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Literature: Asunder
Dragon Age: Asunder is the third novel in the Dragon Age series. It is set in Orlais shortly after the events in Act 3 of Dragon Age II, but before Varric's interrogation, and expands upon the Mage-Templar conflict.


This novel provides examples of:

  • Bad Boss: Lord Seeker Lambert isn't well-liked by the majority of his subordinates, personally, but he terrifies them so much that nearly all of them will submit to his orders. Those who don't meet his expectations tend to have very short careers.
  • Break Them by Talking: The Pride Abomination that was formerly Pharamond attempts several of these. None work for more than a few moments.
  • The Chessmaster: Divine Justinia V is one of the rare benevolent versions of this trope. She's a master of Orlais' backstabbing game, but is working towards the benefit of both mages and templars despite the many people looking to remove her from office.
  • Dating Catwoman / When Harry Met Svetlana: Rhys and Evangeline.
  • Dead All Along: Cole sort of dances around this one, being a fusion of a spirit and a mage left to die by the templars. The fact he was actually alive at one point makes him fit as this.
  • Deliberately Bad Example: Lambert and his henchmen towards Evangeline, one of the rare idealistic templars.
  • Demoted to Extra: Leliana makes several appearances in the book and does aid the group in the finale, but is mostly left in the background for the newer characters.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Cole (after figuring out what he was) is implied to have slain Lambert at the end of the book.
  • Ending Memorial Service: The book ends with a funeral for Wynne at Andoral's Reach.
  • End of an Age: The book goes into detail on to how exactly the Chantry lost power and the Mage-Templar War really began one year after the events of Dragon Age II, but still a year before Varric was able to tell Cassandra that Kirkwall was anything more than a straightforward mage rebellion.
  • Expy: Adrian is one of Anders. She even betrays her former lover in a plot to free the mages by provoking templar reaction. However, she doesn't have the clear-cut Freudian Excuse of Vengeance in her mind, making her much less sympathetic. Made explicit in the last chapter, where Rhys actually mentally compares the two.
    • Lambert's a lot like a male version of Meredith, though he's ever-so-slightly more stubborn. Again, given the lack of supernatural influences, he comes off as much less justified. When he explains his Freudian Excuse of working under the Tevinter Imperium to Evangeline, his excuses actually start to sound quite a bit like Fenris' as well...
  • Fiery Redhead: Adrian, both figuratively and literally. Deconstructed when it turns out her hotheadedness is what ultimately leads her to starting the rebellion in full.
  • For Science!: One of the issues the mages bring up to support rebellion is the complete stranglehold the Chantry has on research into magical phenomena as well as more mundane sciences out of fear of blood magic.
  • Freudian Excuse: Present for both Lambert and Cole, though the latter doesn't fully remember his.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Evangeline smacks Pharamond after the latter begins weeping uncontrollably. It manages to bring him to his senses.
  • Ghost Amnesia: Cole may or may not be a ghost, but he still has next to no memory of his life outside the White Spire.
  • Heroic BSOD: Wynne, Rhys, and Cole all have one at various points. Wynne after seeing her carefully planned peaceful negotiations break into a full brawl, Cole after Lambert reveals that he wasn't human, and Rhys after Evangeline was mortally wounded while he was too weak to make a difference.
  • Heroic Sacrifice/Go Out with a Smile: Wynne gives up the Spirit of Faith, the only thing keeping her alive, to save Evangeline, happily noting that she gets to actually aid her son before she dies.
  • Hot-Blooded: Even after thirty years, Grand Enchanter Fiona, returning from The Calling, is just as hot-blooded. Unsurprisingly, she's a member of the radical Libertarian Fraternity and opposed to Wynne's more moderate Aquetarian fraternity.
    • Senior Enchanter Adrian makes Fiona seem mellow. Rhys, though calmer than the previous two, has his moments as well.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: As with just about every Dragon Age story, the group has one major adventure in the Fade.
  • Karma Houdini: Adrian. Not only does she betray her ex-lover and have Pharamond killed in cold blood, she turns the Mage-Templar war into a full-blown conflict, nearly condemning the rest of her colleagues to death. She even replaces First Enchanter Edmonde as leader of the White Spire Circle.
  • Knight Templar: Lord Seeker Lambert is intent on bringing order to the Circle. Even if he has to break away from Chantry authority entirely to do it.
  • Line in the Sand: Fiona offers this in a speech to the surviving mages at the end of the book: they can either go back to the templars and hope for mercy or play this revolution out in full. They choose the latter, but not without a fairly close vote.
  • Mercy Kill: All of Cole's victims were people in such despair that they accepted death to escape their fate when he offered it.
  • Mordor: The Western Approach. A massive, cold and unnaturally purple desert wasteland created from an area that never recovered from the the Second Blight.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: A random, unnamed Templar recruit has a short moment of this when he accidentally kills one the the First Enchanters he meant to capture during the hostilities at the conclave. He doesn't get to reflect further as he's shortly killed by the now enraged remaining Enchanters.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Lambert dishes them out like candy. Rhys, Cole, and Evangeline all end up on the receiving end of these from him personally or by his many goons.
  • Odd Friendship: Cole strikes up one with Pharamond, seeing him as a kindred spirit. Complicated by the fact that the latter immediately forgets the former's existence after each conversation.
  • The Plan: Wynne, under orders from Divine Justina V, executes one by messages regarding the cure to Tranquility to all of the Circle of Magi towers. This both empowers the Circle's leadership and ensures that any attempt on the Templars' or Seekers' parts to cover the results up would be completely useless, forcing both sides into negotiation. Having Wynne do so also allowed Justina to claim ignorance in order to avoid political backlash that could remove her from office.
    • An earlier one is implied as well. Evangeline, after spending an extended period with mages of the local Circle, theorizes that the blood mage who attempted to assassinate the Divine at the beginning of the book was aided not by any Circle, but by one of the nobles vying for Empress Celene's throne in order to exaggerate tensions among the mages and templars in the capital. Both to serve as a distraction and remove the Empress' two biggest trump cards. It's also theorized that more radical elements in the Chantry may have also been responsible for the assassination attempt.
  • Precision F-Strike: "Fuck the Divine." Notably the only example of the f-word in all of Dragon Age media so far.
  • Power Incontinence: Pharamond theorizes that Cole's invisibility and amnesia-inducement are his own innate magic expressing itself without his knowledge. After hearing this, Cole manages to gain a measure of control over it with some effort.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Evangeline, Wynne, and Divine Justina V. By the climax of the story, they appear to be the only reasonable leaders left in this particular conflict.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Fiona and Wynne, respectively. The former repeatedly calls for independence from the Chantry. The latter attempts to negotiate with the Divine and manages to defeat the first motion for independence.
  • Sacrificial Revival Spell: Happens in the end, where Wynne transfers the Spirit of Faith that's been keeping her alive for many years to the fallen Evangeline, resurrecting her, but dying instead.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Pharamond's experiments failed because he, in a feat of rationalization only a Tranquil could accomplish, made some very inadequate seals for the demons he risked summoning.
  • Sequel Hook: Apart from outlining the final days before the Mage-Templar War, the book continuously hints at a major political upheaval in Orlais that may lead to the empire, the biggest political player in Thedas, falling apart without any specific details being revealed.
  • Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!: Justinia gives Lambert a speech like this when he accuses her of being too idealistic. The Chantry's stock in trade is idealism. Without it, their actions would be tyrannical.
  • Start X to Stop X: The Templars believe that blood magic is inherently evil and that mages will always dabble in it if left on their own. So they ensure they can always locate mages via phylacteries, which is itself blood magic. The hypocrisy of this practice makes Evangeline uneasy, and she eventually allows Shale to destroy the White Spire vault because of it.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Cole fades away entirely when he realizes that he was never a human.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Evangeline faces this choice several times as the situation grows more complicated and her superior as well as the mages she's supposed to guard grow more and more extreme. She chooses good each time, but not without some serious soul searching on what she believes to be a Templar's true duty.
  • Unperson: Cole's normally undetectable to all but the most spiritually sensitive people, but almost all who do see or hear him slowly forget about him entirely afterwards.
    • The original Cole was a newly-discovered mage who died when the templars locked him in The Pit and forgot to feed him. They erased all records of his existence to hide their shame.
  • Undying Loyalty: Cole has his issues, but he would sooner die than allow any harm to come to Rhys.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Rhys ends up manipulated by just about everyone except Evangeline at some point.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Cole believes that he can only keep from losing himself if he has someone's attention, or is the most important thing on someone's mind before they die. He may or may not be right about that.

The CallingFranchise/Dragon AgeThe Masked Empire
The CallingFantasy LiteratureThe Masked Empire

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