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Characters: Dragon Age II – Companions
This page is for listing the tropes related to Hawke's companions who are found in Dragon Age II
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"There will always be mages born in Thedas. But Templars are made by men...and they can be unmade."
A returning companion from Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening
. He 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 the 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.
- 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: Type II. Though he later slides down the scale until he becomes a Type IV, or goes through a straight up Face-Heel Turn depending on your stance on the mage-Templar conflict.
- The Atoner: Can potentially become this if you have him at high rivalry and try to convince him that his merging with Justice was wrong and that there are other ways for mages to win their freedom, so that he will join Hawke when he sides with the Templars.
- Even if you side with the mages, Hawke (and Merrill) can choose to invoke this as a reason to spare him. He implies that he agrees with this, saying that he'll try not to make so much of a mess out of his second chance at life.
- Batman Gambit: He knew exactly how Meredith would react when he destroyed the Chantry and he was depending on it for his plan to work. It did.
- Beat the Curse Out of Him: During Legacy, Corypheus's influence briefly causes him to snap - Justice's voice takes over, but demons start appearing around him. After the fight, he stays lucid and on your side for the rest of the campaign.
- Berserk Button:
- Black and White Insanity: Anders becomes slowly more irrationally convinced that the cause of mage freedom, or at least his view of it, is the real distinguishing mark of morality and that anyone who disagrees (even other mages) is his enemy. This is a result of Vengeance exerting more and more influence.
- Blue and Orange Morality: More subtle than most, but the presence of Vengeance fundamentally alters Anders' viewpoints on a lot of things. Having a significant part of who and what you are made up of an entity formed around an unyielding concept, coupled with the lack of an understanding of time (time is irrelevant in the Fade, so Vengeance doesn't understand the concept of "waiting"), creates a distinct slant on his perceptions. It doesn't excuse his actions, but it does make them understandable.
- Big Brother Mentor: To Bethany, though she finds him more reminiscent of her father then anything else.
- He becomes rather snarky towards her if she is taken by Cullen, since she comes to accept and in fact embrace life in the Circle.
- Bi the Way: In Awakening, he only stated attraction to women, flirting with the females of the party and joking about wanting a wife someday. He only mentions his history with Karl to a male Hawke, and hesitantly asks if it "bothers you". If Hawke takes the initiative, he notes that he's not used to men openly hitting on him. Make of that what you will.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: If brought along for Legacy, Anders becomes a thrall of Corypheus. He snaps out of it after a brief boss fight.
- One interpretation of his actions in Act III was that Justice pushed him to destroy the Chantry. During his speech to Meredith and Orsino, you can hear Justice's deep voice intermixed with his words, implying that he's just below the surface and barely contained.
- Break the Cutie: Anders was flirty and cheerful with a soft spot for cats in Awakening. Things change big time in this game.
- Cleopatra Nose: Prominent noses seem a common trait in male Dragon Age love interests (Alistair, Fenris).
- Combat Medic: Still retains his healing powers. He uses them on sick refugees in Kirkwall.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Whether romanced or not. If Hawke romanced Merrill or Fenris, he states his disapproval in the bluntest, and most hypocritical ways imaginable during "Justice" in Act III.
- Cruel Mercy: Letting him live after he blows up the Chantry.
- Or even worse, convincing him to side with the Templars. Takes a maxed-out Rivalry meter, but boy is it worth it.
- Cynicism Catalyst: He comes to Kirkwall in the first place to rescue Karl, his friend and ex-lover...only to learn he's already been made Tranquil and used to draw Anders and Hawke into an ambush by the Templars. After the fight, Anders gives him a Mercy Kill at his request. Anders is a lot grimmer after this.
- Dark Is Evil: He becomes noticeably more ruthless in Act III, when his outfit turns black.
- Light Is Not Good: However, despite his black outfit he is a healer mage, which invokes more light than dark
- Dark Messiah: Has hordes of the poor and needy willing to risk their lives to protect him? Check. Dedicated his life to creating a better system for his people? Check. Willing to sacrifice everything, including his own life and the lives of others, to achieve this? Oh so very much check. He even compares his situation to Andraste's once or twice, to Sebastian's disgust.
- Averted if Hawke is in a Rivalry with him though — he breaks down and sees himself not as a savior but as just another monstrosity to be put down.
- Dead Man Walking: By the third act, he's convinced that he is this. It turns out this is because he knows he will most likely be executed after igniting the mage/Templar war.
- 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.
- 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: Though you don't realize it until later.
- 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
- Fighting from the Inside: Anders must constantly push back the influence of Vengeance or become a true abomination and lose himself.
- Foreshadowing: Check out the banter between him and Justice (as well as Justice and Nathaniel) in Awakening. Heads will explode.
- Freudian Excuse: Revealed to Hawke in brief rambling in his clinic. From a young age he was estranged from his home, terrorized and confined by Templars. If he had a sense of the injustice, it blurred with his lifelong grudge, begetting vengeance.
- He's got another one: he's under constant pressure to keep Vengeance under control. He's losing.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: To an extent; his constant going on about the mistreatment of mages drives everyone crazy and ultimately manages to turn every sympathetic ear against him, particularly in Act III.
- A lot of it is them hating Justice, who forces Anders to behave that way, and scares the fear of Maker out of them.
- Fridge Horror: He gets an In-Universe one. For much of the game, he talks about how Justice used to be as though he were a paragon of virtue. After losing control of Vengeance and almost/killing a young girl, Merrill explains to him that there has never been a "good" spirit and that they are all dangerous. That he is totally silent after learning this says it all. Again, if you're on a Rival path, he finally comes to terms with it after blowing up the Chantry.
- Gay Option
- 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 subverted; he's grim and understands that change for mages will come slowly, if at all. 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 is so desperate for. Hawke's stubborn refusal to get into politics eventually forces Anders to use implement his own solution to the problem.
- Hesitation Equals Dishonesty: First hint something's wrong during "Justice". He keeps glancing around nervously and sometimes just trails off or switches tracks in the middle of a sentence.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Eventually blows up the Chantry, with the Grand Cleric and Maker knows how many people inside so that a compromise cannot be reached and the mages and templars will have to fight a war. Not to mention turning Justice possessing him into Vengeance to use the phrase more literally.
Anders: I removed the chance of compromise, because there is no compromise!
- Hot-Blooded: Deconstructed. His passion for mage liberation is what kicks off the Mage-Templar war.
- 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.
- Although this could be seen as due to Anders and Fenris mutually loathing each other.
- ...not to mention, it's a sign of Justice/Vengeance's corruption. Initially Justice would seek.. well, justice for all, and would have never stood for that. However, having been corrupted into Vengeance, he only seeks (warped) 'justice' for mages, and he considers Fenris an obstacle to that goal. Thus: celebration of this 'obstacle' being removed.
- He disapproves of a romance with Merrill, alleging that she'll eventually turn on Hawke in favor of her demons. She calls him out on this if present for the conversation.
- The hypocrisy of this hits critical mass when you realize that he says this during a quest where he's tricking Hawke into helping him blow up the Chantry.
- If spared after destroying the Chantry and brought to confront Meredith, him calling out her zealotry as "madness" could be construed as such.
- Indeed, if you spare him and side with the mages, he'll state his belief that every single Templar had always wanted to enact the Rite of Annulment and slaughter the mages, using the same absolutist view of his enemies that only the very worst of them use against mages. Even Meridith admits there are good mages; she just feels that their rights are outweighed by the safety of everyone else.
- Again, a great deal of this hypocrisy appears to come from Vengeance's influence. Vengeance doesn't subscribe to human sensibilities or morals the same way a human would, and is an irrational entity by human standards. Anything that favors his ends makes sense as far as he's concerned, and this clearly has a fundamental influence on Anders' thought processes as well.
- Hypocritical Humour: 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.
- I Am a Monster: He starts invoking this trope in Act II, especially if you fail to stop him from killing Ella. By the time Act III rolls around, he's pretty much resigned himself to being a monster.
- An Ice Person: One of his starting spells is Winter's Grasp. It also makes for an interesting bit of meta-lampshading about how much he's changed when you consider that, in Awakening, he was first seen using fire magic.
- Insecure Love Interest: While almost all the party members in this game have serious self-worth issues, Anders is probably the most vocal about it if Hawke tries to romance him, repeatedly telling him/her that he has nothing to offer and that Hawke should be free to have a normal life with someone else. If Hawke is not a mage, It's Not You, It's My Enemies also comes up, since Meredith starts declaring that anyone who shelters an apostate will face a death penalty.
- It's Not You, It's Me: He all but invokes this by name the first time Hawke tries to flirt with him, saying that there was a time when they could have had something, but he's no longer the same man he once was.
Anders: I'll break your heart - and that might kill me as surely as the Templars.
- Jacob Marley Warning: After "Dissent," he tries to invoke this with Merrill. She points out that she at least understands the dangers better than he did before merging with Justice.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Anders can be very petty and hypocritical. But in the end, all Anders wants is to help people, and he's willing to go to grand lengths to do so.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: In the beginning of the game, as far as mages are concerned, while he firmly advocates their freedom and rejects turning them over to the Templars, Anders is actually quite reasonable. He outright condemns blood magic and demons, allows murder only as a last resort, and is perfectly willing to work with reasonable men like Thrask. By Act III, that persona is all but gone, and he refuses to accept anything less than total freedom for all mages, no exceptions. Thus, "no compromise" when he blows up the Chantry.
- Karma Houdini: The decision to have him killed for the destruction of the Chantry rests with you, so this trope can be played straight or subverted. But even if you do kill him, he gets the war he wanted. If he does live, Sebastian vows to make sure Anders will face justice someday.
- Word of God subverts this though, saying he wants to die for what he's done, so that the people he's killed will have their justice. See Cruel Mercy and Death Seeker above.
- Kick the Dog: If you bring him along for Merrill's second companion quest, he'll flat-out say to her that she should have died instead of Keeper Marethari. Ouch. Also, if he and Aveline are in the party, he may start making some very negative comments on her and Wesley's sex life.
- Approving of selling Fenris back to Danarius. The rest of the party is not amused.
- If Anders is brought along in the quest "All That Remains," perhaps more out of thoughtlessness than anything else, he may say, "I wonder if we'll find more than just a sack of bones this time." He says this while standing right next to a very distraught Hawke who's desperately running around trying to find his/her mother after she's kidnapped by a deranged serial killer. Definitely not the thing you should say, Anders.
- Kindhearted Cat Lover: Sadly, Anders had his cat Ser Pounce-A-Lot confiscated by the Grey Wardens after it nearly got him killed by accident. He's still very fond of cats, and puts out milk for the local strays. Ultimately subverted when Anders jumps off the slippery slope.
- Knight Templar: Becomes one, ironically, towards the Templars over the course of the game.
- Love Makes You Crazy: Inverted; if his romance is pursued, his Act III codex entry explicitly states that he views Hawke as the one thing in his life keeping him sane. Not that it makes a difference in the end.
- Manipulative Bastard: Anders lies to Hawke and co. to get them to help him gather reagents to blow up the Chantry, telling them it's for a potion to rid him of Justice. It especially stings if Hawke is in a relationship with him.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- Maybe not so unreasonable; they both witnessed the worst of a certain group (whether it was Templars or mages) and they know it could happen anywhere.
- Also from Merrill. Even though he isn't a blood mage like she is, both of them dealt with potentially dangerous Fade spirits... with terrible consequences for themselves and others.
- As time goes by, he even gets this with the Templars (especially Meredith). Hooray for irony...
- 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.
- Paint It Black: After his Act II companion quest, he switches to a darker, more tightly-buttoned version of his coat.
- Perma Stubble
- 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.
It's been quite pleasant having Master Anders staying here, messere. Sandal:
] 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 is the only party member who cannot be convinced to side against his faction. This will apparently be fixed in the upcoming patch.
- Properly Paranoid:
- 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.
Varric: Fop. Um... Party.
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.
- 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.
- Token Evil Teammate: If you choose to spare him and keep him in your party in Act III.
- Took a Level in Jerkass
- Tragic Hero
- 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
- Übermensch: His goals regarding the Magi are transformative, to say the least, and he breaks a lot of eggs to get there, knowing full well he will probably be either killed or hated for his actions. Nevertheless, in his mind, society HAD to change or he would make it change.
- Welcome Back, Traitor: Can be either played straight or subverted. If you told him to run after he blows up the Chantry, he will still return to you in the Gallows. Naturally, what happens after that is up to you.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist
- 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.
- A Wizard Did It: Invoked, but not actually true. "A wizard did it" is his sarcastic reply if he's in the party when you give the maps to the Deep Roads to Bartrand. Actually, he stole them.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Becomes this by the end of the game. After a time growing up in the Mages Circle—a life stuck in a tower, bound to do whatever the Chantry asked him to—he escaped from the Templars... seven times. On the last time, he joined the Grey Wardens to escape more permanently. It's all downhill for him after that, unfortunately. The Grey Wardens consider him a wuss and mock him enough that he leaves, and then he lets a wayward Spirit of Justice—once a friend of his—into his body. All of this isn't too bad, but it starts getting nasty when he goes to Kirkwall. The sheer dark magic of the place corrupts Justice into a Demon of Vengeance. By the time Dragon Age II begins, he's constantly fighting for control over the influence of Vengeance/Justice. After all of this, his brooding is pretty justified. (He gets added points for being the constantly-hunted leader of a Mages' Rights group.) In the final act, though, he can't fight Justice off anymore, and essentially performs a terrorist attack on the local branch of the Chantry. Talk about a Trauma Conga Line. Ultimately, his fate is left up to Hawke.
- You Remind Me of X: He remarks to Hawke at one point that "I had a friend like you once. Got in all kinds of trouble, dragged me along." It's suggested, though never stated, that this friend was the Warden.
The Spirit of Vengeance (Adam Leadbeater and Adam Howden)
YOU WILL NEVER TAKE ANOTHER MAGE AS YOU TOOK HIM!
Technically not a party member, but closely associated with one. Originally the Spirit of Justice from Awakening
, Anders became his 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 a Demon of 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.
- 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.
- 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 case.
- 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.
- 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.
- Volcanic Veins
- 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 more responsible.
- What Might Have Been: As noted on the Awakening character page, Word of God has said that the for a time they considered having Dalish mage Velanna to be Justice's host in this game rather than Anders.
- With Us or Against Us: Vengeance is significantly less discerning about who qualifies as ally or enemy than before.
"It's a Keeper's job to remember. Even the dangerous things."
A Dalish Elf who was Keeper Marethari's First in the Dalish Elf Origin. She returns in Dragon Age II
as a companion after leaving her clan for mysterious reasons. She is a potential love interest.
- Action Girl: See Beware the Nice Ones below. Let's face it; Merrill's every bit as actiony as the other ladies.
- Adorkable: In spades. Think Tali, but with a face. And more adorkableness.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Shunned by her clan for being a Blood Mage. Keeping the Eluvian that tainted Tamlen and the Dalish Warden doesn't help things either.
- Even before that, Merrill hints that the only people in the clan she was truly close with were the Dalish Warden, Tamlen, and the Keeper. Her being the First alienated her from her peers.
- Ambiguous Disorder: There's a pretty strong case to be made for schizoid or avoidant personality disorder. She also displays autism spectrum characteristics (lack of social skills, usually not understanding figures of speech or innuendo, reclusiveness, obsessiveness).
- Apologizes a Lot: She gives an apology every three sentences.
- Ascended Extra: She was a temporary companion for half of the hour-long Dalish Origin, there to give the player a mage temporarily. By the developers' own admission, she did not appear long enough to have a personality. In Dragon Age II, she returns as a full companion.
- Badass Adorable
- Badass Bookworm: While not so much in the traditional bookworm sense (the Dalish rely more on oral traditions), she is noted as an extremely talented mage and historian.
- Bad Powers, Good People: She's sweet, innocent, and naive, and means harm to no one. She's also a practicing blood mage and demon summoner. This is the cause of most of her problems with others in-game.
- Beneath Notice: After arriving in Kirkwall, she finds most Templars don't look twice at her - she's just another elf.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Merrill is the nicest, kindest, and most adorable character in the sequel. And she is also a practicing blood mage, a demon summoner, the only mage in the party who has no healing spells, and access to at least half a dozen spell trees full of hideous death in flavors ranging from 'mass human flambe' to 'torn apart by Eldritch tentacles' to 'I will punch you in the soul!'
Merrill: May the Creators have mercy on you, I certainly won't!
- Bi the Way
- Black Mage: Her repertoire is all killing or mezzing, no buffing or healing.
- Black Magician Girl
- Blood Magic
- Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Frequently.
- Break the Cutie: The game (and certain party members) are very determined to punish her for her optimism and naivete in the face of a Crapsack World. Though she has a few moments where she breaks down, for the most part she always bounces back.
- She's not so plucky in Act III's "A New Path", especially if Hawke doesn't make the exact choice. In the worst-case scenario, her entire clan she worked to restore to their former glory will end up dead. Even in the best case scenario, she'll be slightly more brittle for the rest of the game.
- Buffy Speak: Sometimes. For example, she calls Carver's fighting style "swording" and Carver himself a "sworder" because she really doesn't know what style he uses.
- Can Not Spit It Out: If pursuing the friendly or flirty paths with her, it's implied Merrill develops a crush on Hawke seemingly from the moment they first meet. However, Hawke must literally spell it out for Merrill that they actually feel the same way, before they can begin a relationship.
- Characterization Marches On: In the first game, she comes across as having a straight-to-the-point, no-nonsense demeanor as opposed to her Cloud Cuckoolander tendencies in the second game.
- She occasionally demonstrates these qualities, although they largely disappear after Act One. This has lead some to speculate her Cloud Cuckoolander tendencies are an inadvertent side-effect of her use of Blood Magic to restore the Eluvian.
- Her avoidant personality traits in the second game could easily stem from or be exaggerated by her being shunned by her people.
- Character Development: If a full rival and her final personal quest is complete, she finally admits she was wrong to use blood magic and blames herself for not listening and thus causing Marethari to sacrifice herself for her. As a rival she also grows a bit more serious in conversations with Hawke and isn't as easily flustered as before.
- She also gets character development if she's a full friend instead of rival, but the development is in the opposite direction: she realizes that her people are just as flawed as they insist everyone else to be, and that there are better things for her to do with her time than endlessly worry about what her people thought of her. She spends the rest of the game slightly happier, not feeling that she is alone in the world and that she cannot make decisions by herself.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Merrill wonders how Qunari scratch their heads. She wonders if they rub their horns on trees like Hallanote do. This is but one of many random ponderings that come out of her mouth.
- Merrill knows how deep the harbor waters are because she fell in it while she was walking around it.
- Should her romance path be completed, she will move in with Hawke in Hightown. Her codex states that she stuns the neighbors by walking barefoot, picking flowers out of people's gardens, and cooing at the nobles' guard dogs, among other adorable antics.
- If she moves in, Hawke seems to have the sneaking suspicion she's the one who's been swinging on the chandelier in the Estate.
- Likewise, if she moves in, Merrill names all of the falcon sculptures around the estate. Apparently, the one on the north side is called "Finnegan", while the one near the fireplace window has been dubbed "Messere Pointy-Face".
- Her greatest desire is to own a baby Griffon, despite the fact that they have been extinct in Thedas for over 200 years. She'd call it Feathers.
- If importing a save with the Dalish Warden, she mentions that Duncan was the first human she'd ever seen with facial hair. She admits she initially thought his beard was a squirrel that had grabbed him by the chin. Make you wonder what if that's one of the reasons she's so nervous when she first meets Male Hawke?
- Comically Missing the Point: Also happens a lot.
- When you're helping Aveline with Donnic.
Merrill: Don't be silly. A dowry would only matter if you were courting him.
Merrill: [gasp!] You're courting him!
- Also when she ruins one of Hawke's attempts to distract some guards...
Hawke: You've got to come help! There's a building on fire!
Guard: What? The loot will burn!
Merrill: There is no actual fire, is there?
Hawke: ... it's a trick, Merrill.
Merrill: Oh! Well, it's very clever then!
- Covert Pervert:
- She reacts with glee at the possibility of finally hearing anything "dirty," especially Isabela's stories.
- In Act III, she mentions that she misses having all the Qunari around; they didn't smile much, but they were easy on the eyes.
- When speaking to party members in the final battle, and regardless of whether or not she was romanced, it's possible to get this exchange:
Merrill: Does all this feel like a dream to you, too?
Hawke: In a moment, I'll look down and see I have no pants on.
Merrill: [giggles] The Champion of Kirkwall, going to battle naked. Why can't I ever have that dream?
- Legacy also reveals that she's been reading Anders' grimoire in the hope of finding "dirty spells" to "make things more exciting" between her and Hawke, if you romance her.
- An Act I conversation between Anders and Isabela reveals that Anders does, in fact, use magic during sex. If Merrill overheard that or had it relayed to her by Isabela, she has a reason to be looking through his spellbook.
- Cultural Rebel: Develops a crush on Hawke seemingly at their first meeting, much to her chagrin. During her romance, she laments that to give into her attraction to Hawke would be seen as betraying her people, who are trying to safeguard the elven bloodline from extinction.
- Cute Clumsy Girl: According to the short stories about the love interests, Merrill has an issue with watching where she is going. She also gets lost frequently.
- Dark Is Not Evil: She believes this of blood magic, and of demons. Though she is quick to point out to Anders that just because she isn't adverse to using them doesn't mean she isn't fully aware of how dangerous they can be.
- Deadpan Snarker: Even though she has trouble understanding sarcasm in others, Merrill is still surprisingly good at dishing out snark of her own at certain times.
Ilen: How has your time been amongst the shemlen?
Merrill: It's been nothing but roses and rainbows, Master Ilen. The Alienage is lovely in the spring. The collapsing shacks and the drunken brutes are offset nicely by the knee-deep mud.
- Death Seeker: She's carrying around a lot of guilt about the Dalish origin, has questionable self-esteem at best, and her personal quests involve taking near-suicidal risks to try and salvage something good from the Eluvian. If she isn't actively trying to sacrifice herself, she's not far from it.
- Digging Yourself Deeper: If asked why she's nervous during her initial introduction:
I've never met a human before. Dalish mothers frighten their children with stories about you, you know. (beat
) Not you, personally, of course. I'm sure they don't have any tales about you. Or not scary ones, at least. (beat
) Not that you're not notable enough to have a story... I'll just shut up now
- Ditzy Genius: Merrill's lack of understanding of the social world makes people around her think that she lacks understanding of what she's doing with her magic. But as proven above, it turns out that she knows very well what she's doing, even better than some of the mages in the party.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Like most elves.
- Does Not Understand Sarcasm: Leads to comedy gold considering several characters have a fondness for dry, sarcastic humor.
- Only really applies early on, when she's not used to humans - she can be quite sarcastic herself, in fact. Though she's always pretty bad at catching innuendo.
- Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Unlike the rest of the Hawke's group, as a member of the Dalish, Merrill knows far better than to do or say anything that might offend Asha'bellanar. During their meeting, she alone remains bowed respectfully and stays that way for some time before Flemeth finally tells her that she is allowed to stand up properly.
- Enemy Mine: A bit one-sided given her generally friendly nature, but she gets this from both Anders and Fenris for her insistence on using blood magic and demons. Even Sebastian, though he's much nicer to her, regards her as a potential threat and considers turning her and Anders over to the Templars in a conversation with Fenris.
- Entendre Failure: "I miss a lot of dirty things, and sometimes I wouldn't mind hearing them."
- The Exile: Subverted: Hawke's first assumption is that Merrill wants to join the party because she was exiled, but she left of her own volition. Played straight if her Act III quest ends with her clan surviving.
- Fantastic Racism:
- Fatal Flaw: Merrill's is that she doesn't understand that her actions have consequences that she cannot completely control, and those consequences may not stop with her - she's aware that she runs the risk of becoming an abomination, and on some occasions she even makes sure to have someone on hand to kill her if that should happen, but she rarely seems to consider the potential collateral damage if she were to become possessed or let a demon loose on the world, and can't remotely grasp that others such as Hawke and Marethari would rather put themselves at risk than let her die. Yet, because she believes she fully understands and accepts the risks of what she's doing, she refuses to listen to warnings or criticism. Unsurprisingly, the Demon she summoned to help her fix the Eluvian, as well as the Demon that causes her to temporarily turn on Hawke whilst they are in the Fade, in both instances are revealed to be Pride Demons.
- First Episode Spoiler: Finding out that that seemingly-innocent Adorkable elf was a blood mage who has dealt with demons is a bit of a surprise, even if you're finding this out within fifteen minutes of when you first met her.
- Fish out of Water: Not that she fit in that well with the Dalish, either.
- Foreshadowing: Whilst she has very little screentime in the previous game, she does appear to be extremely interested in using the Eluvian mirror to find information. This plays a big part in her companion quests in this game.
- Forgets to Eat: The codex mentions that Varric has to leave food on her doorstep when she gets really fixated on the Eluvian.
- Girl with Psycho Weapon: Borderline. She uses the same staffs as any other mage character, but has access to Blood Magic and other spell trees that are brutal enough on their own.
- Green Thumb: She possesses a mix of Keeper magic and her own experimentation with blood magic.
- Gay Option
- Girl Next Door: According to the developers in the second Dev Diary.
- Evokes the Big Brother Instinct to life-threatening extremes, even in those who should know better. Even Carver shows uncommon tenderness toward her. Fenris is the only one without a smidgen of pity for her.
- Good Bad Girl: Very much. She tries to get Isabela to teach her how to do a Sexy Walk and even looks through Anders' book of spells in hopes of finding some dirty spells to spice up her bed time with Hawke.
: So... did you get naked? Merrill
: Isabela! Isabela
: Look at that blush! That good
- Happily Adopted: By Keeper Marethari, as per the Dalish tradition of moving magically-gifted children between the clans to distribute them evenly amongst clans that need them, but by the start of the game their relationship has gotten strained due to the blood magic and demon summoning.
- Heroic BSOD: A small one happens if Hawke brings her along on the "Night Terrors" quest, where she gives in to a Pride Demon's mind control and briefly turns on the party. She's pretty shaken up afterwards if you go visit her home.
- A much, much bigger one comes after her Act III quest.
- Hero-Worshipper: Has more than a little of this when it involves Hawke, (unless s/he is in a rivalry with her), and is certainly the reason behind her implied immediate crush on him/her, at least at first.
- Hikikomori: Borderline; between Acts II and III, she's gotten so obsessed with finishing the Eluvian that she's forgetting to eat and often doesn't leave the house for days at a time. Varric comes by each week to convince her to take a break and come outside to make sure things don't get worse.
- The Ingenue:
- For all her cheerful innocence, she's also sometimes naive about the risks of blood magic and demons.
Merrill: There's nothing inherently evil about blood magic. It's magic, like any other.
Anders: [disgusted] Are you really that stupid?
- Though she later points out to Anders that he's screwed up worse on this account than she has.
Merrill: Are you all right?
Anders: I nearly killed an innocent girl. How could I be all right?
Merrill: I'm sorry.
Anders: You're sorry? For me? This could be you! You could be the next monster threatening helpless girls!
Merrill: Anders... there's no such thing as a good spirit. There never was. All spirits are dangerous. I understood that. I'm sorry that you didn't.
- Insistent Terminology: She never refers to demons as "demons", just "spirits", and insists the two are Not So Different. She's not wrong, as at least one codex from a Circle Mage says this is the proper means of identification.
- Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Very much the Light to Isabela's Dark.
- Literal-Minded: Very much so.
Arishok: They say we were careless with our trap, that this is our fault. But even without the saar-qamek, there would have been death. This elf was determined to lay blame at our feet.
Merrill: But your feet didn't do anything wrong! Did they?
- Medium Awareness: Most of her Party Banter in the third and final act consists of her worrying about what she sees as a upcoming end to the party's adventures together.
- Morality Pet: To Isabela.
Why is it that you always win at cards? Isabela: [chuckle]
Because I cheat, Kitten. [beat] Isabela:
This trinket... it's elven, isn't it? From your clan? Don't bet anything you're not prepared to lose. Here... [Isabela hands the trinket back]
have it back.
- No Sense of Direction: Her codex reveals that she somehow found herself in the cupboards of the Chantry, a dog track in Darktown, and the Viscount's bathroom in her attempts to walk home.
- While on Sundermount, she mentions that she gets lost a lot on the mountain. THE PATH ONLY GOES ONE WAY.
- Noodle Incident:
- In Legacy.
Merrill: I am so sorry about the wardrobe. Was it very badly smashed?
Hawke: What did you do to it exactly?
Merrill: I didn't expect it to fall over the railing like that. I thought it'd be more stable.
Hawke: Fell over the railing? ...What?
Merrill: I mean it held up just fine for me! Poor Sandal, it took hours for Bodahn to coax him down from the chandelier.
Hawke: On second thought, I don't want to know.
- No one is quite able to explain how she keeps ending up in the Chantry cupboards or the Viscount's bathroom in her attempts to get home.
- No Social Skills: She has next to no understanding of life outside the Dalish.
- Oblivious to Love:
- Merrill develops a crush on Hawke seemingly at their first meeting, but seems to not realise if Hawke actually flirts and returns the affections, up until Hawke has to just directly tell her.
- She also has this in regard to Carver when he attempts to flirt with her, although her aforementioned crush on his older sibling may be what stops her noticing this. Although an exchange in Mark of the Assassin suggests that she might just put on an oblivious act, presumably to not hurt Carver's feelings:
Carver: Okay, we're lost together. Both of us, not that we're "together" together.
Merrill: If we have to be lost somewhere, at least it's a nice hallway! Very well built, not at all likely to collapse.
Carver: Right, well, back to rescuing... wait. You're doing that on purpose!
- Of Corsets Sexy: Wears one in the romance scenes. Covert Pervert indeed...
- Rags to Royalty: If romanced, Hawke asks her to move in with them to their Hightown Estate.
- Rescue Romance: If the rivalry path is taken, she falls for Hawke as s/he tries to save her from herself.
- Scarf of Asskicking: A bit more hipster than the traditional flow with the person as they move variant.
- Selective Obliviousness: Her attitude towards demons and blood magic crosses over into this frequently. She states, (and even demonstrates), that she understands the risks... yet is surprised when people ask/demand that she stop, and doesn't seem to understand why others might view her as dangerous.
- Shipper on Deck: She fully supports Aveline/Donnic. As well as Hawke and one of the other love interests if her own romance arc is not pursued.
- Shutting Up Now: Tends to talk her way into a hole, and ends her dialogue like this.
- Skilled, but Naive: She's the most powerful offensive mage outside of possibly Hawke, but she's got so little life experience that half the party has to watch out for her.
- Sickeningly Sweethearts: She and Hawke come close to this in Varric's opinion. "It's almost too adorable. Well, except for the evil blood magic thing."
- Squee: On occasion, usually when concerning other party members' love lives.
- Survivor Guilt: There's no way she could have saved Tamlen or Mahariel, but that doesn't stop her seeing their faces in crowds years later. In Act III, she admits to Sebastian that she thinks she should have died instead of Marethari. Throughout the last third of the game, she's much more likely to get snippy and sometimes sounds like she's on the verge of tears. Nine times worse if her whole clan ended up dead as well.
- Tragic Hero
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Initially, her venture into cleansing the shard had her approach the Keeper so they could pool their healing magic together, as in the first game the Keeper's unamplified magic was enough to weaken Mahariel's taint. When the Keeper refused, and seeing that she had no lyrium to work with, she turned to the a Demon trapped inside a statue and sundered from the Fade, asking it to teach her the basics of blood magic, in order to have the means to cleanse the shard and reclaim some of her people's history. She does not come into contact with the spirit again and builds her own Eluvian from scratch, but is still using blood magic which many consider a dangerous road. She is aware that these actions might harm herself, but her inability to comprehend that the consequences will likely hurt others as well sometimes crosses over into denial.
- What Have I Done: If the rivalry path is pursued, after her Act III quest, Merrill will destroy the mirror, admitting that her obsession with it is what caused the death of Marethari/her clan. However, on the friendship path she will lament that their lack of understanding is what caused their deaths.
- Whether you are her rival or not, this is her reaction after the Keeper reveals how the Pride Demon tricked her and she is forced to kill her. That said, given that the information on what was planned was coming from a trapped Demon sundered from the Fade and now in full possession of a host, it's really questionable how reliable it is. More so when you understand that Demons tend to seek out powerful hosts in positions of authority, both of which the Keeper had. So it seems more that Audacity was just using the different views between the two of them to further drive a wedge so he could get his real target, Marethari.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: Merrill speaks with a distinctly Welsh accent, unlike the rest of the Sabrae clan who have Irish accents. It's later mentioned that she was born to a different clan in Nevarra and, after it was discovered she was a Mage, sent to Marethari for training.
- Woman in White: After Hawke has successfully romanced her, Merrill switches from her scarf and earth-tone clothes to a white robe with silvery chainmail and shoulder plates. The whole outfit makes it quite clear that being the significant other of a rich noble has its perks...
- Hilarious in Hindsight: If you had Sebastian and Merrill in your party, you may have heard Merrill call Sebastian out on his impractically "shiny armor".
- You Can't Go Home Again: Gets kicked out of the Dalish for the whole blood magic thing. Also, unless you make exactly the right choice during her Act III companion quest, they'll attack, and she'll have to help you kill them.
Aveline Vallen (Joanna Roth)
"I’d rather kill a bandit and save a merchant’s family than know the correct dance steps and which rouge is in fashion."
The daughter of an exiled Orlesian Chevalier, Aveline was a soldier in King Cailan's army at Ostagar. When things turned sour, she and her Templar husband Wesley headed north to escape the darkspawn. She met the escaping Hawke family on the way out of Lothering, and even though she lost her dear husband, she carried on with the Hawkes all the way to Kirkwall and beyond. While an honorable warrior, she is nevertheless pragmatic in her guard duties.
- Action Girl: Hell yes!
- Amazonian Beauty: So far, she's the most muscular woman in the Dragon Age (or in BioWare) games to date—that's not to say she doesn't have a feminine figure.
- Though the prologue and a brief cutscene in Act III are the only times you'll get to see it.
- Babies Ever After: Hints that she regrets never having children with Wesley. If she later marries Donnic, separate conversations with Isabela and Fenris reveal that they are considering starting a family in the near future.
- Badass Normal: Deserves special mention, see Establishing Character Moment below.
- Berserk Button: As mentioned below, do NOT question her loyalty or accuse her of coddling her guards.
- Bi the Way: Implied. If you flirt with her and then successfully get her and Donnic together in Act II, she asks if Hawke ever thought about the two of them. The conversation does not change for Lady Hawkes.
- Big Sister Mentor: Has some shades of this for Hawke and his/her siblings especially. Some cut-dialogues refer to her cornering most of the party and getting them to practice swordsmanship with her (including the mages) and criticizing their techniques.
- Breast Plate: Initially played straight during the prologue sequence, though justifiably so; it takes little effort to forgive leather armor for being form-fitting. Averted for the rest of the game - the metal plate the guards wear is the same general shape for both men and woman, giving Aveline no more chances to show off her assets.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Towards Donnic. She tries courting him in more subtle ways, but her methods seem to make sense only to her. Depending on how this is handled he may conclude that Hawke is awkwardly hitting on him.
- Insane Troll Logic: Eventually, her efforts to woo him get so bad that even when she does explain the reasoning behind her actions, Hawke can't argue directly with them because they make no sense. You get the chance to call her out on it.
- The Captain: Served as an officer in the Fereldan Army at Ostagar.
- Later becames Captain of the Kirkwall City Guard.
- The Champion: To the Hawke family during their first year in Kirkwall. She claims it's just to keep Hawke out of trouble.
- City Guards: Joins the Kirkwall guard after fleeing Ferelden and can be promoted to Captain of the Guards after a mission where she investigates her superior's corruption.
- Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Towards the snarky/silly!Hawke.
- Comically Serious: Especially when paired with Snarky!Hawke, Varric and Isabela.
- Cowboy Cop: Even as Da Chief, she has no problem telling authority where to shove it and will bend the rules for the sake of her friends.
- However, do not EVER question whether she is going soft on the men under her command and coddling certain individuals (Donnic). When the Templars force you to investigate her on this in Act III, you set out to prove that Donnic is doing the same routes as the other men, if not more dangerous, and most of her men are fighting for their life twice a week to keep Kirkwall safe.
- Da Chief: Eventually reaches this position on the Guard.
- Defector from Decadence: Aveline's mysterious father. "Orlais has a game. He wouldn't play it. I never cared to ask further."
- Depending on the Artist: Her official art is... considerably more mannish◊ when compared to her in-game model.
- Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: During the Prologue and if she's brought along to Sundermount, Aveline appears to be the only person in the group who actually recognises that talking to the Witch of the Wilds is not something any sane person would want to do.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Borderline; she trains with each guard individually and makes certain that they know what they are doing. They certainly think that it's Training from Hell. If you've been succeeding at her personal quests, she bonds with each of the guards as well, which takes the edge off of it. If not, the guards become more efficient, but Aveline herself will not be well liked.
- Establishing Character Moment: One of the first things she does is tackle a darkspawn that severely wounded Wesley and punch it into submission before lever-cutting its head off with its own sword. She proceeds to fight the rest of the horde with the intention of saving her husband or dying with him.
- Expose the Villain, Get His Job: Her Act 1 personal quest.
- Expy: Aveline is essentially Brienne of Tarth in a slightly different fantasy world and with slightly better luck... And looks.
- Fake Fereldan: In a manner of speaking. She was born in Ferelden and raised there, but her father was actually a disgraced Orlesian Chevalier who decided to defect during the Orlesian Occupation. Aveline seems to consider herself to be a Fereldan first and her Orlesian heritage second.
- Failure Knight: Her sometimes obsessive need to protect everyone seems to be the reason she latches onto looking after the Hawke family. It is implied to have largely stemmed from her guilt at being unable to save Wesley. If brought into the Fade during "Night Terrors," a Desire Demon will use this against her and she'll turn on the party.
- Fire-Forged Friends: At the start of the game, she bonds with the Hawke family when they fight their way out of Lothering together.
- Foil: To a Snarky!Hawke. Hawke even lampshades it:
Hawke: You don't want me as sour and dour as you. You need a counterpoint.
- Good People Have Good Sex: If Aveline marries Donnic, Isabela offers some tips on how they can spice up their sex-life. Aveline lets her know Donnic needs no help in that department.
- Happily Married: With Wesley before the game. With Donnic later, if Hawke helps out.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners/Platonic Life Partners: With Hawke.
- Hollywood Atheist: Averted; Aveline has no issue with the Chantry or those who believe in the Maker (she even married a Templar), but she doesn't seem to believe herself. She says that she thinks the Chant is lovely, but perhaps that is all it needs to be. She even nets Friendship points if you're dismissive to the Grand Cleric.
- Hypocrite: Nothing major, but ask her about Wesley when you meet up with her the first time in Act I and she'll defensively state that she doesn't want to be coddled. Understandable, but kind of jarring when she admitted just a few minutes earlier that she is spying on Hawke to make sure they stay out of trouble, and has no intention of stopping even if Hawke tells her to.
- Idiot Ball: Played for Laughs. She's a bright, talented and quick-thinking guardswoman... but her intelligence plummets when it comes to dealing with Donnic. Case in point? While trying to be romantic with him, she turns it into a conversation about the sharpness of swords.
- I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Wesley's death remains a sore spot for her for a good half of the game, partially because she feels she should have been able to prevent it. Her fear of losing anything else drives many of her actions throughout the game.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: If Hawke chooses to flirt with her, s/he eventually decides to let her go.
- Just Friends: Although Hawke can flirt with Aveline, she will gently reject his/her advances. She seems to regard the Hawkes as her children or younger siblings more than anything else.
- Lantern Jaw of Justice: Rare female example.
- Married to the Job: Apparently the reason she's having such difficulty with romancing Donnic. Even though she was once married, she's thrown herself into her work so much, she's forgotten how not to be a guard for a while. If you don't help her out on her sidequests, she never learns to relax and the pressure eventually pushes her to leave town.
- Matchmaker Quest: Her sidequest in Act II involves her attempting to court Guardsman Donnic. Don't mess things up, and they'll get married.
- Meaningful Name: An in-universe example; Aveline was the name of the first female Chevalier.
- She actually doesn't seem fond of the symbolism, (though it fits her perfectly), calling the name "a wish [her] father made," and expressing relief that Fenris doesn't know the story of Ser Aveline. By the end of the game though, if her personal quests were completed correctly, she seems much more sure of herself and has come to terms with it.
- A Mother To Her Men
- My Beloved Smother: Doesn't actually plan on being a mother herself (unless they invent a way for men to give birth), but she definitely acts this way towards the others during party banters, especially Hawke and Carver. If her personal quests are not completed, her guards complain that they are feeling smothered and start to resent her for it.
- Foreshadowed slightly in Act I party banter with Bethany, who asks her why she and Wesley never had children; Aveline explains that their respective careers forced them to put the prospect on hold. When Bethany asks if she regrets it now that Wesley is gone, Aveline replies that the question is too personal. It's possible that she sees her companions as surrogates for the children she never had.
- No Guy Wants an Amazon: Ser Wesley and Guardsman Donnic are the exceptions that prove the rule; almost everyone else finds her intimidating and off-putting, as other party members point out. According to Isabela, she's a "woman-shaped battering ram."
- Hawke also can express an interest in her, which she won't actually realise until after she's hooked up with Donnic.
- No Social Skills
- Not so Above It All:
- Oblivious to Love: If Hawke flirts with her — particularly during her Matchmaker Quest. Possibly explained by the insane things she does to woo Donnic; she clearly has no idea how typical courting goes.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: As Captain of the Guard. Under her command, the guard is the most efficient and respected it's been in generations, though once Meredith takes over, some of the Templars seem to be making it a point to limit her influence and try to oust her from her position.
- Despite her late husband having been a Templar, she refuses to turn Mage!Hawke or Bethany in, since they at least try to do good.
- Red-Headed Hero: According to "Mark of the Assassin", it runs in the family.
- Running Gag: Aveline being able to lift a cow. Comes up often in party conversation, particularly during "Mark of the Assassin."
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: If she sides against Hawke during the endgame, she decides that she owes Hawke too much to fight him/her and walks out after delivering a Reason You Suck Speech to Hawke. Her fellow guardsmen quickly follow suit.
- Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: The first permanent companion character you meet, as well as one of the most important ones after becoming captain of the guard.
- Socially-Awkward Hero: "So...it's a nice night for an evening."
- Stone Wall: Her specialization focuses on defense and protecting party members. Thanks to her Indomitable ability, she's the only party member immune to the final boss's "stun you all so I can monologue" move.
- Straight Man and Wise Guy: The Straight Man to Snarky!Hawke, Varric, and Isabela's Wise Guy.
- Take Up My Sword: Upon first encounter, she wields a two handed greatsword. After Wesley loses the use of his sword arm, and later dies, she takes up a Sword & Shield style like him. Her starting shield in Act I is Wesley's.
- Team Dad:
- To Be Lawful or Good: Establishes herself as being on the "Good" side of things at all times early in Act I, despite having only just taken the job. She remains lawful only so long as it is useful in her quest to do good. When the two conflict, there is never a moment's hesitation in her mind. It's also why she has no problems with Hawke if you play as a more Chaotic Good character.
Aveline: I can trust you at least try to do right.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Aveline invokes this when Arishok says he must take Isabela back along with the book she stole: "Oh, no. If anyone's going to kick her ass, it's me." She gives Friendship points if you go to bat for Isabela against Arishok, and Rivalry points if you hand Isabela over.
- Tragic Keepsake: Wesley's shield. She's not pleased if you've sold it, and even just un-equipping it and putting it in storage earns a few complaints in Act II. Though she later clarifies it's less about Wesley and more just holding onto the last pieces of her old life.
- Tsundere: A Type A, especially towards Hawke and Isabela. Wesley and Donnic both seem to be the only people who constantly get her softer side.
- Vitriolic Best Buds:
- Well Done Daughter Girl: Implied, especially during "Night Terrors".
Demon!Wesley: You spent your whole life trying to be the chevalier your father wanted. The one thing you chose for yourself, and the darkspawn took him.
- Widow Woman: Ser Wesley, her Templar husband, dies shortly after meeting Hawke due to darkspawn taint. Either you or Aveline can Mercy Kill him. She can eventually remarry though.
- Workaholic: The Codex notes that her life revolves around guarding others; when she's not on-duty as a city guard, she's guarding Hawke and co. If her personal quests are completed, she starts to relax a little bit. If not, the pressure slowly breaks her down and she can resolve to step down from her position and leave Kirkwall entirely in Act III. Lampshaded by Varric in some dialogue in Act I, when he asks what she does.
Aveline: You know I'm a guard, why are you asking?
Varric: I mean in your off-duty hours? For fun? You've heard of it, I hope?
Aveline: These are my off-duty hours.
Varric: And the trend of you scaring the piss out of me continues...
- You Can't Go Home Again: "That's supposed to be about maturity. It's not the same if you don't have the option."
No, not that
Dog, though he might as well be.
The Hawke family's loyal mabari companion. Dog isn't a full party member, but can be summoned to give some extra help.
An elven slave turned living weapon. He used his power to escape his master Danarius, a Tevinter Magister who is trying to reclaim his "property." Even now that he's free and out of the Imperium, Fenris nurses a bitter streak against all mages. He is a potential love interest.
Isabela (Mika Simmons in Origins) (Victoria Kruger in DA II)
"Everyone should be free, not just mages. It's not about who's dangerous. It's about having choices made for you."
A pirate captain who first appeared in Origins
. She's only a minor character in the first game (although she is the only person who can teach the Warden the "Duelist" specialization), but reappears as a primary companion and potential love interest in the second game.
- Action Girl
- Ascended Extra: In the first game, she was a rogue who taught your Warden the duelist specialization in the Pearl. She also was an optional quick romantic encounter with the Warden and Leliana, Zevran, Leliana and Zevran, or Alistair. She returns in the second game with a new model and a new voice actress as a party member. Lampshaded if the party meets Alistair as the King of Ferelden and she's in the group; he remembers her and remarks, "You look... different."
- Ambiguously Brown: Like Duncan, she's a Rivaini.
- Anything That Moves: According to her, she's had relations with men, women, elves, and a cross-dressing dwarf. She doesn't recommend that last one.
- Subverted if Hawke attempts to pimp her to the pathetic Emile de Launcet. Even sluttiness has its standards.
- Subverted farther than that, ironically enough, if Hawke pursues a romance with Isabela. Isabela's behavior is mostly for her image as a pirate, and while she has no problems with a Friends with Benefits relationship (or a one night stand), she doesn't have nearly as many of those as she implies.
- A Threesome Is Hot: If you're romancing her when she propositions Zevran, she's quick to invite you to join in.
- Badass Normal
- Bad Liar: She's not very good at being subtle when she's hiding something; she stutters, avoids eye contact, and hesitates a lot. More often, though, she just dodges unwanted questions or starts talking about what pretty eyes you have.
- Bar Brawl: Her introduction. Apparently this happens with her fairly often.
- Big Damn Heroes: If you have a high enough friendship or rivalry level, she pulls this during the qunari invasion by returning their relic, thereby creating a relatively peaceful solution to the problem.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Particularly if Hawke is either romancing or previously romanced her. According to the Codex, her final words to Hawke before storming off for some time between Act 2 and 3 were;
Isabela: I didn't do it for them. I did it for you. It was always about you.
- Bi the Way
- Brain Bleach: Invokes this reaction in Hawke and the other party members more than once.
- Bring My Brown Pants: During the "Haunted" quest, three guesses why.
Isabela: I really should have gone to the privy before coming here.
- Broken Bird: Has a few elements of one, though she'd never admit it, especially the issues with emotional intimacy.
- But Not Too Black: A consistent problem in promotional material - the pre-game marketing, comic book covers and artwork in Art of Thedas lighten her skin-tone considerably.
- Bystander Syndrome: "We're not responsible for anyone but ourselves."
- Call Back: When the Warden meets Isabela, she is dueling people who claim she cheated them of their coin. After defeating them, they run off. When Hawke meets Isabela, she is dueling people who claim she cheated them of their coin. After defeating them, they run off.
- The Captain: Casamir, one of the men on her ship, indicates that she was extremely beloved by her crew.
- The Casanova
- Changed My Mind, Kid: On the eve of the Qunari invasion, she abandons the party because they're after her personally. She turns around and returns to give them back their relic. Mind you, the trope will be subverted depending on your relationship with her.
- Character Development: If full Rivalry is achieved, she admits helping others and not always being selfish feels good, and vows to become a better person. Evident later when, if Hawke sides with the mages at the final quest, she seems enthusiastic about protecting them.
- With high Friendship she starts drifting more towards the good side of the morality scale, though with much more reluctance than as a Rival, and expresses similar sentiment in the endgame.
- Chekhov's Pirate: She only has one scene in the first game, but was popular/infamous enough to be made a full companion in the sequel.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: "Mark of the Assassin" reveals that if romanced, she can be this towards Hawke.
- She admits, however, she is willing to have a threesome, or let Tallis sleep with Hawke, as long as Tallis asks first.
- Claustrophobia: Nervously says she "really doesn't like tight spaces" when you take her with you on the Deep Roads expedition.
- Cool Big Sis: To Merrill and Bethany.
- Corrupt the Cutie: Jokingly invoked in several conversations with Bethany.
- If Bethany ends up in the Circle, Isabela sends her many erotic books to get her through the night.
- Does this to a lesser extent with Merrill (teaching her how to do body shots), and Carver, whom she goads into "growing into his fangs". By Act II, he proves he can give her a run for her money when it comes to innuendos.
- In "Legacy," her influence is confirmed to have rubbed off on a romanced Merrill if you bring them both along with Anders. You'll learn that Merrill was looking through his grimoire in the hopes of finding "dirty spells" to "make things more interesting" with Hawke. Isabela's response? "That's my girl!"
- Also invoked with, of all possibilities, Bianca, which appears to end the playful flirting between Isabela and Varric.
- Invoked with Aveline after they settled into the role of Vitriolic Best Buds by Act III, where she offers tips on how to spice things up with Donnic in the bedroom. Considering Aveline's response to Isabela asking if Donnic's "flipped [her] arse over tits and hammered her like a bent nail," Isabela apparently succeeded.
- Could Have Avoided This Plot: Aveline mentions this in disgust when she and Hawke learn that Isabela stole the Tome of Koslun and only decides to tell them this now.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Heavily hinted at throughout the game, though she is reluctant to go into details.
- Those Who Speak reveals that her mother was a Viddethari, who sold her into slavery after she refused to convert.
- Distaff Counterpart: She shares quite a few similarities with Zevran and they get along quite well.
- Does Not Like Men: A very mild case, and played very subtly, but Isabela seems quick to believe the worst when it concerns men and how they view women, even if she has no trouble befriending or sleeping with them. This almost certainly stems from her treatment at the hands of her late husband.
- Also worth mentioning is that, both in Origins and here, her reactions to sleeping with Hawke and the Warden change depending on their gender; she's quick to tease men about their performance, but is even quicker to praise women for theirs.
- Double Entendre/Innocent Innuendo/Un Entendre: Sex drips off her tongue every time her mouth opens. For every subversion, she plays it twice as hard, even while Carver is chastising her for it.
- A notable subversion occurs while she's speaking with Varric, and serves as a Call Back to a similar conversation between Alistair and Oghren. For once, Varric and Isabela really were just talking about weapons.
- One of her armor upgrades is called "Rigid Boning."
- Drowning My Sorrows
- Dual Wielding: Like most melee-oriented rogues.
- Duel to the Death: With Hayder. Isabela suspects foul play, so when she meets Hawke, she asks for potential back-up.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Isabela is a pirate to the core, but she would never condone slave trading, which is why she betrays Hayder before you first meet her. Though she's perfectly willing to let non-repentant slavers get away clean if it means she can have a ship again.
- Fingerless Gloves
- Friends with Benefits: While a tremendous flirt, she only appears to have such a relationship with Hawke (if Hawke accepts) and, depending on the relationship of the player, Fenris.
- Friend to All Children: It's mentioned that most of the pirates in the Waking Sea want Isabela dead for performing a one-woman army stunt, seizing the vessel she was meant to be escorting, after she discovered it actually contained slaves who were mostly women and children.
- Fragile Speedster: Her specialization abilities can make her one of the rare borderline Stone Wall examples. She becomes harder to hit and less effective at hitting — not very useful in of and itself, but paired with a skilled Scoundrel form the combat equivalent of a two-man con.
- A Foursome Is Hot/A Foursome Is Manly: She's up for pretty much any sexual configuration your Origins party can throw at her.
- The Gadfly: She trolls Aveline about her sex life with Donnic just to see how she reacts. "If you shove your thumb up his ass, I win."
- Gay Option
- Genre Savvy: Knows that Hayder will double-cross her in Act I and in Act III Hawke hatches a plan to double-double-cross Castillon by pretending first to betray her and turn her over to him.
- Guide Dang It: Averted with sleeping with her — she comes on to Hawke quickly, and follows through early in Act II, before players even kiss some love interests. Played surprisingly straight with genuine romance, however, to a point where even the official guide gets it wrong, and her romance is only completed half an hour or so before the game's end.
- The Hedonist: Seems to live for three things: the thrill of adventure, alcohol, and sexual gratification.
- Hero of Another Story: Alongside Varric and King Alistair in The Silent Grove/Those Who Speak/Until We Sleep trilogy.
- Hidden Depths: Isabela's promiscuity and "who needs love?" attitude is an act to cover up the guilt she feels for breaking the heart of a former lover. Hawke can point this out to her after having sex with her by stating "You're not afraid of falling in love; you're afraid of being loved." She can also be surprisingly eloquent and wise, if deeply cynical, at times concerning philosophical ideas such as freedom and justice.
- Hidden Heart of Gold:
- She'll try to excuse any altruistic acts as self serving in some manner. Nobody buys it. Anders and Silly-Hawke actually tease her about it, and invoke the trope by name.
- Most obviously in Act II where her Big Damn Hero entrance has her irritably say that "This is your damned influence, Hawke!"
- Hit Me, Dammit!: Enables this as a plan to get to Castillion. Also one of her many battle quotes.
- Hoist By Her Own Petard: Isabela occasionally uses the line "You have pretty eyes" as a way to shut down conversations she doesn't want. In "Mark of the Assassin," she complains to Hawke that Gamlen's been inappropriate, and she wants Hawke to convince him to stop. Guess what Hawke's response is?
- If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Gives male Hawke this one if he's romancing Merrill.
Isabela: I get the feeling the girl's involved in something deep and dangerous. Look out for her, will you? Make sure she doesn't hurt herself. ... Oh, and if you ever do anything nasty to her, I'll cut off your balls.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Every single one of the talents in her unique skill tree is a pirate reference of some kind. Notable because almost every other skill's name tries to be serious or informative. Not Isabela.
- She has an armor upgrade named Rigid Boning.
- She seems quite fond of puns at times in-game, chuckling at the sound of "ghast-hole" and dubbing Idunna an "apostitute" before laughing delightedly. Yeah... Bela's kind of a dork.
- Indy Ploy: Most of her plans tend to involve these.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: At the start of Act III, especially.
- I Need to Go Iron My Dog: Every time you go to the Qunari Compound with her in your party, she will suddenly bail and run off. At first, it seems odd that she would do this, but as you find out later she stole one of the Qunari's prized relics. If she were to enter the compound she would most likely be caught and either killed or taken prisoner.
- Informed Attractiveness: Discussed in game. Isabela readily admits that she is not as attractive as her reputation leads one to believe. Her real secret is that she just casts a wide net.
- It Doesn't Mean Anything:
- She brushes off the idea of being in anything other than a Friends with Benefits situation if Hawke asks about it, and will deny anything more between them to the other party members when it comes up for the vast majority of the game.
Isabela: [annoyed and dismayed] Wait. You're not thinking of bringing feelings into this? Are you?
- According to the Codex entry for Act III, if previously romanced then Isabela has a particularly meaningful outburst towards Hawke before she stormed off for the next 3 years;
Isabela: I didn't do it for them, I did it for you! It was always about you!
- It's All About Me: While she can be a lot of fun, and even very affectionate at times (mainly to Merrill), it is made uncomfortably clear at several points in the game that she places herself and her hedonistic tendencies first, even when it might hurt others. Under Hawke's influence, her conscience can start to get the better of her, much to her dismay.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Platonic-version; if Hawke slept with her then moved on to Merrill, she seems a little wistful when Merrill gushes about how wonderful Hawke is, then assures the elf how happy she is for her. She later tells Hawke that she thinks Merrill was very lonely before and tells him/her to look after her. If Hawke is male, she also threatens to castrate him if he hurts her in any way.
- Karma Houdini: Potentially subverted if she returns with the tome and you hand her over to the Qunari (though the codex implies she later escapes), and even if you don't she actually spends some years away from Kirkwall, either out of guilt or simple reluctance to witness the damage and hundreds of corpses left by her actions. If Hawke doesn't have a strong enough Friendship/Rivalry with her though, she gets away with the tome scot-free.
- Knife Nut
- The Lad-ette
- Lady Killer In Love: If romanced, she realises in Act III that she's fallen in love with Hawke, despite herself.
- Lampshade Hanging: She lampshades quite a few things.
Isabela: If we kill them we get their stuff!
Alistair: Isabela, right? You look... different.
Isabela: Don't we all?
- Loveable Rogue
- Loveable Sex Maniac: Three guesses what most of her dialogue ends up being about.
- Missing Steps Plan: Invoked during her summing up the plan to deal with Velasco and Castillion.
: Step one, we go to Velasco! Step Two, something exciting
happens! Step Three, Profit!
- Mommy Issues: Not fond of the woman. Given her mother sold Isabela into marriage to an Antivan merchant for a few gold pieces and a goat (without even haggling the price), it's hard to blame Isabela for how she feels.
- To add insult to injury, her mother was a Qunari convert who sold her because she refused to follow in her footsteps. No wonder she also holds a grudge against the Qunari.
- Morality Chain: The player can be this to her, particularly at the end of Act II.
- Morality Pet: Isabela's friendship with Merrill may be the only one that the pirate has that isn't based on teasing them. In fact, when Merrill wishes that she had an 'interesting' life like Isabela, she tells Merrill that she's a good person and deserves better than that.
- Her fond anecdotes about her crew before the shipwreck indicates that they actually had quite a bit of cameraderie, and she clearly misses them.
- Ms. Vice Gal: She revels in sex, violence, greed and drunken revelry.
- Ms. Fanservice: She has about a foot of cleavage to back this up. And no pants. And frequent panty shots. Less than thirty seconds after she invites herself to the party, she invites Hawke up to her room. This appears to be approximately fifteen minutes after meeting, as well.
- My Grandma Can Do Better Than You: One of her in-battle taunts.
- Never Live It Down: Invoked in Act III when Snarky!Hawke comments that her last bright idea was stealing the Qunari relic.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: By stealing the Qunari relic, Isabela set a chain of events in motion that resulted in the Qunari attacking Kirkwall, the death of innocent people, and a power vacuum that allowed Meredith to abuse her power and bring the Mage/Templar conflict closer to exploding.
- Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: She insists that the Warden beat her in a card game before she'll teach him or her what she knows; in reality this is impossible and the only way to get her to do so is by catching her cheating, or cheating yourself (or persuading her to sleep with the Warden).
- Noodle Incident: She's behind a few of them. One of them involved a duel that somehow grew into a 20 person brawl in the streets.
- Hawke mentions the time she thought she had found the Relic and led them on a wild-goose chase all across the Wounded Coast, only to discover that the chest contained nothing more than some bad poetry... and an old boot.
- There's also a letter of her at Hawke's estate, at the beginning of Act II, saying that she "expected treasure, not spiders. Get well soon". It seems like they had several unsuccessful treasure chases in the wilderness during the three year intermission.
- Also, in Legacy banter with Fenris:
Fenris: Interesting story I heard about you, Isabela...
Isabela: Yes, yes, all right. I just want it known I never asked for the goat. And the fire was accidental.
Fenris: I... that wasn't the story.
- Odd Romance: Hooks up with Fenris of all people in Act III, if you do not romance either of them. Granted, the relationship is purely physical by all accounts.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Isabela is not her birth name, but it's the only name she'll respond to.
- Optional Party Member: She doesn't have to join the party, and if you don't go to the Hanged Man at the right time, you may never even see her.
- Optional Sexual Encounter: Perhaps the most infamous one in Origins, though nothing is shown.
- Or So I Heard: "There's no way this Javaris stole from the qunari. That's hard - I've heard."
- Parental Abandonment: She was sold into marriage at an implied young age by her mother and never knew her father. Those Who Speak sheds new light on this - her mother joined the Qun, but Isabela refused to convert.
- Pirate Girl: Her ship is named the Siren's Call, which she inherited it from her deceased husband, a merchant whom Zevran killed. It sank sometime before Act I, during the same storm that wrecked the Qunari in Kirkwall. Given what we later learn, it's left ambiguous whether it was the storm or Qunari cannons that actually sank it.
- Pirate Who Doesn't Do Anything: Not by choice. Due to the loss of her ship and crew as well as the Qunari tome, Isabela is forced to spend most of the game standing around the Hanged Man, drinking and acting vaguely pirate-y when not with Hawke.
- Rape as Backstory: It's implied the reason she let her husband get assassinated was because he had her "entertain" his friends.
- Really Gets Around: Her sex life is a constant topic in conversations with the party.
- Running Gag:
- "Have you slept with everyone in Ferelden?"
- Another running gag, especially in "Legacy" and "Mark Of The Assassin" is her perpetual pantslessness.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: If her friendship or rivalry isn't high enough then she will abandon you at the end of Act II, taking the Relic with her.
- Sex Goddess: She claims to be so good in bed, she can turn even the straightest woman lesbian/bisexual.
- It reaches in-game memetic levels as time goes by, as she and Varric recall several patrons who attempted to (unsuccessfully) flirt with her and she recalls her vast sex life.
- If importing a save where the Warden was a Female Noble, romanced Alistair, convinced him to have a threesome and later ascended him to the throne and married him, Isabela jokes that having slept with the King and Queen of Ferelden, she has something new to brag about.
- Shipper on Deck: It's not often that pun gets to work three ways. Through the party banter in "Mark of the Assassin" she catches onto Carver's crush on Merrill and is very eager to help. Carver, understandably, isn't too keen on the idea.
- Writes erotic "Friend-fiction".
- Even if she was previously romanced which leaves her with some major Unresolved Sexual Tension with Hawke, she freely ships Hawke and Merrill, stating to Male Hawke that if he ever does anything to hurt her, she will cut off his balls!
- So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: She may return, however with a high enough friendship/rivalry score.
- STD Immunity: Averted. It's all but outright stated that Isabela does face repercussions for her grandiose sex life, but Anders is able (though not willing) to cure these without much trouble.
- Stripperific: Isabela has the bustiest model in the game and she has the outfit to show it off. Also, no pants.
- The Tease: Big time, especially to Carver.
- Thigh-High Boots: Merrill's so fascinated by them she sometimes drops marbles in them.
- Trick Bomb: She is a Rogue, so she can use different types of bombs.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Some of her dialogue with/about Hawke hints at this if s/he slept with her but later broke it off.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Aveline towards the end of the game.
- Widow Woman: Not that she's complaining. Her husband was an arse.
- Yaoi Fangirl: In party banter, she seems really turned on at the thought of Danarius oiling Fenris up and "keeping [him] close at hand" while Fenris "glistens." Fenris asks her if she's already written a whole story about it in her head, and she doesn't deny it.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Fully befriending or rivaling her can convince her of this in different ways. It gets more complicated with Hawke's variable personality. It ranges from "Whatever you think you are, I still care about you," all the way to "Bullshit! Stop making excuses for yourself!"
- You Fight Like a Cow:
Isabela: You hit like my grandmother!
- You Lose at Zero Trust: She leaves your party for good if you haven't completed her Act II Questioning Beliefs Quest, which is obtained by getting her Friendship or Rivalry to at least 50.
- Your Door Was Open: Apparently she breaks into Hawke's estate frequently.
Silly!Hawke: Oh, look who's here! Time to change the locks again...
Isabela: I knocked this time!
- Zettai Ryouiki: Class A Boot variant.
Sebastian Vael (Alec Newman)
"When I wanted to rule, I would have been terrible at it. Now that I might be decent, I don't know if it's the right thing to do."
An archer of noble birth, Sebastian comes as a DLC character in The Exiled Prince
, where the player must help him avenge the death of his family, the rulers of Starkhaven. His trailer is here
. A potential love interest, though Hawke cannot actually sleep with him due to his vow of chastity. He is the only love interest that Hawke must be female to pursue.
- Actor Allusion: Alec Newman previously played a noble son who lost his rightful heritage to a rival house, one than also began with the letter H.
- Ancestral Weapon: Can find his grandfather's bow during his personal quest.
- Badass Normal
- Badass Preacher: He was originally a member of the priesthood before tragedy struck.
- Be Careful What You Wish For/Give Me a Sign: At one point, Sebastian prays that the Maker send him a sign for what to do about his Conflicting Loyalty. Then the Chantry blows up. If Anders survives, he decides to take it very badly. It's unknown how he takes it if Anders dies.
- Berserk Button: No one hurts Elthina on his watch. Best watch yourself, Anders.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Sebastian has very, very strong morals and there's nothing he likes more then doing good deeds. This doesn't change the fact that he can use that bow to turn you into a pincushion. And Maker help you if you hurt Elthina...
- Big "NO!": He gives a good one if he's in your party when Anders blows up the Chantry. Even parodied.
- Bling of War: Lampshaded repeatedly. Isabela uses it as a mirror, while Anders is more amused by Andraste's face on his codpiece. Does Sebastian want the Maker to see him shove His bride's head between his legs?
- Brave Starkhavener
- Break the Haughty: A mild version in his backstory, considering that he was a hedonistic prince that got Locked Away in a Monastery so that he wouldn't have any children that could contest his brothers' claims to the throne.
- Can't Argue With Churchmen: Any time he debates the merits of Chantry dogma with the other party members, he always gets the last word.
- Celibate Hero: Due to the vows he made when he joined the Chantry. Even if romanced he won't break this vow. That said, Sebastian is definitely not a virgin before his Chantry vows as his dialogues with Isabela shows that as the prince of Starkhaven, he was a hedonistic prince but vowed to be celibate.
- Chastity Couple: If a female Hawke pursues him and is not in a Rivalry with him, they become this.
- Church Militant
- Conflicting Loyalty: He is torn between keeping his vows to the Chantry and his desire to reclaim his family's throne. You can encourage him either way. And no matter what choice has makes in the end, he will decide not to pursue it until the main plot is resolved and Hawke no longer needs his loyalty.
- Corrupt the Cutie: If Hawke is in a Rivalry with him, s/he encourages him towards Well-Intentioned Extremist tendencies to regain his title. Subverted in that Sebastian wasn't always the Knight in Shining Armor he tries to be now.
- Cultured Warrior: Favours the bow, following his grandfather's belief that it allows a King to defend his people while never having to leave the walls of his castle.
- Deadly Decadent Court: The reason his family was killed and part of the reason he is reluctant to throw himself back into politics. He and Varric bond over comparing it to life in the Merchant's Guild.
Varric: In Starkhaven, do they bludgeon you to death for forgetting the name of a minor clerk's third daughter?
Sebastian: [dryly] Only if you're lucky.
Varric: [sighs] Choir Boy, suddenly your life makes much more sense to me.
- Deadpan Snarker: Every so often.
- Disproportionate Retribution: If Hawke lets Anders live after he blows up the Chantry, Sebastian vows to raise and army and burn Kirkwall to the ground to avenge Elthina, a pacifist who was so dedicated to the people of said city that she refused to abandon them even after being told by the hand of the Divine that her life was in danger.
- Easy Evangelism: Averted. While Sebastian does try to get the other companions to convert (he's not pushy about it, to his credit), they just brush him off. It's implied that he actually succeeds with Fenris, but Fenris denies it and it's played for comedy. In party banter, Sebastian admits that preaching rarely works, and he thinks leading by example works better.
- Former Teen Rebel: His wild youth embarrassed his family into giving him to the priesthood in hopes that he'd grow up a bit.
- Friendly Sniper
- The Friend Nobody Likes: In a sense. While most of the party do like Sebastian, they frequently poke fun at his overzealousness in the Chantry. Basically, the same reason, just on the other side of the fence, for why they get irritated with Anders and his "Mage Pride".
- Good Counterpart: To Sister Petrice, in that he represents a side of the Chantry that actually is charitable and compassionate, instead of just self-righteous. Especially obvious in Mark Of The Assassin, when he treats Tallis with relative respect and states he feels that the Qunari highlight the Chantry's failings and their presence provides an opportunity for change and improvement, while Petrice can only see them as a threat that must be ousted even if she has to have the Viscount's son murdered to do it.
- Gondor Calls for Aid: He's been traveling to different cities in the Free Marches between Acts I and II, talking to the nobility and trying to gather allies, but his efforts are halted by his own hesitation. He'll run off to try again with much less doubt holding him back if Hawke spares Anders.
- Good Shepherd: He tries to be, at least.
- Government in Exile: In between acts, Sebastian tries to set up La Résistance so he can regain the throne. However, he doesn't get far due to his Conflicting Loyalty.
- Happily Married: If Legacy is played after his last "Questioning Beliefs" scene in Act III, it's revealed that he and a F!Hawke who romanced him as a friend are this. And no, she doesn't care about the lack of sex, though Sarcastic-Hawke will tease him about it.
- Headbutting Heroes: He and Anders do a really good job of getting on each other's bad side. It borders on Enemy Mine at some points, largely concerning Elthina's position on the templars and mages. At the endgame, they become Mutually Exclusive Party Members.
- The Hedonist: His past life as prince had him living life decadently, sleeping with noblewomen and getting drunk. His parents made him join the Chantry because of that reputation.
- Hero-Worshipper: He never has anything but praise for the Grey Wardens. He leaps at the chance to help them in Nathaniel's sidequest, and is almost a fanboy in Legacy. He'll even support Janeka's plan to utilise Corypheus using forbidden magic.
- Hot-Blooded: Sebastian, like male Hawke, lets out his hammier side during battle. More seriously, he repeatedly demonstrates that succumbing to Revenge Before Reason is his biggest flaw.
"I fear only RUNNING OUT OF ARROWS!"
"I AM good, aren't I?"
- Hypocrite: After spending most of the game letting go of his bitterness, both at his family and their murderers, and scolding other party members for letting revenge take over their lives, he swears to build up an army and promises to kill everybody in Kirkwall if you spare Anders, to avenge Elthina. A pacifist. Who previously refused to leave the city specifically to protect the people of the city. And who had consistently urged him not to seek revenge. Completely Missing the Point indeed...
- He may also declare "the end justifies the means. You taught me that!" in defense of his vow to raze the entire city of Kirkwall to the ground with an army because of one man, apparently not seeing the irony in using Anders' justification for committing mass murder and starting a war to justify his own decision to commit mass murder and start a war.
- Knight in Shining Armor: Reconstructed Trope.
- Locked Away in a Monastery: His parents gave him to the Chantry to stop him from dragging down their reputation; unusually, he declares it was the best thing that ever happened to him. Supplemental material reveals that Elthina allowed him to leave, and he returned out of a genuine desire for purpose.
- Man in White: Shiny white armor. Something of a Running Gag within the party.
- Isabela uses it as a mirror once.
- Mr. Fanservice: In-universe, even! Bethany takes a shine to him in Mark of the Assassin, either letting out a swooning "Oh, Maker" when he smiles at her, or commenting "Oh, Sister, you lucky bitch," if he's being romanced.
- Nice Guy
- Not So Different: Admits before he found the Chantry, he used to be just like Isabela.
- Also implied to be part of the reason he treats Tallis with respect, even defending her devotion to the Qun to others in party banter.
- The Pollyanna: To an extent. When he gets mad, he gets mad. But for the most part, he's optimistic and relatively cheerful, if a bit more mature than this trope usually implies, despite his personal tragedies... which puts him in stark contrast with most of the party. Hilarity Ensues.
: I've never had so many opportunities to help people! Varric
: ... All right. I thought I was getting tired of moody.
I take it back. You're making my teeth ache.
- Princely Young Man: The Prince Charming type, though he was more of a Royal Brat when he was younger. A simple smile from him is enough to cause Bethany to immediately start to trail off from what she was saying.
Bethany: [blushes] Oh Maker...
- Really Gets Around: In his younger years only, obviously.
- Redemption Failure: What happens if you let Anders live, especially if you were on the Friendship route and he'd decided to stay in Kirkwall.
- Religious Bruiser
- The Resenter: He was this towards his brothers for being favored by his parents. After their murder, he worries that he is not completely over this, and his desire for vengeance is actually a desire to get what his family never let him have.
- Revenge Before Reason: Played with. When you first meet him, he is outraged by his family's murder, but is unable to do anything about it except ask you to kill the mercenaries responsible. After a Time Skip, he's calmed down considerably and is much more hesitant to take vengeance, due to the revelation that the murders were ordered by old friends of his and his own worries that he seeks justice for the wrong reasons.
- Though it happens all over again when the Chantry is destroyed. He will leave the party if Hawke won't kill Anders and swears to bring an army to Kirkwall for the sole purpose of bringing him to 'justice.' This despite pacifistic Elthina likely being ashamed of someone being killed in her name.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: If Hawke refuses to kill Anders, Sebastian (knowing better than to attack Hawke) leaves the party and vows to later get revenge.
- Sheltered Aristocrat: Aveline sometimes insinuates that he doesn't really understand how common people live, and views his efforts to gain power and act for the greater good with suspicion (though she's clearly citing Loghain), but how well he fits this trope is a matter of debate.
- Ship Tease: If Sebastian isn't romanced and Bethany is alive, he really takes a liking to her.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: In his Act II companion quest, if you don't do this to Allure, he will.
- Sixth Ranger: Well, ninth ranger to be exact. He is the only companion to be recruited in Act II, rather than Act I, though he is featured beforehand.
- Spare To The Throne: Resented the fact that he's actually the spare to the spare.
- Token Good Teammate: Not as much as Bethany but he tries.
- Token Religious Teammate
- Undying Loyalty: To Elthina. Even if he decides to retake his throne, he intends to put it on hold until he's certain that Elthina lives through the coming conflict.
- Subverted as he pledges his eternal gratitude to Hawke in Act I for helping him gain retribution against the Flint Company Mercenaries who murdered his parents, and for later aiding him in confronting Lady Harriman in Act II and finding his grandfather's bow. However, should you spare Anders at the end of Act III, he will not hesitate to turn on Hawke, leave the party, and vow to raise an army to burn Kirkwall to the ground.
- The Unfavorite: His using his family's money for his personal pleasure made them send him to the Kirkwall Chantry. His parents also did not want him fathering any illegitimate children that could challenge his brothers' heirs.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: His parents were 'rather traditional' and the relative he speaks most fondly of is his grandfather. During Legacy, he wonders aloud what his parents would think of him traipsing around the Deep Roads. 'They must be rolling over in their graves.'
Sarcastic Hawke: If you could bring your family back from the dead, that's what you'd want? For them to be disappointed in you?
Sebastian: How else would I know it's really them?
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He claims to be one, but clearly lacks the ruthlessness required to fit the trope. His rivalry path involves turning him into a real one. He also becomes one if Hawke chooses not to kill Anders.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Played cheerfully straight, much in the same manner as Leliana. He's relatively idealistic in a cynical story, but doesn't usually come off as particularly naive or foolish, nor does the story go out of the way to break him (more than it does anyone else). Much of the rest of the party seems unsure of how to respond to this.
Anders: How can you have so much faith? Does nothing bother you?
- You Killed My Family: Not only does he do this when confronting the mastermind behind his family's deaths, but he also pulls it when Anders blows up the Chantry, killing Sebastian's surrogate mother Elthina in the process. If you decide to let Anders live, Sebastian not only leaves the party, but makes it clear that he'll be coming for Anders... with an army!
"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 the game, 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
- Abel To Bartrand's Cain
- 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.
- When romancing Anders, he also shows this towards Hawke, evoking concern the relationship may hurt them.
- BFC: Bianca, Varric's tricked-out, custom-made, and rather large crossbow. The devs specifically made Bianca level up with Varric so as to make players never want to part the two without breaking the game.
- Cargo Ship: Invoked. His fondness for Bianca often rolls past mere praise into the realm of flirtation. He's not a romance option because he's already found the love of his life.
- Carpet of Virility: Notable, as he's the first BioWare character since The Black Whirlwind with real chest hair. Type I, of course. 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.
- Combat Pragmatist: Spare Gascard early in the game and he'll aid you in the search for your mother. Then it turns out that he's the necromancer's apprentice and is only interested in learning the rest of his secrets. Varric will promptly shoot him in the throat.
Varric: What? You were going to do that, right?
- Consummate Liar: His ability to spin up a good line of bullshit can help Hawke avoid a fight once in a while. He lampshades this in a party banter with Aveline, where he says he lies a lot.
- Covert Pervert: While he does flirt shamelessly with Isabela and bemoan a lack of dwarven barmaids, Varric's otherwise more interested in being a Deadpan Snarker... until Aveline convinces him to do some recruitment posters for the city guard. He intentionally swaps the text with those for the local brothel's recruitment. This leads to a Crowning Moment of Funny when Aveline points out that while he filled the city guardhouse with whores, he filled the brothel with guardsmen.
- Isabela shares her "friend-fiction" with him. He finds it hilarious.
- Deadpan Snarker
- 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 coin 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!
- 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 Silent Grove/Those Who Speak/Until We Sleep trilogy.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners/Platonic Life Partners: He's the only other party member that 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. It's then subverted as after he's finished telling his story, Cassandra freely lets him go without incident.
- I Call It Vera: He has a crossbow named Bianca.
- 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 exxagerated 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 snarkng best buds.
- Merchant Prince: Varric's specialization tree calls him one, though the truth is more complicated. He's very wealthy and well-connected, but isn't interested in politics and tends to skip Merchant's Guild meetings.
- Mercy Kill: Hawke can convince him to do this to Bartrand. Varric tries to convince himself he'll enjoy it, but he clearly regrets what happened to his brother, even bringing it up to Fenris when the elf is about to kill his sister.
- Momma's Boy: Despite having to single-handedly care for his alcoholic mother from a young age, he doesn't seem to resent her for it.
Varric: I swear, I will find that son of a bitch - sorry, Mother - and kill him!
- 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:
- 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.
- Let's be honest, part of the reason he gets on so well with Snarky!Hawke is because s/he is incredibly weird.
- It's revealed he's taught the game of Diamondback to the Dog. And he's a better card player than Anders!
- 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...
- 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.
- The Spymaster: He runs a spy network to help his friends and family.
- The Storyteller: Of course he ends up the narrator.
- 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.
- His loyalty even extends beyond the physical. At the end of the Legacy DLC if done after the murder of Hawke's mother, he recounts how Hawke had a conversation with his/her mother. He quickly admits that this didn't actually happen. He only said it because he wished his friend had gotten that closure, despite knowing that s/he never did.
- The Unfavorite: "Night Terrors" implies he sees himself as such, compared to Bartrand.
- Unreliable Narrator: For portions of the story, he'll exaggerate certain events just to make the story more interesting or if he's hiding something. Cassandra will ask questions occasionally and discern Varric's hyperbole and the truth.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- What Could Have Been: According to Word of God, Varric was intended to be an untrustworthy, sleazy character. As development went on, however, the writers realized that, with all the opposing personalities in the party, they needed a character who would always stand up for Hawke and Varric became that character.
- Write Who You Know: Party Banter in Act II with Aveline reveals he's writing a series of novels starring a rogue guardsman called Donnen Brennicovick. Apparently, there have been fistfights in the barracks over which guard Varric based him on. It might be simple coincidence, but Donnic and Brennan, two actual guardsmen you meet during Act I, seem the most likely candidates.