Saturday, June 26, 2021

The State of Dumped, Drunk and Dalish—and Upcoming Expanded Content!

Hello, you!

I hope this finds you well. 

I wanted to update you on some new changes you'll see to my blog here, and on future plans for blog formatting and organization, as well. I'm gonna be doing some new things here!

Cleanup and Organization

First off, I know there's a lot of content here to try to wade through, and it's a little confusing, so I've done some housecleaning to try to make stuff easier for you to find.

I've now organized Dragon Age posts by topic, and in smaller groups so that you can more quickly find what you're interested in. 

These new categories include:

  • Useful Dragon Age Lore Analyses
  • Dragon Age Trailer Analyses
  • Dragon Age Interviews and Transcripts
  • Solas: Character, Goals, Romance
  • Iron Bull and the Qun
  • Friends, Enemies, Companions (Analyses)
  • Personal Updates, Silly Stuff and Flights of Fancy
  • Additional Dragon Age Analyses (Alphabetical)
  • Dragon Age Fandom Links...

Eventually (see way down) I will be mirroring this blog onto a section of my new website that will enable me to sort everything in a more logical way, but I hope this helps in the meantime.

Dragon Age Content Going Forward

I also wanted to let you know that I am going to be committing to at least two Dragon Age posts per month going forward. It's really important to me to maintain that.

With this in mind, here are some post topics I have in progress:
  • Cole at the Crossroads (Spirit or Human)
  • Leliana Character Analysis (arc across all 3 games plus Trespasser)
  • The Choices of Thom Rainier
  • Meaningful Banters: Viv Plays Tamassran
  • Solas's Romance, Part 5 (THE WORST DATE EVER)
  • Fenris Analysis (Dragon Age II)
  • Alistair: The Hidden Prince
  • Plus tons of "Trespasser" character analysis
But what do YOU want to see that I haven't covered yet—or that I haven't covered enough? I know I have characters I haven't addressed yet, and I will get to each of them! Eventually.

I am also going to be putting a lot more work into my poor barely launched YouTube channel, so more on that later, and I hope to be posting some video versions of my most popular posts here, as well as some interviews with other Dragon Age fans and analysts in our community that I will release as videos and podcasts. So, lots of great stuff on the way!

Going Beyond Dragon Age (New Content)

Meanwhile, I'm kind of excited and nervous to announce that I am also going to start posting new content on here that is not directly applicable to Dragon Age. 

This doesn't mean I'm gonna stop writing about Dragon Age—never! But I have a lot of thoughts about a LOT of things, and they are interests shared by a lot of you folks, too.

So let's talk about more than Dragon Age! 

With this in mind, I am going to be regularly adding columns about Critical Role—all heavily spoilered posts, and on all campaigns past and present, and which will eventually move to its own section.

Note: I'm working on a new website that will encompass Dumped, Drunk & Dalish as well as my upcoming Critical Role analyses and other fandom writings, so thanks for bearing with me until I get that done.

Other fandom subjects I'll be writing about here will include a bunch of potential topics past and present, just wherever I see resonance to current news or reason to reexamine:

  • Mass Effect (all games)
  • Loki
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • Gaming
  • Supernatural
  • Killing Eve
  • Community
  • Shadow and Bone
  • Marvel Movie Moments and Characters
  • Doctor Who
  • The Witcher
  • Penny Dreadful
  • The Mandalorian
  • The Magicians
  • Into the Border Lands (and other streamed TTRPGs in addition to Critical Role)
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Fandom ships and shipping
  • Fictional Villains (and Why Are They So Damn Hot?)

(Yes, more bullet points. I can't help it. They're so ORGANIZED! Sigh.)

Meanwhile, I'm gonna talk about my health stuff again for a few moments, so bear with me below. Or skip to the next section! I won't judge...

Inspirations and Motivations (the Point of All This Stuff)

So here's the thing. As you probably saw from my earlier post on this, I almost shuffled off this mortal coil back in March when I went into heart failure. And it was one of those things that happens where (if you're me, anyway), you go, HOLY SHIT, I HAD SO MUCH I WANTED TO WRITE ABOUT! I'm not kidding. I was pissed.

There's nothing fun about lying on a gurney near death and thinking about all the things you didn't get to say or do. It affected me very powerfully, and still affects me now—and I swear, I know, I know, I keep talking about it! I promise this is the last time! But this is important for me to share because it is what has inspired me in these latest blog changes going forward.

Over the past three months, I've had to learn how to walk all over again, I'm still on oxygen, and after hours of physical therapy, have only just graduated to using a cane for short distances. Recovering from this has been the hardest thing I have ever done. I never knew exhaustion that went all the way through muscle and bone. I never knew that simply walking across a room with a walker would feel like hiking a mile. I'd never imagined a level of tiredness so deep that I didn't have the mental or physical energy to write a text. That trying to keep up with my freelance work would feel like scaling Everest (because I'm a freelancer, I was working the day I came home, as best I could, to try to keep myself afloat). Even writing short e-mails and updates was challenging. 

The tiredness was just all-encompassing. My first month home from the hospital, I was so tired that I fell asleep constantly and hilariously everywhere—living room, kitchen, bathroom (overshare! BUT SO FUNNY), dining table, at my desk, during Zoom meetings (luckily I wasn't on camera, wasn't snoring, and evidently only nodded off for a few seconds at a time). Seriously. Everywhere. 

But slowly I've gained back strength, and man, has that been humbling. I will never, ever again take walking or mobility or independence for granted. The first time I was able to walk in the hospital? I cried. Because I'd spent seven days contemplating the very real possibility that I would need months of rehab before doing so again, if I ever would at all. So—on the positive side, every step forward since then has been literal, and something for me to celebrate.

Although heart failure is a permanent condition on some levels, there's a lot I can do, and have been working toward, to get to my best possible prognosis. My physical therapists are fantastic people and making them proud has been a huge achievement for me. Thanks to this effort, and their help, eventually I will be back to nearly full health and mobility, and will ironically also end up in my best physical shape of the past decade or so. It's awesome! 

Except for the scary statistics emphasized by my Terminator cyborg doctor a week ago. Not to get maudlin, but while I'm doing great and working really hard to recover physically, the fact is that while I'm young for congestive heart failure (it was a perfect storm of combined factors exacerbated by lockdown—watch your salt intake, peeps!), it doesn't change the fact that 50% of people with my condition are dead in the first year. 80% of those diagnosed with it die within five years. 

Meaning, I have a 2 in 10 chance of seeing 5 years.

Freakages and Flailings

Did I freak out about these statistics? Yeah. I did. I'd already done a hell of a lot of soul-searching over the past few months, and this just kicked me into an even higher gear of evaluation and goal-setting. 

So if I seem to be a little all over the place lately—if I seem like I'm oversharing right, left, and center, well—apologies. But yeah, I am. And I'll probably keep doing it. Because I just want to be however I am. I want to be a little more honest. I want to cut down on the bullshit that doesn't matter. I want to enjoy whatever time I have and do so being myself and expressing myself. I want to champion wonderful people and causes, I want to be brave, and kind, and engaged. I want to end every day knowing I did my best to live fully.

Please know that I'm going to work really hard to stick around, but no matter what, I want to write things I'm passionate about, that I care about, and that are fun to discuss and analyze. I'm also going to be working a lot harder on my outside stuff—my fiction (including fanfics), plays, et cetera. 

I don't have kids, so my words are the only legacy I have, and they mean a lot to me. I want to be remembered.

Expanding Horizons

So that's part of it. I want to write and discuss all these characters and ideas we all bond over, and I hope some of these new topics will be fun or interesting for us to discuss together, too!

The other part of this is that I really want to earn people's support in a bigger-picture way, if they want to act on that support (no pressure!). Meaning, stuff like Patreon or however else you or anyone wants to support or share my work. I have not been a good Patreon artist thus far, but that is changing NOW, and if you already support me, hang in there, and I will come through for you with stuff that's only for you. 

Ultimately, I've spent two decades prior to this like most freelancers, writing content I was extremely proud of, but that didn't touch my heart. I've waited long enough. The more I write, I hope, the more  I will connect with all of you as well as new audiences. And, if I earn it, the more support I'll get. Everybody wins!

I am passionate about magic, about genre fiction in all its forms. I love fantasy. I love other worlds. I want to play them, watch them, read them, write them, and explore them. And then I want to talk about them with fellow fans and friends like you.

So I hope you'll support me and come along.

A Little Magic in a Stressful World

Thanks for this chance to update you, and for bearing with me on this very strange, scary, yet often wonderful journey over the past three or four years. You have no idea what it means to me to have gained your attention and readership, as well as (in so many cases!) your friendship and support through some difficult and dark times. 

The past few years especially, as we've all battled COVID restrictions, fear, isolation, and more, I have watched the Dragon Age community come through for each other, mourn losses, show kindness, and share lightness and humor when we all needed it. I've watched Dragon Age writers and artists tirelessly answer questions even when the questioners were rude or dismissive (luckily, a minority). I've watched Dragon Age team leaders champion the fan artists among us every single day. And I've been so humbled by how many at BioWare have supported our celebration of Dragon Age Day and helped us achieve our fundraising goals even when many of these people were exhausted already from work, deadlines, and COVID.

So we're in a pretty comfortable little corner of our fandom at the Herald's Rest, and I feel lucky to be a part of that. Those of you who read or follow me, you're amazing. And you're the reason so many of us in our community (including me) got through lockdown as semi-unscathed as we did.

Ultimately, I hope the blog updates and changes mean you'll stop by here more than before, not less. But we'll see how it goes—and I hope you'll let me know your thoughts on what I can improve, what I can add, and what would mean most to you.

Thanks as always, and take care out there...



  1. Gosh... I can't even imagine receiving those odds. I hope you get those five years and more! I will be thinking about you. Your writing and your personality are so valuable to so many of us in this fandom!

    1. This. This is a good reply, and I agree with it.

    2. Thank you so much for this beautiful and generous comment. I so appreciate it, and it means so much to me. I promise to do my best to beat those odds!

    3. Suzanne, thank you so much for that as well -- it means a lot.

  2. I love you Angela <3 I'm so happy you're here, and I'm so proud of you for how far you've come! I'm looking forward to seeing what you do here and with your other works. You're going to rock it!

    1. Thank you so much, Savvy! That means the world -- I'm proud to still be here too, and I'm looking forward to the future for ALL of us. All the love in Thedas!

  3. Will you still be my friend if I don't know anything about Magic or dragons? I know a lot about mindfulness, though, and it sounds like you do, too. I am so glad to share this earth with you. Take care. Love kathy

    1. Of course, Kathy! Besides, you DO know about magic, since you've already shared some with me as I recovered -- you've been a good friend, and I don't take it for granted. Thank you so much for your thoughts and friendship, and love to you and Jim!

  4. Hey Angela, I don't know if it's weird to comment on a post that's over six months old but I just wanted to tell you that I absolutely adore this blog and everything you've created here.

    I found your blog by looking up what "ar lath ma, vhenan" meant (and going down that emotional train wreck of a rabbit hole) and was ecstatic to see someone was able to put into words exactly what I was feeling in that moment. I know you're a writer and maybe it comes with the territory, but your insight and intuition are absolutely exceptional. And to be able to coherently share those inner connections with others is truly a gift (and hard work, of course!)

    I'm currently isolated in my apartment right now (I live alone save for my two beautiful cats) due to contracting COVID (I'm vaccinated and tried my best to stay home whenever possible but, unfortunately, I work in a grocery store so being around people is inevitable). I decided to replay DA:I and have my heart shatter for the millionth time and now I have a new pleasure to pass the time: listening to your fantastic and endearing perspective on this game and on these characters that we all love so much.

    In your post you wrote that you want to be remembered and I assure you that you will. Your words have really struck a cord with me in such a way that I'll never forget. And when I'm creating my own stories (animation student here!), I'll remember you and what you've said. I hope to create worlds and characters where people such as yourself will dig their teeth into and create a community to talk and share their experiences.

    Truly, from one artist to another, thank you. I know this isn't easy- especially after a medical emergency, but it really shows your character and commitment to your passion. Thank you for making these dark times (that now feel never ending) a little brighter. I look forward to seeing this blog's evolution and your ever lasting infectious enthusiasm.

    Yours sincerely,

    A Silent Lurker Who Never Writes Comments Ever

    1. Oh, my goodness.

      Thank you for this incredibly lovely and thoughtful comment -- it really means so much to me to hear that, and I'm so glad to hear that my blog has been an escape and a resource for you!

      I'm so sorry to hear you have Covid, but I hope by now you've recovered and are feeling better? Sending you all the magical mental elfroot in the world.

      Meanwhile, thank you for this, and for reminding me that my words will live on in some capacity -- it's certainly what I think most writers hope for.

      Wishing you the best of luck in the future, and in your animation career! I hope you'll keep me posted on your accomplishments, and know you will create great and beautiful things.

      Ma serannas, lethallen.


"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...