Literature: The Stolen Throne

Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne is a prequel novel to the BioWare RPG Dragon Age: Origins written by its lead writer, David Gaider. The chronologically earliest installment of the Dragon Age franchise, it follows the Fereldan king Maric Theirin, as he rises from awkward and foolish boy to the deserved and rightful king of Ferelden.

However, that throne is occupied by King Meghren, the usurper. He is the cousin of the Orlesian emperor, and rumored to have also been his lover, exiled from Orlais for his antics. His servant and advisor, the mage Severus, hires an elven Bard (assassin and spy) named Katriel to seduce and betray Maric, but she begins to develop feelings for the rebel leader.

Also prominent is Loghain Mac Tir, one of the main villains of Origins. As Maric's best friend and most trusted subordinate, he finds himself torn between that loyalty and the love for Rowan, Maric's betrothed since birth.

Tropes in this novel are:

  • Action Girl: Both Rowan and Katriel can really kick some ass. Also some of the minor characters in the Rebel Army, like Rowan's lieutenant Branwen.
  • Action Mom: Queen Moira, Maric's mother, is practically the poster woman for this trope. She's an unparalleled Badass both on the field and in leading her troops. Maric's biggest struggle is living up to the image of his beloved mother as a proven warrior and leader.
  • Artifact Title: A Dragon Age novel that takes place in the previous era, the Blessed Age, although the Dragon Age begins just at the end of the book, before the Battle of the River Dane.
  • Arranged Marriage: Maric and Rowan.
  • A True Story In My Universe: The epilogue shows that the novel is actually Prince Cailan's history lesson.
  • Back for the Finale: Mother Ailis shows up in the epilogue, having been absent since chapter 4.
  • Batman Gambit: By Severan. It doesn't end so well for him.
  • Betty and Veronica: Rowan and Katriel.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Maric becomes king and the Orlesians are expelled, but Rowan and Katriel die. Loghain has to give up his love for the good of his nation, and Maric kills his own.
  • The Caligula: Meghren is absolutely out of his mind, concerned only with complaining, debauchery, and brutalizing the palace staff.
  • Cool Sword: Maric finds one in the Deep Roads. A runed dragonbone longsword.
  • The Corruption: The darkspawn taint everything.
  • Desecrating The Dead: Prince Maric puts the puppet king Meghren's head on a spike in front of Fort Drakon in retaliation for Meghren doing the same to Maric's mother Moira the Rebel Queen a few years before that.
  • Deuteragonist: Loghain and Rowan.
  • Doomed by Canon: To fans who played the game first, many characters are this.
  • The Dragon: Severan, King Megren's court magician.
  • Femme Fatale: Katriel.
  • High Heel-Face Turn: Subverted.
  • La Résistance: The Rebel Army.
  • Love Triangle: Loghain is attracted to Rowan, and while she reciprocates, she's also in love with (and betrothed to) Maric. Maric, however, is (at least consciously) unaware of Rowan's affection and falls in love with Katriel.
  • Love Redeems: Katriel's love for Maric eventually causes her to cancel her contract on his life and do her utmost to protect him.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: While a number of battles are described in the novel, the historic Battle of River Dane that sealed Ferelden's independence isn't. All we get is the preparation and the aftermath.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: This is how Meghren became the regent of Ferelden, after he angered the Emperor of Orlais.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Katriel.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: An in-universe one as Loghain knows Maric's relationship with the elf girl will go nowhere. And it ruins his life as well.
  • Said Bookism: It's difficult to overstate Gaider's love of adverbs. In fairness, he is a video game writer and this was his very first published prose work, though, damn, if this example below doesn't make it obvious.
    "Maric dug into his stew ravenously. Katriel picked at hers gingerly, sipping on some of the broth. The dwarf all but gulped his down greedily, finishing it long before the others were even half done, and then belching loudly."
  • Title Drop: For both the name of the franchise and the title of the book during Loghain's Rousing Speech before the Battle of the River Dane:
    "'Your prince is not here! But when he returns to us, we shall hand to him his stolen throne! Here at the River Dane is where the Dragon Age begins, my friends! Today they will here us roar!'"
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Maric and Loghain.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Loghain and Rowan.
  • You Should Know This Already: Which characters survive and the overall outcome of the rebellion are pretty well laid out by the game.