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Gamlen is of the Amell family, who are nobility in Kirkwall. The Amells have an estate in Hightown. Gamlen inherited the Amell estate after his elder sister Leandra ran off with a Fereldan apostate named Malcolm Hawke.
Gamlen is a member of the Amell family, relatives of the Hawkes, to whom they turn when they flee Lothering and travel to Kirkwall. However, he has gambled away the family fortune, and lost the estate to slavers. He now lives in Lowtown. When Hawke arrives to Kirkwall, the City Guard is preventing passage to all Fereldan refugees. In order to get his family in, he commits Hawke and his/her sibling to working with either a mercenary or smuggling group for a year.When Hawke breaks into the Amell family estate and brings back his/her grandfather's will, it is revealed that Leandra and her children were to inherit the estate, while Gamlen was to live on a stipend.