Bow To The Arishok

I finally had a dream about it!

Many many times whenever I listened to breathin by Ariana Grande, I would get this vivid image in my mind. That song became my go-to to calm myself down whenever some thought was plaguing my brain with anxiety.

At the same time I used it as a reference to dealing with fandom drama and how to cope with being different within those fandoms and the first one that came to mind was Dragon Age.

Ever since I got into Dragon Age, I’ve walked a different path than most female fans. While it seemed like the majority of them ogled over Cullen Rutherford, Alistair, Solas and shipped Dorian with the Iron Bull. I swooned over Sten, Zevran, the Arishok, occasionally Blackwall, and wanted my Inquisitor with Bull instead since I melted over him too.

The struggles are mainly just being different, and sometimes being alone in my tastes with what lies within Thedas. I had to deal with isolation, trying to ignore odd haters of the Arishok, and sometimes lectures or requests to leave from fanpage owners who supported the Adoribull ship even if I was nothing but respectful with my negative opinion in a comment.

It can be challenging to thrive in a fandom sometimes when you feel like the only person who likes X instead of Y. You feel like you’re not welcome and you feel like everyone is against you.

The simple solution is to just be yourself and eventually you may find your niche of other fans who share the same tastes, or they will find you. Unfortunately, I haven’t found my niche of fellow committers to the Qun yet, except for a few stragglers.

So, now about the dream/music video in my mind with connection to the song. Here’s what it’s about:

It takes place at a Dragon Age-themed convention and in the background there were hundreds of fans dressed as elves or wearing shirts that show love for Cullen, Solas, etc. They’re socializing with one another, hanging banners, and painting pictures of Bull and Dorian together. They all appear in black and white in this dream.

Suddenly, when the singing begins, is when I appear as the only person shown in colour, dressed as a female Arishok similar in appearance to the one in DA II. I was walking through the crowd of people and many of them were inviting me to join them but I refused. I was searching for where I belonged but every place was the same as it always was from the beginning.

I started to run and then soon I found myself covering my ears below my horns as chants of “Cullen”, “Solas” and “Adoribull” were thrown at me to a point where I was on my knees begging for it to stop as I tried to move another inch forward.

But then when I thought I was overcome, it was all an illusion and through the doorway, was a flash of red. There before me, hung an enormous Qunari banner and throne, along with a group of fans of both genders dressed as Qunari. This is where the rest of the room became coloured. The moment they saw me walk in, they turned, bowed to me and began chanting out “Arishok” repeatedly. I smiled walking past each of them and sat on the throne in front of the banner. One of them approached me and said they had been waiting for a leader for a long time and mentioned the struggles of being outnumbered in the fandom, how they were hoping to find more out there to join their cause and have their own voice.

You could say that becoming their Arishok meant I became a leader of the Qunari portion of the Dragon Age fandom. That may not be me in real life, but still, it’s a form of feeling like you’ve found others like you.

I think the message behind this dream is that sometimes you have to search among the mainstream to find a place where you belong in something like a fandom. It also shows that even though you might feel outnumbered at first, you are not alone and you might find yourself going through drama before you find your niche in a fandom.

I have met a couple of Qunari fans but they’re still a small amount, but who knows, maybe I don’t need to be part of a large group to feel like I belong.

So yeah, that song visualizes it for me as does last night’s dream. If only I had the money, an Arishok cosplay would look stunning.


6 thoughts on “Bow To The Arishok”

  1. *breath*….always baffles me when a fan base of a game that has acceptance and indeed champions diversity and freedom to explore a spectrum of relationships and identities gets riled up for pursuing a relationship outside the group think. Astonishing.

    When it came to the Qunari, having recently replayed Origins I did find myself at a deeper level preferring the appearance of Sten. in contrast to the more pronounced features of the dwarfs and elves, the Qunari ‘felt’ like a different part of human society that had adopted an entirely different ideology. It was interesting, sort of like soviet Russia/America themes. When they came back in 2 as a more pronounced species it was easier to just pigeon hole their beliefs into that particular race.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah the BioWare fandom has always felt inclusive, especially for the LGBTQ+ community. I’ve never recieved any criticism for choosing to pursue something other than what everyone else does, but inside I get the impression that they don’t understand why I find the Qunari interesting and attractive. Could be a human nature thing that we are more likely to be attached to characters that look similar to us and the Qunari don’t fall under that.

      I love Sten! I feel he is capable of a soft side like he almost smiled when I got his sword back, he picked a flower once and of course his soft spot for cookies. Yes exactly, I think that’s why I like them. It’s a different society and ideology and I get curious about it. I wear my Qunari earrings with pride.


  2. I promise that it’s totally valid to love any BioWare romance! I mean, I like the Kaiden romance in Mass Effect more than the Garrus one, so I’m well aware of what it’s like when people don’t agree with you. The romances are really well done and, much like real life, everyone is going to have their own choices as to who they like best, right?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Of course. We are entitled to our choices. I don’t think I’ve ever met a fan who likes Kaiden more than Garrus! But yes you’re right, they are all well done in their own way.

      Liked by 1 person

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