These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Loghain. When you finally face him, he's actually not even a Boss, just an Elite. The Doylist explanation for this is that a Boss-ranked Loghain would be way overpowered if you recruited him into your party, but it's still kind of jarring to discover that the most feared general in Ferelden is actually less powerful than Howe, a Rogue.
The Blood Mage Leader in "The Last Request." The quest itself is one of the hardest in the game, with room after room full of nothing but multiple mages partnered with multiple archers (the two toughest varieties of enemy in the game). Then you get to the end and it's just one mage and a couple of melee mooks (and the mage is easy enough to beat, since he's won't stop casting from hit points after you kill the guys he's using as HP batteries).
The "Paragon of her Kind" questline in Orzammar gets a lot of flack for this. With the escapades around the dwarven city and the eventual gauntlet the player has to traverse through the Deep Roads to reach Caridan's Forge, the journey ends up rivaling perhaps the entirety of the mage and elf questlines combined.
"Broken Circle" suffers similarly, with a very common complaint of the game being the Fade portion, which requires a lot of backtracking.
The Random Encounter that's essentially a medieval version of Superman's origin. This is seen only in the Warden's Keep DLC, and provides you with the ore to make your own powerful blade.
Broken Base: The Witch Hunt DLC. Either it was a great ending to the Origins storyline, or it was a pointless DLC that raised more questions than it answered.
Complacent Gaming Syndrome: The Essences and fonts in the Fade: Lost in Dreams sequence during the Broken Circle quest gives your Warden 21 free attribute points. Entire builds are made out of the assumption that you're waiting until the Fade to get those points before you really start to get your Warden's level progressing in order.
Arl Rendon Howe is an evil aristocrat dedicated to gaining power through any means necessary. Should the player pick the Human Noble origin story, they will witness as Howe betrays and murders almost all of his best friendís family and household. Among the casualties are the playerís young nephew and defenseless sister-in-law. When confronting him later, Howe mocks the Noble about how he made their parents suffer before he killed them. Howe is also responsible for purging Denerim's elven alienage, resulting in the deaths of numerous elves, including an entire orphanage full of innocent children. It's also hinted that he helped Loghain sell said elves into slavery. Finally, Howe is the one put in charge of conducting Cold-Blooded Torture on the nobles that disagree with his boss, Loghain, a task Howe enjoys enough that he chooses to sleep in the bedroom right next to his Torture Cellar.
Bann Vaughan is a sex offender and murderer of elven women who justifies his crimes by saying that elves arenít real people. When he appears in the City Elf origin story, Vaughan abducts the entire female half of a wedding party, including the protagonist if female, to be raped by him and his men. By the time the protagonist fights back, one woman has already been killed and the protagonistís cousin, Shianni, has already been raped by Vaughan and his friends. Unwilling to release his hostages, Vaughan instead tries to bribe the protagonist into letting him keep the women for the night. Such cruelty from Vaughan isn't an isolated incident either, as the DLC prequel Leliannaís Song features an overheard conversation where Vaughan is preparing to rape/torture one of his maids over a floor stain.
Critical Research Failure: Characters use health poultices by drinking them. (A poultice is supposed to be applied directly to an injury, not entirely unlike a heating pad.)
After the Landsmeet, the amount of bugs, some of them game breaking, seems to skyrocket. The worst of these is probably the one that has Alistair acting like he's the king, and everyone else thinking he's the king, when you have made Anora queen. One can fix this through mods, but before anyone else, confusion will quickly give way to annoyance.
The Witch Hunt DLC, which is considered the last part of the Origins storyline, gets flack for being this. See Broken Base above.
Dry Docking: The fandom is especially rife with this. Just a mere throwaway mention in a non-canonical Alternate Universe DLC that suggested Alistair and Leliana were rumored to be lovers in that timeline caused an Internet Backdraft from the rabid portion of Alistair fangirls.
Finn and Ariane, the two companions from the Witch Hunt DLC, were incredibly well liked by players.
Cullen, despite only having a few lines of dialogue in the original game, remains one of the most popular characters from it—mostly for the crush he has on the female mage Warden.
Bann Teagan has many admirers in the fandom, as he's one of the few unambiguously heroic characters, stands up to Loghain, never steps on the player's toes, and even flirts with the female Warden.
Sandal, the simple enchanter son of Bodahn, is fun, energetic and memetic enough that the fandom very fondly looks on him.
"Funny Aneurysm" Moment: During the Human Noble origin, Fergus tells his eager son (and your nephew) Oren that "[he'll] see a sword soon enough". Oren is one of the first people slaughtered by Howe's attack.
Enemy archers. Especially after they learn Scattershot, which inflicts a nigh-irresistible stun effect on the entire party. It doesn't last long enough to serve as a true lockdown (unless there are just that many archers attacking you), but you won't enjoy seeing your spells and talents repeatedly disrupted.
Deepstalkers. Small swarmers that are only dangerous if you feed yourself to them on purpose. Lyrium potions were probably added as a reward for the annoyance, so they make a worthwhile break from the darkspawn.
Enemy mages can quickly become this if left unchecked.
In the final battle with the Archdemon, there are a few ballistae nearby. Going up to them will aim them at the Archdemon if it's close enough. Mashing the ballista fire button does a decent amount of damage (comparable to a powerful two-handed swing) to the Archdemon, but every time it is hit, it has to go through its hit animation. That means that due to the great firing rate of the ballistae, you can hit the Archdemon with it until it dies, slowly chipping away at its health as it can do nothing about it. If it flies away, just go to another ballista closer to it. The only real threat is the other darkspawn, but your other party members and your army can deal with them easily. The ballistae do jam up if you use them too many times, but can be repaired by a Rogue, as it becomes a "trap".
There's a particular armory vault door on the second floor of Redcliffe Castle that requires a key (or a rogue) to gain access. You're rewarded 40 experience for unlocking the door. The catch is that if you leave the area and come back, the door refreshes and can be unlocked for 40 experience every time. However, it's a lengthy process due to having to wait on the loading screens as you switch in and out of Redcliffe Castle's second floor, so YMMV indeed as to whether it's worth the trouble of doing more than a few times.
Reloading a save can refund you for those pricey specialization manuals, but the specializations remain unlocked and available. They actually fixed this a few patches back, but fan outcry caused them to change it back.
Mana Cleanse does the opposite of its description and intent; it replenishes enemy mana to maximum. Later on the same spell branch, Mana Clash deals damage based on the target's total mana. Since most spellcasters have a higher capacity for mana than hit points, topping off their mana before Mana Clashing can be highly lethal. Between these two spells is Spell Might, which amplifies spellpower and makes Mana Clash a pretty brutal attack even on tougher-than-average wizards.
It's possible to double your attribute point increases with the Fade Essence Fonts, and the desire to get these is one of the reasons the level drags on so much. One particular Essence of Cunning can yield a whopping 10 point increase with very rapid right-clicking. The fonts can all be abused in some manner, resulting in potentially twenty or more points... each. Apparently, one player has gotten up to a hundred off a single font.
One sidequest leads your PC to an abandoned, haunted orphanage in the Elven Alienage. A rare glitch can lock you in a windowless room all by your lonesome, complete with blood on the floors and a corpse in the corner. To make matters worse, the background music for this area is made up of children screaming, a sound that persists even if the game is paused. You will have to reset to an earlier save, but your immersion will be amped up.
It's also even possible to kill and loot Ser Cauthrien for her Cool Sword (complete with Codex entry!) twice. First, kill her at the Arl of Denerim's estate, then allow yourself to be killed captured by all the archers she brought with her. (Make sure you loot her body before that last happens, though, as you won't ever be able to return here either way.) Then once you go to the Landsmeet proper, there she is again, alive and well. Even if you decapitated her. You can then kill her and loot her a second time, giving you two copies of the Summer Sword.
A number of bugs that have not been fixed by Bioware as of the most recent (and probably final) updates may actually be seen as good things, even if they are sometimes annoying, as abilities having limits not described in the text might be the only thing not making the game even easier. If Haste worked properly (and there is an unofficial fix), mages would be even more broken, and that would be just the start of the mayhem you can cause.
Harsher in Hindsight: If you're a Dwarf Noble and choose to support Bhelen in the succession crisis, then his first task for you is to form an alliance with a noble house whom you most likely severely humiliated in your Origin. Awkward.
Ser Bryant in Lothering tells a mage Warden that he'd be a pretty lousy templar if he couldn't tell they were a mage. Dragon Age II rolls around, and it seems he somehow completely failed to notice his apostate neighbors Malcolm and Bethany Hawke.
After Morrigan's Inquisition outfit was revealed, fans noticed similarities between it and the 'nice dress' Leliana suggested for her. Maybe she got talked into that shopping trip after all?
Moral Event Horizon: The Warden can cross this from the perspective of every party member: for (almost) each member there's an action you can take that makes them either attack you or leave the party altogether, regardless of approval level. Though for some of them, if you have a high enough Persuade or Intimidate skill and under the right circumstances, you can either convince them that you had to do it (or never did it in the first place) or intimidate them into submission and service.
Alistair: Sparing Loghain, unless you harden him and marry him to Anora and convince him otherwise.
Shale: Choosing to preserve the Anvil (even if you destroy it afterwards, you'll have to kill it/her).
Leliana: Defiling the Urn of Sacred Ashes (unless she's hardened and you have a high enough Persuasion to talk her into submission).
Wynne: Either defiling the Urn or killing the Circle of Magi (though you can side with the Templars after defeating Uldred and all except for her will be locked up in the tower).
Outside of your party, there's also the instance of Branka leaving all the surviving female members of her expedition, her lover included, to darkspawn captivity with the deliberate intent to allow them to be turned into Broodmothers, so that they could produce as many darkspawn as needed to lure into the traps that guard the Anvil of the Void. This also resulted in the deaths of all the men.
Arl Rendon Howe crosses it in the Human Noble Warden's origin when he massacres his best friend's entire household purely out of ambition and envy. This includes killing the Human Noble Warden's defenseless sister-in-law and young nephew. Howe will later take the opportunity to mock the Human Noble Warden by gloating about how he made his/her parents suffer before he killed them.
Bann Vaughan crosses it in the City Elf Warden origin story where he abducts the entire female half of an elven wedding party and succeeds in raping the City Elf Warden's cousin, Shianni.
Let's just say you'll most likely enjoy the thought of gutting Arl Howe and Bann Vaughn like fish when you get the chance, regardless of chosen Origin. The endgame is no picnic either, especially for those in a romance with Alistair or Morrigan.
Leske's likable personality makes his Face-Heel Turn all the more shocking.
Porting Disaster: Edge Magazine's view on the console versions. Most other publications were less dramatic about the console versions being easier for a more casual audience (IGN even listed it as a plus in its video review). Other specific changes include each difficulty mode in the console versions being "bumped down" (ex. Normal on the console versions is equivalent to Easy on the PC version) and battles where enemies spawn in waves, such as the defense of Redcliffe, will have smaller waves in the console version (though this could be justified with how consoles have significantly less powerful hardware than PCs). The real Porting Disaster comes from the game's bugginess and how consoles get crappy, delayed patches while PC gamers get official patches soon enough and unofficial fixes almost the same day the bug is introduced. (Yes, Bioware's DAO patches often introduce bugs.)
The Scrappy: Isolde is almost universally unliked by the fandom for her responsibility-dodging and her tendency to shriek every other word.
It's pretty much a universal agreement that no one likes doing the Fade puzzle during the Mage Tower quest after completing it the first time around. There's even been mods created to skip past this portion of the game entirely.
The dwarf questline simply because it drags on for quite awhile, with the game requiring a lot of backtracking in Orzammar, a much bigger location than most of the hubs, and crawling through the Deep Roads.
Scrappy Mechanic: Dealing with friendly fire being turned on probably wouldn't be so bad if targeting abilities didn't have your cursor automatically center onto an enemy when it approaches close enough to them, forcing the player to swing the camera around wildly to find a spot on the ground where they can circumvent this to cast an ability that hit enemies while avoiding allies.
That One Attack: Let's just say that enemies in this game have a lot of ways of being extremely annoying to the player at their disposal.
Groups of enemy archers spamming "Scattershot", which stuns the entire party and is almost impossible to resist.
Ogres, dragons, and other large enemies using Grab to pummel your tank to death.
Creatures such as spiders or dogs who have the ability Overwhelm which allows the animal to knock a character to the ground and continuously cut the person to shreds. Nothing is fun about being helpless to defend with the character that's being overwhelmed, especially if said character is your group healer.
Revenants using Mass Pull to disrupt your carefully planned tactical spacing, interrupt your slow-recharging spells and talents, and render your entire party extremely vulnerable to some heavy hitting follow-up attacks.
Enemy mages as a whole have a plethora of skills that'll piss off the player in some way or another.
Misdirection Hex, while entirely useful on enemies, is infuriating when on the player, as it causes all normal hits to be misses, and all critical hits to be normal hits.
Chain Lightning which can be a game-ender if your party members are standing close together.
Crushing Prison which is likely to be an extremely slow-acting death sentence if it's targeted at a mage; especially if it's your group healer.
Curse of Mortality, which causes a party member to stop regenerating for a while.
Fireball which can come off as a major annoyance due to its ability to knockdown your entire party.
Uthkiel the Crusher, one of the demons you have to kill during the Fade: Lost in Dreams sequnce during the Broken Circle main quest is a stronger version of the regular Orge darkspawn with the ability to stun-lock you using nothing but it's Charge talent. Trying to beat him can often be a Luck-Based Mission.
After rescuing Anora, Ser Cauthrien's fight at the front gate of the estate is considered to be one of the hardest fights in the game. Thankfully, there's an option to skip past it.
The Broodmother. Since she can't move away from her spot, you think she'd be easy as pie, but the only way to kill her is approach her, and approaching her means you'll probably get grabbed and killed.
The Fade, a portion of the Circle of Magi quest. Dull environments, a nasty difficulty spike, obtuse puzzles, and a boss at the end that goes through about five forms before it finally keels over and dies. And the best part: a whopping twenty-one free attribute points hidden in various nooks and crannies, forcing players with Completionist or Munchkin tendencies to go over every inch of every map, every time.
The Deep Roads, a string of four locations (six if you include the optional Aeducan and Cadash areas) that all use the same, dull, cave environment and erratic difficulty spikes throughout the gauntlet. It's a common feeling to feel sick of the Deep Roads by the time you finally reach Branka / Caridin's forge.
The world-encounters has a rather nasty map layout when you activate the encounter that starts up Leliana's personal Side Quest. You start off at an entrance that is being attacked by ranged enemies on a higher cliff nearby, but to reach the cliff, you gotta traverse a small path up, and around, the hilltop that also happens to be filled with more enemies and traps. The actual fight against the enemies on the top of the hill isn't anything hard (heck, you can even kill them off with your own ranged attackers at the start), it's getting to them that's the rough part.
A similar case happens with the Denerim area for the "The Last Request" Side Quest where the final battle against the Blood Mage leader isn't anything difficult...but the path leading up to him can be quite difficult due to areas full of archers and mages.
Nugs. They're a cross between rabbits, pigs, and baby aardvarks, but they're cute enough that Leliana is enchanted by them.
Also, Deepstalkers. They may be ravenous lamprey-mouthed monstrosities, but those little "meep" sounds they make when you hit them are so cute it makes you almost feel bad for wiping out their nests. Unless you get a good look at their faces, which is hard, as they're small.
When mages activate combat magic with a certain talent equipped (the top tier talent for arcane warriors, meaning one you will use later on), the eyes and mouth are visible from the back of their head.
The mouth movements, expressions and body language during ordinary conversation are, generally speaking, quite good, but during Leliana's song (her actual song, not the DLC of the same name) her mouth moves the same as when she talks normally. Hearing this rather ethereal voice (which, while beautiful, is quite unsettling in its own right) coming from mouth movements and body language which don't match it at all can kill the mood somewhat.
Unfortunate Implications: In Origins, the character's families generally default towards white, no matter what ethnicity you make your character. Thankfully, this went on to be (mostly) fixed in the sequel.
Lily. Poor girl tries to follow her heart and ends up in the worst prison in the world for it.
Ruck, a young dwarf who's gone mad due to living off of spiders and surviving by tainting himself. He never wants to see his mother again because he's ashamed of himself, and he's desperate for attention from the female Warden out of loneliness.
Woobie Species: After the elves had their homeland invaded, were enslaved, freed, had their homeland invaded again, and now are either second class citizens or living in the forest, with uneasy relations with humans, it's hard not to pity the elves. Though their descendants certainly suffer greatly, it's heavily implied that the attacks on the Dales weren't unprovoked. We're talking kidnapping human villages for blood sacrifices here. But, as always, no one in Thedas knows the truth, no matter how much they insist otherwise.
Mary Sue / Marty Stu: Oghren lampshades the Player Character's Mary Sue or Marty Stu potential - if you don't go speak to him at Tapster's before he meets you at the entrance to the Deep Roads, he'll ask if you've seen the Warden. If you ask what the Warden looks like, he'll respond:
Oghren: Stout and muscular, fair of face, but with a strong jaw and a bold nose, surrounded by a great, glowing nimbus. If she's a woman, she might be more slight, but her eyes will shine with the light of purity and her large but chaste bosom will heave magnificently.
Base Breaker: Alistair has a small but notable hatedom that is divided in its motivation; part of it comes from backdraft from his Mr. Fanservice status from people who aren't ardent shippers. Most of it comes from perceived Wangst about Duncan and the other Grey Wardens dying, but the rest is generally due to his adamance on leaving the Grey Wardens if you recruit Loghain.
Memetic Mutation: He is the Butt Monkey of the party and his liking of cheese has been built up to ridiculous levels - despite him only mentioning cheese perhaps three times within the game. The lead writer thinks the fans have kind of run away with the cheese jokes.
Wangst: Alistair has this reputation with some of the fanbase. If anything, he discusses and defies the trope. He is conscious of how it appears to those around him, tries not to wallow in self-pity, and at least makes the attempt to lighten up with a joke.
The Woobie: He started off as an unloved and unwanted orphan who was unwillingly made a templar to get him out of sight. When he found a place he wanted, with the Wardens, they die soon after and the fate of the world rests on his and a complete stranger's shoulders.
Angst? What Angst?: He'll steadfastly refuse to acknowledge any hurt regarding his wife or his home, but if you befriend him, he'll gradually reveal that he misses Orzammar and is hurt.
The Woobie: Take him along to the Gauntlet when looking for the Urn of Sacred Ashes. His answer to the guardian should be proof enough of this trope.
Alternate Character Interpretation: There's a strong case to be made that one of the things that sets Morrigan apart from the rest of the party is that she is the only innocent - even the Warden has more life experience than Morrigan, who is only just now experiencing life without her mother's direct influence. This is subtly lampshaded (if such can be possible) by comparing her interactions with the more straightforward members of the party with her romance with the Warden, and the ending to Witch Hunt: for a character who regularly gets the last word in arguments with everyone else, it's surprising how often the Warden leaves her utterly speechless and confused. It's also implied that Morrigan and Flemeth do care for each other, just not as much as they do for themselves. She's also significantly less cavalier about killing than Alistair (who jokes about it), and doesn't try to excuse it the way Leliana does, despite Leliana being a trained assassin.
Base Breaker: Also has a fairly sizable hatedom, comparable to Alistair's. Mostly because of perceived Stupid Evil attributes, and her disapproval of anything remotely kind the Warden does (or even simply not-evil). Put it this way: People hate her so much that someone made a mod where you can slap her any time you want.
Jerkass Woobie: Growing up with no one but Flemeth for company would be enough to make her a candidate. The results of her personal quest reaffirms this several times over - and, if romanced, she might as well have it tattooed on her forehead.
Base Breaker: Some resent her for trying to tell you how to do your job despite not being entirely aware of what it entails and going off the Knight in Shining Armor versions in the stories; her lecture about the Warden's Love Interest, where she either accuses them of being a Hormone-Addled Teenager (Morrigan or Zevran) or being foolish and selfish (Alistair or Leliana) without fully knowing the details of the relationship; her tendency to try and be everyone's therapist whether they want it or not; her taking credit for getting the party out of the Fade even though she succumbed to it when at least one other, potentially untrained, person didn't; and her hypocrisy in trying to get every mage she meets (including the Mage Warden) to go back to the Circle yet refusing to do so herself.
Les Yay: Leliana teasing Morrigan about how good low-cut dresses would look on her.
The Woobie: As indicated in the Leliana's Song DLC. A professional spy and sometime-assassin, she was framed by her superior/lover Marjolaine as a traitor to Orlais when she discovered documents proving that Marjolaine was a traitor. Captured by guards, she was tortured and possibly raped, but managed to escape to Ferelden, where she became a lay sister out of desperation and fright. It turns out that the paranoid Marjolaine had her watched after that, convinced that Leliana intended to take her revenge with a plot spanning years.
Angst? What Angst?: He has a pretty dark past, but he takes everything in stride and apparently lives for the day. Arguably a subversion, however, in that deliberate levity may be his way of dealing with that past.
Alternate Character Interpretation: He's either an unforgivable traitor who deserves to die or a misguided and ultimately tragic figure. He was clearly plotting treason during the leadup to the battle at Ostagar, but the consequences were drastically out of proportion to his original plans. It's also possible he didn't realize that his plan to take over as ruler of the country in order to protect it would have the results it did. He shows contempt for some of the actions his followers take, such as Howe hiring an assassin to deal with the main characters.
Base Breaker: Many fights are had over whether Loghain should be recruited into the Grey Wardens. People argue about whether or not what he did was justified as well.
The tidbits you find in the Return to Ostagar DLC reveal that Cailan was far more politically savvy than virtually anyone thought. His bravado and seemingly nonchalant attitude may well have been a front.
Arl Eamon's letter to him implies that he didn't like the idea of dumping Anora, and it took almost a year for him to come around. It's unclear how many of those ideas were his.
Wynne supports this, if you talk to her in camp and mention how foolishly upbeat and overconfident Cailan seems. She basically says it's the king's job to act like it's all going swimmingly and there's nothing to worry about, so that the rest of the army will feel as confident as he seems.
His idealism about the battle could be seen as a variety of well-meaning Obfuscating Stupidity. His actual idealism is more displayed in his belief that the differences between Ferelden and Orlais can be put in the past so easily, and that the two nations can be allies and friends barely a generation after one was driven out of the other after a long, brutal occupation.
Some see her as a strong queen determined to maintain her throne who was unwilling to believe that Loghain was truly evil because he's her father, and that she is ultimately determined to do what's best for Ferelden; she joins the Grey Warden on her own initiative, and her doubt in Alistair's ability to be a good king is quite frankly well justified, what with him being illegitimate, having no previously demonstrated leadership skills, and not even wanting the throne in the first place. Support her and let her father find redemption, and she's even willing to marry a male human noble Grey Warden.
On the other hand, reject her and watch her abandon you at the Landsmeet and switch back to supporting her father, even at the exact moment that doing so would only risk prolonging Ferelden's civil war and losing support of the armies the Warden has personally gathered. Anora wants what's best for Ferelden so long as that still includes her being in power and no danger to herself.
Base Breaker: Some see Anora has having been legitimate in throwing you under the bus with Cauthrien, but some players don't buy that for a multitude of reasons. Even more contentious is her outright betrayal of you at the Landsmeet if you do not support her bid. Some people think it is a reflection of a strong and cunning queen, some people see it as an avarice-filled grab for power by any means necessary.
Narm: Her Rousing Speech. In contrast to Alistair's more steady diction, the voice actress doesn't deliver with as much strength.
He appears to be a standard Reasonable Authority Figure, but it's also fairly clear that he wants Alistair on the throne so he can have strong influence over a ruler. The Return to Ostagar DLC reveals that he was pushing Cailan to dump his wife due to his fears that Anora is barren.
His role in Alistair's upbringing is also a lot less rosy than Alistair paints it, if you think about it. Hidden from his mother's family and sleeping in a stable with the dogs, until finally thrown out of even that? And now that Alistair is suddenly useful, he expects him to obey without question?
There's also his reaction if the Warden manages to persuade Alistair and Anora to marry. The Warden can point out that he doesn't seem pleased, to which he will say he's simply shocked that the Warden was able to do it. While he might be telling the truth about that, it also seems possible that he doesn't like the idea of someone else having a stronger position of authority and influence over Eamon.
The Scrappy: To almost everyone, particularly due to her voice and the fact that she not only plays a large role in what happened to Redcliffe, but is never truly sorry for her mistakes. The fact that she's also something of a Karma Houdini doesn't help.
What an Idiot: One stupid decision after another makes her half-responsible for the problems in Redcliffe.
The Scrappy: His constant whining and cowardice made very few people care when he dies.
Big Lipped Alligator Moment: In the Very Definitely Final Dungeon you encounter Sandal surrounded by a veritable heap of darkspawn corpses. Just how a mentally challenged dwarven kid is able to cheerfully take on what would have been a tricky fight for your whole party is never explained.
Like forefather, like son: This is essentially what his paragonic ancestor Aeducan had to do to save Orzammar from the darkspawn, a coup against the nobles who were too petty and bickering to save their people.
Alternative Character Interpretation: Either a leader who upholds the law and provides the stability the dwarves need, or a weak leader who is bound by outdated and unjust traditions.
What an Idiot: Was there a single decision Jowan made in this game that didn't end in an eternally escalating series of disasters? Of course, without well-meaning miscalculations, and unintended consequences spiraling spectacularly out of control, the game would have been much shorter. See also: Loghain Mac Tir.
What Could Have Been: He was originally going to be a recruitable party member who would teach the Warden the Blood Magic specialization. According to Bioware employee David Gaider, there just wasn't enough room to add another character to the pile.
The Woobie: His storyline, involving him trying to escape, becoming an apostate, losing his love, cheated and becoming awfully deluded in his actions whilst trying to atone, resulting in either his death (if the PC kill him or insists on his execution), his imprisonment (given to the Circle, which is presumably this) or a life of exile (if the PC let him free), is short but nevertheless rather sad. Giving him to the Circle is arguably worse than execution — it's highly likely the Circle will make him into a Tranquil as punishment for his crimes and to prevent from using Blood Magic again. The threat of undergoing the Rite of Tranquility was what made him seek to escape the Circle in the first place.