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Spoilers and extensive discussion regarding the ending of DAI

Butch:

For now, read:

http://kotaku.com/dragon-age-inquisitions-ending-explained-1671137779

Oh, and I’ve been waiting to listen to this for months, so here:

http://kotaku.com/player-finds-spooky-secret-message-in-dragon-age-inquis-1674596270

Creepy.

Sigh. Now I wish it wasn’t over.

Oh, and Vivienne would up divine. And I have stuff to say re Sera, but I’m hungry.

Feminina:

Ha–I was going to send you that ‘ending explained’ link! Some good speculation there. Interestingly, it didn’t even occur to me to read Solas’ absorption of Mythal/Flemeth (or Mythal/Flemeth taking over Solas’ body) as treachery or an attack–I just took it as consensual, given that Flemeth went to the trouble of telling us a few scenes ago that a soul can’t possess someone without permission. Of course, in the larger picture she could obviously have been lying or mistaken, but during my playthrough, I just accepted the narrative.

Which means, from my interpretation, that Mythal (and possibly Flemeth if she still exists separate from Mythal) AND the Dread Wolf AND the Old God soul Flemeth took from Kieran are now all hanging out in Solas’ body. And possibly Solas’ own original soul, if he, like Flemeth, was not an old god to begin with, but merged with a soul at some point in a mortal life.

Must be getting crowded in there. Maybe that’s why he likes the fade so much…in theory, maybe they could all split up and wander around there?

So in the future….maybe they’re either all going to merge into one super-soul, or one of them is going to overpower and consumer all the rest, or they’re going to be on the lookout for suitable bodies to split up into, or…or…something interesting, that’s for sure.

Also interesting about the whispers from the well. That’s all fairly vague (and if your Warden was male, doesn’t even necessarily make sense, unless the word’s are different based on world-state, which is possible), but it’s definitely true that we know the Hero of Ferelden is off doing something, and that makes as much sense as anything.

As for the “Wings of Fire” or whatever trophy–basically, if you drink the Well instead of Morrigan, Morrigan doesn’t have the power to transform into a dragon to fight Corypheus’ dragon, so instead you visit the Altar of Mythal, talk to Flemeth, summon a dragon, fight it and defeat it but don’t kill it, and then IT fights Corypheus’ dragon for you in the final battle, instead of Morrigan in dragon shape. And you get that trophy for defeating it. So not really a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but that’s what that trophy is about.

Butch:

Ok, before we delve into lore, MY ending, at least, tied in very nicely to the more basic theme of family and belonging. But that involved Sera, like, a lot. As you were with Blackwall, how’d your game end? I mean, before the credits?

And who was divine for you?

And we gotta talk about the end of Coryphytits.

On to lore:

I was with you. I took the treachery as hanging around NOT MENTIONING HE GAVE THE ORB to Coryphytits (Sera). He betrayed US, for heaven’s sake. He was the problem all along. I knew he sucked.

Solas’ soul may well be really, really old, a la Flemeth. I did note the village he said he was from was just ruins. Maybe he wasn’t lying.

But here’s an aside….who/what was the wisdom spirit that his side quest was about? did that thing matter?

This will be something interesting in future, or very disappointing. I’ll go with interesting. After all, this was a great game. Though we can’t let the themey stuff get lost in the lore.

There’s also no doubt the Calling is not over for the Wardens. They’re setting that up as a thing. That’s really going to be a thing.

Re: trophy: So it’s the “you picked a fight you didn’t have to, so here have a trophy” trophy. Makes sense. I don’t miss it. Liked seeing my girl kick ass.

Feminina:

I supported Cassandra for Divine (Leliana freaked me the hell out with her “maybe we need to FORCE everyone to believe!!!!” idea), and that’s how it turned out. Blackwall and I were still sort of together, I guess, but he went off to become an actual Gray Warden to redeem himself, so I don’t know how that worked out as a long-distance relationship. It was rather vague. Everyone seemed pretty happy at the party, though, and we were on good terms, so who knows.

After the party and the credits, when I went back to kill the final dragon, a few companions had left. Blackwall vanished, and Dorian disappeared for a while and then came back. That, coupled with the fact that Solas was obviously gone, left me in a serious bind, because the last dragon I had to kill was a fire dragon, and Vivienne was my fire mage, so here I was with only one mage and the dragon immune to her specialty.

I spent some time crafting some serious fire-resistant armor and anti-dragon weapons, gave Vivienne an ice staff, and eventually managed it, but I was kind of annoyed, I must say. Solas was my ice mage! I could forgive him for being an ancient, malicious deity who was responsible for nearly destroying the world, but you do NOT abandon me when I need someone to fight a fire dragon! So next time we meet, it’s on.

And yes, regarding treachery, it’s very true, Solas going along all this time not letting on that he was the reason for the entire disaster–hole in the sky, Divine and hundreds of mages and templars dead, worldwide destruction from demon-shedding rifts, etc.–feels like a major betrayal. (Although he did give away the orb before he even met you, so is he betraying you personally?) The most charitable reading is that he intended one thing to happen, and it all went horribly wrong and something much worse happened…but at the very least, he knew he was RISKING untold destruction and millions of innocent lives, and that’s a pretty jerk move. I suppose he’s not the Dread Wolf for nothing.

I don’t know about the Spirit of Wisdom quest. Maybe just a kind of final straw for him, or a confirmation that his path was right?…one of his few true friends dead for no real reason (it’s not even as if they knew what they were doing) at the hands of these stupid mortals, so hell with them all? It’s interesting that there wasn’t any option to save it, so whatever we did, his experience was going to be one of loss. Your only influence is on how much he can lash out in the moment…and whether you let him lash out and kill the mages, or not, it doesn’t sound as if it changed anything in the end.

Maybe THAT’s the real message behind his personal quest: that you can’t really change his path or help him, he’s beyond your reach in significant ways, and you can only superficially influence him. He’s bigger than we are, in a very real sense, so honestly, what the hell could we expect to do that would make a meaningful difference to him personally? His soul is what it is, maybe, and while we had moments of something like friendship, there was always distance between us. The fact that we couldn’t save his friend is just a reminder for him of that distance: we can’t really be in his world, we can’t really touch the things he cares about, we can’t really help him.

That failure–though not our fault since success wasn’t an option–could have been a significant point for him in a way we never really saw.

Or maybe not, since we didn’t see it. Good speculation, though, right?

Butch:

See, shit, I told Leliana she’d be great, it SAID “support Leliana for divine” in that flashy way that shit flashes, and lost anyway. Wikied, and it seems that all through the game Leliana, Cassandra and Vivienne get “points” based on shit you do that you don’t even know are giving them points. It’s all part and parcel of the whole “Hey, man, there’s shit happening in the world that you aren’t privy to and don’t necessarily get” bit. You influence it all throughout, from Haven on. And I looked and damned if my Vivienne did, in fact, run away with it based on what I did.

So my last scene before the credits:

Party. Probably same as you. Then I go to my quarters, and Sera says stuff about sex, and there we are in quarters (clothed). She asks if I’m “still me,” and I get three conversation options that are all pretty much the same: “yes, and I love you.” They’re like “As long as you’re with me,” “Yes,” and “I always will be.” Pick one, say you love her, walk hand in hand out to the deck, Sera says “It really is beautiful, isn’t it?” Fade to black. (And then, on a black screen, Sera: “Let’s push the bed off the balcony. ***Sera laugh***” Credits.)

So after all that, the game ends on family and belonging. It ends, simply, with you holding hands with your lover, having fun, admiring the beauty of the world, just the two of you. It doesn’t even give you the choice of breaking up. Dammit, the real victory, the game says, is this. Is belonging. You’re holding hands. That’s the reward. Not sex, not awkward burlap. Love, and belonging. You did it. You won.

And DAMN that was a nice touch. I’m sorta surprised not everyone got something like that. It sure worked in my game.

Re: Solas leaving after the ending: HA! “Destroy the world if you must, but DON’T fuck with my trophies! Bastard.”

See, I didn’t bother to play further. I asked around about what people thought of Vivienne (not a popular move), smooched Sera one last time, then wiki, dinner, hockey.

Regarding Solas as the Dread Wolf, really, he STILL wanted the damn orb. He went back to look for it after the final battle, and was sad it was destroyed. Had he been remorseful, he’d have thought “You know? Orb thing, in retrospect, was a bad idea, what with the skyhole, end of the world, etc.” But no, he stuck with it.

And indeed, whether or not you let him kill the mages in his personal quest may be irrelevant. But who was the spirit?

Another cool thing: The last thing Coryphyous does: Pray. Here’s a whole game about what is divine. Does it matter if it’s real? Does it matter if the Gods or the saviors want to be there at all? All sorts of things about the interplay of truth and faith, and a lot saying that truth doesn’t matter, it’s just what people believe that matters.

Buuuuuuut: Corypheous’ last words: “I call upon you old Gods….if you are real…if you ever were real….come to me!” And, of course, they don’t. His last words are desperate, scared, doubting prayer. That doesn’t in any way work. So is he foresaken by real Gods? Or were they never real at all?

But nice touch ending the bad guy with a confused, scared prayer.

Tell ya, bioware’s still got it.

Also, Man, you gotta stop ending every brilliant though with “Or maybe not. Who knows?” Play your hand with authority, Femmy!

I think that shit was more obvious if you romanced him (who would do that?). He got very distant. Like he wanted contact but didn’t.

Feminina:

Interesting…so it’s not about who you SAY you support, it’s about what kind of Divine your actions have suggested you support. And in my case they just happened to match up, so I assumed that people were actually paying attention to what I said, whereas actually they were closely monitoring what I did. That’s actually kind of cool. I mean, a little annoying that you don’t realize it matters, but also…a lot of things in life you don’t realize matter until after the fact, so one could argue this is realistic in an interesting way that games usually aren’t…huh.

I did go to my quarters with Blackwall after the party, but we just got a fade to black, no real dialogue that sticks in my mind. It was more a “we’re together right now and that’s all we’re going to think about right now.”

Again, though, it’s cool that the ending you get depends on your actions and the relationships you’ve built and how you’ve maintained them. You had a long, serious relationship with Sera, and you’re still in it, and that mattered in the end and tied into an overall theme of connection and belonging, which is great. I had a reluctant, bumpy relationship with Blackwall and I’m maybe still in it but who knows, and it sort of mattered in the end but tied into the theme in another way, like, connection is important EVEN IF you don’t know it’s going to last. Belonging to something is so important that it’s worth it to seize even an imperfect chance at it.

I wonder what you get if you romanced no one (or Solas) and ended up by yourself? Even that can still be argued to tie back to the connection/family/belonging theme, because the fact that you don’t have something, doesn’t mean that thing isn’t important. An ending where you stand alone on your balcony and a silent tear trickles down your cheek (to be melodramatic) says “belonging is important” just as much as an ending where you’re happy with your lover.

Now if there are endings where you go to your room and say “finally, some privacy!–man, I hate people and wish I could be free of this whole damn institution” and chill out with a book, that does kind of undermines our theme. If I were dedicated, I’d go to YouTube to watch all the ending variations I could find, but…working. You do it.

Butch:

Yup, it’s complicated. Cuz I sure as shit didn’t support Vivienne on purpose. Indeed, when I got that in the epilogue, I actually said “What?” to the screen and thought it was a bug. I supported Leliana! I said. So I went to the wiki and no, no, the game was right. I DID support her, I just didn’t notice I was.

http://dragonage.wikia.com/wiki/Divine_election

There’s the formula.

Which is kinda cool, cuz both player and PC are both rather overestimating both their power and their understanding of the situation. Kinda like Solas, Cole, Morrigan….

Hmm. Your ending was not as good.

Different sides of the same theme, though.

I suppose that devs sorta want you to play the things multiple times. Maybe then you can see those different sides of the same theme, and react to that. But I can’t be bothered. I’ll take my narrative and run.

Nope, not looking up endings. I’m going with “this is my game and that’s how it is.” Not my fault you didn’t pick the most interesting character to romance.

Feminina:

Interesting. Checking out that link, it looks as if I really bounced around, gave different people points at different times, but obviously ended up with most for Cassandra. Which I’m pleased with, I guess, since I was trying to support her and she still seems like the best candidate to me. Leliana had that murderous-zealot look in her eye there at the end, and Vivienne…she would have been interesting, I’d support her over Leliana, but she was a bit caught up in the past. Wanting to reinstate the circles just the way they were and so forth. Cassandra seemed like someone who valued the past, but recognized that parts of it aren’t worth carrying forward. Seems like a good combination.

I do respect “this is my game and that’s how it is.” It’s like taking the stats you roll up, you know? That’s how I played it, and yeah, I made some mistakes and might do some things differently if I were to do it over, but people make mistakes and can’t do them over and we live with them.

Certainly, in the absence of a spare 100 hours for another playthrough, I’m keeping the way I played DAI.

Butch:

Cool, though, that they started that stuff EARLY in the game, and much of it you didn’t even know what was what. Hell, a lot of it was before you even knew Leliana and Cassandra were up for the position.

Interesting.

I wonder, though, if the devs want us to do that. I mean, if the endings are subtly different in tone/theme (not just who’s hand you’re holding), then maybe they want us to have that experience of comparing/contrasting in game. Sure, it’s easy to be cynical and say those replay trophies are just so we can stay invested in it until the DLC hits, but maybe there’s more to it. They want us to replay so we can see the different facets of the theme.

Not going to do it, but do they want us to?

Feminina:

Yeah, seriously, you have no idea this choice is even going to be a thing, and yet you’re already starting to make it. And interesting that you can say “no, I never wanted this” about the ending, but…you’ve been boxing yourself into that corner for months of game time (and/or real time) without even noticing. Life is unfair!

I don’t know…do they want you to replay? Or do they just want players as a mass to play a game they’re satisfied with? If I write a bunch of cool storylines, do I want everyone to see and appreciate them all? Or is it enough if everyone gets one? Tough call.

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