Dragon Age’s Darkspawn are known to be violent, nearly mindless creatures who follow the call of the Archdemon — but some have a higher purpose.
By Jennifer Melzer
Published Mar 09, 2021
The Darkspawn of Dragon Age have been a monstrous threat in some capacity in every game in the franchise. These hideous creatures lurk underground in hordes, driven by the mysterious, near-musical calling of the?Old Gods nestled deep beneath the earth. They spread Blight across everything they come in contact with, completely oblivious and uncaring about the havoc they wreak on the world around them. In fact, the violence that drives their actions suggests them to be little more than mindless beasts. However, there is a hierarchy among them that almost mimics civilized life.
As Darkspawn gather and form armies, the strongest among them rise to the top of the horde and become alphas. Those alphas dominate and dictate the rest of the horde’s activities, which suggests a certain amount of cunning and intelligence, even if it is driven by violence. At the very top of the alpha chain, there are magic-users who rise even higher and become emissaries.
Related: Dragon Age: How to Customize Skyhold
Darkspawn emissaries are the only among them known to possess the ability to speak and communicate beyond grunts and growls, which is probably one of the reasons why they are able to?use magic. Despite their near-sentience, even the emissaries are primarily guided by the archdemon’s call, directing their brethren to find and liberate the beast. However, one emissary rose above the others and discovered?a unique ability to think for himself.
Calling himself the Architect, Grey Warden theories surmise that this mysterious Darkspawn was once one of the Magister’s Sidereal that shed the blood of enough Tevinter slaves that they were physically able to enter the Fade. The Wardens believe he was originally a priest of Urthemiel, and he directed the builders who constructed monuments to the “Old Gods.”
The first magister to be approached by Sethius Amladris,?he gathered his acolytes and went to the temple to seek council from the Dragon of Beauty. Much like the Dragon of Silence, it?told them to “Open the gates,” and he joined in Sethius’ cause to breach the Fade and enter the Golden City. According to Chantry lore, the magisters who breached the Golden City were tainted with blight and cast back to Thedas.
Related: Dragon Age: How to Build the Ideal Party
When Corypheus made his presence known and the Grey Wardens captured and imprisoned him, they discovered that he’d retained the memories of his former life. However, the Architect had forgotten who he was and how he’d come to be. In spite of his loss of memory, he was still able to communicate and think freely, unlike the other Darkspawn around him. His ability to resist the call of the archdemon instilled fear within the others.
Other Darkspawn?followed his command without question because the power he possessed was far greater than their own, but his hold over them was often broken by their own bloodlust. In time, the Architect began to reason that the ultimate goal?of fostering peace between the Darkspawn and the other races of Thedas was tantamount to?everyone’s survival. He worked to spread the taint through major cities with the aid of Bregan and First Enchanter Remille in the Dragon Age companion novel, The Calling, and managed to gain their aid by promising to seek out the Old Gods and destroy them before they could become archdemons.
As one of the main antagonists in Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening, the Architect discovered that the tainted blood of a Grey Warden had the power to disrupt the Calling for other Darkspawn and grant them self-awareness. He believed that, in doing this, he could break the hold of the archdemon over all Darkspawn and stop the spread of the Blight. Unfortunately, his first attempt at this strange ritual (not unlike the Wardens’ joining) failed horrifically.
Related: Dragon Age: How to Choose the Right Class for Your Playstyle
The ritual worked as?the Architect anticipated, but he hadn’t imagined that freeing?a human broodmother from the archdemon’s song would drive her insane. Gathering a group of?the Architect’s?Disciples, she called herself the Mother, and revolted against the Architect’s plans. Their power struggle rose to the surface world near the Arling of Amaranthine, where the Grey Warden Commander player character?was stationed.
The Architect attempted to seek?aid from the Warden Commander, but the Disciple he sent misinterpreted his command and sought to abduct the Warden instead. In time, the Warden Commander came face to face with the Architect himself, who attempted to reason with them and ask for their help in his plight to stop the Mother.
RELATED:?Dragon Age: Why Varric Named His Crossbow Bianca
If the player chose to side with the Architect, he went on to?be mentioned by Nathaniel Howe in?Dragon Age II. It’s revealed here that, thanks to the Architect’s efforts, the Deep Roads remained relatively clear enough?so the Wardens could examine the ancient thaig Hawke and Varric discovered. If he was killed, Nathaniel does not elaborate on where the Wardens go their information.
To say the Architect is unique among the Darkspawn is not short-sighted, but the revelation of Corypheus’ existence in the Grey Warden prison in Dragon Age II’s Legacy?DLC confirms that there are likely other sentient Darkspawn with free-will in Thedas. Trying to imagine what plans they might have is all but impossible. One can only hope the rest of the tainted Magisters Sidereal make an appearance in future Dragon Age games.
KEEP READING: Dragon Age: How to Use the Golden Nug to Enhance Future Playthroughs
Doom Eternal Cancels Invasion Mode, Adds Single-Player Horde Mode
About The Author
(278 Articles Published)
Artist, writer, avid gamer, lover of comics, manga and anime and all around nerd, Jennifer has been creating online content for numerous websites for over 15 years. She can generally be found on Tuesday nights playing Drow Warlock Zaelien Vel’rai?in the So Many Levels D&D campaign?on Twitch!
More From Jennifer Melzer
Tag: dragon age 2 legacy