Game Therapy: Dragon Age 2- Part 4

This image is a phenomenal cosplay by foxybcosplay, and you can see other images from this photo shoot and more of Brooke’s work on her deviant art page.

As anyone who has played the game can probably tell, this post is about Anders. Or, more specifically, how my Hawkes always seem to end up flirting with him during every playthrough, even though I have beaten the game and I know how it ends.

If you haven’t played Dragon Age 2, then beware, because this post contains spoilers for the entire game, from the early quests, right up through the final boss fight.

Leave now, if you’re going. No? Ok. Moving on.

I always fall for Anders. I fell for him on my first playthrough, and I just keep doing it. I have romanced Fenris as well, and I like him fine, but due to his amnesia and lyrium tattoos, it usually feels more like I’m hurting him than making his life better. I have not romanced Isabella or Merril because I’m not interested in a lesbian love story, personally. The point of including romance options in a game is to allow the player to experience a fantasy relationship, so I think it’s fine for players to stick to the character or characters who most appeal to them personally, provided that the character is an option for the player; I’m looking at you, Dorian! *sigh* Our love was never meant to be.

Sorry. Different game. Moving on.

Anders is great. I liked him since we met in Dragon Age: Origins- Awakening. (How does one punctuate that?!) He was snarky. He was a spirit healer. He had a cute little half ponytail and an earring. He accepted the kitten I gave for him. He named that cat Ser Pounce-a-lot. He moved his mouth when Ser Pounce-a-lot meowed. He was a spirit healer.

His healing magic and my insanely damaging magic worked together seamlessly. We may have been able to solo some of the battles if I could have forced him to stay hidden behind my plate-armored battlemage. (Maybe not, but man did Solona have some very crazy AoE spells that could all be stacked and centered on myself so that all of the enemies would aggro on me and run into the circle and die. Good times.) In any case, he never left my party because he was so valuable. I heard all of his banter, and I was a bit sad that my warden couldn’t flirt with him.

So he showed up in Dragon Age 2, and I was sold. Before buying the game. Anders is going to fall in love with my Hawke. Done. So we flirted. 

He’s funny and still cute. He’s sarcastic and when we first met, he was healing someone, even though it looked like the spell was taking a toll on him. A selfless, handsome man who wants to make this broken world a bit better, live freely, enjoy a good laugh, fall in love, have a pet cat, and shoot just a bit of lightning at fools… that’s not a bad package, to be honest. Anders is a great guy.

But he stupidly let himself be possessed by a demon… spirit… supernatural being somewhere on the continuum between embodying a vice and a virtue. And it’s Justice, from Awakening. Why, Anders? Why didn’t you just talk to Solona about this? We could probably have made him into a golem or something! Why?!

So, here in Dragon Age 2, Anders is… sometimes, he’s the funny, wonderful man I like, and when there is danger or he gets too emotional, he’s a glowing, superpowered angry abomination. It… makes our relationship difficult. But I believe him when he says that he didn’t know what would happen. And I always feel a bit better when I am able to talk him down from his rage, because his feelings for me are strong enough to break him free from the possession for a while. 

When we get towards the end, and he starts asking me for really sketchy things- weird chemicals for Tevinter magic and distracting the leader of the Chantry while he sneaks around the cathedral- I don’t like it, but I trust him. I want to trust him. If he’s telling me the truth and we can separate Anders and Justice so that I can live with this man without  his demon, then, I want to do that. I will do anything. So I did.

Imagine my horror when Anders blew up the cathedral with all of the people inside and showed … well, I was going to say “no remorse,” but he is remorseful. He just sits there, dejected, because it was the only way to change the system. He sits there and tells me that he’s sorry, that hates himself for this, that I can hate him, that he will let me kill him if that’s what I have to do.

I loved him! (Well, Hawke loved him.) I gave a key to my house’s basement so that he could hide from the people hunting him. I supported him when he was sad, angry, or frustrated. I came with him to investigate  possible crimes against mages. I took side quests to help more mages escape. I trusted him to do his business without me looking over his shoulder. I even listened to him and went along with the sketchy requests.

So, there I was, accessory to the largest terrorist attack I know of in the Dragon Age universe. I thought you loved me, Anders! I thought I was a bright light that made your dark life worthwhile! How could you do this to me?!

So, why do my Hawkes keep choosing him? 

It’s simple; I still like him. I still love bantering with him, hanging out with him, questing together. I still believe that mages should be allowed to have families, join the military, serve in hospitals, create art, work as craftsmen, farm the land, and live freely, as long as they do not threaten or endanger innocents. If they act like bandits, we kill them like bandits. If they live like peasants, we let them live in peace, and we protect them like we would protect anyone else.

So Anders is usually with me, since he is a healer, and I make pro-mage choices, so he naturally likes me. Add in his humorous wit and  pleasant company, and it’s just something that happens nearly every time. I just keep letting him tear my heart out, though I will say that for me (the player), it doesn’t hurt so much any more, since I know that it is coming, and I can prepare myself for it.

I still just wish that I could enter the fade and kill Justice/Vengeance, then Anders and I could live together. It could have been something wonderful.


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