Character Profile: Dorian

2014-06-27 17:45:02.363000

[DRAGON AGE]: Let's start at the beginning. What can you tell us about Dorian?

[DAVID GAIDER]: Dorian is a mage from the Tevinter Imperium, and his experiences are radically different from those of mages elsewhere.

[DA]: How so?

[DG]: In Tevinter, mages form the ruling class. He comes from a wealthy and influential family, one of many that arrange marriages and raise their children to become perfect mages… yet Dorian has rejected that life. He's seen the corruption to which it leads, and he refuses to play along despite the fact it's made him something of a pariah.

[DA]: Can you expand on the "corruption" he's seen?

[DG]: Without spoiling the plot, I'll say that Dorian got wind of something that his fellow Tevinter mages were doing, and decided to intervene. As he sees it, someone from Tevinter needs to stand up and say, "We don't agree with what these people are doing. They don't represent all of us."

[DA]: Dorian has been described as sharp-tongued, with a knack for producing a great quip even in times of grave danger. How would you describe him?

[DG]: Dorian is smart—perhaps too smart for his own good, really. He was raised in a society where both intelligence and wit are prized, where advancing yourself socially means outmaneuvering your peers, and he does so quite well… or, at least, he would if he didn't see through it all. That's left him rather jaded and sarcastic, naturally.

[DA]: You're sure you didn't play some small part in cultivating that for him?

[DG]: I tend to start at "sarcastic" and work my way from there.

[DA]: Dorian is also a highly skilled mage. That sounds pretty useful on the battlefield.

[DG]: He enjoys using his magic and doesn't see any reason why he should be ashamed about it. So he unleashes his full power when it's needed… and he has plenty of power to unleash, seeing as he comes from a society where mages are trained to use it rather than hide it. This includes powerful elemental spells, as well as spells involving the control of spirit and the dead—things societies outside of Tevinter might turn up their noses at and claim "distasteful."

[DA]: Dorian seems to have a conflicted love-hate-love relationship with his homeland. Does he ever think about just leaving it all behind?

[DG]: He doesn't believe that the situation in Tevinter is beyond repair, despite how impossible it seems that he personally might be able to do anything about it. Dorian has a streak of idealism hidden beneath his sarcasm, which naturally can lead him to be all the more disappointed when the world does exactly what he suspects it's going to.

[DA]: How does Dorian compare to characters you've written in the past?

[DG]: Dorian is an outcast—by choice, but only insofar as he chose not to live according to the expectations of his society. There are a lot of aspects to that which I enjoyed exploring, and which I haven't had to chance to do with other characters.

[DA]: Anything in particular?

[DG]: Dorian is gay—he is, in fact, the first fully gay character I've had the opportunity to write. It added an interesting dimension to his back story, considering he comes from a place where "perfection" is the face that every mage puts on and anything that smacks of deviancy is shameful and meant to be hidden. Dorian's refusal to play along with that façade is seen as stubborn and pointless by his family, which has contributed to his status as a pariah.

[DA]: Are you happy with how his character turned out?

[DG]: I suppose this aspect of Dorian will make him controversial in some corners, but I was glad to include it. It made writing Dorian a very personal experience for me, and I'm hopeful that will make him seem like a fully realized character to fans in the end.

[DA]: Dorian's sarcasm must create some rather interesting banter with other members of the Inquisition. Any personal favorite combinations stand out for you?

[DG]: I think I enjoy his relationship with Vivienne the most. They're complete opposites and will tear into each other viciously—or, at least, that's what it looks like to outsiders.

[DA]: After listening to Mary Kirby talk about Vivienne's power, we're not so sure that's Dorian's wisest move.

[DG]: Really, they find it good fun, and they'll go from arguing to banding together in order to criticize someone else in a cold second—like the Statler and Waldorf of Thedas. I love that.

[DA]: Having a Qunari around has also got to yield some strange interactions.

[DG]: Dorian's relationship with the Iron Bull is interesting. The Qunari have been at war with the Tevinter Imperium for centuries, after all, and the fact that neither Dorian nor Iron Bull are typical of their people makes for an intriguing arc.