So now I can say it: I've been worried for Hawke from the very beginning, going all the way back to the first teaser trailer, when we saw Varric looking up from a field of dead bodies, eyes filled with sadness. "What character that we know would affect Varric in that way if they died?" I asked myself. The obvious answer was Hawke, and when she appeared in Skyhold, the answer seemed even more obvious. And I still think I was probably right, although we asked Stroud to make the sacrifice. Not a difficult decision from a personal perspective, but a bit harder from an in-character one.
So remember back a whole entry ago when I was wondering if Stroud's role would have been filled by a more familiar face if that had been an option? Now I'm not so sure I should be hoping for that. Because if a future playthrough forces me to choose between Hawke and Alistair, this game is SO FIRED. FIRED I TELL YOU. Or between Hawke and their surviving sibling? Oh god. (Although the fic to come out of that one might be epic.)
As for the quest itself, it's good to have the Warden thread wrapped up, at least for now. I suppose it wouldn't be a Dragon Age game if I didn't end up stuck in the Fade eventually. The graveyard where we learn everyone's deepest fear is interesting. ("Blackwall: Himself." HMMMM.) As is the business with the shade of/spirit impersonating the Divine. I guess this means she's really dead, and we won't be discovering her hiding in a pocket somewhere. Malika continued her theme of not discarding useful things by choosing to recruit the Wardens. Also, this way she gets to keep her eye on them. And I suspect on some level she knew that Blackwall wouldn't like it if she kicked them out.
Relatedly, I got my first ever "here is a list of the fifteen reasons you suck" speech from a companion in any Dragon Age game (unless you count Wynne leaving in a huff after Loral Mahariel destroyed the Sacred Ashes): I guess I finally tipped Solas over the edge into disapproval. He didn't like conscripting the mages, and he really didn't like keeping the Wardens around, and he complained about Malika putting herself forward as the chosen one of Andraste. That accusation I found somewhat unfair -- Malika has never claimed to be chosen, in fact she holds quite steadfastly against it in private, but it is true that she doesn't push what she believes to be the truth too hard in public, since the belief is useful to getting certain people on their side. And she is all about getting as many people on their side as possible. Strength in numbers, that's the key.
This entry is also posted at http://owlmoose.dreamwidth.org/697403.html. There are currently comments on DW.