[DRAGON AGE]: It’s been a few years since we last saw Leliana. What has she been doing?
[SHERYL CHEE]: After the Fifth Blight, Leliana was summoned to Val Royeaux by her friend and mentor, Divine Justinia V.
[DA]: There’s definitely some history between them.
[SC]: Yes—Justinia was formerly known as Revered Mother Dorothea, the woman who saved Leliana when Leliana was betrayed and almost killed by her old mistress, Marjolaine. Because of their history, Leliana feels a close bond with Justinia; naturally, when Justinia needed her help, Leliana went to her side. She has been serving as the Divine’s Left Hand for some time now.
[DA]: How has her personality changed since her introduction to the series?
[SC]: Those who played Dragon Age: Origins might remember Leliana as a cheerful, optimistic young woman who tried her best to do what she thought was right. It’s now ten years later, and lots of things have happened. She’s not as carefree. Even if she wanted to show that side of her personality, she can’t.
[DA]: Why’s that?
[SC]: She’s a high-ranking member of the Inquisition with a great deal of responsibility, and she has to present herself a certain way for the Inquisition’s sake. However, if you prove that you’re trustworthy, and that you understand where she’s come from, she might let her guard down a little.
[DA]: How did you find revisiting Leliana?
[SC]: Coming back to Leliana gave me the chance to pull everything from Leliana’s various appearances throughout the Dragon Age world and fit them together.
[DA]: In what way?
[SC]: Leliana’s Song shared her backstory, establishing her relationship with the woman who would become the Divine. In Dragon Age: Origins, Leliana is coming to terms with her past and trying to figure out who she is. In Dragon Age II, and the Asunder and Masked Empire novels, we see Leliana in her role as Left Hand of the Divine. It’s been a long road for her, and in Inquisition, we’ll get to see how her journey has shaped her as a person, and where the path might take her in the future.
[DA]: Were there any challenges?
[SC]: Leliana is always a little tricky because of how the player’s choices in Origins can affect her. I had to make sure that no matter what the player did in Origins, Leliana’s role and character in Inquisition made sense. It’s a matter of respecting her core nature, so that regardless of what happened (or happens) to her, she’s always clearly “Leliana.”
[DA]: You said that Leliana is now “Left Hand of the Divine.” What exactly does that mean?
[SC]: As we know, Cassandra is Right Hand of the Divine: the warrior who puts herself front and center, she’s bold and direct and driven. Leliana is the Left Hand—the “sinister” hand, as it were. She hangs back in the shadows. She watches the Divine’s back, watches for enemies, waits for them to reveal their weaknesses, and comes at them from the shadows.
[DA]: Those skills must be useful for the Inquisition?
[SC]: The Inquisition is a new power, a threat to some of the existing structures within Thedas. Naturally, some people will oppose it, and Leliana will deal with these opposing forces should direct action or diplomacy fail.
[DA]: So she gets along well with the rest of the Inquisition?
[SC]: The Inquisition is Leliana’s priority. She knows that infighting will doom it to a quick and messy end, so she’s often willing to put aside her own personal feelings to do what’s best for the organization.
[DA]: Can you give us an example?
[SC]: She has a healthy respect for Cassandra, even if she doesn’t always agree with her. Ultimately, their goals align, and they’ll work together for what they believe is the greater good. It’s a little like Mom and Dad quarrelling behind closed doors, but presenting a united front to the kids. Same goes for Cullen.
[DA]: And finally, the question on everyone’s mind: How is Schmooples?
[SC]: Ah, Schmooples. Maybe we should let people find out on their own when they play the game.