact vengeance on his family’s killers.
- Confront a rival about his family’s murder.
- Attempt to persuade an agent of the Divine to ignore Kirkwall.
Varric: (all quests benefit him directly)
- Help finance his expedition.
- Resolve a family dispute.
- 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.