Dragon Age: Origins turned 10 earlier this month. Just like a group of once-close high school students, its band of unlikely heroes was scattered to the wind after their glory days hunting darkspawn together. As my own 10th anniversary of high school graduation is coming up next year, I’m thinking back on a senior year spent with the fictional crew who made me want to attend university to study games.
I wonder if they would all judge each other on their achievements since the Fifth Blight was defeated, the way that we fear being judged by our own former peers after a decade. They totally would. So as a practice run for ruthlessly measuring life milestones against my own graduating class, I’m going to judge my party of Dragon Age: Origins characters on what they’ve managed to accomplish since the events of the game, according to the loose “canon” of BioWare’s subsequent games, comics, novels, and my own playthroughs. As with all reunions, someone must win and many must lose.
Zevran – Failure to Launch
Zevran was downright allergic to commitment in Dragon Age: Origins. Sure, he had his reasons, but so does everyone else. He doesn’t care if you kill him (but he’d rather you didn’t). He doesn’t care if you have sex with him (but that would be nice). He probably doesn’t care if you stop the blight, really. He might eventually open up and turn into a committed killer — that’s committed to your relationship, but also probably to killing. I’ll be honest though, I never saw that side of the Antivan ex-Crow. I took the one night stand and then told him thanks for the fun but my ladder-climbing Grey Warden had plans for a guy with a path to the crown.
Ten years later, he’s still killing people for a living. He’s killed all his bosses and still refused to move up the corporate ladder in their place. He says he’s freelance now, working for himself, but we all know that’s just another way to dodge commitment. Zevran hasn’t actually changed, which is totally what we all expected.
Alistair – Class Clown
When Alistair and I set out together as the newly lone Grey Wardens in Ferelden, I assumed he would occupy class clown status for the remainder of the game. By about the midpoint, I found out that thanks to all this Blight nonsense the two very dead kings were his dad and half-brother and he was very much in line to take over the family business.
In every playthrough, I waffle on whether to make Alistair a permanent Grey Warden or the King of Ferelden, but his later cameos in Dragon Age 2 and Dragon Age: Inquisition (and all the novels) suggest that he’s destined to be king. It’s sort of infuriating that a guy so averse to responsibility manages to fail upwards into ruling a nation. Isn’t that the plight of all sarcastic white guys secretly born to kings? I’d lambast him for his privilege if he didn’t always seem to show up to help his friends out with it.
Dog – Voted “Most Likely to be Deceased”
It’s been ten years and Dog is a Mabari war hound. Dog is mostly likely dead. Sorry. Old age has gotten him, if nothing else did first. According to The Darkspawn Chronicles DLC for Dragon: Age Origins, Dog’s name is Barkspawn and he’s Alistair’s companion. Also he gets killed in battle by the player character Hurlock Vanguard. So really this is all our fault. Maybe King Alistair has a new Dog, John Wick style.
Lelianna – Religion Rebranded
We all know a Lelianna. She invites you to chant-study. She’s convinced that The Maker has a plan for her personally. She’s a total buzzkill that would probably lecture you for having a good time with petty theft or blasphemy. She has a checkered past preceding her holier-than-thou days but somehow that just makes it worse. Why can’t she just let you have a little fun?
By the time of the Dragon Age: Inquisition, Lelianna is a grizzled and pragmatic commander of spies and killers. She becomes the spymaster of the Inquisition now that her former boss The Divine (fantasy Pope) is conveniently dead. Whatever naive nice girl I didn’t care to know is totally replaced by a woman who has seen some shit. She’s moved up in the world and probably done some questionable things to get there. I just wish I could take battle-hardened Lelianna back to Ferelden with me instead of her preachy younger self.
Wynne – Team Mom
It’s not that Wynne is too old to be trotting around the world with the Grey Wardens, she’s just too well-adjusted and emotionally mature. She’s made some mistakes in her time, sure, but they’re the kind of scandals that are so not a big deal to the young folks she runs around with. Mages having trysts with templars? Please, that’s a normal Tuesday in Thedas now. (Lookin at you, Commander Cullen.)
Apparently Wynne satisfied her taste for adventure with the Grey Wardens, because she promptly returned to her cushy life with a real bed and roof over her head after the fifth Blight ended. She does play an important part in the novel Dragon Age: Asunder at the center of Circle politics after the events of the Kirkwall Rebellion. I wish she’d gone full rebel mom outside the system, but I can’t begrudge her for returning to her comfort zone. Being on the front lines with the young folks is exhausting.
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Sten – Bitter Transfer Student
Sten is that foreign transfer student that’s been moved around too much by his parents and is really not cool with it. He doesn’t want to be here, doesn’t want to make friends, and is absolutely certain that everyone around him is an idiot. The only way to make him hate me less is to agree with him that yes, we are probably all idiots. Which is exactly what I do because I want people to like me.
Sten doesn’t show up in another Dragon Age game but he plays a part in the comic Those Who Speak. He’s become the Arishok, one of the trio that govern all Qunari people. I certainly didn’t imagine that the loner who begrudgingly helped the Grey Wardens save Ferelden from the Blight would go home to a political career. There’s no way he’s coming back to Ferelden for a reunion, but he doesn’t have to because we’ve all definitely heard that he’s a big deal these days and gossip about him anyway.
Oghren – D.A.R.E. Dropout
Oghren has a whole damn suitcase of baggage to deal with. Unlike the rest of the party, he can’t even be bothered to tuck it away somewhere out of sight until I pry into his business with carefully-chosen dialogue and gifts. His whole “my estranged wife is missing and presumed dead and now I’m a public conspiracy theorist” thing is just fully on display when you meet him.
He can eventually become a Grey Warden in the Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening expansion which I’d hoped would give him some renewed sense of purpose, but he still seems hellbent on contemplating his wrecked personal relationships through the lens of literally any bottle of alcohol. Oghren fell off the map after that. With a death wish like the one he had, the best we can hope for of his obvious absence is that he went to make amends with the woman and son he never seemed to hang up the battle axe for.
Morrigan – Gentrified Goth
Morrigan of Dragon Age: Origins is the epitome of the ’90s and ’00s era disaffected teen attitude. She wears a ton of makeup, insists she doesn’t care about anyone but herself, and is constantly at odds with her nagging, totally uncool mom. In her final ploy to be special, Morrigan caps off Dragon Age: Origins by saying that in order to save the world she definitely needs to have sex with a guy she claims to hate. Negging is out, Morrigan, just admit you wanted to go all Witch of the Wilds on Alistair from the start.
When Morrigan shows up again in Dragon Age: Inquisition, she’s traded a whole lot of exposed torso for a fancy as heck ball gown (though she can still rock the bare midriff on her off days). She doesn’t live in the Wilds anymore either. She’s got a job advising the queen of Orlais, the fanciest country on the continent. Oh, and her one-night stand bore fruit in the form of a pretty decent son who seems entirely well-adjusted. Not a single person expected the backwoods goth chick to turn into a successful single mom and a better woman than her mother but every reunion has a surprise. If anyone “wins” the Dragon Age: Origins reunion, it’s Morrigan.