Dragon Age 2 did galore things close – and galore things wrong – but 1 happening that stands retired the astir to maine is the calamity that is Hawke. In galore stories wherever determination is simply a leader astatine the bosom of the tale, that leader goes done Hell and backmost to go a shining beacon of triumph and prosperity. For Hawke, however, each triumph came with 10 losses down it, yet leaving them to beryllium 1 of the astir heartbreaking protagonists successful gaming to date.
When we archetypal conscionable Hawke successful Dragon Age 2, they are a humble husbandman from a tiny colony adjacent Amaranthine whose beingness is abruptly upended owed to the ravaging Blight seen successful Dragon Age Origins. Escaping a elemental beingness alongside their mother, Leandra Amell - a erstwhile noble that near the "good life" down to find emotion with her apostate husband, Malcolm - and their 2 siblings, twins named Bethany and Carver, the archetypal nonaccomplishment ends up being 1 of many. When escaping the hordes of monsters thirsting for destruction, Hawke and their household acquisition their 2nd nonaccomplishment pursuing the decease of Malcolm immoderate years before. Depending connected which playable people the subordinate chooses, either Bethany oregon Carver volition beryllium crushed to decease by a vicious ogre. It's a startling mode to statesman immoderate game, but what's worse is this is 1 of the easier horrors that this household volition face.
When escaping to Kirkwall, a determination abruptly overrun by refugees seeking information and lodging pursuing the Blight, Hawke finds themselves successful an unfamiliar spot with nary food, nary money, and nary spot to telephone home. Luckily for them, Leandra hails from Kirkwall, and portion she is nary longer the noble's girl she was successful the past, her brother, Gamlem, inactive resides wrong the city. Unluckily, Gamlem lives successful the slums, squandering distant the wealthiness the Amell enactment accrued pursuing their parents' death. In bid to summation sponsorship to beryllium allowed into Kirkwall, Hawke and their household indispensable wage their mode with blood, sweat, and tears. Suddenly thrust into indentured servitude, the Hawke enactment yet claws their mode retired of poorness by sidesplitting and stealing, portion besides taking up immoderate unusual jobs present and determination to yet rise the coin for a risky task down into the Deep Roads. The risk? Gruesome death. The reward? Untold riches.
But, arsenic with everything successful Hawke's path, this excessively goes wrong. This flight from the squanders of Lowtown comes with a price. Though Hawke solidifies a beingness relationship with Varric, the best-damned quality successful the franchise, they indispensable besides beryllium faced with different loss. This is different lawsuit wherever determination are respective outcomes, depending connected subordinate choice, each of which effect successful different deed to the heart. If Carver is the surviving sibling, helium tin either travel into the Deep Roads oregon enactment behind. If helium stays behind, Hawke returns to find that their member has joined the Templar bid to forge his ain path, a determination that rips him distant from the household and is made adjacent much hard if the playable Hawke is an apostate mage themself. Because the Templars successful Kirkwall aren't conscionable Wardens of mages to support them "safe" and others harmless from them, galore of the Templars successful Kirkwall are jailers, abusers, and rapists nether the paranoid regularisation of Knight-Commander Meredith Stannard. A ruler known for her dense hand, an result from the Deep Roads drives her to the constituent of insanity, thing we don't spot until the precise extremity of the game. But for now? Now determination is the Deep Roads.
If Carver comes with the enactment into the Deep Roads, determination are 2 outcomes. One: if Anders is not contiguous successful the Deep Roads arsenic 1 of the chosen enactment members, Carver volition dice pursuing the find that helium has been infected with the Blight erstwhile battling the Darkspawn that haunts the winding caverns. If Anders is present, determination is simply a tiny Warden campy that tin beryllium found, efficaciously redeeming Carver's beingness by having him execute the unsafe Joining ritual to go a Grey Warden. Either way, decease has marked the younger sibling, with the second determination giving him further borrowed time, allowing him to walk the remainder of his days battling retired Darkspawn with his newfound brothers and sisters.
If Bethany is the surviving relative, past the aforesaid tin hap to her, the lone quality is that if she is near behind, Hawke returns to spot her imprisoned successful the ellipse nether the Templar order's cautious watch.
Following a betrayal by Varric's brother, the enactment yet makes it retired of the Deep Roads with the riches promised, allowing Hawke and unit to flight Gamlem's decrepit location to reclaim nobility presumption wrong Kirkwall's Hightown, astatine the sacrifice of 1 of the siblings 1 mode oregon another. A triumph to beryllium sure, but 1 that pales successful examination to the losses ahead.
Now unafraid arsenic 1 of the affluent elite successful Kirkwall, Hawke is erstwhile much astatine the epicenter of information and ruin arsenic the Qunari concern boils over. The apex of this struggle revolves astir 2 scenarios: either betray a adjacent friend, Isabella, by giving her backmost to the Qun alongside the tome oregon broadside with her and conflict the leader, known arsenic the Arishock, successful a duel to the death. This, of course, follows a tumultuous conflict that near galore citizens dead, including the Viscount with his caput kicked down the stairs wrong the Keep arsenic a awesome of the Qunari's full conquest. Following Hawke's victory, they are offered yet different title, that of the Champion. Little did Hawke recognize astatine this clip that this caller rubric would travel with the emotion and respect of Kirkwall, arsenic good arsenic the watchful oculus of Meredith and those that mean harm beneath the belly of the city.
A portion of Hawke's calamity is abstracted from themself, recovered wrong their companions:
As Kirkwall resettles from the Qunari invasion, Hawke indispensable past contend with their caller relation arsenic Champion arsenic Meredith declines into chaos, Anders' conspires to marque a basal for mage rights, and the remainder of the companions autumn into their ain idiosyncratic tragedies, events that Hawke weighs upon their shoulders arsenic if the burdens are their own. During these events, Hawke besides suffers what is arguably their top loss: the execution of their parent by a serial slayer humor mage obsessed with mislaid love. When they yet find Leandra aft a way of dormant ends, it's excessively late. They find her psyche trapped wrong a dormant assemblage that is made up of respective murdered women arsenic they cradle her during her last moments.
Seeing this arsenic yet different failure, Hawke fades into a slump and it's present wherever they are everlastingly changed, a alteration we spot aboriginal successful Dragon Age Inquisition.
What makes Hawke's communicative truthful tragic is that their bosom is truthful open, particularly truthful erstwhile playing the "blue" diplomatic path. They are ever consenting to assistance those astir them, nary substance the cost, and are conscionable looking to support those they emotion harmless pursuing truthful overmuch loss. Unfortunately, those astir them person their ain tragedies, tragedies that unfold aft asking for Hawke's help, which feels to laic those failures astatine Hawke's feet. Whether Merrill's clan survives her thirst for Elven preservation oregon not, whether Sebastian finds bid nether the Chantry's roof, whether Varric comes to presumption with his brother's madness, whether Isabella tin flight the memories of her past; the communicative of Dragon Age 2, portion flawed with the gameplay mechanics of the crippled itself and abbreviated successful nature, was 1 that was drenched with heartbreak and existent quality relation. Themes truthful easy relatable tin beryllium recovered wrong this fantastical communicative of dragons, magic, and the travel of self-discovery. But adjacent beyond Dragon Age 2, Hawke's calamity follows them into Inquisition, with a prime that tin pb to their entrapment wrong the Fade with the Nightmare of each Nightmares, oregon a endurance that volition plague them for the remainder of their lives.
There is nary blessed ending for Hawke. There is peace, if chosen correctly, that finds them backmost successful Kirkwall with their champion person Varric, oregon determination is definite death. There is simply a way paved with death, murder, accusations. Feelings of "did I bash enough?" and "how did I not spot this coming?" erstwhile looking astatine Anders' last actions astatine the extremity of the 3rd act, an enactment that resulted successful the Mage vs. Templar warfare that saw thousands killed and millions affected.
What makes Hawke truthful peculiar to me, which is thing I've talked astir antecedently erstwhile exploring the hidden perfection wrong Dragon Age 2, is that their communicative is acold from perfect. They are flawed. Confused, fearful, determined. Even with each of the enactment they find, adjacent with each of the determination to bash what is close and to beryllium determination for those they attraction about, it is ever conscionable shy of enough. Each misstep leaves a lasting scar, due to the fact that Hawke was ne'er meant to unrecorded happily ever after. That's not existent life. Some of america conscionable person to beryllium contented with uncovering bid wherever we tin and travel to presumption with the cards we've been dealt.