Sadness and Silence in Epilogues and Epitaphs

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Although I very recently wrote another piece on Dragon Age, I’m here to give you yet another spoilery good time. This particular piece applies only to Dragon Age: Inquisition but more importantly it applies to two characters and their potential fates after the events of Inquisition itself. Those two characters are Commander Cullen- who has been present in either presence or speech in every Dragon Age game to date, and Warden Blackwall- who is in fact much more and much less than that.

To start with, I’ll talk about Blackwall’s epilogue segment that stems from romancing the female Inquisitor and go from there. As it reads: “After the Exalted Council, Warden Thom Rainier was summoned to return to Weisshaupt fortress. Reluctant to leave the side of the woman he loved, Rainier ignored the Wardens’ request for nearly a year. When the messages became too urgent to ignore, he left for his duty, promising to return. Weeks turned to months, and then years. The promise remained unfulfilled. Eventually, a gift came to the Inquisitor, unsigned, with no accompanying letter. Wrapped in aged leather was the Warden-Constable’s badge and a single pure white griffon feather.”

To assuage some necessary confusion, Warden-Constable Blackwall is actually not Gregory Blackwall but in fact a former Orlesian captain by the name of Thom Rainier- on the run after a messy debacle years ago. There are other companion quests which cover this revelation but otherwise it comes up in the Trespasser DLC and later as codex entries if Rainier is no longer with your party. If the would-be Warden is pardoned however, you can still pursue romantic options with him and should you continue to do so until the game’s true ending you will see such a epilogue entry perhaps as well.

It’s such a sad thing to read and may be one of the most emotional of all the potential epilogue endings as it seems obvious that many Wardens, Blackwall included, met their end at the hands of Darkspawn or other horrors plaguing the land they’ve sworn to protect and serve. What makes matters worse is that the man dedicated himself to the woman he loved and fully intended to return but when it had been so long and it seemed perfectly clear that he would not, all she received was his badge and a symbol of the Warden and their memory. Although Blackwall may not be the memorable character that Varric or Cassandra might be in Inquisition or Dragon Age in its entirety, that is a truly sad tale to hear.

This brings me to the second epilogue entry which seems to be one of equal sorrow and one that pained me to read on one of my many playthroughs as well. Commander Cullen, as a former templar knight, of course suffers from lyrium withdrawal and addiction which is also the driving focus of one of his unique quests. Depending upon how you resolve or don’t resolve this issue, you may be treated to several endings in the official epilogue for Cullen.

If Cullen is still taking lyrium at all, regardless of the Inquisition’s final choice- disband or continue in any capacity, you’ll be treated to the grisly details that follow: “There was no sign of him until a year later, when Scout Harding heard rumors of a Fereldan man begging for lyrium in the streets of Val Chevin. According to Harding, the man she found was in the final stages of lyrium madness. He barely remembered himself, let alone her. It is unclear whether Harding gave the man a few coins, or a gentle knife to end his misery. What is clear is that Commander Cullen was gone.”

Considering the fact that the alternative means a prosperous and often happy future for Cullen and even potentially a female Inquisitor, this is purely a sad and desperate tale to witness. I only ever receive bad outcomes due to purposeful choices in the Dragon Age series- decisions made in order to utilize a very particular world state for a new adventure in the future perhaps. Even still, it pained me to hear of Cullen’s fate thanks to my inability to step in as Inquisitor and put him on the cold turkey path to survival and regaining his former vitality and stamina. Despite being one of the three characters that act in a purely advisor role and not also a party member during combat role, Cullen has been an integral part of Dragon Age lore as much as Leliana has been since the beginning.

These were just two of the most memorable and intriguing and particularly sad endings in the true ending to the game, however there are plenty of other outcomes for these characters as well as your other party members and important players you’ve encountered throughout the political landscape of Thedas. I do hope fans of the game will have enjoyed this particular blog and that if you haven’t played the game I haven’t spoiled the best parts for you quite yet. Cheers.

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