I Wasn't Fucking Kidding: A Lengthy Personal Treatise on what Fenris From Dragon Age II Means To Me

Spoilers! Also content warning for abuse! I mean this is my Lengthy I Relate To Fenris Essay so brace yourself ig

It's no secret (uh. to me. anyway.) that I have fucking PTSD! The "fucking" makes it more fun to say and less serious to think about! I have very sad actual fucking (sorry. not sorry?) diagnosed C-PTSD! Loud shouting!! I had a fucking weird and sad or whatever childhood and I started having really awful trouble when I was maybe 6 or 7 and a lot of my memories have been blanked out or whatever from that time until I was maybe 12. or 13? things ramp up in pieces. I have learned that sometimes your brain just blots out stuff to "protect" you but that's a bit odd b/c all I can remember from that time is the few (many? few? few??? some?????) specific incidents that were so horrible that they take over the rest of my childhood. life? anyway I have the C version of C-PTSD for a specific reason! because I had to endure a lot of specific, long-term, systemic bullshit Matilda-style! I certainly wasn't. you know. Forcibly enslaved by a magister or anything. But let me tell you, long-term abuse by an adult who wants you to think/be/act/raised a certain way for their own personal benefit/masochism and not, you know, to be a functional member of society? MAYBE I FUCKING RELATE TO THAT, ahem, as it happened to me. (only. you know. less enslavement. but also plenty of being locked in closets and being physically kicked and More Gross Shit I Do Not Care To Discuss But Maybe You Can Probably Fucking Figure It Out although i didn't have it as bad as some people. obviously.)

So many of my own memories of my own childhood are locked away or never happened and sometimes when Fenris talks about how getting forcibly lyrium tattooed made him forget everything beforehand... it just sounds exactly like what I went through, I guess. I mean that's what PTSD is. Memories are so precious, especially when you haven't had a lot of them to cherish. I know Fenris is played up for the emo angle but honestly... there's something about meeting other people who have been through that sort of thing that makes you want to throw yourself in to ride or die forever. Partially because we were both raised Fucked Up and maybe being so ride or die is a bad side effect of the. yknow. abuse. but also, when you meet someone else who's been through what you have, you just wanna protect them... and I mean... you can get on the dude's case about not opening up or harboring a grudge all you like but when you've been RAISED to think and do things and act a certain way by an abuser it's. hard.

oh my GOD don't even get me started on the "But you're free... how do you not feel free?" thing. That. Conversation. I've had that conversation with my IRL girlfriend a million times, in Fenris's shoes. like. you don't even know. it's not just enough to escape the bad thing. the bad thing built a little mental prison for you so you could keep serving the bad thing, to its benefit. and it's HARD to unlearn. It's HARD to kick. AND you've been programmed to feel positive reinforcement when the Bad Person asks you to do something and you do it correctly, which is EXTRA FUCKED UP because who the fuck programs a person like that?! And I guess I relate to Fenris a lot because we both got snagged up when we were pretty young. It's fucking stupid but I have save game files for each important Fenris conversation so I can go back and comfort him and I guess by proxy myself by showing him that someone... out there... understands. It genuinely helps to talk it out with him because it's just how I feel all the time. We're both trying so hard to make a new life. and maybe kirkwall isn't so bad. ESPECIALLY compared to where we came from. (kirkwall sucks but it sucks like philly sucks. insert joke about red lyrium gritty here.)

anyway deflection aside I'm kind of just getting started on this. anyway. the save files. they genuinely help. it's a genuine comfort. And also pretty fuckin gender affirming to see my Hawke spin Fenris around like a handsome prince. idk. i just wanna make the dude feel safe and it means so much to me that he does, with Hawke.

another weird thing i guess i headcanon is that Fenris and I deffo don't agree on The Mage Issue (all mages? still??? I mean yes I understand WHY. And you never have to put aside your own personal fears like that if you're not ready if you've Suffered At The Hands Of A Mage. but that's like a journey and you can't force someone to go on one.), so I try to leave him out of quests that involve me siding with the mages - for one thing it's important to me that we're friiiiieeeends (yes i am a sap. lol. somehow we end up befriending each other before things go tits up with Merrill's whole sitch anyway?) but also because I figure, IRL, Hawke wouldn't keep putting Fenris in a position to re-encounter the people who represent the folks who abused him. TBH it makes it kiiind offff. hard. to date Dorian in DA:I because of it. Because you (me. I?) can't date Fenris without internalizing just what Tevinter was like and while I REALLY like Dorian AND I know he hates all the mage supremacy shit Tevinter stands for (and he's funny af and yes. a snack. of course.) it's way TOO HARD. TOO. HARD. FOR. ME. TO. PUT. ASIDE. ALL THE STUFF FENRIS SAYS IN DA2. Like Dorian wanting to fix Tevinter is fantastic but I just can't get with someone totally who can still find joy in hanging out in Minrathous (no matter how bitter, lol) knowing that the buildings were built on the blood of people just like the guy you love. It's just. You know what it's like to lose blood for someone else's whimsy? Whimsy! Also I once almost died of blood loss after surgery which is completely irrelevant but the blood magic stuff SQUICKS ME OUT EXTRA. BECAUSE. I ACTUALLY. KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE. TO HAVE THE LIFE SQUEEEZED OUTTA YOU CUZ YOU DON'T HAVE ENOUGH BLOOD. Like do you know what it's like to know "oh shit oh fuck there's no way my body can make that up i'm gonna fuckin die"???? To know that???????? And the ultimate fucking saving grace sense of fucking relief you feel when you lock eyes with the cooler fulla someone else's fucking blood that you know is getting pumped into you???? your body is just reading you off a constant damage report. i'm getting faint just talking about it lmao. word of advice try not to get a tumor or get in a car crash or get horrifically injured or anything b/c blood loss SUCKS A FAT ONE.

ahem. where was I? blood mages? it's always blood mages??

It makes me so happy that Hawke is so important to him. I hope that his adventures in Kirkwall together can be a chance to make better cookies, as Sera would say. The old cookies were just so fucked up. And I don't want to hate cookies. So thanks. For making new cookies with me. I genuinely fucking love you, Fenris. Always.

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"I understand. ...I've always understood." <333