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{{Quote|We are the last of the Elvhenan, and never again shall we submit.}}
   
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A humanoid race, '''elves''' typically stand four inches shorter than their human companions and have a slender, lithe build and pointed ears. In [[Ferelden]], [[Free Marches]], and many other parts of [[Thedas]], elves are second-class citizens, often referred to by humans as 'knife ears' as a racial slur.
   
If you've already decided to become a dedicated Mass Effect Wiki editor, we can arrange your application procedures on my talk page:
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'''Racial benefits of elves''': +2 Willpower, +2 magic
   
http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/User_talk:Lancer1289
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== History ==
[[Category:Lore]]
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[[File:Elves.png|thumb|380px|Elves in ''[[Dragon Age: Origins]]'']]
[[Category:Elven lore]]
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[[File:Cg ico race female elf.png|right|Icon for female Elves]]
[[Category:Lore]]
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[[File:Cg ico race male elf.png|right|Icon for male Elves]]
[[Category:Elven lore]]
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{{See Also|Elvhenan|Dales|Shartan}}
[[Category:Lore]]
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[[Category:Elven lore]]
+
The Elves of Thedas are mortal, but elven legends state that this was not always the case. Once, they say, they were an immortal race that lived in harmony with the natural world and followed the [[Elven Pantheon|elven pantheon]]. The first ''shemlen'' (a term meaning "quick children" that was used by the ancient elves to describe the [[humans]]) they encountered were the [[mages]] of the [[Tevinter Imperium]]. They traded with the Imperium and grew friendly with humans, but soon discovered that breeding with humans produced only human babies, due to the elves' genetic adaptability, while exposure to the ‘quick children’ caused the elves to quicken themselves. For the first time, elves began to age and die.
[[Category:Lore]]
+
[[Category:Elven lore]]
+
In fear, the elves withdrew from human contact, but the Imperium interpreted this as a sign of hostility and invaded [[Elvhenan]], the elven homeland, and enslaved its people. The elven people lost their immortality and their gods forsook them. As a final insult the mage's of the Imperium sank the elves capital city of Arlathan into the ground never to be seen again. The exact details of the war are lost to history, though artifacts found in Imperium ruins suggest Elvhenan was looted, or that some Elves joined the Imperium bringing artifacts with them.
[[Category:Lore]]
+
[[Category:Elven lore]]
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Elven slaves were among the most fervent supporters of the Prophetess [[Andraste]]'s uprising against the Tevinter Imperium. The elves joined Andraste in her quest to depose the Tevinter magisters, and they were rewarded for their loyalty by being granted land in the [[Dales]] upon Andraste's victory. Ironically, though the elven slaves won Andraste's favor, it was the Chantry which was responsible for the second downfall of the elves.The only known elf from the time of Andraste was named [[Shartan]].
  +
  +
In the Dales, the elves created a second elven homeland and began to restore the lost lore and culture of Elvhenan, including the worship of their former Gods. For some years, humans loyal to Andraste's memory respected their elven allies. But over the generations and as the [[Chant of Light]] and the religion of the [[Maker]] spread throughout human nations, the diplomatic relationships between the Dales and surrounding human nations turned cold, as the elves refused to be converted. The [[Chantry]] eventually led an [[Exalted March]] against the elves, claiming they had been attacked by the Dales. As the Dales fell and the elves had to abandon their second homeland, their culture was irrevocably schismed. Many elves accepted the terms of their human aggressors, going to live in the Alienages inside [[humans|human]] cities and worshipping the [[Maker]]. Those elves who resisted became the nomadic Dalish, maintaining the worship of the elven gods and continuing their efforts to recover the lost culture of Elvhenan.
  +
  +
== Cultures ==
  +
<center>'''- In the present, elves are divided into two groups, ''Alienage'' and ''Dalish'' elves. - '''</center>
  +
  +
===Alienage Elves===
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[[File:Alienage.jpg|thumb|Alienage Elf]]
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:''"Alienages have existed for as long as elves and shems have lived in the same lands. Ours isn't even the worst: They say that [[Val Royeaux]] has ten thousand elves living in a space no bigger than Denerim's market. Their walls are supposed to be so high that daylight doesn't reach the vhenadahl until midday.''
  +
  +
:''But don't be so anxious to start tearing down the walls and picking fights with the guards. They keep out more than they keep in. We don't have to live here, you know. Sometimes a family gets a good break; they buy a house in the docks, or the outskirts of town. If they're lucky, they come back to the alienage after the looters have burned their house down. The unlucky ones just go to the paupers' field.''
  +
  +
:''Here, we're among family. We look out for each other. Here, we do what we can to remember the old ways. The flat–ears who've gone out there, they're stuck. They'll never be human, and they've gone and thrown away being elven, too. So where does that leave them? Nowhere.''"
  +
  +
— '''Sarethia, Alienage Elder'''
  +
  +
Alienages are closed communities of elves living in human cities. They are typically poor and survive by begging or taking on the most menial and unrewarding of tasks.
  +
  +
====Notable Alienage Elves====
  +
*[[Cyrion Tabris]]
  +
*[[Shianni]]
  +
*[[Soris]]
  +
*[[Elder Valendrian|Valendrian]]
  +
*[[The Warden]] (if playing the [[City Elf Origin]] or [[Magi Origin]] as an elf)
  +
  +
===Dalish Elves===
  +
[[File:Dalish elf.jpg|thumb|right|140px|Dalish Elf]]
  +
  +
:''"In time, the human empires will crumble. We have seen it happen countless times. Until then, we wait, we keep to the wild border lands, we raise halla and build aravels and present a moving target to the humans around us. We try to keep hold of the old ways, to relearn what was forgotten."''
  +
  +
— '''Gisharel, Keeper of the Ralaferin Clan'''
  +
  +
Dalish elves lead nomadic lives, wandering throughout Thedas. The clans date back to the ruling clans of the Dales and the Dalish are the descendants of the ruling houses of their destroyed homeland. Dalish elves seek to recover, inherit and preserve the knowledge and sacred treasures of the two fallen kingdoms and for that purpose they'll often seek out old elven ruins for such things in the face of danger. They still revere the elven pantheon and each member of a tribe will [[Blood Writing|tattoo]] the symbol of their chosen god on their face.
  +
  +
They travel around the more remote reaches of Thedas in covered wagons called [[aravel]]s, special wagons with large triangular sails atop them and rudder-like devices on the back. The Dalish elves are also known for being the only race adept at forging [[ironbark]], a unique substance stronger and lighter than steel, used to make their weapons and certain other items of clothing, such as amulets.
  +
  +
Dalish elves tend to keep to their own and avoid humans whenever they can, but will occasionally encounter human travelers, or venture near human settlements to trade. At the threat of these encounters becoming violent, a Dalish clan will likely withdraw before any real force of humans gets involved, but they will often still be willing to stand their ground. In the long run, hostilities with humans will likely end badly for the elves, especially if a kingdom decides that a certain clan has become more trouble than it is worth. The Dalish are known to refer to their city cousins as 'flat ears', some of them believing the city elves are no more than pets for humans, and hence are 'flat ears' (humans) in spirit if not body.
  +
  +
[[Image:Area-Dalish Camp.jpg|thumb|340px|A Dalish Camp]]
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The Dalish clans themselves can also be quite different from each other. Some clans will get along fairly well with humans, and might even camp outside of settlements for long periods of time. Other clans are more infamous, living by banditry and hiding like guerrillas in the mountain passes. The Dalish of Ferelden are on a more-or-less neutral basis with its human citizens.
  +
  +
Dalish clans rarely encounter each other. Once a decade or so, the Dalish clans all meet together, and their [[Keepers]], the elders and leaders of the Dalish, will meet together and exchange knowledge.
  +
  +
The Dalish live by a code known as Vir Tanadahl, meaning "Way of Three Trees." It is made of three parts, which are:
  +
* Vir Assan ("Way of the Arrow") - fly straight and do not waver
  +
* Vir Bor'Assan ("Way of the Bow") - bend but never break
  +
* Vir Adahlen ("Way of the Forest") - together we are stronger than the one
  +
The three parts of the philosophy are often strung together as a sort of mantra, which the Dalish will often end with the phrase "We are the last of the elvhenan, and never again shall we submit."
  +
  +
When Dalish elves die, their clan will bury them and plant a tree over their remains<ref>From conversation option for a Dalish Warden in dialogue with [[Alistair]].</ref>.
  +
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====Notable Dalish Elves====
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*[[Marethari]]
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*[[Tamlen]]
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*[[Fenarel]]
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*[[Merrill]]
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*[[Zathrian]]
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*[[Lanaya]]
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*[[Varathorn]]
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*[[The Warden]] (if playing the [[Dalish Elf Origin]])
  +
*[[Velanna]]
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*[[Ariane]]
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*[[Ilen]]
  +
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==Elven Language==
  +
{{Main|Elven Language}}
  +
The elven language, or Elvish, was largely lost when Elvhenan fell and its people were enslaved. When the elves settled their second homeland, the Dales, they aimed to restore their lost language and lore, but the Dales fell to an [[Exalted March]]. The Elvish of the Dragon Age is thus a fragmented remnant, a few words that are thrown into conversation rather than a working language used to conduct everyday life. The Dalish Elves, self-appointed custodians of the elven language and lore, use more Elvish than their City Elf brethren. Living among humans, the City Elves now retain only a few old Elvish words whose origin is almost forgotten, such as "''shem''" - derived from "''shemlen''", or "quickling", the old elven term for humans - and "''hahren''" - the leader of an Alienage, meaning "elder" in Elvish.
  +
  +
The Dalish have more of the language. They are more capable of forming whole phrases and sentences, but the language is still fragmented and very incomplete, even to them. It includes the word ''da'len'', which means "child", and ''andaran atish'an'', which is a greeting to friends and fellow Dalish. ''Serannas'' is thanks, while ''ma serannas'' is "my thanks" or "many thanks". ''Aneth ara'' is an exclamation of surprise. ''Dareth shiral'' is a way of saying good-bye.
  +
  +
== ''Dragon Age II'' ==
  +
The elves, as with other races, in ''[[Dragon Age II]]'' have been redesigned to create more space between the individual races <ref>[http://gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2010/07/28/a-look-at-the-Qunari-evolved.aspx]</ref>. The Dalish now feature Welsh and Irish accents (this is not the case with most city elves), for the most part, in ''Dragon Age II'', and have been given tall, willowy frames and thin faces with large eyes and small features(see concept art), as opposed to being the "short, pointy-eared humans" in Dragon Age Origins.
  +
  +
==Trivia==
  +
*Unlike the elves of many other fantasy settings, the elves of the Dragon Age setting are not the 'natural' enemy of the [[dwarves]], though [[Zevran/Dialogue#Zevran_and_Oghren|Zevran and Oghren's dialogue]] contains a joking reference to this fantasy trope.
  +
*Elves culturally resemble a variety of nomadic, polytheistic and animistic peoples who've been robbed of their land and much of their culture by conquerors, missionaries, settlers and colonists from more technologically advanced nations. Even the elven word for their own people means, "the people" just like the counterparts of for example Native Americans and Ainu. Ainu are also one of the peoples known for their tattoos. The Dalish also seem to resemble the Celts, who were also known for their war-tattoos, and who also were subject to discrimination and loss of their homelands: first from the Romans, and later the Anglo-Saxons. As a traveling people, they also bear some resemblance to the Roma.
  +
* The elves may also be considered as an allegory for European Jews in that they were scattered across the land by an invasion (the destruction of Elvhenan allegorical to the Roman sack of Jerusalem) and are often ghetto-ized in cities (the alienages allegorical to the pre-WWII Jewish quarters of European cities), and are the subject of discrimination. The elves relationship to Andraste and the Chantry may also be inspired partly by Jewish history wherein Jesus and many early Christians were Jews (as the elves were allies of Andraste) but the Catholic Church became more anti-semitic during the medieval period (as the Chantry later led Exalted Marches against the Elves).
  +
*The elves of old may represent advanced pre-colonial American civilizations, while the current elves may represent the status of post-colonial Native Americans. Elves also tended to have Anglo-American accents in Dragon Age: Origins, but that "lack" of an accent may also merely symbolize their loss of their own heritage.
  +
*Dragon Age II Dalish elves bear similarities with people of [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celtic_nations Celtic Nations] of Europe. Examples are their artwork, their tendencies towards [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_hair red-headedness] and their Irish, Northern Irish and Welsh accents.
  +
*When female elves become [[Broodmothers]], they produce [[Shrieks]].
  +
  +
==References==
  +
<references />
  +
  +
==Gallery==
  +
<gallery>
  +
Alienage-heraldry1.jpg|Alienage heraldry in ''[[Dragon Age: Origins]]''
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Dalish-heraldry.jpg|Dalish heraldry in ''[[Dragon Age: Origins]]''
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Elves DA2.png|Elves concept art for ''[[Dragon Age II]]''
  +
MarethariDalishClanHeraldry.png|The [[Marethari|Sabrae]] Dalish clan heraldry
  +
</gallery>
 
[[Category:Lore]]
 
[[Category:Lore]]
 
[[Category:Elven lore]]
 
[[Category:Elven lore]]

Revision as of 11:44, April 24, 2011

http://img37.imageshack.us/img37/8611/dalishelfwoman.jpg
We are the last of the Elvhenan, and never again shall we submit.

A humanoid race, elves typically stand four inches shorter than their human companions and have a slender, lithe build and pointed ears. In Ferelden, Free Marches, and many other parts of Thedas, elves are second-class citizens, often referred to by humans as 'knife ears' as a racial slur.

Racial benefits of elves: +2 Willpower, +2 magic

History

File:Elves.png
Cg ico race female elf
Cg ico race male elf
See also: Elvhenan, Dales, and Shartan

The Elves of Thedas are mortal, but elven legends state that this was not always the case. Once, they say, they were an immortal race that lived in harmony with the natural world and followed the elven pantheon. The first shemlen (a term meaning "quick children" that was used by the ancient elves to describe the humans) they encountered were the mages of the Tevinter Imperium. They traded with the Imperium and grew friendly with humans, but soon discovered that breeding with humans produced only human babies, due to the elves' genetic adaptability, while exposure to the ‘quick children’ caused the elves to quicken themselves. For the first time, elves began to age and die.

In fear, the elves withdrew from human contact, but the Imperium interpreted this as a sign of hostility and invaded Elvhenan, the elven homeland, and enslaved its people. The elven people lost their immortality and their gods forsook them. As a final insult the mage's of the Imperium sank the elves capital city of Arlathan into the ground never to be seen again. The exact details of the war are lost to history, though artifacts found in Imperium ruins suggest Elvhenan was looted, or that some Elves joined the Imperium bringing artifacts with them.

Elven slaves were among the most fervent supporters of the Prophetess Andraste's uprising against the Tevinter Imperium. The elves joined Andraste in her quest to depose the Tevinter magisters, and they were rewarded for their loyalty by being granted land in the Dales upon Andraste's victory. Ironically, though the elven slaves won Andraste's favor, it was the Chantry which was responsible for the second downfall of the elves.The only known elf from the time of Andraste was named Shartan.

In the Dales, the elves created a second elven homeland and began to restore the lost lore and culture of Elvhenan, including the worship of their former Gods. For some years, humans loyal to Andraste's memory respected their elven allies. But over the generations and as the Chant of Light and the religion of the Maker spread throughout human nations, the diplomatic relationships between the Dales and surrounding human nations turned cold, as the elves refused to be converted. The Chantry eventually led an Exalted March against the elves, claiming they had been attacked by the Dales. As the Dales fell and the elves had to abandon their second homeland, their culture was irrevocably schismed. Many elves accepted the terms of their human aggressors, going to live in the Alienages inside human cities and worshipping the Maker. Those elves who resisted became the nomadic Dalish, maintaining the worship of the elven gods and continuing their efforts to recover the lost culture of Elvhenan.

Cultures

- In the present, elves are divided into two groups, Alienage and Dalish elves. -

Alienage Elves

Alienage

Alienage Elf

"Alienages have existed for as long as elves and shems have lived in the same lands. Ours isn't even the worst: They say that Val Royeaux has ten thousand elves living in a space no bigger than Denerim's market. Their walls are supposed to be so high that daylight doesn't reach the vhenadahl until midday.
But don't be so anxious to start tearing down the walls and picking fights with the guards. They keep out more than they keep in. We don't have to live here, you know. Sometimes a family gets a good break; they buy a house in the docks, or the outskirts of town. If they're lucky, they come back to the alienage after the looters have burned their house down. The unlucky ones just go to the paupers' field.
Here, we're among family. We look out for each other. Here, we do what we can to remember the old ways. The flat–ears who've gone out there, they're stuck. They'll never be human, and they've gone and thrown away being elven, too. So where does that leave them? Nowhere."

Sarethia, Alienage Elder

Alienages are closed communities of elves living in human cities. They are typically poor and survive by begging or taking on the most menial and unrewarding of tasks.

Notable Alienage Elves

Dalish Elves

Dalish elf

Dalish Elf

"In time, the human empires will crumble. We have seen it happen countless times. Until then, we wait, we keep to the wild border lands, we raise halla and build aravels and present a moving target to the humans around us. We try to keep hold of the old ways, to relearn what was forgotten."

Gisharel, Keeper of the Ralaferin Clan

Dalish elves lead nomadic lives, wandering throughout Thedas. The clans date back to the ruling clans of the Dales and the Dalish are the descendants of the ruling houses of their destroyed homeland. Dalish elves seek to recover, inherit and preserve the knowledge and sacred treasures of the two fallen kingdoms and for that purpose they'll often seek out old elven ruins for such things in the face of danger. They still revere the elven pantheon and each member of a tribe will tattoo the symbol of their chosen god on their face.

They travel around the more remote reaches of Thedas in covered wagons called aravels, special wagons with large triangular sails atop them and rudder-like devices on the back. The Dalish elves are also known for being the only race adept at forging ironbark, a unique substance stronger and lighter than steel, used to make their weapons and certain other items of clothing, such as amulets.

Dalish elves tend to keep to their own and avoid humans whenever they can, but will occasionally encounter human travelers, or venture near human settlements to trade. At the threat of these encounters becoming violent, a Dalish clan will likely withdraw before any real force of humans gets involved, but they will often still be willing to stand their ground. In the long run, hostilities with humans will likely end badly for the elves, especially if a kingdom decides that a certain clan has become more trouble than it is worth. The Dalish are known to refer to their city cousins as 'flat ears', some of them believing the city elves are no more than pets for humans, and hence are 'flat ears' (humans) in spirit if not body.

Area-Dalish Camp

A Dalish Camp

The Dalish clans themselves can also be quite different from each other. Some clans will get along fairly well with humans, and might even camp outside of settlements for long periods of time. Other clans are more infamous, living by banditry and hiding like guerrillas in the mountain passes. The Dalish of Ferelden are on a more-or-less neutral basis with its human citizens.

Dalish clans rarely encounter each other. Once a decade or so, the Dalish clans all meet together, and their Keepers, the elders and leaders of the Dalish, will meet together and exchange knowledge.

The Dalish live by a code known as Vir Tanadahl, meaning "Way of Three Trees." It is made of three parts, which are:

  • Vir Assan ("Way of the Arrow") - fly straight and do not waver
  • Vir Bor'Assan ("Way of the Bow") - bend but never break
  • Vir Adahlen ("Way of the Forest") - together we are stronger than the one

The three parts of the philosophy are often strung together as a sort of mantra, which the Dalish will often end with the phrase "We are the last of the elvhenan, and never again shall we submit."

When Dalish elves die, their clan will bury them and plant a tree over their remains[1].

Notable Dalish Elves

Elven Language

Main article: Elven Language

The elven language, or Elvish, was largely lost when Elvhenan fell and its people were enslaved. When the elves settled their second homeland, the Dales, they aimed to restore their lost language and lore, but the Dales fell to an Exalted March. The Elvish of the Dragon Age is thus a fragmented remnant, a few words that are thrown into conversation rather than a working language used to conduct everyday life. The Dalish Elves, self-appointed custodians of the elven language and lore, use more Elvish than their City Elf brethren. Living among humans, the City Elves now retain only a few old Elvish words whose origin is almost forgotten, such as "shem" - derived from "shemlen", or "quickling", the old elven term for humans - and "hahren" - the leader of an Alienage, meaning "elder" in Elvish.

The Dalish have more of the language. They are more capable of forming whole phrases and sentences, but the language is still fragmented and very incomplete, even to them. It includes the word da'len, which means "child", and andaran atish'an, which is a greeting to friends and fellow Dalish. Serannas is thanks, while ma serannas is "my thanks" or "many thanks". Aneth ara is an exclamation of surprise. Dareth shiral is a way of saying good-bye.

Dragon Age II

The elves, as with other races, in Dragon Age II have been redesigned to create more space between the individual races [2]. The Dalish now feature Welsh and Irish accents (this is not the case with most city elves), for the most part, in Dragon Age II, and have been given tall, willowy frames and thin faces with large eyes and small features(see concept art), as opposed to being the "short, pointy-eared humans" in Dragon Age Origins.

Trivia

  • Unlike the elves of many other fantasy settings, the elves of the Dragon Age setting are not the 'natural' enemy of the dwarves, though Zevran and Oghren's dialogue contains a joking reference to this fantasy trope.
  • Elves culturally resemble a variety of nomadic, polytheistic and animistic peoples who've been robbed of their land and much of their culture by conquerors, missionaries, settlers and colonists from more technologically advanced nations. Even the elven word for their own people means, "the people" just like the counterparts of for example Native Americans and Ainu. Ainu are also one of the peoples known for their tattoos. The Dalish also seem to resemble the Celts, who were also known for their war-tattoos, and who also were subject to discrimination and loss of their homelands: first from the Romans, and later the Anglo-Saxons. As a traveling people, they also bear some resemblance to the Roma.
  • The elves may also be considered as an allegory for European Jews in that they were scattered across the land by an invasion (the destruction of Elvhenan allegorical to the Roman sack of Jerusalem) and are often ghetto-ized in cities (the alienages allegorical to the pre-WWII Jewish quarters of European cities), and are the subject of discrimination. The elves relationship to Andraste and the Chantry may also be inspired partly by Jewish history wherein Jesus and many early Christians were Jews (as the elves were allies of Andraste) but the Catholic Church became more anti-semitic during the medieval period (as the Chantry later led Exalted Marches against the Elves).
  • The elves of old may represent advanced pre-colonial American civilizations, while the current elves may represent the status of post-colonial Native Americans. Elves also tended to have Anglo-American accents in Dragon Age: Origins, but that "lack" of an accent may also merely symbolize their loss of their own heritage.
  • Dragon Age II Dalish elves bear similarities with people of Celtic Nations of Europe. Examples are their artwork, their tendencies towards red-headedness and their Irish, Northern Irish and Welsh accents.
  • When female elves become Broodmothers, they produce Shrieks.

References

  1. From conversation option for a Dalish Warden in dialogue with Alistair.
  2. [1]

Gallery

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