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Is Solas a "Bad Guy" ?

Is Solas a "Bad Guy" ?

When you’re in the 9th year of waiting for one of your favourite videogame series to actually release something, sometimes you find yourself on Google, staring at the first page, hoping for some updated news.

To no one’s surprise, I didn’t get any.

Dragon Age: Dreadwolf is a game I’m as excited for as I am, no pun intended, dreading. With a series that has such an asinine amount of lore, there’s a solid shot that something is going to be messed up, or retconned, or ignored. That’s neither here nor there because the most we have for a release date is a vague “2024”. Plenty of time for me to quietly obsess. This isn’t what got me in a tizzy, though. No, no. What got me when I went on my monthly Google search was the suggested questions:


Now, I read this question in passing, thought I must have made it up, and had to scroll back. Is Solas the bad guy? My first gut reaction is to scream, “yes”. Upon further reflection, he’s not… the worst guy in the series. The debate for that answer would start World War III. Let’s back it up a little and apply some context.

Solas, if you weren’t aware, is actually an elvish “god”. This isn’t a fact we’re privy to until Dragon Age: Inquisition – Trespasser. Before he saunters in at the end of the DLC, we’re led to believe he’s an elven hedge mage and an apostate — arguably the top three worst things to be in current-day Thedas. Even though he speaks an almost completely dead language seemingly fluently and knows things that he clearly should not, we, as the player, don’t have any reason not to believe him. Nothing concrete, at least. BioWare has this trend of their anti-Deus Ex Machina coming in the form of a mage companion, so in reality, it should have been obvious that they were going to pull this trick a third time. Alas, it wasn’t — not to me, anyway — and I was gobsmacked when Solas showed up again after abandoning the Inquisitor years earlier with not even a “peace out”. 

Even as my character is lying there dying, green goo coming out of their melting hand, even as he’s telling me his plan to blow up the world, I have to take a moment and appreciate the pzazz, the glamour, the glow up (as the kids these days call it) of the snooty little hedge mage.

Solas make over

As we enter Solas’ first villain origin story monologue, we’re reminded that he isn’t just the trickster god Fen'harel: he’s also the person who sucked most of the magic out of the world.

This? This is where it gets messy.  


In current-day Thedas, Fen'harel is also known as the Dread Wolf. He’s so infamous that the Dalish — the nomadic Elves who try to separate themselves from other races as much as possible — use his name as a curse word in various, fun phrases.

Solas is from a time before all this, in a world so old that it’s completely turned to myth. Back in the ancient days, Elves ruled over their own massive empire, appropriately named Elvhenan. They were immortal, magic was revered, not feared, and all elves were capable of doing it. What the Dalish call the “Creators” were actually known as the Evanuris, the elite members who controlled and ruled over the vast and imposing empire. Solas, of course, was a part of said clique, but he clarifies that the Evanuris were never actually gods, only extremely powerful beings with ego inflations.

What the Dalish don’t know is that the Evanuris actually used to enslave other Elves for their own gains. Solas, for his part, found the practice repulsive and did not partake. He disagreed with the Evanuris' obsession with power and the way they elevated themselves into false godhood. It took the death of his friend Mythal, at the hands of the Evanuris, to push Solas over the edge and form a rebellion to topple his comrades-turned-tyrants.

He did eventually take them down, but it came at a cost. A cost that Solas hadn’t entirely known.

Being against slavery and fighting against tyranny are two good things. I’ll give Solas two points on the “not evil” chart.

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In order to get rid of the Evanuris for good, Solas trapped them in the Fade — the wiki describes the Fade as “a metaphysical realm that is tied to Thedas’ and ‘realm of primeval matter”. I personally can’t think of a simpler definition of it, except that it’s the place where mages draw all their power from — and created the Veil in order to separate the Fade from reality. After this, Solas fell into a really, really, really long sleep.

I will give this decision a pass on the “evil doer” scale because I doubt Solas could have seen the ramifications — or could even have imagined them — when he locked the Evanuris up. Humankind was an infant in his experience; there was no way to guess that they’d manage to topple a whole empire.


By severing reality from the Fade, the Elves lost their immortality and the innate ability to do magic. Though they can still become mages, the likelihood of it is fully based on DNA and pure chance, just as it is for other races in Thedas.

Magic in Thedas is feared now. It’s worse than feared — it’s hardly even tolerated. It varies country by country, but the vast amount of the known planet believes magic is an uncontainable threat, an unknown entity that needs to be pacified and controlled as much as physically possible. A large number of countries try to do just that by placing all mages in a Circle — a building that each country has that is a mix between a prison and a boarding school —  as soon as they show signs of magic. Here, they will, to varying degrees of success, learn how to control their powers. They will also, consequently, stay there until they die. Marriage is forbidden; if they have a child, it will be taken away, contact with the outside world is limited; and each Circle is guarded by drug-induced, religiously controlled soldiers.

After the Veil was created, the Elves became so weakened that their empire was quickly toppled. Elves were once again enslaved, just to a human master instead of an Elven one.

Elves in modern-day Thedas are, for the most part, seen as second-class citizens. In many countries, slavery is now illegal, though Elves are segregated to certain areas known as “allienages”.  This is slowly changing, but in places like Orlais, it’s not uncommon for elven slavery to happen “under the table”. In the Tevinter Empire, slavery is revered and practised on all races.

Knowledge about Elvhenan is almost non-existent. Elvish is only known in broken words and fragmented sentences.

Solas feels bad about this! Solas feels guilty! He wants to right this wrong thousands of years later with his post-nap clarity! So, at the end of Dragon Age: Trespasser, he announces that he’s going to tear the Veil down, which will create such a mass amount of chaos, and bring down so much doom, that the whole current world will essentially explode and die.

This is where Solas loses me (Not to mention throughout the whole of Dragon Age: Inquisition, he’s rude to just about everybody, but that’s simply an honourable mention in this article that is turning into a lecture).

But it’s okay, everyone! Don’t worry! Solas is going to rebuild the world in his image! Because that always works out super duper perfectly well. Oh, and please don’t mind the mass genocide of every creature but the Elven race, okay? He feels bad. He’s really, really sorry, and he swears to the Inquisitor that he’s not getting any joy out of killing 99.9 percent of a whole planet. He’s not evil, he’s not the bad guy because he feels bad for conducting the evil thing he’s voluntarily doing. As if any villain has ever seen themselves as the villain in the first place.

Oh, and to add insult to injury: the mean pantheon of Elvhen elite he locked up in the first place? They’re going to be free again after he enacts this plan of his. To undo his past mistakes, he is going to also undo the — debatably — one good thing he accomplished.



Solas is a brilliantly written character, one of the best in the series, actually, and Patrick Weekes took the definition of a Byronic hero and ran with it. Solas is complex and multi-faceted, an example of what more videogames need. His choices and motives challenge players to question their own moral judgements, and some of his decisions are so morally grey that they should rename the colour after him. Hell, he is a character that inspired a 1,000 word rant just because of an unrelated Google search.

But Solas? Solas has a villain Wikipedia page. Solas is absolutely a goddamn bad guy.

Tina Vatore

Tina Vatore

Staff Writer

“That's what I'm here for: to deliver unpleasant news and witty one-liners."

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Thejakman - 06:28am, 19th July 2023

Great article and informative! Let's hope Dreadwolf does it justice.

Sauron - 02:37am, 20th July 2023 Author

Fingers crossed and Maker willing

JaseTay - 06:20pm, 22nd July 2023

Lets not forget the plot of the base Dragon Age: Inquistion game. Solas basically gave his orb to Corypheus — he let him find it. He did this for his own reasons, hoping Corypheus would end up destroying the barriers of the fade in his attempts to enter the Golden City. Our player character, later known as the "Inquisitor", accidentally interferes and the orbs "anchor" (the ability to open and close rifts into the fade) gets attached to us rather then Corypheus. Solas through is minipulation of events, is directly responsible for soooooo much death and destruction, and as you pointed out in the Trespasser DLC, he is not finished yet. In my opinion, he is an extremely evil character who cloaks himself with his intelligence and a pleasent demeanour. He cares about nothing save his own regrets and goals.