I’ve always found magic within the Dragon Age universe to be an interesting topic—perhaps strangely so, because the magic itself isn’t groundbreaking and neither is the treatment of the universe’s mages. In the end it’s another universe where a seasoned mage can influence anything and many non-magical people, in turn, fear these mages. These fears are then exacerbated by the religious institution the Chantry with their twisting of the prophetess Andraste’s words. What I can point out as being particularly interesting, however, are the magical beings that loom ominously beside both mages and non-mages alike, only separated by a thin metaphysical wall called The Veil. In general, these beings are called spirits, but there are two specific types that are spoken about most commonly: spirits that aren’t hostile towards mortals (denoted henceforth as Spirits, with a capital S) and Demons. Though the Chantry places Demons squarely in the “evil” category, can the omission of Spirits be taken as an implication that they’re “good”? It could, but such an assumption would also be incorrect; despite their objective differences, Spirits and Demons don’t fit so squarely in human morality and roughly have the same function as all spirits.
There’s nothing worse than radio silence surrounding a game’s release date. During this time, developers usually spend their time trying to build up hype and answering whatever questions they can concerning aspects of the game they’re allowed to talk about, from expected tweaks to the gameplay mechanics to things players can look forward to in terms of characters and environments. So taking into account this “no news is bad news” mantra of sorts surrounding release, what’s a little controversy on the side?
Bioware recently released another trailed for their upcoming Dragon Age: Inquisition game. Since they pushed its release date back a month—and hopefully will remain only a month—I am really hurting for things to fill the void in the meantime. Of course, I could just play the games again for what would most likely literally be the thirtieth time for either, but why do that when I can turn to the world of fanfiction?
I figured it was about time to switch fandoms in my search for femslash, and given my current parameters—games that allow for character creation—I figured there was no better choice than to finally dip my feet into the Dragon Age fandom. I’d seen some fantastic fic already from this fandom, but none of it was femslash. Needless to say, I was pretty excited about looking. Unfortunately, the search ended up being a load of trouble: maybe it’s just my inadequate searching skills, but the amount of femslash was much, much smaller than I was anticipating. (I may have been excited, but I did not set my standards high.) I’ve resolved myself to look again, but for now I’ve found a short fic that satiates my need and features one of my favorite friendships in Dragon Age 2.
When writing for the pairing or friendship of Aveline and Isabela, I’ve noticed a trend of making Aveline this shrinking violet in the presence of Isabela’s sexual prowess, and I have to wonder if these authors even played the same game I did. Isabela may be a pirate queen who owns her sexuality, but Guard Captain Aveline is not known for backing down or batting an eyelash at anything vulgar. In the game, I believe the one conversation between them that defines their relationship entirely is:
Aveline: You’re right.
Aveline: About knowing who you are.
Aveline: I’m the captain of the guard. I’m loyal, strong, and I don’t look too bad naked.
Isabela: Exactly. And if I called you a mannish, awkward, ball-crushing do-gooder, you’d say…?
Aveline: Shut up, whore.
Isabela: That’s my girl.
From this, the respect they share for each other is obvious, but it’s also easy to see where certain facets can be eschewed to the point of ruining the nuances that make the relationship so interesting in the first place. In the aptly named Let the Punishment Fit the Crime, author owlmoose refuses to fall into that trap and gives the audience a very real picture of the blooming friendship between these two strong women.
Bioware is a game company that is responsible for some great characters in this generation of gaming, both female and male. They have this way of fleshing out everyone so that they are complex and interesting to learn about through gameplay. Even the player-controlled characters fall under this routine. However, as in everything good and holy, there are times when characters are treated unfairly based on circumstances that the audience chooses to ignore partially or entirely (such as Queen Anora from Dragon Age: Origins) or on extenuating circumstances outside of the game and its universe. This latter portion is what I hope to be exploring in part today.
Recently, Bioware released a downloadable content for one of their newer games, Dragon Age 2, called ‘Mark of the Assassin’. This DLC stars a new character named Tallis and, from what I have seen, she has met with an overall chilly reception. Accusations fly about how this character is a Mary-Sue. This was my first impression, but in reality, how well do theses assertions hold up? And why is this character considered any worse than other DLC characters, such as Mass Effect 2’s Kasumi Goto? Note that this comparison is not only one concerning the two’s character quests—despite the fact that they are by and large the same quest in a different time period, and the comparison between the two could make an article in and of itself—but also a look at the motivations of each character and how she deals with the problem presented in front of her. It should go without saying but here is your spoiler alert.