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With the exception of one, all theories I had concerning DA:I were confirmed true. I've tweaked that particular theory, and would now like to share with you my view of the ancient elves while focusing primarily on what we know through Solas, and at the end I have a prediction for future events in Thedas. BE WARNED, SPOILERS AHEAD!
My original theory concerning Solas was that he was an ancient elf that had woken up from "in uthenera". With the revelations in the last scene of DA:I about Solas being Fen'Harel the Dread Wolf who had woken up from a long slumber this isn't so far off. I believe all elven gods of old were in fact simply powerful mage rulers of elven society. Their godlike powers were amplified with foci, the orb of destruction being what gave Solas the powers of a deity. Unless something else is to be revealed as a better option in later games, then the vessel of the "Well of Sorrows" would be Mythal's foci.
We are told that all elves of old lived forever and had magical capabilities. They could sure enough live forever, but I doubt magical properties were anything other than a rare gift, common in the ruling class not unlike the Tevinter Imperium. I believe the Tevinter Imperium copied more than just the elvish magical knowledge, i believe they based their whole society upon old elvish. From their societal castes, their use of slavery, and more. So in trying to imagine how the Elvhenan of old once was, look to the Tevinter Imperium at their greatest. As a sidenote about the sentinels in the temple of Mythal, they are seen wearing valassin which Solas said was the symbol of a slave in Elvhenan. They may have been given the valassin because they were slaves destined to protect the temple of Mythal, or simply as a sign of their eternal servitude
This is what Solas wanted to change. He was a ruler that instigated rebellion among the lower classes of elven society against the elven "magisterium", or elven gods if you may. The magisterum probably numbered in the hundreds, and the forgotten ones are just that. Opressive rulers that are no longer remembered by name. The named elven gods on the other hand, were some of the most powerful, and relatively benevolent rulers at the time, who supported the emancipation. The trickery done by Fen'Harel/Solas, was not sealing the gods into two seperate realms, but the destruction of the Eluvians. As the elven cities found themselves isolated with no road connection between them, and no means of communication, the slave revolts found little concentrated effort in quelling it.
The years of revolt and civil war left elven society in ruins. Weakened and weary of war, Arlathan stood no chance against the rising Tevinter Imperium. Feeling he had failed, Solas went into "in uthenera", only to see his eternal slumber be interrupted hundreds of years later. The world was now very different, and he found resolve to redeem his past mistake. This time he would do it right.
As for elven immortality, I think it was lost as the slave caste was compromised of mostly elves, but humans and dwarves too. They intermarried, and thus immortality was eventually lost among the majority.
Mythal is a different story than Solas, and as far as I'm able to see the biggest bust to my theory. She is portrayed as part spirit, part deity of the traditional view as a greater being. With Flemeth as her vessel, she seeks revenge against her killers. Unless she was part of the new generation of rulers, and needed soul transfers to achieve immortality, then the lore surrounding Mythal contradicts my view of the old elven gods. Tying the story of Mythal to my theory of the elven "gods", then Flemeth isn't truly Flemeth. The real Flemeth was merely one host that died years ago, and is now simply a name taken by the vessel of Mythal. With Mythal being a mortal elven mage of old who has survived the eons.
In DA4, I think revolution will be the big theme. The setting will be primarily in the Tevinter Imperium, but other northern lands will also be featured. The Venatori remnants are ushering for a reactionary, extremist stance in the Imperium, whilst the slaves led by Solas will revolt. Dorian and other reformers will represent compromise. To top it off, the Qunari are mobilising. Solas has plans for both Tevinter and the Qunari. He believes both to be threats to elven culture. The Tevinter Imperium through past transgressions, and contemporary slavery, and the Qunari through their appeal to the elves in Thedas, and lack of individuality. He wants to change both societies, and see the elves once again become a proud people. I doubt Solas will be the big bad though, just so that is said.
Thats my theory at least. Been a lurker on this forum for years now, and finally thought to contribiute. English is my second language, so pardon any typos or gramatical errors. And feel free to rip me a new one, bust my theory, or confirm it through lore and discussion.
The theory is quite good but I see some holes in it. For one thing all the foci had the shape of an orb, this is confirmed through various dialogue. Also Solas too said (and this theory seems to assume that what he said was at least partly true) that all elves had magical abilities. As the ancient elves had no contact with other races during that time I don't think that they could have intermarried with dwarves and humans (it would have to be on a large scale too for all elves slaves to have human blood). Many of the Eluvians were intact during the rise of the Tevinter Imperium so I don't think Solas would have destroyed them. This is simply my personal opnion but I myself think that the elven Gods truly were god-like beings, if not on the scale of the Maker. Caspoi (talk) 14:33, December 14, 2014 (UTC)
I'll concede on the foci, as the Well of Sorrows was merely an suggestion. If Solas said so, then I must have missed it. With the exception of his identity and role in the breach, I don't think he lied much more.
"At -4600 Ancient (-3405 TE) the elves of the great elven kingdom of Elvhenan are believed to first make contact with the dwarves, 1,500 years before the arrival of humans in Thedas." This is taken from the dwarven page on the wiki. Elves do have some contact with dwarves. Trade perhaps, which certainly would include slaves as slavery in old Elvhenan and the old dwarven empire have been confirmed. Humans appear in Thedas roughly -2000TE. In -1655TE the quickening is first noticed. First noticed would mean scattered occurences of death by age. It doesn't mean all elves are now mortal. "220 TE or -975 Ancient: The Magisters resorted to a horrifying blood ritual that sank Arlathan into the earth, destroying it utterly and deciding the war in their favor. The conquest of the elven kingdom was complete: All those who did not perish with their city were enslaved, their spirit crushed and their ancient culture destroyed forever." That means several thousands of years for the interracial mix that eventually led to modern mortal elves. Also, the primevial thaig had an elven artifact in it. If it was a large scale, know that there were several thousands of years from the first contact with the dwarves, until supermajority of elves being mortal. And it doesn't have to have been a large scale, as elvish population never had to be exceptionally large. Longer lifespans often corresponds to low fertility, and vica verca. If the Elven population only numbered a few millions (which is about average for a medieval nation), then it wouldn't take too much effort to spread out the dilluted blood over several centuries. This is of course assuming that the "pure" elven leaders were mostly killed off by slave revolters or Tevinters, and the remnants went to "in uthenera" after the fall.
I didn't mean destroyed as in broken, I meant "deactivated" and rendered useless for a prolonged period of time.
I also think the elven gods were just the most powerful of the elves. Maybe they weren't all selfless and great either. Learning about Skyhold's elven name and its meanings got me thinking on another line. Skyhold is "the place where the sky was held back" and the Fereldan enchanter who lived there later said that "the Veil is old here". Now think of the orbs and their effects on the Veil, and Solas' dialogue early in the game about how great the world would be if the Veil didn't exist and the Fade and mortal world were mixed together. What if that's how things used to be, long before Arlathan? The Maker made one world and the spirits and mortals coexisted. Then some spirits started turning into demons and the Golden City turned black and the wo8rld got dangerous, so the elven "gods" made the orbs to create the Veil, locking spirits into the Fade. The orbs made the Veil, which is why they also have the power to rip it open. Fen'Harel decided that both demons and his fellow "gods" were dangerous, so he locked away the gods as well. The world as we know it was set up, and then later came Arlathan, Tevinter, and everything else leading to the present day.188.8.131.52 (talk) 20:03, December 14, 2014 (UTC)
- I have thought that about skyhold. But I do not think the elven pnathron were in fact "gods" I think were indeed kings amd queens. The highest of rulers, believed to be gods because they could not die. Because the foci they created allowed them more power than any mage could ever hope to wield. Fenharel was the one who rebelled, he abandoned the "way of the foci" he only returned because of Mythal, his true love and the one who totally friendzoned him. He felt sorry for the slaves of elvenhan and for those who worshipped his kin as gods. He wanted change. Mythal agreed. She was killed for that. And in turn, fen harel used Elgar'nans orb to "Banish" them. This allowed the forgotten ones, dark twisted versions of the elven gods to create the blight and bring it to the world. Thats all i got so far.... 184.108.40.206 (talk) 20:38, December 14, 2014 (UTC)
After the revelation that Arlathan wasn't destroyed by Tevinter, but rather by the elves themselves (by Solas as far as I can recall), I started to wonder how much of the ancient history of Thedas that is simply incorrect, the thedosians base most of their knowledge of this time upon myth and they have hardly any hard evidence.
Also, what if the "Elvhen", who were immortal and all had the gift magic, were not the entirety of the ancient elven people but only the ruling class (like in Tevinter were mages make up the nobility), and when the quickening hit, these mages simply went bonkers with fear of their impending demise, or maybe the lower classes rebelled when it turned out that their opressors where not as all-powerful as they had thought. --Sadandyrkaar (talk) 23:39, December 14, 2014 (UTC)
- Indeed...it seems like the current Thedas history comprises of just a few scattered pieces of shattered glass that everyone tries to claim is the whole mirror. --KeladinStorm (talk) 00:20, December 15, 2014 (UTC)
I agree with the theory for most parts. I also played DA:I believing Solas was an ancient elf, maybe another agent of Fen'Harel, as Felassan had been. What I don't agree with is the idea that the old Gods were mostly benevolent, or that The Forgotten Ones had been the main oppressors of the old empire. The Forgotten Ones couldn't have been one of the rulers, because one of the condex entries say that Andruil had tried to hunt down the Forgotten Ones in the "Void," who are described as "wicked things that thrive in the abyss." So I'm guessing that The Forgotten Ones existed somewhat separately from the "People" and the Gods.
So the other Gods, the "good" gods, must have been the primary rulers. But according to the inscriptions found at Mythal's temple, and the things Solas says, a lot of the Gods were brutal, and teetering on tyrannical. For example, Andruil had sacrificed and hunted elves, Falon'Din had an unsatiable hunger for war and blood, and Ghilan'nain had sacrificed her own creations in order to ascend to godhood (which leads to the idea that some, if not all, of the Gods had originally been normal elves possessing exceptional gifts/powers). Whether they had always been this way is not certain, but it seems like Mythal was the only one who could stop them from completely wreaking havoc- she tried to stop Falon'Din, and she tricked Andruil to prevent her from hunting the other gods. I speculate that Mythal was who Solas had in mind when he tells the Inquisitor, "while one selfless woman/man may walk away from lures of power's corruption, no group has ever done so." While the other Gods abused their powers and took advantage of the People, Mythal had tried to establish order, and ultimately paid the price.
Whether Solas/Fen'Harel instigated his "rebellion" before or after her murder is not certain. And I'm not even sure what Solas had been a God of prior to being labelled as "The Rebel God." --KeladinStorm (talk) 00:20, December 15, 2014 (UTC)
I could see a game revolved around a rebellion of the sorts, but it won't be the only plot of the game, like DAI, there'll be an overarching plot, with major sub-plots. I see it being a sub-plot, with Fen'Harel having other goals too. So in that part, I think DA4, if there is one, which is more possible now after sales and reception, could revolve around that. In regards to the elves of old, I do agree with your theory, bar some faults, but it's nice. I like the idea that the elven gods were extremely powerful, but mundane beings. However I think this could be expanded on. I think that there is a possibility that they were rulers that were possibly possessed by extremely powerful beings of the fade. 16:53, December 15, 2014 (UTC)
- I hope the main over arching plot of DA4 is about a qunari invasion or something, just so Bioware can finally explain their origins. In regards to the elven gods being possessed, its possible, I think the codex entry about the ascension Ghilan'nain is just super interesting and hints at the elven pantheon being like god-kings who have super powerful magical abilities and possibly become possessed to complete their ascension.
Also, has anyone else noticed how the elgar'nan mosaic seems to look as though he's holding an orb? 18:58, December 15, 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps the Elven gods are merely successful examples of what the Magisters of old attempted. They were the most powerful magically of the old Elven rulers and somehow (sacrifice perhaps?) managed to ascend to true godhood, maybe by physically crossing into the fade. The void that was described as the home of the Forgotten ones, for example, sounds a lot like a section of the fade that was sealed off. So perhaps the Elven gods accession meant crossing over into the fade.
Also, I'm guessing that we'll find out more about the Qunari in Volume 2 of World of Thedas. Though from what Iron Bull said when questioned about it, I'd say the Qunari was a heretical branch of a religion in their homeland, got into a fight with the ruling powers and were expelled, moving on to Thedas and Par Vollen. - Croix 129
Damn Flemeth, she always wanted all of this to happen (from the events of the Fifth Blight to the Inquisition) and now she could ether have Morrigan or the Inquisitor working for her. Besides that Hawke is gone again (though if he could have died he wont have that influence in future games anymore, just like the Warden). Hope the Maker is real and he stops these Elven mages, that would be awesome (we need more Andraste explained in the future title)....--Tesla Effect (talk) 04:58, December 16, 2014 (UTC)
- While I don't mind them explaining more of the qunari background in a book, Bioware will have to put that information in-game at some point. Otherwise they risk making a blunder of it and have something in-game that no one understands unless they read that book. I was also thinking more of the qunari/kossith race origins and all the things that Iron Bull mentions about dragon blood and the fact that a qunari inquisitor has the same effect to crossroads as an elf. If bioware explain that in a book, I will be annoyed, that deserves an in-game explanation in my opinion. 13:49, December 16, 2014 (UTC)
Don't know if this was mentioned before but: "The Dalish use "harellan" to mean "traitor to one's kin," but the word does not appear in any elven text before the Towers Age. The ancient root-word is related to "harillen," or opposition, and "hellathen," or noble struggle. The Dalish call Fen'Harel a god of deception, but I posit a far more accurate translation would be "god of rebellion."- So I think we're on the right path in thinking that he's instigating a rebellion, but for what ends, there's a wide array of possibilities.
Also this on Tumblr: 'Unfortunately, his plan [to make things better by sealing the gods away] backfired. Abelas tells us that it wasn't the Imperium that destroyed the culture of the ancient elves - the ancient elves destroyed themselves. Without their Creators they descended into war and destroyed themselves. Without their Creators they were further destroyed by humans. Long after this happened, Fen'Harel awoke. In horror he realized what he had done, what his actions had caused - elves are now enslaved in Tevinter, subjugated in alienages, persecuted and killed by humans, or wandering the wilds as but shadows of their former glory, clinging to scraps of the past and being seriously mistaken about ancient elven lore. He wanted to free them, but thanks to what he did, they've virtually lost everything. Their history, power, culture, immortality and widespread aptitude for magic. Crystal spires twining through the branches, palaces among the clouds, spells that took years to weave and once created joined older magics in an unending symphony - that was what was lost. This is not what he wanted. He regrets sorely what he did and references this in dialogue - [he calls it] a mistake made by a younger elf.
He tried to make things better by sharing his knowledge with modern elves (the Dalish) but as we hear from him in dialogue they turned him away, called him mad, wrong, flatear, etc. It makes him think that the modern elves aren't his people, the ancient ones are. All of this is a huge part of why Solas is filled with such quiet sadness and loneliness, and a huge part of what Cole senses when he touches Solas' mind and sees the pain there. A pain that he [Cole] can't heal, Solas tells him.
Fen'Harel wanted to right his wrong, fix his mistake. He tried to use his orb to unlock the Eluvian and let the elven gods back into the world, but he was too weak when he awoke. Desperate, he gave the orb to Corypheus, since Corypheus had enough power to activate it.'
I don't agree with it entirely, but it is interesting to ponder and this Kotaku article (despite not liking the website much) http://kotaku.com/dragon-age-inquisitions-ending-explained-1671137779 is pretty interesting. 09:44, December 16, 2014 (UTC)
- But why then did the Old Gods look like dragons while Myhtal and Fen'Harel had elven shapes? if you want to think that the tevinter pantheon and the elven one were the same I propose that the Old Gods were the forgotten ones (who allegedly hated the elves). Caspoi (talk) 12:58, December 16, 2014 (UTC)
- I disagree with the theory, but who's to say that they were always in the shape of dragons? Maybe the souls of the elven gods were trapped in these dragons? Or something else occurred which led to a change in form. Remember Flemeth can also shapeshift into a dragon, though that's more of her power rather than her natural form. Regardless, I've been saying that the old gods were indeed the forgotten ones for quite a while, so I agree with you on that spectrum. 14:25, December 16, 2014 (UTC)
- what if the old gods arent the forgotten ones, but actually just tools of theirs, and so is the blight. Basically, corrupting an old god allows a forgotten one to manifest some of their power from wherever they were imprisoned. And the soul of an old god, like kierans, is the remnant of that forgotten one. Maybe to open the prison solas used the soul of an elven god, mythal, and a forgotten one. To reopen it he must do the same. But I don't know why he would want to free those he imprisoned. Seems like they were all buttholes. 220.127.116.11 (talk) 15:56, December 16, 2014 (UTC)
Somehow, I think that Solas/the Dread Wolf was not a "God" in the same time than most of the other, or more accuratly "ascended" after the others. It would explain why he rebelled against the others when he saw how power corrupted them. It could explain why Fen'Harel hadn't "worshippers" like the other gods and ended in a bad light in Dalatian legends. It is also possible that he spearheaded a revolution but refused to become the ruler of it, thus entering "in uthenera" either because sealing the gods costed him too much energy or simply refused to replace them as a sole ruler, for he feared what power would turn him into.
Of course, it all ended badly, for without a clear leader, Revolution often end in factions warring one another for dominance, and probably destroyed each others and Arlathan, while the would be Tevinter encroached on their borders. Plagued by new hatred, the elves probably never managed to unite again against the humans and what remained of their nation was destroyed. It possibly why Fen'Harel ended hated in the Dalatian legends : he led the rebellion but vanished when he was deemed necessary, so the survivors of the other gods' followers told their own tales about the Dread Wolf, and since slavery at the hands of humans followed the Revolution, those tales took root easily. It's maybe why Solas is so angry with the Dalatians : the legends they tell are practically a victory for the ones he defeated, the other "gods".--Urthan (talk) 18:38, December 16, 2014 (UTC)
Wow that was quite the read, and very interesting. I wanted to bring up a factoid for the OP though. The theory of elven immortality being lost through "mixing of blood" in intermarriages between races doesn't seem likely. The DA lore specifically states that all elf/human offspring are known as elf-blooded. From what I understand, elven immortality was lost simply due to close human proximity. I personally believe elven immortality may have been simply part of an ancient spell that was cast by elves eons ago that was somehow disrupted with the arrival of humans. Freakium (talk) 19:14, December 16, 2014 (UTC)