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Shadows of Amn's Nalia vs. Dragon Age 2's Anders

DISCLAIMER: In this post, I am not at all arguing that Nalia inspired Anders in any way. I doubt the writers came as far back as Baldur's Gate for inspiration, and if they did, I doubt they would go to the neglected NPCs of the game, of which Nalia is undoubtedly one.

Does Anders strike anyone as quaintly familiar insofar as his character template is concerned? I have just completed Dragon Age 2 for the first time, and I can say with all honesty that similarities between himself and Nalia (one of my favourite characters, as plenty of you are reluctantly aware!) are fairly obvious to one who wishes to compare and contrast the two.

Both characters are Mages, on a simplistic level. Moreover, both characters intend to use their elevated social status (Nalia - her social class, Anders - his unique place in society) to forward his/her own political manifesto. Anders, naturally, has much more detail and attention paid to his character, but I can't say he is any less overwhelming or persistent than Nalia in fronting his political agenda through dialogue. Anders is much more experienced than Nalia, and thus I must reiterate I do not think that they are mirror image characters, merely that they bear striking similarities. I would say, however, that given his level of detail, Anders is a much more likeable character than Nalia, but if he were transposed into BG2, the character he draws the most similarities with is indeed Nalia.

Nalia is not stupid - that ought to be said, for most people misinterpret her. Certainly she is naive, but her conversations with Viconia and Haer'Dalis (and others, though they do not immediately spring to mind) show that her beliefs stem from an intellectual place as well as an emotional one. She is not carried by whim. To Viconia, she will try to explain that her political beliefs include insisting upon 'an equal distribution of goods' (socialism, essentially) in Amn, which has excess resources to distribute. To Haer'Dalis, she will chastise him for attempting to patronise her. Similarly, Anders will scold and shrug off the other NPCs in DA2 who try to mollify him or belittle his beliefs.

By Throne of Bhaal, Nalia shows an inclination towards her magical power and an interest in acquiring greater strength in order to forward her aims. The morality of her statements are very ambiguous, but in her own context, it is not unfair to suggest that she might move somewhere towards an 'Anders-esque' territory of aligning herself with questionable entities and artefacts in order to forward her agenda.

Again, I will insist that I do not believe Anders is directly inspired by Nalia. I do think it might be interesting to shine a light however on the poignant similarities between both characters - and the sharp contrast in popularity that can be seen between them, which, one might argue, is entirely down to the amount of developer resources committed to the expansion of their individual questlines and dialogue (Anders being favoured greatly in DA2, and Nalia being neglected somewhat in BG2).

Once more, I hope you enjoyed the verbose read guys!



  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,018
    I think that you underestimate how "Far back" they would go for inspiration. Dragon Age itself was touted as being a spiritual successor to BG, so you never know what they were thinking.

    Plus Anders is about as well received as Nalia, or so I have heard, so...

  • LesseLesse Member Posts: 81
    Valen Shadowbreath from Hordes of the Underdark (second Neverwinter Nights 1 expansion) was the inspiration for Fenris from DA:2, apparently. Although I'm not sure how that worked, seeing as Fenris was so whiney and insufferable and Valen to me was a great character.

    The thing is, Anders wasn't always that politically aware. In Awakening he very much just wanted to be alone, have a pretty girl, own a cat and not put up with any persecution (very un-like Nalia, really). He was only like that when he became an abomination and...much like Merrill, I feel Anders was somewhat out of character in DA:2. Personally (even if this is off topic) I was always upset my funny, care free mage was all angsty and insufferable in DA:2. But then...I still liked him better than Fenris, lol.

    Anders is very good at manipulating people, Nalia...isn't. She's very gullible and makes sweeping assumptions a lot of the time. Anders pretty much knows how to trick and get his own way, I guess. At least from his stories of evading templars (and getting caught by that one female one he liked), and his antics involving the chantry in DA:2 are concerned. I'm afraid I can't see many similarities, but then I barely ever used Nalia past doing her questline.

  • dreambleddreambled Member Posts: 48
    edited August 2014
    Anders was very much the same way in DA2 as he was in DAA. The difference was the combination of now being an abomination and also living in a mage-oppressive environment like Kirkwall. It made it the only thing he would talk about because it was always a current topic, and a topic that only got more volatile as the game went on.

    Personally, I don't care for either Nalia or Anders. Anders and Fenris show the two extremes of the game, and I just don't do well with extremes so neither of them end up being in my party often.
    Nalia, for me, is literally a placeholder until I get Imoen back.

    At least Nalia doesn't go around blowing up political offices she doesn't agree with. So ... at least she has that going for her.

  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    If anything, Anders' personality and storyline bear a stronger resemblance to Viconia than Nalia: both are persecuted because of what they are rather than anything they've done (Anders by the Chantry, Viconia by surface-dwellers), both want nothing more than to be allowed to live their lives, both are healers, and - if romanced - both are reluctant to fall in love because of traumatic events in their past.

  • FrondFrond Member Posts: 121
    I can't see Nalia doing what Anders did at the end of DA2, though it would probably make me like her much more. That scene is one of my all time favourite moments in gaming. The only other scene that even comes close is in the Witcher 2 when you find out the truth of Saskia.

  • TwaniTwani Member Posts: 640
    I see Anders more in Valygar (yes, hating magic and supporting magic are different (and yes, you could compare Valygar to Fenris as well) but the sheer stubborness of it is the same) and Viconia then Nalia, honestly.

    Mainly, I don't think Nalia has it in her to nuke something from orbit. Viconia? Totally. And, honestly, if Valygar got a chance on the Coweled Wizard headquarters before Character Development and Meeting Lavok... well, I think we might have a fallen ranger.

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