Skyhold has not just been claimed time and again, but sacked as well. We've managed to uncover some remnants, including a scratching under a pillar that mentions the name given by your witch. Old but still long after the place had been built over. But the author knew something of its first purpose, or at least, something of a legend.
So here's an embarrassing confession: As much as I adore Dragon Age, unfortunately my innate horrific lack of direction means that I still get lost IN THE MAIN HALL. Every time.
I mean, how many words have I written about Solas's romance? But if you asked me where his quarters were, I'd say, second on the right upon entry into the great hall.
And... I am wrong. Every time.
I just can't seem to get it right. And I have similar mental blocks about plenty of other Skyhold locations. And since I blog about Dragon Age as well as writing fanfiction, this comically means I am CONSTANTLY jumping in and out of the game simply to remind myself of precisely where people are.
Yeah. This is... it's pretty humiliating. I've only been playing the same game for, oh, THREE YEARS?
But finally here, I have rallied my Merrill inner-self and created something I simply couldn't find (which is where most of my blog post ideas come from): An ultimate guide to Skyhold. And believe me, I've Googled!
So here's my take. Luckily, it was incredibly fun (and easy) to do this, because the Keep designed by the BioWare team was so beautiful, huge and comprehensive.
So here goes! Rejoice! Or throw things at me. Really, it's your choice. But I hope this may prove useful to many Dragon Age fans, so here's hoping.
Let's recap: When we first get to Skyhold, there's definitely a need for some housecleaning. While in good overall condition, the castle is pretty decrepit.
At first, we only get access to:
- The Great Hall
- The Throne Room
- The War Room
- The Undercroft (some refer to this level as the Atrium, which I avoid—I just find it misleading)
- Rotunda: Solas's Quarters (and Frescoes)
- Rotunda: The Library
- Rotunda: The Rookery
- The Upper Courtyard
- The Armory
- The Training Grounds
- Several (not all) Battlements and Crenelations
We then open up Skyhold gradually to include following entirety:
- Throne Room
- Great Hall
- Josie's Office
- War Room
- Rotunda (Solas)
- Rotunda (Library)
- Rotunda (The Rookery)
- Rotunda (Leliana's Chapel)
- Cullen's Office
- Cullen's Quarters
- Inquisitor's Quarters
- Herald's Rest Tavern
- Undercroft (Please note that I've added that so it's visible on all maps)
- Vault Library
- Vault Treasury
- Wine Cellar
- Guard Tower(s)
- Quarters (Skyhold Main)
- Quarters (Herald's Rest)
- Battlements and Crenelations
- Armory and Armory Barracks
- Requisition Office
- Training Grounds
- Exterior Lawns, Courtyards, Tents and Shelters
- Views of Westernmost Tents and External Watchtowers
Expanding the Maps
In the following maps, I've attempted to really, truly and definitively map ALL of our beautiful and much-adored Skyhold. I've done a little subtle Photoshopping on the maps here and there (primarily to make the Undercroft visible on all levels, simply for structural reasons), but not much—most of it isn't fancy, and is accomplished simply in hopes that I'm providing a more detailed and clear way to find your way around, to explore the game with ease, and to reference it clearly.
The maps are organized as follows:
- Level One (Main Level)
- Level Two (Second Floors Across the Keep)
- Level Three (Third Floors Across the Keep)
- Vaults (All Vault Levels)
Level 1 (Main)
|UPDATE (4/18): Cullen's office has this weird aspect because it's actually not on a ground floor, but in this case it qualifies because there's apparently nothing underneath.|
|UPDATE (4/18): Please note that I've corrected Sera's room location and moved Cole to the 3rd floor.|
Level 3 (Third Floors)
|UPDATE (4/18): Please note that I've corrected Cole's location and proper floor placement.|
EDITED TO ADD: Please note the updates in the image above. The third level is especially interesting because, as readers Lady Iolanthe and Erica Nichole pointed out, there is a huge tent barracks on both sides of the frozen river to the West. Slightly Southwest, within the circle of the peaks, we an also see individual standing watchtowers (please excuse me as I instantly flash on the fabulous lighting of the beacons moment from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King—don't judge me). It's a terrific detail I had not only omitted, I've never even seen that view until they alerted me to it! I love how many beautiful details this game provides. There's always something new to discover. Thanks to Joy M., I also fixed Sera and Cole's placement in the Herald's Rest.
Level 4 (Vault Levels)
One of the most surprising conundrums I had here was trying to match up the Inquisitor's quarters with the entry below them off the Great Hall, because, well... they don't seem to match up. Because once we enter, we are immediately shown as being substantially to the Northwest of where we were (and yet, still not far from the Great Hall entrance).
Is Skyhold also like the inside of the TARDIS, and bigger on the inside? Hey, nothing would surprise me. Inquiring minds!
Also, as my final and most burning question: Unlike Dragon Age II, however, we see NO SIGN of the privy, so... WHERE ARE THE BATHROOMS? (Note: I was kidding here, but I did love this detail in Dragon Age II—as for me, I hypothesize that Skyhold could possibly have some rudimentary plumbing (which has been around in our world since before the Romans, after all), and that mages could then make quick work out of the need for hot water from there.
And where are the quarters for the rest of the army and inhabitants? Off in those tented encampments? They'd certainly make for brutal living (and I imagine the residents would rotate in and out of Skyhold due to those frigid conditions).
Meanwhile, as best I can quantify, the named aspects of the map offer lodging for approximately 20 additional people. Obviously, Skyhold in fact houses many more people than this. I headcanon this as simply being due to the fact that there's far more of Skyhold than we see. Which I get—the design team did an AMAZING job of creating what we see in as much detail as we get! I'm guessing it probably holds 100 residents easily, and 200 at a pinch.
The little mysterious elements still get me. Who lives in the upper room with the bow on the dresser? Who lives in the quarters with the fascinating (possibly Chasind or Avvar) antler-thing on the chest? Why isn't anyone fixing up the numerous still-decrepit guardrooms and quarters across Skyhold? And—first and foremost—why is that freaking gap still there almost two years later in that hallway to the War Table?! Why doesn't Cullen ever fix his roof?
Also: Is that Bull's room atop The Herald's Rest? My take is: Yes, since it's where he seems to live and hang out, since the room includes an ax in the footboard, and it's also where he's caught canoodling with a romanced Inquisitor, in one of the funniest and most poignant moments in videogames I've ever seen. (I'm biased, of course.)
Although I still think he'd be neater than that. Sure, I think he'd have an ax in the footboard, but I also think his military/Qunari training would make him neater and more precise in general because those are also less revealing on a personal level.
But what do you think? Did I miss anything here? What secrets of Skyhold do you wish you could unravel?
I'd love your ideas and input on anything I got wrong here, or whatever I can add that would be helpful... let me know!
And thanks as always for reading!
NOTE: Ma serannas, readers (Christina, Erica Nichole, Joy M., and Lady Iolanthe)! Thanks to your eagle-eyed feedback, I've updated the Main Floor Map to include the original Surgeon location (near the Tents), as well as adding the Prison to the Vault Map. Please let me know if you see anything else!