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2016-07-21 05:58 pm

Mage Origin Meta Bits, Part 2

(Part 1)

*flops* Well, thank goodness that week’s over. I can play video games again!

As such, guess who has two thumbs and is now a Grey Warden!

“I hear some people have parental figures who don’t argue over the most politically expedient way to kill them.”

1. The Chantry can replace First Enchanters more or less at whim, according to Jowan. So it isn’t a safe position by any means, and the only way to retain it is to toe the Chantry line at least to some extent. I think it’s worth bearing that in mind when we discuss Irving, Orsino and (especially) Vivienne. None of them, especially not Orsino, is safe in their position.

Can the Chantry do the same thing to the Grand Enchanter? One would assume so, but then again Fiona was (I think) already GE in 9:31 when the first vote for independence was called.

2. I used to think Owain’s conversation with the Warden about why they wanted the rod of fire was there for comedy. I mean, look at it:

Warden: I need a rod of fire.

Owain: Rods of fire serve many purposes. Why do you wish to acquire this particular item?

Warden: What can the rods be used for?

Owain: Some mages require them for their research; others merely want to light fireplaces.

Warden: I anticipate having to light a fireplace.

Owain: I will set down that you require the rod to deal with a personal matter.

Every time I see it, though, and especially as we learn more about the Tranquil, I become less sure. I think Owain’s actively helping the Warden out here, and possibly even using his ‘robotic’ Tranquil status as a cover to some extent.

3. There is an actual, definable difference between a Harrowed mage and an unHarrowed one, at least in terms of their magic:

Warden: Since you have the password, can’t Jowan help you enter?

Lily: The ward only responds to the [magical] touch of one who has been through the Harrowing.

This is fascinating, in light of that thing Irving says later on about how Connor will be ‘forever changed’, and the way the Seekers get their powers. I don’t think what happens during the Harrowing is the same as being possessed and then unpossessed again - not least because being unpossessed is probably what leads to Blight immunity and a mage Warden is definitely capable of contracting the Taint - but there might be something similar going on there? Maybe?

4. Antimagic wards exist. There is a simple, effective way to stop mages from doing magic in a specific area that doesn’t involve, you know, lobotomising them, locking them up, or throwing them to demons. So. That’s fun.

5. Most of Eleni Zenovia’s really interesting lines are in Witch Hunt (’The prison is breached!’), but there are a few things:

  • Firstly, she describes herself as ‘the essence and spirit’ of Eleni Zenovia. She’s not much given to tautology, so I’m inclined to believe these are indeed two separate things. Why is this relevant? Because Mythal, and Kieran, and that whole thing in the Inquisition end credits scene where Flemeth sends one thing through an eluvian before Solas takes another. (Also, because one of those words is spirit. Can we take ‘essence’ to mean ‘soul’? More evidence needed.)
  • In the wake of Trespasser, I am suddenly very suspicious of the circumstances surrounding anyone being turned to stone by a powerful mage. Not that I think Valerius was Solas or anything - the question is more one of power. Is it possible to do it slower than Solas does? Is there an actual spell that’ll do this, or are creepy glowy eyes required?

6. The spell enhancer statue.

Looks a bit... wolfy, doesn’t it?

Fen'Harel enansal... or something. )
charamei: (Default)
2016-07-21 05:53 pm

Mage Origin Meta Bits, Part 1

Alim’s diary entry is coming when I actually finish the origin, but there’s a tonne of codex entries and important lore in this section so let’s review everything we learn between waking up and leaving Duncan in his quarters. (The previous part is here.)

1. Envy demons are a subtype of Sloth demon (here) (ETA: Therinfal meta here), and the concept definitely wasn’t created by the writers solely for Therinfal Redoubt. Which leads me to wonder - is that what the duplicate party you fight during the Temple of Sacred Ashes is? They’re definitely some form of spirit, the Temple being what it is, and this would seem to fit better than any other explanation we have.

2. From the same codex entry:

‘A community afflicted by a demon of sloth could soon become a
dilapidated pit where injustices are allowed to pass without comment,
and none of the residents could be aware that such a change has even
taken place.‘

So that explains Thedas, then. *rimshot*

3. The Fade codex entry is now hopelessly outdated, of course, but one line jumps out at me as suddenly very interesting:

The Tevinter Imperium once spent vast fortunes of gold, lyrium, and human slaves in an effort to map the terrain of the Fade, an ultimately futile endeavor.

Human slaves. Human. I don’t think that’s just an emphasis thing - we know that most slaves in Tevinter are elves, and we also now know that elven blood is somehow tied to the Fade. So why use humans? Maybe there’s something about their blood that makes it more suited to the task - maybe, since humans are less tied to the Fade and more tied to the material world than elves, human blood stabilises the Fade in a way that elven blood can’t?

4. We need to put Owain and Solas in a room together, stat.

Warden*: And now you are no longer a person.

Owain: My body is similar in form to yours, possessing an equal number of limbs, appendages, and internal organs. I perform the same physical functions. My mind is capable of higher thought processes. Am I to be denied personhood because I do not feel as you do?

Warden: A person is more than just physical parts.

Owain: I have thoughts and memories. I remember my past, my childhood in the tower, and my apprenticeship. These experiences defined me. My lack of emotion simply adds to what is already there.

Warden: My statement was rude. I apologise.

Owain: I do not have the capacity to be offended. Still, I believe I am a person.

*I would just like to take this opportunity to apologise profusely to my Surana, for whom this comment was horrifically OOC. The sacrifices I ask him to make in the name of meta, honestly.

4.5 The Tranquil parallel is so obvious, and it’s so clear that the writers are Going Somewhere with the Tranquil cure now, that I wonder if we can use it to predict how the Veil coming down will affect the (especially non-mage) population of modern Thedas? Granted, it would help if we knew how Solas thinks people should be experiencing their lives, but I imagine we can make some vague predictions about people’s emotions becoming uncontrollable. Or their dreams? Magic? Ability to attract demons?

5. Trespasser’s First Grand Enchanter and DAO’s History of the Circle codex entries don’t match up; the former attributes the founding of the Circle to Kordillus I, the latter to Kordillus II. Pick whichever you like better for fic purposes, I guess.

6. Duncan says that “We can’t seem to eradicate [the darkspawn]
completely. No matter how hard we try, they always come back,” which
could be nothing more than a comment on their sheer numbers but could
also be an indication that they’re coming from somewhere.

7. Blood magic can be used to duplicate the powers of a somniari:

Although lyrium will allow a mage to send his conscious mind into the Fade, blood would allow him to find the sleeping minds of others, view their dreams, and even influence or dominate their thoughts.

It’s also been ‘all but stamped out’. Ha. Ha. Hahahahhahahahaaaaaaaaaaa. Okay, Chantry propaganda. Okay. If you say so.

charamei: (Default)
2016-07-21 05:46 pm

The Fade in the mage origin

Some random meta notes from this section:

1. The Sloth demon says that Mouse ‘let go of the human form years ago’, which sort of makes me wonder if Mouse is lying less than we think. I can’t think what incentive Sloth would have to lie? Unless it thinks that Mouse will kill it, perhaps, but I’m not sure it would care.

2. The wonky Dalish tent is actually kind of interesting, in that it’s there regardless of whether you’re playing Amell or Surana. Alim might have decided that it’s representative of his disconnection from his heritage or something Freudian like that, but personally, I’m wondering if it’s Dalish at all or a relic from Elvhenan. (Though ancient elvhen tents were probably much fancier, I guess.)

3. Fuck Bioware and their foreshadowing, honestly:

Spirit wolves for crying out loud you assholes I always wondered what relevance they had to anything going on in that sequence at all

4. Speaking of the spirit wolves, “The real dangers of the Fade are preconceptions, careless trust... pride.” Well, Solas has two out of three going on, so well done there, Mr Fade expert, sir. (Alim has the third all to himself, bless his trusting little heart.)

4.5 Still speaking of the spirit wolves, there is a codex entry somewhere (which I now can’t find, go me) that suggests Pride demons are all involved in some massive conspiracy of their own making. So, uh. Considering Solas, and considering the random appearances of spirit wolves here... I’m concerned.

5. I love the way Mouse just talks himself into a corner if you don’t call him out, and ultimately has to give up because he’s screwed himself over. No, there’s no meta point here: I just really like it. His own pride ends up his undoing.

6. This is the best place in all three games to get a good clear view of the Black City:

Things which intrigue me, but may or may not be relevant:

  1. It has buildings on both the top and the bottom, and the bottom ones seem to be upside-down (see the Crossroads? If it’s elvhen-built, this would make sense);
  2. It’s a very odd shape. Kinda reminds me of a dragon, though that’s probably just a faces-in-the-clouds thing.
  3. That one really tall tower which shall henceforth be known as ‘Elgar’nan’s Phallus’ because I just have a Feeling about the overcompensatory nature of it, okay

7. Speaking of things you can see from the Fade in the mage origin:

Hello sun hello trees hello sky sa alim who is a weedy wet chiz chiz chiz

(Part 2)

charamei: (Default)
2016-07-21 11:39 am

Scrapbooking in Thedas: Flemeth and Ostagar

(Previously on Scrapbooking in Thedas...)

It is possible that I’m now employing the ‘You’re not allowed to play Alim’s save again until you write his diary entry’ method of self-motivation, here. So yeah, my save is an entire play session ahead of the diary now. Go me!

Which means, among other things, the introduction of the healthiest, most functional mother/daughter relationship in all of Thedas.


Yeah, anyway, Flemeth. I do have some notes on Ostagar too, but let’s start with Flemeth. Because, well, it’s Flemeth.

1. Now that we know a bit more about what’s going on with Flemeth, some of her lines are starting to make more sense... and others of them are becoming even more cryptic.


Jory: Quiet, Daveth! If she’s really a witch, do you want to make her mad?

Flemeth: There’s a smart lad. Sadly irrelevant to the larger scheme of things, but it is not I who decides. Believe what you will.

I had previously categorised this one in ‘leaning on the fourth wall’ and ‘maybe vague allusions to the Maker’, but post-Inquisition...

...there’s a few things to be said here, but what really jumps out at me about it is a similarity to Solas and Flemythal’s post-Inquisition scene. Namely, they both contain vague references to higher powers than the Evanuris:

Solas: The failure was mine. I should pay the price. But the People, they need me. I am so sorry.

You know what’s still fascinating me? This whole ‘pay the price’ thing didn’t come up once in Trespasser that I could see - and believe me, I was looking for it.

From context, we can deduce that the price involved is death, but it is still very unclear which particular failure Solas is talking about. There are several thousand possibilities, here, and some of them don’t even imply higher powers, but then we also have this if the Inquisitor doesn’t drink from the Well (haven’t seen the alternate version yet):

Flemythal: Alas, so long as the music plays, we dance.

There’s a whole essay here on ‘The Music’ and its relation to the Calling, darkspawn, and even some of Cole’s banters. For now, let’s just settle with: there’s some kind of magic music, it’s the universe’s greatest earworm, and not even being a literal elvhen god will stop it.

...oh shit no hold on let’s not because I just had a thought

Cole [on Solas]: He hurts, an old pain from before, when everything sang the same.

Cole [to Varric]: Do you write to reach across? To hear the song that was sundered?

There was a song, and it used to be everywhere, and many of Cole’s other lines imply that it’s something to do with the Fade (and I am not getting into the Calling here), but the song was sundered. By the Veil?

The Chantry believes that the ideal situation for the world is one in which the Chant of Light can be heard everywhere in the world. What if Andraste didn’t say ‘the Chant’, though? What if she said ‘the song’?

Food for thought.


Flemeth: So much of you is uncertain... and yet I believe. Do I? Why, it seems I do!

Another line that’s gone from ‘leaning on the fourth wall’ to ‘fuck Bioware’s foreshadowing’, in which Flemeth takes time out of her cryptic old lady schedule to chat to Mythal. Probably.


Flemeth: I have protected [the treaties]. [...] Take them to your Grey Wardens and tell them this Blight’s threat is greater than they realise!

Warden: What do you mean the threat is greater than they realise?

Flemeth: Either the threat is more or they realise less. Or perhaps the threat is nothing! Or perhaps they realise nothing! *laughs*

In the wake of the Trespasser reveals about Titans and the Blight, I’d say they realise nothing, wouldn’t you?

(Sidenote: It was Mythal who killed/subdued the Titans... could the Blight be her fuckup? ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE)

Number two is under the cut! I made it to number two!

Read more... )