History plays an interesting role in the world of BioWare’s Dragon Age. Much like history in real life, Dragon Age fans are left to speculation, and must create a picture from secondhand accounts and various in-game sources, which may or may not be accurate. One of the most pivotal, yet mysterious, story points in Dragon Age are the elven gods, or the evanuris. The evanuris are central in speculation for Dragon Age 4, and for good reason; the Trespasser DLC and subsequent collection of short stories, Tevinter Nights, points to them becoming one of the main antagonists of the series.
Worshiped by the Dalish elves as the Creators, Dragon Age paints the evanuris as either benevolent caregivers or sinister overlords. There are nine evanuris in total, most of whom we don’t know much of beyond their names and titles. Below are the four evanuris we know the most about, and what Inquisition, Trespasser and Tevinter Nights tells us about them. Be prepared for a lot of very elf-y words and names.
Warning: here lie spoilers for Dragon Age: Inquisition.
Fen’Harel / The Dread Wolf
While technically not a part of the evanuris, the Dread Wolf (or Solas to his friends) is a part of the elven pantheon and made his first appearance in Dragon Age: Origins. Commonly known as a trickster god, he’s known for sealing the evanuris away forever using deception and trickery; resulting in the fall of the elven empire and causing the gods to go silent. It is said that he alone is free, and stalks the Fade (the spirit world).
The truth is both simpler and more complex. Solas was more of a rebel god than a trickster and, though he did indeed seal away the evanuris, he did so as a last resort after they murdered Mythal. The world of Thedas was different during this period: both the Fade and “real” worlds existed together as one. Solas created the Veil, separated the Fade from Thedas, and sealed away the evanuris in a prison in the Fade. Thousands of years later, the evanuris remain trapped in their prison.
Sundering the Fade from reality, however, had the side effect of destroying the elven empire, and removed immortality from the elves. In saving his people, Fen’Harel inadvertently destroyed them. He now seeks to destroy the Veil to restore his people to what they were. The Inquisitor rightly points out that doing so would release the evanuris from their prison, to which Solas cryptically responds that he “has plans” for them, which isn’t exactly inspiring considering his track record, and carries heavy implications for Dragon Age 4.
More recently, as seen in Trespasser and Tevinter Nights, Solas has created an elven spy network and has advanced his goals towards bringing down the Veil; all while what’s left of the Inquisition and other various organisations across Thedas move to thwart him, which will put Thedas in an interesting position for Dragon Age 4.
This is a good place to remind readers of Sandal’s prophesy from Dragon Age 2: “One day the magic will come back. All of it. People will be just as they were. The shadows will part, and the skies will open wide. When he rises, everyone will see.“
Mythal: God of Justice
Mythal is the god of love and patron of justice and, in Dalish legend, leads the evanuris along with Elgar’nan. She’s associated with righting wrongs, and occasionally crosses over into vengeance.
We learn more about Mythal in Dragon Age: Inquisition’s quest What Pride had Wrought, where you travel to one of her Temples. Her servants, marked with her vallaslin (face tattoos representing a chosen god), guard the temple still, and ensure the Well of Sorrows remains untouched. It is possible for the Inquisitor to gain all the knowledge and power of the Well, which binds the drinker to Mythal.
Mythal is revealed to have been murdered by her fellow evanuris, an event which spurred Solas to lock the gods away forever. However, a god cannot truly die, and we find out that the enigmatic Flemeth is the host of whatever is left of the god of justice. She is furious at the betrayal.
Mythal choosing Flemeth as a host mirrors her own story as a woman who was betrayed (which parallels another woman and possible host of Mythal from Dragon Age lore, Andraste, who was betrayed by her husband and burnt at the stake before being mercy killed. The visual parallels between Andraste and Flemeth is uncanny).
At the end of Inquisition, Mythal/Flemeth greets Solas as an old friend before he absorbs Mythal into himself. What’s also interesting is her relationship with Solas; wherever there are statues venerating Mythal, so there are statues of the Dread Wolf standing guard. The nature of their relationship and what her plans are for Thedas remain a mystery, and will hopefully be answered in the upcoming Dragon Age game.
Andruil: The God of the Hunt
The Dalish invoke Andruil when they hunt. Stories about her, however, paint a different picture to a goddess who provides for her people.
Solas calls Andruil a “god of sacrifice.” The stories of Andruil found in Mythal’s Temple have a sinister edge; one such story describes her as growing tired of hunting mortal men and beasts, and instead begins to hunt the Forgotten Ones in “the abyss”. The abyss is also described as “the Void”. The story says she began to suffer from periods of madness each time she returned. She eventually donned armour “made of the Void, and all forgot her true face. She made weapons of darkness, and plague ate at her lands.”
Mythal removed the knowledge of how to find the Void from Andruil, ending the plague and madness. The references to the Void, weapons of darkness, madness and plague allude to one of the biggest mysteries in Dragon Age: the blight. This story heavily implies Andruil was using the blight, the sickness that the darkspawn spread, and brought the blight itself to Thedas. Andruil’s madness and the actions of the evanuris here could lead to this mystery being solved in Dragon Age 4
Ghilan’nain: Mother of the Halla
Ghilan’nain is best known for creating the halla, the deer that are dear to the Dalish. The Dalish see the halla more as companions than as pets or beasts of burden, and they have a relationship of mutual gain. As such, the Ghilan’nain is an important figure on the pantheon.
She wasn’t always a god, though. A Dalish story describes her as Andruil’s beloved, who saved her from death and raised her from an ordinary elf to the elven pantheon. Inscriptions found in the Temple of Mythal, however, paint a different picture; one of Ghilan’nain creating horrific monsters that terrorised the land. As an ultimatum, she agreed to destroy all of her creations with the exception of the halla and some sea monsters, in exchange for her elevation to godhood. She thus became known as the youngest of the evanuris.
Tevinter Nights possibly adds some more insight into Ghilan’nain in the short story The Horror of Hormak. Two Grey Wardens on a rescue mission stumble across what appears to be an ancient elven laboratory in the Deep Roads.
This in itself isn’t so unusual, as Trespasser established the ancient elves were involved in the Deep Roads. What’s interesting is the art on the walls. Decorating this passage, there’s a bas-relief in three parts: one depicting the evanuris being worshipped, the second of elven mages healing the sick and injured, and a third of elven aravels being pulled by halla to the mountain, where this particular lab is located.
As the Wardens look more closely at the relief, they find it shifts before their eyes, and the evanuris suddenly appear to be mocking and cruel towards their subjects, who are now cowering in fear rather than reverence. The mages healing the sick are instead pushing disease into their victims, and the aravels are compared to prison ships with barred windows, pulled by monstrous, insectile halla.
This story very likely depicts Ghilan’nain and her deeds. As the evanuris are known for creating the halla and other creatures, it isn’t a huge leap of logic to conclude she could have experimented on people. The murals depict her experiments, pushing sickness into elves and using magic to combine them with animals, Fullmetal Alchemist style. A far more sinister figure in contrast to the loving creator the Dalish stories depict.
Dragon Age 4 and the Evanuris
As mentioned before, it’s impossible to say exactly what the evanuris were like beyond the stories, so all we can do is speculate on their role in Dragon Age 4. Information across the games, books and comics is limited, and the most we have is conjecture. There isn’t much information on the other five evanuris, aside from some throwaway lines and references. Considering their references in Tevinter Nights, we’re sure to get information on the other five before the release of Dragon Age 4.
All we have for now are questions: Will Solas release the evanuris? What are his plans for them? What is the truth of the evanuris and their crimes? What are they? All these and more will hopefully be answered in Dragon Age 4.