CAUTION – This post contains spoilers for Dragon Age: Inquisition. Check out the Dragon Age website for information on the game.
I’ve come to realise that, much as I loved playing Hawke(s), much as I’ve enjoyed Inquisiting, I will always be a Grey Warden at heart.
I know this because nothing Corypheus did in DAI enraged me so much as his corruption of the Wardens. Because nothing was going to prevent me from having the Wardens work with the Inquisition to redeem themselves. Because I followed their subsequent War Table operations with pride. Because when I made the connection between the note from a Red Templar about Corypheus’ Warden bodyguards, and his ability to body-hop into tainted creatures I was heartbroken. Because I hated Vivienne a little for deeming the Wardens irrelevant (Solas’ criticism was a bit more palatable because he could at least concede that they’d done some good – also, let’s be honest, I’m a Solas fangirl). Because, while I recognise the Wardens partly caused some of the chaos in DAI, I still uphold their right to keep secrets and do whatever is necessary to end the Blight; Clarel got it wrong, but I understood her desperation.
Having said all that, you may be surprised to learn that Thom Rainier’s decision to pose as Blackwall didn’t offend me. I was fine with it for several reasons:
1. Because Blackwall recruited him and “Any person accepted into the Wardens who has not yet taken the Joining is considered a Warden-Recruit” (source: The World of Thedas Vol.1, p.152). I know he needs to go through the Joining to become a full Warden, but the Wardens would already consider him part of the Order.
2. I said when I met him that he was like the living embodiment of what a Warden should be; his reason for joining the Inquisition: “Thinking we’re absent is almost as bad as thinking we’re involved.” is an example of this. He knows that he’s a fake, but he still steps up and protects the Order. He didn’t have to do that; the Inquisitor was walking away. In fact, he shows the ideal standard to which everyone holds the Wardens, as he flatly refuses to believe that they would contemplate blood magic. And he tries to live up to that standard, including sacrificing himself to save Mornay.
3. The rest of the Inner Circle put him through hell when they find out he lied about being a Warden. Ok, so not Varric, and Solas did apologise, but there were a few times that I desperately hoped the party banter dialogue wheel would show up with an option to smack them up the side of the head. The amount of crap he took, on top of his own guilt about it, and he still stayed and did his best for the Inquisition? Unquestionably Warden material.
I’m not ignoring that he lied to the Inquisitor, and I may view that less compassionately in other playthroughs, depending on the character of the Inquisitor in question, but I will always think of Blackwall as a Warden.
Just as I will always think of myself as a Warden. Once a Grey Warden of Thedas, always a Grey Warden of Thedas.