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The Bookish Owl – Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne by David Gaider

Dragon Age The Stolen Throne

Here be dragons! Just in case the ‘dragon’ in Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne by David Gaider didn’t clue you in…

The Stolen Throne is the prequel to Dragon Age: Origins, the first game in one of my all-time favorite video game franchises. And it follows Prince Maric, the father of my all-time favorite character Alistair, during his rebellion against the Orlesian usurper of the Fereldan throne. You also get to see a lot of Loghain, Jackass Supreme in Origins, but very nearly likable in this book.

Though still a jackass.

While The Stolen Throne is a good and well-written book, I think I had expected a bit more from something written by David Gaider, who was the lead writer for Dragon Age: Origins. The thing about the Dragon Age games is that they have characters you can’t help falling in love with, but the characters in this book didn’t make much of an impact on me. Don’t get me wrong, I liked them well enough and I enjoyed the book… but it just didn’t have that special something I get from the games.


If you’re a fan of the Dragon Age games as well, check out my rambling post on my favorite DA companions! Or wait around for my future Bookish Owl post on Hard in Hightown by Varric Tethras…


Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne
by David Gaider

After his mother, the beloved Rebel Queen, is betrayed and murdered by her own faithless lords, young Maric becomes the leader of a rebel army attempting to free his nation from the control of a foreign tyrant.

His countrymen live in fear; his commanders consider him untested; and his only allies are Loghain, a brash young outlaw who saved his life, and Rowan, the beautiful warrior maiden promised to him since birth. Surrounded by spies and traitors, Maric must find a way to not only survive but achieve his ultimate destiny: Ferelden’s freedom and the return of his line to the stolen throne. 


Dragon Age The Stolen Throne

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June’s Book Haul

Fantasy Book haul

Guess what’s more wonderful than getting a package full of books?

Getting a HUGE package full of books.

But my order actually got split into three, so I just got one big package, one medium-sized package and a small package… But it still adds up to 22 books, so it’s a good haul. I know it’s July, but this is a post about June’s book haul, since it took some time for all the shipments to arrive.

Aren’t they pretty?

Book Haul

The books I got were:

  • The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
  • Six of Crows Boxed Set by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom)
  • The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
  • The Hunger Games 10th Anniversary Boxset by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay)
  • The Complete Tales of H.P. Lovecraft by H. P. Lovecraft (duh)
  • Dragon Age: Tevinter Nights by Sylvia Feketekuty
  • Dragon Age: Hard In Hightown by Varric Tethras (AKA Mary Kirby)
  • Magic: The Gathering – Ravnica by Greg Weisman
  • Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett
  • Johnny and the Dead by Terry Pratchett
  • Johnny and the Bomb by Terry Pratchett
  • Dodger by Terry Pratchett
  • This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab
  • A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
  • The Bear and The Nightingale by Katherine Arden
  • Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
  • House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
  • European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss
  • The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl by Theodora Goss

I had to rearrange all my bookshelves to fit them in (the Lovecraft collection was far too tall for my shelves, but far too gorgeous to put in horizontally), but it was so worth it. Some of these books are just so darn beautiful, and the six I’ve already read were great.

The Complete Tales of H. P. Lovecraft

I have long wanted to read some Lovecraft and when I came across this absolutely amazing special edition of his completed works, I knew I had to own it. It’s hardback, taller than any of my other books, and more than 1000 pages, so I will probably injure my wrists reading it, but it’s sooo pretty…

The Complete Works of H. P. Lovecraft

Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom and The Language of Thorns

I have quickly grown to love Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse, so of course I had to get the books I was missing.

Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom are both pretty dull-looking next to the shiny copies of the rest of the series, but The Language of Thorns is so gorgeous, both inside and out. Not only is the hardback incredibly beautiful, each page inside is illustrated as well!

The only problem I have with the Grishaverse is that NONE of the subseries are the same height. It’s messing with my bookshelf OCD that I have one series with books of four different heights…

Six of Crows and The Language of ThornsLanguage of Thorns Page Illustration

The Hunger Games 10th Anniversary Boxset

I read the first Hunger Games book years ago, but when I wanted to give the series another try, I couldn’t find my copy anywhere. This gave me a great excuse to buy a complete boxset – with The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay – and the 10th Anniversary edition is really pretty. It’s all shiny and impossible to photograph.

Hunger Games 10th Anniversary Box Set

Pratchett YA

I guess the only thing surprising about this section is that there’s still Pratchett books I haven’t bought yet…

These are some of Terry Pratchett’s books for younger readers, Dodger and the Johnny Maxwell trilogy. Johnny and the Bomb was actually the very first Pratchett book I ever read, way back in middle school, and one of the first books I read in English, so I’m excited about getting to read the entire series.

However, a problem with availability means I didn’t get all the books in the same edition, so I’m going to be grumbling about that for a while…

Terry Pratchett Johhny Maxwell Dodger

The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club

I read the first book of this series without knowing it was part of a series, so by the end I hadn’t sated my curiosity about the mysterious plot the characters were caught up in. Nothing for it, except to buy the next books!

Dragon Age and Magic: The Gathering

My obsession with Dragon Age started years ago, so of course I needed some tie-in novels while waiting for the fourth game. And I recently became part of a Ravnica-themed Dungeons & Dragons party, but I have never played Magic: The Gathering, so I need to study some lore, so I know who all the people trying to kill me are…

Dragon Age and Ravnica books

All the Rest

These are (almost) all new authors to me that I’m excited to read!

Fantasy Book haul

Have you read any of these? If so, let me know in the comments if I need to move some of them further up my TBR list!

 

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Favorite Companions in Dragon Age

Dragon Age Keep

You might not have noticed because of all the Witcher stuff I post, but I have a deep-seated obsession with Dragon Age. And not just because of the dragons.

(Though you can never have too many dragons.)

Since I haven’t been seeing a lot of my real life friends, I have abandoned any hope of productivity to revisit some of my virtual friends in Dragon Age: Inquistion. I have also been fighting dragons and yelling, “Take that, you flapping bastard!” with my windows opened and my neighbors might now think I’m beating up Artemis…

Anyway, I wanted to talk about some of my favorite companions across the Dragon Age games. It certainly wasn’t easy to limit the list to a manageable size, because all the characters in these games are amazing

(Except for Carver. He’s a little bitch. Oh, and Sera. Who is just… weird. And not the good kind of weird.)

Eh, warning: This post turned out more gay than I intended. Obviously it’s very hard to be both a Dragon Age fan and a homophobe, so you’re probably good, but I honestly hadn’t intended to go Full Lesbian while writing this.


Dragon Age Inquisition Grey Warden Alistair

Alistair

Even two games and many years later, Alistair still tops every Dragon Age list I’ll ever make. I remember confiding in a friend when I first started playing Origins that this game was turning me straight, and her reply was, “Pfft, even my fiance is in love with Alistair!”

It might say something about the sad state of my love life, but I can honestly say that I was more upset by Alistair dumping my mage Warden than I have ever been by a real life break-up, and I immediately went back to an earlier save instead of just accepting it.

But really, can you blame me? Alistair is just the most adorable bundle of awkwardness. He somehow manages to be so cheesy that he comes out on the other side as sweet.

Alistair: So… let me get this straight. You were a cloistered sister?
Leliana: You must have been a brother before you became a templar, no?
Alistair: I never actually became a templar. I was recruited into the Grey Wardens before I took my final vows.
Leliana: Do you ever regret leaving the Chantry?
Alistair: No, never. Do you?
Leliana: Yes. You may not believe it, but I found peace there. The kind of peace I’ve never known.
Alistair: It used to get so quiet at the monastery that I would start screaming until one of the brothers came running. I would tell them that I was just checking. You never know, right?
Leliana: I… no, I never did anything like that. I enjoyed the quiet.
Alistair: Suit yourself. The look on their face was always priceless.


Dragon Age Companions Morrigan

Morrigan

See, these games might be turning me straight, but I’ll argue that it’s only because Bioware makes characters like Morrigan straight in-game. My type has always been:

a. Bitchy women
b. Women who are no good for me
c. Women who look like they could beat the crap out of me

…and more often than not: d. All of the above.

(See sections ‘Vivienne’, ‘Cassandra’, ‘Isabela’.)

I’m getting sidetracked.

I have cosplayed as Morrigan many times and for years my text ringtone was her first voice line in Origins: “My, my, what have we here?”

Scared the crap out of my grandmother once I left my phone in the room with her while I was fixing her PC…

But really, Morrigan is the Bitch Witch Queen and not even Madame Vivienne de Fer can push her off her throne. As much as I adore Alistair, I will never tire of hearing the party dialogue between him and Morrigan, because our swamp witch is brutal in her mockery.

Alistair: So tell me, was the Tower of Magi everything you thought it would be?
Morrigan: Abominations running rampant? Templars ready to slaughter every mage in sight? Yes, it rather met all my expectations.
Alistair: You don’t think you might have been better off getting your training there? Instead of whatever your mother taught you?
Morrigan: You’re right. My mother didn’t nearly have as many abominations running about. That certainly would have improved my education.
Alistair: Hmm. I’ll give you that one.
Morrigan: I’m so relieved.


Dorian Pavus Dragon Age Inquisition

Dorian

Everyone’s favorite Tevinter moustache mage very nearly beat Morrigan for the second spot on this list. I imagine the battle was fierce and filled with devastating snipes.

Dorian is everything I want in a friend: Sassy, intelligent and completely and utterly gay. I am even willing to accept that he’s much prettier than me.

He’s also the only character to ever pull off that moustache.

Dorian: Varric, I want a new nickname.
Varric: What’s wrong with sparkler? Not colorful enough for you?
Dorian: You must know me better now. Or does the moniker you gave me five minutes after we met still apply?
Varric: I have the eyes of a story teller. It’s a gift.
Dorian: So, I’m a bit of light you stick in a window sill to impress passersby? All flash, no heat? Hmm… that’s actually pretty clever.
Varric: See? Embrace your place in the universe, Sparkler.


Isabela Dragon Age II

Isabela

“Pirates like booty. Both kinds!”

Isabela is our favorite inappropiate pirate. Also the best lesbian romance option across all the games, in my humble gay opinion. Josephine is a sweetheart, but she keeps friendzoning herself, and the rest are just not doing it for me. Isabela is so aggressive that I started a romance with her by accident. I thought we were just having a normal conversation and suddenly daggers were flying everywhere…

My favorite thing about Isabela is the totally inappropiate party dialogue you get when you bring her along. And Aveline and Isabela throwing insults back and forth is a display of the truest kind of friendship I can think of.

Aveline: I had trouble with another one of your women, Isabela. She stole from a… distracted client. You’re lucky she wasn’t jailed.
Isabela: My women? I am but a shepherd. And what free enterprise are you oppressing now?
Aveline: Theft is not enterprise.
Isabela: Opportunities insufficiently guarded. Victimless crimes.
Aveline: Except for all the victims.
Isabela: Details. Victimless details.


Sebastian Vael Dragon Age 2

Sebastian

I know this choice is controversal, but hear me out.

Whatever you say about Sebastian, you can’t deny that his introduction scene is badass. When the Grand Cleric tries to remove his notice looking for mercenaries to kill his family’s murderers from the board and he turns around and shoots an arrow through it?

That’s style.

Besides, if you ignore the stuff he actually says, and just listen to his very pleasant voice with the Scottish accent, he’s very enjoyable to have in the party. And it’s also rather funny to hear the other companions make fun of him.

Varric: So, Choir Boy, this usurper of yours is… twenty feet tall?
Sebastian: Not even close, no.
Varric: But he has claws for hands, right?
Sebastian: Fingers. Perfectly normal ones. If a little fat, perhaps.
Varric: He eats babies, though. And farts fire.
Sebastian: You’re not serious, I hope.
Varric: You can’t even pretend to be interesting, can you?


Cassandra Dragon Age Inquisition

Cassandra

Oh, Cassandra Allegra Portia Calogera Filomena Pentaghast – The sharp-tongued Seeker who secretly loves horrible romance novels.

Cassandra is one of my favorites because she’s badass, but still relatable. She has a horrible temper, but she is one of those rare people who will admit when she’s wrong and apologize for it.

I also need her to be gay so badly.

Cassandra’s is one of the few romances in Dragon Age that I have never tried out because I fear she might be reduced to some blushing damsel, and when I think of ‘Cassandra’ and ‘damsel’ in the same scenario… it’s always Cassandra rescuing some damsel in a tower by shield-bashing a dragon in the face.

Dorian: Tell me, Cassandra: did your family throw suitors at you?
Cassandra: My uncle did, waves of them – until I broke one’s arm. Then there were fewer.
Dorian: I must admit I never tried that.
Cassandra: It was an accident. Well… mostly an accident.


Varric Tethras Dragon Age Inquisition

Varric

I would be crucified by half the internet and at least two of my friends if I didn’t include our dear story-telling dwarf.

But really, he’s a writer with a crossbow; basically all I aspire to be, minus the chest hair.

Anders: What?
Varric: Just wondering if the feathered pauldrons are an essential part of the moody rebel mage persona.
Anders: What are you talking about?
Varric: I’m working on an epic poem about a hopelessly romantic apostate waging an epic struggle against forces he can’t possibly defeat.
Anders: What do you mean, “can’t possibly defeat?”
Varric: Well, it’s not a good story unless the hero dies.


Vivienne Dragon Age Inquisition

Vivienne

Madame de Fer makes the list because few appreciate her bitchiness and because she’s hella stylish.

What can I say? I got a thing for bitchy mages.

Blackwall: You must miss the comforts of your mansions, traveling with us as you do.
Vivienne: I miss them. I do not require them.
Vivienne: But please, continue to imagine me a pampered lady, if it makes you feel superior.


I think that’s all for now. Throw me a comment with which Dragon Age companion is your favorite, because I badly need excuses to geek out over these games with you.

And remember, kids: Swooping is bad.

(All screenshots shamelessly stolen from the Dragon Age Wiki)

 

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Cosplay Photoshoot – Morrigan (Dragon Age)

Morrigan Cosplay Dragon Age

I believe these photos are from all the way back in July, but I have been crazily busy ever since. Besides, it’s cold and dark outside right now, and I haven’t seen the sun in days, so sharing some cosplay photos from a beautiful summer day might be just what is needed to lighten this blog up a bit.

Otherwise it will just be all owl photos and me grumbling about stuff like an old man.

The cosplay I used for this photoshoot was Morrigan from Dragon Age. It’s an old cosplay, but still one of my favorites and I never got around to have any good pictures taken of it at a suitable location, so my friend Line and I took a trip to Hald Ruin, an old castle ruin about an hour’s drive from where I live. The ruin itself turned out to be a bit disappointing, but the area around it was gorgeous, and it was all too easy to find spots that looked like the swamp where you first encounter Morrigan in Dragon Age Origins. It was also the first cosplay photoshoot I did after getting LASIK surgery, meaning I could actually see something while shooting – I don’t use contacts, and I needed to remove my glasses for the photos, so in the past I have always stumbled around nearsightedly – so I could move around more freely. Possibly a little too freely, if you ask Line, because the branches I was crawling around on were hanging out over a lake and might have moved a bit more under my weight than they reasonably should have.

Apparently, working eyesight means little if you step on something that snaps under you, and I was told in no uncertain terms that while she was willing to act as my photographer, Line would not save me if I fell headfirst into the lake.

Morrigan Cosplay Hald Ruin

I look all relaxed in this one, but what you can’t see in the photo is that there’s a rather sudden drop just behind me, so really I’m just hoping I’ll be able to get back down from the damn tree without slipping.

Morrigan Cosplay Dragon Age

It was such a lovely day that I had trouble stopping myself from smiling, which is why I totally fail at capturing Morrigan’s wonderful bitch vibe in most of these photos.

Morrigan Cosplay Forest

“Just ignore the Dutch tourists staring at you. Juuust ignore them.”

Morrigan Cosplay Branch

Morrigan is one of the few cosplays I can sit down in. That helps a lot.

Morrigan Cosplay Ruin

“I think I hear Darkspawn… oh, wait, it’s just the tourists again.”

Morrigan Cosplay Lake


Photographer: Line Torntoft

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Cosplay Post – Morrigan (Dragon Age)

Finally finished writing another of these posts, this time for my Morrigan cosplay!

Looking forward to when I start doing this for NEW costumes, so I won’t have to spent hours searching forgotten folders on my backup hard drive to (hopefully) locate progress pictures…

Onwards!

Morrigan (Dragon Age)


The Facts

Character: Morrigan

Franchise: Dragon Age

Finished: May 2015

 


Reference

As is often the case with my cosplays, I used a couple different references and picked the parts I liked from each. With Morrigan, this was mostly because she wears NOTHING under her very, very open cowl in Dragon Age: Origins, but she was a bit more fortunate in her concept artwork.

I can deal with revealing costumes, but I draw the line at flashing an entire convention because fabric slips in reality, as opposed to video games 😂

Morrigan Dragon Age Morrigan Dragon AgeMorrigan Concept Art Dragon Age

 


Story behind the costume

Not much to say here. I got Dragon Age: Origins for free one day, played it for about 15 minutes, got obsessed, met someone even more obsessed who was already making a Dragon Age cosplay, and suddenly I had decided to cosplay the bitchy witch wearing way too little clothing.

Morrigan is the mistress of Sass, and there was no way I could get away with NOT cosplaying her.

 


How It’s Made

With Morrigan I didn’t experiment with as many different materials as my other costumes… which might also be why it’s one of the only cosplays I have that I can move almost freely in.

The cowl is made entirely from normal fabric. Nothing fancy going on there.

For the skirt, I used a plain pencil skirt as a base and sewed faux leather around it. The patch at the top is made from EVA foam, covered in the same pleather and with rabbit fur attached around the egde. It’s attached to the skirt with push buttons, meaning it’s detachable, because it covers the zipper for the skirt.

All the “belts” hanging from the skirt were made separately and from scratch, all in the same pleather as the skirt and with metal rings hammered in (I love getting to use a hammer when I sew stuff).


Morrigan skirt CosplayMorrigan skirt cosplay


The bra… Now THAT is something I’m weirdly proud of. I didn’t even sew the thing from scratch, instead Frankensteining it from 3 different bras that I slaughtered. I bought two simple bikini tops from eBay, one white and one black, and took the straps from the black and the cups from the white. The fabric used for the white one was waaaay too white, but it turns out that soaking a bra in black tea for a few hours is a great way to dye it.

With the straps and the cups put together I technically had a fully-functional bra. But seeing as I’m a little paranoid, I thought an extra bit of security was in order. Which is how I came to slaughter bra nr. 3. This time, it was a self-adhesive silicone bra that I sewed into the cups of my bikini top, so that I could easily glue the whole thing to my chest and not worry about anything slipping.

Bra Cosplay Adhersive

(Turned out to be a very good idea, since a friend accidentally untied the bikini top in the middle of a convention hall one time…)

The staff was a lot of fun. It was also an experiment that I had expected to fail spectacularly, but which somehow turned out great.

The base is a completely normal wooden broom handle. At the top I nailed some foam strips on some wire onto it and covered it in PU foam. From that, I carved a couple of “branches”.

I covered the whole thing in acrylic sealant, making the surface bumpy like a rough tree branch. Still can’t believe that I randomly grabbed some stuff you use to put in windows and somehow it all worked out…

Then, of course, I painted and varnished it. I tied a piece of leather with some feathers around it to give it the finishing touch.


Morrigan staff cosplayStaff cosplay acrylic sealantPU foam staff cosplay


Morrigan necklace cosplayOn to the necklace. This was made by making a base of black pleather and attaching the separate pieces onto it. It’s closed in the back with push buttons and the gold pieces are made from spray-painted EVA foam (the pendants also have Worbla covering the foam). The pearls are also attached directly to the necklace, instead of being a separate piece.

The sleeve is made from stretchy pleather and kept on with elastic at the top. The patch is made from pleather-covered EVA foam with sewn on feathers, attached to the sleeve with push buttons.

 


Funny stories

I had a lot of fun with this costume, both making it and wearing it.

I worked on the cosplay together with a friend (she was cosplaying Anders, also from Dragon Age) and we usually did it at her apartment. That led to a number of funny situations, for example one day when we talked about the latest game in the Dragon Age series, Inquisition, which I hadn’t played yet, so I was a bit confused when my friend’s boyfriend stuck his head into the room, yelled “Fuck Solas!” and left.

After playing the game, I get the sentiment, but it felt rather random at the time.

Another classic moment was when we had decided on how to dye my bikini top. My friend’s boyfriend came home some time after and went to his own workshop and my friend called out to him “Just so you know, there’s a bra soaking in tea in the kitchen.” There was silence for a while, before we heard “Wait… what?!”

Good times.

I have also had a lot of good times wearing the cosplay. Not only have I won two contests with it, I also got a group of amazing friends that I would never have met if we hadn’t all been cosplaying from the same game franchise at the same convention.

Dragon Age Cosplay group
Photographer: Ulrich von Blücher

That’s the magic of cosplay. You suddenly find yourself in a group of complete strangers, just because of your shared love for a game, and spend hours hanging out and taking pictures. That’s usually the end of it, but not for this group. Half of these people are the ones that now make up my Dragon Age tabletop group and I can’t even describe how much fun we have.

Side note: You can also have a great lot of fun when you suddenly have three people cosplaying the same character.

Morrigan cosplays
Photographer: Ulrich von Blücher
Morrigan cosplay
Photographer: Ulrich von Blücher