Dragon Age: Asunder

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Dragon Age: Asunder is the third novel in the Dragon Age series. It is set in Orlais shortly after the events of Act 3, but before Varric's interrogation and expands upon the mage/templar conflict.

Tropes used in Dragon Age: Asunder include:

  • Bad Boss: Lord Seeker Lambert isn't well-liked by the majority of his subordinates, personally, but he terrifies them so much that nearly all of them will submit to his orders. Those who don't meet his expectations tend to have very short careers.
  • The Chessmaster: Divine Justinia V is one of the rare benevolent versions of this trope. She's a master of Orlais' backstabbing game, but is working towards the benefit of both mages and templars despite the many people looking to remove her from office.
  • Deliberately Bad Example: Lambert and his flunky towards Evangeline, one of the rare idealistic templars.
  • Demoted to Extra: Leliana makes several appearances in the book and does aid the group in the finale, but is mostly left in the background for the newer characters.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Cole (after figuring out what he was) is implied to kill Lord Seeker Lambert at the end of the book.
  • Ending Memorial Service: The book ends with a funeral for Wynne at Andoral's Reach.
  • End of an Age: The book goes into detail on to how exactly the Chantry lost power and the Mage-Templar War really began one year after the events of the previous game, but still a year before Varric was able to tell that Kirkwall was anything more than a straightforward mage rebellion.
  • Expy: Adrian for Anders. She even betrays her former lover in a plot to free the mages by provoking templar reaction. However, she does not have the clear-cut Freudian Excuse of Vengeance in her mind, making her more of a Jerkass and much less of a Woobie.
    • Made explicit in the last chapter, where Rhys actually mentally compares the two.
    • Lord Seeker Lambert for Meredith, though he is ever-so-slightly more stubborn. Again, given the lack of supernatural influences, he comes off as much less justified.
      • When he explains his Freudian Excuse of working under the Tevinter Imperium to Evangeline, his excuses actually start to sound quite a bit like Fenris' as well...
  • Fiery Redhead: Adrian, both figuratively and literally. Deconstructed when it turns out her hotheadedness is what ultimately leads her to starting the rebellion in full.
  • Foe Yay: Rhys and Evangeline are both obviously attracted to each other despite their initial animosity.
  • For Science!: One of the issues the mages bring up to support rebellion is the complete stranglehold the Chantry has on research into magical phenomena as well as more mundane sciences out of fear of blood magic.
  • Freudian Excuse: Present for both Lord Seeker Lambert and Cole, though the latter doesn't fully remember his.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Evangeline smacks Pharamond after the latter begins weeping uncontrollably. It manages to bring him to his senses.
  • Ghost Amnesia: Cole may or may not be a ghost, but he still has next to no memory of his life outside the White Spire.
  • Heroic BSOD: Wynne, Rhys, and Cole all have one at various points. Wynne after seeing her carefully planned peaceful negotiations break into a full brawl, Cole after Lambert revealing he wasn't human, and Rhys after Evangeline was mortally wounded while he was too weak to make a difference.
  • Heroic Sacrifice/ Go Out with a Smile: Wynne gives up the Spirit of Faith, the only thing keeping her alive, to save Evangeline, happily noting that she gets to actually aid her son before she dies.
  • Hannibal Lecture: The Pride Abomination that was formerly Pharamond attempts several of these. None work for more than a few moments.
  • Hot-Blooded: Even after thirty years, Grand Enchanter Fiona, returning from The Calling, is just as hot-blooded. Unsurprisingly, she is a member of the radical Libertarian Fraternity and opposed to Wynne's more moderate Aquetarian fraternity.
    • Senior Enchanter Adrian makes Fiona seem mellow. Rhys, though calmer than the previous two, has his moments as well.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: As with just about every Dragon Age story, the group has one major adventure in the Fade.
  • Karma Houdini: Adrian, and how. She's probably the most egregious example in all Dragon Age media. Not only does she betray her ex-lover and have Pharamond killed in cold blood, she turns the Mage-Templar war into a full-blown conflict, nearly condemning the rest of her colleagues to death. What comeuppance does she receive when she admits to her crimes? Absolutely none. She even replaces First Enchanter Edmonde as leader of the White Spire Circle.
  • Knight Templar: Lord Seeker Lambert is intent on bringing order to the Circle. Even if he has to break away from Chantry authority entirely to do it. Senior Enchanter Adrian fits as well.
  • Line in the Sand: Fiona offers this in a speech to the surviving mages at the end of the book: they can either go back to the templars and hope for mercy or play this revolution out in full. They choose the latter, but not without a fairly close vote.
  • Mercy Kill: All of Cole's victims were people in such despair that they accepted death to escape their fate when he offered it.
  • Mordor: The Western Approach. A massive, cold and unnaturally purple desert wasteland created from an area that never recovered from the the Second Blight.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: A random, unnamed Templar recruit has a short moment of this when he accidentally kills one the the First Enchanters he meant to capture during the hostilities at the conclave. He doesn't get to reflect further as he's shortly killed by the now enraged remaining Enchanters.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Lambert is very good at these. Rhys, Cole, and Evangeline all end up on the receiving end of these from him personally or by his many flunkies.
  • Odd Friendship: Cole strikes up one with Pharamond, seeing him as a kindred spirit. Complicated by the fact that the latter immediately forgets the former's existence after each conversation.
  • Precision F-Strike: "Fuck the Divine."
  • Power Incontinence: Pharamond theorizes that Cole's invisibility and amnesia-inducement are his own innate magic expressing itself without his knowledge. After hearing this, Cole manages to gain a measure of control over it with some effort.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Evangeline, Wynne, and Divine Justina V. By the climax of the story, they appear to be the only reasonable leaders left in this particular conflict.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Fiona and Wynne, respectively. The former repeatedly calls for independence from the Chantry. The latter attempts to negotiate with the Divine and manages to defeat the first motion for independence.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Pharamond's experiments failed because he, in a feat of rationalization only a Tranquil could accomplish, made some very inadequate seals for the demons he risked summoning.
  • Sequel Hook: Apart from outlining the final days before the Mage-Templar War, the book continuously hints at a major political upheaval in Orlais that may lead to the empire, the biggest political player in Thedas, falling apart without any specific details being revealed.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Cole fades away entirely when he realizes that he was never a human.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Evangeline faces this choice several times as the situation grows more complicated and her superior as well as the mages she's supposed to guard grow more and more extreme. She chooses "good" above "law" each time, but not without some serious soul searching on what she believes to be a Templar's true duty.
  • Unperson: Cole's normally undetectable to all but the most spiritually sensitive people, but almost all who do see or hear him slowly forget about him entirely afterwards.
    • The original Cole was a newly-discovered mage who died when the templars locked him in The Pit and forgot to feed him. They erased all records of his existence to hide their shame.
  • Undying Loyalty: Cole has his issues, but he would sooner die than allow any harm to come to Rhys.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Rhys ends up manipulated by just about everyone except Evangeline at some point.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Wynne, under orders from Divine Justina V, executes one by messages regarding the cure to Tranquility to all of the Circle of Magi towers. This both empowers the Circle's leadership and ensures that any attempt on the Templars' or Seekers' parts to cover the results up would be completely useless, forcing both sides into negotiation. Having Wynne do so also allowed Justina to claim ignorance in order to avoid political backlash that could remove her from office.
    • An earlier one is implied as well. Evangeline, after spending an extended period with mages of the local Circle, theorizes that the blood mage who attempted to assassinate the Divine at the beginning of the book was aided not by any Circle, but by one of the nobles vying for Empress Celine's throne in order to exaggerate tensions among the mages and templars in the capital. Both to serve as a distraction and remove the Empress' two biggest trump cards.
      • It's also theorized that more radical elements in the Chantry may have also been responsible for the assassination attempt.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Cole believes that he can only keep from losing himself if he has someone's attention, or is the most important thing on someone's mind before they die. He may or may not be right about that.