ohhhh yes I do! I’m having trouble forming them into coherent sentences, though, so please forgive the word vomit.
There is one big difference: consent. Dorian never wanted to be changed, and that would have been forced on him—whereas Bull willingly gave himself to the re-educators, because he thought he was broken and needed to be fixed.
(See this excerpt from the World of Thedas, which breaks my HEART)
[…] He grew up in this orderly world you all made, and it all makes sense to him, people make sense, and he thinks that if he does the right thing, then everything will work.
[…] He thinks it’s his fault, that he failed to live up to the demands of the Qun.
- Post-mission deposition from team member Gatt on mental state of his commander, Hissrad
The methods are different, too. Halward would have altered Dorian’s mind entirely; the re-educators use torture (sleep deprivation, restricting food/water, etc.) to slowly nudge their detainees into believing what they tell them. (Which sort of makes sense, within the Qun? Since it’s weird about choice: “It is every individual’s choice whether or not they act according to their nature.”)
But, in the end, the result is change—so they would suit a role that someone else decided for them.
Dorian is very proud of who he is, I think, and secure in his identity. (As a Tevinter, as a mage, as a gay man, etc.) I doubt he could ever understand why Bull would let someone decide how he thinks. And post-Demands of the Qun Bull is probably having second thoughts, too, even if he doesn’t go Tal-Vashoth. (Picture the t-shirt: “The re-educators sent me to Orlais and all I got was a dead squad. Again.”)
I think it’s interesting—and tragic—that the people doing the re-educating believe in what they’re doing. Qunari re-education isn’t unusual; it’s a core part of their society at this point. And blood magic is obviously common in Tevinter.
Although, now that I think about it, Halward might not have truly believed that ritual was the correct thing to do. I think he pretended that it was, for his family—for his own legacy—until he almost convinced himself. (Not that he deserves sympathy. I doubt his conversation with Dorian is entirely honest, but he’s clearly uncomfortable with what happened, and he has to know that all the blame falls squarely on his own shoulders.)
Dorian and Iron Bull would talk about it, definitely. (Maybe after the confrontation in Redcliffe?) I think Dorian wonders about what his life would have been like, if his father’s plan had worked. (If you’re a puppet, what’s worse: being unaware, or knowing that someone is pulling your strings?) And Bull must wonder how much longer he would have lasted in Seheron, if he hadn’t turned himself in.
oh. and now I’ve made myself sad.