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This page is for listing the tropes related to Hawke's companions who are found in Dragon Age II.

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The Mages


Voiced by: Eve Myles

"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 romance option for a Hawke of either gender.

  • Action Girl: Merrill's every bit as actiony as the other ladies; see Beware the Nice Ones below.
  • Admiring the Abomination: In Legacy, she's fascinated by an altar to Dumat and decides she wants a pet Deepstalker.
  • Agnosticism: A refreshingly realistic version. While she is a practitioner of the Elvhen religion, she isn't fully convinced of the existence of any known gods, believing that most religions are just stories that people use to explain the world, and would rather stick with her people's stories rather than the ones that humans try to push on them. However, she doesn't actively disbelieve in any gods either; she seems open to the existence of any gods, even if proof of their existence hasn't been made known yet.
    Hawke: She is with the Maker now.
    Merrill: Or Falon'Din. You never know.
  • Affectionate Nickname: "Daisy" from Varric and "Kitten" from Isabela.
  • All-Loving Hero: Merrill is extremely kind and cordial to everyone she meets. Despite her people's animosity against humans she's kind to every human she meets save one instance if Hawke refuses to give her an artifact that belongs to her people, despite some unintentionally haughty comments about city elves to Fenris early on she's sweet to everyone in the alienage, if she moves in with Hawke Varric claims she annoys the neighbors by cooing over their vicious attack dogs, she talks to Anders about kittens in her market, her personal quests involve her working tirelessly for years on end to revive an ancient elven artifact she believes will help her people, and post-game she dedicates her life to helping Kirkwall's elven refugees.
    • Of all companions, she's also the most openly compassionate regarding the plight of mages, elves, and non-elves alike; not favoring or scorning any one group based on whether or not she's personally a part of it (read: Anders to mages and Fenris to slaves). She also never hesitates to offer a kind word or support for Anders and Fenris, despite how consistently vicious they are to her.
  • 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 to whom she was truly close were the Dalish Warden, Tamlen, and the Keeper. Being the First alienated her from her peers; additionally, she was born into a different clan (which is why she has a different accent) and was given to Keeper Marethari's clan because of her magic, so she didn't know the other clan members from birth the way they knew each other.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: See Literal-Minded and No Social Skills.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Given some revelations about the nature of demons and spirits in Dragon Age: Inquisition, was the "spirit" Merrill learned blood magic from really a Pride Demon trying to possess her by manipulating her Pride? Or was it a Spirit of Wisdom offering knowledge (since she came to it seeking answers to help her people, and was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt), but the rest of her Clan (particularly Marethari) refusing to see it as anything but a demon out to possess Merrill was what corrupted it into being a demon in the first place? (Since spirits reflect the emotions and expectations of a mortal, and a mortal expecting to see a demon turns it into one)? Since Hawke never sees the "spirit" before Marethari is possessed, we may never know.
  • 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: You wouldn't think a klutzy, naive elf could also be a blood mage.
  • 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, optimistic, 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. This also ties into Merrill's Fatal Flaw. Merrill knows that she would never use her blood magic for nefarious purposes, so she automatically expects everyone else to know that too, and doesn't understand why they are not willing to ignore the art's long and ugly history to give her the benefit of the doubt.
  • Barefoot Loon: See Cloud Cuckoolander and Does Not Like Shoes.
  • Beneath Notice: After arriving in Kirkwall, she finds most Templars don't look twice at her - she's just another elf.
  • Berserk Button: The easiest way to gain rivalry points from her is to vilify — or even simply express (oftentimes justified) caution towards — blood magic and demons in any way, whether or not she is involved.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Merrill is extremely nice, kind, and adorable. 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!
  • Black Mage: Her repertoire is all killing or mezzing, no buffing or healing.
  • Black Magician Girl: Genki, moe, naive, dabbles in Blood Magic and deals with demons. Her magic repertoire is strictly damage-dealing, and her two main specialty powers are called "Blood of the First" and "Wrath of the Elvhen." Unusually, however, she's an adult and a potential Love Interest.
  • Blatant Lies: By the DLC she's telling them about Dalish culture purely to be snarky.
  • Blood Magic: She's using it to fix the eluvian. In battle, her specialization is almost the same as mage Hawke's own Blood Magic tree.
  • Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Frequently.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Merrill's conflict with Marethari. Marethari has a point that Evil Is Not a Toy, Merrill cannot control the consequences of her research, and she's taking a big risk in messing with the eluvian, demons, and blood magic. Merrill counters that she uses due diligence in minimizing contact with the spirit, only used the blood magic to power a ritual the cleanse the shard, and the Eluvian was only dangerous due to the darkspawn taint that she cleansed it of. She calls Marethari out for treating her like a naive child and not trusting that she knows what she's doing. It's up to Hawke who to side with, which influences whether they pursue a Friendship or Rivalry path with Merrill.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • The game (and certain party members) seem 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 3's "A New Path", especially if Hawke doesn't make precisely the correct 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.
  • Byronic Hero: Second only to Anders in her tragic character arc. She is clever, emotional and willing to use forbidden magic and be shunned by everyone in order to restore the mirror and help her people. Also like Anders, she is very proud and refuses to listen to warnings, feeling she is already taking enough precautions.
  • Cannot 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.
  • Cassandra Truth: Merrill spends most of the game believing that the Eluvian is an important relic from her people's past, and can help restore their former glory. Most characters (including potentially Hawke) dismiss her as a naive idiot messing with knowledge and powers too great for her to understand or control. Dragon Age: Inquisition reveals that Eluvians are indeed instrumental to the elves future, and when the Inquisitor and Morrigan enter the Crossroads filled with every eluvian ever made, Merrill's ramshackle restored eluvian is among them, though as yet unactivated.
    • To a lesser extent, Merrill spends most of the game claiming that spirits aren't all demons out to possess people, and while all spirits should be treated with a degree of caution, they can also offer valuable knowledge and should be given the benefit of the doubt. She is almost universally derided as a naive, childlike idiot. However, Dragon Age: Inquisition reveals that most spirits indeed reflect the emotions and expectations of mortals around them. A mortal who expects to see a demon twists it into a demon since the spirit has no choice but to reflect those expectations. So, in that sense, Merrill wasn't far off the mark.
  • Chandelier Swing: If she moves in with Hawke, she's suspect number one when Hawke finds handprints on the chandelier.
  • Character Death: If Hawke sides with the templars during the final battle, has a full rivalry with Anders (meaning he can be persuaded to turn against the mages), did not complete all of Merrill's personal quests, and does not choose the "Join me" option when confronting her, Merrill will turn against Hawke and will be killed.
  • 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 she was previously.
    • 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.
  • 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 this game.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • 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 thoughts that come out of her mouth.
    • Merrill knows how deep the harbor waters are because she fell in them.
    • 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 (which leads to a curious incident involving a broken wardrobe for which she apologizes in Legacy).
    • 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.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: If it isn't destroyed, when the Inquisitor visits the Crossroads in Dragon Age: Inquisition, her distinctly cracked ramshackle-looking eluvian is there among all the others, implying that at some point she got it working in at least some capacity. Although it's likely that she still lacks the key required to activate it, there's nothing to stop it from being activated in the future.
  • Cuckoosnarker: See Cloudcuckoolander and Deadpan Snarker.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Also happens a lot.
    • When Hawke is helping Aveline with Donnic.
      Merrill: Don't be silly. A dowry would only matter if you were courting him.
      Aveline: Merrill...
      Merrill: [gasps] 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: Shit! A fire could destroy the loot, we have to check!
      Merrill: But there's not really a fire, is there?
      Hawke: It's a trick, Merrill.
      Merrill: Oh! Well, it's very clever then!
      [guards attack]
  • Covert Pervert:
    • She reacts with glee at the possibility of finally hearing anything "dirty," especially Isabela's stories.
    • In Act 3, 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. (beat, then dreamily) Why can't I ever have that dream?
    • Legacy also reveals that a romanced Merrill has been reading Anders's grimoire in the hope of finding "dirty spells" to "make things more exciting" between her and Hawke.
      • An Act 1 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 in to her attraction to Hawke would be seen as betraying her people, who are trying to safeguard the elven bloodline from extinction.
  • Curiosity Is a Crapshoot: Her desire to know more about her people's history and the exact circumstances behind Tamlen's death through fixing the eluvian is what causes most of her problems. While she takes caution, she's still tinkering with an ancient magical artifact that could attract trouble that she may not be able to keep under control. In her final personal quest, apparitions of various Dalish elves call her out on this trope, particularly Tamlen — whose death he brought on himself due to his interest in the eluvian.
    Tamlen: Curiosity... is a dangerous thing, Merrill. It will never let you rest. Never.
  • 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.
    • Also applies to Merrill herself. She's initially clad in very dark clothing and in possession of a bevy of offensive spells, and of course there's the whole Blood Magic thing. But she's far and away the nicest person to join Hawke's party, and while her actions may be... questionable, she certainly isn't malicious in her intent.
  • 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.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Merrill's writer Mary Kirby admitted on Twitter that the idea behind Merrill was to deconstruct the "selfless waif willing to sacrifice herself for those around her." Merrill's dabbling in dangerous magic and knowledge causes herself and others unnecessary danger and grief, her belief that she alone can control the outcome of her actions is shown to be an inherently proud and selfish mentality rather than giving and selfless, and that expecting others to stand back and allow her to endanger herself can result in those close to her getting killed, like Marethari's, because most people wouldn't just stand back and watch someone they love dearly die.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Merrill is the one Dalish Mage in a party of mostly Andrastian humans (or Cultural Rebel dwarf Varric and elf Fenris) who all share pretty uniform Andrastian human worldviews. In particular, Merrill's belief that most spirits should be given the benefit of the doubt (if treated with caution), that blood magic is no more evil than any other magic, and that ancient knowledge is worth pursing clash greatly with the rest of her party, if not most characters in the game.
  • Demonization: In-universe, Marethari went out of her way to make the Clan hate and fear Merrill for researching the eluvian and learning blood magic from a spirit (in order to force her to stop), to the point that most of them openly despise or are outright terrified of her, treating her as little more than a demon wearing an elf's face. Their treatment saddens Merrill, but she's determined to help them anyway.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: If asked why she's nervous during her initial introduction:
    Merrill: 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, despite making multiple comments that she should've worn proper shoes, even after romancing her where she changes her outfit entirely, she still never wears shoes.
  • 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. But 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.
  • The Dreaded: To her own clan. So much so that a former friend runs away from her straight to a Varterral at the sight of her.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: More like "Genius Ditz" has a point. Merrill often points out that Marethari treats her like a child, and refuses to believe that Merrill might know what she's talking about regarding the eluvian or trust that Merrill is exercising due caution in restoring the eluvian with minimal risk to herself and others. For example, Marethari refused to believe the eluvian was safe to handle due to Tamlen and possibly Mahariel dying from it even after Merrill purged the darkspawn taint that made it dangerous. Also, while Merrill took precautions in case she was possessed, Marethari refused to believe that Merrill could possibly avoid possession and lets the demon possess her instead.
  • 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 3 quest ends with her clan surviving.
  • Facial Markings: Like all adult Dalish elves, Merrill wears Vallaslin on her face. Though many of the designs were changed due to Inquisition's better graphics, Merril's markings in both of her appearances most closely resemble the design associated with Dirthamen, the Keeper of Secrets. This describes Merril's character quite nicely.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Surprisingly averted, given most Dalish attitudes towards humans. Merrill is sweet to everyone regardless of whether they are humans, elves, or dwarves. She does seem to hold the view that the Dalish are superior (which, given the attitudes she grew up around, is nearly inevitable), which annoys Fenris especially, but even that is not explicit and seems to wane as she lives longer in Kirkwall.
    • However, she will pull out racial insults if Hawke is in a rivalry with her, such as if they refuse to give her the arulin'holm to help her repair the mirror in Act 2, likely because Hawke just hammered home every stereotype she heard growing up.
      Merrill: You're keeping a priceless heirloom of my clan? You have no right! You're not even Dalish! I can't believe you! Why did I trust you? You're just a shemlen like all the others!
    • She also calls Feynriel "[that] half-breed" in a surprisingly nasty manner upon starting the quest "Night Terrors," but that's most likely because she feels betrayed, as she thinks Keeper Marethari wouldn't be willing to go such lengths to save her, a member of the clan.
  • Fatal Flaw: Merrill's is that she doesn't understand that her actions have consequences that she cannot completely control, and that 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 Twist: Finding out that the seemingly-innocent elf was a blood mage who has dealt with demons is a bit of a surprise, even if the player is finding this out within fifteen minutes of when Hawke first meets her.
  • Fish out of Water: Not that she fit in that well with the Dalish, either.
  • Fluffy Tamer:
    • She really wants a pet griffon, and regards the fact that they're extinct as a minor inconvenience.
    • When she first sees Deepstalkers - which look like this - she calls them sweethearts and decides she wants one on the spot.
  • Foil: To Velanna from Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening. Both were the Firsts of their clans, and were eventually exiled due to their altercations with the Keeper. What differs is that in said altercations, Velanna was driven by her temper and Merrill by her pride. Velanna is unpleasant to both humans and non-humans alike but doesn't refute any valid criticisms of her behavior, and Merrill is kind to everyone she meets but gets defensive whenever she's called out on her actions. Velanna believes that it's better to carve a new future for the Dalish than reclaim the past; whereas Merrill believes that recovering the elves' history is the only way to save her clan, and only grows out of it when her plans cost her the life of others.
  • Foreshadowing: While she has very little screentime in the first 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.
    • Even back in Origins Merrill was too quick to ignore warnings about how dangerous Mahariel and Tamlen's illness was despite knowing nothing about it. In II, her refusal to acknowledge warnings about her blood magic and dealings with demons causes her a lot of problems.
    • If Hawke brings her along on the "Night Terrors" quest, then she will fall to Wryme's temptation due to having the highest priority out of any of the tempted party members. This foreshadows Merrill's Fatal Flaw, and the fact that she's more out of her depth when it comes to demons than she thinks she is.
  • Forgets to Eat: The codex mentions that Varric has to leave food on her doorstep when she gets really fixated on the eluvian.
  • Gay Option: Can be romanced by either gender.
  • 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.
  • Girl with Psycho Weapon: Borderline. She uses the same staves as any other mage character, but has access to Blood Magic and other spell trees that are brutal enough on their own.
  • Good Bad Girl: Sort of. Shows no signs of actually being sexually active (aside from Hawke, potentially), but she's also clearly interested in sex. To that end, she tries to get Isabela to teach her how to do a Sexy Walk and even looks through Anders's book of spells in hopes of finding some dirty spells to spice up her bed time with Hawke.
    Isabela: So... did you get naked?
    Merrill: Isabela!
    Isabela: Look at that blush! That good, huh?!
    • See above, how she calls the shirtless Qunari men "easy on the eyes."
  • Green Thumb: She possesses a mix of Keeper magic and her own experimentation with blood magic.
  • 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 Hawke visits her home.
    • A much, much bigger one comes after her Act 3 quest.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Has more than a little of this when it involves Hawke (unless they're in a rivalry with her), and is certainly the reason behind her implied immediate crush on them, at least at first.
  • Hikikomori: Borderline; between Acts 2 and 3, 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.
  • I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: Despite growing a crush on Hawke immediately, she evidently did not expect Hawke to reciprocate as Merrill consistently fails to notice Hawke's advances. This is especially evident for a female Hawke, whom Merrill seems surprised (but not worried) at falling for.
  • Implied Love Interest: If importing a save with a Dalish Warden (or using the preset "The Martyr"), Merrill frequently mentions Mahariel very fondly and appears to have some hangups over them.
  • 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.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Her attempt to connect with Fenris in party banter by pointing out how the Dalish sometimes take in runaway elven slaves, though said slaves have probably never seen a Dalish before, has her come across as unintentionally haughty. Fenris doesn't cut her any slack for it, naturally.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Believes herself to be undeserving of Hawke's love in a romance. Especially true for a female Hawke, whom Merrill will call "beautiful and clever".
  • Irony: Most characters believe Merrill is a naive, stupid child whose stint with demons and blood magic will inevtiably get herself possessed and others killed. However, Merrill takes every precaution to minimize contact with the spirit, only approaches it nine years later as a last resort, and brings Hawke for a Mercy Kill in case she gets possessed so she won't be a danger to herself or others. Meanwhile Marethari, upheld as the Big Good and Team Mom, endangers her Clan for years by keeping them on Sundermount to keep an eye on Merrill, where they face food shortages due to picking through most of the local forage and hunting grounds, gets several hunters killed by a vartarrel, gets them harrassed by Templars (one of whom kidnaps and tortures a Dalish child to try to provoke the Dalish into attacking), and finally lets the demon possess her without telling her Clan, Hawke, or Merrill, which endangers everyone since they stumble into her possessed self unawares, and can potentially result in her Clan being killed since they refuse to believe that Marethari would do that but are all too hostile to Merrill due to Marethari encouraging them to hate and fear her for years. In other words, despite all the accusations of carelessness lobbed at her, Merrill does more to ensure the safety of those around her than Marethari ever did.
  • 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.
  • Laugh of Love: She will sometimes giggle if romanced by a male Hawke.
    • A strange inversion can happen if Fenris is romanced by Hawke; she'll giggle, before pointing out that she can tell Fenris is in love.
  • 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 an upcoming end to the party's adventures together.
  • Morality Pet: To Isabela.
    Merrill: Why is it that you always win at cards?
    Isabela: [chuckles] Because I cheat, Kitten.
    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.
  • Never My Fault: Merrill disapproves anytime Hawke implies that the situation with her clan is her fault instead of blaming them and the Keeper for not accepting her help. This blame extends to Hawke if they withhold the arulin'holm from her. She will finally take responsibility however, if Hawke has a full rivalry with her.
    • However, after certain revelations in Inquisition about the nature of Eluvians and an offhanded comment from Word of God, it is very debatable just how much of what happened was really her fault. It's also worth noting that Marethari outright sabotaged Merrill's research at every turn and then blamed Merrill for her research going wrong, in which case Merrill has a point. It's up to the player to decide whether they agree or not.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Merrill daydreams about owning a pet griffon or deepstalker, thinks Quentin's Stalker Shrine is pretty (before meeting the man himself, obviously), and is genuinely fascinated by the Altar of Dumat.
  • 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. Kirkwall is supposed to be more maze-like than the game represents, but no one else in Hawke's crew has this happen to them.
    • While on Sundermount, she mentions that she gets lost a lot on the mountain. Yes, she got lost on a path that 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 notice 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. On the other hand, 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!
      Merrill: [giggles]
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: There's room for interpretation on if she's doing this when talking to those outside the Dalish and how much.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Wears one in the romance scenes. Covert Pervert indeed...
  • Pride: Merrill's fatal flaw is that she's convinced that she had complete control over her deal with the demon, and understood fully the threat it posed because she'd studied them. It turned out that Merrill would have eventually been tricked into being possessed if it were not for Marethari.
    • In the quest where Hawke accompanies Merrill to the top of Sundermount to honor Flemeth's deal, Flemeth warns Merrill to be careful as "no path is darker than when one's eyes are shut", which refers to Merrill's Selective Obliviousness.
    • Additionally, in the middle of fighting the possessed Keeper, the demon can potentially call Merrill out on her vanity, which was hinted at in the quest "Night Terrors" where she was prompted to turn against Hawke after she was tempted with illusions of being praised by her clan as their savior.
    • She accuses her clanmates of being "ignorant" and "mired in fear", even though it can be seen in Origins that Marethari had also expressed interest in the mirror and the knowledge it could offer, but she stated that their history and lore is not worth the lives of anyone in the clan; and her clan does honor and practice the elven traditions, but they simply have good reason to resent the eluvian. This hints that while Merrill genuinely wants to repair the eluvian to gain closure on Tamlen and/or Mahariel's deaths, she also wants to prove to her clan that she was right and they were wrong about everything — a motive commonly associated with pride.
  • Rags to Royalty: If romanced, Hawke asks her to move in with them to their estate in Hightown.
  • Rescue Romance: If the rivalry path is taken, she falls for Hawke as they try to save her from herself.
  • The Rich Have White Stuff: 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.
  • 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. That said, she's vindicated in the next game since her eluvian does get working, even if it hasn't been activated yet, and she's proven right that some spirits are safe to work with as long as they don't absorb the negative emotions or expectations of mortals.
  • Shipper on Deck: She fully supports Aveline/Donnic, as well as Hawke with any one of the other love interests (especially Isabela).
  • Shutting Up Now: Tends to talk her way into a hole, and ends her dialogue like this.
    Merrill: I'll try not to hit anyone. On our side, I mean. I'm babbling again. Let's go.
  • 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."
  • Skilled, but Naïve: 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.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: On a much smaller scale than most examples. She thinks that because she's studied the risks when it comes to making pacts with demons, she can work with the demon she learned blood magic from without any negative effects. She couldn't be any more wrong. With that said, Merrill does indeed take every precaution to avoid being possessed, and brings Hawke along for a Mercy Kill in case she fails. It's Marethari who refuses to believe that Merrill could possibly avoid being possessed and chooses to let the demon possess her behind Merrill's back, which causes all of Merrill's efforts to go belly-up.
  • Squee!: On occasion, usually when concerning other party members' love lives.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical:
    • Anders hates blood mages for giving mages in general a bad name, which is one of the reasons he's constantly berating Merrill.
    • Fenris is less vicious about it, but often admonishes Merrill for acting too smug and superior, or like a tree-hugging hippie like how most people see the Dalish.
  • 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 3, 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. It's nine times worse if her whole clan ended up dead as well.
  • Tough Love: The only way to get Merrill to understand how her actions affect others and break the eluvian is to have a full rivalry with her.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: In party banter she often tries to invoke this to get Fenris to come visit the alienage, or help their people. Fenris is not amused.
  • 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, Merrill turned to a spirit 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 most other people will try to sabotage her at every turn as well sometimes crosses over into denial.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: If she is not romanced, her ultimate fate after the Inquisition DLC Trespasser is a question mark. The epilogue notes that elves across Thedas begin to disappear, but it's not yet known if she is one of them.
  • What Have I Done: If the rivalry path is pursued, after her Act 3 quest, Merrill will destroy the mirror, believing that her obsession with it is what caused the death of Marethari/her clan. However, on the friendship path she will instead lament their lack of understanding.
    • Whether Hawke is 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. When the player understands that demons tend to seek out powerful hosts in positions of authority, both of which the Keeper had, it seems more likely that Audacity was just using the different views between the two of them to further drive a wedge so he could get to his real target, Marethari.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Anders and Fenris both give her these for her blood magic and demon dealing.
      Fenris: So a demon called out to you, and you answered. Brilliant.
    • She herself will have a nice long yell at Hawke if they refuse to give her the arulin'holm to help her repair the mirror in Act 2.
    • If Hawke takes Merrill and Fenris around in their party, then Fenris will rip into Merrill every chance he can get about how she's wasting her freedom and taking unnecessary risks to "chase ghosts." By Act 2, Merrill eventually has enough and calls Fenris out on also taking unnecessary risks to chase ghosts from his own past his long-lost sister.
    • After witnessing the Keeper sacrifice her life to save Merrill from being possessed by a demon, Anders will proclaim that to be the most selfless, heroic thing he'd ever seen - then angrily snort it's a pity it was wasted on Merrill. This will be one time Fenris states that he completely agrees with Anders.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Merrill speaks with a distinctly Welsh accent, while the rest of the Sabrae clan 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.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Gets essentially kicked out of her clan for the whole blood magic thing. Also, unless the player make exactly the right choice during her Act 3 companion quest, they'll attack, and she'll have to help Hawke kill them.
  • Zombie Advocate: For spirits and blood mages in general. An easy way to gain rivalry points from her involves either refusing offers from demons, telling her not to trust demons, or decrying blood magic. Her largest rivalry gain, and in fact the largest potential gain in the game, comes from destroying all the evil tomes and the Fell Grimoire in the quest "Forbidden Knowledge" for a grand total of 60 rivalry points.


The Warriors

    Aveline Vallen
Voiced by: 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 games (or any other BioWare franchise) to date, but that's not to say she doesn't have a feminine figure. It's really only seen in the prologue, however, and in one scene in Act 3 if the Exiled Prince DLC is installed.
  • 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.
  • Battle Couple: With whoever partners her: Wesley, Donnic, Hawke. She definitely prefers someone with whom she can be Back-to-Back Badasses.
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: In a trio with female Hawke and Bethany, Aveline is the Brawn. She's tall and muscular, skilled with sword and shield, and works as a city guard. The others sometimes make jokes about her being able to lift a cow.
  • Berserk Button: As mentioned below, do NOT question her loyalty or accuse her of coddling her guards.
  • Big Good: To Kirkwall in Inquisition, after Hawke is forced to leave town. Varric notes that "Kirkwall would probably fall into the sea if she ever quit her job."
  • Big Sister Mentor: Has some shades of this for Hawke and their 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, in which she sports form-fitting leather armor. Averted for the rest of the game - the metal plate the guards wear is the same general shape for both men and women, 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. If Hawke is female, Donnic will conclude that she 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. The player gets the chance to call her out on it.
  • The Captain: Served as an officer in the Fereldan Army at Ostagar, and later becomes 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 Guard after a mission where she investigates her superior's corruption.
  • Clear My Name: Her companion quest in Act 3; Cullen alerts Hawke that Aveline is accused of coddling her men, and urges them to speak with Aveline and clear up the issue. Aveline takes the accusation extremely personally and goes on a bit of a rampage to settle the matter. See Cowboy Cop, below.
  • Cloud Cuckoolanders 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 Hawke to investigate her on this in Act 3, they 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 lives twice a week to keep Kirkwall safe.
  • Da Chief: Eventually reaches this position on the Guard.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Aveline has some moments that give even Sarcastic Hawke a pause, such as this exchange during "Blackpowder Courtesy":
    Hawke: How about we skip this one, send your men instead?
    Aveline: How about I shove a canary up your coal mine? Let's go.
  • 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 Hawke has 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.
    • She also asks Hawke to allow Dog to help her train, to see if her people can handle a "good old-fashioned Mabari charge." Brings about a Pet the Dog moment (almost literally) later, as she rewards Dog with some contraband mutton that was seized.
  • 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.
  • 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 may use this against her and she'll turn on the party.
  • Fantastic Racism: She has been taught that elves belong in Alienages and that mages that haven't gone through the Harrowing are dangerous to society, and as Guard Captain she helps to maintain the status quo. Aveline doesn't see any issue with elves being forced to sleep in stables and out-buildings in towns too small to fit an alienage, and is surprised when Merrill is upset by it. The Arishok accuses her of being just as corrupt as the nobles she serves by turning a blind eye to violence committed against elves (even by her own guards) but cracking down on violence committed by elves. She also just makes some disparaging comments if brought to the alienage or elf-involved quests, like saying "I wish we didn't need places like this" to the alienage (ignoring that elves need places to live too) or describing Huon as "another user, looking for a handout" as if elves were all free-loaders.
  • Femininity Failure: She gets teased about being "mannish" by hard-drinking, hard-fucking, foul-mouthed Isabela. That's how badly she fails at femininity. That said, it doesn't usually bother or cause any trouble for her, but it does prompt one quest in the second act where she needs help getting the guy she's interested in to even realise that she's a woman.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: At the start of the game, she bonds with the Hawke family when they fight their way out of Lothering together.
    • They've been through so much together that she is the only companion who can abandon you in the endgame who won't fight you. After all you've been through over the years, she can't bring herself to fight you, but she does say that she is done with you.
  • Foil: To a Snarky Hawke.
    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.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: At least where card games are concerned, according to Fenris and Donnic.
  • Happily Married: With Wesley before the game. With Donnic later, if Hawke helps out.
  • Has a Type: Aveline's two romantic partners in the game, Wesley and Donnic, are both An Officer and a Gentleman, a trait that Hawke doesn't quite have note .
  • 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 Hawke acts dismissive to the Grand Cleric.
    • However, her atheism is a bit ambiguous as she has the most Maker-related combat lines of the party, save perhaps Sebastian. She might just be a believer who disagrees with how the Chantry is run. Or perhaps living with Wesley has just rubbed off on her.
  • Hypocrite: more than a few examples:
    • If Hawke asks her about Wesley when they meet up with Aveline for the first time, 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 do so.
    • Exactly like Fenris, she'll call out Hawke out if they agree to deal with the sloth demon in "Night Terrors" even though she was controlled by a demon herself.
  • 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: A Hawke who flirts with her will eventually decide to let her go.
  • 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.
    • Played for Drama when her failure to successfully solve the Hightown disappearances results in the death of Hawke's mother.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: As strict as she can be and as cold as she can be to the other companions, she's fiercely loyal to those she cares about and always attempts to do what she considers to be right.
  • Just Friends: Although Hawke can flirt with Aveline, she remains oblivious to their advances. She seems to regard Hawke and the surviving twin almost as surrogate children or younger siblings more than anything else.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Aveline believes she's always right, and clearly views herself as the moral backbone of Hawke's Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, even in instances where she wasn't there or doesn't have the full story.
  • 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 Hawke 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 2 involves her attempting to court Guardsman Donnic. Don't mess things up, and they'll get married.
  • A Mother To Her Men: Particularly seen in Act 3 if her romance of Donnic was successful. The men and women of the city guard revere her, to the point that they unanimously refuse to join ex-Captain Jeven in his smear campaign to have her removed. Donnic says that there's not a single member of the guard who would hesitate to follow her across the Void itself if she asked.
    • Deconstructed in act II: When a group of elves accuse one of her men of rape, she is incapable of viewing the accusation impartially and refuses to investigate.
  • 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 Bethany/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 1 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, not unkindly, that the question is too personal. It's possible that she sees her companions as surrogates for the children she never had.
  • Missing White Woman Syndrome: When a group of elven brothers tried to report that one of her guards raped their sister over and over again and got turned away each time she did nothing, dismissing their claim as "rumors" that she'll "look into" eventually. However, when those same brothers got tired of waiting and took matters into their own hands, she dropped everything to arrest them first thing. If only she were half as prompt in acting on violence committed against elves as violence committed by elves...
  • Named After Somebody Famous: 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.
  • Never My Fault: Tells Hawke to their face that she's not responsible for Leandra being kidnapped and murderered by a crazed blood mage, even though Hawke could have potentially asked her to investigate the disappearance of Hightown women and she refused.
  • Noble Bigot with a Badge: Aveline has been taught that Elves belong in Alienages and Mages are dangerous to society, and despite lacking any real malice to Elves or Mages this institutionalized racism does flare uo from time to time. Each time, Aveline sides with the institution over the people.
  • 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: Most noticeable during her bizarre efforts to romance Guardsman Donnic, and continues with... pretty much everyone.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Aveline is one of two party members that cannot be romanced by Hawke. She also happens to be the non-sibling companion that has known them the longest and gets several emotional scenes with Hawke that are otherwise reserved for their Love Interest. It actually gets implied that the reason Aveline never considered a Relationship Upgrade with Hawke is because there's too much baggage for Aveline to overcome for Hawke's role in Wesley's death. note 
  • Not So Above It All:
    • In Legacy, she finally gets back at Anders for all of his arsey comments by ripping the piss out of him.
      Aveline: Any second I'll surrender to the almighty power of 'Guard Captain' and enslave all mages. Look out. Authority. Wooooooo.
    • She also chuckles at Isabela's "ghast-hole" comment in Mark Of The Assasin before stopping herself.
    • In Act 3, she has evolved an Odd Friendship with Isabela. Any time Aveline deadpan snarks at her, Isabela warmly says, "That's my girl!" At one point, Aveline has apparently invited Isabela to a family dinner, but she didn't show up because she didn't think she'd fit in; Aveline disagrees.
      Isabela: How's marriage been treating you, big girl?
      Aveline: It's been good. No, great. I'd forgotten what it was like to...
      Isabela: Be flipped ass over tits and hammered like a bent nail?
      Aveline: To. Be. Loved.
      Isabela: Oh. Right, of course.
      Aveline: (coyly) Not that I'm complaining about the other thing.
  • Oblivious to Love: If Hawke flirts with her during her Matchmaker Quest. Possibly explained by the insane things she does to woo Donnic; she clearly has no idea how typical courting goes.
  • Odd Friendship: With Fenris and Isabela.
  • 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 Hawke goes to bat for Isabela against Arishok, and Rivalry points if they hand Isabela over.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Being the most lawful member of the team, it takes a lot to get Aveline to suggest taking criminal action or to recommend execution.
  • 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.
    • Deconstructed numerous times. Aveline is reasonable based on what she sees, which results in many problems Hawke has to solve because Aveline doesn't always know everything.
    • Despite her late husband having been a Templar, she refuses to turn in Mage Hawke or Bethany, since they at least try to do good. She also makes no efforts to turn in Merrill or Anders, and does her best to keep the patrolling guards from taking notice of Fenris squatting in the Hightown mansion.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Though never outright stated, Aveline maintains her strong bond with Hawke likely because they're the closest thing Aveline has to family. Bethany will even question why Aveline continues to follow Hawke, and Aveline skirts the answer.
  • 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 them and walks out after delivering a "Reason You Suck" Speech to Hawke. Her fellow guardsmen quickly follow suit.
  • Secular Hero: Aveline is the closest to agnosticism on team Hawke. She married a Templar and sometimes refers to the Maker, but doesn't generally worry about religion and is skeptical of the Chantry's stance that "the less [he] does, the more he's proven". She supports telling Elthina that the Warden stopped the Blight, not divine intervention.
    Aveline: Wesley's at the Maker's side, or he's not.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: The first permanent companion character Hawke meets, as well as one of the most important ones after becoming captain of the guard.
  • Slut-Shaming: Does this to Isabela on an extremely regular basis when they first meet to insult her, which Isabela takes in stride because Isabell is a slut and proud of it. Later becomes friendly banter when they become Vitriolic Best Buds.
  • Skewed Priorities: Prioritizes persecuting elves that killed one of her guards for (supposedly) raping an elf during the middle of a diplomatic crisis involving the Arishok.
  • Socially Awkward Hero:
    • "Yes, and it's a real nice night for an evening."
    • One of her gifts to Donnic is a copper engraving of marigolds. Odd enough to get a man (and specifically a watchman, who'd you think would be a practical type) a picture of flowers, but in traditional floriography, marigolds represent grief and cruelty. Whoops. Her reasoning behind the gift borders on Insane Troll Logic: "Metal is strong, flowers are soft, copper ages well. I thought it was clear." This earns here a Face Palm from Hawke and potentially Isabella.
  • Stone Wall: Her specialization focuses on defense and protecting party members. Thanks to her Indomitable ability, she's the only party member with a built-in immunity to the final boss's "stun you all so I can monologue" move. Should she be knocked out, the others' reactions are equal parts concern and astonishment that it actually happened.
    Varric: Sweet mother of green cheeses, how'd they take that woman down?!
    Carver: Aveline is down, M-Maker's breath!
    Merrill: By the Creators, Aveline has fallen!
    Fenris: Aveline has fallen?
  • 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 1 is Wesley's.
  • Taking Up the Mantle: By the time of Inquisition, Aveline is still leading the guard, and Bran's letter all but calls her Hawke's successor as Kirkwall's protector.
  • Team Dad: Gender-flipped, alongside Varric's Team Mom. Most of her conversations with the party involve her providing some form of advice or critiquing their lifestyle choices. It's also said that she has people spying on most of the others and bends the rules a bit if necessary in hopes of keeping them out of trouble.
    • She's particularly protective of Hawke, and the only person besides the love interest who really takes time to console a devastated Hawke after their mother's murder. Notably, she's the only companion to whom Hawke seems to feel comfortable admitting that "My heart's broken" about the whole thing - even Varric, who is Hawke's best friend, doesn't have this conversation.
    • Made especially clear by a line she can say when drinks a health potion. The player would obviously be using this when she's dying, and she still might say:
      Aveline: I hope no one else needs this!
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Establishes herself as being on the "Good" side of things at all times early in Act 1, 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 almost never a moment's hesitation in her mind. It's also why she has no problems with Hawke if the player acts as a more Chaotic Good character.
    Aveline: I can trust you to at least try to do right.
    • However, when it comes to institutionalized racism against Mages and Elves, Aveline always sides with the institution. As stated under Reasonable Authority Figure, Aveline chooses good over lawful during instances where she can see institutionalized injustice firsthand, but in cases where she wasn't there she tends to err on the side of the law.
    Aveline: (regarding the elven brothers) There are rumors. I'll look into them. But they took the law into their own hands.
  • 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 2. She later clarifies it's less about Wesley and more just holding onto the last pieces of her old life. Once she's been given The Shield of the Knight Herself and the cutscene completes, Wesley's shield can be put away without further protest.
  • 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:
    • With Isabela towards the end of the game. She eventually starts barking "Shut up, whore" with an obvious twinge of affection.
    • Also a case of this with Hawke, especially a Snarky-Hawke. It may also have a case of Belligerent Sexual Tension subtext if Hawke flirts with her. If in a rivalry with Hawke, the most touching moment in their friendship comes right after Aveline beats the ever loving hell out of them.
  • 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 Hawke 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 3. Discussed by Varric in some dialogue in Act 1, 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: Discussed. "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 isn't a full party member, but can be summoned to give some extra help.

  • Angry Guard Dog: To his enemies. Diplomatic Hawke can remark that they like knowing Dog is around to protect Leandra in their absence, while Aggressive Hawke considers him useful for tearing through enemies. Snarky Hawke has a different view, as ever:
    Snarky Hawke: But if he's with us, who'll keep Gamlen's debt collectors away?
  • Assist Character: Rather than a full party member like his predecessor, this Dog joins the fight whenever Hawke summons him. This removes Origins' minor dilemma of having to choose between Dog and one of the humanoid companions.
  • Big Friendly Dog: To everyone except his opponents.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: He's not evil, but it does give him an unsettling appearance.
    • Bodhan and Sandal mention it in conversation, saying they find the eyes rather creepy-looking.
  • Canine Companion: He helps Hawke when called, but given Mabari master-choosing it could be said that Hawke is his human companion.
  • Cool Old Guy: According to the timeline, Dog must be in or near his double digits by the game's final act, which is quite old by dog standards. This doesn't stop his badassery in the slightest. It could be a Mabari trait, since there's no confirmed data about the breed's life expectancy.
  • Country Mouse: Kirkwall doesn't really give him the space a dog the size of a pony needs. He does seem better after making the transition to the family estate, where he has more room.
  • Covert Pervert: If Hawke is romancing Merrill, she comments that she doesn't appreciate that Dog watches them while they have sex.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": Like his predecessor, his default name is Dog. It can be changed by interacting with him inside Gamlen's hovel. Gamlen lampshades the trope during the conversation, asking, "What's wrong with 'dog'? Easy to remember."
  • Dogs Are Dumb: As with all Mabari, thoroughly averted.
  • Dogs Love Being Praised: He's no exception. Also, because he's fully capable of understanding human speech, he knows exactly what people are saying to him. Leandra has to remind Gamlen about this.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Aveline asks if she can borrow Dog to help whip her fellow guardsmen into shape. She's particularly interested to see how they handle a good old-fashioned Fereldan Mabari charge.
  • Fluffy Tamer: Inverted. Mabari choose their owners and he chose Hawke.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: He's downright adorable to his allies. His enemies, on the other hand...
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Everyone in the party loves Dog, even coming to Hawke's residence to visit him. Hawke's mother and sibling also love him. The one person who doesn't? Gamlen.
    • If Bethany is the surviving twin, she recollects sadly how much Carver wanted to impress a mabari, and affectionately calls Dog "a good boy." If it's Carver who survived, Dog is arguably the member of the family he likes the best, and he has nothing but praise for him.
    • Leandra, while the family is still in Lowtown, worries about him being unhappy since leaving Ferelden and takes him for a walk, fondly noting that they will make quite a pair, "a mother and her Mabari."
    • Fenris talks with great respect about how the Mabari initially belonged to the Tevinter magisters and changed their loyalties, while Sebastian - who is full-fledged royalty - actually bows to him.
    • Even Anders, who is a cat person, seems to like Dog - especially if he moves in with Hawke later in the game. He just doesn't appreciate Dog slobbering on him.
    • He and Sandal are very fond of each other. Bodahn speculates that Sandal may have learned to "speak Mabari" from their time with the Hero of Ferelden and their dog.
    • He and Varric are drinking buddies. Varric even teaches him to play cards - and he's better than Anders!
  • Heroic Dog: He's a Mabari. It comes with the territory.
  • Pet the Dog: Having him around causes your companions to come to your residence... to visit him. Merrill tells him a Dalish legend relating to dogs, and Aveline even brings him some contraband mutton that was seized in a raid. (What makes it contraband is not explained.)
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: For the mabari from Origins.
  • Team Pet: Naturally.
  • The Tell: Varric tells him that he might want to watch how he wags his tail when he gets a good hand. He's still apparently very good, though:
    Varric: All I'm saying is, he'd be up more than two sovereigns if he watched his tells.
  • Undying Loyalty: It's said that only death itself can part a mabari from the master it has chosen.

Voiced by: Gideon Emery

"Am I supposed to forgive, no matter how many times they hunt me down? Am I supposed to forget all the things they've done to me?"

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 romance option for a Hawke of either gender.

  • Achey Scars: His lyrium markings are the reason he hates being touched.
  • Ambiguously Brown: His skin is noticeably darker than that of the other companions, save Isabela.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Among other things, he resents the lyrium markings and the power that was inflicted upon him. In his final companion quest "Alone," he discovers that he had actually competed for them, for the sake of using the boon offered to the winner to free his family. At least, Danarius and his sister lead him to believe he did. He actually only competed for the boon to free his family. He didn't know about the ritual or what it would entail.
  • Amnesiac Hero: He has very few pre-ritual memories, and even by the game's end he can only recall bits and pieces of his life before.
  • And the Adventure Continues: According to Varric, as of Inquisition, Fenris is still continuing his campaign against Tevinter magisters and slavers, leaving a trail of corpses in his wake.
    • Fenris returns in Blue Wraith, earning said moniker by achieving such a level of infamy in Tevinter.
  • Attack Animal: Brainwashed by Danarius into this.
  • Badass Baritone: Courtesy of Gideon Emery.
  • Bare Your Midriff: This is apparent in his outfit as a slave in Heroes of Dragon Age and in an illustration in the World of Thedas book.
  • Berserk Button:
    • His Establishing Character Moment is his violent reaction to being called a slave, and being taunted with it also comes up several times during his personal quests. He hates mages; particularly the magisters of Tevinter, and the blood magic connected to them.
    • He doesn't take kindly to the suggestions that he should "just move on" or, worse, forget about revenge against Danarius.
    • During his loyalty mission, if Hawke tells Orana to go to their home for help and refuge Fenris will immediately accuses Hawke of hypocrisy for condoning slavery and then wanting one themselves. But he will back down and apologise straightaway if Hawke states that it is a job.
    • If Hawke romances Anders after Fenris leaves them, the following dialogue can be heard if the two are in the party together. Fenris is already pretty venomous towards Anders (and vice versa), but here he sounds downright murderous at Anders' suggestion that he never loved Hawke.
      Anders: You were an idiot to leave Hawke.
      Fenris: And you were so quick to replace me.
      Anders: I love him/her. You have no idea what that's like.
      Fenris: Do not bare your heart to me, mage. Not unless you want me to rip it out.
  • BFS: Uses two-handed weapons, several of which are as long as he is tall.
  • Boomerang Bigot: A much more subtle version than, say, Sera, but Fenris clearly doesn't care much for his fellow elves. He identifies more as a former slave than an elf, lives alone in a Hightown mansion, and refuses Merrill's invitations to so much as visit the alienage. Whenever Merrill tries to get him more involved with "our people," Fenris disdains her, claiming the Dalish are too haughty and waste their freedom grubbing through dirt, and he doesn't care about the plight of city elves since Tevinter slaves have it worse anyway.
    • The Fenris short story written by David Gaider goes further, hinting that Fenris secretly thinks of city elves as nothing but "frightened cattle" and "drunk vagrants." (He also notably declines Sebastian's suggestion that he teach elves how to fight, despite looking down on them for not fighting.)
      How was he to know that so many of his people would squander their freedom living like frightened cattle? If his only choices were to either dress as meekly as the local humans expected their elves to be, run off to find the wandering clans that grubbed in the dirt for whatever scraps the human kingdoms threw them, or to fight… then his choice was clear.
    • That being said however, unlike Sera, he still gains rivalry points if you are needlessly cruel to elves and friendship if you help them but that's less of seeing them as his people and more of helping out a group of people who are clearly disadvantaged.
  • Brutal Honesty: He's extremely blunt with his criticism of anything he dislikes, especially if it is related to magic or its users.
  • Buxom Is Better: It's subtle, but every woman Fenris shows any interest in are human women with noticeable racks. In Fenris' short story he pauses while being chased by slave hunters to admire a scantily clad human woman with noticeable cleavage. In the DA2 game proper, the only two women he can potentially get together with are female Hawke or (if neither are pursued for a romance) Isabela, both of whom are well-endowed in the chest department. (He also pointedly shows no interest in even talking to elven women, let alone dating one.)
  • Bystander Syndrome: He is generally neutral in affairs not involving mages or slavers. In fact, it's implied that for most of the game, outside of adventures with Hawke and a few mercenary jobs he takes for money, he doesn't interact much with anyone. Varric complains that after years in Kirkwall he's still "practically a ghost."
    Fenris: You are too willing to involve yourself in the affairs of others, Hawke. Each time you put yourself at risk. One day you will not be so lucky.
    Hawke: You have a better idea?
    Fenris: Guard what you have. Keep your head low.
  • Character Death: If Hawke sides with the mages during the final battle and is not a full friend or rival with Fenris and/or did not complete all of his personal quests, Fenris will turn against Hawke. He will then refuse again if Hawke does not choose the "Join me" option and/or is a 50-95% rival with Fenris and is later killed.
  • Character Development:
    • Unlike everyone besides Carver, he actually undergoes more development as a friend. As a rival, he simply admits that revenge has brought him nothing and decides it's time to let go of his hate. However, his hatred towards magic remains and he is initially against supporting the mages. If Hawke befriends him and completes all his personal quests, he learns to move on from his past and also becomes a bit more lenient towards magic and mages, all the more so if romanced by a mage Hawke.
    • Another example would be his gradually opening up to a few of the other companions and eventually befriending them (evident in party banter), in contrast to his initial anti-social behavior. He even jokes with some of them, and by Act 3 he regularly plays cards with Varric and Donnic.
  • The Comically Serious: His generally dour demeanor gets him ribbed on by some of the more jokey companions, although if Hawke keeps him away from people who push his buttons, he makes his share of jokes, especially with Varric. In fact, Sarcastic Hawke's comments usually get at least a smile out of him. He even chuckles with regularity.
  • Cursed With Awesome: The lyrium scars emblazoned on him by his master cause Fenris no small amount of pain, but give him extra strength and endurance, as well as the ability to go partially intangible.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: He was a slave in the Tevinter Imperium, and had his skin laced with lyrium in a process that was so torturously painful that it wiped away all his memories from before he underwent the ritual.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Sometimes, and with emphasis on the deadpan.
  • Defrosting Ice King:
    • He's loosened up a little bit by Act 3, particularly around Aveline, Isabela, Varric, Donnic, and possibly Hawke. He even starts cracking a few jokes of his own.
    • If Hawke manages to maintain a high friendship, it unlocks additional lines that sound much warmer than his usual tone of voice, including "Yes, my friend?" and "Always a pleasure." The friendship branch of his personal specialization tree also mentions that "Fenris is inspired by your unexpected support."
  • Despair Event Horizon: If the player chooses to betray Fenris and give him back to Danarius. Hawke's betrayal so utterly breaks his spirit and his faith in freedom and friendship that he just gives up without a fight. He doesn't even have the strength to show anger at you about it. Later, Hawke gets a letter from Danarius, thanking them and telling them that Fenris has been memory-wiped again and is now perfectly obedient.
  • Does Not Like Magic:
    • The line he draws between "magic" and "mages" shifts a bit — he's at his angriest directly after confronting one of his old tormentors (Hadriana). Having grown up in a society almost defined by mages abusing their power, he's very wary of any calls for mage freedom outside Tevinter.
      Fenris: There are problems enough in this world without putting such power in the hands of those too weak to resist its allure. Them I fear, as should you. As should anyone.
    • He's not immune to his own recriminations, however. A late-game line all but spells out that he believes he's been corrupted and spoiled by magic and regards himself with loathing.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: His leggings leave his heels and toes bare, and one of his idle animations involve him looking at them. Later averted in Blue Wraith, where he wears a pair of armored boots.
  • Does Not Like Spam: He can't stand the smell of "Fish, fish and more fish. Pfaugh!"
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": His response to his sister calling him by his real name at the end of "Alone" after he finds out she betrayed him is an angry "Stop calling me that!"
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Despite his frequent mentioning of his past, he despises people attempting to empathize with him about it.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: His most personal conversations with Hawke tend to be over a drink, especially when he's about to confess something about his past. It's even implied that part of the reason he's content with staying in the rundown mansion is because of the wine cellar.
  • The Eeyore: Probably the most pessimistic of the group, though not as much as they'd have Hawke believe. Even in his lighter moments, he's generally dry and rather bleak. By the end of the game, he's starting to grow out of it.
  • Elfeminate: Lampshaded by Gamlen if a male Hawke romances him.
    Gamlen: So, you're into elves, huh? I guess I don't have to ask which one of you's the girl.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • He takes this approach about working with any mage except for, potentially, Hawke. If asked about it when he's recruited, he says that he'll be watching the party's mages very closely. Much of his dialogue with Merrill is antagonistic over her blood magic and her naive attitudes regarding elves outside the Dalish, and Hawke can even gain rivalry with him for being nice to her. He tolerates her as a teammate — if only because Hawke is around. He's much more hostile towards Anders (and in this case the feelings are mutual), though with Bethany he merely suggests that she should be in the Circle; he likes her perfectly well otherwise, probably because she's wary of her powers and acknowledges that they can be dangerous.
    • Actually, of particular note of this trope is Anders. Unlike Merrill, the two rarely have a conversation that doesn't end verging on violence. Even during his Act 3 quest, Anders is the only one to approve of selling him out to Danarius. Contrast that with Merrill being on the verge of tears. Even if the player doesn't decide to give Fenris back to Danarius, he'll call Fenris a hypocrite and say that he's just jealous when Fenris learns his sister is a mage, even though he likely didn't have any idea.
    • The name of his 100% rival ability is even "Enemy of my Enemy".
  • Establishing Character Moment: The surviving leader of a group of slave hunters grabs his shoulder and calls him a slave. Fenris turns and shoves his hand through the guy's chest, crushing his heart and killing him instantly (and messily).
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Despite his hatred of most mages, and his intense and mutual dislike of Anders, when Sebastian brings up the idea of turning him or Merrill in, Fenris angrily refuses to betray Hawke's friends and, by extension, Hawke.
    • In spite of his belief that mages should be kept under control, his reactions in the quest "Shepherding Wolves" hint that even he has reservations about the treatment that Qunari mages receive.
    • In the immediate aftermath of "Dissent", he simply suggests it's time Anders recognizes his limitations, and outright says he's not condemning Anders' efforts in general. Given what he just saw Alrik doing, it's not surprising.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Blue Wraith has him change his hairstyle from an Animesque one to an undercut with his bangs slicked back, showing his more hardened personality.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • He suspects that all mages, no matter their intentions, will eventually become power-hungry maniacs unless constantly controlled. If Hawke sides with the mages in "The Final Straw," Fenris will turn against them unless he has been permanently locked in as a friend or rival or if Hawke calls him on the hypocrisy of supporting the enslavement of mages. With a high Friendship, Fenris can move a little past this in regards to mages. He admits in conversations with both Hawke (particularly a mage Hawke) and Anders in the third act that there are a few mages who are strong enough that they have proven that they do not require the Circle's supervision, pointing out Bethany or a mage Hawke as a specific example.
    • Fenris is also not particularly fond of the Dalish. This is rooted in the Dalish viewing themselves as the Superior Elves. Though with that said, he doesn't think much better of city elves outside Tevinter.
  • Foil:
    • To Anders. The two are both former slaves (of a sort) that share an intense, unreasonable hatred of those similar to their oppressors who are ruled by their rage. Anders mocks him in Legacy, and they both take pleasure in taking petty digs at each other. The few notable differences between Fenris and Anders (aside from their clashing opinions) is that Fenris hasn't started a war yet; and unlike Anders, Fenris can see reason, admit if he's wrong or being hypocritical, and learn to move past his hatred, even if only a little.
    • To Hadriana, though mostly only apparent in the Codex. She was treated cruelly by the other magisters and their apprentices, which slowly tore down her own decency and led to her own acts of cruelty to the slaves around her.
    • To Alarith the shopkeeper in the City Elf Origin. Both are escaped Tevinter elven slaves, voiced by Gideon Emery, who were chased by slave hunters when they decided to start a new life in Southern Thedas. However, while Alarith happily settled down in the Alienage as a shopkeeper, Fenris shuns the company of his fellow elves and prefers to live "like a ghost" in an abandoned mansion. Alarith was also rescued by the Dalish as he fled Tevinter and thus regards them pretty highly, while Fenris dislikes them.
  • Freudian Excuse: His pretty horrifying life as a slave, as well as the fact that it was quite literally all he knew, explains quite a few of his antisocial tendencies.
  • Friends with Benefits: With Isabela if the player isn't romancing either of them.
  • Gay Option: One of two for a male Hawke.
  • Get Out!: If Hawke convinces him to spare his sister, he simply tells her to get out of his sight. She does, though not without dropping a bombshell about how he got his markings.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Denarius wanted a lyrium-empowered Magic Knight Super Soldier. And, boy, did he get one...
  • Good Is Not Nice: Fenris is definitely a Jerkass much of the time and has a very abrasive personality, not to mention a strong prejudice against mages. He also tends to answer things like betrayal by ripping out the offender's heart. However, Fenris is fiercely loyal and protective to the few people he cares about, is capable of seeing past his anti-mage prejudices and can even be swayed into protecting various mages if given sufficient reason.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: All over his body. They look more like tattoos, however, and they're pretty, like the veins of leaves.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: He often snaps at Merrill because she's a (rather naive) blood mage, leading to some nasty moments, especially after her personal quests. But if the player pays attention to some of their conversations, his reasons become clear:
    (during Act 1) You have all the freedom none of our kind enjoy, and you throw it away. On what?
    (after "A Bitter Pill") You had a life. You had a family. And you abandoned them to chase after ghosts.
  • Happiness in Slavery:
    • He tells Hawke that the reason most slaves don't simply run away or rebel is that they don't think of anything beyond satisfying their masters. The only reason he was able to subvert this trope and escape is because he was accidentally separated from Danarius for a few months and in the care of the Fog Warriors, who treated him as a person instead of an object or a pet. After Danarius returned, the Fog Warriors were prepared to fight to protect him, but Danarius ordered Fenris to kill them and he did so. The resulting What Have I Done shocked him to his core and he ran.
    • If Hawke gives Fenris back to Danarius in Act 3, Danarius' letter states he has wiped Fenris' memories again and implies that he truly believes Fenris is happier as his perfectly obedient self.
  • Hates Being Touched:
    • See above; between Fenris, Morrigan, and Ariane, this might be becoming a signature of the series. If romanced, he will obviously move out of this (with Hawke at least). In one of their possible romance scenes, he'll nearly attack Hawke when they surprise him with a touch.
    • Still has this in Blue Wraith, where he shoots Vaea a Death Glare when she tries to put her hand on his shoulder.
  • Headbutting Heroes: He hates the party mages who are careless about their abilities — Anders for thinking he can take a spirit into him and remain in control and Merrill for believing herself justified in using blood magic. He is much more lenient toward Bethany, who is wary of her abilities and wishes she could be normal, and potentially a mage Hawke.
  • Heroic Neutral: While he's tired of hiding, he doesn't encourage getting involved in other peoples' business.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • He is surprisingly fluent in Qunlat and Qunari customs (to the point he actually manages to impress the Arishok if he is in the party on their first meeting).
    • Despite his disdain for the Dalish, Fenris does express interest in halla.
  • Hollywood Atheist:
    • Subversion. His banter with Sebastian reveals that while he's not entirely convinced that the Maker exists, he does feel compelled to believe in something. It's even implied in Act 3 that Sebastian may be rubbing off on him.
      Sebastian: I saw you at the Chantry last week, Fenris, but I haven't seen you back since.
      Fenris: I was only delivering something... you needn't concern yourself.
      Sebastian: But you were praying. Or was that part of the delivery?
      Fenris: I was... trying to blend in.
      Sebastian: [laughs] Oh, yes! You wouldn't want to ruin your reputation.
      Fenris: Don't you have a city to re-conquer?
    • Some banter with Anders confirms this even if you don't have Sebastian's DLC.
      Anders: Did you ever think about killing yourself?
      Fenris: I could ask you the same thing.
      Anders: I'm serious. To get out of slavery, to escape Danarius... don't tell me you never thought about it.
      Fenris: I did not. To kill oneself is a sin in the eyes of the Maker.
      Anders: You... believe that?
      Fenris: I try to. Some things must be worse than slavery.
      Anders: Some things are worse than death.
  • Homeless Hero: Fenris squats in his former master's abandoned Hightown mansion, which has corpses lying around in places.
  • Hypocrite:
    • He believes mages are too powerful to be trusted and will inevitably abuse their power, so they should accept being enslaved and controlled by the Chantry. He himself is an escaped slave with magical powers who is being hunted by his former master and will mercilessly kill those who are no longer a threat to him if they piss him off enough. At least half of his arguments for corralling and controlling mages could also apply to him. Anders even calls him out on it once or twice.
      Anders/Justice: And he is so free to condemn others for the same sin.
    • He's vehemently against slavery, yet supports locking up mages and denying them the freedoms and equal rights that others enjoy. Hawke can point out this hypocrisy at the final quest if they side with the mages, prompting Fenris to turn against Meredith and support Hawke.
    • He mocks Hawke for making a deal with the demon during "Night Terrors"... and then proceeds to make a deal with a demon himself shortly after.
      • If Anders is also in the party, Fenris will actually approve of making the deal purely because it angers his rival.
    • Fenris has little sympathy for free elves (both city and Dalish) because he feels they squander their freedom, and that slaves have it worse anyway. Yet he himself doesn't do much with his freedom besides squat in an abandoned mansion and hit the wine cellar whenever he's not trailing after Hawke (and still does so even if he kills Danarius). Also, while not slaves, he overlooks how most city elves (at least) are so second-class there's practically little difference, and that they don't use their "freedom" to strive for more because they have also been conditioned by their respective societies not to expect or hope for more, almost as surely as he claims most slaves have been.
    • Fenris accuses Merrill of having a "smug sense of superiority" against other elves for being Dalish, despite the fact that Merrill helps other elves and he does not. During the story, she works tirelessly for years to revive an artifact she genuinely believes will help their people, then after the game Varric reveals (in DAI) that she dedicates her life to helping Kirkwall's elven refugees. Fenris, meanwhile, never lifts a finger to help elves. He rejects Merrill's repeated invitations to come down to the alienage where she lives, refuses Sebastian's suggestion that he teach other elves how to fight (despite secretly looking down on them for not fighting), and in the years after the game he spends his time hunting slavers. See Boomerang Bigot above.
    • Fenris berates Merrill for giving up her home and family to "chase ghosts" uncovering lost elvhen artifacts, and Merrill counters that he's also risking his hard-won freedom and new life in Kirkwall on the off-chance that he might uncover memories of his past. While Fenris claims he at least has nothing to lose, he overlooks how Merrill was kept separate from and made to feel like an outsider in her Clan too (meaning she also felt she had little to lose), and Fenris himself often pushes away people who try to get close to him (particularly other elves) so his anger at Merrill doing the same is a touch ironic.
    • On a less antagonistic note, in Mark of the Assassin Fenris tries to discourage Hawke from risking themself by getting involved in the affairs of others... even though the whole reason Fenris and Hawke started traveling together was because Hawke was willing to risk getting involved in Fenris' affairs, and continues to do so every time Fenris asks for further assistance against Danarius in his personal quests.
  • I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: He seems taken aback that Hawke would be romantically interested in him if they flirt with him. Especially true later on, where he believes that as a former slave he has nothing interesting to provide to Hawke.
  • I Can't Do This by Myself: From the moment Hawke meets him, he'll ask for their help using pretty much these exact words. This comes up in his later personal quests as well.
  • I Lied: Immediately kills a Tevinter mage after she gives him information in exchange for being spared, mercilessly. His demeanor makes it plain he wishes he could have made it more painful and cruel.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink/In Vino Veritas: He's a lot more talkative when he's drunk, and willing to bring up his past in a bit more detail. He also will happily toast a Hawke (even a mage Hawke) who pursued a Friendship with him, and even gets rather flirty at one point, a far call from his usual broody, slightly awkward self.
  • Identity Amnesia: The lyrium-infusion ritual wiped his memory.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: A possible example. Despite his general hatred and suspicion of anything magic related, getting romantically involved with a mage Hawke doesn't seem to bother him in the slightest. Well, not in the magic department, anyway.
    • During party banter with Anders, Fenris will admit that he considers Hawke (or Bethany) a strong mage who doesn't need supervision.
      • This is even present if Hawke only pursues a Friendship with him as a mage. At the end of his "Questioning Beliefs" quest in Act 2, he will toast Hawke with a happy smile on his face, stating, "Here's to you, Hawke. A finer mage, I have never met." Considering that he seems to hate every other mage (sans Bethany), this says a lot.
    • He also mentions this nearly by name if romanced during in the aforementioned quest. Due to the lyrium in his skin and his life in slavery, he Hates Being Touched and has serious trust issues; he's never needed or wanted anyone before — but Hawke is unlike anyone he's ever met and might be different.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: He will warn Anders in this manner, if Fenris dumped Hawke and Hawke eventually moves on with Anders.
    Fenris: You... are living with Hawke now?
    Anders: What of it?
    Fenris: Be good to them. Break their heart, and I will kill you.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Not quite, but he does bear more than a passing resemblance to his voice actor.
  • Insistent Terminology: Fenris makes it clear there's a difference between a mage and a magister, but assumes all mages will eventually become magisters anyway.
  • Intangibility: The lyrium-infusion gives him the power to make himself partially intangible.
  • Irony: Fenris, who hates mages and magic, has a sister training to be a magister. Just to rub it in, his Leitmotif sounds very similar to "Mage Pride."
  • It Has Been an Honor: Expresses this to Hawke just before the final battle if he is a friend.
    Fenris: You're a good friend, the only one I've ever had. It will be an honor to fight at your side.
  • It's Not You, It's Me: He gives this apology to Hawke after their first night together, having momentarily gained back and instantly lost his pre-ritual memories.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: He's obviously prejudiced against mages because of his past experiences, so most of his opinions on them are pretty harsh. However, he does actually make a good point on occasion.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While he does have a searing hatred of mages (although he has respect for ones he deem "stable," like Mage Hawke and Bethany), he's ultimately just a bit cranky and gradually becomes a pretty likeable guy, especially if in a friendship with Hawke. He even starts playing cards once a week with Varric and Donnic.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Viciously insulting an already devastated Merrill at the end of both of her personal quests.
    • Not quite as bad as the above, but after the party helps him clear out the mansion (possibly free of charge), if a mage is in the party he will refer to them as "a viper", and warning Hawke that "it" will only turn on them later. Considering they have done nothing but help him at this point (even Anders is sympathetic to him at first), this might come off as a bit much. He does apologize when called out on it, at least.
    • He approves of dealing with a demon during "Night Terrors," dooming an innocent to possession in the process and risking the lives of everyone around him, as long as Anders is in the party — because Hawke will have to fight him when Justice/Vengeance (the dominant personality in the Fade) objects.
    • In a minor quest, Hawke gives a letter to Thrask, whose daughter is a mage. He is the only one who disapproves if Hawke assures the Templar that his secret is safe, and even approves (while the rest disapprove in turn) if Hawke chooses to blackmail him instead for his silence.
  • The Lady's Favour: Per Word of God, the red wristband he begins wearing after spending the night with Hawke is Hawke's favor to him. He also wears Hawke's sigil on his belt.
  • Leitmotif: He's the only companion that has a named theme in the official soundtrack. "Fenris' Theme" is a slow and melancholy piece that combines Playing the Heart Strings with bits of a soft One-Woman Wail.
  • Lightning Bruiser: As a warrior specializing in two-handed weapons, Fenris can hack through low-level enemies almost as easily as he can stick a hand through someone's chest. His unique specialization combines the best passive skills from the Reaver and Berserker classes into one lethal package, allowing him to increase his attack speed and restore his stamina every time he kills an enemy, causing his battle effectiveness to snowball. Low survivability, the one weakness of two-handers, is partially mitigated by his "Lyrium Ghost" sustained mode.
  • Locked into Strangeness: Blue Wraith reveals that before he was given the lyrium markings, Fenris had blonde hair.
  • Long-Lost Relative: He has a sister named Varania. Like Alistair before him, the reunion doesn't go well. But in Fenris's case, the sister can wind up dead — by his own hand.
  • Marked Change: He's already dangerous enough as is, but his lyrium tattoos light up when he draws power from them and make him even more dangerous.
  • Meaningful Name: Shares his name with the monstrous wolf Fenrir of Norse mythology, who slays Odin during Ragnarök (an apocalypse of terrible winter and war) after breaking free of his magical bindings. In Dragon Age lore, it means "little wolf" in ElvishETYM , and was chosen by his former master. His birth name, Leto, directly translates as "summer" in some Slavic languages, and "he who is always happy" in Latin. Considering his current less than sunny disposition, this goes to show how much he's lost.
  • Misery Poker: Unless you're a Tevinter slave muggle, don't talk about your problems in front of Fenris unless you want to hear about how he's seen and experienced far worse. Particularly mages and elves; He has no sympathy for Southern Thedas mages because Tevinter slaves are treated worse by Tevinter mages, and he doesn't care about Southern Thedas city elves because Tevinter elves have it worse anyway.
  • Morality Pet: Although he is eager to pounce on the faults of mages, his relationship with Bethany is generally quite cordial. Hawke can qualify as a second example, especially if they're a mage and especially if they're engaged in a romance with him.
  • More Than Mind Control: By his own words, a slave does not dream of freedom but thinks only of satisfying his master. Fenris's initial escape had been an accident, not deliberate, and even after months spent outside of his master's influence, upon his return it felt unthinkable for him to do anything but obey. Danarius also claims that Fenris had once felt affection for him. Of course, it bears remembering that Danarius is a Tevinter magister.
  • Mr. Fanservice: That's pretty much runs the norm for elves anyway; especially if they have white hair, green eyes, a Dark and Troubled Past, and happens to wear skin-tight black clothing. The cover for the first issue of Blue Wraith even has him suffering from Clothing Damage, revealing a lot of his bare back.
  • Mundane Utility: Isabela thinks his ability to phase through could help remove sharp objects from people, while Varric thinks it could make pickpocketing easier.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Very wiry and slender, and uses double-handed weapons that are sometimes bigger than he is with ease. A few of the cutscenes also show off his physical strength as he can snap necks and toss around human adults with no trouble. Granted, the lyrium under his skin appears to also augment his strength and he mentions intense physical training.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Before Sera in Dragon Age: Inquisition, Fenris was very much the model "not like other elves" "human in elven skin" of the series.
    • Somewhat Justified as he doesn't have any elven friends, family, or community that he knows of thanks to an agonizing magical ritual that wiped all his memories, and Tevinter has both human and elven slaves. Nevertheless, he's very critical of the flaws of Southern Thedas elven cultures, pointedly refuses to bond with any elves (especially Merrill) due to their shared elven heritage, and while he often harps about Tevinter Magisters all being mages, he never once expresses frustration that elves in and out of Tevinter must all bow to human masters. (Since most, if not all magisters and definitely all Southern Andrastian nobles are humans.)
  • Mystical White Hair: Fenris has snow-white hair to go with his lyrium markings and the magical abilities they give him. Given the contrast with his dark eyebrows, it's speculated that having the markings infused into his skin also turned his hair white.
    • This is confirmed in the comic [1], where a flashback to the time just before Leto received his markings shows that he used to have blonde hair.
  • Never Learned to Read: Comes with the territory as a former slave. Hawke can teach him, though, and will occasionally remark upon his reading in ambient dialogue at the estate.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Fenris competed for a boon to free his family. He then got the previously-unknown "honor" of being subjected to an agonizing ritual that reduced him to an amnesia-addled, lyrium-scarred Magic Knight Super Soldier Right-Hand Attack Dog and Sex Slave for a corrupt magister. After fleeing said master for years, he finds a brief Hope Spot in reuniting with his lost sister... only to learn she sold him out to said master, because the freedom he underwent so much agony to win for her and their mother turned out not to be a boon after all. Ouch.
  • No Social Skills: His intense bitterness and lack of life experience outside of Tevinter slavery left him bitter, largely tactless, and extremely poor at forming relationships with others. Depending on his relationship with Hawke, he does get better.
  • Noodle Implements: During his recruitment quest, Hawke opens a chest in a house in the alienage, expecting to recover Anso's lost property, but it's empty. During their first conversation with Fenris, he inquires what was in the chest, and upon learning that it was empty, admits that he should have expected nothing less. Hawke asks what he thought would be there, but he doesn't actually answer the question, nor is it ever mentioned again.
  • Not So Different: In "Night Terrors," if he is brought to the Fade, Hawke can say that if he takes the pride demon's offer of power, then he is no better than the magisters. It doesn't work.
  • Odd Couple: With a mage-supporting (or just mage) Hawke. Both he and a mage Hawke can note the irony of it at one point.
  • Odd Friendship: He has a few.
    • With Sebastian. Their world views are extremely different, but they like each other a lot.
    • With Bethany or a mage Hawke, despite his dislike of mages; he gets along very well with either of them, even noting to Anders in party banter that he considers them strong enough to live outside the Circle without supervision.
    • With Aveline, and by extension Donnic, who stops by his mansion to play a hand of cards every week, but tells Aveline they never gamble.
      Fenris: He's a good man, Aveline. I enjoy his company.
  • Omniglot: He speaks Tevene, the common tongue (the language of the Dwarves and the Free Marches), and picked up Qunlat by listening to the Qunari (though Tallis thinks his accent needs work). It's impressive for an amnesiac who can't read when Hawke first meets him.
  • Only Friend: He admits more than once that he's not certain what having a friend means. While he's opened up a fair bit by the third act, Hawke is one of the few people he feels comfortable outright calling friend.
  • Optional Party Member: Hawke can only meet him by doing a side quest in Act 1; fail to complete it and he's Permanently Missable.
  • Pardon My Klingon: He uses Tevinter swear words when he is upset.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Camera angles and his tendency to duck his head or look away during some emotionally-charged moments mean his hair sometimes covers his eyes, which emphasizes his vulnerability.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Unlike the other companions, his personal questline and romance can be completely derailed if the player doesn't use him in the right area at the right time.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • After making very cruel remarks towards Merrill after the latter's final personal quest, he will (grudgingly) admit that the Keeper must have truly cared for her if she was willing to sacrifice herself for her, and (in his own way) encourages her to live up to her memory.
    • He gets several other moments, like during the quest "A Bitter Pill," when he shows genuine concern and sympathy for the elven slave Orana and gets angry if Hawke decide to take her as their slave. There are also many moments between him and Hawke, especially if Hawke is in a friendly romance with him, or are at least friends, even if Hawke is a mage. Most of them are sweet enough to qualify as extremely heartwarming.
    • If he and Bethany are brought to the Chateau in Mark of the Assassin, he will comment that she should get herself one of the Orlesian gowns. Her response varies depending on what faction she has joined in the course of the game, but if the DLC is done during Act 1, she just warily asks him why. His answer borders on Ship Tease.
      Fenris: Because you would look pretty in one.
    • In the quest "All That Remains," if Hawke resorts to using blood magic to find Leandra, despite being normally against it Fenris doesn't protest and no rivalry points are gained from him, showing that he knows how dire the situation is for Hawke.
    • He shows sympathy towards Anders if the latter kills Ella, telling him that he should try to learn his limits (as a suggestion, not an insult).
    • He hates mages, but never once does he deride Hawke's father in Legacy, and even calls Malcolm a good man after Hawke encounters the remnants of his ghost. And when they learn that Malcolm used blood magic to seal Corypheus, Fenris merely comments about the danger a magister-turned-darkspawn may bring; likely because he understands why Malcolm used blood magic in the first place.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: The same markings that made him a valuable bodyguard also help him repel any attempts to recapture him.
  • Power Dyes Your Hair: Since his eyebrows don't match the hair on his head and his sister is a redhead, many fans believe that his hair was once brown/black but turned white during the lyrium branding process.
  • Power Glows: His lyrium scars glow when he is phasing. Some Party Banter suggests they have a slight glow, visible through clothing, even when he isn't using his powers. Varric thinks this is "kind of cool."
  • Power Tattoo: The lyrium tattoos, obviously.
  • Precision F-Strike: He outright calls Hadriana a "bitch" after killing her, showing just how much he hates her to the point that he can't bring himself to spare her despite promising to do so.
  • Pretty Boy: He's most likely older than twenty, but considering the new, leaner body model for elves, he certainly fits the aesthetic.
  • Primal Stance: Compare his posture with, say, Merrill's.
  • Properly Paranoid: He suspects slavers around every corner and a trap behind every stroke of luck. He's usually right.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: During his romance scenes — and every time Hawke's back is turned, if Merrill is to be believed, though he denies it.
    Fenris: There are no puppy eyes!
  • Rape as Backstory: Heavily implied in dialogue, and Word of God confirms it. This puts Isabela's "glistening" joke in Act 2 in a rather unfortunate light. He seems to take it rather well though, all things considered.
  • Reconstruction: Of the stereotypical roleplayer's "first D&D character," being a brooding, sexy lone wolf, too-hardcore magical elf ninja with a dark past, a bad attitude, and special rage powers who might as well be wielding a katana and seems inspired by an overindulgence in juvenile shonen manga and cheap fantasy literature. Not only does the story go to great lengths to show just how "uncool" this type of character really is (yes, you can go on an awesome, bloody revenge spree against the people who ruined your life... but then what? "Broody, violent and aloof" also isn't much fun to be around, so good luck making friends when you need them), it constantly and deliberately pokes fun at it and the more it develops, the more does Fenris' character grow beyond its roots into a more well-rounded and sympathetic one. Bonus points for showing that as he does that, he naturally becomes more comfortable around others, eventually coming to genuinely like spending time with his friends and even fooling around a bit rather than spending all of his time looking "dark and aloof".
  • Revenge Before Reason:
    • In his personal quest in Act 2, he kills a hired sword after interrogating him, and then kills Hadriana despite promising not to kill the latter in return for information about his past. Neither of these people were exactly innocent (Hadriana may have even deserved it), but he still killed them after it was obvious they were no longer a threat to him. He also yells at Hawke if they try to call him out on it. To his credit, he does clearly regret his behavior, and he goes to Hawke to apologize later. He even claims he genuinely intended to let Hadriana go, and is ashamed that he gave into his hatred when he thought he'd moved past it.
    • Even in Act 3, he will kill his sister who, while she did sell him out to Danarius, did so out of desperation, did not participate in the ensuing fight, and is completely unarmed and cowering in the corner at the time. His Character Development is showcased in how Hawke and the others can talk him out of it.
  • Saved to Enslave: Fenris' personal quest "A Bitter Pill" ends with Hawke rescuing an elf named Orana. Should Hawke offer her work at the Hawke Manor, Fenris reacts with derision. The player can then choose to make her a slave and play this trope straight or avert it and offer her a paid position.
  • Scars Are Forever: Due to being infused with lyrium when he was transformed. They cause him some amount of pain, more so when touched.
  • Seen It All: He gives off this impression with his generally stoic reactions, especially concerning the darker side of magic, though he is not in all likelihood older than his mid-twenties.
  • Sex Slave: Although his primary purpose was to be Danarius' bodyguard/living weapon, Word of God confirms that he also served in such a capacity.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: He gives a rather spectacular one to Danarius when he starts in on an evil rant in his final personal quest.
    Fenris: (scars glowing) Shut your mouth, Danarius!
    Danarius: (frustrated sigh) The word is "master."
  • Slave Collar: Used to have one. Danarius apparently used to like to keep him leashed as a parody of a Saarebas.
    Anders: Ouch.
  • So What Do We Do Now?: The gist of his final "Questioning Beliefs" conversation. He decides that even if neither he nor Hawke has a clear answer, it's entirely his decision for once.
    Fenris: The future of a slave is never uncertain, but I am no longer a slave. Perhaps it is time I remembered that.
  • Spikes of Villainy: The implications of the spikes all over his armor is discussed by the party once or twice, though he's an Anti-Hero.
    Varric: You do know the elf is covered in spikes, like an angsty porcupine? He might have some... issues.
  • The Stoic: It's highlighted most in combat. Every other character shouts in the heat of battle, but Fenris, tending toward Tranquil Fury as he does, with the exception of a few battle cries, delivers his combat lines in the same dry tone he uses in casual conversation.
  • Straight Man and Wise Guy: Straight man to Snarky! Hawke / Varric / Isabela.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Very icy by default, but if accompanying the right people or if Hawke is nice to him (or even romances him), he can show his softer side.
  • Super Soldier: He mentions that there are other soldiers with markings like his, but they're very rare. He had to compete against other warriors to earn the "honor", not that he was told about it going in.
  • Tempting Fate: In his first Act 2 conversation, he reflects that it's been three years since Danarius sent anyone after him, and dares to hope that he's finally given up. Naturally, his personal quest for that act proves him wrong.
  • Tired of Running: He's already been on the run for around three years when Hawke first meets him. He chooses to stay in Kirkwall because it's a "fortified position" and Hawke is his first ally of any substance.
  • Tranquil Fury: Constantly, to the point that he has an actual class ability (Veneer of Calm) that gives him a bonus to damage as his health drops.
  • Troubled, but Cute: He claims he doesn't brood. Varric isn't buying it for a second, and describes him as broody every now and then.
  • Undying Loyalty: While it's a given with every companion (except Sebastian and Anders), so as long as he's a full friend or rival and all his personal quests are completed, Fenris will pledge his loyalty to Hawke. His loyalty is steadfast to the point that even if Hawke sides with the mages at the endgame, he states that while he thinks it's a mistake he refuses to turn on them.
  • Unstoppable Rage: He usually doesn't emote much, but once any of his buttons is pushed, he's quick to reveal just how much fury he keeps bottled up.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: The aftermath of both his personal quests. In spite of years of abuse, he feels only disquiet after killing Hadriana — and finally killing Danarius leaves him wondering what he's going to do next.
  • Villains Never Lie: Averted for Hadriana, played straight for Danarius. While Fenris is understandably skeptical of Hadriana's information on his "sister" which he spends years cautiously researching to make sure it's true, he and the party take Danarius's and Varania's claim that Fenris had competed for his lyrium markings at face value.
  • What Have I Done: The incident that prompted him to run away from Danarius when he killed the Fog Warriors, who had rescued and cared for him, on Danarius' orders. He says at first it wasn't Danarius he was running from.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Hawke can give him one of these for breaking his word about leaving Hadriana alive. While he lashes out at Hawke for it, he does apologize later and states that Hawke did not deserve that response.
    • Hawke can also call him out on his hypocrisy concerning keeping mages captive during the final quest and get him to turn his back on supporting Meredith. It says something about how much he respects Hawke, considering how Anders has been browbeating him about that particular issue since Act 1 (or possibly about how much he dislikes Anders).
    • He himself will be furious at Hawke if they choose to take Orana as a slave. Be particularly blasé about it and he'll curse at Hawke in Tevene and spit at the ground before storming off. note 
    • After the final events of Merrill's second personal quest, Fenris will be particularly hostile towards her, calling her a "witch".
    • He also calls out Isabela on her actions near the end of the second act, since when the Arishok declares that he'll bring both the tome of Koslun and Isabela back to Par Vollen, he tells Isabela that she can't expect to get off scot-free for what she did.
  • With Us or Against Us: Played with and very much downplayed, especially when compared to Anders. Fenris naturally disapproves whenever Hawke expresses support of mage freedom or even simply sympathy of the mages' plight, and in party banter he can needle others for their opinions on mages and Templars. To his credit, with the exceptions of Anders and Merrill he doesn't immediately regard the other companions as enemies if their opinion slightly differs from his, and in case he and Hawke are rivals (which is easy to achieve with a pro-mage Hawke) the "worst" part of their relationship is that they mutually Agree to Disagree.
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race: His opinion of Bethany or a mage Hawke. He gains a great deal of respect for them for their ability to control their power and temptation, and believes that they have proven themselves strong enough that they do not need the supervision of the Circle.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: When Sebastian suggests he train other elves as they'd admire his accomplishments, Fenris sounds genuinely confused and says he hasn't accomplished anything. Sebastian doesn't think he's giving himself enough credit.


The Rogues


    Sebastian Vael
Voiced by: Alec Newman

"It's odd... 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 and brother of the Chantry, Sebastian is recruited via The Exiled Prince DLC. He joins Hawke in Act 2 after Hawke helps him avenge the death of his family (the rulers of Starkhaven) in Act 1. He becomes torn between his loyalty to the Chantry and his desire to retake Starkhaven. He is a romance option for a female Hawke.

  • Ancestral Weapon: His grandfather's bow, which Hawke can recover for him during one of his quests.
  • Archer Archetype: He fits a few of the characteristics, although his vengeful streak does subvert the trope somewhat. He tells Hawke that he learned the discipline on account of his grandfather, who seems to have been his favorite relative; his grandfather told him that a bow was a prince's weapon, since it allows for the defense of a city without opening the gates. His specialization tree is also called Royal Archer.
  • Badass Normal: All he's got is his bow, and he's effective with it.
  • Badass Preacher: One who does a surprisingly small amount of preaching. It gets discussed in Act 3 party banter with Isabela, who expresses surprise that he never tries to lecture her. He replies that straight-up dictating to people rarely works to convert them, and that he prefers to live his faith in order to serve as an example. She says she can respect that.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For/Give Me a Sign: At one point, Sebastian prays to the Maker to send him a sign for what to do about his Conflicting Loyalty. Then the Chantry blows up. If Anders is left to live, he leaves the party and declares that he will invade Kirkwall. If Hawke kills Anders, he's still very upset, but not enough to take it out on a whole city. Whether he remains with the Chantry or retakes the throne ultimately depends on whether Hawke has made him a friend or a rival, although the next game reveals that he retakes the throne no matter what.
  • Berserk Button: Having his family or surrogate family murdered. Understandably.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: One of the nicest and most moral characters in the game. This doesn't change the fact that he can use that bow to turn you into a pincushion.
  • Big "NO!": He gives a good one if he's in the party when Anders blows up the Chantry. Even parodied.
  • Birthday Episode: He features in the spinoff comic Knight Errant, with Varric traveling to Starkhaven to celebrate Sebastian's birthday. Despite how much he annoys Varric in the game, their reunion is extremely cordial.
  • Bling of War: Brought up to the extent of a Running Gag. Isabela even uses it as a mirror.
  • Brave Scot: Has the accent and the Hot-Bloodedness.
  • Break the Haughty: A mild version in his backstory.
  • Butt-Monkey: In Inquisition's DLC Trespasser, the new Viscount of Kirkwall, Varric, will ignore his letters in the same way he does with the Dwarven Merchant's Guild. There is a good reason for this if Sebastian tries to annex Kirkwall, but he's pretty much trolling him if he didn't.
  • Can't Argue With Churchmen: He's not always blind to the Chantry's faults, but it certainly does happen, and especially when he's talking to Anders.
    • Averted with Merrill (Dalish) and Tallis (Qunari), to whom he is very open-minded and respectful.
  • Celibate Hero: He took a vow of celibacy when he joined the Chantry, and won't break it even if romanced. That said, Sebastian is definitely not a virgin.
    • Chastity Couple: If a female Hawke pursues him and is in a friendship with him, they exchange vows but don't break Sebastian's own vow of celibacy.
  • The Champion: Following the secret meeting he and Hawke attend with Leliana, he swears himself this for Elthina, stating that if she will not leave Kirkwall for her own safety, then he will make sure she is safe and the dissident forces will have to go through him to get to her. It makes his Big "NO!" at the Chantry explosion all the more poignant, since he was unable to uphold that promise.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: He is torn between keeping his vows to the Chantry and his desire to reclaim his family's throne. The player can encourage him either way. No matter what choice he 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: Hawke can push him towards Well-Intentioned Extremism if they're in a rivalry.
  • Cultured Warrior: Favors the bow for this reason.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Every so often.
    Aveline: [The Grey Wardens] simply take whatever they need. It's ... worrying.
    Sebastian: I'll keep that in mind as I continue to not die of Blight.
  • Decadent Court: The reason his family was killed and part of the reason he is reluctant to throw himself back into politics.
    Sebastian: Your Merchants Guild reminds me of the court at Starkhaven. Intrigue and gossip wrapped in a layer of formality.
    Varric: If Starkhaven was a tenth as bad, I see why you took to the Chantry.
  • Dark-Skinned Redhead: It seems like he was supposed to be an Olive-Skinned Redhead, but some graphics issues caused characters with darker skin to appear much lighter than they were intended (notably Fenris and Isabela). His concept art makes it more obvious.
    • His skin colour is also evident in the Dark Horse comic Knight Errant, where he's virtually the same shade as the main character, Vaea.
  • The Ditherer: He spends most of the game in doubt and unable to choose any course of action. Elthina calls him on this when he decides to return to the Chantry and complains when she refuses him, stating that she can't trust he won't leave again on a whim.
    • This also, unfortunately, applies to his Character Development. If you choose to spare Anders near the end of the game, Sebastian dives head first back into his start of game mindset and leaves the party swearing revenge on the wrong people, this time the entire city of Kirkwall instead of Anders personally.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: If Anders survives Dragon Age II, Sebastian declares war on Kirkwall in Inquisition in hopes of annexing the city-state, even though Anders is not affiliated with Kirkwall and hasn't been there for years.
  • Easy Evangelism: Averted. While Sebastian is very dedicated to the Chantry, he doesn't push the other companions to convert. In party banter with Isabela, Sebastian admits that preaching seldom works, and it's better to lead by example.
  • Fingerless Gloves: It seems Starkhaven has yet to invent archery gloves.
  • Former Teen Rebel: His wild youth embarrassed his family into giving him to the priesthood.
  • Freak Out: If Hawke refuses to kill Anders for blowing up the Chantry in the finale, Sebastian flips from a Wide-Eyed Idealist Prince Charming to a Revenge Before Reason Knight Templar.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: No party members besides Anders and Varric dislike Sebastian, but they frequently poke fun at his do-gooder idealism and excessive faith. He is the clear outsider of the group, with Fenris being the only one (besides Hawke, potentially) who actually likes him.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: He's been traveling to different cities in the Free Marches between Acts 1 and 2, 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 Counterpart: To Sister Petrice, in that he represents a side of the Chantry that actually is charitable and compassionate, instead of just self-righteous. If you don't kill Anders in the finale, this all goes out the window.
  • 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, but doesn't get far due to his Conflicting Loyalty.
  • Happily Married: If Legacy is played after his last "Questioning Beliefs" scene in Act 2, it's revealed that he and a female Hawke who romanced him as a friend tied the knot. And no, she doesn't mind the chastity bit (although if Carver is alive and along for the quest, he's not impressed). He's the only companion Hawke can actually marry before the end of the game.
  • Headbutting Heroes: He and Anders do a really good job of getting on each other's bad side. At the end of Act 3, 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. The only Grey Warden he dislikes is Anders, and even that might have started because Anders left the Wardens and has a dim view of the order.
  • Hot-Blooded: Apparent during battle. More seriously, he repeatedly demonstrates that succumbing to Revenge Before Reason is his biggest flaw.
  • Hypocrite: After spending most of the game letting go of his bitterness towards his family's deaths and scolding other party members for letting revenge consume them, it goes out the window if Hawke spares Anders. He swears to build up an army and kill everybody in Kirkwall to avenge Elthina, a pacifist who had consistently urged him not to seek revenge. If he is rivals with Hawke he states "the end justifies the means" as his reasoning for starting a war and committing mass murder, apparently not seeing the irony in using the exact same justification and methods as Anders.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Over the course of his companion quests Sebastian comes to learn that his Revenge Before Reason mindset is flawed, growing as a person and even regretting ordering the deaths of an entire mercenary company for doing their jobs instead of seeking out the true culprits. However, all his Character Development gets flushed right down the drain after Anders blows up the Chantry and he'll flat out be right back where he was at the start of the game, baying for the blood of the one who's wronged him and abandoning the party if he doesn't get his way.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: One of the more noble and idealistic party members and his clear blue eyes help paint this image.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: He at first appears to be this played straight, but as the game goes on it becomes Deconstructed. His Wide-Eyed Idealism and self-righteousness makes him something of an irritating outsider to the rest of the party sans Fenris and can ultimately leads to him abandoning the party over Anders being spared.
  • Lack of Empathy: Although Sebastian is nice, virtuous, and has no personal bad feelings against mages, he completely fails to see any problems with the Circle system or any cause for mages to rebel, even considering how bad things get during the course of the game. However, if Sebastian was fully befriended and Anders is executed, he will acknowledge that not every mage is like him and that they should fight for the mages who were treated unjustly at the hands of the Templars. Double Subverted in that he still doesn't get why Anders was pushed to destroy the Chantry.
  • 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.
  • Meaningful Name: In the Catholic Church, Saint Sebastian is a martyred priest and the Patron Saint of archers. Sebastian Vael is a Chantry brother and archer.
  • Mutually Exclusive Party Members: After the destruction of the Chantry, if you refuse to execute Anders, he deserts you on the spot.
  • Nice Guy: The kindest companion overall. The only exception comes at the end in regards to Anders; however, considering that the man just blew up the chantry with his mother figure Elthina and dozens of his brothers and sisters in faith inside, it's quite understandable.
  • Not So Different:
    • Admits that 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.
  • Odd Friendship: With Fenris. The two are on the opposite sides of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism, but they get along really well.
  • Poisonous Friend: If Sebastian is in a rivalry with Hawke, Grand Cleric Elthina will view their relationship as this, after Sebastian is coaxed into abandoning his vows and retaking Starkhaven.
  • 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.
    Sebastian: 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.
  • Really Gets Around: In his younger years only, obviously.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: He's the most devoutly religious companion in the game. He's also a villain's nightmare with the bow.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: In Inquisition, Sebastian is one of the first rulers to offer an alliance to the Inquisition. This is subverted if Anders is alive, as Sebastian eventually demands that the Inquisition honor their alliance by helping him with his pointless war to annex Kirkwall; but it's played straight if Anders is dead, in which case he pleads with the Inquisition to help Kirkwall.
  • Redemption Failure: What happens if Hawke lets Anders live, especially if they were on the Friendship route and he'd decided to stay in Kirkwall.
  • Religious Bruiser: He's a Chantry Brother but that doesn't stop him from kicking ass.
  • The Resenter: He was this toward his brothers for being favored by his parents. After their murder, he worries that he is not completely over this, and that his desire for vengeance is actually a desire to get what his family never let him have.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Played with. When Hawke first meets him, he is outraged by his family's murder, but is unable to do anything about it except ask them 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 and the fact that Anders has no intention of staying in Kirkwall.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: As the youngest son of the Starkhaven royal family, he was supposed to lead the militia (hence his archery training).
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Abandons Hawke and vows revenge if Anders is not executed after destroying the Chantry.
  • Sheltered Aristocrat: He's only ever lived in the royal court of Starkhaven and the Kirkwall Chantry. 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, they have some adorable flirty banter. It doesn't really go anywhere, though, because he doesn't become an actual companion until after she's joined the Circle/the Grey Wardens; they therefore only see each other if they're both brought along for either of the DLC campaigns.
    • There's also a bit of teasing between Sebastian and Vaea from the comic book Knight Errant.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: In his Act 2 companion quest, if Hawke doesn't do this to Allure, he will.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: How Carver reacts to Sebastian's relationship with Hawke.
  • Sixth Ranger: Well, ninth ranger to be exact. He is the only companion to be recruited in Act 2, rather than Act 1, though he is featured beforehand.
  • Spare to the Throne: Resented the fact that he's actually the spare to the spare.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: To Alistair, even abandoning the party if the hero refuses to kill someone. He even mentions being a fan of Alistair; depending on the preset or Origins import being used, he can remark that he's been reading about the Fifth Blight and finds King Alistair's story to be particularly inspiring. Unlike Alistair, however, he's nobility that actually wants to remain in the Chantry and isn't afraid of using royal power.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Pretty much designed that way. Isabela and Bethany have their moments of Eating the Eye Candy.
  • Token Good Teammate: Not quite so much as Bethany, but he tries.
  • Token Religious Teammate: As a character, he's defined by his piety.
  • 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 who might challenge his brothers' heirs.
    • It's implied that this might have happened anyway, even if he'd been a model prince. A codex entry about the Vael family history (found during the quest "Repentance") says that it's a tradition to dedicate one child in every generation to the Chantry.
  • The Unfought: In Inquisition, if Anders is alive and the player decides to side with Aveline. Since the quest is a War Table operation, the player never actually fights Sebastian himself, only being told of the battle and its aftermath from Cullen's report.
  • Vow of Celibacy: Religious, due to his Chantry affiliation. Isabela teases him about it, and so can a female Hawke.
  • We Used to Be Friends: He and Aveline are friendly, but if Hawke spares Anders, they fight a war over the city of Kirkwall.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: His parents were "rather traditional," and the relative of whom he speaks most fondly is his grandfather.
    Sebastian: I wish my parents could see me now. They always said I had "no sense of the dignity of my station." A disgrace to the Vael name. Now, here I am, traipsing around the Deep Roads like a common soldier ...
    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 (at least, no more than it does anyone else). 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: When he's first introduced, he's looking for the mercenaries who murdered his family (and in a later quest, the person who hired them). Bookended when Anders blows up the Chantry, killing everyone inside, including Sebastian's surrogate mother Elthina. If the player decide to let Anders live, Sebastian leaves the party and swears revenge.

    Varric Tethras 

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