A random thing I noticed the other day.
If you check Hawke’s bookshelves, one of them is ‘The Pursuit of Knowledge’ (or something vaguely similar) by Brother Genitivi. He says Varric recommended it to him.
It _could_ just be a toss-off line, but…
But nothing in this game, I suspect, is a toss-off. Varric’s too good of a storyteller for that.
We know that Varric is an unreliable narrator — indeed, one of the major themes of the game is that perspective is by definition limited and the only narrators are, inherently, unreliable.
And Genitivi, well, I suspect he may not be particularly reliable, either. So far I’ve found two instances where his version of events differs from others [the circumstances surrounding Guylain’s death, and the exact nature of Threnhold’s “tyrannical” reign], and I’m sure there’s more out there, just waiting for us to find.
We also know that, while Varric loves Kirkwall and considers it his home, he’s not really the dry historian type. And Genitivi, well, I adore him, but he can get a little… dull sometimes. Not really Varric’s style. He’s more of a “Hard in Hightown: Siege Harder” kinda guy.
So my first thought, apart from “HOLY SHIT YOU BLOW MY MIND IMPRESSIONISTE” is that the inclusion of Genitivi’s (apparently) biased “History of Kirkwall” is a nod by the DA writers to Varric’s unreliable narrator status; akin to something you might see a Nabokov protagonist might pull.
But what if it’s not? What if, as impressioniste said, it’s actually more evidence of Varric covering Hawke’s ass?
After all, Genitivi is a Chantry scholar. And Varric is telling this story to a Chantry Seeker. Who starts the game thinking that Hawke blew up the Chantry.
So if Varric can slip in a little pro-Templar sympathizing for Hawke, here and there, maybe it’s just another way he’s trying to protect his friend — after all, we’ve already seen Varric explicitly lie to protect Hawke once before, when he tries to conceal Leandra and Bethany/Carver’s existence in his opening prologue.
It kind of calls into question any dialogue you have with Elthina, too, since not only is she not around to defend herself… but most of the dialogues you have with her show just how much she advocated for compromise and peace. Y’know, exactly the kind of way a Chantry Seeker would want to remember a Grand Cleric.
Not to mention Varric’s not shy of making himself seem more sympathetic to the Chantry, either. He says that the Chantry sisters remind him of “sweet old grandmothers”, and when asked to make a stand on the mage-templar dispute in Act 3, he explicitly refuses to do so.
So what do you think? Are we reading too much into Hawke’s ownership of Genitivi’s “History of Kirkwall”? Or is there more to the story here?
And because it bears repeating:
Fuck, I love this game.