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I was just wondering what people thought about the Dalish - as they seem to be the one group that doesn't fit in with the rest of the world of Dragon Age - and I wasn't quite sure what to think of them myself, so I was hoping to get a few different perspectives on them.
My first Warden was Dalish - so they already have a special place in my heart - and their unbending pride in their race in spite of the adversity they face gives them a bit of a romantic appeal. Yet, even though I get that they're feared and reviled by just about everyone, I can't help but wonder if they couldn't try to be a little bit more friendly. I was a little bit annoyed with my clan in DA2, as besides Marethari they do not fail to show off the least friendly they can be for ten bloody years. Though I'm willing to forgive this, as there's very clearly something in the water of the Free Marches. I suppose this whole "stick-up-the-bum" attitude towards non-Dalish would come with being a proud, dying, race, but I mean, my Warden may have played the race card on Isolde, but he wasn't unreasonable. Or unfunny. But beyond that, I find it a little sad that right next to the whole "Mage vs. Templar" war, there is a group of people who are forced to live a nomadic life, constantly on the run just for being born different, that apparantly no one bats an eye at. And sorry if the mage thing just gets you so heated that you only want to talk about that, or if I just missed the discussion about the Dalish, I don't mean to call you apathetic so much as I find it interesting that the Elves are in a very similar situation to the Mages - minus the innate, godlike, destructive power- and yet I see very few connections between the two on the forums
That there doesn't seem to be anyone helping the Elves too forces me to root for the Dalish, even though they can be a group of colossal jerks, because at least they have the cajones to live outside the iron fist of humans. And for the record, in the whole "we will never again submit" thing, I'm discounting that bit where Merrill bows to Flemeth. With that thing, anything you can do to prevent being turned into a dragon snack is a good idea.
I take some comfort that Ferelden in my DA universe has become tolerant towards the elves. My Warden helped them during Nature of the beast and from that Lanaya rose as that clans new Keeper. My Warden put Alistair and Anora as King and Queen. King Alistair gave the Dalish a piece of land near the kocari wilds for them to live. Since Lanaya isn't fully Dalish, she is understanding and tolerant of humans and knows how to deal with them. So at the very least in Ferelden, they have made strides to finally fit in. I think that the Dalish would have to be more open towards humans for them to get some respect. But of course the humans too would have to be more open to the Dalish. I honestly think it would take a major person who spoke for the elves or a major action that the elves have done to help humans to make strides over all of Thedas.--Vincent Cousland (talk) 05:15, March 20, 2012 (UTC)
I think that the Dalish deserve to have own land and culture. I respect Dalish as Warden of any origin, I'm tolerant towards different religions. Andraste freed elves from Tevinter, but 2 centuries later Emperor Cornelius Drakon created the Chantry and ordered invastion on their newly created land, I hate humans for such racism. Dalish are people, who I care about the most in DA Universe, I don't support any side in Mage-Templar war, because it's a senseless fight to extinction. I hope land given to Dalish in Ferelden will last and won't be destroyed by the Chantry again. City Elves are stripped of their culture and identity and forced to live as beggers, they did nothing to deserve this. Elves among Qunari are more equal to the ox-men than city elves to humans, but they are less elvish than city elves. Dalish are hostile towards city elves and non-elves, but they have reasons, humans aren't trustworthy and city elves can be thier spies. I fully understand them. User 126.96.36.199
The Dalish have my sympathy; they don't deserve a lot of the crap they get from humans. That said, it's not like they're all blameless, perfect beings themselves - it's pretty clear that at least some of them look down on both humans and city elves, calling both "flat ears" just like humans call elves "knife ears". Zevran mentions that the Dalish in Antiva are often violent toward humans, too - Fereldan is just lucky to have one of the better clans. Plus, we really only have the word of the Dalish themselves that their Arlathan was some perfect, Utopian society. If we only had the Tevinters' word for it, we'd probably only hear good things about the ancient Imperium, too. But I don't want to sound like I'm saying the Dalish are jerks or anything - they're like every faction in Dragon Age, they have their flaws and their advantages, both their bad apples and their good ones. They really do deserve lands of their own, and the humans are firmly in the wrong for their institutional marginalization of elves, especially Tevinter. --UrLeingod (talk) 07:15, March 20, 2012 (UTC)
My canon Warden is Dalish, and I have a soft spot for elves in general, which should make my stance obvious. I really admire the fact that, despite the ambient adversity elves in general face, the Dalish were able to regroup, form strong communities and preserve their culture. Of course, I do also think that they're sometimes excessively cautious and insulary: shutting themselves off from everyone else is not going to lessen distrust, but, on the whole, I completely understand where they're coming from. My Warden also asked King Alistair for land for the Dalish at the end of DAO, and I think it's a very positive evolution. Hopefully, in time, things will look up. I think humans still have a long way to go to change their perception of elves (especially city elves), but this might be a step in the right direction. The Dalish would also need to evolve in their attitudes, but I agree with Lanaya that the first step should come from the human side. Still, it's a two-way street, and the main means of moving forward is dialogue and exchange.
Concerning the unfriendliness of Marethari's clan in DA2, you have to remember the circumstances they're in. The Free Marches, and especially the vicinty of Kirkwall, is definitely not a pleasant place to be. The first time Hawke visits, she/he's a stranger, so they obviously don't know what to expect. After that, Hawke is saddled with Merrill, whether she/he agrees with her or not. And considering how the entire clan despises her, it's really no surprise that they'd continue showing distrust for the person who keeps bringing her back to visit. Nilfalasiel (talk) 11:55, March 20, 2012 (UTC)
My first and favourite Warden was a City Elf, so they'll hold a place in my heart forever. He was also at least a little hostile to humans, his history dictating his response towards them: (City Elf Origin). That said, I think the humans need to give the Elves their own lands and leave them the hell alone for once. Perhaps an Elf gaining an Arling will help a bit in deciding a better future for this broken people. I was always annoyed in Dragon Age at how oblivious most of the humans seemed to why Elves don't like them, I mean REALLY, you don't know why they hate your kind? Do you humans not study your own history? But on the subject of the Dalish, I quite liked them as my Warden was the aforementioned City Elf and found these "savage" elves fascinating and almost romantic in their pride and tradition; I only wish a city elf character could actually join the Dalish at the end of DAO. :D EzzyD (talk) 12:25, March 20, 2012 (UTC)
As a matter of fact, no, a lot of them don't read their own history; most of them are peasants and tradesmen, neither of which is likely to have a solid education in history, assuming they're even literate. And they don't really deserve all the blame for their treatment of elves: their religion all but encourages, their lords all but encourage it, and its the only way they have any knowledge or memory of it being. It's easy to see how wrong it is when you're looking at it from outside, but most people don't give much thought to things that have been a certain way for so long because they're more concerned with making a living, and if they don't give it much thought, they can't really see the problems with it or conceive of an alternative. So in my opinion, a better general education would be an excellent first step to getting humans and elves to reconcile. --UrLeingod (talk) 22:32, March 20, 2012 (UTC)
I have mixed feelings towards the dalish, their obvious loathing for all the other races I find somewhat annoying, they have good reasons for that loathing but in the end it doesnt serve any purpose. Elves are a dying race, they dont have the numbers to start a rebellion and therefor I feel that they need to end their obsession with their old culture and try to make a new life for themselves, dwarves exists in fewer numbers than elves but as far as I know the relationship betwen humans and dwarves are good.The elves in the alienages should definetley be given equal rights to humans but the dalish would also need to let go of their hatred for humans and try to work for a better future for their people, clinging to their old ways will only make things worse.Blighter (talk) 00:37, March 21, 2012 (UTC)
My first and my canon Warden are both city elves, and when I went to the Dalish camp they were a bit offensive, as if I was a lesser being because I wasn't one of them. Cultural heritage is important, but that does not mean they need to bite foreigner's head off, which they clearly were wanting to do in my case.
I also remember that in Sundermount, whenever I'd step my foot into the Dalish camp some elf would always call me shem and tell me to get going, as if Hawke's presence would taint them.
All in all, I think they need to calm down and stop being so xenophobic. I understand the loss of Arlathan was devastating, but my city elf Warden wasn't part of that. Some friendly "Hello, cousin" would have been nice. GabrielleduVent 01:06, March 21, 2012 (UTC)
Honestly, I never really minded the fact that they treated Hawke like scum that much. I played a snarky Hawke, who is indeed entertaining, but also an utter wanker. I would shun him too. Also, again, when you cross over to the Free Marches, you get a lifetime supply of "stupid asshole pills" that you are required by law to take. But I don't think that the Dalish loathe all other races, after all they need to defend themselves, not just from mobs, or some random racist lord, but rather the fact that they claim to be freedmen, when the Chantry that everyone listens to has declared them a slave race. In light of all this, I can understand where the suspiscion come from, and I wonder if the Chantry ever thought of giving the City Elves more rights, would Dalish/Human relations improve? Of course, as the Val Royeax Alienage is described as being the very worst slum in all of Thedas, even though it sits right under the Divine's nose, I can see what the odds of that happening are.
Okay, now random thought tangent, but Zathrian almost serves as a personification for the worst traits of what I'm gonna call the entire "Dalish Mentality". He's too proud, too traditional, has a memory that is way too long, and clings to the past like a newborn to their mother. These are aspects that seem to be the root cause of every problem any Dalish character has, or am I missing something? --IndieGinge (talk) 02:24, March 21, 2012 (UTC)
My canon Warden is a dalish, and I've formed the story around him so well now it's nearly impossible for me to play another race. He's suspicious against the humans, because he is young, and all he really knows about them are from stories and the general tussling with merchants and bandits. No good impressions. And he's well aware that humans regard him and his people with superstition and condescension, as a race of barbaric wild-elves and apostates. There is no trust or friendship between humans and dalish until it has been earned, and then there is still religious, cultural and historical barriers. Even friendly humans are used to see the elves as servants and second-class citizens, and the dalish are heathens and sometimes bandits. The dalish in their turn, have lost so much and received nothing from the humans that hasn't been taken from them again. They simply cannot rely on anyone else but those they know they can trust. But they're also making the mistake to blame innocent humans of the horrors their ancestors might have done (compare Nathaniel and Arl Howe). Then again, humans are doing nothing to undo what their ancestors did, and simply continues the trend of oppression, because that's all they know (remember the discussion with Leliana). This indifference just fuels the dalish bitterness, and who can blame them?
I haven't played Awakening (yet), but from what I've read about Velanna, she and Zathrian are the worst dalish has to offer (that we have encountered in the games, at least). Their suspicion and hatred has taken over them, and makes them justify unfair acts. There were also a mention in codexes about clans further north who lives as bandits, attacking humans like guerrillas, and clans in Rivaini that lives in peace with the humans and have semi-permanent camps near human settlements. So the dalish may see themselves as one people, but all clans are different, and it's unfair to judge all dalish and clans from the actions and behavior of one dalish or one clan. Towards Hawke, master Ilen took everything as an insult, while keeper Marethari was kind and fair. All are individuals.
I think the dalish general feelings towards city elves are a mixture of suspicion, confusion and pity. As the dalish codex about the city elves says, the dalish are taught to be proud and strong, and they don't understand the city elves who accept the human oppression. Of course the dalish would be suspicious. They're probably wondering if the city elves have been brainwashed or something, to tolerate all that is done to them. Many city elves seems to think the dalish are just stories, or that they're savage barbarians and bandits. A runaway city elf who finds the dalish ought to be scared, and the dalish taking him in ought to be suspicious. To Pol, Mahariel's clan was friendly and welcoming. Lanaya was not born among the Dalish, and she became the keeper's apprentice. And once you've proven yourself in Zathrian's clan it didn't matter what race you were or your origin - If you did good deeds you were treated friendly. It's all about proving yourself worthy of their trust.
I was worried when Alistair gave the elves their own land in Ferelden. This is just begging for problem in the future. The humans' general feelings towards the dalish right now might be friendly, after their help in the Blight, but in two or three generations we'll be back in the same situation as with the Dales. Can the elves cope with loosing not just two, but three homelands? Because I'm afraid this is what's going to happen. They don't have the strength to win a war against the humans. I really want the elves to have their own homeland, but I can't see where? Giving them the Brecilian Forest? Same situation there. It's still in Ferelden, and I don't know how the fereldans will like it to have a third of their country chopped off to the elves - and once the elven population starts to grow the forest might not be enough to feed them all. The Kocari Wilds? The Chasinds lives there, so it will only brew new conflicts. Disband Tevinter and have the elves take over it? There will still be humans living there, and the Qunari are just next-door. The Donarks? That's terrible far away, in an environment no-one really knows about. The elves calls the walk from Tevinter to the Dales "The long walk" with many giving up or perishing on the way, and the Donarks are even further away.--SylvanLore (talk) 10:07, March 21, 2012 (UTC)
My canon warden is a andrastian human noble, so he did have some bigotry against elves, specially Dalish. However all his choices resulted in improvement for them. Personally I think they're annoying, the things I most hate about them is represented in Zathrian's personality, their loathing for all the other races hasn't done them any good; I do respect them for the strong convictions and the "we will never again submit" thing. More important I love them for simply breaking apart from the ever irritating Tolkien Elves are that better than you. Always.
Mandalore 22:19, March 21, 2012 (UTC)
I actually deeply sympathise with the Dalish. Like them or not, I think everyone would admit, that they were deeply wronged. Now, to put it further, I like the ones, who hate humans, the best. Those of Zathrian's or Velanna's mindset. They have each and every reason to hate humans and act racist towards them, so it's only natural. I said it before, and I'll say it again: most of Theodosian humans really are scum. In big part thanks to our beloved Chantry. I was so disappointed, that in DA2 there's no outcome of choosing to give some land to the Dalish. Hope I'd be able to make this choice again in DA3, but on a larger scale. Possible premises could include (but not limited to) smoking ruins of Val Royeaux or whatever continent the qunari crawled out from.-Algol- (talk) 12:22, March 22, 2012 (UTC)