Monday, 15 December 2014
I’m finally finished with Dragon Age: Inquisition and frankly, I’m feeling pretty meh about it. There were many things the game did right or tried to do right, but ultimately, the main story and character ended up being a letdown. I feel like BioWare tried really hard to answer all the questions while still leaving themselves loopholes, but the end result is a lot of inconsistency that requires assumptions and headcanon to make everything work. A lot of people are quite happy with the story and perhaps even with their Inquisitor, but I suspect those people have not invested so much into the Dragon Age lore. I don’t profess to be an expert on the lore, but there are things that really stand out for me that make me wonder if the writers forgot to check the wiki, cross-reference each other’s work, or worse, tried to sneak in some retcons.

I think my biggest disappointment is that this was a story that placed so much emphasis on elves and elfy things. From Solas involvement, to the ancient elven ruins everywhere. Yet, as a dalish elf, I had little opportunity to explore that and was basically just an ignorant character who knew nothing and learned little more. For a non-elf, I imagine this has even less meaning, especially when it comes to interactions with Solas.

Perhaps opting to have different playable characters was the wrong decision. I think both the story and the character would have been much more powerful had elves been the only choice. Then the dialogue options could more readily help mould the character. The different race options in Origins were interesting because they had actual stories that were entwined into the game. The opening sequence for each character was unique and really helped shape the roleplaying possibilities. I originally started as a mage, and when Duncan presented an opportunity to escape the Circle, I leapt on it. But when I switched to a dalish, I found myself playing a character that hated humans, and despite the risk, refused to join the Wardens, forcing Duncan to conscript her against her will.

In Inquisition, everyone starts on the same ground, with little to their ‘origins’ as a kossith mercenary, a noble human, a dalish spy, or a Carta dwarf. There’s nothing to base the character on, as with Origins, and the dialogue options are so bland that they don’t allow for much shaping of a personality, as with Hawke (or Shepard). Buuut I am sure there would be far more people complaining about being stuck playing a tattooed knife-ear savage.


This was Hawke’s fight

Players came to accept that our Warden was mysteriously missing when it came to DA2. Hawke took up the torch and did a fantastic job of becoming an endearing new protagonist for the series. The Inquisitor? Not so much.

Not to mention the fact that the game wants to tell me that my Warden and Hawke were negligent for not following up on their respective issues of darkspawn and mage/templar wars. I appreciate that Cassandra sort of addresses this in her table flipping rant about the fact that she had actually been in Kirkwall hoping to convince Hawke to lead the Inquisition. But the Warden’s letter basically just says “Was researching ancient darkspawn. Found nothing. Sorry.” (As far as my headcanon goes, my Warden was busy running around Antiva with Zevran and then becoming Keeper of her dalish clan, among other things. At least that’s a better excuse for being absent and useless.)

So instead, we get the Inquisitor, who basically just got lost at the conclave while searching for the bathroom, and stumbled onto Corypheus’ ritual. Then goes on to become the Mary Sue messiah. Other than some Chantry complaints and of course the bad guy, there’s very little opposition to the Inquisitor. No challenge that she can’t talk down with a few simple dialogue options. Everyone loves the Inquisitor means very little drama and conflict outside of fighting bad guys.

Old God Soul or Bust

We still don’t really have an answer to the importance of Old Gods to the Witches of the Wilds. If there is no dark Ritual Kieran, then there’s no Old God soul, and nothing for Flemeth to be interested in.

Special Snowflake Cory

As the first darkspawn, he’s allowed to have extra and unknown powers, sure, but he just started making them up along the way, with someone conveniently calling them out and explaining them without anything but assumption to go on, until the voices from the Well of Sorrows to confirm the theories. For example, when Cory is exploded at the temple, he pops out of a dead Grey Warden and Morrigan quickly theorizes that he must be able to do this with blighted bodies, including darkspawn. Presumably this is to explain how he escapes after Hawke kills him. And yet, we learn later that he’s only able to do this because he is horcruxing the not-archdemon (which Morrigan also conveniently identifies in that scene, as does Dorian in random party chatter).

“Oops” -Solas

With Solas being all shifty and flakey all the time with my elf, his greater involvement was suspected early on. My friend jokingly called the Dread Wolf reveal, and was shocked to find that she was right. The after credits scene certainly leaves a lot of interesting questions. But it also leaves a lot of WTF questions. As in, Solas, baby, how did you wake up and think it was okay to hand your Orb of Destruction to the guy who wants to be a god? But hey, he’s here to make amends now for the sake of his people, and he’s so impressed with how well my Inquisitor dalishes, so I’m sure interesting things will come in DA4: Elf Upliftification, when all the elven lore won't be a disorganized mess of vagueries and maybes, and dalish won't be quite so ignorant.

Timey Whimey Things

Go after the mages and you end up tossed a year into the future where Corypheus has taken over and the world is shit. The key factor? Corypheus orchestrating the assassination of Empress Celene of Orlais. When the Inquisitor returns, we basically learn that the whole point of traveling in time is to find out about this assassination. Because there was no other way or reason to head over to Orlais for support? How about: we need Orlais’ support, especially with the whole Chantry falling apart business. So head over to the party to talk to the empress, then get caught up in an assassination plot that may or may not have something to do with Corypheus. The end result of stopping the assassination and dealing with their throne issue? An Orlesian alliance. No weak and lazy time travel plot device required.

The War Table

Mass Effect 3’s war table and assets were useless. They were just numbers on a chart and then a few cutscenes during the final battle. I love the interactivity with the DAI war table as well as the ongoing contribution of the agents and allies we gather. And actually having them there in the battle, actually doing something? Stellar.

Cerberus Rogue Faction Syndrome

I will forgive the entire concept of resurrecting a bad guy – even the fact that said bad guy is from DLC that many players might not have played. The Keep provided an excellent opportunity to sneak Corypheus back in without giving away BioWare’s plans. But why do we need a cult of evil to be his minions? Corypheus can mimic the Calling and bring Grey Wardens in to do his bidding. There was ample opportunity to expand on that (thereby providing greater opportunity for the player’s Warden to do more).

Frankly, we could just have had more Tevinter in general. If they found a way to appease the Qunari with, say, a treaty (which seems to have worked with all the other nations), then the Imperium could turn their eyes to Orlais who would then be in need of support (see above re: better reasons to go to an Orlesian party). Tevinter would love a chance to return to its original state of glory and Corypheus whispering promises of such would be perfect motivation for many of them, rather than just a handful of fanatics. The fall of the Thedas Chantry would also be an excellent opportunity for the Black Divine to pounce, plus the displaced and disgruntled mages, as shown in the game, would be enticed by the prospect of going to a land where mages are respected and allowed to live freely.
I don’t hate the idea of the Venatori, per se, but much like all the Cerberus rogue faction missions in Mass Effect 3, it was a poorly implemented plot device that quickly becomes an annoyance, rather than a a well-thought out addition to the story as a whole.


Always the highlight of BioWare games. I love the depth given to the supporting cast – and to minor characters as well. Krem and Harding were instant favourites for me, but I also took the time to visit with Sutherland and his crew, Your Trainer, and Mother Giselle (who should have been Divine… How the hell did I get Leliana??). Cassandra surprised me most of all

And while I’m unhappy that I didn’t get to have Fade sex with Solas, I really liked the way the relationship was worked into the story as a whole and hope that he and my Inquisitor can

Am I being nitpicky? Of course I am. But as someone who knows a reasonable amount of the lore and will look up that which I do not know, plotholes, retcons, and inconsistencies disappoint me. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for writers who create such an incredible world to pay attention to details – because in this case, I know that the BioWare writers do pay attention to the smallest detail. But it seems that in focusing too much on one, they get carried away and miss the others.

On the positive side, the lack of depth in the story and the blandness of the Inquisitor just means I’ll have to work that much harder to fill in the blanks with my headcanon.

Monday, 8 December 2014
Friday, 5 December 2014

When I was a young girl in high school collecting Terminator trading cards and working Terminator analogies into all of my grade ten English class assignments, I had a dream. It was a dream that involved cyborgs and judgment days. Self-aware computers and human resistances. I had a dream of seeing a scarred, war-hardened leader look into the eyes of the man who would become his father, and send him back through time to his death.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Whispers from the Capitol

Posted by Wendy B
Monday, 24 November 2014
These diaries will contain spoilers for Dragon Age Inquisition (DAI), as well as its predecessors, Dragon Age: Origins (DAO) and Dragon Age II (DA2), and may also contain spoilers from the tie-in materials. If you’re new to this whole Dragon Age business and want to know what the hell I’m going on about, please visit my little Dragon Age Primer to learn a bit more about BioWare’s fantasy roleplaying video game series. Not able to devote the ridiculous amount of time into leading the Inquisition yourself? Then join me on my noble journey!

Sunday, 16 November 2014
I guess they couldn't call the sequel "300:2," but I would have accepted "Previously On 300," since a good chunk of Rise of an Empire was just rehashing what good old Leonides was doing on the other side of the mountains (hint: dying). 300: Rise of an Empire is supposed to explain what caused this whole problem with the Persians, as well as tell us what is going on during and just after the sacrifice of the mighty Spartans, whose martyrdom united the rest of Greece against the god king Xerxes.
Frankly, I came here for manflesh and Xerxes, but all I got was meh. While I did appreciate Eva Green and her glorious boobs, I had to see the latter in the most purely pointless and unsexy sex scene I have ever endured this side of pornography. I managed not to sleep through it, but eventually fell asleep at the last half hour (after having my husband fastforward through the previous half hour). Normally, I'm on my husband's case for willful suspension of disbelief in movies and television, but this is one of the few movies where even I can't turn off simple logic rules and just enjoy the film. Especially when there was so little to enjoy. Characters were so dull and obvious in their plodding paths. Despite his name being repeated throughout the entire movie, I was constantly forgetting Themistocles, who apparently caused this whole war in the first place.

Previously on 300

Posted by Wendy B
Saturday, 15 November 2014
Friday, 14 November 2014
Saturday, 1 November 2014
I have been contemplating a third tattoo for a while, but until I was inspired to look up chaos theory and the butterfly effect, I finally found an image and a symbol that spoke to me. My new ink is in keeping with my zodiac theme, adding the Celtic zodiac symbol for my birth to the dragon and scorpion tattoos that I already have.

It represents something that I thought I'd lost. A rebirth, if you will. And many other things, not the least of which has a lot to do with my love of books and, subsequently, of writing.

This is my butterfly in the sky.

I also had him touch up my dragon. The one people who obviously don't know me mistakenly call a seahorse, thereby earning my secret ire.

The problem with tattoos is that they get under your skin, so to speak. My inking process has occurred three times over two decades, but now I'm already thinking about another. And another. If I'm not careful, I'll end up like my Saints Row character... although I really do like her spiderweb tat...

That's not too far off the mark though. My zodiac triptych is complete. Now I'll move on to my geekery -- specifically, gaming, and the game that started me down a long road.

I'm on an ink high, though, so I'll pace myself before committing to the needle just yet. Good thing my new tattoo artist is booked up till next year...

I should go.


Posted by Wendy B
Saturday, 25 October 2014

This is why I participate in Extra Life. Please support this incredible cause at

This is why I Extra Life

Posted by Wendy B
Saturday, 18 October 2014
I’m sure it was Fate, that blustery, not quite spring day, when my friend and I ventured off to Toronto Comic Con. I was determined to find a copy of Jeremy Whitley’s Princeless, but none of the vendors had heard of it — until I got to Comic Book Addiction. Yes, we love Princeless, they said, but no, we don’t have a copy here. You could stop by the store though…

Friday, 10 October 2014
Marvel Swimsuit Special #3Like I said, I have no problem with sexy. Believe it or not, I actually like Manara’s art within the context of the erotica he usually draws. But when it comes to a story about a crime fighting superhero, I prefer the sexuality to be contextual rather than gratuitous. Sell me the story and the character. Not the sex. Yes, yes, I know that “sex sells”. I’m certainly not immune to that — sometimes I don’t mind sexy for the sake of sexy.

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Wednesday, 8 October 2014
In part one, we were introduced to the massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG).  Now that you’ve created your character, followed the tutorial’s instructions, fetched some supplies for a non-player character (NPC), and tussled with killer bunnies, what comes next?

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Monday, 29 September 2014
Sunday, 28 September 2014

So I've been trying to come to terms with Clara and yes, I know there's Impossible Girl stuff I'm missing that would help me, but I'm just going to focus on S8 Clara and how I've been having trouble with her having such a dominating role over the Doctor, which has gone so far as to involve her shaping him from childhood, which really bugged me.

I'm probably late to this party, but someone hit me with the epiphany the other day: the Doctor is a child now. The complaint from fans with Peter Capaldi's casting was that the Doctor is too old now, but the Doctor is supposed to regenerate younger--a prejudice that was addressed through Clara in episode one. Well he has regenerated younger, despite his appearance. His actions and reactions are very much childlike, though he maintains all the knowledge. And this overriding theme of fear is certainly reflective of a childlike mind. This realization makes me want to watch it with my intuitive little 6yo even more, because now I'm seeing her in the Doctor and vice versa.

I don't know what she was like with Matt Smith's Docgtor, but Clara, being a teacher, is the perfect companion for this new one because he very much needs the slap on the wrist. He doesn't have conscience issues solely because of the darkness the dalek saw in episode two, but because he has lost that moral filter in himself... or hasn't gained it yet. He's learning once more.

I'm also not used to the concept of a companion who leads her own life as well as running off with the Doctor, so I really liked that the this episode fully addresses that and had her firmly make that choice. And when Danny learned the truth, he really stepped up, in spite of her lies. He's not sappy boyfriend following along because she said she loves him. He's forcing her to face the truth and delivers lines like this that Clara can't simply walk away from:
"You only really know what someone thinks of you when you know what lies they've told you." ~Danny
He also reads the Doctor well, identifying why the Doctor despises him as both a soldier and as Clara's boyfriend. Although, Danny approaches the latter as the Doctor being her disapproving Space Dad who only wants the best for his daughter. His actions certainly do fit, but an adult would be much better at articulating that disapproval, instead of acting out and trying to distract Clara as the Doctor does, again showing his childlike nature. To a father, no one is good enough for his daughter. But to a child, "mother is the name for God," and anyone who tries to steal her away is the enemy.
"You've explained me to him, but you haven't explained him to me." ~The Doctor
Obviously, there's enough maturity in the Doctor for him to rationalize things and accept Danny on Clara's terms by the end of the episode, even if he doesn't respect him, but there's still the promise of conflict there between the two of them.

The episode title covers so many things for each of the three major characters. The caretaker is what the Doctor disguises himself as and believes himself to be, while Clara is his caretaker, and Danny becomes, to an extent, hers--though not in a rescuing the damsel in distress kind of way. He shows the utmost respect for her and her capabilities, but also makes it clear when he distracts the blitzer, that he's there every step of the way. He's not there to rescue her, but he's got her back, like a good soldier should. Danny also brings in the point that the Doctor turns his companions into soldiers, despite this Doctor's utter disdain for them. Clara might be able to command the Doctor in many situations, but when the shit hits the fan, she unthinkingly obeys his commands without fear, even when they threaten her own life, justifying that with the notion that he's never let her down and she trusts him. Danny forces her to question that. His ultimatum is a bit harsh, but keeping in mind that he has some serious PTSD over his soldiering days, and experience as a soldier commanded to do the things that have caused him these issues, I see this as his fear not only for her, but for himself. He wants to make sure she never suffers what he has, but also wants to protect himself. But is he staying with her now because he loves her? Or because he wants the exciting adventures that her lies had been denying him?

And finally, Missy. The police officer's induction into her "heaven," throws off my theory a bit. Unlike the first two victims, he was not directly in contact with the Doctor, resulting in him choosing to sacrifice himself to help the Doctor defeat the enemy. But he was in the way of a particular enemy the Doctor eventually had to face. Missy cheerfully greeted the other two sacrifices. Was her disdain for him and his entry into this cold, clinical waiting room instead due to his lack of sacrificial lamb status?

Saturday, 27 September 2014
When my husband first invited me to step into my first massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG), I did so with great trepidation. I was a gamer, but at that time, I had never played an online game. And I had heard the stories.

It’s one thing to learn the ropes in a solo game, but online, my newbie status would be judged, and surely I would be found wanting. Nowadays, online gaming concerns go much deeper, with various forms of prejudice and harassment becoming more and more prominent. Such complaints tend to involve the more competitive games. While there is competition in MMOs, the focus is more on community, and I’d like to think that my subsequent positive MMO experience is a prime example of that. Because when I stepped into Final Fantasy XI, I discovered more than just a fun game to play. I discovered a world filled with wonderful, fun, and helpful people, some of whom are still good friends. And over a decade after entering the virtual world of Vana’diel, I have many fond memories that far outweigh any negative experiences.

Thursday, 25 September 2014
Thursday, 18 September 2014
Reading David Mack’s Kabuki: Circle of Blood was an entirely new experience for me. Back then, I was firmly in my superhero phase, keen on colourful and shiny art by the likes of Jim Lee and Marc Silvestri. Kabuki’s black and white format and Mack’s style was a bit off putting. Thankfully, I liked the story so much that I was quick to pick up the subsequent series, Skin Deep—where everything changed. Mack left the simple black and white lines behind, weaving magic with a paintbrush and colour instead. The art work blew me away—not merely because it was so beautiful, but because of the way Mack used every inch of the page to delve into the psyche of his character. This was the first time I’d seen a comic that didn’t follow the standard panel-panel-panel-splash page-panel-panel format, and it has become the standard by which I judge creativity when it comes to artists.

What is this?

This is my mindspill. Mostly about comics, books, video games, movies of the science fiction and fantasy leanings. Sometimes recipes and parenting stuff will sneak in, along with a real world rant or two. I also write about geek culture at Women Write About Comics, and I review genre fiction at The BiblioSanctum.

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Wendy has read 101 books toward her goal of 150 books.

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