Characters: Dragon Age aka: Recurring Dragon Age Characters
Characters appearing in the various Dragon Age media are represented in the following subpages.Below this index is a list of the characters that have played a significant role in more than one of the games.
"Apparently everyone seems to agree that a Blight is the perfect time to start killing each other. Marvelous, really."
Daughter of Flemeth, the mysterious Witch of the Wilds, Morrigan is a Lady of Black Magic forced to join the party by her own mother for reasons that are very unclear at first. Eventually, she reveals that Flemeth sent her so that she could get impregnated by one of the Grey Wardens, have the Archdemon killed and make its soul meld with the child, so that she could thereby give birth to an Old God. Why, she refuses to tell. Shale's nickname for her is "The Swamp Witch."
Abusive Parents: Being raised by Flemeth definitely qualifies. Particularly heartbreaking is the story of how as a young girl she stole a golden mirror, as she had never been given beautiful gifts, only practical ones. She ran back to the Wilds with it held tightly in her hands for fear she would drop it, only for Flemeth to find out and smash it against a wall.
All Amazons Want Hercules: While not physically an Amazon, Morrigan does have a wildly independent and Social Darwinist personality, valuing strength and power. Accordingly, the only characters she expresses interest in are a male Warden, and Sten. While the former is subject to change, they're generally strong-willed and very competent, with decisive personalities, while the latter displays both incredible mental and physical strength. This keeps with the spirit of the trope, that strong women are only interested in stronger men.
Played With when you consider her magic which makes her arguably the more powerful member of the pairing. Anything less than a man of extreme physical and mental strength or toughness would be a mere plaything to her magics.
All Guys Want Bad Girls: Definitely if you romance her. Goes both ways if the Warden is a bit morally ambiguous himself, although more noble-minded Wardens can win her over as well. While she tends to get irritated by your more decent actions, being nice to her and providing her with gifts can do the trick. See Tsundere below.
Ambiguous Disorder: Likely due to her upbringing, she displays several signs consistent with Antisocial Personality Disorder.
Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: She passes through an Eluvian to a place that is neither Thedas nor the Fade. It is impossible to know at this time if this is simply another dimension, or another Plane of Existence.
Bad Powers, Bad People: The most ruthless and unpleasant of the companions, she starts off with spells tilted toward destroying things and screwing with peoples' minds.
Berserk Button: Morrigan greatly values freedom and hates it when people are imprisoned, such as Sten and Jowan. Those who willingly submit to imprisonment - such as the Circle of Magi - earn even more of her contempt. Also, as a Vain Sorceress, she has another fear:
Morrigan: You... do not truly think I look as my mother does, do you? Alistair: Have you really been thinking about that all this time? Morrigan: I am simply curious. Alistair: And not insecure in the slightest, I'm sure. Morrigan: I think I look nothing like her. Alistair: I don't know. Give it a few hundred years and it'll be a spot-on match. Morrigan: I said that I look nothing like her! Alistair: All right. Got it. Totally different. I see that now.
Black Widow/Death by Sex: She tends to respond to men hitting on her with threats of this sort. Like mother, like daughter.
Break His Heart to Save Him: She attempts to invoke this with a male Warden who romances her, straight up begging him to say he doesn't love her at one point.
Broken Bird: Has the detached, cynical personality, the troubled backstory, and the dark Gothic look. This is further reinforced by the mirror story, as well as some of her other dialogue, which suggests that Morrigan is secretly desperate for a connection with the outside world, but she doesn't know how to go about it after years of Flemeth's abusive upbringing. This is especially evident when romancing her as a male Warden, who's able to break down some of her walls and expose her vulnerability.
Clingy Jealous Girl: Immediately after initiating a relationship with a male Warden, she will repeatedly and in no uncertain terms tell him that they don't want any sort of romantic connection and that, in particular, she "[has] no designs on [his] independence." All lies. She'll tear the Warden a new one if she catches him trying to seduce other women or carrying on a relationship with another companion.
Damsel Errant: Serves this role at the end of Witch Hunt, particularly if a romanced male Warden chooses to follow her through the Eluvian.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Towards the motives of Flemeth. She casually admits that she wouldn't be surprised if Flemeth wasn't her real mother and had simply abducted her as a child, as well as noting that while she's never seen any of the legendary other daughters of Flemeth, she doesn't discount the possibility that they might exist somewhere else.
Turns out, she was right. While it was initially assumed that all such sisters were simply possessed by Flemeth's ritual, The Silent Grove reveals a sister named Yavana residing in the Tellari swamps of Antiva, who claims the ritual was actually a "gift" from Flemeth.
Dark Is Not Evil: Subverted. When the Warden first encounters Morrigan, she muses about whether they'll immediately assume she's evil because she's one of the (legendarily evil) Witches of the Wilds. Once she's spent a little time on the team, though, she turns out to have a very nasty Darwinist streak and in the endgame, it turns out that she's been assigned to help the Wardens solely to perform a dark ritual and capture the soul of the Archdemon for purposes unknown. She gets a little closer to playing this trope straight in the ending of Witch Hunt, given that she's apparently had enough time to defrost a little further, but how close she gets is up to the player.
Interestingly enough Morrigan is one of the more innocent and niave characters, having only ventured out of the wilds a few times and never truly interacting with anyone other than Flemeth and her beliefs are a result of Flemeth conditioning her to think and act in this way as it is strongly hinted that this makes it easier for Flemeth to take Morrigan's body
Defrosting Ice Queen: If you romance Morrigan, this trope is upheld in classic style for most of the trip and then subverted all to hell when Morrigan panics at actually feeling something for your character, and immediately cuts you off and frantically retreats back into her snarky persona. Of course, the Witch Hunt DLC can end with the male Warden leaving Ferelden with Morrigan to see their son, making this a Double Subversion.
Druid: A bit of a Deconstruction of the type. While not fond of cities, she doesn't go on about it. Though she's clearly a Social Darwinist, she doesn't go out of her way to try to get anyone killed but Flemeth, and that only after she realizes that Flemeth's working on killing her. She's clearly modeled after the D&D druids, but doesn't care for such notions as balance.
Even Evil Has Standards: Morrigan immediately expresses disgust that Sten has been caged like an animal in Lothering to serve as darkspawn chow by the "mercy" of the Chantry. Though he did kill innocent people, the game makes it clear that being captured by the darkspawn is one of the most horrible fates imaginable that nobody deserves.
Even Evil Witches Love Their Mamas: Morrigan is not exactly one of the good guys, but while she and Flemeth both argue and snipe at each other, it's clear she cares for her very much.
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The very idea of acting altruistically seems to be both alien and offensive to her for most of her time in the group, presumably due to Flemeth's teachings.
Femme Fatale: Something of a subversion, however, in that she doesn't actively try to seduce the Warden. At least not in the manner of a typical Femme Fatale.
Two-part banter with Sten in which they speak about the Qunari act
Multiple instances where she talks about women only needing to bat their eyelashes to get men to do what they want.
The Friend Nobody Likes: And vice versa. The only people who get along with her to any degree are Zevran, the Dog, and possibly the Warden him/herself.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: When you ask about her shapeshifting magic, she says that she's studied many of the creatures of the Korcari Wilds and learned to assume their forms. When she joins your party, however, the only shapeshifting form she's learned is Giant Spider. Possibly justified as being the only form she finds useful in combat - the form of a bird (which she mentions) and a wolf (which you witness) aren't strong enough for her purposes.
Hates Being Touched: Well, at least when it comes to simple greetings. Morrigan's just not a handshake person.
This doesn't seem to include more intimate touching. Of all the possible lovers, she requires the least amount of approval to get her to sleep with you. Considering what her plans are however, she wouldn't need to like the Warden to start sleeping with him.
Hollywood Atheist: Not so much in the reasons for her non-belief, which are fairly realistic, but in that her atheism goes along with being selfish, misanthropic, and actively contemptuous of religious people.
The Immodest Orgasm: According to some dialogue that didn't make it into the retail game but can be accessed on the PC via mods;
Leliana: So you're saying you're wild and uninhibited? I suppose he must like your shrieking, you sound like a genlock being murdered - a sweet, sweet sound to a Grey Warden. You should try a little harder next time he takes you. I don't think they heard you in the Anderfels.
Impossibly Cool Clothes: The blouse of her 'robes' are loose and draping from the shoulders and down the front, yet has a laced cinch at the back. It's possible but difficult to make and impractical to wear. Especially implausible as most of what she knew about humans came from observation, but there are no role models shown for her design.
In Love with the Mark: Her romance arc with a male Warden in a nutshell. She meant to get impregnated by a male Warden, not to fall in love with him!
Ineffectual Loner: Morrigan's not a "people" person. In camp, her tent is placed far from all the others.
Insufferable Genius: According to Alistair, who tries to use a Chantry-related question to mock her for it.
Jerkass: Almost all the time. The only people who seem to get along with her are Zevran, Dog, and the Warden him/herself.
Longest Pregnancy Ever: If you sleep with her early in the game, and don't do it again later, in Witch Hunt you find out she bore your son. He isn't the OGB, but still. The pregnancy lasted all of Origins and never ever showed...
Love Is a Weakness: Morrigan has a conversation with Leliana where where she expresses with venom her feelings that love is a cancer; she doesn't want to love the Warden, as it only complicates her plan, and begs him to leave her be or tell her that he doesn't love her.
When reuniting with a romanced Warden in Witch Hunt, she points out the ironic role-reversal:
Love Redeems: Averted. She notices that a romance does soften her up and desperately backpedals into her old bitchiness out of fear of such unfamiliar feelings. The trope is then potentially played straight at the end of Witch Hunt.
Wynne invokes this in banter with Alistair when they discuss the Warden's relationship with Morrigan. While Alistair believes she will lead him astray, Wynne points out that he may be a good influence on her.
According to the developers of Dragon Age: Inquisition, Morrigan's personality during her appearance will change depending on whether or not the Warden took the time to befriend her in Origins, with especially more warmth and compassion if romanced.
Magic Bra: Whenever Morrigan strips down to her underwear for any reason, she's always wearing a white bra and panties, even though she clearly doesn't wear a bra with her standard outfit.
Her original concept art, on the other hand, depicts her wearing a bra underneath her robes.
Meaningful Name: The Morrigan was a shapeshifting Celtic deity of war and death, but she averts the trope, since the lead writer said that Morrigan is named after a character of a friend of his and all similarities with the Celtic goddess are coincidental, as they are with Morgan le Fay.
Seems the outfit designers didn't get that memo. The crow feathers on her shoulder are symbolic of Morrigan.
Merlin and Nimue: Her relationship with a more heroic male Mage Warden often has this vibe.
No Social Skills: She is largely tactless and ignorant of/annoyed by social mores (she considers shaking hands an offensive breach of her personal space, for example). This is because she was raised in the wilds, largely forbidden to interact with outside world.
No Sympathy: A big part of her character. Morrigan just doesn't do empathy. She may surprise you every now and then, however - once befriended, she genuinely cares about the PC and their feelings, expressing sympathy over their mother's death or having girl talk with the Grey Warden.
Not Good with People: She freely admits that due to her time in the Korcari Wilds, she's better at understanding animals than people.
Potentially can be seen as this to a Mage Warden. The Mage Warden was trapped in the Circle Tower for many years under the watchful eyes of Templars who molded the Warden into the type of Mage they deemed acceptable; in contrast, Morrigan was trapped in the Korcari Wilds for years under the watchful eyes of Flemeth, who molded her into the Mage she wanted. Both can thus be seen as somewhat naive when it comes to the outside world at large. Morrigan herself seems somewhat surprised when the Mage Warden admits to finding the Circle sometimes suffocating and actually believes the traditions of magic she learnt are worth preserving and would be willing to learn them, unlike the Chantry puppets she assumed Circle Mages to be who foolishly live under the thumb of Templars without question.
Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Entirely possible, if you romance her. Of course, if you've already played the game through and are aware of her true objectives, there's nothing oblivious about it.
In the Witch Hunt DLC, she appears surprisingly sympathetic and nice, and seems actually surprised and sad if the Warden decides to kill her. And she even says that she is sorry for everything.
Odd Friendship: Any friendship she forms, given her complete lack of social skills. Especially notable with a more heroic male Warden who does not romance her.
Only Friend: If the Warden is female and grows close to Morrigan, Morrigan will admit that the Warden is the first friend she's ever had and that she views the Warden almost as a sister.
Pet the Dog: Get a high-enough affinity with her, and she'll apologize to the Warden for her jerkass tendencies and say that she appreciates his/her friendship.
In Witch Hunt, she practically does this literally. When you finally catch up to her, both she and Dog are quite happy to see each other and she even cracks a rare smile.
Sarcastic Devotee: As much as she snarks at both the Warden and the other companions, and as easy as it is to earn her disapproval by doing anything heroic or altruistic (even if the motivation for it is completely pragmatic), it's actually pretty difficult to piss her off to the point that she'll leave the party. Furthermore, there is no single choice in the game that will cause her to leave if mishandled, which with the exception of Dog is not the case for any of the other companions. This is perhaps because she has a reason for following the Warden besides helping him/her fight the Blight.
Sequel Hook: You just know the child she conceives by one of the Wardens at the end is going to show up again.
Shoo the Dog: If you're intimate, have helped save her from Flemeth, and gotten her approval above 90%, she gets desperate to get you to break up with her, down to flat out begging you to say you don't love her.
Social Darwinist: Flemeth raised her to be a pretty severe example of this. As a result, Morrigan believes that people who can't solve their own problems without help are worth less than nothing. It actually explains many of Morrigan's more "Stupid Evil" tendencies. Perhaps the best example is in the "Broken Circle" quest, where she insists you leave the Mages to their fate, claiming that their current plight is their own fault for a) agreeing to be caged in the Tower in the first place and b) not being strong enough to stop Uldred before things got out of hand.
Someone to Remember Him By: This can happen if a male PC romances her, but refuses to make love to her before the final battle as part of her "dark ritual". If he slays the Archdemon himself, he will die. However, the epilogue tells that she is pregnant with their child, having conceived at some point beforehand.
Stalker with a Test Tube: Her real reason for joining the party is that she needs to become pregnant by a Grey Warden in order to complete a dark ritual.
The Starscream: To Flemeth, albeit out of self-defense rather than ambition.
Stripperific: Her default costume. Although every human female in Thedas shares the same body type, Morrigan is the only one who can wear it.
Stupid Evil: Often falls into this. She seems to take the position that helping others is universally wrong, even if such aid is explicitly rendered solely on the condition of later repayment (and even if the person being helped is absolutely critical to stopping the Blight).
She emphatically insists that just because she gave a ring to a romanced Warden, that was part of a set, which are magically bonded, the gesture does not have any kind of deeper meaning... Yeah, right!
Too Many Belts: Her default outfit features a skirt that appears to be made out of rags and strips of cloth stitched together with belts.
Took a Level in Kindness: Can take one over the course of Origins if befriended by the Warden. Similarly, despite her constant irritation at the Dog, she broadly smiles upon seeing him again at the end of Witch Hunt.
According to the developers of Dragon Age: Inquisition, Morrigan will come across as warmer and more compassionate depending on whether she was befriended or romanced by the Warden in Origins.
Troll: A large portion of her in-game banter with other companions is this. At least with Sten.
Tsundere: Oh yes. Type A, mostly tsuntsun, but being nice to her and/or romancing her brings out the deredere (as much as she is capable of, anyway).
If you get her approval high enough, she even apologises for her behaviour in a very roundabout Tsundere-ish manner.
Tykebomb: One of many raised by Flemeth. Unusually, she ends up defusing herself to a certain extent, planning Flemeth's death the moment she realises her end-use; it's not until Witch Hunt that she finally slips her leash altogether, though.
Useless Useful Spell: Her shapeshifting powers sound cool in theory, but in practice are nearly useless as they don't enhance her combat ability all that much, take far too long to activate, and prevent her from using her other spells. Although her swarm form is easily the quickest method of moving around, it does require that you don't mind the other three characters trailing a mile and a half behind you.
Building Morrigan into a tank-mage with the Arcane Warrior specialization, however, makes her shapechanging powers much more useful. She can kite, she can tank, she can beat down opponents in melee, and she can do everything an Arcane Warrior does. The only problem with Shapeshift is like it is with any other skill: if you don't develop it and learn how and when to use it properly, it won't be useful.
The Vamp: Played with for Male Wardens. Morrigan fully intends to play this trope straight when she joins the Grey Warden, and every member of the party is certain that this is what she is, but how it all comes down depends on you. If you romance her, she begins to panic when she actually starts to feel something for you. Several times, she tries to warn or mock you in order to force you to break up with her. If you don't listen, she only becomes more upset and flat out begs you to say you don't love her. And then, in the ending, she uses you for her own purposes, regardless of what her feelings may be.
Verbal Tic: Almost all of her dialogue is spoken in a sing-song rhythmic style, which is not that noticeable at first but becomes far more apparent the more you talk to her. She also has a noticeable fondness for the word "'tis" and she uses the "over" instead of "too," as in "overlong and "overmuch".
Fridge Brilliance: She largely learned to speak from books, which would have been written in a more archaic language than is in common use, and would have often been written using a meter to aid memorization.
Voodoo Doll: Her Feastday Pranks DLC gift is an Alistair voodoo doll with a variety of effects on the poor guy.
What Does He See In Her?: She'll pretty much ask a male Warden this word for word if he chooses to romance Leliana instead of her.
The other companions say the same thing for a male Warden who does romance her.
What Is This Thing You Call Love?: The very concept of forming attachments to others confuses and terrifies her. She's quite disdainful of "sentiment," so the fact that she becomes genuinely fond of the Warden drives her crazy, although she's not as distressed by the platonic affection she can develop for a non-romanced Warden.
Tropes In Dragon Age:Inquisition
"I've seen more of this war than you can imagine. None shall be untouched by the fires above."
After her disappearance through the Eluvian in Dragon Age: Origins, Morrigan returns in Dragon Age: Inquisition. She has become Arcane Advisor to Empress Celene of Orlais. Though not a party member, she will play an important role in the events of the game.
The Bus Came Back: Morrigan, who hasn't been seen since Origins (and the Witch Hunt DLC), finally returns in Inquisition.
Evil Chancellor: To Celene, in the eyes of the court, since she brings to her a view of magic untainted by Andrasteanism.
Foil: In appearance, at least, she is this to Vivienne. They are both mages advising the Empress, but one is conservative and Orlesian at her core, while the other is an apostate who despises the High Court and the Circle.
Foreshadowing / Call Back: One epilogue slide in Origins stated a woman matching Morrigan's description was seen several years later in Orlais, having insinuated herself within the Empress' court. Early images from Inquisition, have Morrigan appearing in Empress Celene's palace in Val Royeaux.
Her outfit serves as something of a Brick Joke to Origins, being almost exactly like the one that Leliana described as wanting to see her in if they went clothes shopping together.
Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Morrigan's dress in Inquisition is designed specifically to annoy the rich and powerful of the Orlesian society: it's just similar enough to what they themselves wear but is way too dark to not stick out like a sore thumb. Remembering how and where she grew up, her contempt for the decadent Orlesian court is very much understandable.
Took a Level in Kindness: The developers have said that Morrigan will appear warmer and more compassionate if the Warden took the time to befriend her during Origins, especially if she was romanced.
Or if she is a mother.
What Happened to the Mouse?: In addition the Dark Ritual being an important plot flag, the choice made at the end of Witch Hunt and whether the Warden chose to leave with her through the Eluvian, will apparently be addressed.
"I came to Ferelden and the Chantry because I was being hunted. I walked where the Maker led me and he has rewarded me for my faith. I found you."
Leliana is a former Orlesian bard and a lay sister at the Chantry in Lothering. After receiving a prophetic dream about the Blight, she decides to join the PC on his/her quest. Basically, she's a bisexual nun/ninja/minstrel/spy. She's complicated like that. Shale's nickname for her is "The Sister" and occasionally "The Bard."
Archer Archetype: She claims to be skilled in knife combat, and even starts the game equipping a dagger, but all of her skills are in archery and her best weapon is Marjolaine's favorite bow. While not possessing any "Aloof Ally" qualities in the present, her past self featured in Leliana's Song has shades of this.
The Atoner: Though more in her backstory than in the game itself.
Bad Liar: About matters dealing with emotion and her own feelings.
The Bard: Her specific character class to boot. She claims its training will involve throwing knives and combat but...it doesn't.
Beautiful Dreamer: Part of her romance - she likes watching the PC sleep. The Warden can reply to her that this is creepy.
Becoming the Mask: She originally adopted the guise of a simple, pious, religious convert in order to escape the notice of Marjolaine, her former employer/lover and now mortal enemy. It was only later, when she found herself content in that life, that she actually started to become that person for real.
The Cameo: Shows up at the end of Dragon Age II, where she's revealed to work as a member of the Seekers alongside Cassandra. She appears chronologically earlier as an Agent of the Divine in the Exiled Prince DLC going under the codename of "Sister Nightingale", as well as a guest at Chateau-Haine in the Mark of the Assassin DLC, where she's revealed to know Tallis. She also appears in the novel Asunder, set in the aftermath of Anders' destruction of the Kirkwall Chantry and the beginning the Mage-Templar War.
Church Militant: While not an ordained member of the Chantry (she never got around to her vows), she's very open about her faith. Surprisingly, this doesn't put her at odds with Sten.
Dragon Age II reveals she later became an Agent of the Divine and a member of the Seekers of Truth.
Clingy Jealous Girl: If romanced, she's extremely affectionate to the Warden, but makes it clear she in no way approves of the Warden even looking at another woman (or man). That said, you can convince her to have a threesome with you and Isabela, or a foursome with Zevran too if she is "hardened".
Corrupt the Cutie: A tame example. You are given the option of "hardening" her. Subverted, however, in that Leliana is not the naive innocent she at first appears to be.
Culture Clash: With an elf Grey Warden. Leliana tries to talk to the Warden about the situation of elves from what the Warden will recognize as a rather warped perspective. Said Warden can bite her head off about her notions about the elves and directly call her and everyone in the society she hails from a bunch of naive fools... and gain approval for opening her eyes.
Dogged Nice Girl: Due to a dialogue glitch, she may act like she is in a relationship with the Warden even if the Warden has made it clear that they are not interested in her.
Dreaming of Things to Come: A dream which she interprets as being the Blight is what convinces her that she was meant to join the Grey Warden's quest. Whether it's a real vision or not is up for you to interpret.
Evil Me Scares Me: Leliana is the most openly disturbed by fighting "herself" during the Gauntlet.
"Did you see the cruelty on my...on her face? Is that really what I am?"
Femme Fatale: Used to be one. As a bard, she was taught to become "the woman people fall in love with", whatever that might be depending on the situation
Gentlewoman Snarker: Being the resident Nice Gal, Leliana doesn't snark quite as much as other party members like Alistair, Zevran, and especially Morrigan. But when she does, she can hang with the best of them.
Girly Bruiser: Her love of shoes, fashion, romantic starlit evenings, cute animals, etc. doesn't mean she can't also be a dungeon-crawling, arrow-slinging Action Girl.
The Heart: She advocates the party helping others whenever possible.
Heel-Face Turn: In her backstory, from murderous troublemaker to pious bard.
Heel-Faith Turn: She initially went to the Chantry to hide from her enemies, only to discover her faith.
Hitchhiker Heroes: Although she has her reasons, the way she joins the party fits this trope to a 'T', which the Warden can lampshade by asking her why she's so eager to go off adventuring with someone she's just met.
Honey Trap: She used to prefer this tactic to actual murder as a bard. Not that she didn't use both at times.
The Immodest Orgasm: Alluded to in the second game if she had a threesome with the Warden and Isabela in Origins.
Isabela: *Laughs* "Sister Nightingale" indeed, I remember it didn't take much to make you sing.
Informed Ability: She is supposed to be a skilled storyteller, but her storytelling skills really don't rise above the rest of the cast. Also by her accounts, the smooth talking, courtly connivers seem to be stock and trade and a survival necessity for Orlesian bards. Yet her repartee is less evident than her loss of words; she's often flustered and easily embarrassed. One could infer that her former skills have become somewhat rusty as a result of Becoming the Mask. In comparison, we see a far more cunning, devious and altogether darker side of her in the prequel DLC, Leliana's Song.
And if the Warden sleeps around on her, she comes off as painfully naive and easily lied to. On the other hand, Leliana consistently demonstrates that if she's emotionally invested in a person she lets her emotions affect her judgement. This is best demonstrated in her prequel DLC Leliana's Song, where Marjolaine used Leliana's feelings for her to play her effortlessly.
Innocent Bigot: She'll make some well-intentioned but racist comments to you if you're playing as an elf. If you tell her you're offended, she'll apologise for her remarks and admit that she's not met many elves, thanking you for opening her eyes.
For a City Elf, she comments that you could have earned a very good wage working in an Orlesian household, who are prized for being skilled workers and very attractive. You can point this would devalue your life to that of a pet for a stuffy noble.
Mata Hari: Orlesian Bards fill this role. Leliana eventually admits that part of her enjoyed it.
Meaningful Name: Close enough to Leliana (apparently without a meaning) is the name Eliana, which means 'God has answered' in Hebrew. This fits her reasons for joining very well.
The same name also means, loosely, "daughter of the sun" in Italian, which is suitable for a sister of the Chantry.
Also similar to "Lilianna," "Lily flower." Lilies feature heavily in Marian religious imagery, and are the emblem of France, the real-world counterpart to her home nation, Orlais.
The Mistress: Can become this (if hardened) for a Male Warden who has asked for the Queen's hand. Leliana decides to stay by the Warden's side in Denerim, and even sends him a letter if he is exported to the Awakening expansion pack. However, perhaps due to a glitch, this can only happen if the player stops talking to her altogether (at least until the epilogue) after having made the decision to marry the Queen. If talked to before the epilogue, she will immediately end her relationship with the PC, even if she was previously hardened.
Naughty Nuns: Zevran definitely wishes. Leliana herself seems to wish it too, a little. Oghren also wonders if the Chantry girls wear anything under the robes.
Quirky Bard: Well, she's a bard and she's quirky, but she's also deadly if built and utilized correctly.
It makes sense within Orlesian society that "bards" are synonymous with spies - after all, seeing as the nobility of Orlais is a Deadly Decadent Court, they are apt to throwing raucous parties involving all number of performers and musicians. Who better to slip past security than the entertainment?
Rape as Backstory: Implied heavily in the Leliana's Song DLC. However, it should be noted that this is not stated explicitly, and therefore should be taken with a grain of salt.
Due to the brutally pragmatic environment bards usually work in, she also seems to have come to terms with it much more efficiently than most examples of this trope.
Reality Is Unrealistic: Leliana's Orlesian (French) accent is criticized as sounding fake, although her voice actress is actually French.
Sickeningly Sweethearts: If romanced, she and the Warden come dangerously close to this if Wynne and Morrigan are to be believed.
Together in Death: If the player completes Leliana's romance and and then sacrifices him/herself to kill the Archdemon, the epilogue says that Leliana had a vision that showed her a way to be reunited with her love. One possible interpretation of this epilogue is that she killed herself.
The Unfair Sex: Played with for laughs, as one of Leliana's quips when nearing the end of her Romance Sidequest, after she'd told you how she felt, and then gets flustered after you tell her you feel the same way.
Warden: I thought you felt comfortable around me? Leliana: (stammers) Well yes, but...D-Don't question me! I am a woman, and I reserve the right to be inconsistent!
Unreliable Narrator: Her account of her betrayal by Marjolaine and subsequent capture doesn't quite match up with the events of her prequel DLC. Of course, given that the majority of the Warden's retinue are native Fereldans, one can understand why she would lie and say she was imprisoned for stealing military documents from Orlais instead. In the same DLC she explicitly says in voiceover that she changes it with every telling (which is why it has multiple endings despite being framed as her telling the Warden the story later).
What the Hell, Hero?: She turns on you if you destroy the Urn of Sacred Ashes in front of her and she is not hardened. If hardened she won't turn on you, but she thoroughly resents you for it.
Wide-Eyed Idealist: Averted/subverted. Despite a fairly violent and traumatic past, Leliana is the resident idealist in a story that is on the whole prettycynical, and it's usually difficult to write a character like that without succumbing to the temptation to either condescend to, belittle, or fundamentally alter the character's worldview. The writers avoided those traps, however, and managed to create a multi-layered personality who fits in well and demonstrates how idealism is possible even in a very dark world. She's even quite nice to Loghain, who hates her on sight.
Tropes In Dragon Age: Inquisition
"I want the world back."
Once a bard, a Chantry sister, a hero of the Fifth Blight, and now Left Hand of the Divine, Leliana's presence has a new gravitas since Origins. She serves as an adviser to Inquisitor in the area of espionage.
Animal Motifs: Depicted with ravens in both trailers and her Skyhold icon. In Skyhold, she is also found near the rookery, where colonies of birds are raised.
Break the Cutie: The loss of the main leaders at the Temple of Sacred Ashes leaves her jaded and doubtful. Should you send her undercover to Redcliffe, she'll only get worse.
Cold-Blooded Torture: Depending on player choices, she may be tortured for information at the hands of an enemy.
Defrosting Ice Queen: She is far less open than before, but should people make the effort to befriend her, they will find her just as pleasant as she once was.
Hold the Line: After a battle with a Tevinter mage, she performs one against a wave of demons. It's not known if it's also a Heroic Sacrifice, since the E3 demo ends before that question is answered, or whether her survival is dependent on player choices in previous games.
She also occupied this position for the Divine. She is called "The Left Hand of the Divine", which as the etymology of the word suggests, means doing the dirty work from the shadows, while the Right Hand Cassandra presents a bold and direct face to the Chantry.
Took a Level in Jerkass: No longer the cheerful optimistic woman who fought at the side of the Hero of Ferelden, the years have made her less carefree and forced her to adopt a stony facade.
If sent undercover to Redcliffe and captured, she will become impatient and unsympathetic towards mages due to the torture she faced.
Undying Loyalty: Her devotion to the Maker is matched only by her devotion to Divine Justinia V, the woman who set her on the path to redemption.
Voiced by:Greg Ellis (Dragon Age Origins - Awakening), Adam Howden (Dragon Age II)
Tropes In Dragon Age:Origins-Awakening
"Most people enjoy being kicked in the head to be woken up each morning. Me, I'm just so picky."
An apostate who despises blood magic almost as much as the Chantry does. Despite this, the Chantry still sees him as a threat, and keeps him locked up. Since Anders values freedom above all else, he has made many, many, many escape attempts. He finally succeeds when the new Warden-Commander invokes the Right of Conscription to save him from being dragged back to the tower once again.
Ambiguous Situation: While he claims to be innocent when accused directly, it's never revealed whether or not if he actually murdered his Templar captors, or just sat back to watch and let the Darkspawn do it for him?
Birds of a Feather: Tries to invoke this with Nathaniel, who he notes is also hated for who he is. Nathaniel is slightly annoyed by the oversimplification.
Claustrophobia: If brought to the Deep Roads, he nervously notes the miles and miles of rock over your heads. "Is this a bad time to tell you I'm claustrophobic?" It's hard to say how serious he's being, but he claims to have spent a long time in solitary confinement; an entire year after his sixth unsuccessful escape attempt.
Determinator: "After my seventh escape attempt, you'd think they'd have given me credit for trying."
Establishing Character Moment: He's introduced incinerating the darkspawn who just killed his Templar handlers. Then he switches to dorkily wagging his fingers as though going "hot, hot, hot" (trying to downplay his powers?), before denying he killed the Templars ("Uh, I didn't do it.") and making a pretty dark joke about the noises they made when they went down.
Warden: That's inhuman!
Anders: That's what he would call me whenever he kicked me in the head, so I guess it was pretty accurate.
Expy: Some people call him "Mage Alistair," due to his similar sounding accent, hair color and snarkery.
Foreshadowing: If questioned, he reveals that he's actually really pissed off with the Templars and wishes he could have "a harem, a banquet and the ability to rain fireballs upon every Templar in creation." Doubles up as Harsher in Hindsight when you learn that the latter basically sums up his personality and actions in Dragon Age II.
He also makes the observation "Bet they regret that rule," when explaining that the only reason he's avoided being made Tranquil is that it's illegal to do that to a mage who has passed their Harrowing. In Dragon Age II, Anders rages that things are so far gone in the Kirkwall Circle that the Templars are disregarding that rule.
There's a scene where you destroy a religious statue and Anders comments that he's "always up for a spot of light iconoclasm." Again, rather dark, considering his actions in the the second game
After helping the Warden-Commander retake Vigil's Keep, his reaction to the Templar who attempts to arrest him and bring him back to the Circle to face justice for the Templars he (supposedly) "murdered" during his latest escape.
Anders: Oh please, the things you know about justice would fit into a thimble...
Genre Savvy: "Wow, a dwarf who smells like a brewery. You never see that anywhere."
Healer Signs On Early: He is the second (first, if you count Mhairi's unfortunate demise) party member you encounter during the opening, and you recruit him pretty much straight away. He comes back shortly after Oghren's arrival even if you let him run.
Irony: If you make him a Blood Mage, he lampshades the irony of it all.
Living Legend: He's infamous amongst both the Mage and Templars as the most prolific escape artist in the Ferelden Circle's history. According to Finn in Witch Hunt, Anders is the reason that Mages no longer do physical fitness exercises outside, after he ducked past the Templars, jumped off the dock and swam across Lake Calenhad to freedom.
Loveable Sex Maniac: Comes off as one. He claims that mages wear robes because it allows them to have illicit quickies without the fuss of buttons.
Mind Rape: Suggested in his comments during the Joining that he may fear being made Tranquil, as further evidenced by what happens to mages in Kirkwall in Dragon Age II.
Mr. Fanservice: A surprising number of fangirls (and fanboys) wish Anders was a romance option. After Alistair and Zevran, he probably generates the most sexy fanart.
Sad Clown: There are a few scenes in Awakening which hint that the situation that mages face hurts him more than he lets on.
Ship Tease: His banter with the female PC is as close as Awakening gets to an actual romance.
Tropes In Dragon Age II
"There will always be mages born in Thedas. But Templars are made by men...and they can be unmade."
In Dragon Age II Anders has left the Grey Wardens and come to Kirkwall to use his healing magic to help refugees. He is the current host of the Spirit of Justice; however, Anders' hatred for the Circle of Magi has corrupted Justice into a demonic spirit of vengeance. He is a potential love interest.
Aesop Amnesia: If he's brought along for Legacy, the revelation of Corypheus' origins shakes him up so badly that he declares he will reconsider whether the Chantry might have a valid point about the danger of mages. He doesn't, of course.
He experiences a combination of this and Ignored Epiphany after his personal quest in Act II. If Ella survives, he tries to put aside his cause to learn to rein in Justice/Vengeance. Unfortunately, because of how bad the situation in Kirkwall has gotten by Act III, the obsession soon returns worse than ever. If Ella dies, his Heroic BSOD is much worse, but he doesn't put aside his cause, instead throwing himself in more than ever so it won't all be in vain.
It's very possible that Justice/Vengeance just flat out won't let these moments sink in.
All Love Is Unrequited: It's implied that Anders falls in love with Hawke even if you don't romance him. (For example, not starting his romance at the first opportunity gets you rivalry points.) Obviously, this is subverted if you do romance him.
In fact, if you do romance him, his comment after the first night together pretty much proves that he falls in love with Hawke either way. He states that he's been "aching for you" for the past three years.
This is implied to be true for both Justice and Anders, given Justice's comments on the nature of love in Awakening (he does not return the love of Kristoff's wife, but he still wants to experience such a love).
Ambiguous Disorder: Displays quite a few bipolar symptoms (the Codex even explicitly mentions manic and depressive phases), though this may be a side-effect of the possession.
Anti-Hero: To start with Though he later slides down the scale until he becomes an Unscrupulous Hero, or goes through a straight up Face-Heel Turn depending on your stance on the mage-Templar conflict.
The Atoner: Can potentially become this if you have him at high rivalry and try to convince him that his merging with Justice was wrong and that there are other ways for mages to win their freedom, so that he will join Hawke when he sides with the Templars.
Even if you side with the mages, Hawke (and Merrill) can choose to invoke this as a reason to spare him. He implies that he agrees with this, saying that he'll try not to make so much of a mess out of his second chance at life.
Batman Gambit: He knew exactly how Meredith would react when he destroyed the Chantry and he was depending on it for his plan to work. It did.
Beat the Curse Out of Him: During Legacy, Corypheus's influence briefly causes him to snap - Justice's voice takes over, but demons start appearing around him. After the fight, he stays lucid and on your side for the rest of the campaign.
The Templars, and the foundation upon which they stand, including the Circle and the Chantry. But especially Templars.
Blood Magic as well, to a slightly lesser extent. Of course, part of why Blood Magic offends him so much is that it's the main thing the Templars use to justify confining mages.
His reaction to Karl being made Tranquil, causing Justice to manifest;
Justice: You will never take another mage as you took him!
Black and White Insanity: Anders becomes slowly more irrationally convinced that the cause of mage freedom, or at least his view of it, is the real distinguishing mark of morality and that anyone who disagrees (even other mages) is his enemy. This is a result of Vengeance exerting more and more influence.
Blue and Orange Morality: More subtle than most, but the presence of Vengeance fundamentally alters Anders' viewpoints on a lot of things. Having a significant part of who and what you are made up of an entity formed around an unyielding concept, coupled with the lack of an understanding of time (time is irrelevant in the Fade, so Vengeance doesn't understand the concept of "waiting"), creates a distinct slant on his perceptions. It doesn't excuse his actions, but it does make them understandable.
Big Brother Mentor: To Bethany, though she finds him more reminiscent of her father then anything else.
He becomes rather snarky towards her if she is taken by Cullen, since she comes to accept and in fact embrace life in the Circle.
Bi the Way: In Awakening, he only stated attraction to women, flirting with the females of the party and joking about wanting a wife someday. He only mentions his history with Karl to a male Hawke, and hesitantly asks if it "bothers you". If Hawke takes the initiative, he notes that he's not used to men openly hitting on him. Make of that what you will.
Brainwashed and Crazy: If brought along for Legacy, Anders becomes a thrall of Corypheus. He snaps out of it after a brief boss fight.
One interpretation of his actions in Act III was that Justice pushed him to destroy the Chantry. During his speech to Meredith and Orsino, you can hear Justice's deep voice intermixed with his words, implying that he's just below the surface and barely contained.
Break the Cutie: Anders was flirty and cheerful with a soft spot for cats in Awakening. Things change big time in this game.
Broken Pedestal: Potentially with Hawke or Bethany. He places them on a high pedestal of living the ideal Apostate life, having been trained by a loving father. Anders image of them can come crashing down if Hawke is Pro-Circle or just disinterested. If Bethany becomes a circle mage, she is Pro-Circle.
Cleopatra Nose: Prominent noses seem a common trait in male Dragon Age love interests (Alistair, Fenris).
Combat Medic: Still retains his healing powers. He uses them on sick refugees in Kirkwall.
Crazy Jealous Guy: Whether romanced or not. If Hawke romanced Merrill or Fenris, he states his disapproval in the bluntest, and most hypocritical ways imaginable during "Justice" in Act III.
Cruel Mercy: Letting him live after he blows up the Chantry.
Or even worse, convincing him to side with the Templars. Takes a maxed-out Rivalry meter, but boy is it worth it.
Cynicism Catalyst: He comes to Kirkwall in the first place to rescue Karl, his friend and ex-lover...only to learn he's already been made Tranquil and used to draw Anders and Hawke into an ambush by the Templars. After the fight, Anders gives him a Mercy Kill at his request. Anders is a lot grimmer after this.
Dark Is Evil: He becomes noticeably more ruthless in Act III, when his outfit turns black.
Light Is Not Good: However, despite his black outfit he is a healer mage, which invokes more light than dark
Dark Messiah: Has hordes of the poor and needy willing to risk their lives to protect him? Check. Dedicated his life to creating a better system for his people? Check. Willing to sacrifice everything, including his own life and the lives of others, to achieve this? Oh so very much check. He even compares his situation to Andraste's once or twice, to Sebastian's disgust.
Averted if Hawke is in a Rivalry with him though — he breaks down and sees himself not as a savior but as just another monstrosity to be put down.
Dead Man Walking: By the third act, he's convinced that he is this. It turns out this is because he knows he will most likely be executed after igniting the mage/Templar war.
Death Seeker: Becoming his Rival reveals that he has shades of this due to his difficulty in keeping Vengeance under control.
He still has traces of it if a Friendship was pursued, although he's less obvious about it.
Demonic Possession: Originally, Anders allowed his friend Justice, who was a benign spirit, to possess him; but Anders' inherent anger at the perceived injustices against mages perverted Justice into Vengeance.
Distressed Dude: Should he be the hostage in Best Served Cold, he's embarrassed that you had to rescue him and quips that he's never thought of himself as a damsel in distress. On the other hand, see Nightmare Fetishist.
Dreadful Musician: If he moves into the estate, Hawke notes that playing the lute isn't one of his many talents.
Dr. Jerk: Variation. He's quite kind to his patients, to the point that they're willing to risk their lives for him. Everyone else who doesn't share his views, however, is open for jerkery.
Enemy Mine: With Fenris. And Merrill to a lesser extent by Act II. As time goes on and his paranoia increases, he starts treating everybody (aside from Hawke and Varric) with suspicion.
Expy: To Morrigan's role in Origins, as both are anti-heroic apostate mage companions who prove integral to the plot of their games.
The Extremist Was Right: Terrible as Anders' actions were, a lot of supplementary material suggests that escalating the mage/templar conflict to open war was the right thing to do, since the status quo only weakened the mage's position.
Fighting from the Inside: Anders must constantly push back the influence of Vengeance or become a true abomination and lose himself.
Foreshadowing: Check out the banter between him and Justice (as well as Justice and Nathaniel) in Awakening. Heads will explode.
Freudian Excuse: Revealed to Hawke in brief rambling in his clinic. From a young age he was estranged from his home, terrorized and confined by Templars. If he had a sense of the injustice, it blurred with his lifelong grudge, begetting vengeance.
He's got another one: he's under constant pressure to keep Vengeance under control. He's losing.
The Friend Nobody Likes: To an extent; his constant going on about the mistreatment of mages drives everyone crazy and ultimately manages to turn every sympathetic ear against him, particularly in Act III.
A lot of it is them hating Justice, who forces Anders to behave that way, and scares the fear of Maker out of them.
Fridge Horror: He gets an In-Universe one. For much of the game, he talks about how Justice used to be as though he were a paragon of virtue. After losing control of Vengeance and almost/killing a young girl, Merrill explains to him that there has never been a "good" spirit and that they are all dangerous. That he is totally silent after learning this says it all. Again, if you're on a Rival path, he finally comes to terms with it after blowing up the Chantry.
Hearing Voices: The rest of the party occasionally refer to Justice/Vengeance as a voice in Anders' head, though it's a bit more complicated than that. If he comes along for Legacy, he eventually starts hearing Corypheus' voice in his head as well and briefly is forced under his control.
Heroic BSOD: When Vengeance (almost) kills a mage girl they had just saved from being made Tranquil, he realizes his control is slipping. While Hawke may help (or not help) him through this, the Codex says he abandons the cause of mages for a few years in regret.
Hero of Another Story: Though we never see it, and he never tells Hawke outright so s/he won't have to lie to Aveline, over the course of the game it is heavily implied that Anders has been doing things such as breaking into the Gallows, fighting Templars to rescue mages, helping apostates flee the cities, and other such dramatic actions. Not that Hawke's other companions have dull lives, but most aren't quite as fraught as his seems.
Hero-Worshipper: Points out that Mage!Hawke has done much to help the plight of Mages in the city and could easily be the leader the Underground is so desperate for. Hawke's stubborn refusal to get into politics eventually forces Anders to use implement his own solution to the problem.
Hesitation Equals Dishonesty: First hint something's wrong during "Justice". He keeps glancing around nervously and sometimes just trails off or switches tracks in the middle of a sentence.
He Who Fights Monsters: Eventually blows up the Chantry, with the Grand Cleric and Maker knows how many people inside so that a compromise cannot be reached and the mages and templars will have to fight a war. Not to mention turning Justice possessing him into Vengeance to use the phrase more literally.
Anders: I removed the chance of compromise, because there is no compromise!
Hot-Blooded: Deconstructed. His passion for mage liberation is what kicks off the Mage-Templar war.
Criticizes Merrill about her obsession with the mirror and her casual views on Fade spirits. She will in turn point out his own obsession with the Circle and how he willingly let a "good" spirit into his body. Anders is self-aware of this, and at one point wonders if this makes him unqualified to help mages.
He is petty and disrespectful towards Aveline and Fenris because they do not share his pro-mage stance, and yet criticizes Hawke for romancing Fenris, who has "let one bad experience colour his entire world." instead of someone "more open-minded". If Fenris is in the party, he calls him out on it.
Despite Anders being vehement about how wrong it is to enslave mages, if you choose to sell Fenris back to Danarius, Anders applauds.
Although this could be seen as due to Anders and Fenris mutually loathing each other.
...not to mention, it's a sign of Justice/Vengeance's corruption. Initially Justice would seek.. well, justice for all, and would have never stood for that. However, having been corrupted into Vengeance, he only seeks (warped) 'justice' for mages, and he considers Fenris an obstacle to that goal. Thus: celebration of this 'obstacle' being removed.
He disapproves of a romance with Merrill, alleging that she'll eventually turn on Hawke in favor of her demons. She calls him out on this if present for the conversation.
The hypocrisy of this hits critical mass when you realize that he says this during a quest where he's tricking Hawke into helping him blow up the Chantry.
His belief that all mages opinions should be heard, unless it's Bethany, a former Apostate who actually enjoys being in the circle.
If spared after destroying the Chantry and brought to confront Meredith, him calling out her zealotry as "madness" could be construed as such.
Indeed, if you spare him and side with the mages, he'll state his belief that every single Templar had always wanted to enact the Rite of Annulment and slaughter the mages, using the same absolutist view of his enemies that only the very worst of them use against mages. Even Meridith admits there are good mages; she just feels that their rights are outweighed by the safety of everyone else.
Again, a great deal of this hypocrisy appears to come from Vengeance's influence. Vengeance doesn't subscribe to human sensibilities or morals the same way a human would, and is an irrational entity by human standards. Anything that favors his ends makes sense as far as he's concerned, and this clearly has a fundamental influence on Anders' thought processes as well. Anders also notes spirits have no concept of time, so Vengeance must satisfy its desires right now, and can't wait.
Hypocritical Humour: There's a lot of this if you look closely. In Mark of the Assassin there is a scene where Anders gets so exasperated with Fenris he straight up begs him to shut up about how all mages are evil for one minute. The whole conversation is a brilliant jab at his own obsession with mage freedom.
Anders: Qunari give me the creeps. No one is that dedicated to some abstract ideal.
I Am a Monster: He starts invoking this trope in Act II, especially if you fail to stop him from killing Ella. By the time Act III rolls around, he's pretty much resigned himself to being a monster.
An Ice Person: One of his starting spells is Winter's Grasp. It also makes for an interesting bit of meta-lampshading about how much he's changed when you consider that, in Awakening, he was first seen using fire magic.
Insecure Love Interest: While almost all the party members in this game have serious self-worth issues, Anders is probably the most vocal about it if Hawke tries to romance him, repeatedly telling him/her that he has nothing to offer and that Hawke should be free to have a normal life with someone else. If Hawke is not a mage, It's Not You, It's My Enemies also comes up, since Meredith starts declaring that anyone who shelters an apostate will face a death penalty.
It's Not You, It's Me: He all but invokes this by name the first time Hawke tries to flirt with him, saying that there was a time when they could have had something, but he's no longer the same man he once was.
Anders: I'll break your heart - and that might kill me as surely as the Templars.
Jacob Marley Warning: After "Dissent," he tries to invoke this with Merrill. She points out that she at least understands the dangers better than he did before merging with Justice.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Anders can be very petty and hypocritical. But in the end, all Anders wants is to help people, and he's willing to go to grand lengths to do so.
Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: In the beginning of the game, as far as mages are concerned, while he firmly advocates their freedom and rejects turning them over to the Templars, Anders is actually quite reasonable. He outright condemns blood magic and demons, allows murder only as a last resort, and is perfectly willing to work with reasonable men like Thrask. By Act III, that persona is all but gone, and he refuses to accept anything less than total freedom for all mages, no exceptions. Thus, "no compromise" when he blows up the Chantry.
Karma Houdini: The decision to have him killed for the destruction of the Chantry rests with you, so this trope can be played straight or subverted. But even if you do kill him, he gets the war he wanted. If he does live, Sebastian vows to make sure Anders will face justice someday.
Word of God subverts this though, saying he wants to die for what he's done, so that the people he's killed will have their justice. See Cruel Mercy and Death Seeker above.
Kick the Dog: If you bring him along for Merrill's second companion quest, he'll flat-out say to her that she should have died instead of Keeper Marethari. Ouch. Also, if he and Aveline are in the party, he may start making some very negative comments on her and Wesley's sex life.
Approving of selling Fenris back to Danarius. The rest of the party is not amused.
If Anders is brought along in the quest "All That Remains," perhaps more out of thoughtlessness than anything else, he may say, "I wonder if we'll find more than just a sack of bones this time." He says this while standing right next to a very distraught Hawke who's desperately running around trying to find his/her mother after she's kidnapped by a deranged serial killer. Definitely not the thing you should say, Anders.
Kindhearted Cat Lover: Sadly, Anders had his cat Ser Pounce-A-Lot confiscated by the Grey Wardens after it nearly got him killed by accident. He's still very fond of cats, and puts out milk for the local strays. Ultimately subverted when Anders jumps off the slippery slope.
Knight Templar: Becomes one, ironically, towards the Templars over the course of the game.
Love Makes You Crazy: Inverted; if his romance is pursued, his Act III codex entry explicitly states that he views Hawke as the one thing in his life keeping him sane. Not that it makes a difference in the end.
Manipulative Bastard: Anders lies to Hawke and co. to get them to help him gather reagents to blow up the Chantry, telling them it's for a potion to rid him of Justice. It especially stings if Hawke is in a relationship with him.
Memetic Sex God: Everyone seems to want to bed him in Dragon Age II. He even complains that The Pearl is constantly trying to recruit him. invoked
Mood-Swinger: Stated in the Codex to suffer from manic and depressive phases as of Act III. His dialogue throughout the game tends to reflect this, ranging from calm and caring, to cheerful and snarky, to obsessively focused on his goals, to self-righteously grandiose, to self-loathing and miserable, to vengeful and bloodthirsty, with alarming speed.
Allowing Justice to possess him, which turned one of his closest friends into a demon. Though this may not be his fault...
During one of his companion quests, he loses control of Vengeance and threatens (possibly kills) an innocent girl.
My God, What Have I Done?: If you're on a Rivalry path with him, he expresses much more regret about blowing up the Chantry, and even states that Justice may have become a demon from the moment they merged.
If you're on the Rivalry path, after completing "Justice" Hawke can convince Anders to undo whatever it was he was doing in the Chantry at the end of the quest, with Anders becoming horrified at the prospect of actually succeeding and running off to stop it before it is too late. Since the Chantry explosion still goes through, it seems that Justice sabotaged this attempt.
The end of "Dissent" in Act II, which is nine times worse if Ella actually ends up dead.
Necessarily Evil: He recognizes that blowing up the Chantry is a horrible thing to do, and does seems guilty about it, but he honestly believes it's for the best.
Subverted if he's in a Rivalry with Hawke; he becomes convinced that he's evil by the end.
Never Gets Drunk: Justice doesn't let him get drunk anymore, making him a type 3. He still visits the Hanged Man occasionally, as it's the only place in town he can get a decent drink.
Nightmare Fetishist: If romanced, he mentions in Mark of The Assassin that one of his sexual fantasies is being rescued by Hawke right before he's to undergo the Rite of Tranquility, and then expressing his gratitude in myriad creative ways.
No Canon for the Wicked: Like all mages in Awakening, he can be specialized as a Blood Mage. There's even a special branch of dialogue devoted to discussing that fact. In this game, however, he possesses no such powers, and takes an extremely dim view of Merrill's involvement in blood magic.
Not as You Know Them: Thanks to the fusion with Justice. If he's happy some of the old Anders will resurface for a time.
Not So Different: From Fenris, despite claims to the contrary. Both have similar backgrounds as members of oppressed populations and share an unreasonable hatred of anybody belonging to the same groups as their oppressors. They both enjoy taking the opportunity to somewhat pettily snipe at anybody who disagrees with their views, especially each other.
Also from Merrill. Even though he isn't a blood mage like she is, both of them dealt with potentially dangerous Fade spirits... with terrible consequences for themselves and others.
As time goes by, he even gets this with the Templars (especially Meredith). Hooray for irony...
Outlaw Couple: If you romance Anders, spare his life after he blows up the Chantry, and commit to him before the Final Battle, the two of you will go on the run together, since he is now the most wanted man in Thedas.
Paint It Black: After his Act II companion quest, he switches to a darker, more tightly-buttoned version of his coat.
His treatment of the refugees, as well as the others forced to live in Darktown, to the point where they are willing to risk their lives for him.
Also, though he always treats Aveline with suspicion due to the City Guards working with Templars on occasion, he is relatively lighthearted and supportive of her attempts to woo Donnic in Act II.
At the end of "All That Remains", if he goes to comfort Hawke and he/she yells at him for what an insane blood mage did to his/her mother he only tells Hawke that if it helps, to take his/her anger out on him.
If Anders is romanced and moves in with Hawke, Bodahn comments on how nice it is having Anders around; both Bodahn and Sandal have taken quite a liking to him.
Bodahn: It's been quite pleasant having Master Anders staying here, messere. Sandal: [happily] He's funny! Bodahn: And he finds my boy's enchanting quite intriguing. That's the word he used! It's too bad he seems so... intent on whatever it is he works on.
Principles Zealot: While not as bad about it as the Qunari (he compromises in "All That Remains" due to the serious circumstances), due to a glitch, he was the only party member who could not be convinced to side against his faction. This was fixed in a later patch.
Whether you agree with his solution or not, it turned out Meredith was in fact going quite mad and cracking down to a point where even her own Templars turned against her.
Zigzagged with "The Tranquil Solution," which he panics over in Act II, only to find out that the Grand Cleric rejected it. He is surprised and wonders if there is hope for negotiation after all... but he's not entirely convinced it isn't a threat. And in Act III, it's implied Meredith is adopting it after all.
Sebastian: The Chantry would never follow through with such a thing. Anders: Yet.
Power Perversion Potential: A conversation with Isabela reveals that he uses magic for sexual applications. "Were you the runaway mage who could do that electricity thing? That was nice."
Redemption Failure: After "Dissent", he distances himself from the mage underground and tries to find a way to control Justice or undo their merger. By Act III, everyone he knows outside the party has been killed or forced into hiding, and he's only protected by his proximity to Hawke.
Retcon: If Anders died in Awakening, it turns out the corpse Nathaniel found was badly burnt and they just assumed it was him.
Running Gag: Hawke manages to find bits of Anders' manifesto everywhere.
He's terrible at card games, and everyone in the party knows it. In "Mark Of The Assassin," he proudly announces that he actually beat Isabela. With supernatural help.
If brought along for Legacy, Corypheus' voice starts sounding in his head, which pushes him almost to the point of a complete breakdown. At one point he is forced under Corypheus' control and the party has to fight him to get him to snap out of it.
Self-Deprecation: There are times where he makes it plain he knows exactlyhowhecomes across, especially if Hawke is romancing him and even more so if they are Rivals. Sometimes he takes lighthearted jabs at his own behavior, but other times it's a bit more serious.
Anders: Orlesian. Varric: Fop. Um... Party. Anders: Crash! Varric: Seriously, Blondie? No one ever invites you anywhere? Anders: [softly] Would you?
Shoot the Dog: His friend and lover Karl begs Anders to kill him rather than continue living as a Tranquil, when a Justice outburst momentarily reconnects Karl to Fade energies.
Squishy Wizard: He's a mage, and not a blood mage, so he'll likely have very little constitution. His vengeance talent increases his damage in exchange for damage resistance, thus making him even more of this, as well as a Glass Cannon.
Suddenly Sexuality: While Isabela has always been openly bi, and we don't know enough about Merrill and Fenris when we meet them to suggest they're not, Anders did not come across as anything but straight when he first appeared in Awakening, flirting with the ladies in the party and talking about how he wants to settle down with a nice girl one day.
Suicide by Cop: Played straight or Averted in Act III depending on your choices.
Tragic Mistake: Unusually, it takes place between games at the midpoint of his story (so far). He genuinely wanted to help Justice, but neither of them were remotely prepared for the actual consequences of the merger.
Übermensch: His goals regarding the Magi are transformative, to say the least, and he breaks a lot of eggs to get there, knowing full well he will probably be either killed or hated for his actions. Nevertheless, in his mind, society HAD to change or he would make it change.
Welcome Back, Traitor: Can be either played straight or subverted. If you told him to run after he blows up the Chantry, he will still return to you in the Gallows. Naturally, what happens after that is up to you.
What the Hell, Hero?: Gives a big one to Hawke if s/he chooses to let a demon possess Feynriel, and strikes down Justice when he objects. If he's in a romance with Hawke at this point, some fast talking will have to be done, or he'll break it off at once.
Hawke can demand an explanation for blowing up the Chantry at the start of the endgame.
If Hakwe supports the templars, especially if s/he is a mage, he will call them out on it and say that they should use their influence and money to help mages in Kirkwall.
With Us or Against Us: As part of his decline, by Act III he's become paranoid of anyone who does not explicitly share his views on granting mages immediate freedom. He goes so far as to blow up the Kirkwall Chantry alongside the only political figure capable of pacifying both Templars and mages just to ensure that everybody would have to pick a side.
Get gets very hostile towards even pro-mage Hawke if s/he suggests that some of his methods are too extreme, and basically treats everyone not firmly supporting his ideas as an enemy.
A Wizard Did It: Invoked, but not actually true. "A wizard did it" is his sarcastic reply if he's in the party when you give the maps to the Deep Roads to Bartrand. Actually, he stole them.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Becomes this by the end of the game. After a time growing up in the Mages Circle—a life stuck in a tower, bound to do whatever the Chantry asked him to—he escaped from the Templars... seven times. On the last time, he joined the Grey Wardens to escape more permanently. It's all downhill for him after that, unfortunately. The Grey Wardens consider him a wuss and mock him enough that he leaves, and then he lets a wayward Spirit of Justice—once a friend of his—into his body. All of this isn't too bad, but it starts getting nasty when he goes to Kirkwall. The sheer dark magic of the place corrupts Justice into a Demon of Vengeance. By the time Dragon Age II begins, he's constantly fighting for control over the influence of Vengeance/Justice. After all of this, his brooding is pretty justified. (He gets added points for being the constantly-hunted leader of a Mages' Rights group.) In the final act, though, he can't fight Justice off anymore, and essentially performs a terrorist attack on the local branch of the Chantry. Talk about a Trauma Conga Line. Ultimately, his fate is left up to Hawke.
You Remind Me of X: He remarks to Hawke at one point that "I had a friend like you once. Got in all kinds of trouble, dragged me along." It's suggested, though never stated, that this friend was the Warden.
Character Development: Starting off as disdainful of the material world and more dutiful than anything else, Justice can eventually come to learn that the world is beautiful in its own way and be a true Knight in Shining Armor protecting that which he has come to care for.
Chaste Hero: He has no clue as to why Oghren keeps asking him about his memories of Kristoff's marriage. It's a human desire, and benevolent spirits really don't go in for that.
Dark Is Not Evil: His flesh is decaying and he wears the dark colored Armor of the Sentinel in his trailer.
Foreshadowing: His eventual transformation into Vengeance and connection to Anders in Dragon Age II is heavily foreshadowed in his dialogue, with Anders, Nathaniel, and the Warden. At several points, the Warden can even outright ask him if he desires vengeance for Kristoff.
Honor Before Reason: As a sort of embodiment of justice, he believes that wrong-doers should be dealt with accordingly, even if it may not be the most pragmatic decision. Unless he's talked down, he'll turn against the Warden-Commander should the latter decide to ally with the Architect.
After seeing the injustices Mages face, he ends up causing his new host, Anders, to blow up the Kirkwall Chantry in Dragon Age II, which in doing so, ignites a world war between the Mages and Templars throughout Thedas.
Humanoid Abomination: A benevolent one, but still an alien entity that doesn't understand human attitudes occupying the shape of a human.
Warrior Poet: "A world so full of beauty that beauty goes overlooked."
What Is This Thing You Call Love?: Justice finds himself envious of the love between Kristoff and his widow Aura, but also associates such feelings with Desire Demons.
Tropes In Dragon Age II
"YOU WILL NEVER TAKE ANOTHER MAGE AS YOU TOOK HIM!"
After the end of the Darkspawn threat Anders became Justice's new human host in a joint effort to free mages from the Circle. But Anders' anger at this injustice corrupted the spirit; by the time Hawke meets them, he has become Vengeance.
Ambiguously Evil: Did he become a Knight Templar but remain a spirit, or does he fall from grace and become a true demon? Anders' opinion changes depending on whether he's a Friend or a Rival.
And I Must Scream: Anders talks about the terrifying sensation of being trapped inside his own body and unable to do or say anything after Justice briefly became the dominant personality during "Night Terrors," then remarks sadly that Justice must feel like that all the time. No wonder he's become a grouch.
Black and White Insanity: Much of his morality can be seen as this. Add in some of the Blue and Orange Morality inherent with fade spirits and you have an entity with a unbending idea of what it thinks is right but with zero concept of compassion or compromise.
Blue and Orange Morality: Vengeance does not understand time (time doesn't matter in the Fade) and doesn't truly understand things like "mercy" or "forgiveness." Thus he is driven by the unyielding desire to constantly lash out at the injustices Anders perceives, regardless of who it ultimately hurts.
Fallen Hero: The difference between Vengeance and a true demon is practically non-existent.
Foreshadowing: In Awakening, Anders and Justice had a conversation about the differences between spirits and demons and whether Justice could become a demon. May also count as Harsher in Hindsight.
Another conversation between Justice and Nathaniel about what would happen to Justice after the decay of Kristoff's body ends with him considering the idea of possessing a willing living human host...
The Warden can even ask Justice if he desires revenge for what happened to Kristoff and tell him that there is a thin line between avenging a wrong and outright vengeance.
The Friend Nobody Likes: While various party members have their own opinions on Anders, everyone seems very vocal in their clear dislike of Justice. Justice apparently returns the sentiment, even towards Hawke, the only person willing to listen to Anders' lectures. Anders mentions that Justice feels (especially if romanced) that his obsession with and hero-worship towards them is distracting him from the cause.
Guest Star Party Member: During the side-quest "Night Terrors", Vengeance takes control of Anders and fights alongside you.
He Who Fights Monsters: Inverted. While Justice originally encouraged Anders to seek freedom for all mages, Anders wanted revenge more than justice, and Justice was corrupted.
Hypocrite: When accused by a terrified mage of being a demon, due to his possession of Anders, he goes into a blind rage and attacks her for the insult. If Hawk fails to calm him, Vengeance will murder a mage he was supposed to be saving from corrupt Templars. And see nothing wrong with it.
Knight Templar: He still seeks to protect the weak and punish the wicked, but Anders' anger has made him completely merciless.
Moral Event Horizon: An in-universe example. Anders will consider this to be Justice's (and by extension his own) in Act II if he isn't restrained and ends up murdering a young girl. Even if you do stop him, it still shocks him to the core. Vengeance, on the other hand, is much quicker to throw this label around.
Not as You Know Them: Anders' repressed bitterness has turned Justice from "inflexible but good-hearted" to a trigger-happy Knight Templar who only manifests when Anders completely loses control. He acts much more like his old self in "Night Terrors."
The fact that he acts more like his old self in "Night Terrors" might imply that we only see him outside the Fade when he's completely enraged. When not ticked off he seems pretty much the same just with a harsher view of right and wrong. Specifically, he seems to have picked up a heavy amount of Black and White Insanity.
If he's a Rival, Anders reveals he's been suffering blackouts in Act III, which only had previously happened when Justice took control. This heavily implies that Justice is now actively vying to control Anders.
Voice of the Legion: Speaks with both the booming, echoing voice of Justice, and Anders' voice underneath it. If you listen closely, there are times where their tone of voice differs, hinting at the personality conflict.
What Have I Done: Anders blames himself for Justice's corruption. The Enigma of Kirkwall texts imply, however, that the Tevinter blood magic under Kirkwall may have been at the very least partly responsible.
What the Hell, Hero?: Justice / Vengeance won't turn on Hawke in the Fade unless you agree to let a demon possess Feynriel.
With Us or Against Us: Vengeance is significantly less discerning about who qualifies as ally or enemy than before.
"Opinions are like testicles - you kick them hard enough, doesn't matter how many you got."
A friendly Surface Dwarf with an Automatic Crossbow and a fondness for storytelling. Varric serves as the narrator of Dragon Age II, with the backdrop set in 9:40 Dragon being his relating the history of the Champion to the Seeker, Cassandra Pentaghast and attempting to set the story straight as he was a companion to the Champion during that time.
Big Brother Instinct: Demonstrates this towards Bethany, perhaps because of their early Party Banter in which she talks about how much she misses Carver. He also behaves this way a lot towards Merrill.
He also shows this towards Hawke, evoking concern they might get hurt in a romantic relationship with any of the companions.
BFC: Bianca, Varric's tricked-out, custom-made, and rather large crossbow. The devs specifically made Bianca level up with Varric so as to make players never want to part the two without breaking the game.
Cargo Ship: Invoked. His fondness for Bianca often rolls past mere praise into the realm of flirtation. He's not a romance option because he's already found the love of his life.
The Charmer: Word of God has said that no matter what danger he's in, the moment you let Varric begin to talk, he's won.
City Mouse: Varric isn't comfortable anywhere without streets and buildings.
Combat Pragmatist: Spare Gascard early in the game and he'll aid you in the search for your mother. Then it turns out that he's the necromancer's apprentice and is only interested in learning the rest of his secrets. Varric will promptly shoot him in the throat.
Varric: What? You were going to do that, right?
Consummate Liar: His ability to spin up a good line of bullshit can help Hawke avoid a fight once in a while. He lampshades this in a party banter with Aveline, where he says he lies a lot.
Covert Pervert: While he does flirt shamelessly with Isabela and bemoan a lack of dwarven barmaids, Varric's otherwise more interested in being a Deadpan Snarker... until Aveline convinces him to do some recruitment posters for the city guard. He intentionally swaps the text with those for the local brothel's recruitment. This leads to a Crowning Moment of Funny when Aveline points out that while he filled the city guardhouse with whores, he filled the brothel with guardsmen.
Isabela shares her "friend-fiction" with him. He finds it hilarious.
Deadpan Snarker: It's practically his stated purpose in life, apart from dodging Merchants' Guild meetings and 'dramatizing' Hawke's life story.
Narrative: After being forcibly dragged into a dark room by heavily armored men, he immediately begins snarking. He does not stop. After being threatened and assaulted by a heavily armed woman of some importance, he proceeds to tell her outrageous lies and doesn't act at all ashamed when caught. He then proceeds to tell her (mostly) the truth, never once losing his cool.
Chronologically: He (non-fatally) pins a moving target to a wall with a precision shot from Bianca, and proceeds to lecture and snark at his victim. He then returns Hawke's coin and suavely introduces himself, followed by a business proposition.
Varric: If you have something to say, just spit it out. Anders: Are you sure you want to encourage me? I might be about to confess my undying love. Varric: I get that a lot. So what's on your mind?
If male Hawke tells Merrill she's prettier than the Eluvian:
Merrill: I'm sure you say that to Varric at least once a day. Varric: Twice, usually. But can you blame him? Nobody can resist this face!
The Exile / Going Native: Due to the entire Noble House of Tethras being exiled from Orzammar after his father was caught fixing Provings, Varric was born on the surface in Kirkwall. Having grown up in the surface world, Varric has genuinely no idea why the Dwarves of Orzammar willingly chose to live in a dark, smelly hole, filled with Darkspawn.
Expy: There's just enough Tyrion Lannister to him to see that Bioware still is using the series as an inspiration.
Fantastic Racism: Downplayed, but Varric doesn't understand or much like the qunari, particularly the lengths they're willing to go to. He's the only one to disapprove of helping Ketojan, and is unsurprised when Arvaraad executes him ("I knew it! Can't trust a zealot.") He also asks Tallis if she really thinks a book was worth going to war over.
Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: He's the progressive surfacer to Bartrand's traditionalist Dwarven ideals. Which one is really "foolish" and which is "responsible" is debatable.
Friendly Sniper: He's the only member of the party on good terms with everybody else.
He kills Gascard DuPuis before he gets a chance to join Quentin.
Glass Cannon: Bianca (especially a fully-upgraded Bianca) has one of the highest damage outputs of any weapon in the game, but Varric himself is a rogue, not a tank. He tends to get taken down a lot absent some means of drawing aggro away from him.
Guile Hero: Varric doesn't mind violence, but prefers to settle things through trickery or bribery if possible. He's the only one who gives friendship points for bargaining with Castillon - Isabela blusters, but her opinion of you doesn't actually change either way.
Her Code Name Was Mary Sue: During his companion quest, he briefly turns himself into a dwarven Tony Montana, rips through an army of mercenaries like it was nothing, and his brother spends the whole time talking about the awesomeness of Varric. Cassandra calls him out on this, and Varric tells the real story.
Word of God has said they seriously considered adding a post-credits scene where Varric is shown reuniting with Hawke, saying not to worry, he didn't tell the Seekers anything about them.
Hidden Heart of Gold: It is indicated in cutscenes and his Party Banter that he does a lot of things in the background to help out other party members, like keeping thugs from causing trouble at Anders' clinic and making sure Merrill won't be have any trouble when she wanders into the wrong part of town (most nights). Apparently it costs him a fortune.
He gives Merrill a ball of twine when she first arrives in Kirkwall, so she could find her way back home again. When she offers to return it in Act III, he tells her to keep it.
If she wasn't romanced, it's revealed that during the years between Act II and Act III, Merrill stops leaving the house while obsessively working on the Eluvian. Varric apparently visits her every week to try to coax her out and out of his own pocket pays for food to be delivered to her door because she's forgetting to eat.
Hoist by His Own Petard: His penchant for exaggerating parts of Hawke's tale eventually gets him dragged in front of The Seekers, who are essentially Thedas' equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition, desperate for the truth about the Champion of Kirkwall. It's then subverted as after he's finished telling his story, Cassandra freely lets him go without incident.
Lady Drunk: His mother was an angry drunk with worse hangovers (try bringing him for Repentance).
The Lancer: Due to his role in the story, Varric is the only party member who cannot leave the party, and provides a counterpoint to both Paragon! and Renegade!Hawke. With Silly!Hawke, it seems like the two of them are snarkng best buds.
Merchant Prince: Varric's specialization tree calls him one, though the truth is more complicated. He's very wealthy and well-connected, but isn't interested in politics and tends to skip Merchant's Guild meetings.
Mercy Kill: Hawke can convince him to do this to Bartrand. Varric tries to convince himself he'll enjoy it, but he clearly regrets what happened to his brother, even bringing it up to Fenris when the elf is about to kill his sister.
Momma's Boy: Despite having to single-handedly care for his alcoholic mother from a young age, he doesn't seem to resent her for it.
Varric:I swear, I will find that son of a bitch - sorry, Mother - and kill him!
Varric is a rare example of a surface dwarf who sincerely believes that the Dwarves of Orzammar are morons for not realising just why living on the surface is actually completely fantastic.
Despite being from a house of exiled nobles, he has utter contempt for their entire caste system, seeing the elite as petty for getting to look down on others just because their ancestor managed to "build a water clock or something". He dismisses Harrowmont for his isolationism and approves of Bhelen dissolving the Assembly (but "it's still Orzammar").
Merrill is "Daisy." Bethany is "Sunshine," Anders is "Blondie," Carver is "Junior" and "little Hawke," Isabela is "Rivani," Sebastian is "Choir Boy," and Fenris is "Elf". He doesn't have one for Aveline, which bothers her - he says it's because he can't think of anything better than "Red," which they agree is too common.
Aveline: You don't call anyone by their real name, except me. Where's my nickname? Varric: That's not true, there's Hawke and Bianca. Aveline: Hawke is a family name. And Bianca is a crossbow.
Hawke can also complain that Varric doesn't have a proper nickname for him/her, prompting Varric to bestow Hawke with a nickname that suits his/her personality - diplomatic!Hawke is Waffles, silly!Hawke is Chuckles, and aggressive!Hawke is Killer.
Noodle Incident: He refuses to tell anyone how Bianca got her name. Just thatMirabellewas taken. According to the descriptions of his personal abilities, he's written a song about it, but will only ever hum it quietly to help his concentration.
OOC Is Serious Business: During "Haunted" in Act III, he becomes more and more agitated, finally yelling at Hawke and demanding to have the shard of the idol they found. It certainly freaks Anders out a bit, who tells Hawke that the idol is affecting his mind. Varric apologizes afterwards, and he appears to have suffered no permanent ill-effects by the time Cassandra found him, even if Hawke allowed him to have the shard. Granted, it did take several years for Bartrand to go completely Ax-Crazy...
Our Dwarves Are All the Same: While he's not the only beardless dwarf in Thedas, he's one of the few who actually prefers the surface. One could attribute this to his being born on the surface after House Tethras was exiled; he has no memories of Orzammar because he was never in it, and if asked by Bethany will vehemently state that he has no desire to go there. His brother Bartrand, on the other hand, shows many traits common among the Dwarven nobles of Orzammar, such as irritability, arrogance, intolerance of other cultures and an over-inflated sense of ego.
Pet the Dog: In-universe. He freely admits to Cassandra that he's making up Hawke's conversation with the deceased Leandra in Legacy, but still does so because he thinks that Hawke deserves to have something good happen in their life and get some closure.
Refuge in Audacity: Some of his storytelling and interaction with Cassandra could be seen as him doing this. Of particular note is when he mentions Flemeth helping the Hawke family escape the Blight; when she all but accuses him of making it up, he asks if she needs him to recite the tale of the Warden too. He takes refuge in audacity because the truth is really that audacious!
The Resenter: The Pride Demon in "Night Terrors" implies part of him is very bitter about his role sitting just outside the spotlight, and mostly how it pertains to Bartrand.
Varric: I did everything for the family. My whole life... and he's still the favorite son.
Rich Idiot with No Day Job: He plays the part, largely in Act I, but in truth he's a Knowledge Broker/The Spymaster, and a very business-savvy one at that. He makes a point of missing Merchant's Guild meetings, never replies to his mail, and registers the family businesses to an imaginary cousin.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: Varric was born of the House Tethras, disgraced nobles exiled from Orzammar after his father was caught fixing Provings. Unlike Bartrand, Varric is more flexible and willing to compromise to achieve his ends, willing to get his hands dirty if needs be, and recognises Hawke as someone to be counted on get things done. He joins the Deep Roads Expedition to keep his brother from harm, is willing to follow Hawke into dangerous territory to rescue Sandal, and despite the implication being that he's probably more wealthy that Hawke, still chooses to live in the Hanged Man down in Lowtown.
Ship Tease: Some conversational options will allow him to flirt with a female Hawke, though it's treated like a running joke between them. He also has an innocent tease with Bethany, to whom he is shown to be particularly attached; she giggles when he calls her "my lady Sunshine" and confides in him about her relationship with Carver. He's also really upset by her death if she doesn't survive the Deep Roads, and sounds sad when telling Cassandra about her going to the Circle if she remained behind.
If he and Circle! Bethany are brought to the Chateau, she'll feel embarrassed about her uniform. He'll assure her that she could make a burlap sack look good and would kill the other guests in the height of fashion.
The Spymaster: He runs a spy network to help his friends and family.
Merrill: His mind draws [demons] the same way pastries draw Varric.
Swiss-Army Weapon: Bianca is an Automatic Crossbow, with a mounted grenade launcher that Varric uses when firing Miasmic Flask, and a hidden bayonet the size of an arming sword.
Tagalong Chronicler: Not only is he The Narrator, but even in-story, it is acknowledged that he will be the main influence on how history will remember Hawke.
Team Mom / The Team Benefactor: Like Aveline, party-member banter reveals things Varric is doing behind the scenes to try and keep members of the group out of trouble, such as bribing the Lowtown gangs to leave Merrill alone.
He's also the only one, besides possibly Hawke, to really be on the good side of everyone in the party. And with a Dysfunction Junction this bad, that is an accomplishment.
Undying Loyalty: He's the only member of the party who will never leave Hawke, no matter what happens. (He's also, by far, the easiest party member to befriend. If you bring him along on most quests, you will have to deliberately antagonize him to avoid getting 100% Friendship with him in Act I, long before it becomes possible for any other character besides Bethany.) He can, however, be tempted to betray Hawke in the fade by a demon; he'll simply apologize later.
His loyalty even extends beyond the physical. At the end of the Legacy DLC if done after the murder of Hawke's mother, he recounts how Hawke had a conversation with his/her mother. He quickly admits that this didn't actually happen. He only said it because he wished his friend had gotten that closure, despite knowing that s/he never did.
The Unfavorite: "Night Terrors" implies he sees himself as such, compared to Bartrand.
Unreliable Narrator: For portions of the story, he'll exaggerate certain events just to make the story more interesting or if he's hiding something. Cassandra will ask questions occasionally and discern Varric's hyperbole and the truth.
He also freely admits as much when, in Legacy he invents a conversation between Hawke and Leandra's ghost. He concedes that it never happened; he just wanted to give his dear friend some closure regarding his/her mother's murder.
The in-story explanation for Legacy and Mark of the Assassin within the Framing Device is that Varric left it out at first, "assuming" Cassandra wouldn't be interested. Also, that she wouldn't believe it.
In his prelude recounting of an overpowered male Hawke's battle against the Blight alongside his sister, Bethany is depicted with a substantially bigger bosom than normal.
With Sebastian as well, especially in Mark Of The Assassin.
Vocal Evolution: In the very first cut scenes, Varric has a noticeably deeper lilt to his voice than later on, sounding much unlike the more lighthearted and easygoing dwarf the player becomes familiar with from his introduction to Hawke and onward.
We Used to Be Friends: He stays on mostly good terms with Anders right up to the chantry attack. After that, he says he's sick of mages and templars and seems bitter about introducing him to Hawke in the first place.
invokedWrite Who You Know: Invoked during Party Banter in Act II with Aveline reveals he's writing a series of novels starring a rogue guardsman called Donnen Brennicovick. Apparently, there have been fistfights in the barracks over which guard Varric based him on. It might be simple coincidence, but Donnic and Brennan, two actual guardsmen you meet during Act I, seem the most likely candidates.
Tropes In Dragon Age:Inquisition
"If this is all just the Maker winding us up, I hope there's a damn good punch line coming."
Never Hurt an Innocent: The PAX Demo suggests that Varric will not hesitate to call out the Inquisitor if they engage in Kick the Dog antics, such as abandoning innocents or wounded individuals that could easily be saved.
War Is Hell: The teaser trailer shows a shell-shocked Varric standing over a battleground, filled with bodies.
Warrior Poet: In his spare time, Varric is an accomplished poet and author. His novel "Hard in Hightown" is apparently popular enough that it has even generated a Shoddy Knock Off sequel, much to Varric's chagrin.
What the Hell, Hero?: He's not happy if the Inquisitor leaves Crestwood defenceless against the Red Templars.
A member of the the Seekers of the Chantry who interrogates Varric in order to understand the true nature of the Champion's story. Though she starts off suspicious of the Champion's actions, she eventually grows more amiable as she listens to what really happened.
Action Girl: As you can see from Dawn of the Seeker, she can take down an Ogre single-handedly, kills numerous blood mages and a couple dragons, along with beating down several templars.
Boyish Short Hair: Given that she's ostensibly a soldier, she presumably finds long hair to be somewhat impractical.
Character Development: Despite only being a part of the framing device, Cassandra seems to mellow out as Varric tells the story. In the beginning, she's rude and nasty, even threatening Varric with a near-Groin Attack by plunging a knife through a book on his lap. By the end, she's quite willing to hear out Varric's story, and even lets him go without incident.
Furthermore, Cassandra and Varric apparently teamed up after the events of the second game, having been confirmed to appear in Inquisition as companions of the Inquisitor.
Initially, she assumes that Hawke was the Big Bad and responsible for instigating the Mage-Templar War, but because of Varric's tale, realises instead they were a heroic figure, who simply tried to do the best they could with an already bad situation. By the end, she realises that Kirkwall was a ticking time bomb, one that was way out of control to begin with.
In Dawn of the Seeker, she initially hates mages because of her Dark and Troubled Past, but slowly learns to grow out of it and realises they are people, too. That said, her prejudice isn't completely gone by II, since her initial assumption was that Mage Hawke was an apostate dissident who intentionally sowed discontent to bring down the Chantry.
Conspiracy Theorist: Maybe not so much as the Chantry in general, but some of the ideas the Seekers have about the events of the game are a bit... out there.
Dark Is Not Evil: She's basically part of Thedas' equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition, wears all black, and is extremely grouchy... and she's also trying to stop a major war from breaking out for entirely selfless reasons.
General Ripper: She initially assumes that Hawke is the mastermind of the war that's about to tear the world apart and that everything that has led up to this point was all part of his/her Evil Plan. However...
Good Is Not Nice: While she's initially portrayed as antagonistic to Varric and implied to want to bring Hawke to justice, she's revealed to actually be trying to prevent the Mage-Templar war and wants to recruit Hawke to help stop the fighting.
Great Big Book of Everything: The Seeker record which she carries around. It apparently contains character portraits of Hawke's companions, (presumably) Varric's exaggerated version of Hawke's tale, as well as images of Flemeth, Morrigan, and for some reason, Shale chasing pigeons...
Groin Attack: Comes close to doing this to Varric Tethras during the introduction when she shoves a dagger through a book to get him to start talking about the Champion of Kirkwall.
Hero-Worshipper: Varric implies that Cassandra is being swept up in Hawke's legend. She'll deny it (and Varric's belief she's developing a crush) if it's male Hawke, but with female Hawke she will admit she has respect for a woman who built herself up from nothing.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Even though she's kind of a bitch to Varric in the beginning, it turns out that she's trying to prevent the Mage-Templar war.
Internal Affairs: The job of a Seeker is essentially to keep an eye on the Templars and ensure they do not abuse their powers and/or stray from the will of the Chantry. The events of the game serve to indicate how bad things can get when the Seekers drop the ball.
Reasonable Authority Figure: Despite being essentially part of the Chantry's Inquisition, she does seem quite willing to hear Varric out, even if what he has to say doesn't put some parts of the Chantry in a very good light.
The Reveal: Finding out that she's working with Leliana in the last scene of the game.
Tsundere: Especially if Hawke is male, as Varric will imply that she has a crush on him. Which she promptly denies. She also has this relationship with Regalyan in Dawn of the Seeker.
Wrong Genre Savvy: Between narrations she adamantly tries to pin the blame of all the events of the game on a Big Bad. There is none. Varric even says that Meredith, corrupted by the Artifact of Doom, was irrelevant.
"We will close the Breach; we will find those responsible; and we will restore order."
Cassandra joins the Inquisitor's party alongside Varric in Dragon Age: Inquisition, in hopes of ending the Thedas Civil War and uncovering the truth behind the demonic invasion from the Fade after moonlighting as a framing device in the previous game. She is a romance option for male Inquisitors of any race.
Conflicting Loyalty: At the start of the Mage-Templar War, she was forced to choose between her duty to the Seekers, who had led the Templars away from the Chantry, and her duty to the Divine. Cassandra ultimately choose the Divine, since the Divine seeks to end the chaos while the Seekers are contributing to it.
Conspiracy Theorist: Her suspicion seems to have carried over from the second game. She meets the Inquisitor-to-be striding (relatively) unharmed out of a catastrophe that consumed an army and assumes (not unreasonably) that they had a hand in making it happen.
Pragmatic Hero: The PAX Demo shows Cassandra supporting the Inquisitor if they choose to sacrifice the villagers of Crestwood to instead defend their Keep, believing that their forces and fortress are more important than a small village filled with a handful of civilians. When she tries to point this out to Varric, he vehemently disagrees.
"You are required to do nothing, least of all believe."
The legendary Witch of the Wilds, mother of Morrigan and fear of Chasind tribes everywhere. She is apparently centuries old, loves cryptic hints and indulges in Voluntary Shapeshifting.
Affably Evil: In keeping with her being Ambiguously Evil, she's always immensely polite, gives good advice, would rather compromise than fight, and saves the lives of the protagonists in the first and second games. Of course, according to Morrigan she's forced her daughter to watch her rape and murder men, gains her immortality by stealing the bodies of her daughters, and her plan in the first game all along was to get Morrigan impregnated with the soul of an Old God. Still, for all that she acts like someone's batty grandmother.
Age Without Youth: In her myths, she was the most beautiful woman in the world. When you meet her, she's an old hag. Morrigan claims Flemeth takes over her daughters' bodies to regain her youth.
Back from the Dead: Even if you kill her at Morrigan's behest in Origins, Hawke and Merrill end up resurrecting her early on in Dragon Age II. Turns out that Flemeth had prepared a Soul Jar containing part of her essence, just for this eventuality. Though even if "killed" in Origins, Morrigan says Flemeth will manage to eventually return.
Body Surf: Morrigan claims Flemeth raises daughters and teaches them magic so that she can easily possess them.
Bonus Boss/Skippable Boss: You can fight her in Origins by completing one of Morrigan's optional quest lines, to get her grimoire for Morrigan. However, you can also complete the questline and acquire the grimoire... by asking for it. She will give it to you without any trouble, seeming more amused by the whole situation than anything, and you can even lie to Morrigan and claim to have killed her with no repercussions for the fib. It makes sense, since Morrigan states even before you face her that killing Flemeth is likely just a temporary condition for her.
Captain Ersatz: Shares many elements with Baba Yaga, as an Ambiguously Evil centuries old decrepit witch who lives in a hut deep in the forest and most consider nothing but a legend to frighten children with. Much like Baba Yaga, some of the stories about Flemeth involve kidnapping and eating children as well.
The Chooser of The One: She comes after Duncan, but she's the only reason you and Alistair survive Ostagar. She repeats this with Hawke in the next game.
Cryptic Conversation: She talks in nothing but hints and riddles, and will generally tell you to come to your own conclusions instead of asking her to give them to you. She'll also talk ominously about her daughter's "true intentions" if you side with Morrigan against Flemeth.
Death by Sex: Morrigan claims that this is one of her favourite pastimes, luring Chasind men to her bed only to kill them afterwards.
Demonic Possession: Some of her legends claim she's a centuries old mage possessed by a demon. Most people who meet her agree she's something even scarier than an Abomination though.
The Dreaded: Fereldan mothers frighten their children by telling them Flemeth will come to get them if they don't behave, and even adults are uneasy at the mention of of the legendary "Witch of the Wilds".
Even Evil Has Standards: One of her legends involves a nobleman buying Flemeth from the witch's destitute husband on Flemeth's suggestion. But when the nobleman has her former husband killed instead, Flemeth slaughters the nobleman and his entire estate. In Morrigan's version, Flemeth did it because she refused to be married to a man with no honor. Interestingly, the castle the nobleman ruled was Highever, and the chain of events she set off led to Sarim Cousland's ascension as Bann.
Flemeth: Oh, don't mind me. You have what you came for.
The Fair Folk: The Dalish Elves see her as a legendary and dangerous spirit of untold power, Asha'bellanar.
Grand Theft Me: Morrigan claims the secret to Flemeth's immortality is that she keeps transferring her spirit into new bodies (specifically, those of her daughters). However, it's left unclear as to whether or not Morrigan is lying.
Hidden Agenda Villain: She has some sort of questionable plan involving the Old Gods, dragons, and more. However, the goal or even the specifics of this plan are left entirely unknown through the first two games.
Humanoid Abomination: In the Witch Hunt DLC, Morrigan states that Flemeth may look human, but she's something far worse than a demon, blood mage, or abomination. In Dragon Age II, Anders is somewhat unnerved that Justice doesn't know what she is either.
Hyper Awareness: Seems to be at least somewhat aware of the Warden's and Hawke's coming destinies just by having a look at them.
I Have Many Names: Fereldans call her "The Witch of the Wilds". The Dalish elves, meanwhile, call her "Asha'bellanar" (the Woman of Many Years). Even "Flemeth" is just the Chasinds' name for her.
I Was Quite a Looker: Though rather elderly looking when you meet her, Flemeth's stories claim she was legendarily beautiful and attracted suitors from all over the world.
Meaningful Name: The Elves refer to her as Asha'bellanar, the "Woman of Many Years," hinting at her power and apparent immortality.
Mrs. Robinson: Given her immense age, this is technically in effect with any man she supposedly lures to her bed before killing them. If playing as a Male Mage Warden, she expresses that it's a shame she has to send them off with Morrigan, instead of keeping them around for a while.
Multiple Choice Past: There are multiple separate accounts of her origins, ranging from a powerful demon possessing female apostates through the ages, to a beautiful mage who became an Abomination to take revenge on the man who killed her husband, to some sort of shadowy fallen god.
Never Mess with Granny: She may seem like an unassuming, dotty old woman, but she can also turn into a dragon and rip your head off.
Really 700 Years Old: Lampshaded by the Dalish, whose name for her translates as "Woman of Many Years".
Retired Monster: Despite the horrific acts she is said to have committed in her legends, these days she just quietly lives in a hut deep in the woods. It eventually turns out she's just biding her time while her daughters act out different elements of her unknown plan.
Scaled Up: In battle, she transforms into a dragon.
Shapeshifter Default Form: In the second game she half-jokingly points out that for all Hawke knows, the dragon could actually be her real form and it's the witch that is merely the illusion.
So Beautiful, It's a Curse: In her backstory, her legendary beauty and men's desire for her dictated the course of her entire life. While she has a Multiple Choice Past, every version of her tale agrees that she was beautiful, and that such beauty brought her no joy in life.
Staying Alive: Come on, do you really think Bioware would kill her off so quickly, especially with the endgame ritual? The codex entry when you kill her says that she was apparently slain.
Morrigan doesn't even consider the idea that she might really be dead. She's quite prepared to kill Flemeth over and over as long as she lives to avoid having her body stolen if the Grimoire won't teach her how.
Flemeth returns in the sequel, having taken contingencies using Hawke as her Unwitting Pawn and stating that there's no reason why she can't be in multiple places at once.
Tyke Bomb: Morrigan is the latest of many daughters she's raised to terrorize the Korcari Wilds. And provide her with a new body for when her current one gets too old.
Unreliable Narrator: Her legend has undergone Adaptation Decay over the centuries. While Morrigan can tell you what Flemeth claims is her true past, she notes that it is unwise to take anything that Flemeth says at face value, though she believes her story is the most accurate. In the Witch Hunt DLC, Morrigan says that Flemeth isn't a human, a blood mage, or an abomination. How long she hasn't been human, or if she ever was, is unknown.
Wicked Witch: The Chasind seem to think so. She's old, wrinkled, lives in a cottage in the middle of nowhere, cackles, and is rumored to be widowed and a stealer of children ("As if I had nothing better to do!").
Tropes In Dragon Age II
"We stand upon the precipice of change. The world fears the inevitable plummet into the abyss. Watch for that moment... and when it comes, do not hesitate to leap. It is only when you fall that you learn whether you can fly."
Flemeth returns in Dragon Age II in a new form, making it clear that whatever happens to her in Origins is at most a mild inconvenience.
Affably Evil: Despite supposedly being a villain, Flemeth not only saves Hawke's life but escorts their family safely to Gwaren as promised and offers free advice (and consolation) to Hawke and companions at Sundermount.
Flemeth: You have my thanks... and my sympathies.
Ambiguous Situation: She states lightly that she may not be an old woman but instead an actual dragon, and hints to Merrill that there is more to know about who she is than just Flemeth. This and some other implications suggest she might very well be a dragon or even an Old God, if you remember that Morrigan learned the ritual from her in the first place and her statements at the end of Witch Hunt. Yet everything about her is completely ambiguous, and by the end of the second game you still don't really know what's up with her.
Ambiguously Evil: Despite what we are told, she really hasn't done a single villainous thing.note At least on-screen. Yet what we're told isn't exactly pleasant. It's possible she isn't as evil as we're told she is, though she's almost certainly every bit as terrifying.
Trickster Mentor: Despite the above, much of the advice she gives to Hawke, Bethany, and Merrill actually makes a lot of sense. You know things are bad when Flemeth, of all people, is counted among the reasonable.
Broken Aesop: Snarky!Hawke can point this out on her advice.
Flemeth: It is only when you fall you learn whether you can fly. Snarky!Hawke: Cheap advice... from a dragon.
Crazy-Prepared: It's possible that she has some precognitive ability, as hours after sending her daughter with the Warden, she immediately sets up an out just in case Morrigan has the Warden try to kill her. Disturbingly, when she expresses surprise that Hawke kept his/her word, she doesn't act all that concerned that her backup plan might have failed, suggesting she's got even more ways out than we see in the game. She also suggests she's aware to some degree of Hawke's eventual fate, though she doesn't say it outright.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Why was she so unconcerned with the Warden killing her in the first game? Because she had already prepared for her resurrection. She treats the whole thing like changing clothes.
Deadpan Snarker: To the point that she outright approves of snarky responses from Hawke.
Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Hawke's companions aren't particular thrilled to have had an encounter with her, especially Aveline or Hawke's sibling who were already unnerved by her the first time around.
Evil Is Hammy: Despite being the terrifying and legendary Witch of the Wilds, she shares some lighthearted banter with a Sarcastic Hawke, notes wryly that if she wanted to kill the group they wouldn't be able to stop her and refers to herself (once again) with the self-deprecating description of "an old hag who talks too much".
Flemeth: [Morrigan] is a girl who thinks she knows what is what better than I, or anyone. Ha ha! And why not? I raised her to be as she is, I cannot expect her to be less. Hawke: I'm not sure whether she's your daughter or your enemy. Flemeth: Neither is she...
Foe Yay: In-universe, she admits she really enjoys dealing with Snarky!Hawke;
Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have: Her character model certainly got an upgrade from crazy old wild woman, though she still does look old. May just be an art upgrade coupled with actually taking care of hair.
Explicitly stated when she appears. Aveline describes her as a "Witch of the Wilds", and Bethany muses that she's an apostate, but anyone who's played Witch Hunt will know that she's neither. Fenris also notes that he has seen many blood mages, demons, and abominations while in Tevinter... but Flemeth is none of those things.
Even Anders is immediately tuned into the fact that she is neither abomination, demon, or mage, and the man shares a mindand memories of a spirit who has been around for Maker only knows how long. That's really saying something.
Inexplicably Awesome: So far, anyway. No one, including her own daughter, has a clear answer to the question "What the heck is she?"
Hyper Awareness: Flemeth's cryptic dialogue implies that, much like the Warden before them, she is perfectly aware of Hawke's destiny and their role in shaping the face of Thedas forever.
Flemeth: Is it chance...or fate? I can never decide...
I Gave My Word: The reason Hawke kept his/her promise to give the Amulet to the Dalish Elves, since they owed her a favour. Flemeth appears to be pleasantly surprised by this, having half-expected Hawke to simply flog it to the first merchant they saw.
Snarky!Hawke: No one wanted to buy it. Maybe because there was a witch inside?
Memetic Badass: In-universe. The Dalish Elves know that if Asha'bellanar summons you, there's no question about it, you go. May the Creators help you if you at all keep her waiting or attempt to screw her around.
Me's a Crowd: We only see one of her at a time, but she considers bodies "limiting things" and says "must I be in only one place?" Considering the number of people who want to kill her, this is a good idea.
Pet the Dog: Her interaction with Hawke. Dialogue with Marethari and Merrill implies that she's slightly more inclined to give these moments to the Dalish, due to them having the correct amount of fear and respect towards her. She also offers some words of consolation to Aveline in the prologue.
Pragmatic Villainy: When Aveline mentions the legends claim that the Witch of the Wilds steals children.
Flemeth: Bah! As if I didn't have anything better to do!
Staying Alive: Morrigan makes it quite apparent in the first game that Flemeth was not killed by the Warden. It turns out she kept a contingency via the amulet she gave to Hawke.
Stop Worshipping Me: Although she commands a lot of respect and fear amongst the Dalish, she makes a point to let Merrill know she doesn't have to keep bowing before her. She even chastises the Dalish for bending their knees too willingly.
Sequel Hook: Literally everything about Flemeth, her origins, her plans, her motives, and where the hell she went goes unexplained, despite considerable lead up in dialogue during the Witch Hunt DLC. Her obviously immense power and the sheer amount of knowledge she carries imply her goals and motives are vastly more complicated then we've seen so far, all clearly leading up to something...but what, exactly, that is has yet to be revealed.
Trickster Mentor: Exhibits some of the traits of this trope, particularly in her advice for Hawke, Bethany/Carver, and Merrill.
What the Hell Are You?: Fenris has this reaction, saying that he has met many abominations, demons, and blood mages before - but she is none of those things. Anders is more worried that Justice has no idea what she is either.
"Maker turn His gaze on you. I hope your compassion hasn't doomed us all."
A young Templar at the Circle tower, Cullen harbors a long-standing infatuation with the female Mage PC, despite knowing of the impossibility of this sentiment.
Adorkable: Nervously runs for the hills if the Female Mage PC suggests getting to "know" each other.
Anguished Declaration of Love: To the female mage. Subverted horribly when he proclaims that he no longer cares that she knows, because the massacre had turned all mages into possible monsters in his eyes. Dragon Age II shows part of him does still care.
Cannot Spit It Out: Subverted; while he's certainly strongly infatuated with the female mage and keeps stuttering around her, his occupation forbids him from even thinking about telling her about it.
Everyone Can See It: Even mage apprentices around the tower gossip about how taken he is with the female mage PC. And not covertly, either.
Female Apprentice: I heard Cullen is in love with you!
Foreshadowing: When you first meet him in the Mage origin, he asks you if you think there are abominations that could pass as ordinary people. Come the demon invasion on the Tower, and this seemingly innocent comment has become his entire character...
I'll Be in My Bunk: Presumably why he runs off in such a hurry when the Female PC suggest getting intimately acquainted.
Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: In one epilogue, if you sided with the mages, it's rumoured that he loses what little sanity he has left, butchers several apprentices, and flees the Tower. It's heavily implied that he goes on to become a wanted serial killer.
Love Hurts: And how. Actually, if the Warden is a female mage, this goes as far as being a justified version of Love Makes You Crazy - she appeared in the visions with which the demons tormented him, presumably either seducing him or being married to him (which is forbidden for Templars). Think Frollo and Esmeralda with some demons added to the mix.
Mind Rape: The Demons were rather thorough in their breaking of him.
Nice Guy: At first. Comes back to an extent in the second game, as he is always civil to Hawke
Shrinking Violet: A male version towards the female mage. If the Mage Warden is male, he seems perfectly normal.
Star-Crossed Lovers: With the female mage PC, sort of. It's up to the player how the PC feels about it, but regardless, Cullen isn't free to act on his feelings because she's a mage and he's a Templar. As the above tropes indicate, it doesn't end well for him. It's implied in Dragon Age II that he still has feelings for her. If you import an Origins save with a female Mage Warden, he'll comment on it if you talk to him in act two.
Cullen: I knew an Amell once. (Stares off into the distance)
Unexplained Recovery: There's at least one ending where Cullen loses his mind completely, leaves the Templars and becomes a serial killer. Despite this, he reappears as Meredith's second-in-command in Dragon Age II, where he's, thankfully, far more sane.Word of God clarified that many of the epilogues are merely rumours of what might have happened. After his traumatic experiences at the Circle Tower, Cullen decided to transfer to Kirkwall to recuperate.
Tropes In Dragon Age II
"Mages cannot be treated like people! They are not like you and me."
In Dragon Age II, Cullen was sent to Kirkwall due to his newfound radical view on mages and promoted to Knight-Captain. As Meredith's second in command, he’s Hawke’s primary contact in the Templar allegiance.
Anti-Villain: He hates mages with a passion, but there's a very good reason for that. He also points out that the Templars aren't there to merely guard the people from mages, they're also there to guard the mages from other people and themselves.
Ascended Extra: From Origins, where he only appeared in the Mage Origin and the Circle arc. Here, his role is greatly expanded as Meredith's second-in-command, making him one of the Templars that Hawke will most often run into before Act 3.
Heel-Face Turn: He will turn on Meredith to protect Hawke once it becomes clear how batshit insane she's become, and allow Hawke to leave peacefully despite him/her siding with the mages.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: By Act III, the mages on team Hawke are public knowledge kept safe by their status. Throughout Act I, Cullen never seems to realize that the people with staffs and robes with glowing eyes and hands might be mages. David Gaider admits they had to cut corners for time and this was one of them:
It was too late for us to do anything about it and we decided that Cullen is just very oblivious.
Go Through Me: He says this when Meredith tries to have Hawke executed.
Hypocrite: If you stick up for Alain, he dismisses his actions as a "convenient last-minute change of heart". He only tries to oust Meredith when the battle is almost over, with maybe one other moment of defiance if you side with the Templars.
Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: The party first comes across him beating the hell out of a new recruit as he demands to know where he's been slipping off to. Turns out the recruit was possessed.
Knight Templar: Though he does have lines he won't cross and will (sometimes reluctantly) listen to reason.
Mind Rape: What Uldred and his followers put him through back in Ferelden. When confronted with Alrik's "tranquil solution", he claims that he doesn't necessarily support the idea - but there is an argument for using Tranquility more widely, because it's a kinder alternative than instant execution or indefinite imprisonment. Anders, naturally, is disgusted.
Noble Bigot with a Badge: While he openly admits that he's not a fan of magic, he considers it the job of the Templars to protect them, as much from other people as themselves. Cullen may occasionally tar other Mages with the same brush as the bad ones, but he dislikes those who attempt to justify their brutality with that rationality.
Reasonable Authority Figure: Well, compared to most of Kirkwall's Templars. A lot of it depends on Hawke's own actions - throw Keran out or let him stay in the order? Show Alain mercy or execute him? Spare or kill surrendering mages in the Templar ending? He repeatedly defers to you.
He even believes that the Rite of Annulment should be used only to kill known and suspected maleficar and let untainted mages live, and orders his Templars to think likewise in direct defiance of Meredith if the Champion encourages him to mutiny. This is a direct inversion of his attitude from DA1, showing his Character Development.
Retcon: At the end of Origins, he is either a rogue Templar, having murdered several mages and is now hunted by his own comrades, or he replaces Greagoir as the Commander at the Ferelden Circle, using fear as his primary means of enforcement on mages. In the sequel, not only is he not a madman or totalitarian, but he can potentially defy Meredith when she becomes the very things the Origins endings portray Cullen as.
Took a Level in Badass: The kid who ran away from the female mage Warden when she invited him for a quicky has come a long way, eventually raising his sword against Meredith and living to tell the tale.
In Dragon Age: Inquisition, Cullen leaves the Templars and joins the Inquisitor's team as a military advisor after Cassandra notices the role he played in keeping Kirkwall together. He is a romance option for female elven and human Inquisitors.
Arc Symbol: He wears a lion head shaped helmet, while lions are used in Orlesian heraldry. In the real world, they are also most commonly taken as symbols of courage and nobility, which fits Cullen's personality in Inquisition rather well.
Broken Pedestal: Meredith's descent into madness made Cullen lose his faith in the Templar Order.
Cool Helmet: In the trailer, he's seen wearing a sweet Lion Helmet.
Fantastic Racism: Has shades of this in the two first games, due to his traumaticexperiences during Uldred's attempted takeover of the Ferelden Circle leaving him with a deep (and rather understandable) suspicion of Mages.
Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has a slim and discrete scar on his upper lip that only underlines his experience rather than deter from his attractiveness.
Mission Control: Along with Leliana and Josephine, he provides the multiplayer teams with the information that they need to complete their missions.
Noble Bigot with a Badge: Despite his suspicion of Mages, he remained by far one of the more idealistic and level-headed Templars in Kirkwall during Dragon Age II, being one of the Templars who firmly believed that both the Circle and the Templar Order were meant to protect, not punish Mages and this meant keeping them safe from people, as much as keeping people safe from them.
Romance Sidequest: Confirmed to be a romance for a female Inquisitor. Though only human and Elven ones.
Storekeepers who were present in more than one of the games.
"If there's anything I can do for you, please, please tell me."
A dwarven merchant whom the Warden and his companions rescue on the Imperial Highway outside of Lothering, Bodahn and his adopted son Sandal thereafter travel with the party, providing a ready source of supplies as well as enchanting services.He appears next in Dragon Age II with Sandal, later becoming Hawke's manservant.
Ascended Extra: Bodahn and Sandal were originally just merchants that offered overpriced equipment and enchantments for the Warden's party. They eventually become Hawke's loyal servants who stick alongside him/her until the end.
He's quick to make it clear however that they don't rob people, they merely scavenge whatever valuables people have left behind whilst fleeing from the Blight. After all, it's better they go to people who might need them than get destroyed by the darkspawn!
Friend in the Black Market: As he says, you're fortunate to have someone around dealing such valuable items with the Blight coming.
Honourary Uncle: While never actually called this, it seems clear that Bodahn and Sandal became part of the family, particularly considering how devastated they are at the death of Leandra.
The Jeeves: Runs the day to day details of the Hawke Estate.
Like a Son to Me: While not actually blood related, Bodahn considers Sandal to be his son and no-one can say otherwise!
When Bodahn admits that he sometimes worries about Sandal, now he's getting on in years, Hawke tells him that whatever happens, Sandal always will be welcome in their home.
Nice Guy: Despite his questionabledeeds it's blatant he truly cares about Sandal, he serves Hawke for saving his adopted son in the deep roads, and is always friendly to the Warden and Hawke.
No Hero Discount: Despite the fact that you save his life and he claims to be offering you a discount out of gratitude, Bodahn's prices are actually quite high compared to those of other merchants in the game.
Odd Friendship: Bodan and Hawke, particular with the sarcastic personality.
Sarcastic Devotee: Whenever Snarky!Hawke dishes out their brand of snark, Bodahn politely returns some right back.
Servile Snarker: Particularly towards Snarky!Hawke, though he's clearly out-matched and frequently ends up exasperated by his boss having the bizarre need to make everything into a joke.
Team Dad: Despite Hawke's insistence that Bodahn doesn't need to pay them back for rescuing Sandal, Bodahn nonetheless takes it on himself to manage the day to day operations of the Hawke Estate.
Undying Loyalty: Bodahn displays this towards Hawke for saving Sandal in the Deep Roads.
Bodahn is particularly upset at the death of Leandra.
Unexplained Accent: Despite being a dwarf from Orzammar, he speaks with an exaggerated Fereldan accent. Since he used to run a shop in Orzammar that catered to the nobility, his accent is possibly an affectation to make himself sound more respectable and upper-class.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Bodahn mentions being married to a woman in Denerim in Origins. No mention of his wife is made in the second game however, leaving it unclear whether he was lying about being married or whether she died in the Blight?
Tropes Applying To Sandal
The adopted son of the dwarven merchant Bodahn Feddic. Sandal is...special, to say the least, as he is lyrium-addled. However, he has a unique and natural talent when it comes to enchanting, displaying skill that surpasses that of even grandmasters. He follows the party along with his father and the two offer their services in the party camp.He appears again in Dragon Age II together with his father, later becoming Hawke's manservant.
Ascended Extra: Bodahn and Sandal were originally just merchants that offered overpriced equipment and enchantments for the Warden's party. They eventually become Hawke's loyal servants who stick alongside him/her until the end.
Hidden Depths: It's clear that there's something going on with Sandal. There's his prophecy, there's the Noodle Incident, etc. Also, a bit of dialogue in Legacy strongly implies that Sandal is the bastard child of an Aeducan noble and a human or elf mother.
Word of God Gaider recently said in an interview the writing team included the prophecy and other stuff because they felt they had to or "[they] would go insane."
Honourary Uncle: While never actually called this, it seems clear that Bodahn and Sandal became part of the family, particularly considering how devastated they are at the death of Leandra.
The Jeeves: Runs the day to day details of the Hawke Estate.
Mysterious Past: Bodahn first found Sandal wandering in an abandoned Thaig in the Deep Roads.
Noodle Incident: Near the end of Origins he appears covered in blood in a room surrounded by darkspawn corpses (including two ogres). Exactly how and why is never explained. The only reason he gives is "Enchantment!"
He does it again in Dragon Age II in the Deep Roads expedition, including freezing an Ogre solid. The reason ogres suddenly freeze in his presence is, in his own words, "Not enchantment!"
And again in the Templar Hall at the endgame, where he massacres a small army of demons, including a Pride Demon.
Also responible for a few after moving into the Hawke Estate. Apparently Sandal regularly sets things on fire by forgetting where he's put his enchantments or by bringing home salamanders, is known to swing from the chandelier (unless it was Merrill), and while playing a game with Merrill, accidentally broke one of Hawke's wardrobes by climbing on it.
Omniglot: Sandal holds a conversation with the Dog at one point. Bodahn jokes that Sandal must have learnt "Mabari-speak" during their stay in the Warden's camp. He might not be wrong.
OOC Is Serious Business: Sandal's infamous random dialog where he spouts the ominous prophecy is... jarring, to say the least. It'd be somewhat foreboding on its own, but from a terse cheery simpleton like Sandal... Bodahn is as unnerved as the player.
Unexplained Accent: Like Bodahn, he speaks with a decidedly non-dwarven accent laced with a bit of Simpleton Voice. Like Bodahn, it can be assumed to be an affectation that he picked up by hanging around non-dwarves.