I love the subtle hints they give in game towards Varric’s reactions to Bartrand. We see his anger quite clearly, but I love that that isn’t all we see coming from Varric. When I let Varric kill Bartrand and I got the conversation afterwards about how ending his brother was the hardest thing he’d ever done, I felt so bad for him.
I think that’s one of many things that can really bond Varric and Hawke. He/She has lost a sibling, sometimes two, as well as a mother and you can see that common ground so well when Fenris attempts to kill Varania. They both know how bad it hurts and Varric especially knows that killing a family member who has wronged you doesn’t necessarily make it better, no matter how satisfying it might be for that one moment when the killing blow is delivered.
All right. I’m done with my silly rambling.
Oh man, I think this was totally very much for definitely my favorite scene with Varric. After I’d dragged him along with me for a few quests and observed his very people-pleasing, non-confrontational attitude towards everything, especially towards Bartrand, and hearing how whenever he was pissed off about something he would express it in a sarcastic way, always with room to allow for others to shoot it down - well, a lot of that’s just Varric, but I couldn’t help but wonder if that was really the all of it. And then there’s this, and everything clicks together in a way that’s especially satisfying because it’s so subtle. He’s not being hunted by crazy bastard magisters or having to kill his own husband in front of us or very loudly destroying himself through mirror-obsession or demonic-possession or whatever, but he’s got his own drama, and yeah, his own angst.
There’s a real kinship with Hawke there - because it would basically destroy a lot of the role-playing, you can’t have Hawke having a massive hammy angst-fest every three minutes, and so Hawke’s emotional life is also largely a sub-textual thing, even when ridiculously horrible shit goes down. So it’s these two people making conscious decisions to accept the suckiness of life and then just move on and take care of everybody around them while occasionally rolling their eyes at one another, and I love that dynamic.
ALSO I love how here Varric here is condemning Bartrand’s obsession with an object at the same time as he understands it - because, hello, Bianca? All characters are flawed in a good story, including the narrator. And that’s maybe why the last moments of the game leave Varric sitting alone in the empty house of his best friend instead of accompanying said friend on further adventures. It was Orzammar for Bartrand, and Kirkwall for Varric - it’s much easier to invest in a city or a crossbow than in a person.
That’s the current direction of my thoughts, at least - of all the characters, I find Varric the most opaque. It’s really freaking difficult to get in his head. Perhaps that’s because he’s telling the story, though. Varric, you clever bastard. Someday I will figure you out.