Before anyone bristles at the idea of “wantonly politicizing” anything, let me point you to a few paragraphs from Last Flight, which I am currently reading (it’s the last Dragon Age book I’ve not yet read), and which details, among other things, the Fourth Blight:
Under the withering influence of the Blight’s magic, the coastlines had become bare strips of rock flagged wit the wrinkled skeletons of dead seaweeds. The ocean itself head deadened to a murky gray. Its fish had either fled or died, an the mussels and oysters that once fed the cities of Wycome, Hercinia, and Bastion had perished in the water, leaving vast beds of empty shells that clacked eerily in the tide.
Inland, the devastation was even greater, for it was not masked by the sea. Large swaths of the forests were dry and dead, the standing corpses of their trees blotched with unnatural fungi. Once-rich farmlands had turned to cracked hills of dust crowned by a few wispy stalks of headless barley. Children and livestock born under the clouds of the Blight tended to be small and weak, frequently deformed and easily lost to disease. The few wild birds and beasts that had escaped the traps and arrows of desperate Free Marchers had either starved or succumbed to corruption; after nearly a decade, even those that had survived long enough to become ghouls had died years ago.
This is not news, I know — we all knew the Blight made land unlivable — but the extent of it is worth noting. The extent, not just of its hordes of slavering minions, but of its long-term environmental effects. The sea creaking with the husks of dead mollusks is a particularly memorable detail. This isn’t a run-for-the-hills, come-back-when-the-Grey-Wardens-killed-all-the-darkspawn situation. Even when the people actively attacking you are dead, the landscape (or seascape!) you used to call home is fucked.
Speaking of the Grey Wardens:
“Were [blood mages] evil? I mean…were they all evil?”
The human woman shrugged. “I’d have to know what evil is to answer that, and I don’t believe I do anymore. The cleaner answer, the clearer one, is that they all broke the prohibition against maleficarum.”
“But why?” Valya pressed. “Doesn’t the why matter?”
“It should,” Reimas agreed, “but sometimes it can’t. Everyone has reasons for what they do. Some are persuasive, some are absurd. A few might be things I’d be tempted to believe. But how can you know? Whatever anyone tells you is only a tiny fragment of what is, and it’s colored by their perceptions and hopes and fears. Even if they’re honest — and what blood mage is, with either you or themselves? — their story is no more ‘real’ than a vision in the Fade. The one and only thing you can be sure of is that they have committed, and become, maleficarum. As a templar, that ends it. It has to.”
“The Grey Wardens have used blood magic,” Valya said. “What about them?”
“The Chantry teaches us that human pride and human ambition created the darkspawn,” she said, brushing her hair back into place when the breeze died out. “The magisters used blood magic to enter the Fade and despoil the Golden City, and in so doing, doomed all of Thedas to pay the price for their folly. Blood magic created the evil that the Grey Wardens devote their lives to stopping. I can’t help but feel that it is wrong to use that same cursed weapon to fight them.”
Soooo about that.
(Note: 90% of my traffic comes from people trying to google the World of Thedas recipes, so it’s unlikely this applies to you. But, for the sake of consistency, let me warn the statistically-unlikely remnant of you who may not have played Dragon Age: Inquisition and its Trespasser DLC, that there will be spoilers ahead for those, as well as for the Dragon Age comics.)