Overthinking It: Andraste and Mythal


Theory: Andraste was Mythal's First, but failed because of Maferath's treachery. Mythal used one of Andraste's faithful Havard in order to carry her, as well as Andraste's ashes to a safe location, so Mythal could recover...and start again.

In the legend, a disciple of Andraste named Havard was severely injured around the time of Andraste's betrayal to her husband and commander Maferath and public execution. As he carried her ashes out of Tevinter, Havard was supposedly reached out to by Andraste, cured of his injuries, and brought to a new site in order to make a new Temple to safeguard the ashes.

However, it's possible that this was not a spirit of Andraste, but Mythal.

I believe Havard was a temporary Vessel, saved by Mythal in the same fashion that Wynne was kept alive with the spirit of Faith, or Evangeline with the same spirit. Mythal did not have her own physical body anyway, because of her murder, and then supposedly Andraste's. So, she used Havard to store Andraste away. While the entire Temple looks like a place of worship towards the Maker, we find that parts of the Temple of Sacred Ashes actually held not only lyrium, but the iconography of Mythal. As seen in the last fight against Corypheus, the ruins of the Temple revealed Mythal's mural littered with red lyrium. Mythal had a hand in the creation of the Temple, and if we believe in the story of Havard, we can also say that Mythal used her geas, or the promise of extended life, with Havard in order to have him build the temple. To have the ashes of Andraste saved. To start again.

Considering Andraste's daughters were too far away from her, as one of her daughters died and the other placed herself under exile, it's possible Mythal laid in waiting until she found Flemeth. 

However, it's important to note that this temple was under fire after its building. Or possibly, the temple existed beforehand and Mythal merely led Havard to one of her many places of worship. The Temple was attacked once around a thousand years ago. As revealed in the operation "Upon the Waking Sea", a guardian fled the Temple of Sacred Ashes a thousand years ago to a different safehouse. It's possible the original temple was dug deep into the earth, and Havard simply built on top of it. But the Veil is already old in the Temple. And the lyrium was later found, tainted red by the taint. Or perhaps, always was. The Ashes were in high demand, especially in its legend of curing any illness, but at the same time, 

In any case, the connections to Andraste and Mythal through the Temple of the Sacred Ashes are strong. Do you think Havard made the temple as a front for Mythal? Or was the Temple of Sacred Ashes merely built on top of Mythal's own place of worship? Let me know in the comments below.

Here are the theories listed from the last video on the Fade, thank you all for contributing. Feel free to pause this video at will - I've written my own thoughts on screen in relation to all your theories and beliefs. You can also read more at your leisure in the link below.

As far as this video is concerned, related readings for this theory can be found in two codex entries, as well as an operation in Inquisition: The Daughters of Andraste, Temple of Sacred Ashes, Rediscovered, and the result of Operation "Upon the Waking Sea" that was completed with Cullen's Forces.

My name is Ashe, thanks for watching. Do you believe in Andraste? Or the power of Mythal? Let me know. Fen'harel enansal.

Community Theories

Nick Straits: "Perhaps Mythal was killed by a Forgotten One and in order to prevent mass war between both sets of Gods*which would destroy Thedas, the Veil, The Fade, etc*, Solas locked them all away so everyone and everything could be protected. This would change the whole story around of Fen'Harel and paint him as the anti-hero. The Dalish are wrong about a great many things, and I think this is just one more discrepancy they have construed for a false sense of comfort.

Mythal/Flemeth says that she is sorry to Fen'Harel/Solas before she "dies" or becomes petrified. I first have a few thoughts on her present state of Flemeth/Mythal. I think that she may have simply entered a state where she is asleep for a large length of time, until she regains her energy or is somehow awakened.

That is my weaker theory since I don't have as much evidence to support it, but I thought I would share it. Now, onto my theory on why Mythal was apologizing to Fen'Harel before she "departed. We could take it simply as apologizing for leaving Fen'Harel as the last of his kind in Thedas at the moment, we could take it as her apologizing for all the evil tales that are spun about The Dread Wolf, or we could take it as her apologizing for needed someone bounded to her by The Well of Sorrows. If that third idea is true then it could tie into your idea with the Well's "waters" being made up of special composition, which ties into your Darkspawn theory about being subjects of something like the Well's waters.

Perhaps those who originally drink from the Well are pure, but if they fail in the task given to them by the master they are bound to...maybe they become tainted, maybe they become Darkspawn. So we could take her apology for her needing to reactivating an ancient ritual/magic that was perhaps forever barred from use ever again."

It's highly possible that your first notion is correct. Solas said that they were already at war with each other, and repeatedly marks how vicious each God was while in the Temple of Mythal. Hell, I've started not paying attention to anything the Dalish say. It's just like the Orlesians - view is so skewed towards a specific agenda. "Humans are bad" "Elves are bad" Yeesh. As far as your thoughts on why Mythal apologized...man. Sometimes I wish fans datamined that scene, cause now we know that she was passing on her power to him since she had ages to do it and he just woke up. But yes, it can also mean that as well. He indirectly says (if he hates the Inquisitor) that he was called a madman and other awful things before, and hints at betrayal against him time and time again. Mythal may have been the cause of it.

Usarnavon: "I had come to a similar conclusion regarding the Veil.My theory was that the Veil was a construct that took the magic within the world and separated from the physical into it's own world - this being the Fade.
When asking Cole about what it's like to be a spirit (or what it's like in the Fade, I can't recall), he remarks on the Veil being a "construct."
My theory is that the creation of the Fade was meant as an attack of some sort. By taking the magic of the world and sealing it behind a wall that only the sleeping can breach, one limits the power of all magical beings, and if spirits existed before the Veil, it would keep them from reaching people to harm or possess them. If there were a war of some sort, such between mighty ancient elves, the Veil might be a great way to turn a losing battle into a winning one. It might also be a way for one ancient being attributed with locking away the Gods and Forgotten Ones to keep the mighty battles from affecting the common folk. There are probably plenty of holes in this theory, but I think that the subject of why the Veil was created is worthy of being broached."

Shoot, I think I know what Usarnavon means as far as the "what's it like to be a spirit". There's two references - one early in the beginning after you get Skyhold, and the other being if you decided to side with Solas and make him more spirit (and to those who did it - YOU ANIMALS ;_:) 

Anyway, it throws me for a loop when thinking even more about the Fade as an attack. So good! I like this idea. It fits with the understanding that the Elven pantheon were warring against each other. But what I'm curious about, adding on with what Usarnavon says, is what's the timeline? Was the Veil pre-war? Post-war? Did its creation stop the war or ignite the flame? It seems that Elves were always immortal, and that it ended up changing over time. I wonder if the older Elves attacked each other's immortality. Or at least whatever happens to a "god" when they die. (Hi Mythal!) 

But highly agree. "Why was the Veil created" is a huge question in the book. I'm really hoping for some story DLC to pop up soon to alleviate this curiosity.

Kaelxx C: "I've always theorized that the veil is of elvish origin (originally I thought this was the Dread Wolf's betrayal but I need to revise that). Inquisition has only cemented this theory further to me. Even without the veil, the fade and thedas are still separate (yet connected) places, the large influx of fade energies everywhere could've been part of the elven immortality. The creation of the veil ruined that. Solas even describes spells that take centuries to cast and harmonized with old magics, which tells me the elves had to have ruled for a long ass time. They could probably have cast the spell to create the veil if some spells took that long. I don't think the elven gods were just mages (even Flemeth hints they are something more) but they are not gods. Perhaps they were spirits taking elven form and being worshiped. Flemeth describes Mythal as "a wisp" which is a fragment of killed spirits/demons.

Solas' descriptions of Arlathan also sound similar to the golden city to me. A city floating in the clouds filled with wonder and power. We already know from Masked Empire that Elven "realms" in the fade react positively to elves and negatively to others. I figured maybe the blight was the result of the city reacting to the blood magic and humans. In this way the city is also literally the seat of the gods (just the elven ones). 

The thing that gets me is the old gods and elven lore. I always figured they were the forgotten ones, but Solas claims there is no link between elves and the dragon old gods. Despite this, he knows tons of things about the blight (even implying several times that once the old gods are all dead it will be worse. I am assuming this means the darkspawn would just go rapid/insane like the mother and destroy everything). Flemeth could turn into a Dragon (which would make sense for the old gods to just be possessing dragons/taken their forms and still be elvish), and tevinter was basically brought up on the Elves scraps (so the old gods they worshiped had to have known some stuff about them at least to send followers after the artifacts). 

I love the ideas about blood though and they make sense. Blood is supposed to represent the physical, which is why it makes communing with the fade (the non-physical) much harder. This would also make sense why blood magic was the only way they could get to the black city, because it is a physical city sitting in the fade. This is why it is a constant in the fade, while everything else is constantly changing. It also then makes sense why this is a called a trap and lie. There is nothing there anymore but corruption from the human interaction and/or maybe the source of the blight (I've also thought it might be the forgotten ones from the Dread Wolf myth, while the others are in the mirror).

I'm really curious to see where the elven story goes. Solas is clearly out to try and free the elven gods from the Eluvian he trapped them in since that is why he wanted the orb/key. He also claims that the people need him, so I think despite his hatred of the dalish and that he "doesn't consider elves as his people" he is talking about restoring the elves power.I also wonder if Solas is truly an "elven god" whatever the are (Dread wolf was considered to walk between both pantheons, who knows what the other one might be). The Foci are used to channel the power of the gods, and are dedicated to specific gods. Solas' orb in the game files is listed as "orbofmythal" (not exact but it was mythal the god, which is the important part). If they were old friends, maybe his power was just from channeling mythal the whole time, a god he got favor with."

Gonna sound like a doof here, but I really enjoyed Kaelxx's response here. Just wanted to share it, as anything I say would probably be a regurgitation of Kaelxx's own words.

SarEnya Dor: "I believe that Solas/Dread Wolf created the Veil (probably with some of those devices we helped reactivate!) and creating the Veil in turn created the Fade. I think his original plan was to cut the ties that bound the ancient elves to their overlords and in doing so caused the separation between physical and spiritual that had never existed before. I also think the Forgotten Ones are Tevinter Old Gods trying desperately to sunder the Veil and reclaim their previous power through the blight. All of the world is a chess board, with the Creators (lyrium and spirits) and Forgotten Ones (blight) trying to gain better position... whilst Solas runs around trying to fix things and never succeeding the way he wants. (Think he was also Shartan who helped Andraste overthrow the empire and then faded from history pretty much. He is a tragic hero and possibly unintentional villain with his hands in everything, setting up empires he later topples in pursuit of his ideal world where there is freedom for all.)"

Not sure about him creating the Fade, but I definitely see the Veil as his own doing. Poor Solas, always trying to play both sides. Making horrible decisions with good intentions. As far as him being Shartan, I don't know. It fits, strangely enough, with the datamined developer notes (which say he slept for 1000 years, which just about fits the timeline of Andraste's death in -170 Ancient and the current date 9:40. But with conflicting stories (of course, by the Dalish, the wonderful storytellers they are) that Shartan died during the mess, I wonder what's the real truth here. And I guess the bald elf we saw in the Temple of Sacred Ashes of DA:O matched well enough with the undertones of betrayal.

shinsaikou1: "If the well and the taint are bound by a geass, why not the anchor and the orb? They are seemingly on the same magnitude of power.

So the well is a font of power, either borrowed from or somehow connected to the fade. If there is any similarity between this and the darkspawn taint, I would suggest that it is because the taint is a perversion of blood. Ancient dragon god blood, old god blood? We can no longer be certain that those two groups are one in the same anymore, imho. For all we know, what the ancient tevinter magisters believed to be the voice of the old gods could have just been very powerful spirits. A bigger unknowable unknown may just be what exactly the golden city was before the arrival of the magisters, and why it was so easily darkened. It could be that it was simply as a spirit, and changed to take on the aspect of those who had entered it. 

I'm curious as to exactly what Yvanna says that indicates she knew what was up with Flemmeth. It strikes me as odd that they would risk pulling the trigger on that one in content outside of one of the games."

Yavana: “That poor, confused child. It is a gift.” (44)

Yavana (to Alistair): The blood of dragons is the blood of the world. Another subject beyond your comprehension.
Alistair: Meaning you don’t understand either but it’s what your mother told you.
Yavana: Years ago, my mother saved your father’s life. Hewas permitted to restore his kingdom and play ruler until his children were grown. But after, he was to come to me here. That was what he agreed to [...] because I could not perform my task alone (46-47).

[Added note: Page sourcing comes from the Dragon Age Library Edition, Volume 1]

As far as the Orb and the Anchor, those are two things that manipulate the Veil. The geas caused by the Well has an entirely different control, and if we are to believe the codex, draws on or is from the Fade directly other than a “man-made” (Elf-made?) construct that's been put in place. 

The Anchor is a key and the Orb just a tool of one of the locksmiths. The geas is the motivation and drive that can include opening a door, but as well as a myriad of other compulsions.

Alex Dunn: "I think the most interesting question that is thus far ignored is simply: What is the Void? The place where the Forgotten Ones dwelled, a place beyond the Fade, like what Morrigan mentions when she shows the Inquisitor the Eluvian. How is the Void different from the Fade? Was it created?  And by who? Or is it natural, the true place where souls go as they pass through the Fade? The Elves tell tales of one of their Gods, Falon'din, leading souls of the dead through darkness to a place of rest. Perhaps the Void is this place of Darkness, the thing that separates us from the supposed afterlife? Interesting thoughts. Is the entrance to there in the Black City, perhaps put there by the ultimate deity of the DA world to block those who would seek to come to its realm? David Gaider has said we'll never know if the Maker really exists, but it's interesting to think about."

I can barely add to this stream of questions, but this is exactly what I think we all (the players) should ask ourselves. The Void is such a curiosity and we know little to nothing about, beyond one of the Elven gods going crazy after being in the Void and other messes. Death isn't final. People can still be pulled out. Spirits don't even die - they are just removed, forget who they were, and weirdly recreated. (I'm referencing Solas's personal quest here, "All New, Faded For Her") I don't know what the Black City is truly, and I doubt anyone really does outside Bioware's Writer Pit, but I think we have a lot to figure out, especially with the spread of red lyrium and the taint.