anonymous asked:

You've stated that Anders used gaatlok to destroy the chantry, but isn't gaatlok just gunpowder? Gunpowder doesn't cause beams of red light and hovering debris, so magic pretty much has to be a major component of Anders' bomb doesn't it?

I think it’s at least possible that magic was used to light the fuse. I mean, there are two possibilities here: either Anders lit if from all the way down in Lowtown, or everything he was doing down there was just a signal (and a spot of misdirection) so his allies could light it from up close.

The advantage to the idea of him having allies is that it simplifies things enormously. If you look at the illustration in World of Thedas II, the barrels are all hanging from the ceiling of what is presumably the Chantry cellar. Hawke doesn’t distract Elthina for very long, and the whole thing looks more plausible if it wasn’t just one guy running around setting things up. It also makes the explosion itself much more explicable. It’s quite a long way from where Anders was standing to the Chantry, and casting a spell from there seems improbable. Not impossible, certainly: one thing that’s clear is that it’s Justice acting in that scene as much as Anders, and it’s hard to be clear on Justice’s limitations – but improbable.

Levitating the debris, too, which isn’t a part of the bomb but a means of containing the damage, looks far more doable if you imagine a number of people involved. Otherwise, that was … well, the word ‘miraculous’ seems applicable.

The disadvantage, of course, is that there’s no direct evidence of Anders having such allies. We know rebel mages were present in Kirkwall that year – the Resolutionists – but we don’t have any indication they were in contact.

The trouble is, if he didn’t have help, then … what the hell? Magic isn’t really something you put anywhere. It’s something you do. I realise that line gets a little blurry with glyphs – but I don’t think modern magic, at least, has glyphs of that power, and him running around casting (and somehow maintaining for weeks or months) a lot of glyphs seems even less likely than hanging up all those barrels. Now, runes – enchantments – those you do put places. But Anders is a mage. He couldn’t make those himself. So we’re back to him having help again.

If it was just Anders, doing magic, then … we’re looking at a truly extraordinary amount of power. Far more power than than we’re given any reason to think either Anders or Justice possesses. If Anders is that tough, why do I have to carry around an emergency stash of Mythal’s Favour bombs for when my healer gets knocked out? :)

I’m inclined to think he had help.

As for the weird light in the Chantry – I don’t actually think that was anything Anders did at all. Now, the endgame is light on facts, so I want to be clear: I’m talking about what I think works thematically, not anything I can prove happened with dialogue and Codex entries.

One thing Dragon Age 2 does very well, I think, is give you a strong sense of stories beyond what you’re seeing. There are so many things people say, or hints that we get, that are never expanded upon. Hawke will poke their nose into a lot of things, but I suspect even the most diligent, Codex-entry hunting Hawke possible still barely scratches the surface of Kirkwall’s issues.

But one thing that we do know is nothing in Kirkwall is being used for its original purpose. This is an ancient Tevinter city. The Viscount’s Keep and the Chantry were once the homes of Magisters – and since these are the most impressive buildings in the city, I think it’s reasonable to assume these were the homes of the governor and the city’s high priest. We know from the work of the Band of Three that the layout of Kirkwall was deliberate. The streets are in the shapes of glyphs, and apparently the blood of thousands of slaves was deliberately shed to thin the Veil. The whole city is quite literally a magical machine.

And … a lot of bad things happen in the Chantry. A lot of bad things happen everywhere in Kirkwall, obviously, but some spots are worse than others. You might expect knife fights every Tuesday in some Coterie-controlled slum, but the Chantry is in one of the wealthiest parts of Kirkwall, where there are frequent guard patrols and the Chantry’s private army of Templars should serve as night watchmen.

And yet it is consistently the site of murders, betrayals and ambushes. The Chantry – the building itself – is bad.

Kirkwall is intended to be a microcosm. All the same abuses are happening elsewhere, but usually behind closed doors. In Kirkwall, evil oozes out between the cracks of civilised society – so you see every terrible thing that happens to every oppressed group up close and on a daily basis. And that’s because of the magical machine built into Kirkwall’s very streets.

So – sure, I think the apocalyptic look of the Chantry explosion is magic. But not Anders’s magic or Anders’s bomb. It’s the magic of Emerius, that’s always been there, and that the Chantry has long been arrogant enough to ignore. It was in the damn walls, and it chewed happily on all their dirty little secrets and then spat them out onto the city streets for the whole world to see, and when it died it did so with panache.

And given the Deep Roads expedition, the nearness of Corypheus, the deliberate thinning of the Veil, and the Forgotten Ones – I think that red was also a hint of red lyrium.

A note to New Year’s Resolutionists

I’m not going to discourage you or berate you. I’m here with some advice.

A lot of you come into this resolution with gusto, and that’s great, but it fizzles out quickly. I want you to keep going after February.

Here are some things you want to think about:

1. What exactly do I want to do?

Be specific in your goals. It’s easy to say “I want to be healthier,” but it doesn’t really mean anything. Be specific and say “I want to eat veggies with 2 meals a day” or “I want to lose X lbs.”

2. Why am I doing this?

Have a good reason to do what you’re doing. Maybe you’re just so darn tired of getting out of breath every time you use the stairs, or maybe you have some health conditions that could be improved by weight loss, or maybe it’s for your child. Whatever. I don’t care what your reason is - it just needs to be a good one. The reason you’re doing this is going to be what pushes you through the rough times and will keep your motivation going. Constantly remind yourself of why you’re doing this.

3. How am I going to do this?

This is just like with setting your goal - you need to be specific. Don’t just say “I’m gonna go to the gym.” Say “I’m going to the gym twice a week and I’m going to do this program.”

4. Can I actually do this?

Make your goal attainable and be realistic. You’re not going to lose 50 lbs in a week. You’re not going to go from eating junk all day every day to only ridiculously healthy food. You are trying to form habits. Take it slow and make sure this is something you can (and want to) do long term.

anonymous asked:

(1/2)WRT Anders death-count: I suspect that the "dozens" figure is the result of the Chatnry explosion itself, and the "hundreds" figure counts all of the people who died in the resulting brawl that Kirkwall became. I am in two minds about this. On the one hand, what Anders did was inexcusable. Holy ground occupied by unarmed people is ALWAYS off limits (even immortals in Highlander adhere to that). But Anders was hardly the only bad actor. Meredith was paranoid and violent, refusing to dist....

(2/2)….tinguish between the truly guilty and those merely caught in an impossible situation. Cullen was a little better, (in particular taking the Templar route in DA2 shows him defending a group of mages from his superior) but he should have acted sooner. Elthina was so concerned with maintaining the good reputation of the chantry that she turned to indolence, an indolence she defended as neutrality. I suspect the Chantry simply emphasised the villain who was the least associated with itself. 

Hi, anonymous person. Thank you for resending the other half of the ask. And I owe you a hell of an apology. I’ve been so tired lately that all I want to do is curl up and play Skyrim, because Skyrim does not care whether I play the main quest or the civil war, and is perfectly happy if I just take my band of sidekicks and camp out by a lake somewhere. It’s oddly soothing. That’s … put me behind on the whole asks thing again.

I agree that the Chantry is going to be placing the blame as far from itself as possible. While the majority of the damage probably came from the chaos that followed the destruction of the Chantry, it is also true that, in a world with neither photography nor video, and nothing that resembles forensic investigation, it’s going to be absurdly easy for them to point at any damaged building in Kirkwall – regardless of whether it was destroyed during the Annulment, the Qunari uprising, or is even some relic from the overthrow of Perrin Threnhold, and say ‘Anders did that, and a dozen people died right there’. Who can disprove it?

Unlike you, however, I’m not at all conflicted over where to place the blame.

For a start, I don’t think some of the concepts you’ve raised are … entirely relevant to the situation. ‘Holy ground’, for instance. What’s ‘holy ground’? I agree, of course, that people are entitled to their sacred spaces, and to practise their religion in safety. I recognise that attacks on such spaces are often an attempt to dominate, and to cow people and obliterate a culture. But … that’s not always how it goes. Religious buildings can also be used to impose, dominate and brutalise. A temple can be a ‘citadel of eternal slavery’, to nick a good line from Tacitus.

That’s … pretty well what’s going on in Kirkwall. Kirkwall is a slave city, and while ownership of the place has changed hands several times, its basic purpose and structure has not changed. The Chantry was once the home of a Magister. The Chantry organisation has taken ownership of the building and of the city. The slaves in the Gallows prison have been replaced by mages, who are tortured and abused in much the same way. That the elves down in the alienage in Lowtown have virtually no legal rights is also a point repeatedly raised in the game, and comes from an ideology actively taught by the Chantry.

And the Chantry itself … well, it’s always empty, isn’t it? There are countless tales, both historical and fictional, of people running to their temples for protection in times of strife. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t, and stories of people being cut down while clinging to the altars of their gods are always fucking horrific. In Origins, you wander Lothering and find the revered mother organising the evacuation, and people taking refuge in the building. Likewise, when you travel to Redcliffe you find the majority of the citizens hiding in the Chantry. While I’m absolutely no fan of the Chantry, I won’t dispute that these places belong to their citizens. They are sacred to them. People feel safe there, and feel they will be helped.

That doesn’t happen in Kirkwall. That the Chantry is entirely absent from Darktown and unhelpful in Lowtown is a point repeatedly raised. Bitter paupers and refugees are everywhere. A Chantry sister strolls around Lowtown trying to get donations from an impoverished prostitute. It’s grotesque. Go into the Chantry and … mostly what you see is empty space. And when the midden hits the windmill – no one runs to the Chantry. You don’t see what you saw in Origins. It is the big, important building that is conspicuously absent from the Act 2 endgame. There are no brave Templars and Chantry sisters protecting citizens as they run to the sanctuary of the Chantry. There’s no battle to defend people hiding inside.

I object to the characterisation of the Chantry as ‘holy ground’. It is a palace, nothing more. The Chantry has been ruling Kirkwall clandestinely since the Threnholds were deposed, and openly since the death of Viscount Dumar. They have a Magister’s mansion as their stronghold. That’s how things are in Kirkwall.

Then there’s ‘distinguish[ing] between the truly guilty and those merely caught in an impossible situation’. In the context of the mages … I’m not even sure what that means. The horrifying truth is that, very often, the law is on Meredith’s side. Not always, of course – although that’s not very meaningful when there’s no real chance that anyone will enforce laws that protect mages – but often. A mage who leaves leaves the Circle, intending never to return, is guilty of apostasy. A mage who uses their own blood as a source of power, even if acting in self defence, is guilty of blood magic. Anders is guilty just by living in Kirkwall. So is Merrill, even though she isn’t even Andrastian. So is Bethany and a mage Hawke. Evelina is guilty. Ella is guilty. They’re all criminals, and Chantry law calls for their arrest. It’s acceptable to summarily execute such people as maleficars.

To come to the death count … as you say, most of that comes from the violence after the explosion. Most of it comes from the invocation of the Rite of Annulment. I think this bears reiterating: what happened in Kirkwall was not a ‘brawl’, or a war or a dispute. It was the attempted mass murder of the city’s mage population. Every mage you see fighting on the street that day, even if they become possessed, is acting in pure, morally justified self-defence.

Had Meredith not invoked the Rite, had she simply arrested Anders, there would have been no ‘hundreds’ of dead.

The thing is, there was always going to be a massacre. Ser Karras will tell you that Meredith has called for the Rite of Annulment from the beginning of Act 3. The likeliest thing is that she would have carried it out. We also know from the Faith quest that the Chantry is considering an Exalted March on Kirkwall. And they’re not coming to help the mages. They’re coming because they want to crush the Resolutionists. They might have removed Meredith from power, if they came, since her erratic behaviour could bring the Chantry embarrassment, but we know what they do when a Templar commits atrocities in a Circle. They kill the witnesses. The mages are screwed.

All Anders did was bring the violence into the streets. ‘Annulment’ is such a nice clean word. Make not be. What you see in Kirkwall is the truth of an Annulment. All the blood and screaming that has happened every damn time. But it’s happened to mages and behind high walls, so nobody cared.

It can be argued that Meredith’s exposure to red lyrium reduces her culpability but … to be honest, I don’t think so. Nothing suggests that red lyrium altered her attitudes or intentions. She’s been a murderous despot since she became Knight-Commander of the Kirkwall Templars. I think that all the red lyrium did was provide an opportunity. Had exposure not affected her, she might have been smarter about it all. She might have thought to arrest Anders then, and murder the mages quietly, later. She might have seen the trap instead of seeing an excuse to do what she always intended.

The Annulment is mass murder. Meredith planned the Annulment prior to the destruction of the Chantry. A mass murder was always going to occur in Kirkwall. Meredith’s decision to Annul the Circle when and how she did meant that some of the victims were not mages, although I can’t really give a shit since it’s mass murder regardless. Elthina backed Meredith for decades because it was politically useful for her to do so. She supported her through every damn atrocity.

Anders can be responsible for the death of anyone who was actually in the Chantry when it exploded. He knew he was murdering people when he did that. He accepts it himself.

Everyone else? The ‘hundreds’? Every drop of that blood is on Chantry hands.