Thursday, April 14, 2011

It's Not a Friggin' Walking Stick

I JUST CANNOT TAKE IT ANYMORE. I can no longer sit here and be a party to what is happening in this game.

Dragon Age 2 is a game that is, at least in part, about an escalating philosophical and cultural conflict between two groups of people located in and around the fictional city of Kirkwall. On one side, there are the Templar (have I pluralized that properly? Has a much more elegant ring than "Templars"), an armor-clad and institutionally corrupt group of anti-magic fighters and rogues. On the other, the mages themselves, a group whose unpredictably potent powers have made the Templar Order a necessity. The Templar exist ostensibly to help protect the world from the mages (and the mages from themselves), a relationship that raises some serious human-rights (and elf-rights?) issues that are naturally exacerbated by the aforementioned abuses of power.

Many mages, seeking to avoid repression, do their very best to escape the attention of the Templar, who in turn scour the city of Kirkwall for unregistered magic users. Even among Hawke's own party, there is some amount of disagreement over whether mages should be granted the same agency and freedoms as non-mages, and a degree of fearfulness among Hawke's magic-using friends about being discovered.

(Deep breath.)

Let's forget, for a moment, that the nature of this repressive relationship is somewhat dissonant (if the mages are as powerful as alleged, the Templar's abuses seem unlikely; if the mages are weak enough to be thusly controlled, then the Templar Order would seem like less of a necessity). Let's also forget the ham-fisted parallels to Earthly human-rights struggles (particularly the groan-inducing references to a "Tranquil Solution" uggghhhhh).

As far as advancing the plotline is concerned, I've definitely aligned myself with the mages. They can't help the gifts that they've been born with, and my bro-Hawke rogue is steadfast in his conviction that education and tolerance would catch more flies than purges and isolation. Plus, magic is cool.

And despite all of this, I'm about to throw the Templar Order a bone. So here goes:


Dear Templar,

For as long as we have known one another, you have been scouring the lands of Kirkwall and Ferelden (
DA:O, holla) for apostate mages. While you seem to have achieved a fair amount of success, I could not help but notice a glaring oversight in your methods.

Have you ever noticed all of the people running around Kirkwall with staves attached to their backs? THOSE ARE THE MAGES. GO AFTER THE PEOPLE WITH THE EFFING STAVES!!

Dan Apczynski
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