Kendra actually went to Redcliffe first -- despite her general mistrust of mages, she wanted to pay Fiona the courtesy of hearing her out. Then the alliance with the Venatori confirmed all her worst opinions, and she noped right out to Therinfal Redoubt. Where she met Ser Barras, who is, in fact, just as delightful a character as everyone says. Fortunately, he survived, and I'm looking forward to having him around in Skyhold (please tell me he sticks around in Skyhold). I also really enjoyed the trip through the Envy demon's prison, and the role that Cole played in helping Kendra escape. I also liked the nightmare future in Redcliffe Castle, but something about this glimpse of a crapsack future (the one in which Envy takes control of the Inquisition) spoke to me more than the other. Also, I feel like this will ground Cole more firmly in the Inquisition -- he proved his value to Kendra immediately, and she's going to feel much more of a connection to him than Malika ever did.
It's too bad, really, that the two plot missions I found the best written and well-conceived all around are mutually exclusive of one another. But I still feel like Champions gets the nod over Whispers.
Anyway, then I ground out a couple of levels before closing the breach, and, as I expected, Dorian appeared at the gates. In a recent entry, imadra_blue commented that Dorian works much better than Cole as the harbinger of doom, and I have to say I agree. It suits the character well and makes for a nice dramatic introduction (although Kendra had already met him, briefly), and his conversation with Cullen in the Chantry is excellent. "You think like a blood mage" -- ouch. (Also, no wonder people 'ship them.) I also found his interactions with Roderick oddly touching. Fiona becoming the boss abomination that you have to kill to defend the trebuchet at the end of the battle: also ouch. :\ I wasn't surprised, exactly, but it still got to me. (Although as it happened, I never ended up fighting her -- I had to play that battle twice, and the first time I died as she was on her way up the hill, and the second time I got the trebuchet aimed before she even appeared.)
Now I am beelining for Crestwood. Three guesses why. (Hint: I'm playing Elissa Cousland/Marissa Hawke's canon. Oh yeah.)
This entry is also posted at http://owlmoose.dreamwidth.org/701191.html. There are currently comments on DW.