Cut for copious DA:I spoilers and pictures.
And the maximum feels playthrough continues! Resulting in completely unintended success at the Best Party in Gaming. Observe:
Damn Solas, tell us how you really feel. This is the first thing he says to you when you come up to him at the ball. Just, boom. I love that he actually has a good time. That he is capable of having a good time. And that hat! Look at what you miss out on when you turn hats off.
Obligatory dancing shot because holy crap did I rock that dance floor. Said all the right things, sassed in all the right ways. That never happens. And this isn’t the most glamorous admission but breezing through the choices–and the right ones are the Mean Girls ones, that laugh and titter as you talk of death as though it were a new pair of slippers–I thought, hey, it’s like talking to that one co-worker at work. You know, the mean girl incarnate. “Hey Grand Duchess,” I thought, “I know your kind! I navigate through those faketey-fake smiles every day. You messed with the wrong employee–uh, I mean elf–this time!” Like I said, not the most glamorous admission. But there was a distinct similarity in those poisonous barbs swathed in giggles. Burn in hell, Duchess.
OR NOT. BECAUSE I DIDN’T EVEN HAVE TO FIGHT YOU SINCE I OUTED YOU AS YOUR SHADY BACKSTABBING SELF IN FRONT OF THE WHOLE COURT, AND THEY FOUND ME SO ENGAGING THEY BELIEVED ME. I had never had this happen before either! And it was an accident! I was trying to get all the halla statues and discover all the secrets, and I didn’t–I was so frustrated!–but because I had handled the witty repartee on the dance floor so well, the crowd loved me. So I didn’t even have to partake in that awful fight in the garden! I just called her out, in front of everyone, and did that wonderful powerful thing where you circle the accused with your hands behind your back, and you are victorious, and oh my god, it was awesome. No fighting! Not even a wrinkle in my pristine red coat! Just damning evidence, its delivery, and the Duchess’ removal. PWNED.
And it got better! Because you can actually get Celene and Briala back together! My husband had maintained that this was possible and was convinced, on his first playthrough, that he could make it happen. He had just finished reading The Masked Empire and so wanted to patch things up between them. I said no way, can’t happen, what’s done is done. BUT YOU CAN DO IT. I didn’t know this either and when it actually came up as an option I may have whooped. Saved your empire and fixed your relationship, ladies! YOU’RE WELCOME. Seriously so happy to see their issues resolved. That locket!
Usually I wait a hairsbreadth too long on this shot, waiting for the angle where one isn’t totally obscuring the other, by which time the screen is already fading to black and it’s too late. This one’s a little better. But all that technical explanation is really, we all know, just an excuse for me to post a squeeful picture. Because Solaaaaaaas.
Another personal quest I hadn’t pursued before! Cole’s! And Solas and Varric feature in it and it’s. Just. Eeeeee. Varric is of course the moral rock
and as such I worry ever more for the possibility of his continuity; surely they’ll take advantage of our love for him and knock him off? and Solas…is the same startlingly kind and knowledgeable pseudo-dad to Cole that he always is.
Oh how I loved this quest! It went a long way toward making up for the fact that I didn’t get a new Solas cutscene, having finished Wicked Eyes Wicked Hearts and Here Lies the Abyss. It seems like there are fewer cutscenes for Solas, which is saddening, but perhaps I jumped the gun by making a move on him in the Fade. I like that you can do that, and then apologize out of it if you think it went wrong. And also that, as a fem warrior, you get compliments, on your muscles, from him. “You mentioned liking my muscles?” “I meant you liked building them up as you practiced, but since you ask, yes.” It’s really early on, back in Haven, and I know perhaps we as a society should be at a point where this neither surprises me nor endears him to me. But it does both.
In the Fade, in Here Lies the Abyss, I saw for the first time the graveyard of everyone’s fears. Their biggest ones. I always take the cliff road and never went into the big expanse of flatland that gives way to this graveyard, so this is my first time seeing it. Solas’ fear is “dying alone.” How utterly unexpected. Him? He cares about such things? The weight of quite possibly several worlds on his back and that is his biggest fear? This only reinforces my Doctor Who reading of him. So knowledgeable, so unabashedly wise, so evasively dark sometimes. He sees something that should blow his mind–something that sends everyone else reeling–and his reaction is to call it fascinating, and a prime example of whatever. But he actually just doesn’t want to die alone. The same as a shit ton of normal people. Even gods get lonely, it seems. Need companions.