"Varric is a storyteller. Varric is a mercenary. Varric is a merchant. Varric is for sale - but Varric has evolved in many ways." - Brian Bloom
DA Talk on Varric Tethras (Bartrand, Bianca, and the Inquisition)
Watch it on Youtube: http://youtu.be/5bwn2dVyqtc
Welcome to DA Talk, an exploration into the world of Thedas and its long history of faith and conflict. Today’s feature is Varric Tethras, popular storyteller and Paragon of manliness. As a confirmed companion for the Inquisition, and a former compatriot of Hawke, the Champion of Kirkwall, it is only natural to further include him into the tale. A surface dwarf, son of the once-famed Tethras clan, and his true love Bianca - let us peer into the story of Varric Tethras, a man who loves the sound of his own voice but remains silent of his own tale.
Varric Tethras was born approximately the first year of the Dragon Age. He’s a rogue, armed with his trusty crossbow Bianca and well-versed in storytelling…and exaggeration. His stories are always grand and pompous, especially his rather infamous story of the life of the Champion. Unlike the rest of the Tethras clan, he is a surface dwarf and lived all his life in Kirkwall. He runs a spy network that mingles with many of the Dwarven Merchant Guild and higher ups in Kirkwall. He previously had dealings with the Carta. And sometimes, he shoots people. Nevertheless, Varric is kind - he uses his connections to help his friends, like Anders staying safe in Darktown and Fenris occupying Danarius’s estate. He even keeps nicknames for those he cares about, small signs of endearment, like calling Isabela “Rivaini” and Merrill “Daisy”. A very crafty, quick-witted dwarf. But, with heart.
The origins of Varric’s family stem from Paragon Tethras. Previously Paragon Garen’s son, in the Exalted Age Tethras was mistakenly found guilty of murdering his sister, an act actually performed by the Carta, an infamous Dwarven criminal group. In respect for Tethras’s death, Paragon Garen took the Tethras name - thus creating the noble House Tethras.
Fast forwarding to the Blessed age, Lord Andvar Tethras, Varric’s father, was found guilty of fixing the Provings, duels fought in an arena where fighters engage for various reasons. Honor, settling a score, revenge…whatever the reason, a win promotes the voice of the Ancestors. For manipulating these matches, the entire Tethras house was exiled to the surface. What was once a noble house now lies topside.
Depending on the actions of Hawke, Bartrand was the head of the Tethras clan on the surface. After his father’s death, Bartrand took the helm to support the great Tethras name. He led an expedition, accompanied by his brother Varric, Hawke, and many others. In one of the deepest parts of the Deep Roads, the expedition found an undiscovered Primeval thaig, and what’s more mysterious, an idol crafted with red lyrium, lyrium the world has never seen before. The Shaperate did not even know of its existence. Bartrand betrayed Varric and the expedition by escaping with the idol.
But at a cost. In stealing the idol, he became progressively insane. Bartrand became a victim of raw, red lyrium and its degenerative effects, as it slowly removed his ability to rationalize anything beyond “the song”. After barricading himself in a house in Hightown, he killed many and forced the consumption of lyrium on others without his knowledge. Hawke has the ability to end his pain by killing him or allowing Varric to send Bartrand to the Sanitarium. On a return to the house, however, Varric was also left with another choice: keeping the small piece of the red lyrium idol. By refusing Varric the piece, Hawke gives the lyrium to Sandal to make a powerful rune. However, giving Varric the piece allows him to improve Bianca, but it remains to be seen whether Varric will undergo the same effects that plagued his older brother.
Bianca. One name, many stories. Hawke knows Bianca as the crossbow Varric keeps. Made by Gerav, a Carta Dwarf that Varric previously worked with in the past, Bianca is the only repeating crossbow that ever worked. Varric’s told many stories to complement the naming of Bianca and how she came to be: won in a game of Wicked Grace against Paragon Branka, a gift from a mysterious old beggar, or from a crooked merchant in Lowtown.
But the truth is, Varric had a Bianca. The real…Bianca. She was the original designer of the repeating crossbow and Varric’s lover. In the Dragon Age comic Until We Sleep, while dreaming in the Fade, Varric recalls himself with Bianca, plans of the repeating crossbow making them rich and fleeing Ostheim by ship. Though, Varric realizes it is only a dream. And with heartbreak he left the Fade and Bianca, still a tormenting memory living in her life’s work, carried day to day by Varric. A story that hopefully we will see further explained in Inquisition.
Varric will join the Inquisition this fall. The Inquisitor will greatly test Varric’s demeanor and loyalty, as made example of in the PAX Prime demo where the Inquisitor willingly let Crestwood Village burn to the ground. For the Inquisition? Or the greater good?
Three distinct elements from Varric’s past may further influence his standing in the trials to come.
Bartrand, the Idol, and Bianca.
Hawke controls Bartrand’s fate: whether to save or kill him. If he is dead, the deed is done. No further worry can possibly come of it. However, keeping Bartrand alive will have him standing as a husk of the greedy, yet proud Dwarf he once was. And in most cases, still in the Sanitarium. The effects of that red lyrium against Bartrand may have way more intense effects. And maybe worthwhile to the Inquisition.
Secondly, the idol. The idol made Bartrand mad, but Varric may share his brother’s fate if Hawke gave him the idol piece. The lyrium was embedded in Bianca, gameplay wise adding rune slots and strengthening its power. No clue if Varric will go crazy from having it in his possession, whether this will affect his demeanor or cause him to hear the same voices Bartrand suffered.
Third is Bianca. While her story was touched upon in the comic, little is mentioned about the true Bianca. After realizing what happened to the original Bianca, it’s hard to imagine Varric is over her death. He is consistently anthropomorphizing his crossbow as Bianca, and hiding who the real one truly was and what she meant to him. Varric’s status as a romanceable character is still unknown, but his past and what seems to be an incapability to let go of Bianca, may haunt him in the future.
Varric stayed with Hawke until the very end. When the Templars and Mages were at each other’s throats, Varric was still there to fight. He may stay the full course with the Inquisitor despite what troubles lie ahead, just like he did with Hawke. Or, we may see Varric resent or possibly leave the Inquisitor. He loves a good tale - we’ll see this fall whether he stays alive to tell it.
That is the end of DA Talk.
Let’s bring up the Question of the Vid: What will make Varric loyal to the Inquisition? Leave your answer in the box below.
Just a note: DA Talk will be postponed until after PAX East. I’ll be there from April 10th to the 14th, writing from Boston during PAX East, so be on the look out for more Dragon Age news and videos, as well as a special segment “Everything We Know So Far About Inquisition” right after PAX.
Thank you for watching. Leave your positive or negative thoughts in the box below. Take care - I will see you next time.