ⓘ Dorian Pavus is a fictional character in BioWares Dragon Age franchise. He is a human mage from a proud noble bloodline of the Tevinter Imperium, a realm govern ..

                                     

ⓘ Dorian Pavus

Dorian Pavus is a fictional character in BioWares Dragon Age franchise. He is a human mage from a proud noble bloodline of the Tevinter Imperium, a realm governed by a powerful magic-using oligarchy situated in the northern region of Thedas, the continent in which the Dragon Age series is set in. The character made his debut in the 2014 video game Dragon Age: Inquisition, where he serves as a companion and party member.

Dorian received a positive reception in Inquisition, with attention drawn to his complex and richly written character, as well as his identities as a gay man and person of colour. Dorian is voiced by Ramon Tikaram.

                                     

1. Character overview

A Tevinter native who is born with magical virtuosity, Dorian knows who he is and what he is capable of, and he revels in it. While he has to come to reject the decadence and corruption which is prevalent throughout Tevinter society, he loves his homeland and wants his vision of a Tevinter where prejudices dont run rampant realized. He is considered a pariah as his morals and ideals do not line up with the rest of his family nor the rest of the general populace living in Tevinter. He also grew frustrated and lost respect for his former mentor, Magister Gereon Alexius; once an influential member of the Magisterium who was in favour of reforming the Imperium, now a zealot who has joined an armed cult of Tevinter nationalist supremacists known as the Venatori. Seeking to halt what he perceives as the moral decay of his countrymen and the fundamentalist zealotry of his former mentor, he decides to join the Inquisition, believing he could not return without first eliminating the forces corrupting his home.

Despite his incredibly cocky and self-absorbed demeanor, he has a troubled past. Dorians personal storyline in Inquisition included what could be considered an "ex-gay" allegory. His father had attempted to change his sexual orientation, and Dorian responded by running away from home. The player can either choose to help Dorian reconcile with his apologetic father, or to remain estranged.

He is a potential romance option for a male Inquisitor. If he is not in a relationship with the Inquisitor and Iron Bull is recruited as a member of the Inquisition, Dorian and Bull may form a relationship with each other, which may last well beyond the ending of the Trespasser DLC.

                                     

2. Conception and creation

Dorian was created and mainly written by David Gaider prior to his departure from BioWare. He is named after the character "Prince Dorian" from the cartoon series The Mighty Hercules, which ran from 1962–1966. Gaider had explored the idea of a "rock star mage" long before Dorian had a name.

Gaider explains in an interview that Dorians sexuality was a natural evolution as the character of a genuinely good mage took shape; after that it was about rounding out the other facets of Dorian as a character. Once hed taken form, however, BioWare was interested to include this particular character in Inquisition. Gaider further notes that, "its very little in comparison to the entire rest of the game and thus, considering what it means to those fans who receive that validation almost nowhere else, its not too much to demand a bit of tolerance and compassion from the portion of the audience for whom this content is not even intended." "Dorian is gay–he is, in fact, the first fully gay character Ive had the opportunity to write. It added an interesting dimension to his back story, considering he comes from a place where "perfection" is the face that every mage puts on and anything that smacks of deviancy is shameful and meant to be hidden. Dorians refusal to play along with that facade is seen as stubborn and pointless by his family, which has contributed to his status as a pariah."

Gaider would later clarify that his previous use of the term "fully gay" was meant to communicate that Dorian would only be a love interest for male characters, where previous romance options would be open to romance from both men and women. BioWare had previously explained that Inquisition would feature a "new take" on romance. He noted in a 2015 interview that his then-colleagues in BioWare, who themselves identified as heterosexual, went ahead and included same-sex relationships into the optional romance subplots for 2005s Jade Empire. This inspired him to be bolder about writing openly gay characters and integrating LGBT themes into the main narratives of the video games he would go on to work on.

After he left Bioware in 2016, Gaider wrote and posted a fan fiction story in 2018, which attempts to provide closure about Dorians handling of his familys matters after his permanent return to the Tevinter Imperium.

                                     

2.1. Conception and creation Visual design

Dorians inclusion in Inquisition offers the games designers an opportunity to explore the visual language of the Tevinter Imperium. Dorian is designed with a view to offer a glimpse of the depth, artistry and richness of Tevinter culture, which is often perceived by the cultures of Southern Thedas as exotic and often menacing. According to the character kit published by Biowares official blog, Dorian wears an ashen mages cloak which is embellished with the image of a twisting viper. A satchel is positioned on his belt, which is meant to store reagents. He wears leather gauntlets which provides a solid grip for his staff, so that he could swing it about with good precision. A coiled viper clasp secures his cloak, which is meant to serve a reminder that the bite of his magic can sting as much as his wit.

Amanda Jean of Medium noted that Dorian in his initial appearance comes across as "a snarky, mustachioed badass with an unfortunate propensity for walking around the cold and dirty landscapes of Thedas with most of his pec out, and as someone who was clearly not white.". She also quoted the Lead Narrative Designer of Inquisition, John Epler, who once commented that" Indian would be the closest real world analogue” when describing Dorians ethnicity.



                                     

3.1. Appearances In Dragon Age: Inquisition

The Inquisitor will encounter Dorian in two distinctly different scenarios, depending on whether the Inquisitor decides to recruit the rebel mage faction or the templars to help seal the Breach.

If the Inquisitor travels to Redcliffe, Alexius son, Felix, secretly passes them a note asking to meet in the Chantry. They will then meet Dorian, who asks for help in sealing a Fade rift which is present inside the Chantry building. After the rift is sealed, Dorian introduces himself and reveals Alexius allegiance to the Venatori, who are interested in the mark on the Inquisitors hand. He also reveals that Alexius has invoked time traveling magic, once thought theoretical back in Tevinter, which is how he arrived at Redcliffe first.

If the Inquisitor chooses to confront Alexius, Dorian will walk in on the war council in Haven, stating he could help the Inquisitions agents infiltrate Castle Redcliffe and outsmart his former mentor. Unfortunately, once they meet Alexius at the Redcliffe Castle, he pulls out an amulet to attempt to travel back in time before the Inquisitor interfered with the Elder Ones ritual at the Temple of Sacred Ashes. Dorian interrupts him, but accidentally sending both himself and the Inquisitor one year into the future, where the Elder One rules over southern Thedas. They are able to track down the future Alexius and claim the amulet from him. Using it, the two are able to return to the exact moment they left and defeat Alexius. Afterwards, the Inquisitor may decide to formally recruit Dorian into the Inquisition.

Alternatively, if the Inquisitor has recruited the templars to seal the Breach, Dorian turns up at Haven to help the Inquisition, warning them that the rebel mages are now under control of the Venatori and have arrived at Haven along with the Elder One, now revealed to be the ancient darkspawn and former Tevinter Magister Corypheus. The Inquisitor may decide to formally recruit Dorian into the Inquisition after they move to Skyhold.

After settling in at Skyhold, Mother Giselle informs the Inquisitor of a letter sent by Dorians father, Halward, asking to meet with the family retainer at the Gull and Lantern in Redcliffe, but asks that they not tell Dorian. The Inquisitor can choose to reveal the letter to Dorian and either convince Dorian not to go or go with him to the tavern. The Inquisitor can also choose not to show Dorian the letter and instead just bring him to the tavern. Upon entering the Gull and Lantern, Dorian is surprised to see his father instead. Dorian gets angry, revealing to the Inquisitor that when his father learned that he was gay and didnt want to keep up appearances by marrying his betrothed, he tried to use a blood magic ritual, which Dorian was taught was "the last resort of the weak mind", to change his sexuality and make him comply with his familys wishes. Halward defended that he wanted what was best for his son, but Dorian retorts that he only cared about himself and his legacy. The Inquisitor can encourage Dorian to try to reconcile with Halward. Halward will then reveal that he feels guilty for having driven Dorian to the Inquisition, and wanted to ask for his forgiveness. Alternatively, the Inquisitor can suggest that they leave instead of talking with Halward, ending the quest. Either way, Dorian is grateful and thanks the Inquisitor for taking him to the meeting.

After the events at the Temple of Mythal, Dorian feels inspired to return to Tevinter. If he was in the party at the Temple, having learned from Abelas that the Imperium didnt destroy Arlathan, he observes that this truth would reflect badly on his countrymen, as itd reduce their ancestors to scavengers, though he believes that his people must accept the truth. If he wasnt in the party, he remarks on the ancient elven sentinels survival and states that his countrymen can make amends. For either outcome, he feels that some Tevinter magisters would resist but he believes he can follow the Inquisitors example.

In the two years after Corypheus defeat, Dorian has since become the official Tevinter ambassador to the Inquisition. The Inquisitor re-encounters him at the Winter Palace while he is in the middle of a conversation with the Exalted Councils Orlesian representative, Duke Cyril de Montfort.

Later on, Varric Tethras and several of the Inquisitors companions hold a farewell toast to Dorian. Dorian explains to the Inquisitor that his father is dead, presumably by assassination, and he is to inherit his seat in the Magisterium, the upper house of the Tevinter Imperial Senate. He indicates he will be permanently departing the Inquisitors company imminently, and he also states that his friend Maevaris Tilani is making a push for reforms in the Imperium that hed like to be a part of.

                                     

3.2. Appearances Other appearances

Dorian appears in Dragon Age: Magekiller, a comic series taking place before and during the events of Inquisition, detailing the rise of the Venatori. He is sent along with some of the Bulls Chargers to help Marius and Tessa Forsythia clear out the remaining Venatori, whose position has actually grown stronger since the Inquisitor left. Though he is initially wary about Marius, a former Tevinter slave specialized in killing mages, they work well together and manage to destroy the camp while rescuing the Venatoris captive slaves. Dorian saves Marius life during the battle, and they part on friendly terms.

Dorian appears in Dragon Age: Deception, a comic series which tells the tale of Olivia Pryde, a failed actress turned con artist, as she targets the heir of a wealthy house, Calix Qintara. Now a full-fledged member of the Magisterium, Dorian meets with Ser Aaron Hawthorne in Ventus to help him with his mission of infiltrating the Qintara estate. In the same tavern, he briefly encounters Olivia Pryde under her guise of Magister Aramis, and Calix, who very unsuccessfully attempts to con him. Later, when Olivia and Calix are confronted by one of their angry marks, Dorian uses his authority as a magister to make the problem go away, enabling Ser Aaron and Vaea to recruit them for the Qintara mission. As Ventus falls to the Qunari, Dorian provides Ser Aarons group with the means of escaping the city while he stays behind to try and get as many people out as he can.

Heroes of Dragon Age, an iOS and Android game released in 2013, featured Dorian as an unlockable character. In the lead-up to Inquisition s release, BioWare released character kits for the major characters of Inquisition in order to assist cosplayers.

                                     

4. Reception

Dorian is considered by various sources to be a breakout character, specifically as an openly gay male character in the video game medium. The significant media attention and discourse generated by Dorians introduction into the Dragon Age series prior to and after Inquisitions release have led to various sources calling the character "iconic" and "influential".

Paul Tassi from Forbes notes that Dorian is a companion who is a permanent fixture in his party because he was a lot of fun compared to the other party members. Paul felt that while he was perhaps a tad flamboyant in a stereotypical manner, it was a non-issue given Dorians strong characterization. Kelly Peirce said Dorian is her favourite among the large LGBT cast of characters in Inquisition ; while he is noted to be sharp and fun to chat with no matter the protagonists gender, some of the most emotional moments for Kelly in Inquisition involved earning Dorians loyalty for the Inquisitor and learning about his past. Matt Kane from GLAAD included Dorian and fellow Inquisition characters Krem, Sera and the Iron Bull in his list of 2014s Most Intriguing LGBT Characters.

Dorian was well received as a potential love interest for the Inquisitor. Emma Osborne, writing for Junkee, praised Dorians romance subplot and said "there’s a real love story in the narrative". Kotakus Mike Rougeau realised some hours into his playthrough with a male character, that he found Dorians personality to be more attractive then the two female romance options who are available for a male Inquisitor, and decided to have his character start a romantic relationship with Dorian. Rougeau explains that even though he identifies as heterosexual, he saw this as an opportunity to build empathy and role-play a video game protagonist as something other than an avatar for himself, noting that his character has taken a life of its own. The Guardians Kate Gray praised Inquisition for featuring a surprisingly deep, personal and well-designed relationship system that players could literally fall in love with. For Kate, the most human response she believed that she ever experienced in a video game, was when Dorian apologized to Kates female Inquisitor for leading her on and admitting that he couldnt change his sexual orientation or have a romantic relationship with her. Kate explained that her character had previously exchanged flirtatious banter with Dorian repeatedly, but did not realize until Dorians apology that he was in fact written as a homosexual character. She appreciated the attention to detail by Biowares writers and noted that somehow, "someone at Bioware had predicted this very situation - that I would fall virtual head over digital heels for the wrong man - and had written heartfelt dialogue just for someone like her".

The Daily Telegraphs Joe Parlock, lamenting the lack of proper representation for gay men in video games in 2016, posited that gaming publishers perceive their audiences as primarily straight males who would respond negatively to seeing male-male romance in their games, leading to video game writers relying on lesbian and bisexual women to cater to diversity instead of being creative about getting their players to care about gay male characters. He reflected on Dorians portrayal in Inquisition, where his backstory and dialogue fleshed out the numerous experiences he has had because of his being a gay man, which added significantly to his characterization. Gaspard Pelurson noted in his 2018 article Mustaches, Blood Magic and Interspecies Sex: Navigating the Non-Heterosexuality of Dorian Pavus that, "while video games are now catching up on LGBTQ representation, only a few characters are granted a role that is as significant as that of Dorian". The Advocates Alley Hector notes that his sexuality wasnt merely a players option but his identity, with his backstory of running away from home after his family tried to make him straight.

Kenneth Shepard, writing for Gaming Trend, had mixed feelings and concerns about Dorians characterization prior to Inquisitions release ; he found Dorian to be attractive and charming, but he is also annoyed by the characters vanity. After playing the game and having completed Dorians personal side quest, he concluded that the character has endearing qualities. Shepard elaborated on a moment where a supporting character confronts Dorian about his perceived influence on the protagonist and treats the possibility of two men in a relationship as a shameful taboo, only to meekly leave when both men get confrontational about her meddling. He concludes that "there’s a painful honesty to what this kind of treatment does to gay men in Inquisition that really added a different level of trust and love to my character’s relationship with Dorian throughout; and that honesty makes for what is probably my favorite romantic relationship I’ve experienced in a Bioware game".

In spite of near-universal acclaim by video game journalists, the character did receive some negative backlash. Benjamin Abbott from Metro wrote an article where he called out what he perceives to be homophobic speech and abuse by certain netizens, and made a list identifying comments and complaints he found on forums and comment sections, which he considers to be repulsive. Gaider himself acknowledges that Dorian may be "controversial in some corners", but he hopes that ultimately fans who play Inquisition would be won over by his fully realized character.

Techradars Aimee Hart names Dorian as a character she would want to see return for any future installments of the Dragon Age series.