It’s been almost a year since I opened the door to the world of Thedas and already I find myself in the minor group of fans that prefer a certain race.
It didn’t take me long to notice that there was a larger group of female fans that were swooning over either Cullen, Solas, and sometimes Alistair. Not only that, but there was also a large cult of elven fans, especially those who part of that group who love to make Inquisitors who were Dalish elves from clan Lavellan. Sometimes they would do nothing but those types of builds and many of them also wanted Solas to succeed with his plan once you find out that he is actually Fen’Harel.
I have nothing against any of these types of fans. I romanced Alistair and found him to be really sweet, Cullen is a well-written character despite not being a companion you can take along with you but he and Alistair are not my type, they look too similar. Solas is a different story. I never really found him attractive, in fact, I think he’s ugly. Personally, I prefer elves with long hair like Legolas, you could say that when it comes to Dragon Age, I would prefer to date an elf like Zevran. Good thing he’s available in DAO.
You can see how difficult it can be to find a character to romance in DAI that looks good and have your Inquisitor look good with them because of BioWare’s choice to make everyone look well…neutral. Hell, some gamers have even criticized that everyone in the game looks ugly.
Because of that, fans will only want the most attractive….and it seems to be that Cullen and Solas fall under that category of attractiveness…..whatever that means. I still don’t know the full reason why there’s a massive elven cult but I’ve concluded that playing as a female elf gives you the most romance options because Solas is an exclusive to that. I haven’t romanced Solas yet and I already know what happens and how it impacts the final ending, but one day I will romance him just to, you know, experience it. Watching a romance from another player with their chosen love interest isn’t the same as doing the romance yourself.
Still, I won’t ever be a part of the Lavellan fandom (despite me doing a Lavellan playthrough right now as I write this) or fall for Solas. I know where my loyalty lies and it’s to the Qun.
Whenever I get into a new universe from a book, TV, movie, or video game series that has multiple races in it, there’s always going to be one that catches my eye first and becomes my favourite. In Halo it was the Sangheili because I played as one first and here in the Dragon Age universe it was the Qunari.
It started when I was scrolling my Instagram feed and saw someone’s video of the scene where the Inquisitor drinks with the Iron Bull after their first high dragon kill. I became genuinely curious about Bull and his people and decided to find out more. When I started playing, I romanced him, enjoyed the experience, and fell in love. I hoped I would eventually get to meet more Qunari like him as I continued deeper into the world of Thedas.
Then, I met Sten in DAO who eventually grew on me despite his stoic personality, and after that I met the Arishok in DA II who was handsome as hell with a strong sense of honor to the Qun.
After all I have experienced in less than a year as a fan, sometimes I feel like I stand out as someone who favours and swoons over Qunari. My brother calls them the bull-people! I think I also love the Qunari because I’m a Taurus!
Correction: Qunari are not a considered a race but a society who follow the Qun. It can be a term used to define as a race which are those tall, grey-skinned, horned, and white-haired giants that I love dearly, but humans, elves, and dwarves can also be part of the Qun.
I’m not going to describe the Qun in great detail, but from what I understand, it is based on a code of honour which defines the role of everyone and everything in the Qunari society. For example, you’re born a soldier, you’re one for life as it is your duty to the Qun, or something like that. Nobody has any names in the Qun, but titles instead. Bull used to be known as Hissrad which was a title given to him as being called the one who lies and creates illusions while he was serving the Ben-Hassrath.
Then, if you choose to abandon the Qun, you become Tal-Vashoth, and these kinds may walk that path due to exile or just desire to live their own lives. When I saw how strict the Qun was, it made me have that impression that if I was a part of it, I would most likely become Tal-Vashoth pretty fast!
However, there are still some concepts about the Qun that I find interesting and I’m learning a bit of Qunlat as well.
So have I played as a Qunari yet in DAI? No, but it’s up next once I’m done with my elf. That brings me to the common criticism Qunari get.
We hardly ever see them in the first DA game, except for Sten and a some occasional hostile ones that appear to have brown skin and no horns. DA II was the Qunari’s moment to shine where they clearly portrayed what they were meant to look like with the long hair, grey skin, and big horns. The Arishok gave me the ideal representation of what a Qunari should look like.
Then, we come to DAI, since it was the first game I played and I was new to the world of Thedas, I was open to whatever it had to offer. As much as I love DAI, the biggest problem I had was the lack of good hairdos for my Inquisitor, and even less if you’re going to be a Qunari. Luckily, there are plenty of mods out there that offer better hairstyles so I might as well download them because if Inquisitor Adaar is supposed to be me as a Qunari, I want her to look really pretty!
There’s also been criticism, commonly from those who played DAI II first that, the Qunari look ridiculous in DAI and don’t represent their culture well. To contradict, of course they don’t because Bull isn’t like most of his people, he never was! That’s what makes me love him, he’s a bit of a rebel who’s struggling with an identity crisis. He goes to start his own mercenary group and gives himself a name, but at the same time he’s still reporting to the Ben-Hassrath. He’s got a personality most Qunari don’t have: charming, humorous, and a love for battle. He may not have the looks of the Arishok, but some Qunari are meant to look different. Bull is big, strong, has bigger horns than most and he’s missing an eye. He’s unique and while I love the Qunari in DA II, Bull is still the most unique of his people and that’s what I love about him the most.
There are plenty of other complaints but I’ll form my own opinion once I make my Adaar Inquisitor.
I’ve met a few Qunari fans in my travels in the fandom but we’re still largely outnumbered. Just search Lavellan on Instagram, you’ll probably find over twenty accounts, or Google it and find hundreds of fan art! However, I did meet one person on Instagram who loves the dwarves and makes a Cadash Inquisitor a lot. I will agree that the dwarves don’t get enough love either.
I know it sounds that I’m bashing elves here but I’m not, I wouldn’t be playing as one right now if I were. While I’ve met a few ladies who understand my love for Bull, Sten, and the Arishok, there are also many who love Cullen, Solas and play as elves and humans not just because of what their preference of attractiveness is, but also it’s in human nature.
We are human, so we like to be a race and have them be with a race we can connect with most. Not everyone has that vivid imagination like me to see themselves as something that has less human features!
Nevertheless, when I enter a new universe, it’s always the race that seems the most inhuman and sometimes with stricter personalities that I like first. I think it’s like I imagine underneath that code of honor they can have kind hearts.
I know I’m not the only one who loves the Qunari, in fact as I continue to share that love, more fans open up that they too love for the bull-people.
Also, a few weeks back, I received four little packages in the mail simultaneously and two of them contained Qunari-themed jewelry: a pair of earrings of the logo above and a pendant with a picture of the Arishok in the center of the circle. I wear that bling with pride and one of my followers on Instagram joked that I shouldn’t wear them when I travel because then security might think I’m invading!
Well, no surprise the Qunari are conquerors and Par Vollen was captured by them and held ever since. I hope we get to go there in a future DA game and if there are any DA books centered around the Qunari please let me know!
There’s still much for me to learn and all I can say is: Ataash varin kata which means in the end lies glory.
PS: If you killed the Arishok because you hate him, then we can’t be friends. Panahedan.