Month: June 2014

Dragon Age: Inquisition – Companions and NPCs

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As of June 23rd, every companion for DA:I has been officially named, and many NPCs have been announced and/or identified as well. Here I provide all the links to the discussions of the personality, roles, and, of course, the possibility for romance of each of these characters. Simply click on their name below, and you’ll get to where you want to go!

The Inquisitor

Companions| Varric Tethras – The StorytellerVivienne, “Lady of Iron” – The AmbitionCassandra Pentaghast – The BelieverSera – The WildcardBlackwall – The ResolveIron Bull – The MuscleCole – SpiritDorian – The RedeemerSolus – The Mind

 NPCs| Coming soon!

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Solas – The Mind

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Solas is voiced by Gareth David-Lloyd, known for his portrayal of Ianto Jones in in Torchwood and Doctor Who. I’ve you need me I’ll be in the corner dying from joy.

He mastered his magic without the help of tutors, spending years exploring the spirit realm of the Fade and coming to an understanding of its denizens that few others could claim. He would be happiest left alone to sleep in ancient ruins, searching for memories and knowledge that has been lost for ages, but the Breach in the sky threatens all worlds.

“The Hedge Mage” – Solas is very much a free thinker. He is not Dalish, but he’s not from an alienage either. He grew up an apostate in a small village. He spent most of his time alone in the wilderness, and that is where he prefers to be. He’s self taught, and has spent a lot of time in the fade, coming to understand it as few mages do. Because of that, he can use magic in ways that most other mages wouldn’t even think of.

Solas found the Fade on his own, he went in without preconceptions, letting him explore the area and befriend spirits without the black-and-white mentality that holds back mages trained in the Circle.

Solas is a new kind of character to appear in the Dragon Age universe. We have had several kinds of mages, and several kinds of elves, all of them breaking the rules to some effect. All of them have viewed the Fade with the same sort of caution. The Keeper even has taught Merrill repeatedly that she cannot trust anything inside the Fade. Yet, Solas will explore the land of dreams, and even befriend spirits he meets there. To him, it’s not a black and white issue at all. This is good, this is bad, this versus that, us and them – to Solas, there’s always a bigger story. There is always more to it. As Solas would put it, “It’s more complicated than that.”

I am, at this point, 100% convinced that Solas is a romance option for the Inquisitor. And I really do intend on taking it. As a side bar – I can always tell who my favorite characters will be (Cole, Solas) and, so far, my favorite romance has always been the elf (Zevran, Fenris). I have a problem, you see.

Anyway. As for the rest of the Inquisition, Solas does not get along with Vivienne. She is cold toward him as only Vivienne is capable. She is very much pro-circle, and holds all the same views as the circle in regards to the fade. So, naturally, he thinks she’s close minded and she thinks he doesn’t know what he talking about. While I think he’ll generally get along with Bull, they will also get into disagreements over the freedom of thought and other things about Qunari beliefs. I have complete certainty that Solas and Cole will get along swimmingly. Solas being a lover of the fade, and Cole being a type of spirit demon guy. I’m looking forward to that.

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I am extremely excited to see get to know Solas. How about you? What do you think of the newest (and final) companion of the Inquisitor? Let me know in the comments below!

 

The Liebster Award

I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award by the lovely Jessica at Mind Of A Mermaid. The award is to recognize and welcome new bloggers, as well as encourage them to meet other bloggers.

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The Rules

1. Thank the person who nominated you and post a link to their blog on your blog.
2. Display the award on your blog
3. Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
4. Provide 11 random facts about yourself.
5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers.
6. Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.
7. List these rules in your post
8. Inform the blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster Award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it

I was never actually huge on those Myspace and Facebook surveys of Middle School. But, alas, a blogging moment tis a blogging moment and I will see it through.

Questions from Jessica

1. If you could choose a character from a book to be your best friend, who would it be and why?

I’m torn. Between Jacob from North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley and Fermin Romero de Torres from The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I agree so fervently with both of their outlooks on life. They’re both the personification of the funny-yet-oddly-wise character and I’m very much about that life. Some quotes:

“Destiny is usually just around the corner. Like a thief, a hooker, or a lottery vendor: its three most common personifications. But what destiny does not do is home visits. You have to go for it.” – Fermin

“So I figured if people were going to stare at me anyway, then I would choose the term of their staring. I can dictate what they see.” – Jacob

And a special shout out to Manchee the dog from The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness for one of the best opening scenes I’ve experienced in a novel.

“Need a poo, Todd.” – Manchee

2. What is your favorite breakfast food?

Grits. With butter, pepper, sausage, and egg mixed it. The sausage is required. And I always finish off the meal with some raspberry iced tea  because that’s how I do.

3. What’s your favorite cheesy romantic comedy?

Define “cheesy”. My favorite romantic comedies are probably Love Actually and About Time. They were made by the same people, and they’re both wonderful. The second one’s a romcom about time travel. So. I dig that.   

4. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In apartment in New York. If we’re meant to be specific here, on June 29th, 2024, I’ll probably be sitting on the couch in my apartment yelling at my computer because I still haven’t finished my manuscript. It certainly isn’t my computer’s fault, but I image I’ll be living alone and I doubt my neighbors will appreciate my knocking on their door to yell at them because I still haven’t finished my manuscript.

5. Favorite smell?

See, what’s weird is I was recently just asked this question. My answer was one of those iffy on the fly things you’re mad you said because you think of ten better things to say later. The answer I received was fabulous, but I don’t think I could quite capture it’s glory from memory.

My favorite smell is actually what happens when I’m in a big book store surrounded by books, but I also have two day old movie theater popcorn and a bottle of raspberry iced tea with me. And my blanket. And my Pooh. And the bookstore is actually in my house so someone is in the kitchen making meat loaf and mashed potatoes. Oh yes.

6. What do you do when you need to relax? Creative outlets?

When I need to relax, I will either a.) Curl up alone and watch a really great movie, b.) Curl up alone and mindlessly scroll through the internet, or c.) Curl up alone and listen to the Shostakovich 8 on repeat. There are a few other things I suppose I could do, but I think I’ve expressed that it universally involves curling up alone and doing absolutely nothing. As for creative outlets, I love to write. I wrote a book once, but it’s terrible. I’ve started and never explored six different screen plays. I have thousands of pages of lore, ideas, and random scenes that will never make it into any of my stories. This actually kind of stresses me out, which then causes me to write more. I also play instruments. Piano and viola are my favorites, I thinks. And I draw. And sing. And dance. Just not all at once.

7. What would your super power be?

I have sat for hours considering this. I’ve always thought that I would need to consider the power I’d really like, and the power I’d actually have. I’d really like to fly. But, I’d actually be able to get into people’s heads and do whatever I want. Some would consider this an improvement. But I’m probably certifiable, so I’d definitely be a danger to myself and everyone around me. And I wouldn’t be a super hero. At least, not on purpose. I’d honestly just use it to mess with people.

8. What is your definition of love. 

Romantic Love is a a chemical reaction within the brain that makes you temporarily incapable of logical reasoning.

I haven’t felt that kind, but I’ve have maternal love and sibling love and friendship love. And all that is basically the thing that people need to have to keep from killing each other. It’s kind of beautiful.

9. What song do you listen to to pump yourself up?

Well, I am quite fond of the Shostakovich 8. But that’s to find my zen. If I need to get something done, I listen to The Killers. Specifically, the album Day and Age on repeat. Some honorable mentions include A Beautiful Lie by 30 Seconds to Mars, Riot by Three Days Grace, and Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen.

10. What would you do different if you lived without the fear of being judged?  

And people think I’m blunt now.

Really, though, I don’t really fear being judged. I fear being alone forever. There is a distinct difference, you see.

11. What was the last thing that made you laugh?

I recently realized that my sister’s life is like an infomercial. I will never stop laughing.

11 Random Facts

And, because this blog post still isn’t long enough, I have to give you eleven random facts about myself that otherwise are not likely to appear on this blog.

1. I have stacks of notebooks hidden away in my house filled with insane ramblings going back to the sixth grade.

2. I will not tolerate watermelon. Or any type of melon for that matter.

3. That being said, honeydew is my absolute favorite smell.

4. I hate flowers. I don’t know why, but looking at them kind of makes me angry.

5. Bake me snickerdoodles, bring me some caramel and milk chocolate lindor truffles, let me talk at you for an undefined period of time without interrupting, and I’ll probably do whatever you want.

6. When I can’t write, I lose all functionality in life. I’ve missed a month of school because I had writer’s block.

7. I do not, nor will I ever, understand flirting.

8. I often argue for a side I disagree with just for the sake of arguing. I really like arguing. Debating. Whatever.

9. You probably have noticed, but I have a truly unhealthy obsession with the video game world of Dragon Age. I know a lot of random lore just off the top of my head. The reason for this is because I can obsess better than anyone I know. The reason for this is because I have a disorder. Several, in fact. I like to think I’m quirky.

10. Gender and sexuality are weird. I don’t believe everyone has a binary. Binary is weird.

11. I went to China once and met a two year old named Christopher. He got adopted, so his name is Nate now. I still miss him, and thinking about him makes me extensively slightly depressed.

My Nominations and Questions

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my mind reels through film
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Write and Day
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It did occur to me that I don’t actually follow many new bloggers, and I began to fully understand the point of this award. See how that works?

Now, your task, should you choose to accept it, is to answer the questions I am about to list out for you, and then proceed to do all of the other said listed in the rules above. Yeah? Yeah. The questions are as follows:

1. If you could choose any three fictional character to simultaneously hang out with, who would you choose and why?

2. If you could teleport, where if the first place you would go?

3. If you could go through time to witness any event in history, what would it be?

4. What is your favorite blog post you’ve ever written?

5. What if your favorite blog post someone else has written?

6. What is your favorite website other than wordpress?

7. What is your quest?

8. What is your favorite color?

9. What’s in the box?

10. Is there is a single movie, television, gaming, book (etc.) reference you make constantly?

11. Why do you blog?

Have a lovely day. And feel free to answer any of these questions in the comments below.

 

How We Can Do Better than the Bechdel Test

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Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about the Bechdel Test and the terrible, horrible, misogynistic films that do not pass it. You know, those sexist meat-fests like The Lego Movie and Gravity. And most other films out there.

The Bechdel Test ignores the complexities within film, or whichever media it is being applied. If we apply it to something like Gravity, we ignore that the central character is a woman. There is no ‘honorary pass’ – you pass or you fail. And Gravity, despite its importance to women in science fiction, fails.

So we very well could call this test bunk. However, that would be ignoring the actual point of the test. There are three things I’m going to discuss in the following post:

1) The Bechdel Test is not about passing or failing.

2) It ignores too many aspects of a film to be a real criterion for the worth of a film.

3) A proposition for a ‘better’ system.

The Bechdel Test

The actual test consists of three criteria. It’s been the general idea that if the film does not pass the test, it’s sexist. If it does, more time than not, it is a decent representation of women. This test is as follows:

1) The film must include at least two female characters

2) who talk to each other

3) about something other than a man.

It’s a simple test, so it may come as a surprise that so many films fail it so completely. An important distinction to be made here is the test means what it says – the women cannot be talking about any sort of relationship or thoughts about any male characters. This includes boyfriends, fathers, brothers, cousins, and even friends who happen to be male. The point is to show women existing entirely without the thought of men, even allowing for stereotypically female conversations to occur (i.e. tampons, shoes, etc.). So what does it mean when we have something like Gravity failing the test, and something like Sex and the City passing?

Sandra Bullock in Gravity

Sandra Bullock in Gravity

Well, it certainly means something. But it’s not a simple meaning. It speaks to the roles women play within a film reflecting the role women are perceived to play in society. All this does is point out a couple of the flaws of the test, while leaving space for a discussion of the actual point of the pass/fail rating.

It is meant to create a dialogue. It is not meant to tell you anything about a film so much as bring up a dialogue about society. We don’t need to say “This is bad” to a film that fails because it isn’t always a bad thing in the same way that we don’t need to say “This is good” to a film that passes because it really isn’t always a good thing. We need to ask “Why is this?” and move from there.

When we see films ‘objectifying women’ like The Wolf of Wall Street, a film that very clearly fails the test, the problem here is not the writers so much as it is a true story. It is something that actually happened. So, we have to step back and think “Why is this?” and “What can we do to fix it?” if we find it in a situation that needs fixing.

Thick and Thin Description

‘Thick description’ is a term made popular by anthropologist Clifford Geertz in his book The Interpretation of Cultures. Thick description is, very basically, viewing something within context. The simplest way to describe this way of viewing something is through an example.

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Wyldstyle in The Lego Movie

Let’s talk about The Lego Movie. This film technically fails the Bechdel Test. The following conclusion, ignoring the actual point of the test, would be to call the movie sexist. We start with an observation: the film includes two major female characters, but they never have a meaningful conversation with each other. Now, we must ask ourselves why that is in the context of the story. Did they hate each other? Did they even know each other? Were they friends at all? In the context of the story, Wyldstyle and Unikitty were not friends. In fact, Wyldstyle found Unikitty’s general disposition annoying. So the next question: does it actually mean anything that they weren’t talking to each other? Does it make sense that these characters weren’t spending a good amount of time talking to each other? When we say, no it doesn’t mean anything and yes it makes sense, we have to go deeper still. Why would we need them to speak to one another? The assumption here is that we consider it more important for a woman to talk to another woman about something other than a man than it is for a woman to talk to a man about something other than a man. Why is this distinction important? What does it tell us about the story and the society in which the story was written that women are not talking about men, but we’d prefer it if they weren’t talking about men with other women? Take one more look at the observation: The film includes two major female characters, but they never have a meaningful conversation with each other. Let me rephrase the final question: Why must a woman have a meaningful conversation with another woman for it to count? Why is it less important for a woman to have a meaningful conversation with a man, even when there were other prominent female characters? Why does it matter?

There is a lot more that goes into this than is implied by the questions of the Bechdel Test. I certainly have an answer to that question, but I can’t rightfully put it forth without having to then pose three more questions about the implications and meanings behind my answer. And so on and so forth.

A Different System

Melissa Silverstein, founder and editor of the online publication Women and Hollywood had this to say: “The Bechdel Test is a starting point and not a finishing point. I don’t believe that two women talking to each other [about subjects] other than a man should be the bar we’re setting for our films. I want strong female characters.”

In my mind, this is what we should be attempting to measure. The Bechdel test has a purpose, but there are many more things we should be looking at before we judge the portrayal of women in film. With this in mind, I’d like to propose a different kind of system we may apply to get this across. I am going to draw inspiration from a test used to measure the strength of LGBT characters within media: The Russo Test. This system is also imagined to be put in application across media, include film, television, video games, and literature alike.

Part 1

1) There is a major female character

2) She is tied in the plot in such a way that her removal would have a significant effect on the film

3) She is expressed independently

By ‘independently’ I mean she exists without relying on another character to affirm her existence. The gender of this character does not matter. She is capable of standing alone, and this is made clear in the film. Some examples of a female characters that would pass Part 1 of this system are: Isabella and Aveline from Dragon Age 2, Hazel from The Fault in Our Stars, and Olivia Pope from Scandal.

Part 2

1) The female character is the leader of a major faction or organization

2) OR she is in high command of a faction

3) AND she continues to express leadership and earn reverence

4) AND she gains reverence despite or independently of the actual leader of the faction

Part 1 and Part 2 can exist independent of one another. Not every character is written to be a leader, so it would be ridiculous to apply this part of the test to every female character. However, if you look at the first part, both Aveline and Olivia Pope pass both parts of the test.

Part 3

1) The female character expresses her sexuality despite the will of another character

2) She enjoys expressing her femininity despite the will of society

3) She enjoys wants to be a mother, enjoys cooking, or enjoys any other stereotypically female trait for reasons other than ‘she’s a girl’

4) AND she is defined by more than this trait

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Kerry Washington as Scandal’s Olivia Pope

This part of the test is more about women not being afraid to dive into a stereotype. They do these things not because society demands it, but because they legitimately enjoy doing it. The character does not have to have each trait listed here, and will be considered a pass if she has just one trait in addition to the fourth trait. Isabella from Dragon Age passes Part 1 and Part 3 because she is a hugely independent character that really likes sex, but has thoughts and motivation that go beyond this. Olivia Pope passes in all three parts. This does not make her an inherently stronger character, and we could take three thousands more words finding all the questions we need to expand our description of the importance of these questions to a female character.

I could list out a hundred more questions to fit into this system, a hundred more questions to help us define the way in which we want to look at female characters. But, when it comes down to it, I believe in one extremely important factor that can determine whether an idea can fit within this system.

We don’t need to compare a female character to a male character to determine her worth. Because, the truth of the matter is, the strongest character of any gender is a character that is heavily layered with different thoughts and motivations. Character A should have different thoughts and motivations than Character B. The strength of a character, at this point, should be viewed almost independently of gender. A female character is not weak because a male character is strong. A female character is not strong because she is seen as stronger than her male counterpart. And vice versa.

The Bechdel Test certainly has a purpose, a time, and a place. But it should not be our goal, and the fact that we treat it with this sort of black and white disdain vs. reverence speaks volumes about our society. What exactly it’s saying, I’m not sure I can say. But I do know there is a lot more that we could be talking about, a lot more we should be talking about.

It can begin in the Bechdel Test, but that is definitely not where it needs to end. If we end it there, we’ve cheated ourselves out of the examination of truly strong characters, and we’ve cheated ourselves out of some amazing society-examining conversations. We can do better.

The Inqusitior

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Let those who would destroy us step into the light.

Overview

The Inquisitor is the protagonist of Dragon Age: Inquisition, and the third protagonist of a major game. The Inquisitor is the sole survivor of Breach tearing open during a peace conference at the Temple of Sacred Ashes. They emerge from the fade are found by Cassandra and her people. Though the Inquisitor is initially considered a threat, they eventually become the leader of the Inquisition, tasked with creating order and investigating the veil tears. On top of that, this character has the unique ability to close veil tears and manipulate the fade, expressed by a glowing green scar on his or her left hand.

Character Creation

270px-Inquisitor_faces_modelsThe character creation will work very similarly to previous games. The character will choose a gender (male or female), then a race. Unlike in previous games, we can play as a human, elf, dawrf, or qunari. There is a specific story that goes along with each race. After that you choose a class. You can play as a mage, warrior, or rogue. As in previous games, a dwarf cannot be a mage.

The selection of race with determine the Inquisitor’s background. All that has been confirmed so far is a qunari inquisitor will be Vashoth (as opposed to Tal-Vashoth), Meaning that, while you are racially qunari, you were never introduced to the Qun. An elven inuisitor will be Dalish. It is assumed, as well, that a dwarven inquisitor is a noble, as their last name is Cadash.

You will also have the option to choose a voice for the Inquisitor. There are two recorded female voices, and two recorded male voices (one American, one British). One of the confirmed female voices is Alix Wilton Regan. She also voiced Comm Specialist Samantha Traynor in Mass Effect 3.

Role

The Inquisitor is a very powerful character. Of course they’re a badass, but they also have a huge amount of political power. You decide, as the Inquisitor, what kind of leader you want to be and what exactly the role of the Inquisition is. It is possible, if you try really hard to alienate everyone, to end the game with only one companion. It is also possible to end the game with a fully party. As seen in the 30 minute gameplay footage released a couple of months ago, your companions have big and palpable reactions to the decisions you make, and quick decisions can have huge consequences. For example, in the first gameplay trailer we see Varric leaning over dead bodies looking positively forlorn. In the gameplay footage, we learn that this happened as a direct result of a decision made by the Inquisitor. It was a decision that shocked your captain and one that Varric disagreed with. This was in issue where Cassandra would insist that the town needs the stronghold, and Varric would insist that there won’t be a town unless we leave the stronghold and defend the people. This makes me think that, when it comes down to it, you need to choose whether to protect to people of Thedas or to protect your assets and strongholds. It will be a bit more complex than that, but it’s certainly something we have to look forward to.

Unlike Hawke, the Inquisitor is not a ‘leaf in the wind.’

You aren’t waiting for the world to act upon you. You are acting upon it, both because you have an organization at your back. This gives you greater reach. You’re not walking into a camp and begging for help. You’re pounding down the gates of a castle and demanding that they come onto your side.

This will open up the options to really decide what the Inquisition is for. This is a new option in the Dragon Age franchise as The Grey Warden organization is about eight centuries old when you join it, and Hawke was simply thrown about by the poor decisions of others. As the Inquisitor, you are the founder of the organization, and you’re the one making the decisions that throw people like Hawke around.

Personality

There will be much less auto dialogue than in Dragon Age 2, something more similar to Mass Effect. Although, it is unclear whether or not we’ll have the same sort of personality options. I image those options will be extended, less one note, while still leaving the option for a witty or humorous response that has been present in every Dragon Age Game so far. When it comes down to it, you can customize this characters in ways you have before, and in ways that might be similar.

What are you hoping to see from the inquisitor? let me know in the comments below.

Dorian – The Redeemer

 

BrKum9sCIAA_Os4He wears the labels of “pariah” and “outcast” proudly, knowing that views of the Imperium are unlikely to change until and unless someone of his ability stands up to make a difference.

Dorian is a Tevinter mage who, unlike every other Tevinter mage we’ve met thus far, disagrees with what the Imperium is doing. He comes from a wealthy and influential family, and is a very powerful mage. He would be the “perfect mage” (and, subsequently, the perfect son) if not for a few key ‘flaws’. For one, he opposing everything the imperium stands for. He thinks the imperium is corrupt and wrong in what they do. Also, he’s gay. And he’s not ashamed of either of these things. He’s become a sort of pariah among the upper families of Tevinter.

His place in the plot is interesting. So far, it is clear that Dorian once studied under Alexius, a corrupt Tevinter magister and a major member of the Venatori. Not much is known about the Venatori. We know that they’re activities cause the Inquisition to have reason to intervene, and we know that at some point the Inquisitor can storm a keep run by the Venatori, and the faction eventually takes over Redcliffe Castle. This, again, is extremely interesting as it is said that Ferelden will not fall as long as Redcliffe stands. This brings question to the state of Ferelden and the exact level of involvement from Tevinter.

Because of the state of Tevinter (and the world) Dorian is generally a bit jaded. He’s sarcastic, witty, and very intelligent. Behind this, he’s a bit of an idealist. As in, he’ll still be disappointed when bad people do that bad things he expected them to do. He also dabbles in some Tevinter specific magic that most mages from other places might consider ‘distasteful’. Namely, spells involving spirits and the dead.

Because of his general personality, he and Vivienne come into conflict quite a bit. They’ll tear into each other, but, according to David Gaider, they’re the Statler and Waldorf of Thedas. Maker help us. His interactions with Iron Bull are also noteworthy, as Tevinter has been at war with the Qunari for centuries, and neither of these character are typical of their homeland. I image there will be others who don’t appreciate his quips, and those that really do (namely, Varric. Possibly, Sera). And I image do his his spirit/dead things related magic he’ll have at least something interesting going on with Cole.

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So far, I quite like Dorian. And I quite like that fact that he’s definitely a romance option for a male Inquisitor. His personality type, right off the bat, is quite similar to Zevran. And I love Zevran. So I’m very excited to get to know him and the story surrounding him. What do you think of Dorian so far? Disappointed/excited he’s gay? Ready for all the dashing wit? Let me know in the comments below!

Cole – The Spirit

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Cole is voiced by James Norton. Like several actors lending their voices to Dragon Age, he briefly appeared (and subsequently died) in an episode of Doctor Who.

All Cole knows for certain is that the world is full of pain and he must find his place within it. Those who wish to restore order and help the helpless will find him a strange but unwavering ally. Those who use their power for selfish reasons may never see Cole again—if they remember that he was there to begin with.

The most recent companion confirmed for DA:I, and so far he seems to be the cause of the most confusion. Cole is not new to the lore of Dragon Age, having appeared alongside Leliana, Shale, and Wynn in the novel Dragon Age: Asunder. If you haven’t read the book (and you aren’t planning to), check out this page for a rundown of the events. If that’s simply too much reading, allow me to tell you a bit about Cole’s involvement. You can also look at Cole’s page on Dragon Age Wiki.

Cole was a ghost in the White Spire (a circle tower in Orlais) who had been killing mages who were about to be made tranquil. These were basically mercy killings for people who were begging for death. No one could see or remember him, save for Rhys, Wynn’s son and an expert in spirit magic. Rhys befriended Cole over the course of about a year, prompting Cole to follow him when he leaves the Spire with Wynn, Evengeline (a templar), and several others to investigate the possible cure for tranquility at the adamant fortress. Rhys is eventually imrpisoned for a murder he did not commit. They think it was Cole, and when they find out it wasn’t (because it really wasn’t), Leliana and Cole free the mages imprisoned in the Spire, and eventually find and free Rhys. When they attempt to escape, they are found by Lord Seeker Lambert. Lambert uses the Litany of Andralla on Cole, making him visible – this is where the wiki page gets it wrong.

It says that Cole is a spirit using blood magic, but this is untrue. The Litany of Andralla only works on blood mages and demons. And Cole is not a blood mage.

When he realizes what he is, he fades away. But he comes back later to kill Lord Seeker Lambert, because lord Seeker Lambert is a slightly terrible person.

Basically, there was once a mage in the white Spire named Cole. This mage was raised poor with an abusive father. After he killed his father, he was found and taken to the Spire. There, he was brutally murdered. His pain was so acute that he called straight into the fade and brought up a spirit (or something) and they kind of sort of became one. Cole is a demon, but he generally acts like (and is trying very hard to be) a spirit. His character will explore that grey area between demons and spirits – something that was touched on in DA2 with Justice/Vengeance.

Cole wants to help people who are hurting. He may not always get it right, but he never stops caring. He will walk into the most painful moment of someone’s life and offer them comfort without hesitation or judgment. And then he will disappear from their mind and walk away, because it’s not about getting thanked, or even remembered. It’s about helping.

I can always tell who my favorite character will be one look at Wynn, Zevran, Fenris – now it’s Cole. I loved Cole in Asunder, and I know I’ll keep loving him in Inquisition. Aside from all that touching stuff, he is a very useful companion. He’s a skilled rogue with pretty rad mage/spirit/demons powers, as he isn’t quite constrained by human limitations. And he’s not just willing to defend innocent people, that’s the entire reason he’s here.

While I don’t quite get the divide, since there are so many fans who basically said, to quote the writer, Patrick Weekes, “Demon? LOL NOPE” – Cole is an optional companion. You’ll just find him somewhere, and he’ll want to help. You can turn him away or let him help. And, as in previous games, your companions will definitely have something to say about it. So far, their reactions seem mainly negative. Vivienne thinks he should be banished, and Sera refuses to even talk to him, calling him ‘it’. However, despite his thing about demons, The Iron Bull does try to help him out as he’s part of the team and kinda seems like a sad kid he’s very willing to try and take under his wing. So that’s a plus. I also imagine Leliana’s reaction to him will be at least somewhat positive, considering their interactions in Asunder.

As for his relationship with the Inquisitor. Some people are hoping for a romance, I can live without it. Nothing’s been said as of yet.

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As you can probably tell, I am 100% excited to see Cole in inquisition. We have a similar outlook, you see. And I’ve been wanting a demon-like companion for a while now. And I like his floppy hat. What do you think about Cole? Will he join your team? Are you holding out for some kind of romance scenario? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Iron Bull – The Muscle

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Bull is voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr., the voice behind James Vega in Mass Effect 3.

Years of living outside Qunari rules have him wondering which identity is really him. Whoever he is, he’s more than happy to join the Inquisition and get paid to kill demons.

I am perhaps most excited to get to know The Iron Bull. Second most excited, at least. Unlike every other Qunari that has appeared in the Dragon Age universe, Bull is described as laid back and friendly. As made clear from listening to Under the Horns – a preview of some of his dialogue and character. Bull is a Ben-Hassrath – a group of Qunari spies and secret police. He was the best, and he did it until the harsh battle became too much. He was then sent to Orlais to observe and report. Years later, he still sends the reports. But years outside the Qun have definitely changed him, and he’s not quite how yet. But he knows he loves to eat too much, drink too much, and have sex with whoever he thinks can handle it. He’s been described as the James Bond of Dragon Age.

What he does need are people he can trust to watch his back and friends he can laugh with. After surviving years of ugly, nasty fighting, The Iron Bull has learned not to take anything too seriously. Unless it involves demons.

The Iron Bull is scared of perhaps one thing: demons. Well, so far it’s been described as more of a ‘they freak him out’ because they’re weird and creepy and they possess people. That  being said, he gets along with just about everyone in the Inquisition, Cole included. They’re all part of the team, and if you’re on the team, you’re on the team. The only person he may be at odds with from time to time is Varric – and we all remember Varric’s experience with the Qunari. And, if you’re new to Dragon Age, let’s just say he saw them at their absolute worst.

Bull has been confirmed as a romance option for a male or female Inquisitor of any race. Let us come together and squee.

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So far, I’m loving what I’m seeing here. Bull seems both interesting and awesome as a character, and I’m about that life. What do you think about Bull so far? Yay or Nay to a romance? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Blackwall – The Resolve

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 Blackwall is one of the rare few Wardens who chose, of his own accord, to pick up the shield. He believes so wholeheartedly in the noble ideal of the Grey Wardens that he would rather have this life than any other.

Grey Wardens are defenders of the people. This is Blackwall’s believe and his general disposition toward the idea of choosing a side to fight on. He is driven by morality. He doesn’t necessarily have to act, there is not circumstance that has forced his hand, so to speak, but he is going to do something regardless. It’s not because there’s no one else to do it. It’s because it’s his job and it’s the life that he chose.

He’s aware that in wars, the people who call the shots are often safe in their fortresses. It’s the soldiers who die. He’s seen people with power abuse it and use it to manipulate others, and he absolutely hates that.

Blackwall is described as generally guarded, but will loosen up around certain people. His propensity for sharing war stories over a nice drink may make him get along with those like Bull. However, his driven moral stances may put him at odds with some of those very same people. I’m interested to see how that turns out. Whether or not he is a romacne option for the Inquisitor is still up in the air.

In Blackwall’s character profile, they hint at the possibility his relationships to other characters evolving over time. Which gives that idea that the members of the Inquisition will have relationships have dynamic with each other as with the Inquisitor. This is something that I really like about DA2 (and Mass Effect) that I felt was actually lacking in Origins. Your companions talk to each other, their relationships changed over time. For example, Isabella and Aveline’s arguing evolves into friendly bickering. They hang out with each other when they aren’t following Hawke around. If Hawke does not romance Fenris or Isabella, the two start doing that sex thing. They talk to each other, they have preferences, and their relationships to change over time. I have to see this to a greater extent in Inquisition – as in, characters react not only to the decisions the Inquisitors make, but to the decisions other characters make.

Blackwall’s presence also brings to question the presence of the Wardens in the game. There are several clips in the trailers hinting at conflict with the Wardens. I wonder if they were able to remain neutral as, technically, the wardens aren’t supposed to get involved in the war. Their only job would be to figure out the deal with the hole in the sky. But the wardens were definitely up to something in the second act of DA2 (perhaps pursuing whatever it is Morrigan gives the Hero?). It gives question as to whether we’ll see Carver/Bethany in any sort of cameo, or any of the prominent Wardens of games past. Like Oghren, Nathaniel, and, of course, the Hero of Ferelden (assuming he/she survived the events of DA:O). At least, any of these are subject to be mentioned in passing. There aren’t so many Grey Wardens that they never would have met.

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So far, I like what I’ve seen from Blackwall. He sounds like a good companion to have, and a good friend to have. Because he fights for the cause, Blackwall seems like one of those that will be fighting whether or not he joins the Inquisition. I’m very interested to learn more about him. What are your thoughts on Blackwall so far? Yay or Nay to a romance? Do you think his presence will have any bearing on the overall presence of Wardens within the game? Let me know in the comments below.