I would need it for a picture… but I have no clue if my interpretation of what I heard about Starkhaven is consistent with the canon idea of it… so I was wondering if anyone knew how Starkhaven looks or if it is comparable to anything I might now?? XD
Help would be very much appreciated ♥
It’s on the banks of the Minanter, and has a thriving river trade + fishing industry, so a large dock area on the river would be appropriate.
It’s listed as the biggest city in the Free Marches, thus larger than Kirkwall. On the Thedan map it’s also surrounded by forest.
It’s listed as having marble fountains and granite walkways in the noble areas, although the poorer areas probably look much like any other large city slum.
Varric calls it pretentious, and Brother Genitivi says:
I was taken up the river by barge—a cumbersome vessel that moved at a stately pace—and disembarked by the city’s central square, an impressive space with marble fountains and surrounded by kingly estates.
Starkhaven’s wealth was truly a sight to behold. A path paved in granite led up to the grandest building I’ve ever seen. My guide indicated that this was the residence of Starkhaven’s ruler, Prince Vael.
The area that Starkhaven sits on seems to be just a shade darker than the surrounding area, likely indicating elevation. Towns built on river banks are often susceptible to seasonal flooding, and after your town has been destroyed once or twice you’re much more likely to rebuild on bluffs. Since Genitivi indicates that he disembarked near the main square, my guess is that Starkhaven’s docks have steps leading up to the main city and the square. The richer you are, the higher up you’re likely to live, and the poorer you are, the closer to the river you’re likely to reside.
The working class would probably consist largely of fishermen and woodcutters, who would live on the river or on the outskirts of the city, so as to be convenient for their professions and taking up the least valuable real estate.
There’s also a burned-down Circle of Magi somewhere, probably a tower or fortress in ruins. Any remaining semi-charred timber would have been carted off by the poorest to feed their fires, usable stone likely reclaimed for building, leaving a burnt ruin.
Since Starkhaven’s famous dish is fish, eggs, dried fruit, spices, and cream in a pastry crust, I think you can safely assume that there are, as with any other medieval settlement, dairies and farms in the immediate vicinity selling fresh produce to the masses. Spices they likely traded from Antiva, Tevinter, or any of the more tropical climes.
I would imagine that the middle class district consists of cobblers, tailors, jewelers, furniture craftsmen, builders, artisans, alehouses, inns and stables, whorehouses, and a market district. It’s likely that they have a fish market and businesses dedicated to drying, salting, and smoking fish and game from the forests. Since the area is so heavily forested, a lot of the areas’ crafts are probably wood-based- wooden bowls, carved works of art, burnished wooden beads, boxes and containers, and so forth.
Since granite and marble are mentioned, either the nobles are importing it or there’s a quarry nearby. Presence of a quarry would mean teams of workmen going to and fro everyday via a main road, carts going back and forth laden with cut stone or bits and pieces to be pulverized for gravel. Limestone or chalk was also typically heated and pulverized to create lime, which was used in privies for odor control and to eliminate flies.
Stone would be used in architecture, crafts, sculpture, and so forth.
So there’s my best guess as to what Starkhaven looks like.
Some days I wonder what it would be like to set up inside katiebour’s head and just poke around in her brain for awhile, like that guy in the Twilight Zone who’s the last guy alive, and he gets to sit around and read all the books, except then his glasses break — but joke’s on you sucker, cause my glasses can’t break because I got contacts. Booyah.
Great analysis of what Starkhaven might be like. Didn’t they rebuild or relocate the Circle by DA2 Act 2, though? (I base this off the idea that the note sent to Gascard Dupuis indicates it was sent from the new Circle, wherever that might be.)