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Tear Jerker / Dragon Age: Inquisition

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"Where's Hawke...?"

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  • This piece of artwork. No matter what side you support in the Mage-Templar conflict, it sucks to be a mage in Thedas.
  • This script entry for a contest to voice an NPC in the game. Talk up your mighty, worthy causes all you want, but people are suffering because of the machinations of those you serve as a member of the Inquisition.
    • A letter from a former servant of Arl Eamon makes it clear that the peasants are suffering in the midst of the conflict between the mages and templars.
  • This. It's gotten to the point where Mages and Templars seem incapable of resolving even the most small-scale confrontations diplomatically. The Mage looks like she's about to change into a Rage Demon and all but one of the Templars look to be preparing to attack/defend themselves. Doubles as a Heartwarming Moment as one Templar disarms himself and removes his helmet in order to try to calm the Mage down. If written down, the conversation could go either way.
  • Roderick's death, and how Cole stays with him until the end. While it's easy and completely understandable to hate him at first, his final moments make it very hard to do so. Cole relaying his final words to you later on really drives home the point.
  • When Corypheus attacks Haven and you say you'll hold him off long enough for the others to escape into the mountains and then bury Haven with an avalanche Cullen says that maybe you'll surprise it, find a way. It's obvious from his tone that he doesn't even believe it himself; you both know you're going to your death. This is all topped off by the excellent music and voice acting, particularly with the variant Cullen uses if your character gets on well with him.
    Inquisitor: If that thing is here for me, I'll make him fight for it.
    Cullen: And when the mountain falls? What about you?
    Inquisitor (looks away): ...
    Cullen: (disbelieving) Perhaps you will surprise it, find a way...
  • Following on from the above, when you don't die and stumble across the refugees' camp, Cullen is the first one to spot you and run to your aid. He may not have been convinced that you'd survive, but he wasn't ready to give up hope either.
  • "In Hushed Whispers", a main quest should the Inquisitor attempt an alliance with the rebel mages, takes a quick turn for the depressing. Magister Alexius casts a spell that sends the Inquisitor and Dorian forward through time a year. In that time the Elder One, Alexius's master, has invaded and taken over most of Thedas. The two companions that you have brought with you are in holding cells next to red lyrium, slowly being corrupted by it. Some, like Cassandra, Blackwall, and Sera, are devastated by their failure to protect you. Grand Enchanter Fiona has partially become red lyrium and, when stepping outside, one can see the Breach has grown so large it blots out the sky. You will also find Leliana, who has been tortured and examined for her resistance to Blight and become a jaded and bitter woman, ruthlessly slaughtering many. At the end of the story, she and your two companions throw down their lives to delay an army of demons so you and Dorian can get back to the present.
    • Leliana's behavior can be viewed in an even worse light if she was in a relationship with a Hero of Ferelden who survived the Fifth Blight. She spent an entire year being tortured and experimented on while believing the Inquisitor to be dead, their companions either imprisoned or, in the case of those who remained in Haven, possibly dead, and all hope of stopping the Breach lost. She's also possibly lost all faith in the Maker for allowing not only Divine Justinia, but also Andraste's chosen Herald to die. On top of that, any possible hope that the Hero of Ferelden, the only person to whom she allowed herself to grow close since Marjolaine's betrayal, would return to save her has likely long since been destroyed. It's no wonder that she's so ready to throw her life away to ensure all this never comes to pass.
    • Crosses into Nightmare Fuel for both the Inquisitor and the player when the other two companions die fighting the demons. Whichever of the two has a higher approval rating for (read: is closer to) the Inquisitor? You'll see their dead body thrown back into the room. Since this is likely to be a character of whom the player themselves is quite fond, it can hurt a lot to see.
    • Compounded by this as its soundtrack: a dirge for the utter ruin of Thedas.
  • In the Hinterlands, the Inquisitor can find a woman whose husband was out clearing stumps in the fields with a shovel, only to be brutally cut down by Templars who mistook it for a magic staff. Then, after refusing to acknowledge their obvious mistake, the Templars decided to rub salt into the wound by confiscating his wedding ring as a suspected "magical" artifact.
  • The Codex entry "A Hunter's View of the Mage-Templar War," in which a hunter describes the brutal murder of refugees caught in the crossfire between apostates and Templars. He recalls a burned woman staring at him and whimpering before finally dying.
    I want it to go out of my head, please Maker. I been good. I want it to go out of my head.
    • Oh, it gets worse. The hunter killed one of the Templars because he was getting ready to rape said burned woman. It's implied that it was the first time he had ever killed another human, and that's breaking him down almost as much as the carnage he witnessed. And yes, this is the same hunter who asks for the Inquisitor's help in feeding the refugees.
  • If you side with the mages and beat Alexius, the king and/or queen will show up and say that despite having wanted to offer the mages sanctuary, they now have no choice but to exile them from Ferelden. The tearjerker part comes if Alistair is involved. The leader of the mages is Fiona, his mother. Fiona knows this and can't do anything or even tell him that she is his mother.
    • Especially the way she bows her head when Alistair says, "One way or another, you're leaving my kingdom.". You can really tell it breaks her heart that her son and only child is banishing her from his realm, and likely from his life. And he has no idea.
      • It's not just a tearjerker on her end, either. If only Alistair is present, he sounds so saddened and betrayed when he states that "I wanted to help you, but you've made it impossible." One has to wonder if he's remembering Wynne, his "favoritest mage ever," when he speaks of wanting to help the mages.
    • As disappointing as it is that he never learns about their relationship, Fiona has this to say later on when she asks about King Alistair, and makes it clear who she really is:
    Fiona: "I only wanted to know if he was happy. His... father had such hopes for him...
    • It's even worse if you remember that one of his greatest desires was to be accepted as family by someone, anyone. He never got to have relationships with his father or brother; his sister rejected him and was later revealed by the devs to not even be his sister; and Arl Eamon handed him off to the Chantry to raise. The only real family he's ever had were the Wardens, who were massacred back in the first game; Wynne, who is dead; and the Hero of Ferelden, who is either dead or away for years on a secret mission. And now he is unwittingly banishing his own mother.
  • A possible fate for a past character serves as a massive Player Punch. At one point, Hawke can pull a Heroic Sacrifice against a giant Fade spider if you pick them over whichever of the Wardens is there with you. Hawke's last words are to say goodbye to Varric, who ends up just asking "Where's Hawke?" and is just completely broken by the loss of his best friend.
    • The worst part about the "Where's Hawke?" scene is that after the Inquisitor tells him what happened, Varric, for possibly the only time in his life, has absolutely no words that he can think to say. Cassandra, who had been quite tense with him since Hawke showed up, tries to offer her condolences, knowing how close they were; but before she can finish, Varric just walks off, completely silent.
    • At the tail end of the sacrifice cutscene, you might just hear a line of dialogue to further wrench your heartstrings: a romanced Hawke apologising to their love interest, or wishing them well. If Hawke did indeed die, their lover was the last thing they thought about... and Hawke is fully aware of what their sacrifice will cost them. Anders has lost his one tie to sanity, Merrill the only person who accepted everything she was, Isabela the person for whom it was worth taking a chance on love, and Fenris the one person in the world who gave him hope for a future. Several of these characters explicitly beg Hawke not to die/leave them behind in DAII (i.e. Fenris remarking that "I can't bear the thought of living without you")... and that's exactly what happens.
    • Just in case you think this outcome doesn't kick Varric in the teeth hard enough, he's the one who has to inform Hawke's love interest about Hawke's death/disappearance (they don't die on screen, but is presumed dead by the Inquisitor). Want to guess how he feels having to let "Blondie" or "Elf" know that his idiot lover isn't coming home, especially when Hawke deliberately left him behind for safety? Or having to admit to his beloved "Daisy" that Hawke came to help him... and he couldn't look after Hawke for her? Then add to that the LI's own reaction - you know, that character you spent the last game pursuing? Ouch. This gets followed up in party banter... and Cassandra voices the player's probable thoughts when she asks "But what about ( LI's name)?" in such a sad and concerned tone of voice that you'll find a few more tears to spare from somewhere. Especially when she receives the gentle response: "He/She knows. I sent a letter."
      • Oh, and to make it even more fun, imagine him writing not only to Hawke's love interest, but the surviving sibling. Think about how he's going to phrase the news to "Junior," who always tried so hard to protect his remaining sibling, or how he's got to break it to his precious "Sunshine" that the clouds are permanently covering the sky. Remember that whichever twin gets his letter is now the last Hawke.
      • In a banter between Cassandra and Cole, Cassandra is shown to be thinking of Hawke's surviving sibling and is upset - where are they, are they crying, can they breathe? She couldn't breathe when her brother died. Grief for both is mingled. It's even worse when you remember how the sibling reacted any time Hawke was knocked out in battle during DAII.
    • To make it even worse, if Varric is brought along in the Fade, the demon - which specifically plays on fears, guilt, and doubts - proceeds to give Varric a "Reason You Suck" Speech over the guilt that he feels for constantly getting Hawke into dangerous and life-threatening situations. This is just before Hawke can perform their Heroic Sacrifice, something that wouldn't have happened if Varric hadn't contacted them in the first place. Already harsh, that becomes even more harsh in hindsight. Talk about a metaphorical kick to the nuts!
    • Oh, and that scene where Varric talks about writing letters to Hawke's remaining loved ones? The Hawke family theme plays the whole way through. During that scene, Varric mournfully reminisces about Hawke, telling the Inquisitor a fond memory, and how they could get just about anyone to like them, even if they were trying to kill them.
    • Malcolm Hawke died during or before the Blight, Bethany or Carver was killed by an Ogre and the other possibly killed by the taint if you brought them but not Anders on the expedition, and Leandra was slain by a serial killer. The Hawke line can die with Hawke.
    • Similar too is Loghain. From the beginning of his introduction, it's very clear that the Wardens never treated him as one of their own, yet he still continues to do everything he can for them. While in the Fade, the fear demon taunts him with fact that everything he does fails, everything he touches dies, and no good ever came from his involvement, whether it was the events of Origins or his backstory with Maric. He is fully aware of this, and is only able to shrug off the demon's taunts by saying that it's nothing he hasn't said to himself numerous times, showing his own self-awareness of his failures. Despite this, if you choose to let him stay behind, he dies crying out "For the Wardens!" and feels it's his responsibility to make up for the Wardens' involvement in Corypheus's plans.
    • This becomes even worse if Alistair is the Warden in your party. You have to choose who will be left behind: your player character from Dragon Age II, or your best friend/lover in Dragon Age: Origins. Ouch.
  • During the Iron Bull's quest line, you have to help him make a Sadistic Choice between protecting the interests of the Qun or saving the lives of his company. If you choose to save the Chargers, Bull is declared Tal-Vashoth, for whom he has repeatedly shown great hatred, having spent most of his life hunting them on Par Vollen.
    • The alternative, leaving the Chargers to die, is just as bad. He'll try to keep a tough facade, but Cole, talking to him, finds that he thinks Krem's last thoughts were of betrayal. Cole tells him they were "Horns pointing up", the phrase he and his mercenaries said at the start of the mission, which makes him feel even worse. Cole can also say this, out of the Bull's presence.
      Cole: Copper on the lips, Dalish lies dead-eyed beside me. He’ll come. He’ll call. He won’t leave us. Horns pointing up.
      • And then you get to the Trespasser DLC, and find out the ramifications of having made that particular choice...
    • If Bull does turn Tal-Vashoth, there is an Armor-Piercing Question the Inquisitor can direct at him that sheds a very different light on all of Bull's claims about the violence of the Tal-Vashoth. "Are you more worried about becoming like those Tal-Vashoth, or that some of those Tal-Vashoth were like you?" Bull hesitantly admits that it's both. All the talk about how the Qunari race needs the Qun so they don't descend into madness, all the justifications about how the Tal-Vashoth are mindless animals that need to be put down, are lies that he tells himself to hold back a devastating My God, What Have I Done? realization. And now he is no longer The Liar.
  • Any time one of the Tarot cards changes to bad news either because of your actions or after an earth-shattering reveal. The game won't let you forget and the companion selection screen will serve as a reminder:
    • Blackwall's changes to him slumped over and cloaked once he reveals he's not a Grey Warden, but a criminal.
    • After the events at Adamant, especially if you sacrificed Hawke, Varric's card will change dramatically. As you can see in the picture of this page, it depicts him kneeling in a red light with his head resting against Bianca, as red screaming faces and jagged hands rise upward. His despair and regret over both his involvement in red lyrium and the event just pulses out of the card, an effective kick in the balls for the player's decision while fleeing the Fade.
      • Not sacrificing Hawke yields the same card... because no matter what, Varric is indirectly responsible for everything that has happened to Hawke since they met, and even - by introducing Hawke to Anders - is indirectly responsible for the entire Mage-Templar conflict. Not to mention the whole matter of red lyrium, since he was one of the people spearheading the expedition that led to its discovery and would also endanger Hawke's younger sibling if brought along. Varric probably thinks of himself as a very shitty friend at this point.
    • If you choose to defend the Chargers and destroy the chance of forming an alliance with the Qunari Iron Bull's tarot will change to show him sitting amongst the dead corpses of his kind with a bloodied hand covering his face. His entire purpose was to eradicate Tal-Vashoth, for whom he's repeatedly showed great hatred. And by betraying the Qun, he becomes one himself. If you choose the other option, sacrificing the Chargers and solidifying Iron Bull's loyalty to the Qun and securing the alliance, his new tarot card is, in a way, just as depressing: It shows Bull walking in file with other Qunari, identical to the others save for his horns and a wild look in his one eye. The Iron Bull is gone; all that's left is Hissrad, a liar for the Qunari.
      • Knowing about Tarot cards makes it better/worse. The Tal-Vashoth card is the Wheel of Fortune from the Major Arcana, a card about how there are cycles of good and bad and seizing your own destiny instead of passively accepting things. It's got positive connotations. Ten of Swords, the Qunari card, is a card about betrayal and passively accepting the hurt. Its most positive connotation is learning from the experience, but it's a victim card.
      • The Ten of Swords card also implies that whatever it's referring to is over— not just dead, but really really dead, overkill. It doesn't even have the arguably happier meaning of Death, which implies that as one thing ends another begins. It doesn't even mean "suffering" or "pain"; whatever hurt there was to have is past, because you can only hurt when you're alive. Ten of Swords just says that something is gone forever.
    • Post-game, when Solas reveals himself as Fen'Harel, he is depicted standing alone on a red field, a large wolf behind him. The card is difficult to see because it gets darkened and marked with an X, but the design is there. It seems that his worst fear will become true after all, especially if he was not romanced.
      • In the Tarot, this card is one of the Major Arcana: The Tower. It's perhaps the most straightforwardly ominous card in the deck, representing a literal or spiritual collapse, pride before a fall, having certainties stripped away. Its positive connotations are that the devastation will allow something better to rise, the way a forest fire can germinate new seeds. There is no card more perfect or more heartbreaking to represent who Solas is, what he plans, or what he fears.
  • At the end of Solas' romance, after a speech about how much the Inquisitor means to him, Solas apologizes and breaks up with the Inquisitor. The Inquisitor can respond angrily, accept it, or beg him not to leave her, but it's harsh to watch regardless.
    • On a related note, there's a point where you find yourself and your companions in the grip of a Fear Demon's region of the fade, there's a graveyard with stones that tell of the companions' worst fears. Solas' stone has two words: "Dying Alone". Doing that probably felt like tearing his own arm off.
    • In the same scene, Solas offers to remove the vallaslin from the female elf Inquisitor's face - the tattoos that mark them as a Dalish - revealing that the clans misinterpreted the purpose of the tattoos. They are actually slave markings. However, he doesn't mean that these mark them as slaves of the humans; rather, they mark them as slaves of the elven gods. Given that Solas's aim as the Dread Wolf appears to be freeing mortals from the dominion of the gods, removing the markings of servitude to gods he despises and giving the Inquisitor her freedom is probably the greatest display of love from his perspective. This is only topped by the fact that him breaking up with her is probably equal to setting her free from any obligation in his mind, with this freedom being the greatest gift he can give her, even if it means losing her.
    • Read another, but no less heartwrenching way, it could be representative of his total inability to move on from the past. The vallaslin is an important piece of Dalish culture and a rite of passage. He refuses to accept either Dalish or City Elves as his people, choosing instead to cling to their glory days and dismissing the idea that culture or symbols can change. When he removes the vallaslin, he's stripping Lavellan of her cultural identity, forcing her to conform to his idea of what an elf should be. To him, it's an act of love, but it's also horrifically selfish.
    • And then there's Sera's comforting words, which can be summed up as "Hah! I was right about the Dalish, y'all are LOSERS! Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah!". The Inquisitor just sort of looks like a kicked puppy after hearing this.
    • Just to add to the sadness, you unlock the achievement for committing to a romantic relationship after this scene, not any of the far happier romantic moments before. This means that the Inquisitor gets her heart broken and isn't going to get over it anytime soon. This is confirmed by the fact that other characters will rebuff her advances if she tries to start a new romance with one of them, as they all know she's still in love with Solas.
      • Just to add a few salt flakes to the wounds, Cole's comments about the Inquisitor's feelings on the matter: After Solas breaks things off, Cole can reveal in party banter that the Inquisitor feels self-conscious about her face (whether she chose to remove the vallaslin or not), and then how "she doesn't know, she thinks it's because of her" or "she didn't know [about the vallaslin], she thinks it's why you walked away." In other words: regardless of whether the Inquisitor chose to remove the vallaslin or not, the game heavily implies that not only has her heart been broken and she will not get over it anytime soon, but she actually blames herself and feels she did something to drive Solas away.
    • As if all this wasn't enough, Word of God confirms in this podcast (starting at around 55:00) that in the final romance scene, Solas intended to tell the Inquisitor everything, including his identity as Fen'Harel, and his involvement with the Breach. In the end however, he couldn't bring himself to go through with it, and decided to tell her about the vallaslin instead - probably because he was terrified of her rejecting him when she found out the truth. A similar thing happens again during the final kiss: in that moment, he desperately wanted to give up on all of his ambiguous plans and stay with Lavellan, but backed out at the last second, because choosing her meant betraying everything he believed in and worked for. Knowing that the two of them were so close to a happy ending, or at least something close, just makes the whole thing even more tragic.
    • Probably the icing on the cake is the great potential for this romance to get even worse in the tear jerker category if your Inquisitor drank from the Well of Sorrows. Since it seems that, in the very least, Solas took Mythal's esscence from Flemeth, it means that the Inquisitor is now more or less his slave. Solas' opinion of slavery is shown to be very negative throughout the game....and now the one person he truly loves is his slave, against both their wills.
    • This icing on the cake can get even frostier depending on player choices. If the Inquisitor chooses to not only drink from the Well but also keep her vallaslin, Solas is forced to watch his own beloved choose slavery to the gods (literally and symbolically) time and time again despite his best efforts to free her and the People. By the endgame, Solas probably sees "PROPERTY OF THE GODS!" branded across her face and soul every time he looks at or thinks of her, and there was nothing he could do to prevent it. note 
      • It's a small detail that won't get mentioned since it's just a character creation thing, but vallaslin are wildly different for each of the elven gods. If the Inquisitor has Mythal's vallaslin and drinks from the Well, Solas walks away from the Inquisition having betrayed his only higher ideal in an effort to uphold it, and made himself a hypocrite in the process.
  • If Alistair became king and married the Human Female Noble at the end of Origins, then you know that by rights they should be ruling Ferelden together. Unfortunately, as a codex entry you can find in the game indicates, she's missing and it's taking a toll on him. She's trying to find a way to end the Calling for all Wardens, so that she and Alistair can grow old together. Her letter to the Inquisitor, in which she says that she must do this "if ever I want to see my King again," is nothing short of heartbreaking to an Origins player who enjoyed their romance.
  • When you journey to the Fade, the recollection of Divine Justinia's last moments is really sad. The Grey Wardens, enthralled by Corypheus, attack the Conclave and capture the Divine. Just as he's about to use the Orb to destroy the Veil, the PC bursts into the room and Justinia knocks the Orb out of Corypheus's hand. The ensuing explosion sends the PC and the Divine into the Fade, where Justinia dies. Stroud/Alistair/Loghain looks deeply ashamed that their entire Order helped kill the Divine and nearly helped to destroy the world.
  • Remember Galyan, the Nice Guy mage from Dawn of the Seeker, who helped Cassandra save the Divine? It turns out that he and Cassandra actually did have a relationship - for many years, in fact, since all that happened nearly twenty years before Inquisition. Sadly, he died at the Conclave. No wonder she's so angry in the scene where she first confronts the Herald in their cell.
  • Everything about Dorian's quest "Last Resort of Good Men". Up until this point, civil rights issues in Dragon Age or Bioware's other franchise had been kept to the realm of allegory. Then Dorian's father requests a meeting with the mage, at which point you discover that Dorian fell out with his family because his father tried to change his sexuality through a blood magic ritual in order to preserve the family line, veering the storyline into very, very real-world territory. Dorian absolutely breaks down during this conversation, and it's all the more emotional if you have him reconcile with his father, who begs for his forgiveness.
    • Also, according to Cole's remarks, Dorian once revered his father.
      • Adding extra heartbreak is the fact that, according to Dorian, there was a very good chance this ritual could have turned him into a drooling vegetable for the rest of his life and they were going to do it anyway. He's had to live with the fact that they'd rather him be comatose than himself.
      Dorian: It crushed me to think he thought that absurd risk was preferable to scandal.
      • The disgust, horror, and heartbreak in Dorian's line "You tried to...change me!" when confronting his father really drives the point home about just how betrayed Dorian felt. His own father, whom, as mentioned above, Dorian absolutely adored, had turned to blood magic, the very thing he had taught his son against, just to preserve his "fucking legacy."
      • When Dorian angrily demands to know why his father really came for him, Halward Pavus simply replies he did so because he wanted to see his son's face again and to ask Dorian's forgiveness. The weary tone of his voice makes it plain he suspects Dorian will never give it, but he is willing to accept the tide of hatred and vitriol from Dorian just for the opportunity to see his son one more time.
      • There is also Halward's line before that: "If I knew I would drive you to the Inquisition..." Did he want to bring Dorian home to safety, away from the war?
      • When the Inquisitor returns to Skyhold with Dorian and discusses what happened, Dorian worries about how the Inquisitor might view him now, seeing as how that's his closest friend, to which the Inquisitor can respond by telling Dorian that he's been so brave. Dorian's face shows disbelief at the word. It's sad because you can tell that Dorian had probably never thought of himself that way.
*Dorian approves* "Brave?" (asked disbelievingly) *Dorian strongly approves.* Hokay if he did not earn his bones during In Hushed Whispers he earns them here.
  • The instance where Dorian is caught arguing with Mother Giselle and then, when the Inquisitor shows, softly wonders if they are truly bothered with being associated with him.
  • Dorian's romance scene is particularly hard to watch. From what begins as typical Dorian, then boils down to him asking the Inquisitor if he had feelings for him, and if he didn't, he was used to being "A port in a storm" in Tevinter, but moving on from the Inquisitor will be harder later on. Dorian, for all his bravado and sarcasm, becomes vulnerable when alone with the Inquisitor. He becomes insecure and hopes that the Inquisitor loves him too.
  • A surprising moment near the end of the game comes from Flemeth, of all people, if Morrigan's son Kieran has the soul of the Old God. When Flemeth accuses Morrigan of using her son for power, she flat out states that, while that was true in the beginning, it was not true anymore. She angrily states then that she is many horrible things, but she will not be the horrible mother Flemeth was. Or the other way around, in which Morrigan calmly tells Flemeth that she could take her body now, as Kieran would be better off without her just as she was better off without Flemeth. Either way, Flemeth is genuinely hurt by those comments.
    • This is even worse if you're a player who romanced Morrigan and your Warden followed her through the Eluvian at the end of Witch Hunt. After all the crap this couple has gone through: the Fifth Blight, Morrigan's trust issues, the Dark Ritual, two years of separation, years spent between worlds, then parting from one another again so the Warden can find a cure for the Calling, Flemeth returns in his absence. And remember what his letter to the Inquisitor specifically asked? "Please take care of my family...I would not go through such effort to escape my own Calling to lose them to your Inquisition." And that's exactly what's happening! But cherry on top of all this is even after Flemeth leaves, if Morrigan did drink from the Well, neither the Warden nor the Inquisitor could not protect the woman who outwitted a Warden's sacrifice from the thing she feared most: becoming Flemeth's pawn after all.
    • Earlier, the amount of panic Morrigan experiences when she thinks Flemeth will harm Kieran. She actually falls to her knees and begs her not to hurt her son. Hearing the normally proud Morrigan sound so broken, fearful, and desperate, compounded by Claudia Black's magnificent voice acting, really resonates with the player.
    • Morrigan's words to Flemeth are compounded by Flemeth's possible true intentions for her. It's heavily implied that Flemeth did not intend to possess Morrigan for her own gains, but rather was planning to pass her godhood onto Morrigan. (Word of God has confirmed this is the case.) In a case of real life, this could be seen as a mother wanting to give her daughter the best life she could, only to be flat out told off by her own daughter because she thought she was manipulating her for her own gains.
      • If Morrigan drinks from the Well of Sorrows, Flemeth says, "You were never in danger from me." Worse, Morrigan begins to see her mother as her mother for the first time, and seems to want to share affection for the first time in her life, but Flemeth departs.
  • The translated version of "I Am The One" from Dragon Age: Origins is simply tearful as it recounts the fall of the elves, either Arlathan or the Dales.
  • "Tell Leliana, 'I'm sorry; I failed you, too.'"
  • Launching an attack on Adamant Fortress knowing that the Grey Wardens at their best can be heroes, but the once-proud order has been driven to their worst by the terror the false Calling inspires, engaging in truly desperate actions (even by the order's 'Stop The Blight By Any Means Necessary' standards). For anyone who played Origins first, the Wardens will always stand as an heroic ideal... one that the Elder One has twisted almost beyond recognition.
    Cullen: First the Templars, now the Grey Wardens. Both Orders dedicated themselves to fighting evil. Now they serve it.
  • Poor Hawke. Life has clearly continued to suck for them in the years since Dragon Age II. Varric finally brings them to the Inquisition, where the battered and world-weary Champion of Kirkwall finds themself next to the adored and seemingly invincible Herald of Andraste... and honestly fails to see why said Herald would even want their help. If your Inquisitor urges them to assist by reminding them that people's lives are at stake, Hawke will tell them that the Inquisitor has already worked miracles, while Hawke "could barely get (my) friends to stop fighting". The constant sniping in the Kirkwall crew's dynamic has gotten to the point that it's regarded with affection by DAII's advocates... but it looks like years of playing peacemaker have exhausted our former player character, even though they still care deeply about their companions. Now Hawke is far from home, separated from their remaining family and their lover, and their self-esteem has sunk to subterranean levels. No wonder Varric wanted them out of the firing line; at the very least, Hawke needs a hug, not to be thrown into the path of more demonic terrors. The Nightmare Demon in the Fade rubs salt in the wound by claiming that nothing Hawke did really mattered in the end, since they couldn't even save Kirkwall, nor their family. The worst part? Like everything else Nightmare says, it rings true.
    • Hawke's Hurting Hero status is best exemplified in this discussion between a Diplomatic Hawke and Inquisitor.
    Hawke: This view reminds me of my home in Kirkwall. I had a balcony that overlooked the entire city. I loved it at first ... but after a while, all I could see was all those people depending on me.
    Inquisitor: You're lucky it was just a single city. I've got half of Thedas.
    Hawke: You're doing everything you can to protect them.
    Inquisitor: Does it ever get any easier?
    Hawke: (sadly) I'll let you know.
  • The plight of Gereon Alexius. A sad man who made a Deal with the Devil to save his son, and lost. Is it any wonder that the man is a Death Seeker in the Bad Future and in the normal timeline?
    Alexius: I couldn't save my son! You think my fate matters to me?!
    • It's made even sadder by the fact that Felix is a genuinely good guy, a rarity among the Tevinters, who helps you simply because it's the right thing to do.
    • Don't forget that Alexius also lost his wife in the same darkspawn attack that doomed poor Felix. The man has lost everything he ever loved, and hates himself because he's convinced that if he had been there for the attack, he could have saved them. And just to rub salt in the wound, if you choose the Templars over the Mages — meaning he actually succeeds in his task for the Elder One — he is killed since he's no longer needed. His attempts are hopeless no matter what.
  • Vivienne's demeanor is unlikely to endear her too much to the player at first, and how she enlists you for her personal quest does not help. She asks you to bring her the heart of a snowy wyvern, but refuses to explain exactly why. Going through her books implies that the concoction is a potion for age regression. At the end of the quest, you can cheat Vivienne by swapping out the snowy wyvern heart for a normal one. But doing this will make you feel terrible once you realize the potion isn't for her or for some uppity noble - it's a potion meant to save her lover, Bastien, who is presently dying of a terminal illness. The kicker? Even giving her the real heart changes nothing. Bastien dies no matter what you do. It becomes very hard to dislike her after that.
    • This instance is also a bit heartwarming, since it proves that she wasn't just with the Duke for power, for all her earlier insistence to the contrary. She genuinely loved him. It also explains why she's not a romance option: her heart already belongs to someone else. It's also a bit heartwarming if you do give her the real heart, because she knows the difference and will recognize that you did everything in your power to help her - even though it didn't work, she's grateful that you tried.
    • It also puts Blackwall's comment about her envying a female Inquisitor's ability to freely love someone in a sadder light. For all her claims about being content to be a mistress, she really wished that she and Bastien had been more.
  • The Oculara that you find through the story? They're made from Tranquil skulls. The rebel mages abandoned many of the Tranquil when the Circles disbanded, and the ones they took with them were killed by the Venatori to make Oculara - a horrifying process that involves forcing a demon into the Tranquil's body before killing them. It's why Minaeve's rescue of the Tranquil from her Circle is so poignant. No matter which companions are with you when you learn this, they all have something to say about it, and every single one of them is disgusted and/or distraught.
    • Cole sounds the most disheartened to learn the truth about the Oculara.
    Cole: They're Tranquil skulls. They couldn't fight back when it happened. They couldn't ask for help. I would have heard. I would have helped! I would have stopped it!
    • Even Vivienne is disgusted by their fate.
  • If Alistair is a Grey Warden and present at Skyhold while Morrigan is, you can trigger a conversation between them, though it's hard to do. Most of them will revolve around Kieran and his father and show how each has changed; considering how much they loathed one another in Origins, the conversations at Skyhold are refreshingly friendly and polite. This one, however, will make you feel bad about having a Morrigan-romanced Warden pull a Heroic Sacrifice:
    Alistair: Kieran? That's a nice name. I think he would have approved.
    Morrigan: I would have preferred to have asked his opinion on the matter. It did not have to end as it did.
    Morrigan: (quietly) I could have had them both.
    • Even a non-romanced, non-befriended Morrigan has some tender words for the Warden. Morrigan states that her greatest regret following the Fifth Blight was parting with the Warden on the terms she did.
    • If Alistair was the one who sired Kieran, he first is mildly shocked he's human ("I expected tentacles or flaming breath"). Morrigan tells him that Kieran knows his father was "a good man", because Alistair "deserved that much".
  • Warden-Commander Clarel's Heroic Sacrifice.
    Clarel: In war, victory. In peace, vigilance. In death, sacrifice.
  • Late in the game, the player has a conversation with Cole in which Cole wonders if there wasn't something he could have done to save the "real Cole", the human whose name and appearance he adopted. This conversation goes one of two rather different ways depending on if he was made more human or more spirit, and it's the contrast especially that makes it sad.
    • If he's more human, he recalls the other Cole's last minutes - how all he could do was be company and hold his hand, how the other Cole said "Thank you." The camera pulls back and the Inquisitor is shown sitting next to him, keeping him company. Cole thanks the Inquisitor in a different tone of voice, clearly understanding and appreciating their desire to help him, which was a concept that gave him trouble earlier in the game.
    • If Cole is more spirit, he doesn't dwell on it for as long and decides to handle it the only way he knows how: making himself forget. Immediately he seems more remote, and doesn't respond to his name; but without emotion, his back turned, he remarks that you can continue calling him Cole if you wish. He is here to help. The Inquisitor retreats.
  • Remember Carroll? That adorably loopy Templar guarding the boat to the mage's tower back in Origins? "Don't question royalty!" and "Oooh, cookies!" He's a red lyrium abomination now, and you have to go to the Emerald Graves to kill him.
    • Cullen giving you the mission makes it even worse; all he can manage is "Please, for my sake, do what you have to do - but just make it quick." They served together in Kinloch Hold as young men and were friends; ambient dialogue cut from the game shows that Cullen had specifically asked Leliana to find some of his old Templar buddies, Carroll among them.
  • After Cole and Blackwall find out each other's sorry past, they promise to kill each other if either one shows signs of slipping back to their old persona.
  • At the end of Varric's mission, "Well, Shit", he is clearly hurt that Bianca betrayed his trust by leaking the location of the Primeval Thaig. He gives her a lecture, and she apologizes profusely. He walks away and tells her to forget about it, but you can tell that one more thing just got added to the list of things Varric feels are entirely his fault. As he walks away, Bianca gives him this sad, remorseful, pitying look. That look. Dear God that look. It's like she'd just broken a puppy's heart. Her next line to the Inquisitor afterwards just seals it.
    "Get him killed, and I'll feed you your own eyeballs."
  • The epilogue for the Grey Wardens if the player banishes them is tragic, especially for Origins veterans who came to love them. After everything that's happened to them, the ancient order may be on the verge of vanishing forever.
  • Abelas's name means "sorrow" for good reason. As a guardian of the Well of Sorrows, he awakens from hibernation to defend it from invaders. This means that the only time he's ever awake, it's to fight. And each time he wakes up, more and more of his fellow Sentinels fall in battle. All this sacrifice is made just to guard a pool of water, which is all that remains of his culture. The Inquisitor can even twist the knife further by harshly pointing out that what he's doing is meaningless, since the Elvhen heritage he swore to defend was lost long ago. Abelas's only response is to hang his head and agree.
    • Made even worse if the Inquisitor doesn't complete the temple rituals, in which case all the temple elves will die fighting the Inquisitor or Red Templars, and Morrigan stabs Abelas in the back when he tries to destroy the well to keep it from the invaders. Nothing you can say will prevent this.
  • An understated moment occurs when you ask Iron Bull about his work with the Ben-Hassrath. He says he was sent to Seheron to sort out the free-for-all that was the conflict on the island. If the Inquisitor says that sounds like fun for a Blood Knight like him, Bull replies that a good fight is one thing, but trying to figure out who poisoned a bunch of children is quite another.
    • Bull's experiences in Seheron in general are anything but sunshine and rainbows. The way he talks about how utterly chaotic and brutal the fighting was between the Qunari, the Tevinters, the Rebels, and the Tal-Vashoth was, and how it seriously messed up the minds of those who fought in it, to the point of PTSD. The kicker is that, other than the inclusion of the grey, horned giants and magic, the entire ordeal is just portrayed so realistically. If you took Bull's words out of context and replaced mentions of magic and swords with modern weaponry, you could be forgiven for thinking Bull was talking about his experiences in Yugoslavia or Vietnam.
  • Crisis of Faith sums up many of the characters well in this game, but Leliana and Cassandra get it the worst. They poured a lot of time and effort trying to make Justinia's Conclave work because they believed in her, and in doing the Maker's work. But then the explosion happened. Leliana is completely devastated by the experience, considering the whole thing the Maker's cruel joke, and questioning how worthy He is of devotion. Cassandra is hurt, but takes it better, until she learns that her Seeker abilities, which she believed were a gift from the Maker, actually came from reversing the Rite of Tranquility by communing with a spirit of Faith. While Cassandra has the ability to get better through dialogue with Solas and Cole, Leliana remains shattered, and can only potentially fix it by becoming Divine.
    • Cassandra's "taking it better" is actually implied to be a massive self-deception on her part. Leliana, for all of her Rage Against the Heavens, still believes the Maker is there. She may think He's a Jerkass God, but she never doubts He exists. Cassandra, on the other hand, is looking for a sign - ANY sign - that this lingering doubt in her mind is false. The Nightmare demon points out that learning the truth about the Inquisitor provides "yet more proof there is no Maker", meaning that she's been harboring this feeling for a while - possibly ever since her brother died, since right after telling that story, she says that her only solace has been believing that the Maker has a plan. It's possible that the main reason she approves every time the Inquisitor does or says something in the Maker's name is because between losing her parents, her brother, the Seekers, the Divine, the Chantry, and Galyan, she needs something... anything... to salvage her shattered heart.
      • You won't be helping her in the matter if your Inquisitor doesn't believe in the Maker, and especially if the Inquisitor is an atheist.
  • The true story of what happened at Red Crossing. In the end, it was ultimately a horrible misunderstanding that led to the deaths of two lovers which escalated into a war. Not only that, but a war that resulted in an entire race of people to be conquered and forced into subjugation and diaspora for over 700 years. The descendants of those connected to those involved still feel the effects of that tragic misunderstanding, even to this day.
  • The explanation that Cole has as to why he isn't a mage like the original Cole was: he had to be "him, but harmless; the him he wanted that wouldn't hurt." When asked to clarify what he means after his personal quest, he elaborates that it's because the original Cole had to kill his father in self-defense after his father killed his mother, because his father hated Cole for being a mage and put it down to his mother being a wilder. Also, the real Cole accidentally killed his sister, and after that was taken in by Templars but left to starve to death in a dungeon. The original Cole blamed all of this on the emergence of his magical talent, with self-hate so strong that it caused the spirit to form as an alternate version of Cole that lacked magic. The spirit carries on the real Cole's personal thoughts at the beginning of Asunder, in which he has no idea why anyone would like magic or how it could ever be considered a gift or an amazing talent when it had made him suffer so much.
  • Many of the little stories in notes left behind by others are depressing as hell, doubly so because you will very rarely ever meet the people who wrote them. They're often written by someone in a bad situation, writing their thoughts out like journal entries, leaving notes behind for loved ones to catch up with them... but the worst are the ones addressed to whoever's reading it. At some point, someone needed you, and you were too late. With all the worries about the "Herald of Andraste" and "The Maker's Will", it is depressing as hell that even if you do choose to take up that mantle, there are people who needed salvation and never got it. It's not your fault - there's no way you could have known they needed help - but you will feel the sting anyway.
  • If you play a Qunari and ask Iron Bull about "your people," he bluntly responds that you are not a Qunari - you're a Tal-Vashoth. If you play the Inquisitor as someone who doesn't know much about the Qun and probably hasn't met many of their own people prior to Bull, it particularly stings to be flatly rejected like that.
    • It's somewhat mitigated by further explanation. Bull states that Qunari isn't the race, but the society; even the Qunari themselves don't know exactly what they are.
    • Bull also corrects himself that the the Inquisitor is Vashoth, without the Tal, meaning he's not viewed as a traitor by Qunari society because he was never part of it to begin with.
  • The Grey Warden plotline is particularly rough on Warden!Alistair. He has to watch as the closest thing he's ever had to a family crosses a terrible line out of blind fear and desperation.
  • If you break up with Sera at this exact moment, the Inquisitor turns away, and Sera calls you by your pet name ("Inky?"). When you respond, she's silent for a few moments... just staring at you with sadness. She then says "Nothing", and walks away. It's surprisingly really sad to watch.
  • An implied one about a song called "Andraste's Mabari". A note in the barracks above the requisition office in Skyhold details a choir group with the rather silly name "Sing-quisition". They omit the song on account of it having a bad habit of leaving many choir members a sobbing wreck by the end. Considering the Undying Loyalty between Fereldans (and their predecessor Alamarri tribes) and their Mabari hounds, and the tragic end of Andraste... (Hint: It's a song about Together in Death.)
    • The song actually appears in a Codex entry that is found in Haven, on a statue of a Mabari. You can read it here. And yes, it IS a tearjerker.
  • If you recruit the mages, Cullen has a subtle moment when the Red Templars come to sack Haven. He pauses for a moment when he tells the mages that they have sanction to engage his former comrades.
  • In a similar vein to the Qunari Inquisitor's conversation with Iron Bull mentioned above, a Dalish Elf Inquisitor's attempt to connect with Abelas an Ancient Elf is met with a scornful response. And that's even before we learned about the true history of the elves:
    Abelas: You are not my people.
    • As if Solas's revelation about the the vallaslin wasn't enough...
  • The one thing sadder than finding notes from people you were too late to save? Finding them when they're lying on the ground dying. You can't save any of them, and usually you're only able to fulfill their dying wishes. For instance, a woman can be found in Emprise Du Lion, dying after being force-fed Red Lyrium. Her last request is for you to hide a "Dear John" Letter for her lover to find that falsely claims that she's leaving him for someone else. She doesn't care if he ends up hating her for it as long as it frees him to find happiness with someone else. She expires immediately after you take the letter from her.
  • The Exalted Plains is one big Aesop about the horrors of a Civil War, and you can find numerous examples of common folk doomed by the fighting throughout the map. One particularly touching example is when you find three skeletons under a tent in the Halin'sulahn region. Two skeletons are holding each other's hand in a final embrace. The third skeleton is a bit smaller than the other two, though. If you loot it, you find a blood-soaked teddy bear.
  • After Cassandra's personal quest, the codex is upgraded to tell the player the real history behind the Rite of Tranquility. Originally, the Rite was used solely as part of the Seekers' initiation ritual; permanent Tranquility was the price of failure. Eventually, a mage attempted to join the Seekers, having noticed that members of the order are immune to possession. He failed, but the Seekers found that he could no longer use magic. That is how the Seekers discovered the effect of Tranquility on mages. They decided to share the Rite with the Chantry, while keeping the reversal process to themselves. It was supposed to be a last resort, a humane method for mages who could not be controlled any other way. Over time, though, the definition of "uncontrollable" expanded to include political dissidents, apprentices who weren't progressing fast enough, and mages who just plain did not like the system. In some Circles, it expanded further into the Rite being used to create sex slaves for the Templars. The abuse of the Rite was one of the major factors that led to the Mage Rebellion. All that suffering because one well-meaning mage thought he found a way to avoid possession.
  • Think about Dagna for a moment, at just how brilliant she is. She could have been Paragon material if she weren't stifled by dwarven social rigidity. She's the good kind of crazy savant, as opposed to Branka's twisted insanity.
  • This one's more of a happy Tear Jerker. In the Hissing Wastes, you can free Tevinter slaves after taking out Venatori camps, and a war table operation allows you to hire some of them who want to stay with the Inquisition out of gratitude or for a sense of purpose. The quest completion note comes in the form of a letter one writes:
    Yesterday, I went to the bar and bought ale with my own coin for the first time in seven years. I couldn't stop crying. The bartender said nothing, but he handed me another drink. Then the guard-captain showed me how they play Wicked Grace in the south. I think I will make friends here.
  • Another tearjerker in the Hissing Wastes comes at the end of the Tomb of Fairel questline, which details how a Paragon named Fairel came to the surface to avoid the civil war between thaigs. After he died, he left rulership over the surface thaig he established to his two sons. But the brothers fell to infighting, and eventually one killed the other. The final inscription you find as part of the quest makes it clear how much he regretted the deed.
    A father taken by time, a brother dead by my own hand.
    With this work behold my grief, in Stone and shifting sand.
  • If you choose to recruit the mages, before heading to Redcliffe Castle, Cullen makes a very worried speech about how impregnable a fortress it is, and how they won't be able to help the Inquisitor if anything goes wrong. In the Bad Future, a note mentions that the Inquisition's forces launched three doomed attacks on the castle before being crushed completely. Cullen knew it was hopeless, but he tried anyway - and if Cassandra and Leliana are both prisoners, he and Josephine were probably the sole driving forces behind the Inquisition at that point.
  • While exploring the town of Redcliffe, you can encounter Connor Guerrin, the son of Arl Eamon, whom the Warden had the option to save from possession by a demon in Origins. If you side with the mages and end up in the Bad Future, there comes a point when you walk into a room just in time to watch him commit suicide rather than become possessed again.
  • Corypheus's death in a certain light. At the end of the day, his efforts are to try and restore order and sense to the world in which he finds himself (one so far removed from the world of his time it might as well be another planet) and at the end, with his plans in ruins and about to die at the hands of his nemesis, he is reduced to desperately begging for help from gods that he has continually dismissed as being nothing but myths and delusions.
  • While doing Calpernia's personal mission on the Templar path, you encounter a Tevinter mage named Erasthenes, whom Corypheus has bound with a magical enchantment that causes him great pain. The Inquisitor has the option of ending the man's suffering by breaking the enchantment, which reduces the Tevinter mage to dust. Although he did keep Calpernia as a slave, a story written by the devs shows that he was not a cruel master, and the enchantment has left him a broken man, begging for death.
  • 'All New, Faded For Her' becomes sadder the closer you are to the truth behind Solas. If you free the spirit and understand the final words it and Solas exchange, it's crushing. "You must endure. Please, guide me into death." But it's worse if you know how little is left of the world Solas remembers, and how the spirit was perhaps one of the very few things remaining. And he could not save it from death by torture, just as he could not preserve the elven race as it was without cataclysmic loss. His dialogue when he returns to Skyhold has new layers of meaning.
    It hurts. It always does.
  • During Blackwall's personal quest, your conversation with him while he's in prison. It's hard to see the once proud man slump against the cell door, reduced to nothing but self-loathing and despair.
    Blackwall: This is what I am. A murderer, a traitor... a monster.
  • The romanced version of this is also very wrenching. After spending a night together, the Inquisitor wakes up to find Blackwall missing, and only a note apologizing for ending things this way. Once they track him down, she can talk to him about their relationship. The script does not even begin to convey the utter self-loathing dripping from every word he says.
    Blackwall: You weren't supposed to find me. You were just supposed to think I was gone. I didn't want you to see me like this.
    Inquisitor: You wanted me to think you'd left me? That you were dead, or worse? You would break my heart, and call it better?
    Blackwall: ...wouldn't you be happier thinking I was a noble man, a Grey Warden, instead of this? I would've saved you the pain of learning all that you knew about me was a lie. That you loved a lie.
  • This can actually be used during some dialogue options: special choices can be approving, aggressive, incredulous, questioning, making use of attained knowledge, or indeed tearjerking. Choosing one of these branches can gain approval with your companions.
  • The fact that Varric clearly hates Anders now after what happened in DAII and regrets him and Hawke ever meeting him is really sad, since up until DAII's finale, Varric was one of the few people that still got along with him, and Anders greatly appreciated his friendship.
    Varric: [if Anders is still alive] I don't know where he is now, and frankly, I don't care.
  • Another small one for Varric, if Hawke is not a mage and Bethany died in the Deep Roads; take him to the Storm Coast and listen to his brief monologue when fighting the darkspawn above ground there. He reminisces about how he "lost a friend" to the monsters many years ago, then adds sadly, "Oh, Sunshine. We never should have taken her with us." Bethany has been dead for ten years at this point, and this little scene shows us that he never really got over her loss, nor stopped blaming himself for it.
  • The backstory of Chateau d'Onterre. The family there had a daughter who was a mage and to try to stop her powers from emerging, it's implied they used fake cures like holding her underwater; when that didn't work, they kept her locked away all the time. Eventually it resulted in the girl being taken over by a pride demon and killing everyone in the place. At the end all she could do was leave a note warning people to stay away. The little girl became the Arcane Horror that the party must kill at the end of the adventure. And all because a pair of snobby nobles couldn't accept their daughter for what she was.
  • If you have low enough approval with her, you can stumble on Cassandra drinking in her normal spot. While it's somewhat darkly funny to see the normally reserved Seeker so drunk she can barely stand, the conversation with her shows just how shattered she is after losing all faith in the Inquisitor.
  • At the end of the party after the defeat of Corypheus, the Inquisitor can talk to their friends and afterwards they can head into their quarters. If the Inquisitor has a romance, their love interest will come to the quarters with them. The two will share a scene, then gaze up at the sky together. But if the Inquisitor was a female Lavellan who romanced Solas, then because of his absence, before entering her quarters, she will look back on her friends, who will smile and wave. The Inquisitor offers a smile but when she turns around, their expression becomes a mix between devastated and disappointed, before entering her quarters to experience the aforementioned sky gazing scene alone. Why did she look so down, especially after the defeat of Corypheus? She was looking for Solas.
    • It hurts more when you realize after the breakup at Crestwood, the Inquisitor has an option to talk to Solas about how it 'wasn't over' and one of the dialogue options was how she hopes they can talk things out after Corypheus is defeated. But now he's gone, leaving her with a broken heart for the next two years, unable to move on.


Jaws of Hakkon

  • Ameridan's story. He was the original leader of the Inquisition as a personal favour to Emperor Drakon when he would rather be dealing with dragons, demons and maleficarum, but he loved a Dreamer mage named Telana and had friends. During the Second Blight, he went to stop the Avvar from summoning Hakkon but lacked the power to successfully kill him, and instead settled for freezing Hakkon and himself in time for centuries until the current Inquisition finds him. Then Ameridan finds out about the state of Thedas, and how far it's fallen compared to what he knew, and what happened to Telana. He asks the Inquisitor to stop Hakkon, and then dies due to the complete exhaustion of his body from the magic used to seal it for so long.
    • If you have Cole in your party when you recover Ameridan's memory of Telana, you get this heartwrencher.
    Cole: Too bright, blinding, breaking, broken. "Get to safety. I will seal us both away. It's not forever. Come back with aid." But her leg was broken. She could only lie down and try to see him one last time.
  • Upon recovering one of Ameridan's memories, it is revealed that Ameridan didn't want to go after Hakkon; he believed it would be better for him to remain in Halamshiral to convince his people they needed to fight with Orlais against the darkspawn or risk losing everything they had gained. He only went in the end because of his friendship with Emperor Drakon, believing he could resolve the problem quickly and then help elves and humans turn their full attention to defeating the Blight. When he didn't return, the elven hardliners got their way and the Dales adopted an isolationist policy that saw them stand by and do nothing while the darkspawn ravaged Orlais, setting into motion the chain of events that led to the Exalted March on the Dales. The destruction of an entire kingdom and the downfall of an entire people was brought about by the meddling of a handful of cultists in a forgotten backwater.

The Descent

  • There's a small moment early in The Descent when the group comes upon a pile of dwarf corpses that have been defiled by the darkspawn. Dwarves believe they return to the Stone after they die and lend her their strength, but Renn bemoans the fact that these dwarves would only weaken her. They are forced to burn the corpses instead.
  • Lieutenant Renn dies after the first battle with the Sha-Brytol, and Shaper Valta discusses his story, that he was perhaps the finest cobbler in Orzammar. Joining the Legion of the Dead was done after his father died so that his mother and brother wouldn't lose their caste. Later, when Memories are discovered in lyrium, speaking about the Titan, Valta suddenly grows quiet after she reads it.
    Valta: I can still hear Renn's objections.


  • The trailer for this final DLC. Two years has gone by since the Inquisition was made, but from the look of things, the situation has gotten worse. People in Orlais and Ferelden are showing a huge distrust of you, your hand is trying to kill you, and now you're dealing with a Qunari army who wants to kill you. That's not the real tearjerker. The real tearjerker comes from the Inquisitor, who is so stressed and fed up with everything that it rivals Commander Shepard's frustrations throughout their journey. The frustration was brilliantly acted.
    Inquisitor: Damn it! We saved Ferelden, and they're angry. We saved Orlais, and they're angry. We closed the Breach — twice! — and my own hand wants to kill me. COULD ONE THING IN THIS FUCKING WORLD JUST STAY FIXED!?
    • The Inquisitor's voice falters at the end of the their rant when they talk about returning. With all the pent up anger they have, their rant ends with them realizing that they may not even get to return alive.
    • The scene is preceded by the advisors arguing with one another, in a time of great tension, after a long, hard-earned and maintained peace. It's pretty much the straw that breaks the Inquisitor's resolve.
    • Worse still, the Inquisitor doesn't have to get angry. Choose another option on the wheel and they instead grow quiet, their voice becoming fragile and desperate with the realization that their days are numbered. And the voice acting sells it so well.
    Inquisitor: All the demons I fought, all the rifts I closed... I don't want to die.
    • Just adding to the sadness is the fact that, depending on earlier dialogue choices, this could be the first time the Inquisitor admits that the Anchor is killing them.
  • Depending on approval and the outcome of their loyalty quest, Iron Bull may decide his loyalty lies with the Qunari and side with them against you. You cannot talk him down. Cole confirms there was no regret in Bull's actions, no doubt about what he did. His Qunari name, Hissrad - The Liar - came true in the end.
    Iron Bull: Nothing personal, bas.
    • For an extra punch, take Dorian with you if he and Bull are a couple. At that point, it becomes BioWare saying: Go ahead. Enjoy the silly romantic banter between the two of them. We dare you to not feel bad about it afterwards.
    • If the Inquisitor romanced Iron Bull, the Inquisitor is in complete shock and ends up whispering the safeword "Katoh" over and over in disbelief and shock that he could betray them so easily after years of sleeping together in the same bed. The Inquisitor's trying to stop Bull's betrayal with the word, but in vain.
    • On the opposite side, if you spare the Chargers, then despite assuring the Inquisitor that he will always fight alongside them, Bull is shocked that he had to kill some of his former comrades in order to complete the Inquisition's mission, even outright begging the Ben-Hassrath to stop attacking the rest of Thedas.
  • At the end of the DLC, if the female Dalish Inquisitor is romancing Solas, his final goodbye to her sounds like he's just ripped his own heart out - even more so than when he dumps her - because he knows that when they meet next, they will be enemies. It's also heartbreaking that, despite his love for Lavellan, Solas seems to be resigned to his plan being the only way forward, and there is no way to talk him out of it.
    Solas: My love... I will never forget you.
    • Just his revelation that he is Fen'Harel, the pain in his voice as he finally confesses the truth is heartbreaking.
    And now you know.
    • The final shot before this occurs has Lavellan fall to her knees from the pain of the Mark and Solas kneeling so they can share one last kiss, both clinging to each other as though they'll never let go. In the next scene, she's lost her hand, severed from the one she loves in every way.
    • Lavellan's angry reaction to the revelation is heart-rending as well, romanced or not or in different gender. As if the revelations of their people during the course of the main game aren't enough...
    Lavellan: Ma harel lasa! [You lied!]
    Solas: Only by omission.
    Lavellan: Ma lasa banal'ghilana! [You gave false guidance!]
    Solas: What would you have had me say? That I was the great adversary in your people's mythology?
    Lavellan: I would have had you trust me!
    • For extra tear-jerking, Solas's romance epilogue slides mention that the Inquisitor awakes from dreams of Solas sadly watching her from a never-ending distance, and she doesn't know whether they're only dreams or if he's silently visiting her through the Fade. If Lavellan held on to the hope of redeeming him or their love finding a way, it notes she still believes she might save him from himself.
    • The finale is particularly harsh for any Inquisitor who was on good terms with Solas, not just the romanced one. While Solas overall already sounds regretful for what he thinks must be done, every time he's reminded of his and the Inquisitor's friendship, he sounds crushingly guilty over seeing the Inquisitor hurt in any way. And it's even more painful if the Inquisitor attempts to stop him and save their friend from his desperation to achieve his goals to save his people and from the loneliness of eons that he forced to suffer in order to enact his plans. Solas really wants the Inquisitor, or anyone for that matter, to prove him wrong and convince him there's a better way to save the world from its constant doom. And to make the whole scene even more memorable, Gareth David-Lloyd pulled some stellar voice acting for this one.
      Solas: I would treasure the chance to be wrong once again, my friend.
    • Swearing to stop Solas by any means necessary when friends with him is just as depressing. They both sound close to tears that it has to be this way, but neither of them can back down.
      Inquisitor: If I live, I'm coming to stop you.
      Solas: I know.
    • If Solas has low approval of you and you really hate that egghead, he considers you unworthy of saving, only doing so to prevent any bloodshed in the Inquisitor's name, just as he stayed with you despite his low opinion of you because he wanted to correct his mistake in giving the Orb to Corypheus. Unlike other scenarios, he really doesn't have any hope for the world or show any sign that you might sway him in his resolve. Solas' plan to destroy the world is already alarming to hear, but to think you may have brought it somewhat upon yourself might be even worse. One might wonder if your jerkassery contributed to his view that the world isn't worth preserving, or that it is worth destroying. If you don't care, why should he?
  • With the Mark growing ever more unstable and threatening to consume the Inquisitor, there is only one possible outcome: The Inquisitor loses his or her left hand, and thus the symbol of being chosen by Andraste and their immense authority not only over the Inquisiton but over the whole of southern Thedas (i.e. the Mark). No, there is no option to avoid it, even if you do everything right.
  • If the Inquisitor romanced Dorian, this banter between them if they go together on the final mission (made even more harsh by the brilliant voice acting from Ramon Tikaram, Dorian's actor):
    Dorian: Why didn't you say something? I could've... I don't know, something.
    Inquisitor: Whatever happens, I wouldn't trade the years we've had together for anything. I love you.
    Dorian: (sobs) I knew you would break my heart, you bloody bastard.
  • At the end of the DLC, you may choose to disband the Inquisition. note  If you do, it's more or less treated as The Fellowship Has Ended. There are a few people that stick around to help you intimately in the upcoming war, but everyone else? Well... they have their lives to live. After being treated to a massive game where you really grow attached to the quirky band of folk under your command, to see them all leave and attempt to resume regular life is quite tearjerking. So get us to the Tevinter Imperium quickly, Bioware!
  • The epilogue for Cullen if he resumed taking lyrium. He goes missing until Harding stumbles across him as a lyrium-addled beggar whom she may or may not have mercy killed.
    • Knowing about the epilogue, the way he talks about the Winter Palace. The small talk at the ball all being a blur now seems normal enough, but he can't remember "that duchess's" name. Even if he doesn't seem bothered at the time, his memory going is probably the reason why he retires a few months into the epilogue. Cullen's also too ashamed to stay in contact with his family, though his sister sends many letters.
    • Another moment occurs if you choose the Templar specialization and speak to Cullen about it: at one point he will grimly go into the gruesome details of Lyrium dependency/withdrawal, after which the Inquisitor will utter a small "Oh..." as if suddenly having the future they chose for themselves put into perspective. For all Inquisitors it is pretty sad since it basically means they'll be dependent on Lyrium for the rest of their lives until the addiction wastes their minds away completely, but a female Inquisitor using the British voice and romancing Cullen is probably the most heartbreaking: Not only is the her voice barely above a whisper yet still breaks a little, making it sound like the world has just crashed down around her, but she now realizes that she will be subjecting not just herself to this suffering, but Cullen to watching her be slowly killed from the inside.
  • Chapter ??? of Hard in Hightown, where Donnen Brennicovic meets with whomever was left behind in the Fade.
    • Also with a bit of Heartwarming, the version with Loghain shows him with his childhood mabari.
      • A bit of fridge tearjerker (or possibly heartwarming): the chapter is found in the Shattered Library, or Vir Dirthara, which is somewhere between the real world and the Fade. But dwarves don't dream and can't enter the Fade, and Varric is genuinely startled when they find it ("What the - I never wrote this!"). He didn't come up with it. So either someone, somewhere—maybe a friend of the one who was left in the Fade, maybe their love interest—imagined a happy ending for them, or maybe that's how they're really spending at least part of their afterlife.
    • Perhaps the most tear-jerky part is Hawke's line about how you can never really leave Kirkwall behind: the Champion is perhaps the one person in Thedas who can never run away from their fate, no matter how far they go, and that line encapsulates their resulting fatalism perfectly. And just like Donnen and Hawke, Varric cannot leave Kirkwall behind, either, despite how much trauma he endured there.
  • An Inquisitor who romances Sera will get an extra gut punch if she reads Sera's journal as the story progresses. She can tell the Mark is hurting the Inquisitor, but keeps denying it, writing over and over "It's not getting worse." Eventually, the Inquisitor comes across a tear-stained page that's been scuffed as if the book was thrown against the wall, hard. Sera knows her Inky is dying, and there's not a frigging thing she can do about it. Made even worse if you get married to her; what are supposed to be the happiest days of her life are instead spent watching as the anchor slowly consumes her wife from the inside. One can feel utterly terrified to personally see your loved one slowly dying and you are helpless to do anything about it.
    • Heck, even just being friends with Sera makes it painful. If you're playing an elf, the notes show that she's actually understanding of how the revelations about the elven gods might hurt you — "Not my hurt to keep. Is s/he all right with elfy stuff? Be there!" — and, once the truth about the Anchor comes out, her rambling pretty much encapsulates exactly how all the companions must feel.note 
    "Not right. Do everything for everyone, get sick. Not right."
    "Can't put arrows in it, put them everywhere else."
    "I will never miss."
    "I will make them know (Inquistor) had (scratched out) HAS friends."
  • If you take Vivienne with you to Vir Belanaris, she reflects that the place is a tragedy. When questioned, she responds that she's actually speaking of the elves as a whole. They trusted that the world would never change, and their ruins were a perfect consequence of such thinking. She tells the Inquisitor that regimes change, and, no matter what, they should ensure they are still standing.
    • If Varric is with her, the two of them remark that Orzammar is quickly becoming a ruin like the ancient elves were. All he can do is sadly agree. Despite Varric's dissociation with the traditional dwarves of Orzammar due to them being busy with their infighting and being too proud with their tradition that they shun any development (save for crafting), he still cares for his origins and is pained by what his people are becoming.
  • If you romanced and married Cullen, when the mark starts to act up around the war table, the expression Cullen has just before he hugs the Inquisitor is pretty heartbreaking. They're in the middle of a war meeting and Cullen has been usually professional up until this point, but he drops all attempts at that and rushes to sweep her into his arms. Now you remember that, for him, it's not just the Inquisitor, but his wife who's dying. Just like with Sera, this is supposed to be the happiest time of their lives, and yet she's dying and there isn't anything he can do to stop it.
    • A romanced Josephine however, will approach the inquisitor while breathing as if she's on the verge of tears before kissing them. Similarly to Cullen, she has always been keeping herself level-headed as the Inquisition's ambassador but knowing that her lover is dying, she can't do anything about it and likely doesn't know what to say to even comfort them.


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