The lights are on
The characters are part of what makes the Dragon Age
experience, and seeing who will return for Dragon Age: Inquisition has been
exciting. So far, we've looked at Varric and Cassandra.
Today, we're going to focus on Leliana, the left hand of the Divine.
For the most part, Leliana has been peaceful and upbeat,
devoting her life to religion and striving for redemption from her checkered
past. However, she has had time to change and grow since we last saw her, and
BioWare has been building her up as an agent of the Divine (the head of the
Chantry). Here are some interesting issues and characteristics we think the
red-headed bard will bring.
Seeing Chaos Erupt
That She Tried To Prevent
Leliana tried hard to prevent the war between the Templars
and mages. In the novels Asunder and The Masked Empire, her efforts to find a
resolution went even further than what we saw in Dragon Age II. She stopped at
nothing to impede its progress. Unfortunately, no matter how hard you fight,
trying to reason with warring groups is nearly impossible.
At the beginning of
Dragon Age: Inquisition, Thedas is in complete ruin, with just about every
group embroiled in war and at odds. Things
are still ugly and even more violent between the Templars and mages. Danger is
also on the rise with tears opening in the sky, allowing demons through. The
world is fragile, and it's telling that in BioWare's E3 demo,
Leliana said firmly, "I want the world back." The interesting question is what
lengths she will go to achieve that goal. She's obviously determined if she's
working with the Inquisitor, but that doesn't mean she doesn't harbor some
resentment at the chaos before her. After all, in that same E3 demo, we saw a colder
side to Leliana - who's to say we're going to agree with her tactics?
Will She Get Along
With The Inquisitor?
Most of us have a past with Leliana, but that doesn't mean
the Inquisitor does. Leliana shares a similar desire to help the world avoid a
disastrous fate, but she may have different ideas of how to achieve that. Right
now, we know she heads the clandestine division of the Inquisition; she steps
in when all other negotiations have failed, using her assassination and spy
tactics. This isn't too different from the role we've seen her in as the left
hand of the Divine, where she stood in the shadows, revealing herself only
after discovering an enemy's weakness to exploit. I'm curious to see if she
will go over the Inquisitor's head at times, reacting without getting approval.
What if negotiations take longer than she'd like, or she just doesn't like the
plan? She's grown more independent since Origins, and with things in such a
dire state, she might not let any opportunities pass her by.
This will definitely be a relationship that takes time to
cook. Leliana has experienced so much. She has every right to be skeptical of
people; a big part of the game could be earning her trust. After all, she's
been burned in the past, with her former mentor, Marjolaine, blackmailing her. As
we've seen in her relationship with the Divine, Justinia V, Leliana has also
proven that once you gain her trust, she's extremely loyal. This could be where
she'll be your biggest asset, but I wouldn't expect it right out of the gate.
She's desperate to restore the world, but she'll want to make sure it's in the
right hands and she's following the right cause. Expect her to not just blindly
follow your lead.
A Past That May Still
We discussed Marjolaine a bit previously, but that
relationship has no doubt shaped her as a person. In Dragon Age: Origins, she
still was accepting Marjolaine's betrayal and trying to come to terms with it.
Although we've seen some resolution on the Marjolaine front, we wouldn't be
surprised if there's even more to that story. She loved Marjolaine, and
Marjolaine exploited Leliana to do vicious deeds like kill and steal, and then
framed her for espionage. Since then, Leliana has been striving for redemption,
joining the Chantry and eventually becoming the left hand of the Divine. Does
Leliana still feel the weight of her previous evil deeds? Does she feel that
staying loyal to Justinia V has served her well? Not to mention, Orlais is part
of the Inquisition. Leliana revisiting there could stir up memories, since it
was the place that marked her a traitor due to Marjolaine. She'll most likely
be more than just a tour guide and have strong opinions on Orlais.
Inquisition will also no doubt explore her growth since
Origins. On the official site in a profile on Leliana with
writer Sheryl Chee, she said, "It's been a long road for her, and in
Inquisition, we'll get to see how her journey has shaped her as a person, and
where the path might take her in the future." Chee also noted that the
carefree, cheerful Leliana is gone. "Even if she wanted to show that side of
her personality, she can't." Leliana clearly has more to her story, and seeing
how her past has caused her to change should be intriguing. People rarely stay
the same in a 10-year span, and I'm glad BioWare is taking that into
The Sinister Hand:
What Part Will She Play?
Leliana is a wild card going into Inquisition, especially
since it's been so long since we've seen her in action; there have been
developments in her past that we don't even know about. Her role as the left
hand of the Divine is interesting; she's always lurking in the shadows, waiting
for the right opportunity to strike. She's been associated with a much darker,
sinister approach than Cassandra, who is the right hand of the Divine. I've
always wondered if this was foreshadowing a darkness to the character. Seeing
her in the E3 demo was jarring, as if the Leliana we once knew was dead inside
and killing mercilessly. At the same time, we know she's out for the good of
the world and she's seen what greed and infighting can cause. Would she really
bring the same problems to the Inquisition? Doubtful, as Leliana has proven
she's smarter than she lets on. Still, her character has an aura of mystery,
making it hard to guess where she'll align, and that's what makes her return
the most exciting.
Why are you excited
for Leliana's return? Share with us in the comments below.
Email the author Kimberley Wallace, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.