Lee has been playing "Dragon Age" since the first game's release. She enjoys exploring and explaining the characters and the lore.
As I've mentioned in other articles, I am an old Dragon Age fan. I used to be a huge nerd about these games, to the point that I would write long and embarrassingly thought-out theories on my blog about the series and its many, many mysteries.
I recall receiving largely backlash and ridicule from fans, as many of them hated my blunt and harsh critique of their favorite characters (Solas is an as*hole, Sera's horrible, Cullen's dark past was handwaved for fan service . . .).
To be honest, the batsh*t insane and vitrolic fandom is part of the reason I abandoned my blog and came here. And even though I do face the occasional male gamer assuming I started playing video games yesterday, at least no one mocks and rips apart my opinions on this platform . . .
Given that the gaming community has always been toxic, I think you have to be pretty brave (especially in today's climate) to post a fan theory online. But I'm a brave little toaster and I was on tumblr once, so I've seen the darkest side of the fandom. Nothing scares me now.
So here it is: my big, fat, Dragon Age theory.
The Evanuris were Dragons
No, I don't have any particular "evidence" for this first part of the theory. If there were concrete evidence . . . it wouldn't be a theory.
This is an idea that came to me after the events of Dragon Age: Inquisition.
Now, keep in mind that it's been over five years since I've played Inquisition or any of the DLCs, so I am going by my memory at best. And I seem to recall a codex in the temple of Mythal that referred to dragon shape-shifting as "taking the form of the divine." It was something that had to do with an elven slave being punished for taking a shape that was "reserved for the gods."
Said codex seems to imply that the "elven gods" were little more than elven mages who could shape-shift, but no where in the games does it ever say that the Evanuris were actually elves. We are only told that they were worshiped by elves (and thus "elven gods") but not elven themselves and that they were evil and demanded elves to sacrifice themselves.
It is never explicitly stated that they were elves. At least not by a codex within the game. NPCs don't count since they are part of the world and therefore, have limited knowledge and can be wrong. Also, NPCs can lie. Most codexes are hints directly from the developers, however, so we can semi-trust them.
The fact that Morrigan becomes a dragon after drinking from the Well of Sorrows (while the Inquisitor does not) seems to hint that Morrigan has divine blood (the blood of a dragon) and that she took a piece of the spirit of a dragon (Mythal) into herself by drinking.
In the book The Stolen Throne, Flemeth meets a young Maric and Loghain while they are lost in the swamp. Flemeth agrees to help them but for a price (there's always a price with her . . .). She takes Maric into her hut with her for a time, leaving Loghain outside.
It's long been speculated by fans that Flemeth was actually taking Maric's blood, which is dragon blood. Maric's ancestor, Calenhad, took the blood of the dragon into himself in order to become king. This same blood was naturally passed on to Maric.
Calenhad and Maric's mother also had flaming red hair, like Andraste.
I bring this up because there seems to be a connection between Flemeth, Mythal, and Andraste, all legendary women throughout Thedas history who led great armies during significant wars. Even Flemeth was rumored to lead a war in the swamp, though Morrigan says that's a lie (while Leliana says it's true. Hmm).
All three women were betrayed by their husbands:
- Flemeth was betrayed by her husband and her lover killed.
- Andraste was betrayed by her husband and her lover, possibly Shartan, was also killed.
- And Mythal is implied to have been betrayed by the other Evanuris (including her husband, Elgar'nan) and was killed. This is confirmed in the temple of Mythal by Abelas and later hinted at by Solas, who warned the Inquisitor not to trust her friends too closely, as he doesn't want to see her betrayed the way someone he once knew was (again and again, apparently).
Also, note in the image below that Mythal's vallaslin, the withered tree, appears above Andraste in a stained glass depiction of her receiving the Maker's blessing.
Mythal's mosaic also appears on the floor of the Temple of Sacred Ashes during the final battle with Corypheus at the end of Dragon Age: Inquisition.
Yes, I'm one of those crazies who believe that Andraste and Shartan were lovers. It's possible that they might have just been really good friends and outside observers just misinterpreted their relationship.
Solas could have just been an earnest worshiper of Mythal and his devotion was mistaken for love . . . much the way the Inquisitor can assume Leliana is in love with Divine Justina when really, she's just mourning someone she basically worshiped and lost.
I would be inclined to believe that Andraste and Shartan were just friends, except for the games and the books practically scream from the mountain tops that they were much more. In Inquisition, you can enter the Chantry and see many interesting murals depicting the life of Andraste and her betrayal (see above).
In one such mural (the bottom left one) Shartan is depicted, bound by chains (bound by his love and devotion to Andraste/Mythal and forever doomed to die again and again with her), and holding a key. Behind him is the mountain where Andraste was lain to rest (the Temple of Sacred Ashes), above him is an image of red-haired Andraste with her sword, and in his hand is a key. Many fans believe this to be the key to Andraste's heart.
And what further drives this theory home for me is the book The Masked Empire, which was released before Inquisition. It details the events in Orlais that led to the ball at Halamshiral during the quest Wicked Eyes Wicked Hearts in Inquisition.
In the book, one of Solas' agents, an ancient elf named Felassan, tells Briala (a city elf) very often throughout the story that she reminds him a great deal of Solas aka The Dread Wolf.
Who is Briala? Like Solas, who manipulated both the Forgotten Ones and the Evanuris against each other, Briala is an elf who plays as a double agent, walking among the humans (the gods/ruling class) freely and manipulating them for her own ends while also walking among the elves (the people) freely and manipulating them as well.
Briala was also a rebel, while Solas was the god of rebellion and led his people to fight the tyrannical elven gods. She was also very pragmatic and can be seen sacrificing her people in the game itself in order to win power for the city elves, just as Solas sacrificed so many people at Haven.
And Briala was also . . . sleeping with and manipulating the empress. Meanwhile, Solas can sleep with and manipulate the Inquisitor. That isn't to say that Briala didn't really love Celene or that Solas didn't really love Lavellan. In fact, their feelings made their romances all the more tragic. And I think given the fact that Hawke, a human, was supposed to be Inquisitor, this would only have driven my point home about Shartan, Briala, and Solas (all rebellious elves) all banging the human, female, holy, worshiped leader . . .
Yes, Solas is an elf-only romance. But I believe that's purely because he was added at the last minute late into development. He's a racist old elf, but I'm convinced he would have been a romance option for Hawke if she had been Inquisitor as planned. I mean . . . even Fenris the ex-slave and mage-hater, who has every reason to hate humans as much as Solas, can romance Hawke.
And to top it all off, the comparison is further driven home by the fact that in The Masked Empire, Celene can be trolled by a play showing a female Shartan being in love with Andraste. The people of Orlais wanted her to get married to Gaspard, and she was refusing, instead insisting on being gay and empress at the same time. The play was used to publicly humiliate and shame her.
I don't think it was a coincidence that the writers choose to use Shartan and Andraste to mirror Celene and Briala. Especially after all the comparisons between Briala and Solas already made in the book.
Solas/Inquisitor and Shartan/Andraste can also be compared to Maker/Andraste. It's my belief that Solas was remembered as a god by more than one culture. To the ancient elves, he's a god of rebellion. To the Dalish, he's basically Satan. And to the Andrastians . . . Solas is the Maker.
Everything Solas did can be attributed to the Maker in Andrastian faith, from locking away the gods to assisting Andraste (as Shartan) to turning his back on the world (Uthenera). Solas' actions were remembered by humans as a mysterious force occurring from beyond the Veil. And . . . they weren't wrong.
So what does this have to do with the Evanuris being dragons? The point is that I believe Flemeth and Andraste were hosts to fragments of Mythal's soul, and this allowed them to achieve greatness . . . .and take dragon form. Which is probably why the cultist nuts at Haven in Origins think the dragon there is Andraste. They remember Andraste's "divine" form but their madness has them remembering only half the truth.
So Flemeth and Andraste both could become dragons, and this was only possible because they had dragon blood and also hosted pieces of a dragon soul aka Mythal. The similarities between Flemeth and Andraste are just too great. Though to be clear, I'm not saying they were the same person. I'm saying they were both hosts for Mythal's soul.
It was said that Andraste had three sons, who all went on to found the human countries of Thedas. So Orlais was founded by Andraste's sons and Fereldan and Nevarra (so Cassandra, a Nevarran princess, could be a descendant of Andraste). But it's not really known if these sons were actually Andraste's. Her traitor husband, Maferath, also had concubines and could have lied to make his other kids legitimate.
Like Flemeth, it's believed that Andraste was actually only able to have daughters (all dragons in the game are female) who also had only daughters and these daughters all had red hair. They were scattered throughout Thedas and lost after Andraste's execution, but over time, it was believed that they survived.
We learned in Dragon Age 2 about a hunt for "She of the Red" during Aveline's personal quest in the DLC Mark of the Assassin. This implies that Aveline might be a descendant of Andraste and that her family was hunted and her mother killed because of it.
You can also find the original Ser Aveline's shield and give it as a gift to Aveline in Dragon Age 2. And for some bizarre reason . . . the shield is elven.
Before I had enough information to start piecing theories together, I always used to wonder why an Orlesian knight had an elven shield. I mean . . . what the hell? But if Aveline (both of them) were of Andraste's bloodline, it makes sense that the original Aveline would revere elven things. Maybe the original Aveline was actually a host of Mythal for a while.
There's also our red-haired Leliana, who we know from the quest In Hushed Whispers has an absurd and bizarre resistance to the taint, as well as a strong affinity for elves and seeking justice for their oppression.
Also, consider the fact that Fiona, Alistair's mother and a Grey Warden, was cured of the taint when she slept with Maric, a man with dragon's blood (and another possible descendant of Andraste). It doesn't explain how Alistair became a Grey Warden, but it does explain how he survived his joining ritual (and how the tainted Old Gods/dragons survived after also becoming tainted).
So while Alistair's family may be descendants of Andraste, Maric's mother had a son because she didn't host the soul of Mythal. It could be that Andraste's daughters hosted the soul the same way Flemeth would have passed it to Morrigan, and this is why they only had daughters.
It seems to be some sort of tradition. Andraste was an Alamarri, the precursor to modern day Avvar, and we know from the DLC Jaws of Hakkon that the Avvar see spirit possession as a normal (even good) thing for a mage to do. And Morrigan's sister Yavana (a witch who appears in the comics) also refers to the possession of Mythal as "a gift."
As a side note, Yavana was killed by Alistair because she wanted to use his blood to bring back the dragons. It could be that she doesn't have dragon blood herself, and maybe Morrigan has it because of Maric's "donation." But the fact that she wants to bring the dragons back . . . It's something the Evanuris would want, being dragons themselves. I could see Flemeth having raised Yavana for the purpose of bringing the dragons back physically, while Morrigan would have been raised to bring the dragons back spiritually (by capturing their souls).
Bringing back the dragons is also likely the deal Maric made in Flemeth's hut, though I can't see why he couldn't have also given blood just then. The book describes him coming out tired and sweaty, which is why a lot of fans think he banged Flemeth to make Morrigan (something I would actually consider).
So Kieran is basically possessed by a dragon in Inquisition. A very old dragon that has interesting things to say to the Inquisitor. And he wasn't a girl because Morrigan was not hosting Mythal when she had him.
In conclusion, it's only those with the blood of a dragon who also harbor the soul of a dragon (aka a piece of Mythal or one of the gods) who can become a dragon.
Which is why Flemeth pretty much says to Hawke in Dragon Age 2,
"Perhaps I am a dragon."
Did Andraste and Flemeth Even Exist?
Another idea: what if Andraste and Flemeth never existed? What if they are both just retellings of Mythal's fight against the Evanuris? Flemeth would be the retelling of Mythal by the Chasind and Andraste would be the retelling of Mythal by human Andrastian nations.
Mythal, a mage, supposedly fought other mages, just like Andraste, who was also believed to have been a mage. Imagine Andrastian humans dressing up Mythal's old temple to be "Andraste's." In other words, humans adapted the story of Mythal to their own various cultures. So in that sense, Solas is Shartan and Flemeth is Andraste.
I could be wrong since Aveline seems clearly set up to be Andraste's descendant. But what if she was actually Mythal's descendant? Mythal was a literal mother of dragons (the series is based on A Song of Fire and Ice aka Game of Thrones) and could have had many human children. She seems to favor them over elves.
But in Inquisition, Flemeth tells an Inquisitor who drank from the Well of Sorrows that the story is true, that she called to Mythal for her aid and was possessed. So I don't know. It's an interesting theory, even if Inquisition sort of debunked it.
Maybe Flemeth did exist but it's Andraste who didn't.
Dragons Caused the Blight
Now once again, it's been over five years since the last time I played the DLCs Descent and Trespasser, but the lore we were given in that content is largely what inspired my fan theory (that I made up years ago, by the way, I didn't just think of all this) about how everything unfolded, resulting in the present state of Thedas.
In Descent, we go into the Deep Roads and we learn that lyrium is titan blood. Like human blood, it is blue until it is exposed to oxygen, in which case it turns red. Red lyrium is titan blood that has been exposed to the open air . . . and thus corrupted.
This is the source of the Blight and . . . it was caused by the dragons.
We learn in Trespasser that the elves discovered a way to enhance their magic power with lyrium and enslaved the dwarves to harvest it. Dwarves accidentally allowed blue lyrium to be exposed to the air and this created the taint.
But this was only made possible because dragons fought with the titans and killed them in the first place. What the dwarves harvested lyrium from was a corpse.
The dwarves were the first to be turned into darkspawn, as a codex describes them as "witless" and needing to be put down. Another codex from the temple of Mythal describes the goddess Andruil going into "the Void" (the dig site, I guess) and coming back mad after being exposed to the taint.
What followed was a quick unraveling of elven society as the taint spread and the gods went nuts, demanding blood sacrifices until their temples overflowed with blood (according to Solas).
In response, Solas began a rebellion. He tricked both the Evanuris and the Forgotten Ones/Old Gods, trapping the Evanuris in Arlathan/The Black City/The Golden City and the Old Gods in what are now known as the Deep Roads.
In fact, Merrill will tell you this story in Dragon Age 2. It is one of the few pieces of history the Dalish successfully held onto.
Merrill Tells the Story of Fen'Harel
It's my belief that lyrium was discovered by accident during the titan wars. The titans were causing great earthquakes, to the point that the elves had to build floating cities. I think this was expanded upon in Jaws of Hakkon, if memory serves me correctly.
But even the floating cities weren't enough. So Mythal went out and killed a titan. This was the first discovery of lyrium . . . and it changed the entire world.
The Forgotten Ones Could be the Evanuris
What if the Evanuris are the Forgotten Ones? There were seven Forgotten Ones/Old Gods and there were nine elven gods. If the Forgotten Ones are the Evanuris, then two are missing: Mythal, who was murdered, and Solas, who was never a dragon to begin with. In Inquisition, we learn that there might have been an eighth Old God, but it was stricken from all records.
When the Evanuris became tainted from the Blight, Solas would have trapped them underground. We know that the humans emulated elven culture, so it makes sense that they would seek out the trapped elven gods and worship them.
So the elves didn't worship demons. They worshiped dragons. And Solas is pissed because the Grey Wardens are basically killing his blighted and corrupted friends. He seems to have no idea that Flemeth has actually been working to restore them. Either that, or he doesn't believe her plan will work and/or he'd rather not wait hundreds of years for each Blight.
Solas was a Prisoner
People never seem to ask why Solas would go to sleep after locking away the Evanuris, the Old Gods, and the Blight. Why would he go to sleep and leave such dangerous things unguarded?
Solas couldn't have guarded Arlathan from the Fade. In fact, the book The Masked Empire is about his increasingly frustrated attempts to escape the Fade so that he can actually have an influence on the world. Felassan was killed at the end of the book because he refused to help Solas escape through the Eluvian network, which he allowed Briala to keep access to.
Solas seems pretty desperate and angry when Felassan betrays him. Why would someone who willingly locked themselves away not have a way out of that? Because it's my belief that Solas was locked away against his will. He did not voluntarily go into Uthernara. He did it to survive his long imprisonment.
Back in Dragon Age 2, Merrill is very close to unwittingly releasing a pride demon by unlocking an Eluvian mirror. The demon was locked away by the elves on Sundermount after a war between the Evanuris and the Forgotten Ones. This pride demon wanted desperately out of the Fade and was playing on Merrill's naivety and pride to trick her into releasing it.
Solas, whose name is just elvish for Pride, is essentially doing the same thing during the events of The Masked Empire.
Also in The Masked Empire, a Dalish clan has trapped the demon Imshael near their camp and he is stuck there until Briala and her friends make a deal to release him. The elves have been shown again and again to have the ability to trap demons in place . . . but they never use this ability on elves, it seems.
This is why I believe that "Solas" (aka "Pride") is not simply a name Solas gave himself. I believe that Solas is a demon who took mortal form, much like Cole, and this is why he's so upset about Cole becoming human during his personal quest in Inquisition.
I believe erecting the Veil forced Solas to become "mortal" even though he began life as a spirit. He was trapped in the Fade and held prisoner there by angry elves who blamed him for everything that happened after the Veil went up.
And honestly? I would have been angry, too. The elves were severed from the Fade and lost their magic and their gods, so they had no way to defend themselves when the humans came and enslaved them. And this was after they had just had a war destroying themselves, on top of the war with the titans.
Solas resents the modern Dalish for their angry tales about him being evil . . . but the Dalish are right about him. Solas fans would say otherwise, but Solas himself is . . . evil. He's racist, arrogant, self-centered, condescending, callous, cruel . . . The list goes on and on. For all his hatred of the Dalish, he is a Dalish caricature to the extreme, and he's supposed to love Lavellan so much but treats her, the only person to believe in him, like utter crap, despite how much he loves her. It's like he can't stop being a d*ck. And this would make sense for a pride demon, since being a d*ck is in a demon's nature.
Solas, Pride, is a living symbol of the fall of the elven people and their supposed pride (let's set aside the racist implication that pride was the downfall of real life indigenous people and not, you know, all the invaders who killed them with disease and gun powder . . .).
And despite his intentions (the road to Hell is paved with good intentions), all Solas has done is endanger the world twice over (soon to be thrice over in Dragon Age 4) while callously deciding who is and isn't worthy of his protection. He is no different than Sera, who claims to fight for "the little people" while cruelly dismissing actual oppressed groups (elves and mages).
The Dalish are correct to hate and fear Solas. They lost everything because of him, who in his pride, thought he was doing what was best for everyone and in his arrogance, did it without consulting them. . . . No. Solas totally isn't a god.
And given how god-awful Solas is (no pun intended), I will forever be baffled by fans who want to wear his vallaslin in Inquisition. Really? Solas is hated by the Dalish for good reason and is basically their version of the biblical Satan. He is evil. Wearing his markings is like wearing a swastika on your forehead.
To further drive my point home, yes, I believe Solas was a spirit at one point, even if he lies in Trespasser and insists that he isn't like Mythal. Maybe he's not now, but I believe he used to be. It is simply too much of a coincidence that he is so much like Shartan (see above).
I do believe that Shartan may have hosted a piece of Solas (aka Pride) in the same way that Andraste hosted Mythal (aka Justice).
Or it could be that Solas really is Shartan. Solas has only been asleep one thousand years, and Andraste was betrayed one thousand years ago. Who's to say he couldn't have escaped his prison to help Andraste, only to wind up back in it once she was betrayed?
Perhaps there was a legitimate reason that Shartan was stricken from the records by the Chantry. Perhaps he was erased because the Chantry (like the Inquisition) learned that Shartan was actually an ancient evil from the Fade and that Andraste was basically having an affair with the Devil?
A lot of fans bring up the Shartan "spirit" from Origins in the Temple of Sacred Ashes, but those spirits that gave us riddles weren't the actual spirits of the dead in the urns. The ash wraiths used the ashes to project images and pose riddles (get it? Ash wraiths . . .) and if the Warden got the riddles incorrect, they were attacked.
Origins is the only game in the series where we see actual ghosts, likely because it was more grimdark than the others, especially Inquisition. In the case of Shartan, however, that was not a "ghost."
As for whose ashes are in Shartan's urn, I don't believe any of those ashes belonged to the real people involved with Andraste. Why would Andraste's followers place her murderers and betrayers in her tomb with her? While in the temple, we meet Maferath and Hessarian, the two men responsible for Andraste's execution, as well as a few others who wanted her dead, aka her enemies.
It's my belief that the ash wraiths just used random ashes to pose as spirits. They weren't using the real ashes of the dead nor were the "ghosts" real. I could be wrong, though. Been a while since I looked at a codex in Origins.
In short, I do not believe that is the real Shartan in the Temple of Sacred Ashes. Also, in Dragon Age 2, Hawke can loot the sword of Shartan from a pride demon, Hybris . . . How is all of this a coincidence?
Solas and Flemeth have known each other for a long, long time and have attempted for a long, long time to fix the world and bring justice to it. After all, they are both directly to blame for the world's unraveling. It was Mythal who killed the titans and brought about the discovery of lyrium and the eventual unleashing of the taint. And it was Solas who . . . basically made things worse times a thousand.
And as ancient and experienced as they are, the two of them still haven't learned that justice is a myth. It's an idea that . . .doesn't exist in the real world.
Spirits embody ideas because they are born of the dreams of mortals. That's why they live in the Fade. Isabela actually has an interesting banter with Anders in Dragon Age 2 where she tries to tell him that (like Solas and Mythal) he is merely chasing a dream.
There is no justice in the world, and no one knows that better than an oppressed minority. Solas and Mythal don't get it because they were never oppressed. During the time of Elvhenan, they were the ruling class . . . and it shows.
The raunchy pirate queen, who is dismissed by Flemeth in Dragon Age 2 with "I know your kind," is the only one in Thedas who gets it.
Humans Repeated History
Solas hates humans because they basically doody-dooed on up and repeated elven history verbatum. Like the elves before them, humans fell prey to worshiping dragons and created a society where magic was worshiped and mortals were slaves.
It's my belief that Andraste was not hearing "the Maker" in her dreams. She was having nightmares (like a Grey Warden) and hearing whispers (like a Grey Warden) because the tainted dragon gods were calling to her from the Deep Roads.
I think they wanted Andraste to destroy the Evanuris in revenge for them. They wanted her to storm the Golden City and kill their ancient enemies. But Andraste misinterpreted this as some benevolent god directing her to lead a rebellion against the Tevinter magisters, who weren't any different from the Evanuris, really.
Or, if the Evanuris and the Forgotten Ones are actually the same, maybe they just wanted Andraste to release the blight again. They are evil, tainted dragons, after all.
So Andrastianism, this entire human religion was born from some whispers from some evil dragons. . . . the same religion that sees worshiping said dragons as "the first sin."
Oh, the delicious irony.
Corypheus likewise heard the whispers of the Old God. The Old God Dumat called to him in his dreams, and we learn in Inquisition during the quest Here Lies the Abyss that Corypheus sacrificed all the elven slaves in his household to enter the Fade.
There's a theory that this actually happened in Kirkwall, which was a Tevinter city and was actually located not far from the place where Corypheus was imprisoned with blood magic by the wardens and Hawke's father.
It took a huge blood sacrifice for Corypheus to enter the Fade and approach Arlathan, the "Golden City." (I pretty much accept that Arlathan and the Golden City are one and the same at this point, especially since the temple of Mythal in Inquisition being all gold inside made it clear that the elves liked their golden halls . . .).
The fact that so much spooky ancient blood magic happened there and the Veil was pretty much ripped open there means that Kirkwall is literally built on the Hellmouth. Lots of spirits and blood magic and red lyirum . . . all of it buried in, around, and beneath Kirkwall, and a crazy ancient magister just next door.
Above, you can see a map of Thedas. The DLC Legacy takes place in the Vinmark Mountains, which are directly north of Kirkwall. To stop the wardens from foolishly tying to use and "control" Corypheus (sigh), Hawke just had to take a stroll around the corner.
In fact, the Vinmark Mountains are so close that Hawke actually goes to them during the base game, not just during the DLC. I know she goes at least once, during the quest Sheparding Wolves. It's a very short quest where Hawke passes through the Undercity, and it's implied to only take hours.
That is significant, given that this is a fantasy world where traveling anywhere remotely nearby usually takes days or even weeks.
Unfortunately, Hawke, a human does something similar to Corypheus in her quest through the Deep Roads. She ventures down there out of greed. She doesn't just want to support her family, after all. She wants to be rich and get back her family's title and estate. And she's willing to do anything to achieve that, even unleash untold horrors on Kirkwall (not that she knew that was a risk, per se).
Because of Hawke, it's stated in the game that Bartrand's expedition was able to reach further into the Deep Roads than anyone ever had, to the point that the Grey Wardens decided to investigate.This is why Hawke was able to meet rock wraiths and ancient hunger demons and other weird crap. So in other words, if it hadn't been for Hawke's (and Varric's) avarice, the red lyrium wouldn't have been unleashed on Kirkwall.
In a sense . . . Hawke is kind of worse than Corypheus.
Inquisition was a game themed around faith. Cassandra and Leliana have their faith in the Maker tested when Justinia, who they practically worship, is murdered senselessly (by Solas, no less).
The Dalish Inquisitor has her faith torn apart completely by the lore reveals. I mean, she really had it worse than any other Inquisitor to the point of being mocked and dismissed by her own followers (Sera mocks her while pretty much all the followers are dismissive of the temple). Hell, Lavellan can even meet Mythal, one of her gods, and is told straight up that Mythal doesn't answer their prayers because she doesn't give a s*it about them. She's insane and apparently only cares about getting revenge on those who murdered her, reducing her to scattered wisps that must cling to mortals like parasites.
Meanwhile, the human Inquisitor can believe they have been sent by Andraste, only to get egg on their face during Here Lies the Abyss. Even Solas wonders in party banter with Cassandra if the Maker is real.
Corypheus believed in Dumat. He sought out his god to the point that he was driven insane by the whispers of the dragon and his already-existent prejudices were amplified in his craze to obey the whispers.
His insane devotion to Dumat would also back my theory that the Evanuris were dragons (the Forgotten Ones) and not elves. Corypheus hated and despised the elves. During the boss fight at the end of Inquisition, he tells the Inquisitor that elves are rats (and there's a crappy joke that the name "Lavellan" actually means "rat" in the game itself . . . Always felt like a stab at indigenous/First Nations peoples).
To Corypheus, elves were vermin beneath him. So why would he worship a culture founded by elven mages? Makes perfect sense that the elven culture he and the Tevinter Imperium emulated and revered would be one ruled and enforced by dragons, not elves.
I say Corypheus was driven insane because you can find a codex during Here Lies the Abyss from one of his slaves, who says he was a good man before suddenly going nuts and deciding to kill everyone. So it's my belief that Corypheus was more like Dorian in the pre-taint stages of his life. He was prejudiced, probably thought slavery was "better" than the elves living free in poverty, but he never would have slaughtered all of them.
Now, suddenly he's gone mad and is slaughtering them left and right as part of some quest to enter the Black City and find the gods. When he gets there, he finds the throne of the Maker empty (because it's not the Maker's throne. It's an old elven throne) and he has a crisis of faith and decides to become a god himself.
There's even a point at the end of Inquisition where he assumes the Inquisitor wants the same thing. And depending on how you played the game . . . that could be true. Keep in mind that Inquisition was originally written for Hawke, who is described as very godlike by their friends and can be kind of cocky.
Denying Merrill the Arulin'holm
Throughout Dragon Age 2, Hawke is deadly, powerful, and condescending, always trying to tell her friends and family members what's best for them. She can boss around Varric, Isabela, and Merrill, making decisions for them (the Aruilin'hom, the "shard of crazines"). She can even do it to Aveline during the prologue and is seen to lord it over her sibling as well. All of it is done in a loving way and from a place of wanting to protect, but it's still condescending as hell and it's coming from someone with more power than others.
This wasn't an accident on the part of the writers. Hawke was set up to seem godlike for the events of Inquisition, for which she was supposed to be the protagonist. At one point, Merrill can practically call Hawke a goddess, which Hawke will deny (this is during her romance).
The only difference between Hawke and Corypheus is that Hawke doesn't have the taint to blame for her arrogance, bossiness, pride, and general troublemaking. I'm not saying that Corypheus was a great guy before the taint. Again, he was a racist human who believed elves beneath him and endorsed slavery. But it was the Old God whispering that drove him to the extreme of slaughtering the elves and entering the Fade. No such thing drove Hawke to the lyrium idol.
Nothing but their greed.
There are also deliberate parallels between Meredith and Andraste and Meredith and Corypheus. Hell, Meredith is even wearing Andraste's headpiece. That is not a coincidence.
There's also the fact that both Meredith and Andraste saw their sisters become abominations and die violent deaths. These occurrences scarred them both for life.
It's isn't clearly stated what happened to Halliserre, Andraste's half-sister, but it's heavily implied that Halliserre became an abomination, couldn't handle it, and died. Andraste's mother was an alchemist who wanted to preserve the Old Gods. She was not married to Andraste's father but was his magical advisor. I wouldn't be surprised if she hadn't attempted to place an Old God's soul in her daughter, Halliserre.
This sounds very much like the dynamic between the Warden and Morrigan. Morrigan is even straight up called the Warden's "advisor" by Wynne during the confrontation in the Circle. And of course, Morrigan cares about preserving the souls of the Old Gods, enough to have Kieran, a child hosting a dragon soul.
Given all this, it sounds very much as if Morrigan could be a descendant of Andraste's bloodline, a bloodline of witches who have been created Old God Baby's for centuries. Perhaps Halliserre was a failed first attempt to capture the soul of an Old God while Andraste herself was a success. (It would explain why Andraste, like Kieran, heard voices.)
And for some reason, BioWare gave Meredith a story very much like Andraste's. Like Andraste, Meredith witnesses the brutal death of her sister and it unhinges her.
And once again, history is repeating itself. Meredith hears voices from the lyrium idol and is driven, like Andraste, to war against the mages. Like Corypheus, she starts out with a covert prejudice. She is harsh on the mages and turns them Tranquil for the slightest offences (which is bad enough) but it isn't until she gets the lyrium sword that she actually goes full-throttle nuts and tries to kill them all.
Like Corypheus (and Bartrand), she was already a crappy person but was slowly driven mad and to great extremes as a result.
But what anti-mage fans conveniently forget is that the same can be said for the mages in Kirkwall. They are already living in a desperate situation where they are under constant stress. The constant, looming threat of Tranquility on top of other cruel punishments, sexual abuse, and the depression of being ripped from their families had them all on edge and desperate. With the thin Veil and the red lyrium, it's not shocking that most of them go insane and start using blood magic.
It was a situation waiting to implode.
And like Corypheus, Hawke was responsible for unleashing the madness. And yet . . she is worshiped like a goddess by the entire city. Even before Act 2 when Hawke becomes the Champion, a lot of the people in Kirkwall love and admire her for helping them. They constantly come to her with requests for aid (petitions) to the point that the charming/purple version of Hawke is baffled enough to sarcastically say, "Um, do I know you?" to the complete strangers who walk up seeking her aid.
It is probably more accurate to say that Hawke is a repeat of Mythal, not Corypheus. Hawke is a flawed person, often referred to in a godlike sense, but at the end of the day, she still has the best intentions (and unlike Solas, she is not a mass murderer). Mythal thought she was protecting the elven people by killing the titans when all she did was unleash the taint, while Hawke thought she was protecting her family . . . when all she did was unleash the taint.
As I mention in another article, further parallels between Hawke and Mythal would have been drawn in Inquisition if Hawke had been the protagonist of that game as planned.
Yet as the Arishok points out, Hawke's downfall is greed, just as Corypheus' hubris was his own. This is why Hawke was perfectly willing to steal the Heart of the Many in Mark of the Assassin . . . she was written to be a greedy asshole thief. I was honestly surprised that fans were complaining about being forced to steal. Really? That's who Hawke is. Their dear old dad was a pirate!
The entire story of Kirkwalll is just the breach of the Black City replaying itself. Hawke enters the Deep Roads (the Fade) and unleashs red lyrium (the Blight).
It's the war against the titans replaying itself. Like Mythal, Hawke's tremendous power allows her to venture deep underground and unearth the red lyrium.
It's Andraste's war against the Tevinter mages replaying itself. I mean . . . the Tevinter magisters of the south were sitting on a mountain of red lyrium. Were they evil because mages are evil or were they just . . . driven insane by red lyrium?
It's a Justice spirit possessing an angry person (Anders, Flemeth, possibly Andraste) for revenge replaying itself.
It's as if history in Thedas were stuck on an eternal loop.
Hell, Hawke might even be responsible for Solas waking up, as some fans theorize that it was Anders' bomb that woke the Dread Wolf, who may or may not have been sleeping nearby.
Something happened? Dragons Did It
So to recap:
- Flemeth and Andraste (and probably many others) were likely the hosts/vessels of Mythal and were only able to bear daughters because of this.
- Andraste was a mage and an abomination. Maybe the voices she heard were not the Maker but actually Mythal or the Old Gods.
- Solas is the "Maker" of Andrastian faith.
- The Evanuris were dragons, not elves.
- The Forgotten Ones/Old Gods are the Evanuris, and that's why Solas is pissed about the Grey Wardens killing them.
- Andraste, if she was real, has several female red-haired descendants, two of which could be Aveline and Leliana. (Leliana, interestingly enough, also tells the story of Aveline's ancestor in Origins). All of them have dragon blood (which is why Leliana is resistant to the taint).
- Andraste/Shartan and Flemeth/Osen may not have actually existed and are probably just retellings of Mythal's story.
- I know this is hard for Solas romancers to hear but (sigh) Solas was a pride demon imprisoned in the Fade for his crimes (putting up the Veil) by the elven people. He is not some kind of benevolent "wise" spirit or else he wouldn't be frequently portrayed as a giant black wolf with burning red eyes. In fact, he is the opposite of wise . . . .he is foolish pride. He is also described as an "ancient evil" by the Trespasser DLC blurb. The developers are in no way subtle about telling us he is a villain.
- Corypheus (and probably all the magisters) was driven mad by Dumat, the dragons/ Forgotten Ones, and later the taint. Meredith was a tutorial/replay of this.
- Hawke was greedy, irresponsible, and caused the downfall of Kirkwall, same as Corypheus breaching the Black City and meddling with things he didn't understand, as well as Mythal killing the titans without considering the consequences.
- Dragons are responsible for the Blight because they spilled titan blood. They are also the ones who taught humans magic and caused Tevinter's rise . . . only to bring about its (partial) downfall by inspiring Andraste to fight them. Starting to think dragons just like chaos . . .
So much traces back to the elves that people like to mock the lore by saying, "Elves! It was all elves!" But in reality . . . it was dragons.
It was all dragons.