Based on patron votes in June, I completed this analysis by taking a close look at legends and the reality behind them in the Dragon Age series! To say I was excited is an understatement if I’ve ever heard one. There are some concepts involved here, such as the vallaslin of the Dalish, but I’ve chosen to focus on four people who were made into legends in Thedas:
- The Inquisitor
- Hawke, Champion of Kirkwall
- The Dread Wolf
- King Maric
Remember, there will be spoilers for all games here (plus side books/comics).
1.) The Inquisitor
Although the Inquisitor’s exact story varies based on the player’s choices, their experiences are more or less the same in a broad sense and highly talked about across Thedas. For example, whether your Inquisitor approves of being called the Herald of Andraste or not, people will call your Inquisitor that. The decision to allow it to happen is largely up to Josephine and the rumor mill, not the individual Inquisitor. This kind of runaway opinion forms an image of the Inquisitor as a legend that they personally can’t shape, and since it’s not just the Herald rumor going about, their legend quickly separates itself from reality.
In the words of Scout Harding in the Jaws of Hakkon DLC: “Every time you’re more than just a person to someone, you’re also… less… than a person to them. They don’t see that a real, normal woman fought the Avvar and killed that dragon. And they certainly don’t know about your strange fixation with elfroot.”
2.) Hawke, Champion of Kirkwall
And as for how Varric knew that about the Inquisitor’s legendary status, Hawke is really the poster child. They weren’t thrown into heroics by circumstances and given no other choice like the Warden or Inquisitor. When Hawke saw something they could help with, they did. And they got to a place where they could help in those situations because they wanted to provide a good life for their family. The Champion of Kirkwall really became a legend at their own expense because they chose to get involved each and every time they could have sat things out. That makes them a very different kind of hero than the other two Dragon Age protagonists that were forced into it by events outside of their control.
Yes, the Blight forced the Hawke family out of Lothering, and Hawke couldn’t have controlled that. They had to work as an indentured employee for a year to get entry into Kirkwall in the first place too, which they didn’t have any say in. But there were plenty of story quests that Hawke could have absolutely declined to get mixed up in, only they did.
3.) The Dread Wolf
The legends of The Dread Wolf, or Fen’Harel, are not all that favorable. He was believed by the Dalish to hate kindness and wisdom above all else, and he was rumored to have snuck through the Fade into a Keeper’s dreams to twist them against their clan. The Dread Wolf has power that can affect the whole world according to his tales, from the Veil to the stars. He is willing to injure himself to get away with his misdeeds, and he’s apparently had some aversion to dogs, haha.
But a large aspect of The Dread Wolf’s in-world lore is that only he could walk among the gods and the Forgotten Ones alike. This ability meant he could deceive both of them without either one interacting, using their mutual trust of him to betray both sides. He is a highly superstitious figure for the Dalish with some seeing him as completely evil. Of course, the truth of his actions is more nuanced and complicated (although still terrible).
4.) King Maric
To give Origins a little more love, we’ll go into King Maric, otherwise known as Maric the Savior as the legacy left behind by his deeds. He freed Ferelden from Orlesian rule and restored his family to the throne with the help of some of his closest friends. His accomplishments there quickly made him legend across Ferelden and whatever he wanted for his life, Maric had no other choice but to rise to the throne. As he described it in the Dragon Age novel by David Gaider, The Calling:
“I had to go on, because Ferelden needed me. I married a woman who was in love with my best friend, because Ferelden needed me. And when she died I kept going, despite the fact that everything in my life felt empty, because Ferelden needed me.” He looked at her again, his eyes sad. “Everything was because Ferelden needed me.”