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.



THIS LIST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR MULTIPLE GAMES IN THE FRANCHISE. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

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PARTY MEMBERS

Characters who have been part of the Player Character's party in one or more games. Also if they were a companion in one game, but had prominent NPC status in another.

Alistair

First Appearance: Dragon Age: Origins
Voiced by: Steve Valentine

    Tropes In Dragon Age:Origins 

"Just so you know, if the King ever asks me to put on a dress and dance the Remigold, I'm drawing the line. Darkspawn or no."

One of the junior Grey Wardens and Duncan's protege, he's the first true party member to join the player's party (unless the player is a Human Noble, in which case it's the dog). A former Knight Templar in training, he's a central character to the story, and the only remaining Grey Warden in Ferelden aside from the player character. A possible female Love Interest. Shale refers to him as 'the second Warden'.
  • Accidental Pornomancer: Alistair is, at the game's outset, a virgin. In fact, he's practically frightened by the prospect of sex. However, let's look at the number of potential bedmates he can have in a single playthrough: Isabela, Anora, Morrigan, and yourself (if you're female). He can bed all four women in one game, but it's actually you who has to do the work for him.
  • Adorkable: As Leliana comments in party banter, his sense of humour, coupled with his awkwardness and nervousness around women, makes him strangely endearing and is a large part of his charm.
  • The Alcoholic: Should the player spare Loghain, Alistair will leave the party. Unless he was already persuaded to marry Anora and keeps that promise, he ends up as a drunkard rambling about how he used to be a prince and a Grey Warden. You can find him at the Hanged Man in II; thankfully, Bann Teagan shows up and persuades him to come home and make a fresh start.
  • Always Save the Girl: If romanced, he makes it clear he values the Warden's life over his own. If he is brought along to the final battle without completing Morrigan's ritual, he refuses to allow the female PC to deliver the finishing blow to the Archdemon. Unless hardened, he's under the impression that he'd make a worse king than Anora. This way, he can go out a glorious king and save the woman he loves all at the same time. It can be avoided by leaving him to defend the gate, but he knows exactly what you're doing.
  • Arranged Marriage: The Warden can organise one between him and Anora, putting both a Theirin and a competent, experienced ruler in charge of Ferelden. Or two, if he's hardened. If she's the Human Female Noble, the Warden can also potentially arrange one between him and herself. If a romance between the Warden and him flourishes, it becomes quite ideal for both.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: His description of what's wrong with Orlais at the moment if he's king in II.
    Alistair: Oh the usual: attempted assassinations, uprisings, fancy parties with stinky cheeses...
  • Battle Couple: If romanced, he's this with the female Warden.
    • If romanced by the Female Human Noble, they can end up being elected King and Queen of Ferelden at the Landsmeet. Let's face it, Ferelden seriously just got a lot more badass.
  • Berserk Button: Loghain becomes this to him after his betrayal of Cailan leads to the death of all the other Grey Wardens, and Duncan in particular.
  • Betty and Veronica: Very much Betty to Zevran's Veronica.
  • Big Eater: It's a Grey Warden thing, apparently.
  • Breakout Character: He has appeared more Dragon Age media than any other character, appearing in all three games, a trilogy of comic miniseries, and in The Calling, as a newborn.
  • Broken Pedestal: Like most, he holds Loghain in high regard before the Battle of Ostagar, privately admitting that while Cailan is the King, it's Loghain they have to look to for victory. Then Loghain retreats from the battle, leaving the King, the Grey Wardens and Duncan to an ignoble death. From then on, Alistair has an undying hatred for the man and it becomes very personal.
  • Buffy Speak: Tends to lapse into this at times.
    Alistair: You stole them, didn't you? You're some sort of... sneaky... witch-thief!
  • Butt Monkey: Everyone gets a turn to mock him. Even the dog. (You alone have the option not to do so.)
    • Meta-example of a Cosmic Plaything as well, in that you ultimately decide his fate. He can either become King, remain in the Grey Wardens, die, or end up a drunk loser - all as a direct result of your actions.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: Morrigan accuses him of doing this while traveling to Lothering, in so many words.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: If you choose to "harden" him, he loses many of his squeaky-clean morals.
  • Covert Pervert: In addition to the Girl-on-Girl Is Hot moments mentioned below, he also apparently spends a fair deal of his time ogling a romanced Warden's ass. Wynne teases him about it.
  • The Creon: Alistair intentionally avoids mentioning the fact that he is actually the senior Grey Warden - because he doesn't want to lead. In fact, he even refuses to take the throne of Ferelden for exactly the same reason.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Despite the fact that he's... well, Alistair, he is very much capable of holding his own in a fight, being able to take on numerically superior opponents and even dragons. Should the player choose him to duel Loghain at the Landsmeet, Alistair wins and wastes no time in delivering the fatal blow.
  • Dare to Be Badass: The Warden can often invoke this if they convince Alistair to take the throne.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Like father, like son: Maric snarked just as much as him.
  • Deuteragonist: The secondary storyline (Ferelden's Succession Crisis) pretty much revolves around him.
  • Disappeared Dad: Although he understands why King Maric couldn't acknowledge him as his illegitimate son.
  • Dork Knight: While Alistair is heroic, noble, and brave, he also lacks confidence and fumbles when talking to women.
  • Ensign Newbie: During the Korcari Wilds mission, but he soon makes his clear that he'd rather have the Warden take this role. Morrigan even lampshades it. The Darkspawn Chronicles DLC shows what would have happened if he hadn't been able to pass the buck. He manages to make it all the way to the Archdemon. But then it ends badly.
  • Entendre Failure: He'd happily hop borders with Zevran given the chance - after all, he's never even been close to leaving Ferelden.
  • Evil Laugh: He has a very impressive one that he breaks out on a couple of occasions, such as when revealing his nefarious plan to make the other party members mutiny and have him take over as group leader. In a subversion, he once breaks into a cough mid-evil laugh.
  • The Fettered: As much as or (depending on player choices) even more than the PC, especially if he becomes king.
  • First Girl Wins: The female PC is the first woman his own age he encounters in the story, having been sent to the Chantry at age ten to be a Templar and then being a part of the Wardens (who, in Ferelden, have no women currently in the order until you come along). Unless you count that one time in Denerim... but those women were not like you.
  • Generation Xerox: Potentially to both his parents. He's a Grey Warden like Fiona and can become King of Ferelden like Maric.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: His reaction to a female Warden propositioning Isabela. If he's hardened and you invite him along, he'll eventually succumb with a sudden "What can I say? I am a weak, weak man." Even if he's not hardened (and therefore willing to give it a go), at you and Isabela he'll note, "And here I am, awake and everything..." Also, if he confronts you about choosing between him and Leliana, and you choose him, he'll ask what about her? "I get it, sure - hot. But-" and so on.
  • The Good King: A hardened Alistair turns out to become an excellent monarch, having a common touch which makes the people of Ferelden love him, and quickly learns the finer points of administration. Combined with a Female Human Noble as queen, Ferelden ends up with one hell of a Ruling Couple.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The Calling implies that Alistair's mother could be Fiona, an elven Grey Warden and lover of King Maric. However, the children of elves and humans are always human, so he doesn't look elven. Alistair was confirmed as elf-blooded by the devs here. In Inquisition, Fiona herself vaguely hints at her relationship with Alistair, but never outright says it.
  • Happily Married: Provided you're a Human Noble and you're persuasive enough to convince the entire Landsmeet as well as Alistair privately that the infertility issue is not a problem. Otherwise, get ready to be dumped like a sack of potatoes, true love or not, unless he's been hardened or you make Anora queen instead.
  • Henpecked Husband: In Dragon Age II, if he's King and married to the Female Human Noble, it's clear who wears the trousers in the relationship. It's treated very lightheartedly, however, and when Alistair calls her "the old ball and chain," it's said with obvious affection.
    Alistair: Just because she killed an Archdemon, she doesn't scare me!
    Teagan: You just keep telling yourself that, Your Majesty.
  • Heroic Bastard: And a royal bastard at that. He notes he should use that line more often.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: If you refuse Morrigan's ritual and allow him to finish the Archdemon (he'll insist on it no matter what if you're in a romance).
  • Hidden Backup Prince: He's a bastard, and in line to the throne!
  • Hidden Depths: If you make him king, he turns out to be better suited to the job than he thinks. In Dragon Age II, he demonstrates a willingness to allow fleeing mages to enter Ferelden so long as they follow the laws of the land. Meredith is annoyed that the new king does not immediately comply with her demands.
  • Hurting Hero: He rarely says it outright, but the massacre of Duncan and the other Wardens scars him pretty deeply, such that he harbors an intense and bitter hatred for Loghain.
  • Idiot Hero: Morrigan and Anora both accuse him of being one. Although he has his moments, they're never at critical junctions. He even calls himself an idiot hero at times.
    Alistair: Look, I can't be king. Some days I have trouble figuring out which boot goes on which foot.
  • Irony: Alistair is a Templar Grey Warden. His (real) mother is a Mage Grey Warden.
  • It's Personal: Towards Loghain for causing the deaths of the Grey Wardens and Duncan in particular. Best shown during the Landsmeet if Alistair is the one chosen to duel Loghain.
    Loghain: So there is some of Maric in you after all?! Good!
    Alistair: Forget Maric! This is for Duncan!
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Although he's aware that Grey Wardens often must do pretty bad things for the greater good, and lives in a world that has rarely shown him any kindness, he still feels as if it's still worth being a decent person and protector.
  • Knight Templar: He was training to be one, though only in job description - he flat out states that a life devoted to single-mindedly hunting down maleficars was not for him, and he didn't get to choose whether he would be raised as one or not.
  • Lady and Knight: It's more accurately Knight and Knight, but if the PC romances him, he definitely behaves like a White Knight to a Bright Lady. This is perhaps especially fitting if the female is the human noble.
  • The Lancer: Alistair is the only member of your party (besides the dog) that you can't kick out, as well as the only other Grey Warden, and main character outside of your PC. Fits this trope completely, if the Warden is on the darker end of Grey and Gray Morality.
  • Lethal Chef:
    • When Morrigan joins the party, one of the first things he asks is "Can you cook?" Then he explains that if he has to cook, they're all as good as dead.
    • A party banter between him and Leliana can be triggered where Leliana asks him what was in the dish he made for the party's supper the previous night. When he tells her it was a lamb and pea stew, she comments that it had a texture she didn't normally associate with lamb.
    Alistair: We take our ingredients, throw them into the largest pot we can find, and cook them for as long as possible until everything is a uniform grey color. As soon as it looks completely bland and unappetizing, that's when I know it's done.
  • Love Interest: For a female Grey Warden.
  • Man Child: At times, his decisions are more reminiscent of a temperamental teenager than a defender of the whole land. These are often potential Jerkass moments. He gets called a lad/boy several times.
  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: Averted. Alistair is a virgin, at least when you first meet him. Although he's a little embarrassed to tell you, he is otherwise very normal and adjusted, and will say outright that he's in no urge to rush anything since he may not even survive the Blight. This can become a point of his character if you romance him, or if you decide to have him sleep with Morrigan to conceive the god baby.
  • The Mistress: One outcome of his romance - the non-human noble Warden can become this for him if he's hardened and king. The human noble can, too, but she also has a chance to marry him and become queen.
  • Mr. Fanservice: He's Adorkable, handsome, and a hopeless romantic.
  • Nature Abhors a Virgin: While Alistair himself is pretty okay with the idea (aside from teasing), the plot is most definitely against him. For him to have the happiest ending with a female Warden, he must sleep with Morrigan - other options mean that either he or the Warden must make a Heroic Sacrifice, leaving him either dead or in mourning, or that he becomes a wandering drunk if Loghain is around to do the deed. Marrying him off to Anora can allow you to skip the cheating, but he doesn't seem particularly happy with her, either. Apparently, a man can be a virgin, but can't remain one for long and can't have just one woman in his lifetime for things to work out to his benefit.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • Despite being a former Templar, he quickly strikes up a friendship with Wynne and seems closer to her than any of the other companions. Somewhat understandable as he freely admits he was terrible at being a Templar and never wanted to be one in the first place.
    • Similarly, aside from some initial awkwardness upon their first meeting, he has no problem with Mage Wardens.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: Averted - he had an amulet from his mother, but threw it at a wall and smashed it. The player can find it after his foster father Arl Eamon painstakingly glued it back together and give it back as a gift, but it has no further relevance to the story.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • Both his mother and father weren't present in his upbringing, primarily due to reasons of death and not being able to recognise him due to his illegitimacy.
    • After Arl Eamon married an Orlesian, who took an immediate dislike to him, Alistair was sent to a monastery.
    • And then Duncan, who was the closest thing he ever had to a real father, dies in the battle of Ostagar. If Alistair has abandonment issues, they're not hard to understand.
  • The Pig Pen: According to Wynne, he smells just as bad as the dog (she asks you to make them sleep on the same side of camp (opposite everyone else) to try to contain the stink). When he mentions being raised by flying dogs, telling him "That would explain the smell" will not hurt your approval rating at all, and will actually open up a line of banter that increases it. This whole line of banter takes a turn for the tragic once you learn that Arl Eamon used to make Alistair sleep in the kennels in order to keep him out of the way.
  • Properly Paranoid: His suspicions that Flemeth had ulterior motives for sending Morrigan with the party are completely correct.
  • Raised by Wolves: He jokes about this to the Warden if s/he gets pushy before he's ready. He was raised by dogs. With wings. Who were devout Andrastians. And hated cheese.
  • Reluctant Ruler: Though he's the senior Grey Warden, he's not at all interested in being party leader. Despite, or perhaps because of, his lineage, Alistair is very clear that he does not want to be a leader. Nevertheless, if given the crown, he proves to be good at the job.
  • Revenge Before Reason: A heroic example. No matter how you present the argument for needing more Wardens, Alistair never stays in the party if Loghain is recruited.
  • Rousing Speech: Gives a good one to the Warden's army before the assault on Denerim, if you made him king (otherwise Anora gives one).
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: If Alistair becomes King at the Landsmeet, he makes it perfectly clear that he'll be on the front lines and leading the charge during the Battle of Denerim and the assault to take down the Archdemon.
  • Sad Clown: The game doesn't expect you are fooled, however; you can outright say "Is this the part where you deflect questions with humor?". He responds, "I'd use my shield, but I think you'd actually see me hiding behind it." None of the other party members are fooled either, and his humor is often irritating to other people; Shale says as much outright.
  • Shutting Up Now: Most obviously when the female Warden rejects his confession of love and when she's the one to suggest sex first. Each for different reasons.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Unlike Cailan, who merely thought himself the Warrior Prince, Alistair proves to actually be one.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: His romance with the Warden comes close to this if Wynne and Morrigan are to be believed.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: With this trope in mind, his romance is certainly one of the best-written ones for a female PC.
  • Spare to the Throne: Unfortunately he's a bastard, so he wasn't raised to the task. Needless to say, he's not happy about the idea of becoming king after being trained for something completely different and being quite forcefully assured that his illegitimate status would prevent the question.
  • The Talk: Wynne starts giving him one when he begins an intimate relationship with the female PC. Once he realizes what she's going on about, he interrupts with a highly-embarrassed "Andraste's flaming sword, I know where babies come from!"
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Jokingly admits to having "an unholy obsession with very fine cheeses". The fandom has kind of run away with this one.
  • Turn Out Like His Father: Oh yeah.
  • Undying Loyalty: As noted above, he is the only party member besides Dog who can't be made to leave. Everyone else will leave if you tell them to or if you get their approval rating down low enough, but you can be the biggest Jerk Ass ever seen in Ferelden and Alistair will be right by your side (at least until the Landsmeet). It's easy enough to understand, really - Alistair considered the Grey Wardens to be his family, and you're all he has left.
  • Uptown Girl: Unless you're the Human Noble, this can present a problem for characters romancing him. If you make him King, the best non-Couslands can do is become his secret mistress, and that's only possible if you harden him.
  • Warrior Prince: Unlike Cailan, he actually fits the warrior part as well as the prince.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: He lets the hero have it if they resort to killing either Connor or Isolde to resolve the situation at Redcliffe instead of taking the third option. He will also be outraged and immediately quit if you spare Loghain, even though you're condemning him to death, one way or the other, by forcing him to do the Joining.
  • The Wrongful Heir to the Throne: He sees himself as this.

    Tropes In Dragon Age:Inquisition 
"Yes, that was me. War, betrayal, darkspawn: all lots of fun and made for excellent stories, I'm sure."

Provided the player did not have Alistair killed in Origins, Alistair will reappear in Inquisition. If he was put on the throne of Ferelden, Alistair reappears only in the Mage plot, as he kicks Grand Enchanter Fiona out for bringing Tevinter mages into Ferelden. If he remained a Grey Warden, Alistair is an informant for the Inquisitor on the Grey Wardens.
  • Assassin Outclassin': The war table mission "Shadows Over Denerim" ends with him and Inquisition agents battling Venatori agents dressed as the Royal Palace's kitchen staff.
  • The Cameo: His appearance in the Mage questline is more or less this, since he doesn't appear again besides certain missions in the War Room.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Even more snarky since the first game. If asked what it's like being a Warden, his description is gold.
    "Oh, it's wonderful! You get fresh peaces delivered every morning, first choice of the village girls, and bunnies too!
  • Disappeared Dad: If chosen as the one to participate in Morrigan's Dark Ritual, he'll serve as one to his son, Kieran. Morrigan, having become kinder in the following years, does at least let her son know that her father is "a good man," feeling Alistair deserves that much.
  • Dramatic Irony: He doesn't know that Grand Enchanter Fiona is his mother, and when they part ways after the Redcliffe questline in Inquisition, it's on a decidedly negative note.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: In the game trailer where Hawke is first seen, she's accompanied by a Grey Warden. Absolutely no one in the fandom realized that this was meant to be Alistair, until his character design was revealed later.
  • The Good King: He offers the rebel mages shelter in Ferelden, out of a genuine desire to help them. It's only when they ally with the Venatori and kick out Arl Teagan that he puts his foot down and exiles them.
  • Good Is Not Soft: As King, he's willing to let the members of the mage rebellion take shelter in Redcliffe. Once they usurp his uncle under the direction of Alexius, however, he shows up in person to retake the village and kick them out of Ferelden for taking advantage of his generosity.
  • Happily Married: Possibly. If he's king and the Warden arranged for him to marry Anora, the union appears amicable at the very least; they're clearly in agreement about things when they show up for their cameo in the mage questline. If his queen is the female Warden, the trope is definitely in play - see I Will Wait for You, below.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: If chosen, Alistair stays behind to fight and hold off the Nightmare so you, your party, and Hawke can escape during the trip to the Fade.
  • Is That the Best You Can Do?: After the Nightmare hits him with a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, this is his reaction.
    Alistair: Is that all it's got? I've heard worse than that from Morrigan!
  • I Will Wait for You: If romanced in Origins, he's still very much in love with the absent Hero of Ferelden, and is impatient for her to return to his side. If he's king and she's his queen, a codex entry in the game notes that although he continues to be a good ruler and the people love him, they're also very aware just how much he misses her.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: If he's still a Grey Warden, he'll object to Warden-Commander Clarel's plan to end all Blights by using Blood Magic and Human Sacrifice to summon a demon army. Unfortunately, this means he's labelled a traitor and hunted by his fellows.
  • Reluctant Ruler: Just like before, Alistair still prefers letting others lead if he remained a Grey Warden. The Nightmare mocks him for his tendency to pass the buck to other people and then then asks him who he'll hide behind this time. If he survives the trip to the Fade, he's forced to lead the Orlesian Grey Wardens despite this.
    • Subverted if he's king. He takes the job seriously and does a good job at leading, with only moments of goofiness.
  • Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?: If he's a Warden, he's slightly annoyed when people bring up his involvement in the Fifth Blight.
    The Inquisitor : You were there, weren't you? You helped fight the Archdemon?
    Alistair: Oh, Maker, I'm going to be answering that question for the rest of my life. Yes, I was there. It was big. The Hero of Ferelden was brave...
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: While he and Hawke get along fine at first, Hawke's frustration at the Grey Wardens, their use of blood magic to summon demons, and that Corypheus used several Wardens to help sacrifice the Divine and open the Breach ultimately have Hawke lash out at Alistair. While Hawke also chews out Stroud and Loghain, Alistair takes it a lot more personally - the Wardens are like his family.
  • Uncertain Doom: If chosen to hold off the Nightmare in the Fade to give the others time to escape, he's never seen actually dying. Adding to the uncertainty, the in-game text for making the decision even says whoever holds off the Nightmare will "probably" die.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Though he doesn't know what she actually is to him, if the mages are saved, he gives one to Fiona if he's king. Outraged that she took advantage of his hospitality to bring a Tevinter cult into the country, he immediately banishes the rebel mages from Ferelden. In a later petition for aid in disposing of a Venatori infiltration in his palace, he prefaces with an apology for how things went in Redcliffe Castle, regretting not letting Fiona at least say her piece.
    • During the trip to the Fade, Alistair also calls out Hawke for what happened in Kirkwall.
  • You Are in Command Now: If he makes it out of the Fade, he'll be the most senior Warden present and will take command of the Orlesian Grey Wardens. This is quite a big step for someone who pointedly didn't even want to lead the party as the most senior Warden in Origins.

Morrigan

First Appearance: Dragon Age: Origins
Voiced by: Claudia Black

    Tropes In Dragon Age:Origins 

"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."


  • Absolute Cleavage: Combined nicely with Sideboob.
  • 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.
  • Animal Motifs: Being a Shapeshifter, this is to be expected.
    • Shale comments that Morrigan resembles a bird, particularly the way she gazes at people.
      • And, as commented below, she does have a rather magpie-ish interest in jewelry.
    • Some have compared her attitude to that of a cat.
    • Sten knows a viper when he sees one.
  • 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.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: A female Warden, or even a male Warden who doesn't romance her, can be the first friend Morrigan has ever had in her entire life. Build up her regard properly, and her loyalty is powerful.
  • 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.
  • Betty and Veronica: The Veronica to Leliana's Betty, as far as female love interests go.
  • 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: Toward 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 Action Girl: Combined with a Lady of Black Magic.
  • 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 naive characters, having only ventured out of the wilds a few times and never truly interacting with anyone other than Flemeth. Moreover, 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.
  • Deadpan Snarker: And she hates Alistair. Thus their banter is highly snarky.
  • 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.
  • Depending on the Artist: Her facial structure tends to vary between official depictions. Compare this in-game screenshot with these two illustrations. She looks like an older version of her DA:O self in Dragon Age: Inquisition, though.
  • Deus Sex Machina: Though not used to titillate the audience, for once.
  • Disappeared Dad: Her biological father is unknown, but is heavily implied to have been of Chasind origin, reinforced by the fact that more than one character has pointed out that she resembles a Chasind. Given Flemeth's penchant for killing her lovers, it's unlikely he survived the encounter.
  • 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.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: The first half of which is odd, considering she has spent most of her life outdoors. Fridge Brilliance kicks in when you remember her Voluntary Shapeshifting hobby.
  • 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.
    • If you send her in the Fade to free Connor, it's revealed even she wouldn't make a deal with the Demon, though this has less to do with standards and more with the fact that she knows nothing good can come out of this.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Morrigan is not exactly one of the good guys, but while she and Flemeth argue and snipe at each other, it's clear she cares for her mother 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.
  • Evil Counterpart: Could be considered this to a heroic Mage Warden, or to Wynne.
  • 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.
  • First Girl Wins: The Warden first meets her in the Korcari Wilds near the beginning of the game, and if male, can romance her.
  • 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.
  • Hot Witch: Lampshaded, not that it's all that unusual for the setting.
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Her relationship with a romanced Male Warden.
  • 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.
    • The Robes of Possession (that presumably belong to Flemeth) share the same 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.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Morrigan tries to hide it behind a tough exterior but after the Warden kills Flemeth, she will thank him for taking the time to befriend and possibly romance her, despite her more unpleasant nature.
  • 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.
  • Lady Killer In Love: Inverted since she's The Vamp. She's actually horrified when she realizes that she develops feelings for the Warden if you pursue a romance with her.
  • Lady of Black Magic: Self-explanatory.
  • Licked by the Dog: By Dog, of course.
  • 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 Interest: One of four potential ones.
  • 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:
    Morrigan: And you once argued with me that "love is not a weakness"...
  • 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.
    • Morrigan's personality during her appearance in Dragon Age: Inquisition depends heavily on whether or not the Warden took the time to befriend her in Origins. If she was befriended, and especially if she was romanced, she behaves with much more warmth and compassion.
  • Magic Pants: 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.
    • In-universe, she seems to be named after a legendary Avvar warlord famed for her powers of seduction as well as her skills as a fighter. Given what Flemeth sent her to do, this was probably an intentional reference on her part.
  • 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.
  • Not So Different: To Flemeth.
    • 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.
    • She can also be this to a Dalish Warden; both were raised in isolation from the strange human world they find themselves in, both can find themselves thus feeling like a Fish out of Water, both will likely feel some resentment towards the Chantry, and both were raised to respect lost magic and history. However, while the Dalish Warden was raised by their loving clan and taught to support his/her clanmates, Morrigan was raised by Flemeth and taught to look out only for herself.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Entirely possible, if you romance her. Of course, if you've already played the game 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.
  • Please Dump Me: One of the conversations in the romance line.
  • Pre-Climax Climax: With the PC, Alistair, or Loghain, potentially.
  • 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. And of course he does - in Inquisition.
  • 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.
  • Sideboob
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: When in a romance with a Male Warden, she will give him a ring. She quickly denies any real sentimental value behind it, stating that its purpose is to allow her to track the Warden if they get separated. If the Warden presses her more on the subject, she'll get more and more flustered.
  • The Smart Guy
  • 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 states that she is pregnant with their child, who was 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).
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Morrigan falls into this when she realises she's actually started to fall in love with the Warden.
    • She emphatically insists that just because she gave a ring to a romanced Warden, which was part of a set, and the rings are magically bonded, the gesture does not have any kind of deeper meaning... Yeah, right!
  • Teacher/Student Romance: If a Mage Warden has Morrigan teach him Shapeshifting, then romances her.
  • The Tease: Toward a male Warden, Sten, and even occasionally Alistair.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Unlike Zevran or Shale, who with some exceptions merely fail to object when the Warden does "evil" things, Morrigan actively disapproves of acting selflessly and helping others.
  • 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.
    Sten: Paarshara! Why do you pester me?
    Morrigan: Because 'tis amusing, that is why.
  • 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. Temporarily, anyway.
  • 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.
  • Vain Sorceress: She's a magpie when it comes to jewelry. In fact, almost all of the gifts you can give her in the game are pieces of jewelry, and the one that isn't is a mirror.
  • 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.note 
  • 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.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting
  • Voodoo Doll: Her Feastday Pranks DLC gift is an Alistair voodoo doll with a variety of effects on the poor guy.
  • Was It All a Lie?: Male Wardens who romanced her can ask her whether her desire to birth an old god baby was the reason she entered their relationship. She says no.
  • 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.
  • Character Development: Massively since the events of Origins, particularly if she and the Hero of Ferelden had a child, and whether she has a child regardless of the father.
  • Court Mage: To Celene.
  • Evil Chancellor: To Celene, in the eyes of the court, since she brings with her a view of magic untainted by Andrastianism. Some believe she has enthralled Celene with Blood Magic, but others dismiss the claims since an enthralled Celene likely wouldn't argue with Morrigan as often as she does.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: If she drinks from the Well of Sorrows, she is bound to serve Mythal/Flemeth for all eternity. While Flemeth seems willing to let her go free, it's going to be hanging over her for the rest of her life...and afterlife.
  • 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. For her part, Vivienne despises Morrigan as an upstart apostate who appeared out of nowhere and quickly gained political power that she herself worked years to gain.
  • 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. As of Inquisition, this is exactly what happens.
    • 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. Leliana actually questions her about this. Morrigan will admit that Kieran picked it out, if Kieran exists.
  • The Good Chancellor: What she actually is. During the Winter Palace arc, she does her part to save Celene's life.
  • Good Parents: Very much so. She genuinely cares for her son and wants to give him a better life then she had.
  • Happily Married: If romanced, her relationship to the Warden is all but stated to be this. His letter to the Inquisitor even outright calls her and Kieran "my family," and she refers to him as "my Warden."
  • Humble Pie: Her conversation with Flemeth within the Fade is an especially humbling experience for her. As she says, sometimes she needs to be reminded that she doesn't know everything.
  • Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance: She learns a harsh lesson in this, this time around. The Temple of Mythal and its fallout is a particularly humiliating experience for her.
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit: Averted. Her character kit mentions that Morrigan designed her outfit to be fashionable enough to fit in with Orlesian nobility, but had enough flexibility to cast spells at any Bards she'd encounter in the Deadly Decadent Court.
  • Love Hurts: If imported as the lover of a Warden who made the Ultimate Sacrifice but still conceived a son with her, this is more or less her reaction when Alistair, if alive and a Grey Warden, asks about him.
    Alistair: At least you have Kieran.
    Morrigan: (quietly) I could have had them both.
  • The Magic Comes Back: Morrigan's goal once she learns about the Well of Sorrows. She believes the Well's power could be used to restore ancient magics to Thedas, taking away some of the 'mundanity' of the world.
  • Mama Bear: Morrigan will protect her son from anything, even a Physical God.
  • The Mistress: Technically, she will have this role if the Warden impregnated her, but married Anora in Origins. However, if the Warden helped her raise Kieran, he and Morrigan make it clear that she is the favorite and his true love.
  • My Greatest Failure: If she did not do the Dark Ritual with the Warden and was not romanced, she says that parting on bad terms with the Warden is her greatest regret.
  • Never My Fault: If she drinks from the Well of Sorrows, she'll insist that Flemeth planned the whole thing. If the Inquisitor points out how insistent Morrigan was about drinking from it, she'll insist that Flemeth must have planned that, too. She may be on to something, but still...
  • Not So Above It All: Provided she was romanced (and joined) by a male Warden in the first game, contacting him in Inquisition has her express mild gratitude about Leliana having not opened the note intended just for her - as its contents would likely make even an Orlesian blush.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Well, just look at her Inquisition trope image.
    • Although that's only included on her outfit during the Winter Ball - afterward, she's seen in her Dragon Age: Origins outfit, albeit now sporting a bra as well.
  • Oh, Crap: She has two major moments.
    • When she sees exactly how Corypheus keeps coming back.
      This cannot be!
    • When she realizes that Flemeth is Mythal. Especially if Morrigan drank from the Well of Sorrows.
  • 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 to be acceptable at court, 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.
  • Scaled Up: Turns into a dragon to fight the red lyrium dragon, should she drink from the Well of Sorrows. Said dragon bears a strong resemblance to her mother's dragon form in the previous game.
  • Sixth Ranger: She joins the Inquisition much later in the game than the other major characters.
  • Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: Subverted, as preventing that very mindset is revealed to be her highest priority. She believes that ancient magic needs to be preserved, no matter how feared or dangerous. She believes this so completely that she's willing to use something totally unknown and untested on herself just to save it from destruction. Even if it claimed her life, or kept her from seeing her son again, she considers it worth the cost. At first. She learns the hard way that Flemeth was counting on this.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Morrigan appears warmer and more compassionate if the Warden took the time to befriend her during Origins, especially if she was romanced, became a mother, or both. This is proven true, as if she joins the Inquisition, she offers advice and praise to you all the time, with only a little snark, and none of it anywhere near as spiteful as she once was.
    • Notably, her relationships with Alistair and Leliana are much more amiable, particularly with her son present.
  • Unreliable Expositor: She is not as knowledgeable as she thinks she is. And she isn't above small lies or withholding crucial info, either.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: She wants to, in her own words, preserve ancient and lost magic for the future. No matter the price she would pay.
  • Woman in Black: Morrigan now sports a purple and black Orlesian-style dress, with Fingerless Gloves, a metal corset and her necklace from Origins. According to the Bioware character kit, this is her subtle way of thumbing her nose at the pretentiousness of Orlesian fashion.

Leliana

First Appearance: Dragon Age: Origins
Voiced by: Corinne Kempa

    Tropes In Dragon Age:Origins 

"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."


  • Action Girl: Seemingly inexplicably at first.
  • All Women Love Shoes
    Leliana: Oh, I could talk about shoes all day...
  • And This Is for...: The Leliana's Song DLC has Leliana say this in her final confrontation with Raleigh.
    Raleigh: I still remember that scared little girl in my cell!
    Leliana: I remember her too. This is for her.
    [pushes him backwards off of a cliff]
  • Anti-Hero: Previously an Unscrupulous Hero. Repentant as a Pragmatic Hero when you meet her, but can slip down if hardened by the player.
  • 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.
  • Betty and Veronica: Betty to Morrigan's (And Zevran's) Veronica. She's not as Betty-like as she seems, however.
  • Bi the Way: Is one of two romance options for PCs of either gender.
  • Blatant Lies: "I'm just flushed from the... heat!"
  • 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.
  • The Chick: An unhardened Leliana is the most moral of the companions, constantly trying to keep the group walking along the side of the good.
  • 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.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: The Warden can mistake her for one at first, as Chantry Sisters aren't generally renowned for their fighting ability and she can seem a bit loopy at times. But Leliana's no ordinary Chantry Sister.
  • 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.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The Leliana's Song DLC, which follows her final missions as a bard.
  • 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
  • Femme Fatale Spy: Orlesian Bards fill this role. Leliana eventually admits that part of her enjoyed it.
  • Gay Option: For a female PC.
  • Gentlewoman Snarker: Being the resident Nice Girl, 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.
  • Going Native: She is an ethnic Fereldan, whose mother journeyed to Orlais. As a bard, she spied on her ancestral homeland.
  • 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.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Possibly.
  • 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.
  • I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: She just loves the nugs in Orzammar. You can actually get her one... and she names it Schmooples.
  • 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 deceived. 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 uses 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 out that this would devalue your life to that of a pet for a stuffy noble.
    • She similarly compliments a heroic Dalish Elf for not being one of the savages who steal women the stories describe, as well as stating her admiration for their people's closeness to the land. You can point out the rather racist undertones to her describing your way of life as "quaint", especially when it's not by your choice.
  • Jeanne d'Archétype: Action Girl? Check. Devoutly religious? Check. French (or the equivalent)? Check. Visions telling her to fight? Check. Case closed.
  • Lady of Adventure: To some players' surprise, as well as that of her former partner in crime (and bed) Marjolaine.
  • Lost Forever/Guide Dang It: If you don't go into the pub in Lothering, you will never find her and she can't be recruited.
  • Loveable Rogue: At the beginning of the Leliana's Song DLC.
  • Love Interest: One of four potential ones.
  • Magic Music: Standard for a bard.
  • Meaningful Name: Close enough to Leliana (which apparently has no 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. One of the gifts you can give her is a flower called Andraste's Grace, which strongly resembles a lily.
  • The Mistress: Can become this (if hardened) for a Human Male Noble Warden who has asked for the Queen's hand, or for a Female Human Noble Warden who marries Alistair for political reasons. Leliana decides to stay by the Warden's side in Denerim, and even sends him/her a letter if s/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 monarch. If talked to before the epilogue, she will immediately end her relationship with the PC, even if she was previously hardened. But if it's done correctly and Leliana's relationship with the Warden continues, it will be mentioned in Inquisition. When the Inquisitor's group attends the Winter Ball, the court herald will announce Leliana as, among other things, "Mistress of the Prince Consort/Queen of Ferelden."
  • 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.
  • Not So Different: Marjolaine says this of herself and Leliana. The Warden can either convince Leliana she's not, or reinforce that idea.
  • Old-School Chivalry: Being a romantic at heart, this is how Leliana would like her romance with the Warden to play out. Can be hilarious subverted.
  • Parental Abandonment: Her mother had her out of wedlock and died when she was young.
  • 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.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Well, man or woman. Her romance path requires a Warden to be particularly kind-hearted to NPCs and/or extremely generous with gifts.
  • Technical Pacifist: Sort of. She's a quasi-nun and interested in peace and contemplation, but while she prefers non-violent solutions, she's perfectly willing to resort to bloodshed when she has to.
  • That Woman Is Dead: What she tells Marjolaine when she's asked about her past in Orlais.
  • A Threesome Is Hot: She'll join the Warden and Isabela for some fun if hardened.
  • 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. Eventually this doesn't come to pass, because regardless of the Warden's life status, Leliana is still living in Inquisition, though she will remark on his/her death should it happen.
  • Unexplained Recovery: If you killed her in Origins, she basically says "I got better" to Hawke in The Exiled Prince, suggesting 'God Was My Copilot' as the explanation.
  • 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 pretty cynical, 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.
  • Zen Survivor: Downplayed in her conversation with Empress Celene in Asunder. When Celene asks her how large the Archdemon was (Leliana fought atop Fort Drakon in the book canon), Leliana just smiles politely and replies, "Large enough that most problems seem small by comparison," referring to the current Mage-Templar hostilities and the civil war. Too bad the the Conclave explosion in Inquisition proves too big even for her.

    Tropes In Dragon Age: Inquisition 
"Sometimes the best path is not the easiest one."

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 they're raised and trained to be messengers for her espionage operations in the Inquisition.
  • Back from the Dead: If the imported world state had Leliana slain by the Hero of Ferelden after tainting the Urn of Sacred Ashes, then Leliana will assert that yes, she did die, but had an Unexplained Recovery and awoke in agony some time later, the Urn missing.
  • Bad Present: Inverted in the mage questline. The Herald and Dorian wind up a year in the future and with the help of the allies try to get back to the past to avert it. Leliana scoffs at their goal, because while it's just fine and dandy that they can go home and avoid this Hell on Earth, she had to live through it. For her, this is present reality, not just some "hypothetical" she can pretend didn't happen.
  • Bait and Switch: In one of the gameplay demos, Leliana comments bitterly that the mages shouldn't be wondering why others fear them, since no one should have this power. This may give the indication that Leliana has suddenly become very anti-Mage; in the game proper, the context surrounding this line turns out to be far more complicated than that. In fact, she is probably the most consistently pro-mage character in the game.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. In the Bad Future, she is horribly disfigured after being tortured by the Venatori. According to the notes you find left by the Venatori, they were mutilating her flesh and infecting her with Blighted body parts to figure out why she has such a high resistance to it.
  • Break the Cutie:
  • The Cast Showoff: Along with Cullen, she gets to sing a brief solo during the "Dawn Will Come" scene.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Suffers this in the Bad Future of Alexius' time amulet.
  • Continuity Nod: During the Winter Ball, she's once again fixated on shoes. While she justifies it as being able to tell a lot about a person's current circumstances, she's obviously as fashion-aware as ever.
    • When Griffon Wing Keep posts a need for morale boosters, Josephine recommends some reading material, Cullen suggests sending a master chef to fill the soldiers' bellies with more than the bare minimum rations... and Leliana recommends a cobbler to rectify their painful shoes.
    • You can also find a note on her desk at Skyhold from an agent she's got caring for Schmooples II and its babies.
    • In Haven, one of the conversation options you can pursue with her is to ask about her relationship with the Hero of Ferelden. If she was romanced or befriended, she speaks of the Warden with a warmth and affection that strongly recalls her personality in the first game.
  • Cool Big Sis: Josephine explicitly states that Leliana has acted as both a best friend and big sister figure for her since they met. If the Inquisitor decides to pursue romantic intentions with Josephine, Leliana will offer some some words of warning right before the relationship officially starts.
  • Crisis of Faith: She confesses that she's having one, lashing out at The Maker during a particularly bitter moment. If He can't be bothered to protect one of His most devoted followers at a time when her death caused such dreadful chaos, then what good is He?
  • Damsel in Distress: In the Bad Future, she is suffering Cold-Blooded Torture at the hands of the Venatori.
  • 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.
    • Specifically her central arc for the game is a very stale beer realization that she's burnt out and regretful toward having spent the last decade hardening herself against ruthless spy work.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Some of her methods on the war table can delve into this. For example, when a little known bard starts singing slanderous songs about the Inquisition, Leliana's solution is to cut out the bard's tongue.
  • Friend to All Living Things: For a ruthless spymaster who won't hesitate to order assassinations, she's still an animal lover. She has an agent taking care of her pet nugs and their offspring, all the messenger-birds adore her even if they hate everyone else (one of her agents suspects blood magic), and her suggested solution to varghests infesting a critical water supply is not to exterminate, but try to gently move the giant, scaly, venomous, vicious beasts somewhere else.
  • Graceful Loser: Leliana has no problems with Cassandra being named Divine instead of her. She's less pleased if Vivienne gets the position, but that's mostly because of the chaos that a mage Divine will bring.
  • Guest Star Party Member: She joins in battle in the Prologue against the Pride Demon, and again in the Bad Future. She can't be controlled, but she fights as an archer and will attack and kill your enemies.
  • Hates Small Talk: Her future self.
    Dorian: Aren't you curious how we got here?
    Leliana: No.
    • And moments later.
    Leliana: Stop talking.
    Dorian: I'm just trying to gain information.
    Leliana: No, you're talking to fill empty space.
  • Heartbroken Badass: If the Warden romanced her in Origins and made the Ultimate Sacrifice, her dialogue implies that she's still mourning him/her.
    Leliana: I was with the Hero of Ferelden when s/he killed the Archdemon. The Maker brought us together, and then... I watched him/her die. In that instant, I felt the Maker's presence grow cold. One moment, a cherished child. The next... abandoned.
  • Hold the Line: In the Bad Future, she performs one against a wave of demons, buying Dorian enough time to open a portal back to the present day.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: If you romance Josephine, Leliana will give you a speech to this effect, warning you that Joshephine is "innocent in love" and doesn't want the Inquisitor to break her heart. This is because Leliana was something of a surrogate older sister to Josephine when they were younger, and still has some Big Sister Instinct towards "Josie".
  • The Immune: According to notes found scattered in the Bad Future, she has the highest Blight resistance the Venatori have ever seen. Nothing is ever brought up about it later, though.
  • In the Hood: Adds to her mysterious spy look. The official art book specifies that she was given this design to combine her bardic background with her devotion to the Chantry, since the hood is both roguelike and reminiscent of a monastic cowl.
  • I Was Never Here: Her War Table solution options sometimes say things like "Make It Look Like an Accident" or "No one will trace this back to the Inquisition".
  • Meaningful Echo: In the Bad Future, she slits the throat of Alexius' son, no matter what anyone says. It's possible for this to happen in the present as well, at the end of her side quest.
  • Mission Control: Along with Cullen and Josephine, she provides the multiplayer teams with the information that they need to complete their missions.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In the Bad Future, despite Alexius' My God, What Have I Done? complacency, Leliana vengefully kills his son, prompting him to lash out in grief.
  • Not So Stoic: When the Inquisitor tells her Divine Justinia's last words to her.
  • Older Than She Looks: She was born in Orlesian-occupied Ferelden, or was born early enough to have lived there, to a Fereldan mother who later left for Orlais. This means that, in this game, she can't be younger than 39, at the absolute youngest. More than likely, she's in her early 40s. You'd never guess.
  • Plot-Sensitive Snooping Skills: Leliana is an excellent Spymaster overall, but somehow lets Solas and Blackwall into the Inquisition without checking out their back stories thoroughly. Post-game, she finally decides to search for Solas's Hidden Elf Village that he claims to hail from, only to discover that it's nothing but centuries-old ruins. As a personal companion to the Hero of Ferelden, she should have known that Blackwall most certainly wasn't there "recruiting new Wardens and killing Darkspawn" during the Fifth Blight.
    • During Blackwall's personal quest, Cullen mentions that Leliana has something of a "blind spot" when it comes to Wardens.
  • Rousseau Was Right: If elected Divine and softened, her radical idealism works. She frees the Mages completely from Chantry control, opens the clergy to nonhumans, and the opposition to her drastic reforms aren't crushed like if she's still hardened, but sat down, talked with, and convinced to go along. Like her predecessor said, idealism is the Chantry's stock in trade.
  • Saintly Church: A "softened" Leliana has her passion for the Chantry reignited, and she firmly believes it needs to start being this. Should she become Divine, she frees the mages, removes species limits on priesthood, and tries to resolve disputes peacefully. A "hardened" Leliana still does most of that, but has a hard-line approach to dissidents.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Word of God is that if she is made Divine and is the Hero of Ferelden's love interest, Leliana eventually repeals the rule that requires the Divine to be celibate.
  • The Spymaster: Adopts this position in the Inquisition.
    • 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.
  • Sketchy Successor: If she becomes Divine Victoria and the Inquisitor didn't complete her personal quest, the Chantry fragments under her leadership. This is averted if it is: Hardened or softened, her reforms hold and the Chantry remains.
  • Superior Successor: Depending on the choices you've made throughout the game, Leliana can turn out to be a far more effective Divine than Justinia V ever was.
  • Sweet Tooth: In one War Table mission outcome, the rewards include, among other things, chocolate. She promptly claims the chocolate and lets the Inquisitor have the rest.
  • Terror Hero: Many of her solutions, especially at the War Table, amount to using stealthy operations to scare targets into complying.
  • 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.
    • In Alexius's Bad Future, she becomes impatient and unsympathetic towards mages due to the torture she faced. Once you return home, present!Leliana averts this and will object if you treat the rebel mages as prisoners.
    • This happens even further if you approve of her more ruthless actions throughout the game. In her sidequest, she fully Becomes The Mask of the Nightingale, fully committed to do anything to fulfill her goals, no matter how repugnant.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: After the death of Divine Justinia V, Leliana is one of two candidates for her replacement (the other is Cassandra). If Leliana is chosen to be the Divine's successor, then as Divine Victoria, Leliana dissolves the Circles and allows mages to rule their own lives, and admits non-humans to the Chantry priesthood.
    • You can encourage her towards this within the game itself, by being supportive and urging her to show mercy and care for her subordinates.
  • 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.
  • Unexpected Successor: At the end of the game, she may become Divine Victoria, succeeding the late Divine Justinia V.
  • Unscrupulous Hero: Her role as Sister Nightingale, the Spymaster, involves her doing some pretty reprehensible things or ordering her agents to. Deep down in side, she's wracked with conflict. But she can embrace it fully if you encourage her to do so.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • She objects to the Inquisitor and Cassandra if they take a harder stance on the rebel mages. There's a certain amount of Dramatic Irony, given her embittered Bad Future self.
    • If you applaud her ruthlessness throughout the game, but then try to say she's gone too far later on, she'll mock you for it and say it's too late for her to change now.

Anders

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.
  • Combat Medic: His default specialization is Spirit Healer.
  • Cute Kitten: Ser Pounce-A-Lot, the kitten that you can give him. In Dragon Age II, he says that the Wardens made him give it up for "making him soft."
    • Also had one in the Circle called Mr. Wiggums, which later got possessed by a Rage Demon and killed at least three Templars before being defeated. Anders considers that Mr. Wiggums' proudest moment.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Towards Ser Pounce-A-Lot.
  • Deadpan Snarker
    Nathaniel: Do you always wear robes?
    Anders: Not when I'm naked, I don't.
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • Formally Named Pet: Ser Pounce-a-Lot and Mr. Wiggums, although the latter got the name from an elf mage who liked hats with cat ears.
  • 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.
  • Kind Hearted Cat Lover: Anders is very fond of cats.
  • 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.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Anders is the closest thing to a romance in Awakening, but even then it never actually goes anywhere with the Female Warden.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Anders is not his real name; he was given the nickname because he was originally from the Anderfels. His real name is never revealed, not even in DAII.
  • Perma Stubble
  • 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.
  • 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. Which actually makes it technically true.
  • Bag of Spilling: By the end of Awakening, Anders was an archmage who probably could have taken on Urthemiel single-handedly. In II, he joins with single-digit levels and only a basic healing, repulsion, and ice spell.
  • 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.
  • Berserk Button:
    • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: If brought along for Legacy, Anders becomes a thrall of Corypheus. He snaps out of it after a brief boss fight. If Anders is alive and in a relationship with Hawke at the time of Inquisition, Hawke says that Anders is being kept out of the action specifically to prevent this from happening again.
    • 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 joins the Circle, he acts a lot harsher towards her.
  • Byronic Hero: He got into the cause for mage justice, freedom and equality with the best of intentions. As time goes on, those intentions drive him to increasingly ambiguous extremes (though the spirit/demon in his head helps some too) until he comes pretty damn close to the Point of No Return.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Just don't ask him about the Chantry.
  • 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.
  • Driven to Suicide: After he destroys the Chantry, he acknowledges that it's Hawke's duty to judge him for it, and is unsurprised - and possibly appreciative - if Hawke chooses to kill him. Also, if his Rivalry is at maximum, and he's convinced to side with the Templars, he implies as well that he will kill himself after the battle is done.
  • 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.
  • Evil Costume Switch: "Evil" is a simplification, but he switches to a black, buttoned-up version of his outfit after his Act III personal quest.
  • 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.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Possibly subverted, as you can choose not to kill him.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: He sees being made Tranquil as this, with plenty of corroboration from Karl.
    • And if you make him side with the Templars through the rivalry route.
  • Fallen Hero: Anders mostly just wanted to look out for numero uno back in Awakening, but he was also a fairly good-hearted guy happy to do the right thing. He hasn't quite become a villain, but it becomes readily apparent over time that he's slowly slipping into good intentions, very bad methods territory.
  • 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.
    • A damaged journal found in Dragon Age: Inquisition that is implied to have been written by Anders suggests that his harrowing was a particularly traumatic experience.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: To an extent; people don't like how he keeps talking about mages and templars, almost without stop, as he 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.
  • Gay Option: For male Hawkes.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Whenever he starts losing himself to Vengeance, his eyes glow blue.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Nicknamed "Blondie" by Varric, but the trope is continually zigzagged; he's grim and understands that change for mages will come slowly, if at all, though he does get a few kind moments in from time to time. By Act III, very little of his kind-healer-fighting-against-his-darker-side persona remains.
  • Headbutting Heroes: He and Sebastian clash quite a bit, and he goes back and forth between having this vibe and a Vitriolic Best Buds one with Aveline, depending on the day and topic of discussion.
  • 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 so desperately needs. 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.
  • Humanoid Abomination: He has been possessed by the Spirit of Justice, who becomes a Demon of Vengeance. If he's a Rival, he blames it on himself more than usual.
  • Hurting Hero
  • Hypocrite: Oh, where do we even start?
    • 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.
      • A fairly apt reflection of an Act III quest where the player can make a deal with a demon. Fenris disapproves of it usually, but if Anders is in the party, he'll approve of it just because it pisses off his rival.
    • 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. At least he seems to be aware of this, as he'll sadly opine that he doesn't deserve their love.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • I've Come Too Far: No matter how many times he screws up or fails to convince people of his cause, Anders just keeps pursuing his cause further and further, believing it's too late to stop now.
  • 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.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Anders may harp on and on (and on) about the cause of mages' freedom beyond a reasonable decree, but the game shows several times that his arguments are not baseless. Many, many templars abuse their authority, some of the apostates the party meets are just ordinary people who want to be left alone or take care of their families, he mentions how mages who get pregnant at the Circle have their babies taken away from them by the Chantry (which happened to one of the player's companions from the first game) and the Rite of Tranquility gets used on his friend and possible lover, Karl, who makes it clear that being Tranquil is not a pleasant experience, despite what the relatively well-adjusted Owain claimed.
  • 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 get justice in kind. 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.
    • At least he follows up the unsavoury remarks on Merrill's quest with an urging to make up for the mistakes she made that led to it; somehow, Fenris never manages to do that.
    • 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, though it's worth noting that he doesn't have his cat anymore by that time.
  • Knight Templar: Becomes one, ironically, towards the Templars over the course of the game.
  • Light Is Not Good: However, despite his black outfit he is a healer mage, which invokes more light than dark
  • 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.
  • The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: Starts off entirely open about his pro-mage agenda. Eventually, he becomes less than honest and uses Hawke for his own purposes. It very much seems, however, that he regrets doing this if nothing else.
  • 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.
  • Morality Pet: By Act III, Varric and (possibly) Hawke have become this for him, as he is much more distant, if not hostile, towards the rest of the party at that point. He even admits to a romanced Hawke that he/she is one of the few things he thinks is keeping him sane.
  • Mr. Fanservice: He falls under Troubled, but Cute for some, but even aesthetically he comes across as a rugged, handsome man. The Blooming Rose has apparently offered him a job enough times to get annoying.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: If you kill him after he blows up the Chantry.
  • My Greatest Failure
    • 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.
  • No Place for Me There: He fully expects to be killed for the things he has done to free the mages.
  • 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.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: According to Word of God, Anders is a nickname because his family is from the Anderfels.
  • 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.
  • Perma Stubble: He gets some light beard trimming along his jaw and on his chin.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • 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.
    • He's actually quite compassionate with Merrill when he tells her that he can't heal Pol. Of course, this is immediately subverted by the vicious way he chews her out the entire trek back to camp.
    • 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.
  • Properly Paranoid:
    • Whether you agree with his solution or not, he's not wrong about the kind of abuses going on in the Gallows (or other Circles). There's also dialogue overheard from Templars that implies that Meredith was going to invoke the Rite of Annulment on the Kirkwall Circle anyway, which would have caused all the mages to be killed without any attention being drawn to it.
    • 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.
  • Sanity Slippage: Compare his behavior in Act I to his behavior in Act III.
    • 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 exactly how he comes 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.
  • Single-Issue Wonk: The plight of mages oppressed by the Chantry and Templars. Quickly became notorious for this in-universe and out. See The Friend Nobody Likes for more details.
    Carver: I don't hate you because you're a mage. I hate you because you won't shut up about it. Oppression this, Templars that.
  • Split Personality: Between his own mind and Vengeance.
  • 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.
  • Token Evil Teammate: If you choose to spare him and keep him in your party in Act III.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Sort of. He starts out like a more cynical version of his Awakening persona in Act I, but he ends up getting gradually nastier as the acts go on, though he never loses sight of his long-term goals.
  • Tragic Hero: His intentions are good — very good, in fact — but his own methods for enacting them are not so noble and he occasionally shoots himself in the foot. Eventually he gets what he wants... but the cost of it is immense, and the general consensus is that it was not worth everything that happened, in the interim and afterwards.
  • 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.
  • Troubled, but Cute: He has a few moments of this.
  • 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.
  • The Unfettered: His self-restraint is gradually eroded over the course of the game until he tears down the existing dymanic between the Chantry, the Templars and the Circle to force them into conflict, and it seems Justice/Vengeance helped him get there.
  • Was It All a Lie?: A romanced Hawke will ask this of him after he blows up the Chantry. The answer is, no, his love was not a lie.
  • 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.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: He falls further and further into this as his efforts to help the mages fail to leave any impact, culminating in destroying the Kirkwall Chantry to force an open conflict.
  • 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 Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Justice's influence hasn't particularly been good for Anders' mental state.
  • 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.
  • 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 Are What You Hate: Grows increasingly more militant and preachy about the age cause throughout the game. His companions don't miss a beat in letting him know the irony.
  • 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.

The Spirit of Justice/Vengeance

Voiced by: Adam Leadbeater (Dragon Age Origins - Awakening), Adam Leadbeater and Adam Howden (Dragon Age II)

    Tropes In Dragon Age:Origins-Awakening 

"I have no name, only a virtue to which I aspire."

A benevolent Fade Spirit trapped in the corpse of a Grey Warden named Kristoff who joins the Warden’s party during the events of Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening.


  • Berserk Button: Suggesting that he's Not So Different from demons. This carries over to Dragon Age II, and can lead to him murdering an innocent young mage unless Hawke stops him.
  • 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.
  • Does Not Understand Sarcasm
  • 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.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: His true form and personality, though he starts off seeing it more as an obligation.
  • Large Ham: In his spirit form. Considering the Spirit of Valor encountered in the Mage Origin, this may be common to all benevolent fade spirits.
  • Literal-Minded: Takes a while to understand that Sigrun's death is symbolic.
  • Magic Knight: His default specialization, Spirit Warrior.
  • Shout-Out: He's not the first embodiment of justice trapped in physical form after the physical form has died and begun to wither. He's just a lot nicer about it.
  • 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.
  • Berserk Button: Shares them with Anders, plus a bonus berserk - don't call him a demon.
  • 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, and always immediately, never after some time to cool off.
  • Break the Haughty: Justice's transformation into Vengeance. Could also count as Break the Cutie, personality-wise, seeing as he was an idealistic, good, poetic spirit before becoming twisted by hate.
  • Enemy Within: For Anders.
  • 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 Hawke fails to calm him, Vengeance will murder a mage he was supposed to be saving from corrupt Templars.
  • Knight Templar: He still seeks to protect the weak and punish the wicked, but Anders' anger has made him completely merciless.
  • Large Ham
  • 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.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Pretty much embodies this.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: For Anders.
  • Split Personality Takeover: Anders constantly fights to keep Vengeance under control - but occasionally Vengeance comes out. When he does, Anders' eyes glow blue and he shifts into Voice of the Legion.
    • 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.

Varric Tethras

First Appearance: Dragon Age II
Voiced by: Brian Bloom

    Tropes In Dragon Age II 

"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.


  • Anti-Hero: A little greedy but when it comes down to it, he's actually more moral than most of the residents of Kirkwall put together. Not that that's really too difficult...
  • Automatic Crossbow: With sufficient upgrades, Bianca eventually becomes this.
  • Badass Longcoat: Well, it's long for a dwarf.
  • 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.
  • BFG: Bianca, Varric's tricked-out, custom-made, and rather large crossbow.
  • Cain and Abel: The Abel to his brother Bartrand.
  • 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 devs specifically made Bianca level up with Varric so as to make players never want to part the two without breaking the game.
    • Also commented on in Inquisition, when during a conversation with The Iron Bull about safewords, the Inquisitor can suggest "Bianca" for Varric - only to have Bull say that it would have to be a word Varric wouldn't say during sex.
  • Carpet of Virility: Notable, as he's the first BioWare character since The Black Whirlwind with real chest hair. Fenris lampshades this when he asks why Varric doesn't have a beard. He muses it "fell down onto his chest." Enhanced by a rare example of male Absolute Cleavage...
  • 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. He likes the ground to be horizontal, thank you.
  • 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. Subverted if he tries this with Merrill in the party, as she will always absentmindedly correct him.
  • 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. In the entire game, Hawke is the only one who outdoes him.
  • Defensive "What?": Pulls this on Cassandra when she calls him out on his... less-than-accurate version of the Bartrand confrontation.
  • Deuteragonist: Has the most development of any character barring Hawke, is responsible for kicking off the events of Act One, and from a narrative perspective the whole game is him telling a story, colored by his own fanciful personality.
  • The Dutiful Son: Varric played this role when he was a kid, taking care of his alcoholic mother, as Bartrand was too busy building their business empire.
  • Establishing Character Moment: No matter whether you approach it narratively or chronologically, Varric gets one.
    • 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 stolen purse and suavely introduces himself, followed by a business proposition.
  • Even the Guys Want Him:
    • During a conversation with Anders, this exchange;
      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 choose to live in a dark, smelly hole, filled with darkspawn.
  • Expy: A short guy with thieving skills, an automatic crossbow, a love of telling stories and Genre Savvy that helps him survive? There's at least a little Jan Jansen in Varric.
  • Fantastic Racism: Downplayed, but Varric doesn't understand or much like the Qunari, particularly their extremism. 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 it was worth going to war over a book.
  • 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.
  • Genre Savvy: He is a storyteller, after all:
    • "'I don't like this'? That's right up there with 'What Could Possibly Go Wrong?'!"
    • 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.
  • Hero of Another Story: Alongside Isabela and King Alistair in the The Silent Grove/Those Who Speak/Until We Sleep trilogy.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners/Platonic Life Partners: He's the only party member other than Aveline and Hawke's sibling who cannot be romanced, though he remains incredibly close to Hawke throughout their relationship.
    • 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. He's then brought to bear witness before the Divine, dragging him into the events of the third game...
  • I Call It "Vera": He has a crossbow named Bianca.
  • I Just Write the Thing: In Legacy, he admits to Aveline that he rarely writes with a concrete ending in mind, trusting his characters to drive the story rather than vice versa.
  • I Should Write a Book About This: In addition to his narration, this is a hobby of his. He frequently tells stories about Hawke and their adventures, though the stories are wildly exaggerated and very different from the truth.
  • Jaw Drop: He offers a verbal one when Aveline admits she wants a relationship with Guardsman Donnic.
    Varric: I think my jaw just landed somewhere in the Deep Roads.
  • Knowledge Broker: "It means coins flow when I talk and when I shut up."
  • 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 snarking best buds.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: As justified as can be since he's telling the story.
  • 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!
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much:
    • 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").
  • The Nicknamer:
    • Merrill is "Daisy." Bethany is "Sunshine," Anders is "Blondie," Carver is "Junior" and "little Hawke," Isabela is "Rivaini," 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.
    • He also dubs Tallis "Shivs."
  • Noodle Incident: He refuses to tell anyone how Bianca got her name. Just that Mirabelle was 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.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Bianca, the only working Automatic Crossbow in the setting, especially after its designer gets killed in Legacy... Then, during the course of Mark of the Assassin, this trope is averted, with Duke Prosper making use of a repeating crossbow pistol. Basically, this trope only appears because Varric is an Unreliable Narrator.
  • 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...
  • Odd Friendship: With practically everybody in the party.
  • 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.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: He indulges in a Cliché Storm of Pre Mortem One Liners while single-handedly raiding his brother's hideout. Subverted.
  • 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.
  • Running Gag: The chest hair...
  • Sad Clown: He's already snarky on a good day, but his standard reaction to things getting tense or emotional (especially when it comes to his own issues) is deflection.
    "Don't worry, Sunshine. The laughter just...hides the pain."
  • Sarcastic Devotee: Always expect to hear at least one snarky comment from the dwarf when he's in Hawke's party.
    Varric: (if Anders falls) They got what's-his-name! The mage!
  • Self-Proclaimed Liar: "I love the sound of my own voice, and I'm a compulsive liar."
  • 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 in Mark of the Assassin, 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.
  • The Storyteller: Of course he ends up the narrator.
    There's power in stories, though. That's all history is: the best tales. The ones that last. Might as well be mine.
  • Sweet Tooth: If Merrill is to be believed.
    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. At one point in Legacy, without any hesitation, he turns Bianca on a former friend of his who is preparing to attack Hawke.
    • 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 deceased 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.
    • Subverted because his exaggerations are actually the story of the Champion, as remembered in history. He's technically telling the truth, From a Certain Point of View. On the other hand, the better known exaggerations are also written by him...
    • Played for Laughs later on, when the game suddenly switches to Varric killing a ridiculously implausible number of enemies by himself and making a crossbow shot with Improbable Aiming Skills. Cut back to an extremely skeptical Cassandra, and then gameplay returns to normal.
    • 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.
    • As revealed in Inquisition, he knew where Hawke was all along and could get in contact with him/her anytime he needed to, hiding this in order to protect his friend.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Carver.
    • 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.
  • Warrior Poet: He actually writes poetry in his spare time.
  • 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.
  • Write Who You Know: Invoked during Party Banter in Act II with Aveline, which 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. Extracts from the book itself have the guard captain as a no-nonsense female redhead beset by paperwork (Aveline), a sexy and reckless pirate captain named Captain Belladonna (Isabela), and a cute scatterbrained elf who researches history named Maisy (Merrill).

    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."

Varric joins the Inquisitor's party along with Cassandra during the events of Dragon Age: Inquisition.


  • Affectionate Nickname: Solas refers to him with a solemn "child of the Stone," which is especially notable since Varric is a surfacer dwarf without a lick of stone-sense. Solas seems to mean it genuinely, though.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: When Solas keeps badgering him about his willingness to abandon the old dwarf empire and be happy with his kind living on the surface, equating it to giving up, Varric handily shuts him down by arguing that accepting the impossibility of defeating entropy and living a good life anyway is the only real way to beat it.
    Solas: You truly are content to sit in the sun, never wondering what you could've been, never fighting back?
    Varric: Ha, you've got it all wrong, Chuckles. This is fighting back.
    Solas: How does passively accepting your fate constitute a fight?
    Varric: In that story of yours — the fisherman watching the stars, dying alone — you thought he gave up right? [...] But he went on living. He lost everyone, but he still got up every morning. He made a life, even if it was alone. That's the world. Everything you build, it tears down. Everything you've got, it takes — and it's gone forever. The only choices you get are to lie down and die or keep going. He kept going. That's as close to beating the world as anyone gets.
    Solas: Well said. Perhaps I was mistaken.
  • Badass Bookworm: Varric's career as an author receives more attention Inquisition. Apparently, he's quite the bestseller, so he's basically a demon slaying Stephen King with a crossbow.
  • Badass Longcoat: Now available in a variety of colors depending on what material the player uses.
  • Bag of Spilling: When you meet him at the beginning of the game, he's back to first level and without all those trick bolts, just like the rest of your party.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension:
    • People accuse him and Cassandra of having this. Neither of them are amused by the suggestion.
      • When Discussed by the party, they conclude the reason that people accuse he and Cassandra of doing this is because it's a common trope in his own books... or at least in the Shoddy Knock Off sequels written by someone else.
    • He and Bianca definitely have this going on. They insult each other as often as often as they make small talk. Most telling is that if you defend her from his own rants, Varric actually approves both times. The Inquisitor can even tell them to Get a Room!
    Inquisitor: "After all this, do you think you'll see Bianca again?
    Varric: I always do.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Takes Cole under his wing and does his best to foster the growth of his human side. Blackwall even lampshades it, saying Varric seems to have "adopted him."
  • Blatant Lies: As explained by the man himself:
    You want to talk about me? I'm flattered! Also inclined toward extravagant lies.
  • Carpet of Virility:
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: In the Inquisition trailer, in between him shooting several demons with Bianca.
    Varric: You might want to watch yourself, it's raining demons out here.
  • Cloudcuckoo Landers Minder: To Cole on physical and tangible objects like clothes, which Cole hasn't got much experience with.
  • City Mouse: Some of his banter and random comments include complaints about foul weather, uneven terrain, and how much he'd really like to be indoors right about now. As he points out, he was raised in the city; that's where he's comfortable.
  • Cosmic Plaything: As he himself says, he's been in his own stories enough times to know a tragedy starting when he sees one.
    Varric: Most of my stories end in tragedy. Probably that says something unfortunate about me personally.
  • Critical Hit Class: The Artificer specialization Varric has focuses on improving critical hit chance for himself and the party and using critical hits to reduce the cooldowns on all his talents so he can use them faster.
  • Dirty Coward: He seems to think this of himself. In one conversation he mentions that it took him three years just to work up the nerve to confront Bartand for trying to murder him, and even then he needed someone else to convince him to do it. He then wonders if he'd be running from the current crisis if Cassandra hadn't literally dragged him into it in the first place. The Inquisitor can point out that nothing is actually stopping him.
  • Dual Wielding: Unlike the previous game, it is possible for Varric to dual-wield daggers (his new specialisation works pretty well regardless). However, the only ranged weapon he will use is still Bianca, who gets a whole range of exclusive upgrades to keep her in the running throughout the game. The descriptions for the regular bows seem to lampshade this; oftentimes, other than rogue, the class restriction will simply say, "Not Varric"
  • Fan of Underdog: While he and Blackwall have their favourite jousters in the Grand Tourney, he admits that Blackwall's pick is the most skilled, but stands by his own choice. It's not hard to imagine who else he's thinking about.
    "Scrappy is better than flawless. I like heroes who try their damnedest, even if they fail a lot. It's easy to be valiant when you always win and everything goes your way. There's nothing great in that."
  • Fantastic Racism: He's somewhat suspicious of the Qunari after the events of DAII, though he still gets along pretty well with the Iron Bull all things considered. If Bull becomes Tal-Vashoth, he happily tells him it was the right choice. If you pick the alliance with the Qunari, Varric is skeptical.
  • Friendly Sniper: Wields an Automatic Crossbow with deadly precision in combat and is one of the nicest guys in the series.
  • Genre Savvy:
    • We can see now that it wasn't just him spicing up the story to make him seem like this in Dragon Age II. Varric really gets how stories work and displays this in multiple dialogues throughout the game.
    • If you let him keep the idol shard, he takes zero chances - it's in a custom-made safe back in Kirkwall, and alchemists are studying it in hour-long shifts with weekly intervals. Unfortunately, they still don't know how to stop it "singing".
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Picked up what would qualify on anyone else as a nasty Evil Scar (under his left eye, diagonally across the nose almost to his right side jaw) sometime between games.
  • Heartbroken Badass: He's always shown signs of this, but he especially does if Hawke dies.
  • Heroic BSOD: If Hawke dies, he's completely at a loss for what to say, trying to say something before completely giving up and just silently walking away.
  • Hero-Worshipper: A relatively mild example, but after the group game of Wicked Grace, Varric tells the Inquisitor that he sees him/her as being "like one of those statues of Andraste holding bowls of fire." He also, in party banter with Dorian, refers to him/her as "our beloved Inquisitor." It's a different kind of reverence than the sort he has for Hawke, but still there.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners/Platonic Life Partners: Once again, Varric cannot be romanced by the player character. In this game, however, it's implied that this is because he's already in love with another dwarf named Bianca. He still remains this to Hawke as well, being the only person s/he was in constant contact with over the four years s/he was on the run.
  • Hidden Depths: As mentioned by Cassandra (and later confirmed by Varric), he's Andrastian (rather than a Stone-worshipper), and fully believes the Inquisitor is the Herald of Andraste, pointing to the extraordinary events surrounding the Inquisitor since literally stepping out of the Fade as proof.
  • I Call It "Vera": Bianca's back! And she fits in quite well with the weapon/armor component upgrade system in Inquisition, having the most non-Rune upgrade slots of any item (and a Rune slot as well for good measure).
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: His dialogue is peppered with this throughout the game. The events of II and now Inquisition has definitely taken a toll on Varric. Post-game he reveals that he simply wants to settle back down in Kirkwall.
  • It's All My Fault: Varric co-led the expedition that unearthed the first red lyrium seen in the modern Age, and isn't happy now that it's popping up everywhere. When Corypheus reappears, he starts kicking himself for leading Hawke to the Warden prison. If Hawke sacrifices him/herself to save the Inquisitor and the Grey Warden ally, this attitude becomes even more apparent. Even more so in his personal quest when he finds out that Corypheus is getting most of his red lyrium from the very same Primeval Thaig Varric discovered.
    • The Nightmare demon specifically gives him a "Reason You Suck" Speech over his guilt of constantly getting Hawke into life-threatening situations.
  • It Will Never Catch On: He claims he won't write a book about the Inquisition because they aren't that interesting. He reconsiders it later on, although he's not sure anyone will believe it.
  • Knight In Sour Armour: He's considerably more bitter and confrontational by the time he joins the Inquisition.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: When the Inquisitor asks how Varric got Bianca, the dwarf tells a story of how he found her in a barrel in the Black Emporium for a few coins; this is definitely at odds with the tragic story of his personal acquaintance with her creator in DA2's Legacy DLC. Then again, keep in mind who was telling that story, and what exactly that means. The codex adds a few more possible origin stories for Bianca as well.
  • Nice Guy: Varric can make friends with just about anyone, and seems to be on at the very least friendly terms with just about every other character in the party.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Varric gets accused of this by Cassandra after she finds out he lied about Hawke's whereabouts. Cassandra sought him out because she wanted Hawke to become the leader of the Inquisition and feels that Hawke's presence may have prevented the destruction at the Conclave. Varric points out that if Hawke had been at the Conclave, s/he would almost certainly have died, and "You people have done enough to him/her."
  • The Nicknamer: Varric still gives nickname to his companions. He addresses Cassandra as "Seeker", calls Josephine "Ruffles", Leliana is "Nightingale" and Cullen is "Curly." The ever-serious Solas is "Chuckles", Iron Bull is "Tiny", Dorian is "Sparkler", Cole is "Kid", Blackwall is "Warden" or "Hero", and Sera is "Buttercup." Vivienne comes pre-nicknamed as "Iron Lady". And, like Hawke before him/her, the Inquisitor doesn't have a nickname beyond simply "Inquisitor," although he does sometimes play with it by calling him/her "Your Inquisitorialness." He also has a nickname for Bianca's husband: "Whats-his-name?"
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Dwarven Friendly Sniper author/merchant.
  • Odd Friendship: Once again, Varric gets along with just about everyone, and many of them you wouldn't expect. Even those that start off tense at first, such as Cassandra, become significantly warmer over the course of the game.
  • Oh Shit: When he realizes that Bianca met the Grey Warden Corypheus was possessing at the end of Legacy and that's how Corypheus discovered Red Lyrium.
  • Old Shame: In-Universe, he considers his "Swords and Shields" series the worst he's ever written. However, it turns out that Cassandra is a fan of the series and the Inquisitor can convince him to write another book for it on her behalf.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Just like before. He might actually be the single wealthiest person in the entire Inquisition, yet is down in the muck with everyone else.
  • Runaway Bride: Implied to have happened to him. Let's just say we finally find out some of the story behind Bianca.
    Varric: I heard the wedding was lovely. The one she actually showed up to, anyway.
  • Scarf of Asskicking: One of his outfits features a red one not unlike Bethany's or Warrior-Hawke's.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: His (honest) reaction to Dorian asking if there's something between him and Cassandra.
    "Just because two people dislike each other doesn't mean they're about to kiss."
    • Notably, however, he makes no such denial concerning him and Bianca, no matter how much the rest of the party pesters him about it.
  • Sherlock Scan: He gives an impressive one to the player character early on. No matter what race, gender or class you use, he always accurately guesses your origins and reason for being at the Conclave.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Invoked if the Inquisitor asks him to complete his Swords and Shields series as a gift for Cassandra.
    Varric: The fact that it's so terrible makes it worthwhile.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Bianca, as it turns out, is a surface dwarf whose parents arranged for her to marry a smith. She and Varric obviously still have feelings for each other but are not allowed to meet.
    Varric: If I came over, your parents would kill me.
    Bianca: Oh, you're just overreacting.
    Varric: You always say that, but they always send assassins.
  • Team Dad: Most obvious during the Wicked Grace game and in some of Cole's sidequests - just like last time, he's determined to take care of everyone, even if that just means making sure they're taking the time to relax. He'll even lampshade it, saying he's not a great spymaster despite his numerous contacts because he winds up getting too involved and "worrying about their families".
  • To Absent Friends: He and the Inquisitor mourn the one who stayed behind in the Fade. If Stroud/Loghain/Alistair died, he says that even though he didn't know the Warden well, he is saddened by his death and notes that these times are not kind to heroes. But if Hawke was the one who died, he is devastated. He tries to tell an amusing story about his best friend, a farewell of sorts, but almost breaks down in tears in the middle of it.
  • Trap Master: Varric's specialization in Inquisition.
  • Undying Loyalty: It's revealed that he's known where Hawke has been all along, but did everything he could to hide this in order to protect his closest friend, as he was not sure of what the Inquisition wanted from him/her, and just plain trying to keep him/her as far away from any more danger as possible.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Varric is indirectly responsible for majority of the major events that transpired over the course of II and Inquisition. Hawke's sibling getting the taint, Corypheus being released, Anders getting pushed over the edge and kickstarting the Mage Rebellion, the red lyrium spreading, the Inquisitor getting the rift mark? The origin for all these started with Varric spearheading his Expedition to the Deep Roads, and he feels terrible about it. Especially if Hawke is killed as a result of it all. On the bright side, he is also the reason Cassandra and Leliana did not die at the Conclave, since they were delayed interrogating him.
  • 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, having reached renown enough for his works to be en vogue in Empress Celene's court. His novel Hard in Hightown is apparently popular enough that it has even generated a pair of Shoddy Knock Off sequels, much to Varric's chagrin. The first is subtitled Siege Harder, the second is The Re-Punchening. ("I'll give you a moment to contemplate the horror that is that title.") He wants them destroyed if for no other reason than their horrible titles.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In the trailer, he's not happy if the Inquisitor leaves Crestwood defenseless against the Red Templars. In the game proper, he will eventually call you out if his approval drops too far. He's one of the few companions who will never leave, though.
  • Write Who You Know: Varric continues to use this In-Universe and starts writing a political thriller series that features an evil countess based on Vivienne as the overarching villain. Notably, Varric does ask Vivienne for permission to base a character on her—if only because he's so scared of her—but Vivienne loves the idea from the get-go and even starts bombarding him with demands for more details in the Party Banter.
    Vivienne: You're not going to describe me in anything less than the latest fashions, are you?
    Varric: I'm... going to spend the next few weeks researching Orlesian gowns, aren't I?
    Vivienne: Yes, my dear. And my mask should be inlaid with opals.

Cassandra Pentaghast

First Appearance: Dragon Age II
Voiced by: Miranda Raison (Games), Colleen Clinkenbeard (Anime)

    Tropes In Dragon Age II & Dawn Of The Seeker 

"I'm not interested in stories. I came to hear the truth."

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 seen in 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.
  • Bad Ass: Much more apparent in Dawn of the Seeker, where her Establishing Character Moment has her cutting down Blood Mages like they were nothing and finishing off a drake with a dagger.
  • 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.
    • 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 and there was little anyone could have done.
    • 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.
  • Contralto of Danger: Cassandra has a sharp low-tone voice with a heavy Prussian (or, in-universe, Nevarran) accent.
  • 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.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Cassandra can be arguably considered the protagonist of the Framing Device set in the present, attempting to learn the truth of Hawke's tale as told via Varric's recollections.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Over the course of the Varric's tale, she becomes less irritable, softer-spoken and in the end, even decides to let Varric go.
  • Dual Wielding: Favours this style of combat in Dawn of the Seeker.
  • Foe Yay: Invoked. Varric insinuates she develops a crush on a male Hawke after a point in his story. She denies it.
    • Particularly if male Hawke is a Mage, since Cassandra is technically on the other side of the Mage-Templar conflict.
  • Freudian Excuse: As Dawn of the Seeker shows, she hates mages (and blood mages in particular) because maleficars killed her brother.
  • 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 of Another Story: She is the main character of Dawn of the Seeker.
  • 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.
  • Hot-Blooded: Her initial reaction to Varric throwing out Blatant Lies at her is to pull a knife on him and threaten him with a Groin Attack.
  • 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.
  • Magic Skirt: Wears this in Dawn of the Seeker.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Urgh.
  • 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.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: She is both a member of the Nevarran royal family and a Templar Seeker.
  • Throw the Book at Them: Does this to Varric to get him to start talking.
  • 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.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Her Dawn of the Seeker outfit.

    Tropes In Dragon Age:Inquisition 
"I see what must be done, and I do it! I see no point in running around in circles like a dog chasing its tail."

"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.
  • Adorkable: From probably the last person anyone would expect, but when Cassandra lets down her tough front (and especially when it's revealed that she's a huge fan of Varric's romance serials), she can be quite awkward and sweet.
  • Action Girl/Lady of War: Suffice to say, Cassandra definitely qualifies.
  • Ascended Extra: Served as a skeptical listener for Varric tell his story to in Dragon Age II's Framing Device and Foreshadow the Mage-Templar War. Then she got her own movie, Dawn of the Seeker, and now she's a party member.
  • Badass Family: Subverted, actually; despite the Pentagasts' reputation as dragon slayers, Cassandra reveals that these days, most of them are fat nobles living off the old glories of dead ancestors. Only she and her late brother, Anthony, lived up to the ancestral badass-ness.
  • Badass Longcoat: Some of Cassandra's armor designs have her wear one over the armor itself.
  • Badass Preacher: She can potentially become the Divine herself in the epilogue to Inquisition.
  • Badass Princess: Despite being very distant from the throne, she is perhaps the most like the Pentaghasts of old in terms of martial prowess in comparison to the rest of her rather large family. She even has a dragon-slaying notch on her belt, further hearkening to her ancestors.
  • Character Tic: (Disgusted Noise).
  • The Clan: She comes from one. Despite being the 11th cousin, eight times removed, of King Marcus, she still has the name Pentaghast, which means that the male line of the family alone is huge.
  • 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 chooses 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. Unlike most conspiracy theorists, however, Cassandra proves entirely willing to reconsider when the evidence begins to suggest that her theory is wrong.
  • Contralto of Danger: Like before, she's low-pitched, sharp, and with a heavy Nevarran accent.
  • Cool Big Sis: Cassandra slowly takes on this role for Sera, even proposing to teach her Seeker tricks against magic to fight her fear. But the sentiment is one-sided. While Sera likes and respects Cassandra, she is also attracted to her, which puts a damper on any potential sisterly feelings.
    • She can also take on this role for a female Inquisitor. Since Cassandra is in her thirties or forties by this point, the potentially younger Inquisitor can look up to her greatly. If her approval maxes out over time, they become very close friends.
  • Covert Pervert: She enjoys Varric's smutty literature series, Swords and Shields. How bad is it? Dorian comments that he couldn't even finish it, and Varric himself sees the series as an Old Shame.
  • Crisis of Faith: While she appears to handle it far better than Leliana does, cracks in Cassandra's faith start to show here and there. The best example comes after learning that Varric knew where Hawke was the whole time (including during his narration of the second game). If this is all the Maker's plan, then that would mean everything that happened since the Conclave was all part of His plan. In fact, The Nightmare says that the lingering doubt that there is no Maker — and thus no greater good in the world — is her deepest fear. She has another one when she discovers that Seekers gain their powers not from meditation but from unknowingly communing with a Spirit of Faith after being made Tranquil. She wonders if the only reason she has faith is because of the Spirit, though Cole later assures her that it is the other way around; the Spirit was drawn to her by her faith.
    Cassandra: ...it's difficult to know who [the Maker's plan] truly benefits. Or how.
  • Defector from Decadence: Cassandra quits the Seekers when she realizes that they are leading the world into chaos. Also the reason she joined the Seekers to begin with; she had grown tired of the decadence of Nevarran nobility.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: She puts up a very tough, cold and pragmatic persona when her duty is at stake, but inside she's actually very warm, unshakably decent, and convinced she isn't living up to her own insanely high standards. This comes to the fore as she gets to know the Inquisitor better, and especially in a romance.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: If her approval drops low enough, she deals with it by getting utterly hammered.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Inverted. After meeting Hawke, Cassandra mentions that she was expecting him/her to be shorter.
  • Fangirl: At some point between reading the Tale of the Champion to find clues about Hawke's whereabouts and capturing Varric, she started reading his other, fiction books (ostensibly solely in hopes of finding more clues there) and became a hopeless fangirl of his writing. She is very closeted about it, though.
    • She is also one to Hawke, asking Varric if Hawke would be willing to sign a copy of Tale of the Champion for her.
    Varric: Doesn't your copy of The Tale of the Champion have a big hole in it?
    Cassandra: ...Yes. But it could also have Hawke's autograph.
  • First Girl Wins: For male Inquisitors who choose to romance her; she's the first character you meet in the game.
  • The Gadfly: Not Cassandra herself, but her rigid demeanor tends to elicit this behaviour from her comrades.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Her specialization is Templar, even though Seeker abilities are actually completely different from Templar abilities.
  • Gilded Cage: These are the exact words she used to describe being born into Nevarran nobility. She lived in luxury, but had little freedom and didn't see "the real Nevarra" until much later in her life. In any case, it all disgusts her.
  • The Glomp: Delivers one to a Male Inquisitor at the consummation of their romance.
  • Going Commando: Sera asks her, and she admits it, during a party banter.
  • Graceful Loser: She bears no ill will against Leliana or Vivienne if they are named Divine instead of her.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: She's picked up some, most noticeably the one on her jaw/left cheek.
  • Guilty Pleasure: She's a fan of Varric's works, particularly the "smutty literature" series Swords and Shields.
  • Heartbroken Badass: As it turns out, after Dawn of the Seeker she wound up having a relationship with the mage Galyan. He died in the opening of the Breach. No wonder she was so vicious with the Inquisitor-to-be at the start.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Cassandra still has an extremely high opinion and respect for Hawke. S/he was one of Cassandra's first choices to lead the Inquisition, and one of the reasons she is so enraged at Varric for hiding Hawke the whole time is that she thought that Hawke could have possibly saved the Divine had s/he been at the Conclave.
  • Hidden Depths: She'd never admit it outright (though everyone seems to know anyway) but she's a hopeless romantic that dreams of a beautiful "ideal" romance - candles, flowers, poetry, all that hokey stuff. Given her rough personality, she thinks that such a "flighty" side is too silly to indulge, since Men Are Uncultured. Doing those sorts of things for her anyway (or admitting he enjoys them too) is a good way to gain some affection. Conversely, the Inquisitor can grumpily tell her "This is why you're alone."note 
  • Hypocrite: Cassandra is a Chantry loyalist and always disapproves if the Inquisitor badmouths the Chantry, saying that it's inherently corrupt, unnecessary, or beyond saving. She will also agonize over whether or not the Seekers should be reformed after she learns their Dark Secret. Both organizations have had long-lasting conspiracies that have persisted from their inception. And yet, she is unwilling to forgive Blackwall, even though his lie was about who he was, and not his reasons or actions.
  • I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: Mixed with a dose of Unequal Pairing. If the Inquisitor flirts repeatedly with Cassandra, she will eventually express her worries that such a powerful figure is taking an interest in someone as far beneath his station as her.
  • Informed Ability: She claims to have the power to bend mages and templars to her will by causing the lyrium in their blood to burn. She never displays this ability in-game when facing the various mage and templar enemies.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Noted by Blackwall when he offers the Inquisitor romantic advice about her: Cassandra is used to being a soldier, rather than being treated like a woman, and she has a bit of a complex about it. She's a hopeless romantic that dreams of nothing less than the "ideal" romance (candles, flowers, poetry and all that). Thus, she feels it's unlikely you (or many other men, for that matter) would be interested in her. You can disagree and try anyway, or you can even tell her "This is why you're alone".
  • I Should Have Been Better: She holds herself to punishing standards and tends to dwell on what-could-have-beens.
    Inquisitor: You're too hard on yourself, Cassandra.
    Cassandra: Not hard enough, I think.
    Inquisitor: You can't believe that.
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet: She invokes the trope with some trepidation when investigating the Shrine of Dumat. Unsurprisingly, the creepy ancient seemingly abandoned temple to a (hopefully) long-dead corrupted Old God is infested with demons.
    Cassandra: It is far, far too quiet.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Her anger towards Varric for hiding Hawke's location is understandable considering just what was going on at the time.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: A rare female example, but Cassandra in highly idealistic and romantic in her view of justice. Her views on the Chantry and the Seekers is that they should be serving the people.
  • The Knights Who Say Squee: Carried over from Dragon Age II, Cassandra has a high admiration for Hawke. Hawke was even her first choice as Leader of the Inquisition. She can grow to have a similar admiration to the Inquisitor. She even wants Hawke to autograph her knife-stabbed copy of The Tale of the Champion.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: After the Inquisitor stumbles upon her reading "smutty literature" written by Varric.
    Cassandra: Pretend you don't know this about me.
  • Lightning Bruiser: When used as a Sword & Shield Warrior, she had access to Lunge & Slash, which quickly closes the distance between her and the enemy. Combine this with the Warrior class in general's high defensive abilities, and she's nigh-unstoppable.
  • My Greatest Failure: Specifically, the Seekers' greatest failure. Their inaction and poor handling of the upcoming Mage-Templar war, in addition to their change in focus disillusioned her to the group and has caused her to blame herself in part for the conflict. Talking to Cole gives her a new perspective as to how horribly many mages were treated by Templars and how much of this the Seekers overlooked or possibly ignored, which she is horrified and disgusted to learn. On a personal level, she believes that her absence at the Conclave (meaning she couldn't help Justinia) was a failure on her part as well. Vivienne assures her that this isn't the case.
  • Nephewism: She and her brother were raised by their uncle after their parents died.
  • Never Live It Down: In universe. You can tease her about her romance fluff novel fascination in dialogue after you convince Varric to finish his series for her. And it's all but foregone that Varric will eternally torment her over it as well.
  • Nice Girl: Although it's not apparent at the beginning of the game, Cassandra is loyal, fair and kind with all the companions and even a mage-friendly atheist Inquisitor; if the Inquisitor isn't offensively dismissive of her beliefs, she'll still declare them friends and swear loyalty. Almost all her banter with other companions includes at least one moment when she tries to understand their point of view, and she even apologises for the crimes of the Chantry and Templars. She also quick to retract a perceived insult or offence; for example, when she asks Varric about Bianca, she reveals her own situation about Galyan. Even though the Inquisition is her work, she has no interest in gaining any power for herself. She wants only to help people, something that Solas find admirable... and unbelievable.
  • Not So Above It All:
    • She admits that she enjoys Iron Bull's flirting with her, so long as he understands that nothing is ever going to happen between them.
    • Cassandra is one of the most idealistic and least corruptible characters in the entire franchise, to the point that she walks away from power without even once thinking of taking it for herself. And yet, when talking to the Inquisitor about her favorite book from Varric's series, she will excitedly, gleefully suggest that s/he could order or command Varric to finish it. She's only halfway through making this point when she stops herself and then says to pretend that this side of her was never known.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Briefly but incredibly jarring. She's (mostly) very respectful to those with Non-Andrasttian views... unless you take her to the Temple of Mythal (or, to some extent, parts of the Jaws of Hakkon DLC), in which she starts spouting very anti-elven views and show little to no respect for elven history or the ancient elves. Again, it's extremely jarring for a rather open minded character.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • She is a Seeker, essentially a member of the Templar secret police, and yet she trusts and befriends Solas, a hedge mage who would be considered an apostate if the word hadn't lost all meaning in the Mage/Templar War.
    • In spite of her uptight behavior, she also gets along with Iron Bull.
    • She is, at first, very firm with Cole, making it clear that she will kill him if he betrays their trust. When he calmly agrees, she is taken aback; and she is even more surprised when she discovers that Cole killed Lord Seeker Lambert. However, she eventually comes to accept his reasons for doing so, and develops a gentle and affectionate tone towards him (except for the occasional flustered reprimand when he peers into her romantic memories). This is all probably because she realizes that he is a benevolent spirit like the spirit of Faith that communed with her when she was initiated as a Seeker.
  • Older Than They Look: She looks like she's in her twenties despite DAI taking place 20 years after Dawn of the Seeker, which means she's actually in her late thirties or mid forties.
  • Overly Long Name: Revealed if you take her with you to the Winter Ball. It's implied that if she hadn't interrupted, the announcer would have kept going, meaning she has many more names that weren't revealed.
    Announcer: Seeker Cassandra Allegra Calogera Portia Filomena -
    Cassandra: Get on with it!
    Announcer: Pentaghast.
  • The Paladin: Cassandra is as close to a pure Paladin as you can get in the the Dragon Age verse. She is a knight sworn to the service of a religious order, her powers come after years of reflection, training and solidifying her devotion. Said powers allow her to cause immediate harm to a specific type of enemy. And on a personal level, she's devoted to the spirit of her religious order, and not its teachings, which means she rebels in order to do good.
  • The Paragon Always Rebels: First, she rebelled against the Seekers to side with the Chantry when she felt the Seekers stressed order over justice. She later rebels against the Chantry, when they demand the same.
  • Parental Abandonment: Her parents were executed for treason when she and her brother were children. They were raised by their Mortalitasi uncle, who didn't really know how to raise children. This is one of the reasons why Cassandra chose to abandon her family to become a Seeker.
  • Percussive Therapy: It's her favorite way of dealing with her anger. Books, training dummies, walls (according to Vivienne); she's not too picky about her targets.
    Varric: Define "calmed down" in terms of who or what she's punching right now.
  • Pet the Dog: After butting heads with Varric for hiding Hawke from her all along, she is the first one to try to console him if Hawke sacrifices him/herself in the Fade. It doesn't work, but she tries.
  • Pragmatic Hero: She tends to favor pragmatic decisions over softer approaches.
    Dorian: The voice of pragmatism speaks! And here I was just starting to enjoy the circular arguments.
  • Quickly Demoted Leader: At the start of the game, she is one of the four "de-facto leaders" of the Inquisition. In fact, she is the one who declared it. But, she quickly loses all of that authority and becomes a party member with no more power than Varric or Vivienne: well-respected, to be sure, but that's about it. Solas actually commends her on being able to walk away from her de-facto leadership once the de-jure leader was picked.
  • Reality Warper: Inverted according to a conversation with Solas, who says that Seekers and Templars make the world more stable, blocking the Fade from transforming it.
    Cassandra: Well, no one's ever accused me of "reinforcing reality" before.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Despite her often harsh demeanor, Cassandra is willing to give prisoners a chance to explain themselves and lets them go free with no strings attached if convinced of their innocence. She also handles her subordinates fairly and deals with the complaints of the mage/templar forces the join the Inquisition.
  • Religious Bruiser: Cassandra's faith is her sole motivating factor in everything she does. She implies that the only way she copes with everything that goes wrong in her life (and the world at large) is to believe that everything is part of the Maker's plan. To wit, she will constantly approve whenever the Inquisitor says or does something that reaffirms her faith or demonstrates that a good end comes from a bad beginning. Solas corroborates this in his "Friendship Conversation", stating that the difference between the Inquisitor and Cassandra is that if she had to choose between her faith and reality, she would always choose her faith.
  • Romance Sidequest: She is a romance option for a male Inquisitor.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The Pentaghasts are the Nevarran royal family, who originally rose to prominence as Dragonslayers. In fact, they were largely responsible for nearly bringing the total extinction of the species during the Steel Age, three centuries ago. That being said, she points out that she's actually very far down the line of succession. She's 78th in line for the throne, and at the Winter Palace ball it's stated that she's King Marcus' 11th cousin, eight times removed. So her connection to the royal family is more a matter of technicality than anything. She finds the whole business deeply annoying and would rather act like it doesn't exist. Much of the rest of the family are fat aristocrats who rest on ancestral laurels. Cassandra, on the other hand, is made of cast iron and has killed a dragon like the Pentaghasts of old.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Cassandra believes that doing what she knows to be right is more important than law or duty.
  • Second Love: After Galyan, if she winds up with the Inquisitor.
  • Shield Bash: Powerful enough to clear obstacles.
  • Sibling Team: She remarks in conversation with her that, if her brother Anthony was still alive, they probably would be slaying dragons together.
  • Shrouded in Myth: If the stories are to be believed (and according to Cassandra, they are not), she has killed seventeen dragons.
  • Squee: She comes just shy of doing this while gushing over Swords and Shields to an amused Inquisitor.
  • Sugar and Ice Personality: The Stoic is her default mode, but she occasionally shows a softer side, especially during her romance.
  • Tautological Templar: Very, very slight. Cassandra will do always do what she feels to be right and doesn't slacken her morals when it's convenient. She will always defend good and fight evil. The problem, though, is that she's often too quick to assume which is which, and once her mind is set, it's hard to change it. But even then, when confronted with proof that she was mistaken, she is very hard on herself.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Twice she's been presented with this choice: follow the Templars and Seekers into rebellion or stay in service to the Divine, and obey the orders of the remaining Chantry hierarchy or form the Inquisition without their support. She makes the latter choice, disobeying the chain of command because they are not doing what she believes to be right. She can even have a discussion with the Inquisitor about following the letter of the law as opposed to the spirit; she believes in helping people more than following arbitrary rules.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: After the death of Divine Justinia V, Casssandra later becomes one of two possible candidates to replace her (the other is Leliana). If Cassandra is chosen over Leliana to become Divine Victoria, Cassandra enacts reforms for a new Templar order and a new Circle of Magi, and re-dedicates the Seekers to being protectors of the innocent.
  • Tsundere: She still waves this flag on occasion; a shining example is if the Inquisitor romances her. If the Inquisitor straight-up tells her that he wants her love, she becomes flustered and states that romance is not what she wants, walking away and slamming a door... before coming straight back and saying yes, that's exactly what she wants.
  • Unexpected Successor: Justinia's death makes Cassandra and Leliana candidates to replace her.
  • Unfit for Greatness: One reason she relinquishes leadership of the Inquisition to the Herald. She believes that she isn't the kind of person who can fill the role of The Hero.
  • Vow of Celibacy: The reason she will end a romantic subplot with the player if she gets elected Divine: while more progressive than Vivienne, she isn't nearly as willing to make changes as Leliana. And allowing the Divine to marry would be a great change, while having a secret lover would be against her principles.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When Varric reveals he's been in contact with the "missing" Hawke all along, she is furious.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: The Inquisitor has the option to tell her this after her row with Varric.


Alternative Title(s):

Recurring Dragon Age Characters