Reviews - Updated on December 14, 2022

Admit it, you expected something good from this project? Even I, a devoted fan of the Dragon Age universe, treated the common brainchild of BioWare and Netflix with a share of skepticism, despite the stellar cast, good animation in the trailers and the involvement of the game developers themselves.

My skepticism turned out to be unfounded. Dragon Age: Absolution is a good animated series with a unique atmosphere and a bunch of easter eggs, and the plot, albeit a simple one, in the end is able to give a couple of surprised ahas and a job for fans of theories and SPGS. The cartoon that fills the gap between the Trespasser expansion and the upcoming Dragon Age: Dreadwolf could entertain both fans of the series and newcomers alike, as well as present the fandom with many new memes about the most terrible viceroy of Kirkwall, Dorian’s useless struggle with prejudice, Hawke’s bad luck, forever in the Inquisition is to blame for everything and BioWare itself, which clearly does not understand how fan service works, because the mentioned heroes will not even be shown to us!

Welcome to Tevinter

Nobody saves us, so we save ourselves.

Miriam

The Tevinter Empire as the main setting of Dragon Age 4 is no longer a secret: although in additional materials, developers often turn their attention to Antiva with the Ravens, and Nevarra with their funeral rituals, even to the pirate Rivain and the Qunari Segeron, the main attention is focused on the first human civilization, mysterious and at the same time frightening.

Thedas News: Qunari Wars, Totalitarianism, and Cookies

October 8, 2021 ⋅ 34

Thedas News: Qunari Wars, Totalitarianism, and Cookies

Thedas News: Antivan Ravens and Tevinter Nights

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Thedas News: Antivan Ravens and Tevinter Nights

At the mercy of the mages, a free, self-confident empire built on slavery, blood and death is the exact opposite of the rest of Thedas. You can hear different things about Tevinter: as a runaway slave, Fenris speaks of the empire as the worst place on earth, Anders sees it as a stronghold of freedom for those who wield magic, and Dorian considers his homeland corrupted but capable of change.

That’s why it’s more pleasant to finally see the empire with my own eyes, first on the pages of the Tevinter Nights storybook, and then as part of Absolution, the plot of which even sounds like the characters got out of this very book: a handful of heroes with different skills meet in one place to commit theft of the century.

One of them will betray in the end

And this is obvious even to a viewer unfamiliar with the universe of games, because what good can come from the meeting of a Qunari mage, an Orlessian, agents of the Inquisition, a dwarf hung with gold and a runaway elven slave? The latter, to my delight, is the main character.

Miriam, like Fenris, was able to survive and get out of Tevinter, and therefore it is interesting to watch her, as a victim of society, throughout the series.

Miriam, like Fenris, was able to survive and get out of Tevinter, and therefore it is interesting to watch her, as a victim of society, throughout the series.

Only now, if Hawke’s companion had been nurturing the idea of ​​​​revenge on his master for many years, and then went to exterminate the other masters, then Miriam chose to run away from her fears. And she would have fled all her life, if not for an unexpected meeting with a former lover and the most unusual order for a mercenary – the theft of an artifact from a Tevinter estate. The customer is the Inquisition itself.

According to the final choice in the Trespasser DLC, the Inquisitor can order the disbandment of the organization or transfer it under the control of the Church.  Whatever the hero decides, Leliana and Cassandra are still involved in the affairs of the Inquisition.

According to the final choice in the Trespasser DLC, the Inquisitor can order the disbandment of the organization or transfer it under the control of the Church. Whatever the hero decides, Leliana and Cassandra are still involved in the affairs of the Inquisition.

The organization continues to secretly monitor Thedas, gather information about the Dire Wolf and elven history, and eliminate things controlled by blood magic.  The artifact commissioned by Miriam and her team is one of those.

The organization continues to secretly monitor Thedas, gather information about the Dire Wolf and elven history, and eliminate things controlled by blood magic. The artifact commissioned by Miriam and her team is one of those.

There is enough variety in the brave team of thieves: here are the cheerful Qunari Quidion, voiced by Ashly Burch, and the agents of the Inquisition – the magician Hira and Fairbanks, already familiar to the players, who was given the voice of Matthew Mercer. They are accompanied by the Orlessian Roland and the dwarf Laklon, who represents the guild of the Lords of Fortune, famous treasure hunters. Miriam is voiced by Kimberly Brooks, who you may also remember as Ashley Williams from the Mass Effect series.

Despite such a bouquet of characters, only the main characters, Rezaren and Miriam, can boast of a good elaboration, around whom the plot of slavery and power revolves.

Despite such a bouquet of characters, only the main characters, Rezaren and Miriam, can boast of a good elaboration, around whom the plot of slavery and power revolves.

The rest entertain the viewer only as comedic characters, but it's still nice to look at them.

The rest entertain the viewer only as comedic characters, but it’s still nice to look at them.

What's more, I'd love them to have a cameo in Dragon Age 4, or at least the second season of the series, where they can get a little more screen time.

What’s more, I’d love them to have a cameo in Dragon Age 4, or at least the second season of the series, where they can get a little more screen time.

Preparing for the robbery is darker for Miriam by the second – first she finds out that for the mission she will have to return to the estate where she was a slave, and then she is faced with the painful memories that Tevinter gave her, and with everything that he took from her .

Might and power

There cannot be a master without a slave and a slave without a master.

Rezaren Ammozin

The series once again reminded that in the middle of Thedas there is a society similar to a festering wound – a country where masters do not disdain to take someone else’s life to show off a magic trick, remove a wrinkle, or even make a wig; where they revel in power and impunity; where love is turned into possession and where magicians raise children in their own image, causing the wheel of violence and indifference to turn.

Despite the presence of the third round of overcooked themes of magic, mages and their impunity, the cartoon made me think about the place where the player will go in Dragon Age 4. How many stories like the story of Rezaren and Miriam will happen to see? How will the heroes be able to change the situation for the better, if every master strives to ruin everything with one spell?

I already feel sorry for Dorian, who spends so much time debunking the myth of masters and the wholesale use of blood magic. The whole series, I waited for him to break into the frame and hit Rezaren on the head with a staff.

There is only one thought that pleases – for Tevinter, all is not lost, as for the whole of Thedas, as long as there are those who fight for it. That’s why it’s more offensive that the characters in which the themes of power, freedom and irresponsibility resonate most of all: Dorian, Fenris and Varric did not look into the series.

But, no matter how much I would like to see their interaction with each other and the characters of the animated series, it turned out to be crowded in Absolution without them – within six short episodes, it is already quite difficult to balance between the development of the storyline and the disclosure of characters. Does the show need a second season? Definitely, especially with such a powerful cliffhanger in the final. But it will be no less pleasant to meet the heroes of the animated series already in Dragon Age: Dreadwolf, where the timing is certainly enough for everyone.

Absolution is a good, but completely optional series that works well as a teaser for the upcoming game, shedding light on the situation in Tevinter and allowing a little more understanding of the structure of their society. The animated series will appeal to fans who yearn for the universe, and the rest will be able to get the same information a little later in Dragon Age 4, as was the case with all additional materials for Inquisition.

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