Hello, my darlings. I normally don’t do this, since I prefer to just enjoy things I like, and ignore those I don’t. But on occasion, tales of my own exploits reach my ears. I’ve already brought it up once before and you may recall it. However, this latest tale is just disappointing, for lack of better word. I tried to give it the benefit of the doubt, I really did. But honestly… it was like reading about a totally different person. Let’s put aside the ridiculous posing for a bit. I’m sure you’ve all seen plenty of that.
Fair warning for those who care about spoilers. They will abound. Continue at your own peril.
At the outset, there are problems with this tale. Let’s just be clear… Alistair, or at least the Alistair I’ve met, tends to be jocular. He jokes. He laughs. He jabs at people with his wit. At least, that’s who I thought he was. But in this tale?
This is essentially all he does, for the entire tale. It reminds me of a certain someone else in his tireless and single-minded devotion to a cause.
Which is a large problem. Nobody in this story finds anything funny. Especially me.
And of course, there’s Varric, who I still have no real idea as to why he is along, aside from perhaps boredom. He’s typically an amusing talespinner as well, but… well, he doesn’t joke either. He’s just there to have things explained to him, in order for the audience to understand what’s going on.
Ever the storyteller, he’ll tell it even while it’s being told around him. I wish he would have injected some of his own humor as well, I like having him around.
But the thing that bothers me most was about what they did to me.
At the beginning of the story, I stab a man at a fancy party for reasons unknown. To heighten the drama, I suppose.
Later it is explained that this man once knew that I transported slaves for the Felicisima Armada. I presumably stabbed this man while in Tevinter, slavery capital of Thedas, in order to keep people from knowing that I used to work with him. Because… that’s a horrible secret that I never want to get out.
Except everyone who knows of me knows that I did, because I already told them. That’s the whole bloody reason that I had to steal the bloody tome, and why the Qunari were so angry at me in the first place. So I stabbed this man. Oh well, that’s ok. I’ve stabbed a lot of men in my time, and perhaps it was simply because I’m a bloodthirsty pirate. Perhaps Alistair has been hiding under a rock all this time and doesn’t know, and I just can’t stand the thought of Alistair knowing that I once trafficked in slaves.
We’ll let that slide for now.
Then, I’m captured by the Qunari, kept prisoner, and questioned by the Tamassran. She demands to know my name over and over.
And deep down… I guess that the story me is really guilty about it all. She’s sad and mopey and doesn’t believe she deserves redemption.
Now… it might just be me, but I remember hearing a few words of wisdom from somebody else. A pirate queen, who had some very good advice.
But that’s silly. Clearly, I’ve been harboring these guilty feelings for so long. After all, I can’t just be a woman who’s confident and strong on her own. I have to have some sort of past trauma to make me strong. I have to harbor all this guilt inside.
I wonder what that wise old pirate would have to say about that?
And then, at the end of it all, after she demands my name over and over while we pop down memory lane, and eventually come to this.
The very symbol of our power struggle. She demanded my name, and I refused to give it to her. We fought over it, and she tried to break me down. And in a final moment of defiance, in a final moment of victory, I give it to her. Why? Why even bother? Why give her that satisfaction?
(Especially when it sounds like a bloody drunken compliment)
And then at the end of it all, I don’t even get to bloody kill her!
I’ll kill a man for knowing a secret about me, but I’ll let this one live because… why? Breasts maybe?
Auugh, the whole thing is infuriating. They took me, a strong, confident pirate woman, someone who took hold of her own life, and turned me into an inconsistent victim seeking redemption. I kill people because I’m afraid of my shameful past getting out. But I don’t kill someone who has been threatening, torturing, and attempting to drug me for weeks, because… of no apparent reason. I’m actually seeking redemption not because I’ve slain so many men and women with my blades and my pirating, or because the results of my actions spurred a Qunari invasion of Kirkwall, but because I’ve got all this guilt for killing a shipload of slaves in an act of self-preservation.
Does this really sound like someone you know?
It’s cringe-worthy. It’s disappointing. But beyond it all, I take some measure of solace in the words from that same old pirate queen. This shouldn’t bother me.
Those Who Speak profess to know me. They don’t. I do.