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    Fridge Brilliance 
  • In Uthenera, the song Leliana sings:
    • The song is about fate, embracing death and being mortal. It intertwines perfectly, serving as the main theme of the game and becoming the central theme of the story. Notice that everyone in the camp reacts to it with pensiveness save Morrigan, who dismisses it. Morrigan wants to cheat fate and prevent the Warden from sacrificing themselves for a noble cause, the exact opposite of what the song preaches. The question of mortality comes up again and again within the story, such as Zathrian's curse.
    • People think the song seems weird because of the musical instruments, bad lipsync, and Leliana's voice difference. Perhaps the song we are hearing is the song Leliana is remembering instead of what she is singing.
    • One last thing is that it is a song for the departed sung by a previously immortal race. So, on some level, it is not just the song for the departed, it's a lament for the entire elven race, which has lost immortality.
  • The symbol of Christianity is a cross, because Jesus was crucified. Now, Andraste was instead burned at the stake. And the symbol of the Andrastian Chantry? A flaming sun!
    • In addition, the Templar Order uses a flaming sword as their symbol; Archon Hessarian mercifully ended Andraste's suffering with his sword.
  • Similarly, instead of Lions Rampant, Ferelden has Mabari Rampant, as the love of dogs in the fictional realm are similar to the love of horses in England.
  • While most dwarves have Scottish accents and a clan structure, the Dragon Age dwarves have American accents and some elements of democracy. While their society is far from egalitarian, they are the closest thing there is to a democracy. In fact, they may be modeled on the pre-revolution colonies, where wealthy families dominate a pseudo-democracy.
  • Flemeth during Morrigan's personal quest. She initially wore regular clothes, but is now wearing a set of mage robes. She knew you were coming and had prepared for your arrival.
  • During the Dwarf Noble origin story, it seems odd that Trian just leaves his journal lying there for you to read. And then, it makes perfect sense. His writings served as a warning all along.
  • The official cover art shows a blood motif of a dragon, obviously because it's in the name, the Big Bad is the Archdemon, and there are lots of gore. However, most importantly: the blood represents The Blight itself; the darkspawn blood, which taints everyone and binds the darkspawn demons (and also the Grey Wardens) to the Archdemon. Then of course there are blood mages, kept in line with phylacteries (vials of blood), and you can taint Andraste's ashes with (and drink) dragon blood.
  • Darkspawn Reproduction:
    • If you slay the Architect (thus keeping him from preventing any more future blights) but feel guilty, remember: The Darkspawn are a parasitic race; they reproduce by preying on other people. Making peace with them is impossible, so making sure they don't get any more intelligent is probably the best you can hope for.
    • On the other hand, the Darkspawn's desire to create Broodmothers is implied to stem from their curse to act as a hive-mind army for the Archdemons and Old Gods. One can argue that their instinct to reproduce in such a way might be curbed or outright disappear if they regain their independent minds (as the Architect wishes), and make them more open to listen to reason as they act on a more individual basis. At least one of the Disciples, the Messenger, even becomes helpful and overall good-natured on his own if given the chance to live. So there is potential for a mostly good outcome of allying with the Architect. It's just a gamble as to whether it pays off.
      • It's implied that it doesn't pay off, with the ending of Awakening mentioning a "hooded figure who wanders the countryside helping people" but leaves blight sickness in his path. Imagine an entire sentient race of people who infect other races with an incurable disease and rot the land under their feet. There would never be a way to live in harmony with them, as they would either be slaughtered and driven back into the Deep Roads before launching another invasion, or (most likely) placed in quarantined prison camps. You can bet that whoever ran those camps would not treat them well. It's probably kinder to let the darkspawn remain soulless and mindless than to awaken them and let them truly appreciate the horror they created. As for the Blights, there are only two Blights left as of the end of Origins, and while they're terrible events, people now know how to end them quickly. The Blights have become less and less catastrophic; the Fifth Blight was the shortest in history, after all.
      • But notably, Fiona, a former Grey Warden, was cured of the Taint, with others actively looking for a way to replicate her success. Added with the fact that Grey Wardens don't pass on the Taint, there could eventually be a way to neutralise its contagious nature if sufficient effort was dedicated to research a way to do so. Their gained sentience would make the researching easier too, as the Darkspawn would be disconnected from the hivemind and stop aiming to kill people on sight.
  • Listen very closely to the Sloth Demon in the Circle Of Magi. His voice, combined with his putting the party to sleep and controlling dreams, makes the demon a pretty clear (and clever) expy of Freddy Krueger.
  • Alistair:
    • Alistair leaves if you spare Loghain, and kills him immediately if he is chosen to duel Loghain. Throughout the game, despite his cheery demeanor, whenever Duncan and the other Wardens are brought up, Alistair invariably becomes sad and distant. It's quite clear that he loved his fellow Wardens, especially since they were the first family he'd ever really had and gave him a life he wanted to live outside the maddening and strict life of the Chantry. And Loghain took that away from him. That's why he tolerates the Warden being monstrous and selfish, but it's also why he'll leave even if he's your best friend. Throughout the whole adventure, deep down, Alistair has been carrying a deep-set hunger for revenge against Loghain for what he did. The best part is how marvellously understated this is. He makes no declarations of his intentions and keeps his pain and fury bottled-up. It only comes out when you bring up Duncan and the Wardens, so if him leaving seems abrupt, then you haven't been paying attention to what motivates Alistair, and makes him that much deeper and more faceted. Alistair must be hardened in order to keep Loghain around and have him as King.
    • Made all the more sad if you're romancing him, persuaded him to marry Anora, and ask him afterwards about the relationship; he comments that what happened with Loghain has tainted it for him and "there is no us". This comes across as cruel and petty until you realise that what happened has added the Warden to the long list of things Loghain took from Alistair, and he now has to marry Loghain's daughter and probably see him every day. No wonder he's snide and angry for the rest of the game.
    • There's another element to this as well: Riordan and Anora suggest making Loghain a Warden as his punishment for his crimes, in lieu of executing him. Alistair will always see being a Warden as an honor and never a punishment; the suggestion of making Loghain a Warden is tantamount to asking Alistair to accept him as a brother and let him off scot-free for everything he did.
  • Leliana's tale about Flemeth off-handedly mentions that she can steal a woman's beauty through mirrors, and Morrigan's one piece of property as a child was a stolen mirror later broken by Flemeth. These seem minor elements, a common superstition and a cruel lesson, respectively... until Witch Hunt, wherein Morrigan escapes through a magic mirror, implied to be bound to Flemeth's will...
  • Note that Riordan's surprise attack successfully crippled the Archdemon's wing, which is why it hangs around the top of Fort Drakon in a last stand instead of just flying away.
  • During the Mage origin story, Uldred is described as the leader of the Libertarians, a faction of the Circle that believes that mages should be free rather than submitting to the oversight of the Templars. He's one of the few mages who is genuinely proud of his abilities. Which is perhaps what leaves him vulnerable to possession by a Pride Demon.
  • Want to know an argument for sparing Loghain? You get this quote from Riordan: "We aren't judges. Kinslayers, blood mages, traitors, rebels, carta thugs, common bandits: Anyone with the skill and the mettle to take up the sword against the darkspawn is welcome among us." Those six examples represent each origin story, and how people react to you negatively. Kinslayers represent the Dwarf Noble because you either killed your brother or were blamed for his death. Blood magic is the most common accusation against an apostate mage, even if they hate it. Traitors represent the Human Noble because of the slanders Teyrn Loghain and Arl Howe made regarding your family. Rebels would be best associated with a City Elf due to the stereotypes of elves being nothing but troublemakers. Carta thugs represent a Dwarf Commoner, who did work for the carta. As for common bandits and the Dalish Elf origin, people who are completely ignorant about the Dalish (including other elves) would likely assume that they are just glorified bandits who kill humans. Then it becomes clear that you are judging Loghain as much as people judged you before you became a Grey Warden.
  • Bryce Cousland chose "Pup" of all things to be the affectionate nickname of the Human Noble Warden, due to how big Fereldans are on dogs.
  • Ser Jory has the lowest willpower of companions during the Wilds part of Ostagar. Pretty fitting considering his reactions to pretty much everything scary.
  • For a while after the Joining, Grey Wardens apparently experience ravenous hunger when eating. So do the Darkspawn.
  • Why is Sten only allowed one specialization instead of two? Because Qunari believe that it's best to do one specific thing, but to do it very well. Gameplay and Story Integration!
  • When you gain the Spirit Warrior specialization in Awakening, you can give it to Oghren despite him being a dwarf and therefore having no connection to the Fade, indicating that he has already been there and can handle it.
  • Flemeth and Morrigan:
    • Flemeth deliberately raised Morrigan to be Stupid Evil. She can't afford her daughter having an alternative world view as she's going to possess that body one day, and all the magic that comes with it.
    • On a related note, Morrigan has fairly underpowered starting spells, as well as the most underpowered mage specialization, shapeshifting. However, Flemeth sustains her existence by taking over the body of her latest "daughter" once the girl is old enough, a process that requires overcoming whatever resistance she might be able to muster. Of course she wouldn't want Morrigan's power to be optimized! Along the same lines, Morrigan may have chosen the shapeshifting specialization because, as Flemeth says, she's quite fond of the legends concerning Witches of the Wild. Morrigan may like to pretend she's a Munchkin, but she's really a role-player at heart - a dynamic that fits nicely with her Tsundere nature. Fittingly, the first sign of that nature is that Morrigan derides the legends concerning the Witches, only for Flemeth to confirm (less than five minutes later) that her daughter enjoys those stories.
    • Plus, if you romance with her, Morrigan—witty, dry-humored, quick-to-retort Morrigan—is completely at a loss if you ask her what she wants, to the point that you determine that nobody has ever asked her that before. Which makes sense—not much point in letting a kid make their own choices if you're going to Grand Theft Me them in a few years anyway. They'll put up less resistance if they've got less personal interest. However, in a second bit of Fridge Brilliance, it didn't quite stick. Flemeth was apparently really bad at teaching that mentality, because Morrigan favors personal power over the good of the group.
      • It actually makes sense. In Inquisition, Flemeth can note that she would not be able to possess Morrigan's body without her approval. Gaining a lot of power might be a good argument for Morrigan to undergo the process, since we don't really know whether it is "taking over the body", or rather "merging two people".
  • Morrigan's morality - players often consider her the Token Evil Teammate, but she isn't evil in a petty sort of way. She has more of the 'law of the jungle" mindset. Remember what she says about her shapeshifter training - she had to accept the way animals behave and think in order to master that skill. She has had no other morality system to fall back on, and can become a much nicer person under the influence of the Warden (especially if romanced and the Warden fathers Kieran and enters the mirror with her in Witch Hunt).
  • When you meet Morrigan, one of the first things you might notice is that she speaks with a very old and complicated vocabulary, the most glaring one being her use of 'tis. Knowing that she is well-read, this is the first clue that Morrigan knows nothing about the outside world: she speaks like a character from a book because she's got no other references as to how people talk.
  • At first, the idea of Thedas's humans and elves cremating their dead seemed like meaningless background fluff. At further glance, though, it seems to actually serve a purpose. Humans and elves all have a connection to the Fade, even after death. Considering how many demons would be happy to take on a corpse and wreak havoc, it only makes sense that the bodies of the dead would start being destroyed to prevent such attacks. It's only the Andrastians who do this (supposedly since Andraste was burned), but getting rid of corpses might also be useful. The Dalish bury their dead and plant trees over the site.
  • If the Warden is a mage, then when you encounter Uldred in the Circle Tower, you can state that the two of you are Not So Different, with which he completely agrees. The demon possessing Uldred is a Pride demon, the same demon the Warden overcame during their Harrowing. This is particularly Fridge Brilliance if your Warden is morally ambiguous or evil.
  • DLC Fridge Horror and Fridge Brilliance from Leliana's Song. Leliana lies crying in a dark dungeon after being betrayed by her lover Marjolaine to a cruel Fereldan officer. She never tells us what happened to her, and we assume it's run of the mill torture... until the officer makes a cruel remark to her later in the story about simply asking if she "wanted more men." Note, in the prison cutscene, where the blood stains are.
  • Why is Branka a Paragon of her Kind? Dwarves, apparently an honourable and noble race, have a dark side to them, one that can look nasty to an outsider. Dwarves also greatly admire determinators, and Branka is one taken Up to Eleven.
  • It seems weird that natural born-hornless Qunari would be considered destined for greatness, while the Tal-Vashoth who voluntarily remove their horns are considered the scum of the earth. But that's actually the whole point. Tal-Vashoth removing their horns is their way of protesting the fatalist nature of the Qun, a philosophy that's not so big on the concept of people making their own choices about what to do. It's effectively saying Screw Destiny to the Qun and symbolizes them choosing their own lot in life instead of it being fixed for them by an outside force.
  • The phylactery chamber in the Circle of Magi is initially confusing as to why it is a room filled with mist, snow, and ice. However, it is the mage equivalent of a refrigerator, and the cold is there to preserve the blood.
  • One would think that since Ferelden is more rough-and-ready and "barbarian"-like than its neighboring nations, that the attire of the nobility would consist of more practical leathers, tunics, and furs than their foppish bright colors and puffed sleeves. But Ferelden was occupied by Orlais for over a century before the game's story began. So it's easy to assume that the Orlesians influenced the nobles' fashion and changed it from something like this to this - much like how the Anglo-Saxons were influenced by being under Norman rule when William the Conqueror invaded. (After all, Ferelden is fantasy Britain, and Orlais is fantasy France.)
  • In a playthrough where the Warden has romanced Alistair and befriended Morrigan, when trying to persuade Alistair to do the ritual with her, Morrigan acts very nonchalant about her request, even though she knew it must tear up the Warden to have to convince the man she loves to sleep with another woman. She even offers some passive-aggressive guilt, claiming that if the Warden really loved Alistair, she would offer him the chance to save his own life. This seemed contrary to how Morrigan acts after you befriend her, where she warms up to you considerably and acts fairly sympathetic towards you. Yet here she seems to regress back to her old self, only to swing back again when bidding you farewell at the gates of Denerim. When offering the ritual, Morrigan is wearing a mask. It is killing her to ask her only friend to do this, but she doesn't have a choice if she wants to save her friend's life. She may have her own long-term plans concerning the god child, but saving the Warden is her motivation at this point. The official Dragon Age: The Revelation comic, which was cut content, shows exactly this.
  • Wynne:
    • It may seem odd that Wynne turns on you if you destroy the Urn of Sacred Ashes, as she never seemed to be overly devout (or at least less so than Leliana). Then comes Dragon Age II and we see that joining with a Spirit of the Fade can have pronounced alterations on the mage's personality. So of course Wynne would try to kill/abandon you. You've just destroyed one of the most highly regarded holy relics in Thedas, and Wynne is joined with a spirit of Faith. The brilliance on this point kicks in even before the second game: Eamon's son, Connor, who is possessed by a desire demon, becomes completely different from his usual self. Also, in a moment of Fridge Brilliance meets Wild Mass Guessing, if you defile the ashes, the two party members who immediately attack you, regardless of approval ratings, are Wynne and Leliana. Maybe the Cult of Andraste was right about their prophet being reborn - they just had the wrong entity.
    • There could also be an explanation for Wynne being so well adjusted for the majority of her possession, while Anders loses it in the second game. Wynne is fundamentally good without being a devout Andrastian possibly due to Faith keeping her in line. Anders and Justice, meanwhile, are both obsessed in their pursuit of freeing the mages. Anders had a system of negative feedback that Wynne lacked.
  • Fridge Brilliance and Fridge Horror (at least from the Templars' perspective): during "Broken Circle", why is the Templar's Nightmare by far the most difficult section of the Fade to navigate? Because the Templars are obsessed with upholding the law and order of the Chantry. Spatial relations are probably the most well-ordered thing in the world; if even they prove unreliable, we have truly entered a Templar's nightmare.
  • The rose Alistair picks from Lothering has to be the same rose Leliana saw that made her think her vision was true. When Alistair gives a romanced Warden the rose, he says pretty much the same thing that Leliana does when you ask her about her vision. "In the midst of darkness, there is still beauty." With that in mind, it makes tons of sense that they could end up as a couple in Darkspawn Chronicles.
  • Alistair gets mocked a lot for capitulating to his junior (the Warden). Seeing just about everyone in the party mock him for being lower in command despite being the senior Warden is funny, until you realise that in just about every origin, the Warden was groomed to become a better leader than Alistair. The Cousland family is just beneath the royal family in terms of status and power, and there is the possibility that Lord/Lady Cousland would assume reign over Highever. Similarly, the dwarven noble is royalty in line for the throne. The dwarven commoner, having spent most of their life looking out for the family and fending for themself, would have excellent survival skills (and, depending on how you play, appears to be the dominant partner in their duo with Leske). The city elf is the child of an Alienage elder, whilst the Dalish elf is of the warrior class, making both origins adept in survival and leadership. The mage origin has comparatively less going for it, but from dialogue it's clear you were trained to become headstrong and exceptionally talented in magic. Alistair, meanwhile, has never had control over his life and was always told what to do even before Duncan came along. He also, at the start of the game, has only been a Warden for about six months, so he doesn't even have much more experience or training than the player. Poor guy.
  • On two occasions near the start of the game, you come across madmen ranting about the darkspawn. Only after you've finished the game do what they're saying start to make sense. The first is a soldier at Ostagar that was poisoned by darkspawn and is ranting about the horde that's bearing down on him and how everyone's going to die. He has the Taint, just like the Wardens, and can actually sense the darkspawn! The second is a Chasind in Lothering ranting about how everyone's going to die, then points at you and announces that he can sense the darkness in you, and how you're only the first of many. Wardens have the Taint, they carry darkspawn blood in their veins! Both sound crazy but are completely right.
  • Several bits of brilliance about Sten in light of all we learn about the Qunari later on in Dragon Age II:
    • Sten is swift to join the Warden to atone for his failures. One of the key components of the Qun, however, is that it gives every Qunari purpose. The Warden's arrival and offer to take him along to fight the Blight gives him a new purpose that would be acceptable within the confines of his role in the Qun, which is why he is so quick to accept this. Aside from atoning for his failures and continuing his mission for the Arishok, the Warden offers him a chance to continue being a warrior and fulfill his overall purpose.
    • Sten is quiet around the others. The reason for this is elaborated on in the Codex. Aside from lacking respect for the others beyond immediate combat utility, he apparently doesn't command a full control of the common tongue in Ferelden. For the Qunari, not possessing mastery of a skill in front of others is shameful, so Sten (since he doesn't fully understand the language) stays quiet to avoid embarrassing himself.
    Sten: All your language sounds the same to me. I thought you were singing about vegetables, actually.
    • Sten's objections to the Warden straying from directly fighting the Blight, i.e. going to Haven, stem from not simply his role as a soldier but also because of your role as a Grey Warden. Wardens fight the Blight, so by moving away from doing so to perform other, seemingly unnecessary tasks, you are deviating from your role, which is a big no-no to the Qunari. Sten disapproves of actions such as helping Redcliffe or going to Haven because that's not the Warden's job. It's to fight the Blight.
      • Furthermore, his contemptuous attitude during the Urn of Sacred Ashes quest seems entirely predictable once you learn from Seamus Dumar that Qunari do not view dead bodies as worthy of special treatment; to them, the body is no longer the person it once was, and should be disposed as conveniently as possible.
    • Upon retrieving his sword, Sten's comments if the Warden isn't sure they aren't Ashkaari, which is a Qunari title meaning "One Who Seeks". While his tone indicates he's joking (and making a Stealth Pun that the Warden does a lot of seeking), it's also possible he's expressing his newfound respect for the Warden. Being Ashkaari means having complete and utter understanding of one's role and purpose in life, thus having reached enlightenment (the goal of the Qun). While the Warden initially confused Sten with their seemingly erratic decisions, Sten now recognises the Warden's role as an Ashkaari of the Grey Wardens. This would also explain why after finding Asala, he voices his opinion but does not question the Warden's decision to go to Haven, since the Warden is following the demands of their role.
  • Darkspawn Chronicles:
    • Lots of people complained about the decisions Alistair made in Darkspawn Chronicles, saying that they were out of character for an all-around good guy and idealistic hero like him. But in this scenario, Alistair, a man who already fears leadership, is lost making decisions he is not prepared for. In such a scenario, who would Alistair have following him, belittling him, and whispering poisonous lies in his ears while asserting her much stronger personality? Morrigan, who likely took over the group herself while using Alistair as her figurehead.
    • Also, consider what the lack of a Warden means for Alistair's mental state. Alistair repeatedly states that he is a follower and not a leader, which is why he defers to the Warden in spite of being the senior Warden. Here, however, there is no one but Alistair to take up the responsibilities of leading the group. He has to fit into a role he doesn't want, in addition to dealing with the grief of losing Duncan and the other Wardens at Ostagar and having no Warden to potentially befriend/romance him and help him cope with the pain. Taking all this into account, an Alistair without the Warden's support would likely become a much harsher and more ruthless person, being more likely to make pragmatic choices if it means defeating the Blight.
    • It also makes sense that under Morrigan's influence, Alistair would make choices that are effective offensively against the Darkspawn, such as saving the Anvil of the Void and siding with the Werewolves. However, focusing too much on offense means that Alistair's force had little defensive strategy, which the Dalish Archers would have provided. Similarly, without recruiting Wynne, Alistair had no one to keep his companions healthy and able to fight, instead relying on the sheer offensive power Morrigan provided to win battles. Without the Warden's presence, Alistair became very ruthless, but also very reckless without anyone to stop him.
    • Furthermore, most of the companions you can recruit were seemingly not picked up by Alistair, yet they generally put in an appearance anyway in an appropriate location. Oghren is at the Gnawed Noble Tavern, indicating that he either abandoned Alistair or came to the surface on his own; Wynne appears guarding the gate to the Alienage with Cullen and Knight-Commander Greagoir, presumably having been spared but not recruited by Alistair; Zevran is found in the Alienage, Alistair having spared his life but sent him away; and Sten is found in the Palace District on the steps leading up to Fort Drakon, where it is possible he was left to buy Alistair and his party time to reach the Archdemon. But Shale is conspicuously absent from the proceedings. Why? Most likely because, as you may recall, Shale will turn on you if you preserve the Anvil in her presence. The presence of steel golems in the Palace District is an indication that Alistair did.
  • One of the main problems within Dragon Age is that entities from a higher plane of existence are merging with people, thereafter controlling their actions and influencing their decisions (a being called an Abomination in-universe). But then again... what does a player do when playing DA? Take over the main character, control their actions, and influence their decisions. We may not be from the Fade, but we definitely come from a "higher plane of existence". So, like it or not, that means each and every protagonist is a kind of abomination, and every player is a kind of demon.
  • It seems reasonable that Mother Dorothea, later Divine Justinia, would be named after Justinian and Theodora, the emperor and empress of Byzantine from 527-565, the former of whom is considered a saint by Orthodox Christians.
  • It seemed odd that Mouse, a Pride demon who should be the embodiment of said sin, was making himself the lowest of the low. But he wasn't showing off his own pride, he was trying to lead the Warden to a position of pride. It is mentioned in the Codex that demons aren't named after their own personality, but after the emotion they manipulate and exploit in others (e.g. Sloth demons are not necessarily lazy, but are so named because they foster slumber and apathy in their victims). Just as the Sloth demon attacking the Circle seems to work quite hard to keep its victims complacent and asleep, a Pride demon need not actually have much of an ego, especially since it would probably be counter-productive; the easiest way to make someone feel pride is by making them feel superior, which would be difficult if you had your own massive ego chafing against any sign of humility.
    • But do note that in his "human" form, Mouse is wearing senior enchanter robes.
    • Given Solas' explanation about spirits reflecting people's expectations, Mouse can even not be a demon at all. Greagoir and Irving tell the Warden that their test is a demon and that's what Mouse is reflecting, but considering his warning before leaving, Mouse can be actually a Spirit of Wisdom testing every mage in their Harrowings as a final exam.
  • An early interaction between Alistair and Morrigan is confusing to a first-time player. Alistair asks, "What would you do if your mother died?" and Morrigan replies, "Before or after I stopped laughing?" He shrugs it off as her being creepy, but after completing Morrigan's quest, it makes sense that she's referring to Flemeth's ability to extend her life by storing bits of herself in vials and the like. It becomes even more clear if you return to Origins after playing the sequel.
  • If Zevran is with you when Master Ignacio offers you a quest, they will have a dialogue where Zevran will try to justify his failure to kill you, only for Ignacio to point out it was suicidal to even take the contract in the first place. It eventually turns out that not only was Zevran indeed the only one willing to take the contract, but he was indeed being suicidal.
  • When you first get Leliana as a party member, she has a unique amulet equipped called "Seeker's Circle". Who do we find out she has joined in the next game? The Seekers.
  • More a Fridge for the series as a whole, but the Warden, from most of the trailers, is a warrior. In most of DAII's trailers, Hawke is a mage. And in DAI's trailers, the Inquisitor is a rogue. This makes sense for each of the characters and their respective games. DAO is a Fantasy Epic where you gather an army to combat a dark evil. The Warrior Hero is best suited for it, as with other fantasy stories. The Mage/Templar conflict is full force in DAII, and making Hawke a mage only adds to the drama and tension. Finally, the Inquisitor is a rogue, leading a Shadowy Organization with a penchant for Taking the Third Option, best suited for rogues, who use stealth and cunning.
  • Loghain versus Couslands:
    • Why did Loghain approve of Howe's massacre of the Cousland household? He says that he believed the Couslands were secretly in cahoots with the Orlesians, which makes sense given his extreme pro-patriotic paranoia and a) Bryce's eldest son Fergus married an Antivan woman (much to the displeasure of more conservative and patriotic Fereldans), b) Bryce's closeness with Cailan and Eamon, whom Return to Ostagar reveals (and Word of God confirms that Loghain knew) were plotting to divorce Anora so Cailan could marry Empress Celene of Orlais.
    • Not to mention the Cousland family are the most politically powerful and beloved noble family after the Theirin family (with some rumors that many nobles wanted to crown Bryce over Maric), so it would have also been politically expedient of Loghain to take out the most powerful noble family after Cailan to ensure minimal opposition after he usurps the throne...
  • Alistair remarks that Duncan is coddling him, but in reality, Duncan is keeping him safe because of his lineage. When you visit the Korcari Wilds, Alistair is in charge, which is a strange task to give to someone who is being coddled. In reality, Duncan was trying to mold Alistair into a leader so that he could take the throne in the event of Cailan's death. Alistair himself seems to suspect as much later, when revealing his parentage to the Warden.
    • Cailan is clearly in on the plan, too. After the Joining is complete and the war council is discussing lighting the beacon at the Tower of Ishal, he notes what an important task it is and says that "We should send our best - send Alistair and the new Grey Warden." Just why would Cailan entrust such an important task to the two newest members of the order? Because one of them is his brother and the last living member of the royal family should Cailan fall, and the other is a completely green recruit who will need guidance from a slightly more seasoned Warden if something goes wrong. Cailan was not only trying to save his brother's life, but was also giving him a purpose - protecting his new friend. Not only that, the task is simple enough to keep Alistair out of danger (at least on the surface), but important enough that no one will question sending a Warden or two.
      • Sending Alistair to the Tower removes him from the main battle and puts him in a more defensible position. In the Return to Ostagar DLC, we find out that Cailan knew that the battle ahead was going to be difficult and that it wasn't likely that Ferelden could survive without aid. The Tower is much easier to defend (the fact that it was already overrun notwithstanding), and being away from the main horde means that a rescue would be easier to mount if necessary.
    • In addition, as revealed in The Calling, Duncan is close friends with Alistair's real mother. Could it be he is coddling Alistair because of that?
  • Arl Eamon's treatment of Alistair when he lived in his castle (treating him like a stray, making him sleep in the stables and kennels like a dog, etc.) can take on a whole new light after the player learns that Alistair's mother is an elf. If Eamon knew about Alistair's true parentage, then given the amount of Fantastic Racism and Urban Segregation against elves in the setting (even HalfHuman Hybrids like Alistair), it's possible that Eamon treated him the way he did at least partially/subconsciously because of this.
    • This is unlikely though, since that might lead them to the fact that she was a mage (which would have probably made it impossible to rally the people behind him, being that magic is generally hated and feared) as he is canonically Fiona's son. It's more likely that he was acting out on the fact that Maric, the widower of Eamon's older sister Rowan, expected him to raise and possibly support a bastard child who was not his beloved sister's (Rowan having passed away before Alistair was conceived) and also a possible threat to Cailan's ascent to the throne (Cailan being his nephew and kin).
    • Alistair mentions that Duncan forcibly conscripted him against the Chantry's wishes, taking him away from the Templars. While in character for Duncan, it makes even more sense when you find out he's close friends with Alistair's real mother and has been for years, and considered Maric something of a friend as well. Of course Duncan would want to get him out when he knew Alistair was miserable, even knowing it would earn him the disapproval of the Chantry. This also adds layers to Duncan recruiting a mage and/or elven Warden - he knows from Fiona exactly how badly both can be treated.
  • You can easily fall into a romance with Leliana without aiming to, which seems like a bug. However, as a bard, Leliana would entrap her targets by seducing them, and now she's doing the same to you - except this time, it's genuine. It's the best way for her to show her love for you.
  • Giant Spiders are pretty much par for the course in these type of games. You probably saw them in Lothering and they weren't threatening, but then you come across Corrupted Spiders. Tainted by the Blight, they actively stalk you and are really aggressive, aggro other arachnids. The brilliance comes in if you can take a look at its design. It's a Sydney Funnelweb. Funnelwebs really are highly aggressive and violent. You're dealing with an Aussie predator mate, and it's just as deadly as you might expect from a Death World.
  • For all of what's made of the Tranquil not having feelings, it isn't actually the case: over the course of the series, we've seen plenty of examples of them exhibiting emotion, sometimes quite powerfully! The strongest case for this is the Tranquil, Owain, seen during "Broken Circle" (and the Mage origin): while he's not running around in a panic, it is very obvious (in fact, he literally says as much) that he's distressed by the situation. Not because because he's afraid, but because the demonic invasion is interrupting his work, to which he's clearly eager (almost desperate) to return. It doesn't seem far fetched to assume that, if asked, the Tranquil would say that, at the very least, he'd rather not die, likely because that, too, would interrupt his work. In other cases, we see examples of Tranquil who are clearly proud of what they do and show excitement at the prospect of doing more (the creature researcher in Skyhold in Dragon Age: Inquisition), are loyal to an individual or organization (Maddox was willing to die for Samson), or, arguably, even show affection. In fact, if you think about it, someone who really has no feelings at all would make a terrible worker: you could quite literally never motivate them to work! There's nothing you could possibly offer or threaten them with because to someone without feelings all states are equally desirable. Arguably, they wouldn't even survive on their own because eating and drinking brings no joy and starvation or death are exactly as immaterial. Why would one bother to do so? It is plainly obvious that, while Thedas - being a pre-scientific world which hasn't yet developed a theory of psychology - considers the Tranquil "emotionless", they really are depicted as being more akin to people suffering from some kind of (albeit artificially induced at a late age, and thus quite unrealistic) autism spectrum disorder. They don't emote like neurotypical people and appear to have difficulty socializing or empathizing with others, but they do have preferences, wants, and desires (particularly a tendency to become completely absorbed in whatever it is they've fixated on doing) - which even tends to be fine craftsmanship or academic work which is methodical, orderly, and involves a lot of rote memorization and organizing facts.
  • The Arcane Warrior is one of the most (if not the most) overpowered and game breaking specializations in the game. However, this actually makes a bit of sense when you consider where the specialization comes from. Arcane Warriors were among the most powerful mages in the ancient elven empire, which was itself far more powerful than any human nation. Not only has the user become a Magic Knight, something completely unheard of in modern Thedas, but they are also using ancient elven spells. Either of these would be hard enough to deal with, but together they make the Arcane Warrior a walking Outside-Context Problem for whatever they face.
  • The reason why Uldred was so respected by Irving was that he had a "knack" for rooting out blood mages, which cast off suspicion for practicing blood magic himself. In the Mage origin, if you reveal Jowan's plan to him, Irving cites anonymous eyewitness evidence for Jowan being a blood mage. Uldred sold Jowan out before you did.
  • During the Human Noble Origin, most characters can't stop tripping over themselves praising how amazing, perfect, wonderful, beloved, loyal, and awesome the entire Cousland family is. Yet, after the Origin, most characters barely react to seeing a Cousland (and never mention the Couslands at all if the Warden isn't a Human Noble). This can seem jarring to players accustomed to everyone singing their praises... Until one remembers the Human Noble Origin is full of Professional Butt-Kissers: Almost every character in the Cousland Origin is a servant or vassal on the Cousland's payroll, or a visiting family friend who clearly thinks the world of them and drags her meek son and elven handmaiden along. Of course they're not going to say anything negative about their employer, or mother's family friends.
    • In the Human Noble Origin, the Cousland family historian mentions the Cousland Clan initially fought against Calenhad (who united Ferelden under the Theirin dynasty), and later King Arland beside Sophia Dryden and the Grey Wardens, the latter of whom got stripped their title and exiled as a result. He then quickly spins it as a case of the Couslands being so loyal and patriotic that of course they'd protect their home from invaders and tyrants. So, why would Loghain believe that the Couslands would ever conspire with foreign enemies like Orlais? Remember, the Cousland family historian is just that: a historian on the family's payroll. It's literally his job to tell their story in the most flattering light possible. (Especially since he's introduced teaching the Cousland family history to the children of dependents, to inspire loyalty so they'll dedicate their whole lives to working and dying for the Couslands...) From the outside looking in, a family with a track record of rebelling against Ferelden authority, (first King Calenhad, then King Arland in the same failed uprising that left the Grey Wardens distrusted to this day...), no matter how noble their intentions, wouldn't seem that far-fetched to an extreme pro-Ferelden patriot and anti-foreign paranoiac like Loghain.
    • When the Human Noble Warden confronts Howe about the slaughter of their family, Howe says words to the effect of, "I worked hard to ensure everyone forgot the Couslands, and I'll make sure everone forgets you." This can seem weird until you remember that outside the Human Noble Origin, most characters barely react to seeing a Cousland, and if not playing a Human Noble then no one ever mentions the Couslands (only vaguely allude to some trouble in Highever). This again ties back to the Human Noble Origin being full of dependents on the Couslands' payroll. Outside the Couslands' direct sphere of influence, while most of Ferelden generally like and respect them, hear how great they are by reputation (except the elves), and support a Human Noble Warden restoring their family lands and titles when the noble walks up to them, most characters have their own lives and problems (what with the Blight, Civil War, etc.) and don't spend every waking moment of their lives sighing, gushing, and fawning over how amazing the Cousland family is.
  • In the Human Noble Origin, Iona (a visiting elven lady's handmaid) praises how clean and well-run the alienage seems to be. However, in the City Elf Origin the elves don't trip over themselves praising how much more wonderful the Highever Alienage is than the Denerim Alienage: Most elves hear the humans in Highever treat elves just as badly if not worse there, and the City Elf Warden's visiting betrothed mentions that while the Highever Alienage is smaller and cleaner (lining up with Iona's story), the humans aren't much better, and since it's a smaller alienage it's harder to "get lost in a crowd." The discrepancy makes sense when you consider that a) Iona is a visiting lady's handmaiden - she doesn't live there, so can only comment how nice it looks from the outside; b) the Human Noble witnesses Nan verbally abuse the elven kitchen staff and can defend their dog to her, but not the elven servants; and c) if the Human Noble tries to press Iona to say whether she's upset by how humans treat elves on the whole, she becomes very uncomfortable and begs you not to push her to say anything that could jeopardize her job with her noble employer. So while she's probably sincere that the alienage seems clean and the humans seem nice, her word should be taken with a grain of salt since she's only a visiting lady's handmaid and explicitly uncomfortable saying anything unflattering about humans or nobles that could jeopardize her job.

    Fridge Horror 
  • The Dark Ritual:
    • 1) The Archdemons can not be killed, because when the body is destroyed, the spirit of the Old God will just jump into the next soulless darkspawn nearby. 2) The Grey Wardens infect themselves with the darkspawn taint so when they destroy an archdemon, the Old God will try to possess them, and be destroyed when merging with the Grey Warden's soul. 3) Flemeth teaches Morrigan how to become pregnant with the child of a Grey Warden, so the Old God will successfully possess the unborn child, that does not yet have a soul. 4) Flemeth became what she is when she was possessed by a demon, but instead of destroying her mind, the demons powers became part of her. 5) Flemeth also extends her life by possessing the bodies of her daughters. The logical conclusion: Flemeth wants her granddaughter to be the body that holds the Old God. And since she absorbs demons that try to possess her, stealing the child's body would make her absorb the Old God spirit, turning herself into a god. And it would probably have worked if Morrigan hadn't found out that Flemeth steals the bodies of her daughters and ran away with the child. (One wonders if it would have worked regardless, however, given that Morrigan's child turned out to be a boy.)
    • Which also leaves the question, what does Morrigan want to do with it? Since she wouldn't have gotten herself pregnant by Alistair just to save Alistair's life, she specifically wanted a demon-god child instead of getting a normal one from another man.
    • Made even more terrifying given the realization that this god-child can technically claim rights to the throne as Alistair did, if you had Alistair become King as well as perform the ritual with Morrigan. Not to mention, since Grey Wardens have pretty short lifespans as is, by the time the child becomes an adult, both Alistair and the Warden will be gone with Morrigan being the only person involved in the ritual left; it's most likely no one but she will know what this child actually is.
  • This sets in when you realize that becoming a Broodmother might very well have been the fate that awaited a female dwarven noble PC had Duncan not been around to rescue her. It gets even worse when you consider the fact this is a possible fate for any female PC you play, as in about thirty years she'll have to go on her Calling... When asked about this, the developers said that now that the Grey Wardens understand how Broodmothers are made, female Wardens are given the choice of ritual suicide at the end of their lives rather than risk being transformed in such a way. But some do still take the risk, believing they will kill enough darkspawn and die properly without being captured. We can only hope they are correct.
    • There's also how, when going around in the Deep Roads, you may come across a hurlock who, once killed, gives you a Grey Warden helmet when you loot. You could assume he just took it from a Grey Warden he killed once... or maybe it was his all along.
    • The Mother in Awakening. Since by that point we know how Broodmothers are made, is it any wonder she went insane when she was separated from the Darkspawn hivemind?
  • Caladrius, a late-game enemy blood mage, can use a blood ritual that sacrifices a room full of slaves to give himself... 1 measly point of constitution (5 HP). Then you think about how much HP he has compared to almost anyone else in the game...
  • Golems:
    • At some point in Dragon Age: Origins you learn how golems are created: A dwarf is put in an armor and then liquid Lyrium is poured into his eyes. That's creepy enough as it is, but once you get to thinking, you realize what this means: in every golem encountered in the game there's probably a dwarven body locked inside - and since golems don't need to eat...
    • Another implication is that the molten lyrium slowly liquefied the Dwarf inside and bound their spirit into the shell casing. And only then did Caridin start hammering away to further refine the outer shell casing. Considering that triggering a repressed memory of the process is implied to have caused Shale to kill Wilhelm, it's possible that the screaming continued a long time after they awoke in their new form.
    • Granted, Caridin was a great inventor, even before he created the Anvil of the Void. Even so, after exhausting every other golem-making technique he could think of, sooner or later he decided to stick one of his fellow dwarves in a ten-foot tall suit of armor and pour liquid lyrium into the joints until the subject stopped screaming. Who does that? Who even thinks of trying it? Caridin seems like a really helpful and nice guy, but there's a reason why he's The Atoner.
    • On the bright side, apparently the process is reversible, since it's strongly hinted during one epilogue that Shale was restored as Shayle.
  • The Archdemon can see into the minds of and to a degree influence the actions of creatures with the taint. Grey Wardens drink darkspawn blood to give them their powers, and it's at least acknowledged that darkspawn can sense them. Maybe there's a reason Wardens are discouraged from holding powerful titles or starting families. Perhaps there are some loopholes or dampers that come with the Joining, but what about the Dalish Warden, who is infected even before becoming a Warden? The Archdemon had to know how to put together that ambush team somehow!
  • While at Ostagar, if you talk with Ser Jory, he mentions his wife was left behind in Highever when he was accepted to join the Wardens. But as seen in the Human Noble origin, Arl Howe takes over the entire region of Highever by massacring everyone inside Castle Cousland. It's not made clear where exactly in Highever Jory's wife is when this takes place, but the implication can be chilling.
  • In the Human Noble's origin, your houseguest has an elven servant you can seduce. During the seduction, you can learn some facts about her, like how she has a daughter in the Denerim Alienage. When Howe's men attack they kill her. Later in the streets of the Alienage, the little girl is sitting saying how she's waiting for her mother to come back from Highever and there's no option to inform her. On the bright side, she'll probably be dying and joining her mother pretty soon.
  • Let's talk about the charming village of Haven. It's been pretty much cut off from the rest of Ferelden for centuries, to the point that most of the rest of the country is unaware of its existence, and they make it clear that outsiders are not welcome. It's also not a very large village. But they find a way to maintain the population... draw your own conclusions.
  • Broodmothers are made through forced exposure to the taint. They're not actually darkspawn - they are blighted elves/dwarves/humans/Qunari, who progressively turn more and more into ghoulish versions of themselves. Eventually, the process reduces them to mere animal instinct, leading them to devolve into consuming the men and submitting to whatever horrific procedure makes them reproduce.
  • Every single person you can put on the throne of Ferelden seems to have fertility problems. Alistair and the younger Cousland of either gender are Wardens, and Anora hasn't had a child in five years of marriagenote . There's a distinct possibility that the Succession Crisis has only been postponed.
  • When a character becomes a blood mage, willpower (which increases mana) is now their Dump Stat. This aligns nicely with the perception that the weak-willed are most attracted to blood magic.
    • Another specialization, the Spirit Healer one, says in its description that it is the result of the mage making a covenant with a benevolent spirit, making it the flipside of blood magic and being regarded with wariness. Said covenant, at the very least in Wynne's case but also possibly in the cases of others, involves the spirit entering their body. All well and good, you think? Wait for Dragon Age II...
  • There's an understated and genuinely awful one that you only understand if you've played through the Human Noble origin. If the Warden is taken captive during the "Rescue the Queen" quest, they wake up in a cell in Fort Drakon. Just before they wake, however, the 'camera' pans over the torture devices which have been used in the prison near the Warden's cell. Some dead bodies have been left, bloody and broken, on one of these; and if you've played the Human Noble origin, you might recognize them as Ser Gilmore (Teyrn Cousland's man-at-arms) and Mother Mallol (Castle Cousland's resident Chantry priestess). Imagine how the Human Noble feels at making that discovery - that these two people, whom they have known and loved all of their life, survived the castle sacking only to be dragged to Denerim and tortured to death.
    • On top of that, why were they tortured? In the case of Ser Gilmore, it somewhat makes sense; he probably did have some inside knowledge which might have been useful to Howe and friends. But Mother Mallol is just a priestess and likely knew nothing of anything they would be able to use. So why the torture? Well, in general, Howe's just that horrible; but if the Warden is the Human Noble, Howe was probably hoping to make sure they got to see these two beloved figures dead and bloodied on the rack - just to amp up the suffering for "Pup."
  • Mage Origin:
    • The soon-to-be Warden meets a Pride Demon, but doesn't actually have to fight it. As we learn in Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening and Dragon Age II, though, that's for the very best; you encounter a Pride Demon and have to fight them in both, with your party at your disposal at both times, and it's still a tough boss-fight. Which begs for the question... what would have happened if the demon in the Harrowing hadn't just decided to settle for the young apprentice seeing through its cover? What are the chances that young mage, about to be out of apprenticeship and armed with nothing more than a weaker staff acquired from a Spirit of Valor, could have won an actual fight like that? True, the First Enchanter does say you have to use your wits, but think about it, this is exactly what Mouse describes it to be: throwing hapless and helpless young mages to the demons with barely any means of protecting themselves. And this is what the Chantry has been doing. For centuries. In every single Circle.
      • Gameplay and Story Segregation is a big contributing factor to the above horror since, for gameplay reasons, your mage has low stats and maybe two spells at the time making them seem completely outclassed and borderline helpless at the time. However when you look at what the story says it becomes much less horrific as you're actually a fully trained mage with above average power and skill. The full horror still holds for mages of lesser skill though, it's even stated during the series that some mages struggle with even basic spells, dooming them to either possession or tranquility.
    • In light of new information regarding the nature of spirits and demons in Dragon Age: Inquisition, there is a possibility that Mouse was actually a spirit. According to Solas, a spirit often manifests as what its mortal viewer expects it to be. Spirits of wisdom are sometimes turned into demons of pride this way, simply because the latter is the expectation. Following that logic, Mouse may have appeared as a pride demon to the Warden, when, in fact, it was not. The Warden deemed Mouse to be the true challenge of the Harrowing, which the Templars and senior mages warned to be a demon. Therefore, Mouse adapted to the Warden's expectation. This theory can be supported by Mouse's choice to spare the Warden, whom it could have easily possessed.
    • Alternatively, the Pride Demon knows that if he possesses the Mage, he'll just be cut down by the Templars that must be prepared for that possibility. So he's probably just messing with them.
    • Alternatively, it could have been a Spirit of Wisdom assuming the form of a Pride Demon as a warning. What does it say? "Simple killing is a warrior's job. The real dangers of the Fade are preconceptions... careless trust... pride. Keep your wits about you, mage. True tests... never end." Awfully wise advice.
  • Carroll the Templar manning the ferry seems like a lighthearted, even cute, side character... right up until the sequels establish that the Circle has a major problem with sexual extortion and rape by Templars against their charges. Granted, Kinloch Hold is implied to be less awful in this vein than most of the other branches of the Circle, but still - on how many other women did he try what he does on Morrigan and Leliana, women who couldn't distract or terrify him into submission?
    • And then you get to Dragon Age Inquisition and find out just what happened to Carroll after the fall of the Archdemon...

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