It was a simple enough question missl0nelyhearts asked:
When does Malcolm meet Leandra?
But simple questions never have simple answers.
Instead, they usually end up with me staring at my laptop boggle-eyed on a Saturday night, when I should be out having a real life but instead I’m shredding my hair and tearing up a little at the holy romance novel batman and frantically typing up notes on a timeline for a family who never existed.
I regret nothing.
HOLY SHIT WHAT IS ALL THIS AWESOME ABOUT MALCOLM AND LEANDRA I CAN’T EVEN.
Sit tight, kids. This one is long.
So, a note before we start: There seems to be some inconsistency in the canon Amell timeline – for example, the Amell Family codex entry talks about how Lord Aristide (Leandra’s father, heretofore known as Big Daddy, because that’s how I roll) was once in the running to succeed Threnhold as Viscount, but that his chances were dashed once his niece Revka had a mageling baby (you’ll know him/her better as the DA:O Amell Warden) – and it was only after this that Leandra ran away. But by the time the question of Threnhold’s succession came up in 9:21, Aristide had been dead for almost ten years, and Leandra should have been gone from Kirkwall for at least fifteen years. (Unless Baby!Garrett is a Time Lord, which, let’s be honest here, we can’t completely rule out. ) Anyway, I’ve pieced this timeline together as best I can from the info available. So if I’ve missed anything, or misplaced something, please just let me know in the replies and reblogs.
Anyway. Let’s start with the Amells, then.
Most of the info I have on the Amells is taken from the Amell Family codex, which, hilariously enough, was written by a relation of Duke du Stinky Cheese, possibly his wife.
At some point before Perrin Threnhold is deposed in 9:21, Leandra’s cousin Revka has a baby that is taken to the Circle. This, says Mrs. Du Stinky Cheese, is the beginning of the Amell family’s bad luck.
(Cue speculation: We don’t know how old the Amell Warden is at the start of DA:O, but we can see that he/she is fully grown and ready for the Harrowing. If we assume that the Harrowing is an adulthood rite, then he/she probably took it anywhere between the ages of 16-20 (on the older side of when many cultures’ rites of adulthood take place). That age would place the birth of Revka’s baby somewhere between 9:10-9:14 Dragon.
(ETA: But as someone in the reblogs noted, this would wonkify our timeline, since we know that Revka has her kid taken away before Leandra leaves, which, as I’ll discuss later, can’t be earlier than 9:06 Dragon. So… I dunno. Inconsistency, we gots it and I can’t explains it away.
(Still, if this is the case, then perhaps Big Daddy Aristide wasn’t in the running to succeed Perrin Threnhold but his father, Chivalry, who left the throne in 9:14. That would make more sense timeline-wise, especially since Aristide dies in 9:13.)
Anyway, so then Leandra runs off with Malcolm. Then Damion, Leandra’s first cousin, is accused of smuggling. Damion’s daddy and Leandra’s uncle, Lord Fausten, nearly bankrupts the Amells trying to get the charges dropped against his son. (Wife Du Stinky Cheese insinuates that Marlowe Dumar was behind this, that he only wanted to get the Amells out of consideration for the Viscount seat. Which, let’s face it, sounds downright competent of him, and therefore is out of character for Marlowe… but if it is true, well, what goes around comes around, you asshat.)
Anyway, then Big Daddy and Granny Amell die of the cholera. (Third time’s a charm.) After that, Fausten gets sick and dies, too. No information exists on what happens to Revka and Damion, but if Gamlen became the sole heir, that means they must have also either died or become otherwise unable to inherit (jailed, etc.)
By the way, let’s talk about Gamlen for a sec. Because yeah, he’s repulsive, and yeah, he’s your dirty old uncle who rifles through your sister’s underwear drawer for quarters and peeks up (down?) your friend’s jerkin. But you know what he also does? After all that shit his family has suffered, all that flat-out rotten luck that’s been kinda sorta out of anyone’s hands, Gamlen decides to go after the one thing that he thinks can set it right: the Gem of Keroshek, a gem said to bring good luck to whoever holds it. He tries to restore his family’s fortune by literally changing its fortunes.
Now, one might argue that the wiser course of action would be to, oh, I don’t know, learn a thing or two about money management, but this is Gamlen we’re talking about, a compulsive gambler and a noble to boot. The guy was probably never taught the basics of work and economy; why would a member of the aristocracy even know the first thing about the value of money? Nobles don’t understand the cause and effect inherent in money’s acquisition, and Gamlen’s no different.
Not to mention this is a man that has, quite literally, watched every single family member either die or leave him to deal with the dying all on his own (thanks, Leandra!). He’s not thinking with his right mind here.
Anyway, so Gamlen spends the last of what Fausten didn’t piss away chasing after a Gem that, if you read its codex entry, doesn’t actually sound all that lucky for its owners – people keep finding it in graveyards and Andraste’s funeral ashes and in a dead boar eaten by not one but two mythical creatures.
So why does he do it?
The same reason he nursed his parents through three bouts of cholera; the same reason he pushed away the love of his life; and it’s the same reason Hawke does anything, really – because everything Gamlen did, he did for his family.
Poor Gamlen is really overlooked in the same way Carver is — maybe that’s why they’re both so prickly and inappropriate — but he actually reminds me a lot of Oghren, in that the repulsiveness is just a mask to hide the guy inside, the man who’s trying to do the right thing by everyone and is just sick of failing at it.
So let’s set aside the Amells and look to Malcolm. Dear, sweet, BAMF Malcolm.
No information exists on when or where Malcolm was born or who his family is, although we do know from Bethany that he lived in a Circle and successfully escaped. The Long Trek codex entry suggests this was an awful journey that he never much liked to talk about, and it sheds no light on exactly which Circle Malcolm fled. But we can probably assume it was in the Free Marches, given that’s where he ends up roaming for most of his adult life; possibilities then would include Kirkwall, Starkhaven, Ansburg and Ostwick.
(My vote’s for Ansburg. My vote’s always for Ansburg.)
Wherever he runs from, the Templars are hot on his heels, and he must take odd mercenary jobs across the Free Marches to feed himself. That leads Malcolm to join up with the Crimson Oars, a mercenary group that, as of the Blight, is based out of Denerim. (You might remember them from the sidequest in Origins in which you help a put-upon Sergeant Kylon eradicate them from the Denerim Market District. [Fun bit of trivia for you – the guy who voices the Crimson Oars Leader? That’s Adam Leadbetter, the voice of Justice. Heh.])
A job with the Crimson Oars takes him to Kirkwall, the hotbed of Templar power in the Marches, and a place where he has no intention of staying… until he meets Leandra.
He courts the shit out of her, again and again until oops, surprise, she’s pregnant. (Or, well, it’s heavily implied that this is what happens, that Garrett was an oops baby, as you’ll soon see.) And that’s when things begin to happen really fast.
So, at this time, Malcolm is still with the Crimson Oars. One day, a job goes bad and they run up against the Carta, and Malcolm uses his magic to save the Crimson Oars’ leader’s life.
In return? Someone betrays him to the Templars. So Malcolm’s gotta leave Kirkwall, and he’s gotta leave quick.
But he can’t just ditch his girlfriend without saying goodbye. So Malcolm disguises himself to meet up with Leandra at a masque ball her family’s holding for the visiting Orlesian Empress. Gamlen distracts parents while Leandra and Malcolm “talk” (Gamlen tells you in Legacy). I assume this is when Malcolm finds out Leandra’s pregnant, given that something they discuss that night changes Malcolm’s mind, and he decides to run away with Leandra together instead.
In this codex entry, it is mentioned that the Amells threw a party for the visiting Orlesian Empress. This means, obviously, that the party had to have taken place after Celene I ascended to the throne. This places our timeline somewhat, as it was her father, Emperor Florian, who was in power when Ferelden broke away; the Fereldens kick out the Orlesians by 9:02 Dragon, which means that Celene must assume power sometime after this. That places our party sometime between 9:02-9:06 Dragon.
Knowing that Garrett is born in 9:06 Dragon, we can tell then that the party must have happened at the latter end of that time frame, in mid-9:05 to early 9:06 Dragon. It’s not much to anchor the Amell-side timeline, but, well, it’s something.
Anyway, at some point before they leave, Malcolm hooks up with Larius and the Grey Wardens to do his voodoo in the Vimmarks. They take Leandra hostage (although it’s implied that they don’t actually kidnap her; that they partner with Big Daddy Aristide to keep her a hostage in her own home).
Malcolm, in return, extorts the ever-loving shit out of them for some run-of-the-mill demon sealing (seriously, 25 sovereigns per seal? Even though they have your pregnant girlfriend held hostage? Maker, the brass balls on Malcolm. I. LOVE. HIM. No wonder Bethany says Anders reminds her of Malcolm.) and he makes the Wardens promise that in return for his help, they’ll ensure Big Daddy Aristide lets Malcolm and Leandra leave Kirkwall in peace.
All I require from you is your promise that my wife will be kept safe while I am gone, and that Lord Aristide Amell will be convinced to let Leandra leave Kirkwall with me when I return. I wish for my bride and I to be free, and I do not intend to have her father’s men hunting us down.
(From “Malcolm Hawke’s Reply”)
That is straight up romance novel shit. I love it.
Note that Leandra is already pregnant with Garrett by this point.
I have bought our freedom Leandra. We can go home now, us and the baby. We’ll be together.
(From “Malcolm’s Will”)
Interesting that Malcolm uses the word “home” here, because technically, if they’re leaving Kirkwall, they’re not exactly going home, are they? And their next move is to flee across the Waking Sea. So does that mean Malcolm is Fereldan? Or does he just mean that Leandra and the baby are with him and the Grey Wardens, and away from wherever they’re calling “home” at the moment? I dunno.
Anyway, after the Vimmark Corypheus bullshit, Malcolm and Leandra cross the Waking Sea and settle in Ferelden. After this, I can finally start to attach hard dates to things:
9:06: Garrett born (Legacy tells us he is born 25 years before he arrives in Kirkwall)
9:13: Carver and Bethany born.
9:13: Big Daddy and Granny Amell die of cholera/plague (In Act 1, in convo w/ Gamlen, Leandra said the twins were a week old and that’s why she couldn’t attend the funeral).
9:21: The Hawkes settle in Lothering (from Hawke’s codex entry)
9:21: Viscount Perrin Threnhold is deposed and arrested. Marlowe Dumar is appointed Viscount (instead of Lord Aristide Amell, Leandra’s father, who was once first pick. Who by this point is dead. Which lends even further credence to the idea that he was meant to succeed Chivalry, and not Perrin).
9:27: Malcolm dies (three years before the Blight)
The years start to get fuzzy here, since we don’t know exactly when Lothering was burned, but here’s my best go.
9:30: The Blight begins (Origins). Carver and possibly Hawke enlist in Cailan’s army. They are at Ostagar when Loghain betrays Cailan. (Hawke’s entry)
9:30: Hawke & co flee Lothering one month after Ostagar. They’re saved by Flemeth, go to Gwaren. They arrive in Kirkwall. Hawke is 25. Bethany/Carver is 18.
9:31: The end of the Hawke siblings’ year of servitude. Hawke is 26, Bethany/Carver is 19.
So, missl0nelyhearts, I know this is a HUGE infodump for you, and it doesn’t really get as specific as I would like with the dates, unfortunately. But I did my best to piece together everything on our two crazy kids that I could find.
And once I got going, it was just so hard to stop, because, seriously, Malcolm and Leandra are such romance novel characters – and the best part is it’s probably mostly true because this shit is way too good for Varric to make up (after all, we know how clumsy he is at writing romances, right?)
When it comes to Malcolm and Leandra, I can never get enough. Even though I already know the ending, I’ll just keep reading and reading the story because Maker, I love them, I really do. SO HARD.