Wednesday, May 13, 2020

TEVINTER NIGHTS Analysis: The Horror of Hormak

Ghilan'nain? Girl, you've got some
explaining to do!
"The expressions on the faces of those elven rulers betrayed a contempt that was almost palpable, the beatific smiles edged with disgust and disdain for the creatures at their feet. And the subjects, far from kneeling in reverence as Ramesh had first thought, seemed more to be cowering in terror."
—From "The Horror of Hormak," DRAGON AGE: TEVINTER NIGHTS

WARNING: SPOILERS on TEVINTER NIGHTS! Please read at your peril!

So hello again, you beautiful Wardens, Hawkes and Inkies!

I hope you're well and safe out there—hopefully, wearing masks while pretending to be Orlesian, because why not? This is our time, people, let's be Orlesian!

As I noted in my previous post here, I wanted to offer some analyses on stories in TEVINTER NIGHTS that I felt specifically really advance the lore, which teach us valuable facts about the year (to year and a half or so) since the end of the events in "Trespasser." I loved the entire compilation, but my focus here is on stories that give us hints for plot points, characters, or directions we might find ourselves facing, also, in our long-awaited Dragon Age 4.

Which is why I'm back today with my notes and thoughts on John Epler's wonderful horror tale "The Horror of Hormak."

Please Note: I follow several amazing analysts, artists, and critics in the Dragon Age community, led by, first and foremost, Ghil'Dirthalen, who's brilliant, not to mention kind, funny and insightful. But to keep my ideas my own, I have not listened to anyone about TEVINTER NIGHTS. I do plan to do so after I've blogged about all of the stories that contribute to lore (and can't wait). 

As I search for new clues from TEVINTER NIGHTS,
we get a ton of lore in John Epler's story "The
 Horror of Hormak"
So—in a nutshell, insights are my own, and mistakes are also my own here. If I'm excited about a revelation you've already been yawning over, hey, I'm late to the party. But ultimately, I'm just very careful about appropriation and want to present ideas (however goofy some of them are) that are really my own. And honestly it's just so much more fun for me that way, so thanks for bearing with me.

So here we go!

The Story at a Glance

The story begins deep in the Nevarran Forest—that's all we get on location, but my guess is that it is specifically in or near the Northern part of the Planasene Forest, which is just north of the Waking Sea, and slightly West of Kirkwall.

Grey Wardens Ramesh and Lesha are investigating the whereabouts of a lost Grey Warden mining expedition led by Senior Warden Jovis, now lost for eight days and counting—and the clock is ticking on whether they can possibly still be alive. To complicate things, Jovis was a man Ramesh had once deeply loved and turned away from, losing a chance of real happiness, despite the hardships of Grey Warden life. He is now nearly desperate to save Jovis, and to undo his past decisions. Ramesh and Lesha seem to be heading East, which will bring them out of the forest eventually, and into the northwestern arc of the Vimmark Mountains. 

Lesha is a young Tevinter mage—cocky and fearless, an Acolyte who has only been a Warden for a few years, while Ramesh, the commander, is a Senior Warden who is older and more careworn. He's been a Warden for 23 years and counting, and can almost taste that the Calling is upon him. But it's Lesha who is uneasy right away, who notes that "Something's wrong about these woods. Feels like the air hates me. Wants me to die." She's not wrong.

The story follows the two into the darkness of forest and nightmare, as they find a surviving Warden from Jovis's party, Warden-Recruit Friedl, a young woman, but she's been badly wounded and whatever she experienced has driven her mad enough to mutilate and blind herself. Ramesh and Lesha attempt to calm and save Friedl, even as they continue to pursue the mystery deeper into the forest, but eventually, Friedl kills herself. When Ramesh checks her dead body, it vomits gallons and gallons of a terrible, briny seawater-like substance. 

Again with that "seawater" theme. Also, ew, ew, ew, ew, ew! (I HAVE VOMIT ISSUES, PEOPLE!)
PARAPHRASED SEGUE: (to the TV show "Monk") 
DOCTOR: So, Mr. Monk, you have been poisoned and I'm sorry to say are going to vomit copiously and then die in agony. 
MONK: (weeps quietly) 
MONK'S ASSISTANT NATALIE: He's upset about the vomiting. 
That's... basically me. I have rarely so identified with a fictional character.

ANYWAY. In the aftermath, Ramesh is kind and supportive of the younger mage when she has difficulty processing the horror of the moment, but also adept at keeping her focused on their ultimate goals and loyalties. It's moving and believable.

On a side note, can I just say that I love stories like these, in which two adults are in close prolonged circumstances and that there is no stereotypical sexual tension? Yes, I love UST. But there's so much more to friendship, work, and other relationships, and it's lovely that Ramesh (who is, at this point, revealed as either gay, bi or pan) and Lesha have nothing but a warm, kind, mutually respectful, and entirely professional relationship from beginning to end. It's a signature of BioWare's inclusivity and general respect for individuals and relationships, and I love that. And let's hear it for yet another LGBTQ protagonist in the compilation!

The Deep Roads are always scary places for me. (I would have made a
terrible Warden. I would have just run around screaming.)
Onward! The two exit the forest into rocky terrain marked by three distinctive peaks (I'm again assuming these peaks are most likely in the Vimmarks BUT what makes them distinctive? Have we seen them before? It's killing me...) as they discover the entrance to the Deep Roads beneath them, littered with twisted Darkspawn bodies and blood (no Warden bodies), giving them hope of finding their companions alive. They bravely enter a finely carved doorway in the ancient dwarven style, runes above the entrance naming it as "Hormok" (So is this deliberate or is the title a typo? No judgment if so...). They descend, the passages glowing with lyrium, and discover great and beautiful chambers like the most ancient dwarven thaigs, and then, descending further, fight a fierce, brief battle with more twisted darkspawn before discovering a new descent into areas that are first dwarven, then obviously ancient and elven.

When the duo reaches the final chamber, it's revealed to be a massive, ancient chamber of horrors, a kind of "creation tank" of viscous, briny fluid powered by a huge lyrium crystal hanging above. They confront the biggest creature, a terrifying giant centipede merged with the torso of Warden Jovis, who, faced with his love, manages to retain his sanity for a few moments to relate what happened to his doomed company, and what "she" (Ghilan'nain, I believe) plans for this chamber. 

Jovis asks Ramesh to destroy the chamber, then loses control permanently and the creature attacks. Lesha manages to save Ramesh, then gives him enough time to escape, sacrificing herself by destroying the lyrium crystal and exploding the chamber. Ramesh finishes the job by escaping far enough to use the lyrium charges (poignantly using the love note from Jovis as a fuse), and the entire mountain seems to come down behind him, burying the horrors of Hormok forever.

"The Horror of Hormak" adds to the implications we got in DAI that
beneath the Deep Roads, are even deeper ones—and the elves were there first.
Ramesh resolves to carry his story—and warning—to the rest of the Wardens, even as he realizes with horror that the carvings below had depicted twelve different locations for aravels and prey (eleven plus the one just destroyed at Hormok). Meaning, the battle has just begun...

What It Adds to the Lore (and Implies for Dragon Age 4)

  • One of the things I really liked about this story was the atmosphere, the way it bridged the classic fantasy-horror of Dragon Age Origins with the lore and character progression (and larger world) of Dragon Age Inquisition. I also liked that all along, we're expecting war-tired, near-his-Calling Ramesh to die, but it's fresh-faced Lesha who doesn't survive. (Darn it.)
  • We're told outright that the Wardens' numbers are dwindling ever since Ostagar, and then Adamant. To an alarming degree—that they don't even have the numbers to mount an actual rescue mission for situations like this (and which used to be routine). After this reference, and the rumblings of disquiet from Weisshaupt in "Trespasser," I definitely feel a "crisis of the Grey Wardens" is looming for us in Dragon Age 4.
  • The presence of another prominent Tevinter character, Lesha (and that she's a Vint Warden!) tells me that yet again, Tevinter settings and characters are going to be really important in Dragon Age 4. John Epler also noted on Twitter that Ramesh is a person of color who in our world would be of Indian descent, so again, this suggests to me that he may be of Tevinter origin also.
  • Lesha's intuition about the forest reminds me strongly of Myrion's reactions when they entered Arlathan Forest, but here it's less about a sense of hidden power and is more openly toxic and antagonistic. This, too, is the work of ancient elves. Just... angrier, more arrogant elves. (It's interesting to note that Nevarra's biggest forest, the Planasene Forest, carries the ancient name for Nevarrans. Once upon a time, if we go back far enough, this wasn't Nevarra—but was evidently a key location for the ancient elves themselves.)
  • As soon as the two Wardens encounter hidden violence in the forest, there is a scent of "the sea on a stagnant day." As they are far from the sea and evidently nowhere near the coast (so are evidently pretty far north in the forest, if it is the Planasene), Ramesh is understandably freaked out.
  • Ramesh notes that the Deep Roads are closer to the surface here than they are in most of the rest of Thedas. This is a fascinating detail for me. Did we know this before about Nevarra?
  • Friedl, the rescued Warden, just says, over and over again: "We didn't know. And now we do. Oh, yes—we know better. They taught us, gave us a lesson." Hellooooo, Evanuris.
  • After revealing that she has clawed out her own eyes (!), Friedl turns to Ramesh and says that they need to leave this place "to her, to them!" Oh, man. This is good stuff. To her: And of course, it seems obvious in retrospect that the "she, or her," is ancient elven Evanuris and semi-goddess Ghilan'nain.
Why It's Ghilan'nain (It's SO TOTALLY Ghilan'nain)
Evidently not even the halla were safe from Ghilan'nain's experimentation...
 it's really upsetting! (Hush, little halla, you didn't hear this...)

So let me count the ways:

  • As we know, according to a Codex entry from the Temple of Mythal, Ghilan'nain was always a monster-maker, and she did actually make monsters, giants, and twisted creatures of air, earth and sea in the ancient days, that she later destroyed at Andruil's urging.
  • However she did not obliterate all of the monsters, most notably, those of the deepest parts of the sea, and—wait for it—you guys, it's too perfect—"Pride stayed her hand." Pride!

    I'm not sure this actually means SOLAS literally stopped Ghilan'nain from killing her sea monsters, but it's a fun idea -- maybe he just has a soft spot for giant squid? 

    MASKED WAITER: Table for Pride?
    SOLAS: Oh, yeah, sure. Pride. That's me.
    WAITER: Right this way!
    SOLAS: Thank you.
    WAITER: Would you like tea to start your meal?
    SOLAS: NO. I despise tea.
    WAITER: Dude, I make minimum wage and there's a pandemic on.
    SOLAS: Please forgive my rudeness. Water would be fine. Also, I will be ordering the calamari appetizer.
    WAITER: Very good, sir.
  • In some Dalish stories, Ghilan'nain is wounded and blinded by a hunter she cursed, and turned by Andruil into the first halla. Interestingly enough, only then is she raised from mortal to 'immortal' or godlike status. As always with the Dalish, we need to view this story as a twist or warped reflection of what actually happened.
  • Further, Ramesh dreams of Jovis, and in the dream, Jovis is blinded just as Friedl had been.
  • Don't forget that Ghilan'nain is also directly implicated (if we drank from the Well of Sorrows) in spurring a sacrilegious attempt by a 'sinner' who followed Dirthamen to take on the "forbidden" (draconic?) form of the gods. The act prompted swift anger and judgment from Mythal at levels unusual to her, so I always see this as one of the earliest attempts at active rebellion against Mythal, in which Ghilan'nain perhaps was testing the waters.
  • Ghil was the beloved of Andruil, whom Mythal pretty famously punished in a post-abyssal beatdown and then mindwiped. For that and other reasons, I could totally see Ghil being one of the first Evanuri to join Andruil as a major antagonist to Mythal after that (given Andruil's legendary hatred of Fen'Harel, I think she has to be his primary antagonist).
  • There is a symbol—the horns of a halla—repeating everywhere on the columns in the ancient elven chamber discovered by Lesha and Ramesh. The symbol seems to shift in a creepy and magical way out of the corner of the eye.
So yep. It's Ghil. Onward!

Just a reminder that the Qunari aren't the only ones
capable of creating explosives...
More Revelations
  • Ramesh's emotions are so bittersweet and sad, and his regrets are palpable. Over and over again, he revisits his chances with Jovis, even still carrying around the last note of love and hope Jovis had once sent him. I find the emphasis on regret interesting, as it carries us forward nicely (and thematically) into the next story, Lukas Kristjanson's "Callback" (but more on that in a future entry).
  • Lesha and Ramesh use ancient dwarven lyrium charges (like lyrium grenades) to access the deeper parts of Hormok's secrets. I completely forgot that we learned about these in Inquisition.
  • As they begin the descent from dwarven ruins to ancient elven ones, Lesha notices ancient carvings of three figures—"a supplicant, a priestess, and a monster." Ramesh notes that the beings are elven, but Lesha notes that the carvings themselves are dwarven. The series of carvings changes subtly as they go along, so that the priestess looks more and more cruel in each one, and the monster more and more changed.
  • For me, this story doubles down on the shared history of elves and dwarves that we glimpsed in DAI, as it notes casually that Wardens have always found a mixture of elven architecture way down in the Deep Roads, and further ties together and further bolsters my own theory that the dwarves were created as sort of mindless slave-worker bees for the elves themselves, meant to live lifetimes of toil underground, and perhaps only later freed by the death of a titan (my theory—the one that Mythal killed, which I posit was a self-sacrifice and mercy-killing). I further think this is what broke their 'hive mind' while also breaking their link to the Fade (alternative option: Mythal did it for them). But I haven't really organized those theories yet, so just ignore me.
  • In the next-to-last chamber, a gigantic and beautiful, awe-inspiring place, Ramesh notes the exquisite wall carvings, bas-reliefs in three parallel bands around the entire chamber. As in the Temple of Mythal, these are actually mosaics of tiny gemstones.

Let's look at the carvings with Ramesh, shall we?

  1. The topmost band depicts noble ancient elven royalty and respectful supplicants.
  2. The middle band depicts elven mages apparently healing and comforting the sick and dying.
  3. The bottom-most band shows incredibly elaborate ancient aravels being pulled by armies toward the mountains (including the very mountains above them now).
  4. Upon closer examination, the bands begin to appear vaguely wrong and corrupt, even frightening. The halla have "too many horns" and look "insectile." The aravels are not grand landships after all, but are revealed to be prison vessels with barred windows. And the mages aren't healing people, but corrupting them. And the elven rulers are increasingly shown to be contemptuous, arrogant, and disgusted with their cowering and terrified subjects.

    Is the yellow-greenish lyrium an important clue here?
    So let's look at these revelations: The Evanuris were imprisoning their own people and apparently dragging them to these different locations in order to corrupt and mutate them, building some kind of secret army. We already know from Inquisition that several of the 'gods' (Falon'Din, cough) also loved sacrificing large numbers of their subjects just for the fun of it. And of course, here, we also see that the Evanuris were also actively corrupting (not healing) their own people in further experimentation, leading massive armies to bring their prison ships to their doomed final destinations.

    Nah, that's not disturbing at all. (Seriously, Evanuris people, what was WRONG with you?)

    Wait, Where Have We Heard This Before...?

    Last but not least on this thoughtline is that it offers perhaps the subtlest of hints on another race in Thedas: The Kossith/Qunari. Who also can have varying numbers of horns, and whose origins Bull mused about in Dragon Age: Inquisition, wondering if the Qunari shared some dragon blood somehow:

    BULL: "Well, you know how we have horns? We kind of look more... dragony than most people. Maybe it's that.....But a few of the Ben-Hassrath have this crazy old theory. See, the tamassrans control who we mate with. They breed us for jobs like you'd breed dogs or horses. What if they mixed in some dragon a long time ago? Maybe drinking the blood, maybe magic. I don't know. But something in that dragon we killed... spoke to me."

    To me, this is a pretty big potential additional hint that the Qunari may in fact be the descendants of one of Ghilan'nain's first experimentations at combining or corrupting races or species.
More Lore Notes:
  • The corrupted, insectile halla are disturbing to consider. If there is any animal supposedly sacred to Ghilan'nain, and to the elves past and present, it is the halla, and yet here we see that she even warped the halla into monstrosities. This hit me as a truly profane and grotesque act. Just imagine how the Dalish would react!
  • The final chamber's lyrium glows with a "sickly" light that is, interestingly enough, not blue (or red), but yellow and green.
  • There's a lot of body horror in the final chamber—monsters warped and assembled grotesquely out of 'parts' to create a corrupted and terrifying army. But we do learn that the Darkspawn monsters are changed/warped simply by contact with the viscous pool, whereas Jovis tells Ramesh that the Wardens (and presumably all thinking or higher beings) had to actually drink from it to be transformed.
  • Jovis seems to imply that Ghilan'nain is doing all this with a purpose, but that she must be fought, and her chamber of horrors buried and destroyed: "She cannot have it. Not again. Locked for a reason."

    Locked—by a certain Dread Wolf, one assumes.
  • It's interesting to note that if you examine a map of Thedas (here's one of my favorites, a fantastically detailed, zoomable version thanks to The Wyrd Sisters of Thedas), there is a Grey Warden Prison located in the central Vimmarks, just Northeast of the Planasene Forest. Which further makes me think that's the general area of this story's setting, as it involves multiple Grey Warden parties scouting the area. This also gives Ramesh a believable and easily accessible place to which he can return with his sad (and scary) news.
  • Ramesh's horrified realization that this was just one of twelve different chambers of ancient horrors, and that there are eleven remaining under eleven other distinct mountain peaks, definitely gives me further food for thought.

Which mountains? My totally wild guesses, just using proximity of peaks/mountains to ancient elves, dwarves, or general Thin Veil Spots, might include: 
Time to take a closer look at the mountains of Thedas...

  1. A peak in the Hunterhorn Mountains in far Western Thedas (perhaps near Kal-Sharok and the Blasted Hills)
  2. The White Spire peak, North of Brynnlaw, and East of Arlathan Forest. (For me this one's almost a certainty. It's a lonely mountain near the most ancient elven location in all Thedas!)
  3. A mountain in the Gamordan Peaks in far Southwestern Orlais—perhaps even near Mont de Glace ("Ice Mountain"), another solo peak?
  4. In the Southern Frostback Mountains, perhaps farther East, towards Valammar? (I don't think there's one near Skyhold, because Solas would not have chosen an 'unclean' area for his castle.)
  5. Near Bownammar (Dead Trenches), Southeast of Lothering, Northwest corner of the Southron Hills. There are Elven ruins not far away to the Northeast, as well.
  6. A peak in The Hundred Pillars between Tevinter and Antiva. There's access to a ton of ancient elven locations to the West, and it's perfectly situated to cause trouble.
  7. Soldier's Peak (The Coastlands, Southeast of Highever, and directly West of Amaranthine)
  8. Talo's Eye, a lone peak in the Northeastern Anderfels
  9. Arl Dumat, a lone peak below the Urthemiel Plateau (Northwest of the Forbidden Oasis)
  10. Perhaps another near The Colossus and Kal Repartha in the Northwest Hissing Wastes
  11. With so many ancient ruins, there's got to be something near the Arbor Wilds, perhaps in the Uncharted Territories.

Final Musings

This last revelation of eleven more locations is quite the bombshell. If these things are scattered across Thedas in eleven other places, it's pretty freaking terrifying! It's basically eleven massive, ancient Elvhen bombs waiting to detonate. It would make the "Dragon's Breath" plot by the Qunari look like child's play in comparison. (NEW: The very smart and helpful Q. McLamore on Twitter also reminded me of the crucial lore that since Origins, we have heard rumor of "Twelve great Thaigs" in history past. Which is so exciting and maddening!)

All of this brings up further questions for me, as well. First and foremost, why were the Evanuris seeding terror, corruption and death across all of Thedas thousands of years ago, creating monstrous armies-in-waiting?

Was this in reaction to Mythal and Solas's division from their ranks? Or a reaction to something bigger, or something they simply anticipated? Remember, at this point, elves ruled everything. So why do this? What were they so afraid of? And why would beings that valued power, beauty, life and learning (according to the Shattered Library) so allow themselves to be twisted by arrogance that they would become creators of monstrous death? Or were they so bored with immortality at this point that it was just one more way to create drama and kick an anthill on the most massive scale? 

All of this is possible. Especially since I've always believed that Andruil created (or sparked the awakening of) the Blight and Darkspawn after becoming blighted and insane in the Abyss. So it certainly sounds like she and monster-making Ghilan'nain were a match made in heaven, if so.

If nothing else, "Horror of Hormak" pretty definitively backs up Solas's
account that the Evanuris were evil and needed to be stopped.
These revelations about the corruption and cruelty of the Evanuris also serve another purpose—they independently confirm Solas's revelations in "Trespasser" that he was fighting against beings who had become evil and corrupt with power. Which I already believed, based on what we were presented, and based on the revelations of the Codices, the Well of Sorrows, Solas's ancient tower mosaics, and the dialogues with Flemeth. However, whether or not Solas was telling the truth has still been a topic for frequent debate since "Trespasser"—understandably so—and yet here we have the Evanuris seemingly confirming those facts with their own hands, deeds, and mosaics.

This is especially important, to me, because it's continuing to keep Solas balanced between hero and villain, emphasizing Solas's complexity as a character (and confirming that his origins were pretty undeniably heroic). The people who created this chamber, who carved those carvings, who murdered Mythal, who enslaved their own people, who treated the dwarves like mindless things, who siphoned off the blood of Titans—these people deserved to be stopped.

The 'horror' of Hormok is that the ancient evanuris appear to be even worse than Solas described them. They were not gods, but monsters.

But what do you think?

Thanks as always for checking this out. I'll be taking a look at "Callback" next in the series (get out your handkerchiefs, people!). Meanwhile, stay safe out there.


  1. You missed an an obvious implication of why Solas stopped Ghilan'nain from killing all the sea monsters... He was on her side. He knew that it would upset her later, so he stopped. It wasn't until they took a step too far that he opposed them. Rather like Cullen and Meredith, he was with her until he wasn't. I find the idea of Solas not fighting against the Evanuris until the last minute much more intriguing.

    He says that he was Solas first, then became Fen'Harel. Was that because he was one of them until they killed Mythal and then became the Trickster? I simply don't think he was always the crusader for the downtrodden. That's what he became. I also think that after the long sleep, he becomes more of the former than the latter.

    1. Thanks for reading! I'm not sure I'd agree with you that Solas's reasons were 'obvious', since there's certainly a lot of room for interpretation there.

      However, I am totally intrigued by the idea that he supported Ghilan'nain earlier on, and it's certainly possible! And would make for pretty incredible drama.

      We're also actually on the same side as far as the Evanuris and Solas in some ways, so I hope you will check out earlier Solas posts. For me, intrinsic to Solas is this feeling that he was part of a family, of a group of beloved trusted people, who warped in front of his eyes into slavemasters and villains. I have no trouble believing that he loved them dearly early on, and perhaps for millennia.

      So I feel like his "I was Solas first," is simply the plain truth. He became Fen'Harel when he decided to rebel and act out against those he loved, freeing slaves and stopping violence. The fact that he was branded as Fen'Harel was supposed to be a slur, but instead (in a great PR move) he adopted it with pride, and used it to fight his former friends and family in the Evanuris.

      I differ from you. I think he WAS always an outsider, a spirit brought into the fold by Mythal. I think he may have been lulled by decadence for awhile (perhaps of the flesh and of life itself), but at some point he couldn't ignore the corruption and death and rebelled, using his talent for mischief against them all. First with Mythal, then a break (but not with hatred) and then in vengeance against her killers.

      So that's my take. Anyway, sorry for the wall of text. Thanks for reading, and hope it helps!

    2. Depending on what the "Giants of the Sea" actually are, Solas may have stopped Ghilan'nain from killing them because he was fond of them for their wisdom and intelligence, which are clearly traits he admires. I sometimes wonder if the creatures that were "too well-wrought" were whales. If Ghilan'nain could make pretty halla she could probably also make majestic whales, at least unti; she decided that creepy chimerical monsters were her new thing. ;D

    3. LadyIolanthe, I love this idea. Oh, especially if what he saved were whales (my favorite creatures in creation in the real world)!

      I do like that Ghilan'nain is complex and not easily defined. She created monsters but also pure beautiful animals too (like the halla, and I hate that she may have corrupted her own creations there too).

  2. I meant that, to me at least, the choice of him being with her until he wasn't was obvious. Not that his reasons were. Sorry if I didn't make that clear. The Shelter in Place has clearly made my ability to communicate with others a bit rusty.

    I guess I look at this from a more purely mythological standpoint. Norse myth is the most obvious comparison to me, as is the comparison to Loki. Loki was an outsider to some extent, but he was fully considered to be one of the Aesir as well. Solas has always read to me as someone who was born into it, but always felt like a changeling. Perhaps that's me reading my own familial position into it. He was born as one of them, but like a nerd in a family of jocks, he just didn't quite feel like one. If that makes sense.

    1. Loki was a Jot√ľnn. And if you take a closer look at the mythology, his acts were more the acts of an asshole rather than a trickster.

      Solas acts more like the Athabascan raven or Greek myth's Prometheus. Technically a god but really working for the people.

      Loki's just a dick.

  3. I just wanted to take the time and thank you for the time and effort that you put into your articles. I've been a casual reader of your work during quarantine and I really enjoy your content!

    I have one (or two) question(s) for you if you don't mind answering!
    In one of your blogs about Solas you mentioned that you thought he'd probably end up dying in Dragon Age 4. After reading Tevinter Nights, do you still think that's the most likely scenario? Do you perhaps have something else in mind?

    1. I think Solas's path is that of a classic villain/hero. He's got to die. I hate the idea so I hope I'm wrong. But I think he cannot survive. (sniffle)

  4. Interesting post with lots of points I hadn't picked up on! Will definitely check out others you've written on these stories from the book.

    1. Thanks so much for reading! It means a lot. I hope you will continue to check out my posts and offer your own reactions.

  5. Is there other evidence that the dwarves were originally created by the elves? I always thought of the ancient dwarves as a creation/aspect of the Titans that were eventually severed from their hivemind (maybe by the elves). I think there might be a fundamental duality to Thedas, with Titans/dwarves/Stone as one side and Dragons/elves/Fade as the other.

    1. I think so too. According to a codex they found their hive mind like "not-living" and thought killing them would be a mercy

    2. There isn't a ton of clear evidence on this either way (re: dwarves and elves) so it is TOTALLY possible I am misreading this and I'm sure I'll get massively proven wrong when the lore comes out!

      I just thought it was interesting to examine the idea of the dwarves (whether created by the elves, or by the Titans -- a VERY realistic possibility) as invented slaves who were freed but paid a price (no dreams) in order to remain free.

      You offer a wonderful division -- between elves/evanuris/dreams and dwarves/titans/stone, and if I discuss this further, I hope it's okay if I quote you.

      Meanwhile, thank you for reading and commenting! Please continue to do so!

    3. Feel free to quote me. There does seem to be a feel of symmetry about the two races. Dwarves dig deeper, Elves build higher. Dwarves can't use magic, Elves can't fully live without it. The Dwarves are cut off from their gods just like the Elves are, although that one doesn't really work if you acknowledge the Evanuris as just powerful mortals. Maybe there is some counterpart to the Titans that we're not aware of (Highest Dragons?).

      I suspect that if you go far enough in either direction, you end up at the same place. It feels right to me that the deepest deep roads and the "highest" fade routes end up in the same place, probably the Black City.

  6. The hallas becoming more creepy the deeper in they go make me think of those we see in paintings in the game. Theres hints of them having more than 4 legs on the large frescos in emeral graves. But in the Lost Temple of Dirthnamen that halla clearly has six legs, making it insectoid (and also wings). pretty scary thing IMO. And no surprise its found in the temple of the god of secrets

  7. Fascinating read, thank you for all the energy you put into this!

    One thing I also found fascinating was that the darkspawn that were changed appeared to be under the control of something other than the taint (under the control of Ghilan'nain then?). That this new power could override the taint / the song inside of them. The only other time that appeared possible was through the Architects use of warden blood / immunity. What it hints at, know not, but if the elves could create this thing then the blight might as well have been created by them.

  8. Chanced upon this after my first readthrough of Hormak. I simply wanted to remark that this was a delight and I will be checking out your other work. Thank you!

  9. I really loved reading this! At the time that I was reading the story I was mostly thinking, 'Oh NO what does this mean for what our beloved characters will be dealing with in DA4, this is TERRIFYING'. I knew there were lore things I wasn't picking up on, and this really was a great deep dive! I absolutely adored the horror aspect of this story because I *love* horror, but boy oh boy things just keep getting worse for Thedas.

    Definitely gonna keep checking out your thoughts on the stories as I finish reading them :3

  10. First of all, I really enjoyed reading this, thank you! Second of all, I'm surprised you didn't tie in a little more of the lore re: Dirthamen and his mountain city, the one that was attacked by a high dragon. The Dalish story of the creation of the Varterral as a guardian of the fallen mountain city ties in really well with this imo.

  11. Also, omg, sorry for double commenting, but another thing I was thinking about was the Codex entry for the lost temple of Dirthamen, and specifically the stanzas, that talk about the darkness, the shadow, secrets, etc-- but specifically the 5th stanza:

    "The Highest One promises safety.
    I shall protect our ancient secrets, he claims
    All that Dirthamen once granted us will be safe.
    But it is our blood he seeks
    A sacrifice dark and unholy
    A prison of evil to keep us in and all else out."

    I think this ties in neatly with your analysis.

  12. Also also also also, don't forget that the story of the attack on Dirthamen's mountain city has some interesting overlap with the battle between Mythal and Andruil that took place at the base of a mountain, both conflicts lasting three days and three nights. I would bet they're two different retellings of the same battle, lost to time. And since the lore strongly suggests that Dirthamen disappeared before Fen'Harel trapped the Creators and the Forgotten Ones and raised the veil... it begs the question of what exactly happened to Dirthamen and how his mountain city, fallen to ruin, his followers reduced to "we few" per the first stanza for the Lost Temple of Dirthamen, and how that ties into what was going on with the monstermaking.


"Dragon Age: Dreadwolf" Predictions & Ponderings (and "What's in a Name?" Redux)

He doesn't call, he doesn't write, but finally, it looks like we might be hearing from Solas at last (2023?), as BioWare announces t...