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How do you interpretate title "Masked Empire"? I interpretate it like a country ruled by nobles with dirty or scandalous secrets. We saw how amoral Orlesian nobles were in the novel. Everyone wears a masks, what means everyone tries to look better in eyes of others than they really are. Liselle said that chevaliers misuse their authority to rape commoners, many also have elven slaves to rape or simply to serve with no payment, the nobles have enough money to eliminate inconvinient witnesses and bribe local police to remain unpunished to the very end. Orlesian nobles constantly plot against each other like in ancient Rome. Conspiracy is common among nobles as breathing in each nation - Orzammar, Tevinter, Antiva, Ferelden, but that's another example of shame to hide. Absurdal fashion is just another way to cover ugliness of politics. I don't buy that the empire is masked because of the masked balls and fancy costumes. I think the real masks are PRs to cover dark secrets. What do you think?FirstDrellSpectre (talk) 16:01, May 2, 2014 (UTC)

I'll be honest, it didn't do much to change my impression of Orlais as a country full of utter twonks. The Game sounded utterly stupid the first time Leliana described it, what we could infer from Orlesian politics in DA2 didn't change my opinion on that, and actually reading it in practice in TMA is one of the few things that ever made me want to fling a novel across the room. I can't believe I find myself agreeing with a mass-murdering hypocrite like Celene, but Orlais could really use an invasion. The Game is utterly silly, pointless, and is a great example of what happens when people with too much money and an allergy to physical labour decide to make acting like catty teenage girls the cornerstone of their society. They play childish little games of saving face while Thedas burns.

But to quit my ranting and answer your question, I think the masks started out as a frivolity. But over time as they became not just commonplace but a standard, the disinhibition that comes from wearing a mask became the dominant force in their politics. Politics is all about faces, looking the other side in the eye. Look how much importance we place on leaders meeting face to face, even when technology allows an easier alternative. But in Orlais, they don't have to look each other in the eye, or even themselves in the mirror. This is how their empire has become so corrupt, by allowing all the worst things that come from hiding behind a mask to run it. That's how I interpret "masked empire" - a country that doesn't face itself, run by people who don't face themselves. Raidenshred (talk) 16:42, May 2, 2014 (UTC)

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