Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Now Reading: Postcards from Kirkwall and Others

A detailed analysis of kyriarchy in Dragon Age 2, as examined by two simultaneous play-throughs.  One Hawke experiences the game as a female mage, and the other as a male warrior.  A look at Thedas through the lens of what it is like to experience the events of the game with varying amounts of privilege.  The differences are sometimes subtle, but there nonetheless.  Sadly, there are only a few posts so far, but I think the idea itself is really interesting.

2. Mages and Philosophies of Oppression

I skimmed the more quote-heavy bits, but this raises an interesting point: most of the danger that mages pose to others, and the dangers to mages themselves, could be lessened given support and resources.  Blood magic is a dangerous alternative to lyrium.  When Merrill makes a deal with a demon, it is only because she doesn't have access, as a Dalish elf, to the resources she'd need to power her spell with lyrium.  Similarly, most examples we have of mages turning to demons are due to fear, desperation, anger, despair.  A system that supported mages, a culture of social justice, universal access to lyrium, would likely reduce the danger.

Even in a supportive society with access to resources and no persecution, there would still be mages succumbing to the desire to be even more powerful than they can be with lyrium alone.  And even privileged people can suffer fear and despair.  But the conditions of the circle can be seen to actually make the problem worse.

3.  No blog, just stuff.

In Ferelden, which is ruled entirely by men, with the exception of Anora who wielded her power from the sidelines, as the power behind Cailan's throne, rather than a power in her own right, Jenny was often marked as different for being female.  She was often reminded that "there aren't many women gray wardens," or asked, "as a woman, what do you think?"

In Kirkwall, two of the four positions of power are held by women: Knight-Commander Meredith and Grand Cleric Elthina.  One of those positions is only available to women, as the Chantry only accepts female leaders.  It can be said that the two of them hold much more power than the other two positions, which seem mostly to act as figureheads: the Viscount and the First Enchanter.  If one adds the Captain of the Guard to the list, then women hold three of the five positions, and after Act 2, when the Viscount is removed and Jenny is proclaimed Champion, Kirkwall becomes practically a matriarchy.  And in this environment, in contrast to Ferelden, Jenny is remarked upon for being foreign, but never for being female.

No comments: