Note: This article contains some pretty huge spoilers for Dragon Age: Inquisition and Dragon Age: Origins.
My love for the Dragon Age series is undoubtedly fueled by the characters. Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2 both introduced and fleshed out amazing, complex characters that transcended the usual supporting role in RPGs. Because of this, it’s really interesting to me to follow them through their growth.
In Dragon Age: Origins, we saw two clashing images between the faith-driven Leliana and the cynical Morrigan. While these traits weren’t the only existing characteristics (especially if you romanced one or the other) in them, they each had a very defining image that didn’t shift too much through the Blight. But now in Inquisition, a decade after the events of Origins, these two characters have made some pretty major shifts in their thoughts and actions.
My Warden romanced Leliana the most in my multiple playthroughs of Dragon Age: Origins so her involvement in Inquisition was very important to me. After learning that The Warden and Hawke had both seemed to disappear, I knew that Leliana would be a lot darker. Faith is always such an important attachment to her character, and I was interested to see how much of it had wavered.
I’ve worked my way through two playthroughs of Inquisition. In my first playthrough, I rushed through the main storyline (I was a little too enthusiastic), but I paid particular attention to Leliana. I talked to her often, swayed her away from violent decisions, and in the end she managed to retain that lightness that existed in Origins. I never really understood just how important it was to be attentive to these characters, but ignoring them really affects their personalities, not only toward you but toward everything else in general.
Because of this, Leliana seemed to be drastically different in my second playthrough. I was focused on making different decisions and saying different things, and I didn’t speak to her as often as I did the first time. Because of this, my fears for her came true. She became extremely cold and violent, more prone to kill than to demonstrate mercy, and when I finally tried to fix things there was nothing I could do.
This all comes to a head when you travel with her to the Valence Cloister. If Leliana can be persuaded not to kill Natalie (which I did in my first playthrough), she retains more of her faith and embraces mercy. However, if you can’t persuade her to spare the sister (she refused to listen in my second playthrough) or you push her to kill her, she becomes hardened and more ruthless.
The character that surprised me the most in Inquisition was Morrigan. It was almost baffling how much Morrigan and Leliana seemed to shift– Leliana becoming darker while Morrigan seemed to more openly embrace her feelings (especially if she has a son). In my save file, Morrigan didn’t perform the dark ritual with anyone, so she didn’t have a son in my Inquisition playthrough. After watching videos of her interacting with the boy, I regret not changing my storyline.
There isn’t too much of a personality change with Morrigan when you first meet her as the Inquisitor. She has become determined to protect any piece of magic she can, something that she adamantly speaks about at the Well of Sorrows. However, her motives are still unclear, and just like her mother Flemeth, Morrigan is a fun puzzle to try to solve. Regardless of the mystery that still surrounds her, her outlook on the world around her has seemed to change.
If she performed the ritual with The Warden who was romanced, she is fairly open about her love for the man despite him being so far away. But her true humanity doesn’t show until the end of the game when she, the Inquisitor, and Kieran meet Flemeth in the Fade. I have trouble explaining this amazing scene outside of grasping the fact that Morrigan has learned more about compassion after becoming a mother. Seeing her determined to be a better mother than Flemeth, and verbally stating this, was awesome to see.
And Flemeth… I can’t even. Fantastic writing and acting!