The Chantry and the Circles in Thedas as a Narcissistic family system (and how I see it as affecting Anders’ character development, as well as Hawke’s role within the story).
First of all, what is a narcissistic family?
In essence, what we call a “narcissistic family” is a family where the needs of the parents (or sometimes, the larger family system) have precedence over the needs of their children (or the individuals in the system).
Whereas, in a healthy family, parents are expected to:
- provide love and positive reinforcements;
- allow their children to express their feelings and develop a sense of personal identity;
- encourage them to gain their autonomy and make decisions for themselves (while also being empathetic and respectful towards others);
- teach them to act responsibly, set healthy boundaries for themselves;
- and learn to trust in themselves and in others…
In the narcissistic families, children are taught that in order to be loved and gain approval, they must reach the parents’ expectations and cater to their family’s needs. Love and approval is not freely given, it is earned, and then kept only by remaining “good” and/or “obedient” (a parent’s love is conditional). The personal expression of feelings and wants is not only discouraged, but seen as a threat; as the parents (or the family) must remain in control of the system at all times.
The children’s opinions are rarely acknowledged or validated (unless they concur with those of the parents or the system), and everything that the children do is evaluated in regards of “how will this affect the family”? Personal successes and failures on the children’s part are measured by how much they will make the family look good, or bad.
For example, if a child misbehaves, the parent will immediately adopt a “How could you do this to me/us?” attitude; instead of trying to see what lead to the child’s behavior in the first place (perhaps someone is bullying him at school, and he was seeking to express his anger), and then, take appropriate steps to set limits for the child and correct that behavior, while also respecting his own reality and feelings.
In a narcissistic family system, children will be loved for what they do, but never quite seen or heard for who they are. They are expected to conform without ever rebelling.
Such families will often manage to completely stunt the development of the children’s sense of identity, to the point where they will see the world according to what people expect of them, and completely lose touch with that they personally want and feel, who they are, what they value. They often become emotionally immature and anxious, as they keep trying to hit moving targets (other people’s expectations, including those that are “implied”) throughout their lives in order to feel like they have some intrinsic worth.
They become oversensitive to criticism, since they’ve been conditioned to believe that what they do and who they are are one and the same! Therefore, criticizing their actions = criticizing their entire identity. If their actions are described as “bad”, it means that they, themselves, are “bad”. If their actions are described as “stupid”, it means that they are “stupid”. If they make a mistake, it means that “they are the mistake”. And so forth.
Some of them will grow up to develop a number of psychological afflictions… Ex: anxiety disorders, depressions, borderline personality disorders, dependant or codependent personalities, etc.
Paradoxically, these same children will be quick to admire and devote themselves to their parents, as they never realized that things could be different. They have been living in a “purple world” all their lives, so never in their minds did it ever occur to them that they could have chosen the color “green”. Even once they’ve reached adulthood, they will keep the childlike belief that their parents only want what is best for them, and are acting to protect them and/or in their best interests.
If need be, they will defend their system of origin with all they’ve got…
Unless, of course, for one reason or another, the opportunity to perceive the world and their family of origin in a different light presents itself; and thus, circumstances allow them to “wake up” and understand that, not only what has been done to them was wrong and unacceptable, but there are other options… They have other options. They don’t have to submit to their family’s will to be their own person. Who and what they are isn’t measured by how devoted they are to others. They matter, and they deserve to have their own voices heard.
However, in such a family (whether a nuclear one comprising only the 2 parents and their children, or an extended one), there often is some form of unspoken agreement “not to rock the boat”. To ensure the family’s survival, everyone has adopted a dysfunctional way to cope with the situation and to follow the rules, while maintaining some semblance of peace and equilibrium.
Within that family, there are the:
- “controllers”, a.k.a. the ones with the narcissistic traits, those that set the rules that everyone must follow, and whose needs must be fulfilled in priority;
- “enablers”, a.k.a. those that urge the other members to “keep the peace” and avoid provoking the wrath of the “controllers”. They are the seemingly gentle, compassionate parents/individuals that encourage everyone to be reasonable, and to keep playing their given roles without rebelling;
- and the “accessories” (often the children), that are only desirable so long as they follow the rules, keep their mouth shuts, and avoid making waves.
When one of the “accessories” to the family system decides that they don’t want to be mere objects serving the family’s needs and purposes anymore; but wish to become real, wholesome human beings instead of “human doings”, they become a threat to the peace and equilibrium of the system.
They create an imbalance that disturbs everyone else that has accepted that things are the way they are, and can’t be changed! Immediately, the family (as an entity) will fight back, defend itself. Either they will try to put a lot of pressure on the “rebel”, so that he/she returns to his/her subservient place (a.k.a. where the family believes that this individual naturally belongs). Or they will end up viciously attacking him/her, seeking to annihilate the enemy, and often rejecting the “awakened” family member as if he/she had become a disease, or a cancer.
While playing “Dragon Age 2”, I had always felt that Anders was the real protagonist of the story… The one whose story was being told… And now I know why.
If we observe Thedas in the same way that we would look at a narcissitic family system:
A) The Chantry is the narcissistic mother. She sets the rules, and makes sure that everyone under her care and authority respects her needs.
Mages are labeled as the “bad”, “dangerous” and potentially “rebellious” children; while regular folks are infantilized and treated as though they are unable to care for themselves… To live and exist without their good and gentle mother's protection.
"Your brothers and sisters are dangerous! And only I, your kind, generous, and gentle mother, have the power required to protect you from them and control their actions. Without the Chantry, the world would only be chaos and destruction.”
The mother is setting one group of children against the other to ensure that they don’t learn to communicate and co-exist on their own, thus remaining in absolute control by acting as protector and mediator for both sides.
One side, she will encourage and treat them as good, worthy children. The more obedient to the Chantry’s will, the better they are. The other side, she will make them feel worthless in a “why can’t you be more like your brothers and sisters?” kind of way. The mother will thus justify her abuse of this group by always putting on the “bad children” the responsibility to “prove” that they can be just as good and obedient as her other children.
But, of course, since the mother is the only one that can be the judge of that, they (the mages) keep failing at every attempt. When they do succeed in gaining more rights or leeway… When their efforts and contributions to society are finally recognized, it’s only because the mages’ needs coincide with the Chantry’s own needs (ex: they must look good and merciful at a time where people start to complain about their methods. There is a political conflict to win where they need the mages’ power. Etc.). Not because mages are making any progress on the grand scale of things, or earning freedom from the Chantry.
The narcissistic mother is even taking it a step further… If the children misbehave too much and are deemed too dangerous, she even has the right to end their very lives! With their other brothers and sisters (the regular folks)’s blessing, of course.
Mages (the bad children) must conform and obey, or be destroyed.
A “good mage” is a mage that doesn’t challenge the rules, keep to himself/herself, does what is expected of him/her, respects the Chantry and their guardians (Templars). If you are a “good mage”, you don’t get beaten, your primary needs are met, you’re allowed to socialize and study your art, and you may even be allowed to go out to play with your brothers and sisters (like Wynne, for example). The rest has very little importance. Other than that, you don’t matter.
B) The Circles are the enabling fathers. They may see that what the mother is doing is wrong on some level. However, they don’t believe that anything can be done to change the situation. Emotionally immature and incomplete themselves, their sense of identity is too closely linked to the mother's needs in order for them to take a stand, and really protect their children's needs, rights, and interests.
After all, without the mother, there would never be a need for them. Without the Chantry, the Circles (as they are) wouldn’t even exist! With their very existence / way of life threatened, the fathers must make every effort to ensure that the system keeps working as it does. That everyone knows their roles, and behave accordingly.
While they are minimally involved with the mother's good children (regular folks)… The fathers are responsible for making sure that the bad children (the mages) stay in line, and don’t rock the boat.
They will appear to be gentle, kind, consoling, and attentive to their children’s needs… But, while doing so, they will kindly remind them never to provoke the mother's anger. They will urge them to try to draw as little attention as possible on themselves. Keep their voices low, their eyes on the ground, be good and dutiful. For if they do, they will be rewarded. They will be “loved”, approved of, they will matter! If they don’t, not only will they be punished, but they would “selfishly” put every other mage at risk!
For, of course, the “bad children” are not only to blame for their own mistreatments, each and every one of them are also to blame for the potential mistreatments of their siblings. Mages carry the responsibility to make sure that everyone’s needs (a.k.a. the narcissistic family’s system’s needs) are met, even at the expense of their own.
C) The mages are the “accessories”. They exist only to serve the needs of their mother and fathers, and meet expectations. As long as they conform and avoid rebellion, their primary needs are met, peace is kept, and they are “safe”.
If they dare develop their own sense of self and autonomy, make demands for themselves, try to break away from their “family of origin”, etc. They will be punished for daring to venture outside what is deemed “acceptable”.
Stuck within this system, some of them will:
- develop self-esteem problems, ex: believe that they truly are bad, and deserve to be punished for the sins of their predecessors;
- lose the ability to feel any empathy (since no one ever bothered to teach them what it truly means), and become abusers themselves (ex: trying to gain power for themselves while not caring what could be the cost to others, seeking revenge for what was done to them, etc.);
- rebel in a way that is self-destructive (ex: dealing with demons, using sex as a way to get “love” and be in contact with others, while fearing true emotional intimacy, provoking Templars in the hopes of getting attention (any type will do!), trying to take their own lives, etc.);
- grow to become irresponsible adults unable to face the consequences of their choices and actions;
Some of them will manage to be happy and appear well adapted, but it is most likely because they have accepted that things are as they are, never will be changed, and are thus trying to make the most of it. Some will also excel at meeting the system’s needs and will become over-achievers, champions of the mother and fathers.
D) Anders is the awakened child. When we first meet him, Anders is a very immature, incomplete individual. His preferred way of dealing with feelings, pains, problems, challenges and responsibilities is to avoid them (run away!).
He initiates contact with others through humor and shows a promiscuous behavior. However, he will also remain very snarky and emotionally keep people at arm’s length. He’s afraid to get too close, has learned not to trust in himself and others, and has erected a pretty solid system of barriers around himself.
He has a carefully crafted “front” that he presents to the world, but inside, he lacks any clear definition. I don’t even believe that he knows who he truly is by then.
He connects with the Warden because, although he was somehow “forced” to join the order (it was either that, or going back to the Circle, possibly to get executed), he/she is the first to see him as something else than a “mage”, a “mistake”, and ask him questions about what he thinks and/or wants.
The Warden is creating an opportunity for Anders to become more than what’s always been expected of him. To learn about the world through a different set of glasses, and come to a better understanding of how things work outside of the Circle. What his possibilities are. See that the world around him doesn’t have to be all “purple”… The color green also exists!
"Children" that were thus abused, once they start understanding how their family of origin worked, and how wrong things really were, will naturally go through the stages of the grief (often moving back and forth between them).
Denial: In order to survive in a narcissistic family environment, the child had to believe the lie. Deny that things were really that bad, adopt the enabling fathers' point of view, and try his/her best to conform to the system while trying to avoid seeing that there was something deeply wrong within it. Children of such systems need to convince themselves that their family is fulfilling their needs for a time; otherwise they would probably despair and die (at least, on a psychological level). How can the self survive in a place where children have become invisible, and nothing they are or desire truly matters?
Anger: This is the appropriate, normal, and healthy emotional response that children from a narcissistic family will feel when they finally realize that their emotional needs were never met by their family of origin, and that this has affected their lives in very severe and adverse ways. The children will feel anger and often rage towards their mother and fathers for allowing such self-destructive patterns to develop in their minds, and never having cared for their children’s emotional well-being at all. After having been forced to remain completely stuck and utterly “invisible” for such a long time, the slowly emerging self is screaming, and it wants out! It screams for the recognition of the emotional, psychological, and sometimes physical abuses it was forced to endure at the hands of his mother and fathers, and demands justice. That the family system takes responsibility for their actions.
Bargaining: At the same time, most will keep hoping that things will change. That somehow, their mother and their fathers can be reasoned with. That there is a way to make them see the pain and destruction that they are causing to their children, and appeal to their compassion. They fail to understand that in order to do so, their mother and their fathers have to be able to see that something is wrong with them, with the system itself. In a truly narcissistic system, sadly, there is no room for such understanding. The (dysfunctional) system “works”, and “peace” must be preserved at all costs. Others must change in order to meet the system’s needs, not the other way around. Hoping for any change from within is sadly a complete, hopeless waste of time.
Depression: This generally occurs shortly before the acceptance stage. Once the child truly understands that nothing he or she can say or do will ever change his mother and fathers, and make them love and/or approve of their children. That the narcissistic system is so deeply set and self-sufficient by now, that any attempt to bargain or reason with it is lost. The “awakened child” has to mourn his vision and expectations of achieving any collaboration and mutual respect of each other’s needs within his family of origin. It can’t happen, because the system lacks the ability for change from within. The mother and fathers feel no inner motivation or obligation to change their ways, as they truly believe that theirs is the only right way to do things. As such, their children exist only as utilitarian tools serving a bigger purpose… Theirs (the mother's, a.k.a. the Chantry's in this case). Letting go of the hope that things with their “family” can get better, can also make one feel like he or she has personally failed in saving his “family”.
Acceptance: The children have come to realize and accept that their narcissistic mother truly lacks the ability to feel any genuine empathy or love for her children, and that they will never get the respect and approbation they so crave from her (the Chantry), no matter how well they behave. The only moments where they’ve had the feeling that they seemed to be making some progress and learning to understand / respect each other is when the children’s needs met with their mother's needs. The mother can’t change from within. The only thing the children can do is develop their own identities, and refuse to keep meeting their mother's needs. Acquire their autonomy.
I put these stages in this specific order because this is how Anders seems to move during the course of the “Dragon Age” games.
Stages 1 and 2 (denial and anger) occurred during Anders’ stay at the Circle, the course of “Dragon Age Awakening”, and his joining with Justice.
It also explains in part why the spirit of Justice fully manifests when Anders briefly returns to his “anger” stage; as the desire for justice and recognition from the victim is closely linked with this emotion. Anders didn’t have “too much anger” in him. As a matter of fact, it is his (appropriate, normal, and healthy) anger that probably caused him to seek justice for all mages to begin with. The need for justice almost always comes from anger.
So while Anders says that his anger made Justice more “vengeful”… Justice’s presence within his mind and body is probably what caused his anger to intensify and take center stage just as well!
Of course, as the typical child from a narcissistic family, Anders is quick to take the blame for everything that goes “wrong” in his life, instead of trying to share responsibilities. To believe there was something wrong with him that caused Justice to change. That he had “too much anger in him”, making him “bad” and “unworthy” of being a host to Justice, somehow.
Hawke’s attitude and acceptance / rejection of Anders’ joining with Justice is, ultimately, what will decide whether Anders will successfully merge with Justice and integrate the spirit within his own identity; or will perceive this side of himself as an “abomination”, and split both identities within. (But we’ll return to that later).
Stage 3 (bargaining) happens more or less in Act I and II, up until the “Dissent” quest. Anders is: compulsively writing manifestos; trying to show the world how mages can make a positive contribution to society by running a free clinic in Darktown; being heavily involved in the mages underground (a resistance movement); trying to show the world what’s wrong; working hard to gather support from his “sisters” and “brothers” (mages and non-mages); etc. He’s still hoping that his mother and fathers can be convinced to listen, and that the change he so desperately craves can occur peacefully. He’s still trying to prove his worth and gather love through what he does, rather than who he is. But the real Anders is slowly emerging and defining himself. Or, if you don’t support him, Anders is slowly beginning to create two distinct identities (Anders and Vengeance) within the same body.
Stage 4 (depression) occurs in Act II and III, from the quest “Dissent” to “Justice”, approximately. You hear Anders saying things such as “I can’t go on like this”, and “our cause is nearly lost”. He’s starting to understand and accept that his mother and fathers can’t be reasoned with, and that mages can never acquire their freedom through peaceful negotiations, or by being “good examples” (a.k.a. acting accordingly to the Chantry’s and the Circles’ expectations). He is losing hope of ever seeing his mother and fathers ever listening to their children’s voices, and making any effort to understand their plight. Somehow, he still feels responsible for failing to demonstrate to them how their violence is destroying the very lives they have sworn to protect.
Stage 5 (acceptance) occurs between the quest “Justice”, and continues to develop until the very end of the game, where Anders has finally completed his journey towards adulthood and autonomy either successfully (friendship path, or rivalry without trying to convince Anders that joining with Justice was wrong), or not (rivalry path where Anders has been convinced that Justice became a demon by his fault).
This is where Hawke truly plays the most important role.
If you (as Hawke) keep trying to convince Anders that he is wrong, and that his mother and fathers are right… If you become an “enabler” for the “narcissistic family system” by encouraging him to defer to his “family of origin” ‘s wisdom and set of rules. If you adopt the “mages must prove that they are worthy in order to receive any external validation and approval from their mother, fathers, brothers and sisters” ’ vision… If you entertain for him the myth that his “narcissistic family system” can be changed through patience, negotiation, and mutual collaboration…
Then all you will achieve with Anders is succeeding in making him feel more and more inadequate as a human being, encourage him to lose his fragile sense of self even further, and reinforce the internal splitting between the different parts of himself. He will fail to integrate Justice as being part of his own identity, creating 2 Anders.
1. The codependent, self loathing, irresponsible, insecure victim (of Justice, the Chantry, the Circles, the Wardens, and so forth!) Anders.
2. “Vengeance”, a.k.a. the blending of the spirit of Justice with the part of himself that has been constantly been repressed and denied existence… And is now understandably filled with rage and anger!
Furthermore, Anders will fail to become an adult and take any responsibility for his actions during the quest “The Last Straw”. He will put all the blame on “Vengeance”, and ask to be killed because he has failed to “master the part of himself that is filled with anger” (thus, is perceived as “wrong”, “unwanted”, and “inappropriate”). He will act as a submissive, powerless victim.
However, if you support him and make him understand that he never did anything wrong to deserve how they have treated him as a child. That what the Chantry and the Circles did to him (and other mages) is wrong and unacceptable. If you validate his feelings and perceptions regarding his abusive “family of origin”, encourage him to express his thoughts and opinions on the subject. If you give him some healthy room to vent, and be truly seen and heard by someone who genuinely cares for him as an individual, not only for what he can do. If you show Anders that no matter what he does, you still love him for who he is, and that you believe in him and his abilities as a person, not only as a mage.
You will allow him to heal, and Anders’ own sense of self will not only strengthen, but he will also eventually succeed in integrating the spirit of Justice as being a part of his very identity. He will grow to become more assertive, confident, and will take a stand against his “all-powerful family”, directly confronting them.
After having finally understood (much to his chagrin) that the system itself can’t be changed through patience, negotiation, and mutual collaboration, he will find the courage to oppose their power in the only way that can create a shift strong enough to put a stop to the cycle of violence.
i.e. Disrupting the alliance between the controlling mother and the enabling fathers, thus breaking the dysfunctional peace and equilibrium that allowed the abuses to take place without anyone opposing them.
Following the destruction of the Chantry, he will readily express regret for the nature of his actions, while also staying firm in his beliefs and motives. As a fully autonomous adult, he is not trying to set blame on anyone but himself, and is ready to face the consequences of his actions. Justice and him are “one”. Anders is “one”. He is finally whole and complete! He’s no longer running or capitulating to escape his responsibilities, or even trying to deny who and what he is. Instead of only “reacting” to the abuse, he is taking direct actions to stop it.
If he is rejected by all of his brothers and sisters (on both sides), hunted down, shunned, and hated for doing so, then so be it! If they don’t understand and ask that he forfeits his life for his actions, he’s even at peace with that. Either way, he has already won.
Not the war, not the mages’ freedom. Anders has won himself. His “family of origin” will have failed in destroying everything that makes him who he is. He will have refused to submit to his mother and fathers by taking upon himself the guilt of a bunch of people (the mages before him that have historically represented a danger) that have absolutely nothing to do with who he is, and whose actions he could never have influenced even if he had wished to.
He’s done believing the lies that they have been trying to project on him; fitting in the mold, and accepting the roles that he has been given. Anders now is, as simple as that.
In the end, “Dragon Age 2” ends up being all about Anders’ journey towards adulthood… Or his failure to ever free himself from his “narcissisitic family of origin”.
With Hawke either acting as:
1. an enabler for the mother and fathers;
2. a confused, indoctrinated sibling going “Wait! He’s disrupting our (dysfunctional) peace and equilibrium through rebellion and violence (funny how people are willing to tolerate the violence that is keeping the narcissistic system together and seemingly “peaceful”, but will readily condemn anyone taking the necessary means to stop it)! How dare he!”
3. a narcissist himself, by somehow believing that everyone should always defer to him for decision making, and feeling hurt and betrayed by Anders for having made this decision on his own;
4. a supportive friend or lover that is empathic, sees the manipulative and narcissistic nature of the Chantry and the Circles without trying to make excuses for them; and is willing to understand the abuses that mages, and every people in Thedas (those that are infantilized are not being respected either) suffer at their hands.
Hawke can’t stop Anders and Justice from completing their task… However, he can decide whether or not Anders will come out of the experience stronger for it, or completely destroyed… And whether or not he is going to be part of the problem (the narcissistic family system), or the solution (breaking and opposing the cycle of violence through resistance).
In the movie “The Matrix”, for example, the protagonists are sadly often forced to kill the minds of the very people they are trying to save in order to protect themselves, and make sure that their rebellion succeeds. In “Stargate”, the rebelling Jaffas have to kill some of their brothers and sisters that still see the Goa’uld as their Gods.
I see Anders’ actions, though terrible, as no different when we measure them against the strength of the enemy he was trying to oppose.
Anders’ full rebellion started in violence, it’s true…
But the negative “peace” offered by the Chantry and the Circles was already over saturated with violence. It was a one sided war on an imaginary enemy (the wickedness of all mages) with no army to oppose them.
So, violence being already a huge part of the initial problem, does Hawke value:
Autonomy, responsibility, and freedom.
Slavery, unaccountability, and oppression.
How far is he/she willing to go to obtain it? How much is worth sacrificing to this cause? Will he/she fear and fight change (a.k.a. fight for restoring order, and the status quo), or embrace it (a.k.a. help mages and everyone else in Thedas liberate themselves from their oppressors)?
While I’ve seen many complain how Hawke, despite his “Champion of Kirkwall” ‘s status, had virtually no power to influence or change anything and to stop the war from happening. I believe this was probably one of the most realistic approaches for the game, especially within a narcissistic family system context.
After all, who is Hawke, but one of the mother (and perhaps fathers, if he is a mage)’s children?
Whether he is among the “good children” (regular folks), or “bad children” (mages), the mother will only allow her child to wield some power and superior position over his brothers and sisters, as long as doing so also serves her own interests.
Did Hawke truly expect more from a narcissistic mother? Was he/she under the impression that his/her opinion accounted for anything to her, if they do not concord with the mother (Chantry)’s own agenda?
Why in the world would Meredith (controller), Elthina (enabler), or even Orsino (enabler, despite his brief episodes where he seems to try to resist the controller) would allow him/her the power to actually change things in Kirkwall?
They must seek to control Hawke and the way that the population perceives their Champion, of course. They have to make Hawke believe that his/her opinions matter to them, and make a public show of it; all the while tightening their stranglehold over Kirkwall’s population and its mages. While they praise Hawke for his/her efforts in keeping the peace, for example, people aren’t paying as much attention to the mother (Chantry) and fathers (Circles)’s own actions, nor truly seeking to oppose them.
Besides, they are projecting their own responsibilities on the Champion. He/she is utilitarian, a tool, an “accessory”.
I believe this may even be one of the reasons why Anders purposely kept Hawke out of the loop regarding his plans.
I wonder how he/she would have reacted if Anders had gone to him/her and said:
"Hey Hawke… By the way, I just want you to know that neither Meredith, Orsino, Elthina, nor anyone of influence in this town actually cares about what you want or how you feel. And the more you try to change things positively by setting an example… The more you try to negotiate, and the more you collaborate with them… Well, the more your opinions are being completely disregarded, and you are being used. The last 10 years spent in Kirkwall where you’ve tried to do some good and change things from within have more or less been an utter waste of time.
While the ones controlling the city have allowed things to get better for you personally, everything else has gotten worse. You lack the influence to change anything, because the ones in control will never let you do so.
The more powerful you get, the more they’ll try to make you adopt their points of view and values through different means of seduction. The more you behave according to their needs, the more positive reinforcements and praises you’ll receive. They’ll even actively seek your opinion and involve you in situations of important decision making.
However, if you start rocking the boat a bit too hard, they’ll make sure to try to isolate you from politics by giving you a bunch of more important matters to deal with, for example, and keeping you busy. Meanwhile, they might start spreading rumors, making you look bad or dangerous, expressing doubts on your motivations, in order to make you gradually lose the people’s support. They will project their own faults on you; always put you in situations where you must constantly justify your action, and gradually take away everything you have been given.
The more you try to negotiate, the worse it’ll be.”
Hmmm… Would Hawke have been ready to wake up and understand this? Or will he/she have told Anders that he’s only being paranoid, exaggerating, and tried for many more years to still to bring about change in Kirkwall in a peaceful manner (remain in the denial stage)?
Anders did what he had to do in order to set things in motion. And sadly enough, no matter how much he loved (or cared for) Hawke and truly did wish to trust him/her, Hawke’s position within the city made him/her an ally as well as a liability.
Anders chose to give his cause (that is, in many ways, representative of who he is) precedence over his own life, and feelings.
And, in doing so, he actually gave Hawke the opportunity to free himself/herself from his/her own mother and fathers’ control, prevent them (Meredith, Elthina, and Orsino) from being able to manipulate him/her any further, and put the power to really change and influence things in Thedas back in the Champion’s hands.
As for Anders, well… He’s already won (or lost, if he’s been rivaled and encouraged to lose all faith in his cause and himself) and, in many ways, has completed his own Journey.
However, I am curious to see how he will keep evolving as a character, and what his fate will be if Hawke chose to let him live. How he and Justice will adapt to what comes next. Hopefully, the matter will be further addressed by the writers in one way or another…
If not, I’m definitely grateful for them having created such a rich and interesting character, and for the wonderful emotional ride! Bravo!