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The Return of Leliana In Dragon Age: Inquisition

by Kimberley Wallace on Jul 28, 2014 at 11:15 AM

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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 Haunt Her

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 consideration.

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.