Exclusive Q&A with David Gaider, Lead Writer of Dragon Age Games and Books
Dragon Age is a rich world with a complicated and diverse cast of characters that started with a video game and has now expanded into comics, novels, and web series. We had a chance to ask lead writer David Gaider a few questions about the World of Thedas.
Amazon.com: With only two games that have come out in the Dragon Age universe, the graphic novels have been one of the few places fans can go and get their Dragon Age fix. How did you first decide which characters to further explore? Were any decisions made due to fan demand versus an inkling of an idea for a branching story that was already there?
David Gaider: I think it would have been difficult to base the decision on which characters were going to appear in the graphic novels based on fan demand alone. Dragon Age is a pretty character-driven series. No matter which characters you name, there are people out there who are intensely passionate about them. We knew the moment we picked any characters there would be fans of those who weren’t included who’d immediately wonder why not. So ultimately it was down to which characters I personally thought it would be fun for me to explore a bit further. There was a hanging plot thread regarding what became of Alistair’s father, and it was something I always wanted to explore… so I came up with several scenarios in which that plot could be explored, and the ramifications the search would mean both to him as well as the others.
Amazon.com: Now that these stories have become such a big part of the lore, will the story in DA: Inquisition be affected at all by what’s happened/happening in the graphic novels?
DG: Not directly. If we bring any plots that occur in the comics back into the game, we need to introduce it in such a way that you wouldn’t need to know anything about the comics in order to enjoy it. So we can, but the reward is limited because the people who would be most looking forward to that introduction—those who read the comics—are re-learning what they already know. We have to take into account that the stories in the novel only might have happened in your personal game timeline. What if Alistair died in your game, for instance? So this was always intended as a side tale, but that doesn’t mean the extra lore I’ve dropped into the comics won’t become very relevant.
Amazon.com: Do you have a favorite character from the Dragon Age universe? Is there a character that you grew to like more as you fleshed out his/her story?
DG: Picking a favorite among the characters I wrote would be difficult. Alistair, obviously, since I use him so often. I find him very fun to write, and every time I do his voice comes back to me very quickly. If I were to pick a character that I specifically liked the more I wrote him, I’d say that would be Loghain—the antagonist from the first Dragon Age game. He developed a lot of complexity in my mind, and by the time I wrote the first novel he’d transitioned into something pretty complex that I was quite happy with. I have to admit, I adore doomed characters.
Amazon.com: The various nations and races are so integral to the overall world that’s been built. Do you have a favorite race/nation and which do you hope to explore more?
DG: If I got to go anywhere at all in a Dragon Age game, it’d be the Tevinter Imperium. Decadent, decaying, and with a topsy-turvy power structure compared to the rest of the world we’ve presented—mages rule, with all the implications that go along with it. I think it’d be a real challenge to scratch beneath the surface of the “evil slaver empire” which we’ve always shown and turn it into something more nuanced.
Amazon.com: Is there one graphic novel you would suggest someone check out if they’ve never read any of the books but are fans of the games?
DG: A Dragon Age graphic novel, you mean? There are only the three, and the story progresses between them, so I’d suggest they start with the first one: The Silent Grove.