Sunday, 4 January 2015

Meeting the Inquisition

So with the, relatively, recent release of Dragon Age: Inquisition, the third instalment in the Dragon Age saga, we have been introduced to a fantastic new cast of characters. It took me a while before I was able to play the game, but I have recently been devouring it eagerly. As the university term is about to begin once again, I thought it would be interesting to produce a couple of entries on the saga. Naturally, with such a large number of new characters (and more than a few recurring) I could not resist the temptation to type all of the characters with MBTI. 

Needless to say, this entry is going to discuss the characters in relative detail. There may be spoilers. Consider yourselves warned. 

With that in mind, let's get right in there.

The Warriors

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Blackwall - ISFJ (The Protector)

Typical of an ISFJ, Blackwall has an incredibly strong sense of duty and this manifests in his strong dedication to the Grey Wardens. His dominant Introverted Sensing (Si) manifests in a clear understanding of general forms, of the way in which things should work. Though not entirely bound by them, he regards traditions highly, often more willing to adopted the tried and tested ways of behaving, slow to embrace novel methods. In his devotion to the Wardens, a further respect for the lessons of the past is revealed. Through speaking to him, he reveals a constant interest in his previous experiences, discussing his decision to reject the aid of a Chevalier, which could have led him to a previous life. Further evidence of the traditionalism of his Si is revealed though this is revealed further through his auxiliary Extroverted Feeling (fe). When faced with that which would challenge his personal views, his response is primarily emotional. Disrespect the Wardens and he immediately becomes hostile and openly disapproving. His understands how others feel and is able to respond to them emotionally, with compassion. However, his Fe is contained by his Si, for he keeps mostly to himself. His tertiary Introverted Thinking (Ti) allows him to hold consistent views and subject his past experiences to criticism. As this is introverted, Blackwall is able to organise his experiences and feelings into a logical structure of his own design, allowing him to develop his own approaches. It is down to the independence granted to him by his Ti that Blackwall is able to operate independently of the Grey Wardens. His somewhat rebellious or independent streak is further encouraged by his inferior Extroverted Intuition (Ne) which encourages him to move towards novelty and is sometimes able to lead his Si astray. 

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Cassandra - ESTJ (The Supervisor)

Almost every fibre of Cassandra's being is focused upon establishing order and control within her external environment. Without a doubt, her dominant function is Extroverted Thinking (Te), through which she focuses her attention on the outside world and seeks to see the rational connections between the various concepts of her environment and arrange them in such a manner as to serve a particular goal. She professes that her superiors always criticised her for acting too hastily, and this is evident of the quick conclusion producing abilities of her Te. After all, the Inquisition is born from both Leliana's vision and Cassandra's pragmatism. Under her orders, all of the component parts are brought together and moulded to fit a singular purpose. What marks Cassandra as an ESTJ over an ENTJ is that the order she seeks to enforce is not one of her own making. It is not her own vision that she seeks to fulfill, but another's, albeit one she shares. In the absence of Justinia's guiding hand, Cassandra turns to her past experiences and the established way of things for inspiration, an indication of her auxiliary Introverted Sensing (Si). Relying on routine gives her an extreme respect for the status quo, though she recognises that some things need to change. Her tertiary function, Extroverted Intuition (Ne) aids in the development of these new conclusions. When she encounters that which disillusions her to the established ideas (such as the discoveries concerning the Order of Seekers during her personal quest), she is forced to use her Ne to reveal a new path, connecting the established ideas, known through her Si and enforced through her Te, to explore new possibilities. Cassandra is not one to share her feelings, keeping them close to her and dealing with them in solitude unless she is very close to the one with whom she is sharing them. As her inferior function is Introverted Feeling (Fi) her emotions can become problematic for her, influence her behaviours in a less than conscious manner. Whereas she may see herself as a disciplined and rational Seeker, she is susceptible to her motions that she cares to admit. Take, for instance, her arguments with Varric. 

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The Iron Bull - ESTP (The Promoter)

Undoubtedly among the reasons he was selected to be Ben-Hassrath, the Iron Bull's dominant function is Extroverted Sensing (Se), indicating that he is extremely present. In short, Bull Keeps it real. He is less concerned with the ways in which things should be (as one might expect from a Qunari) in either a generic or abstract way but is more content to deal with things as they are. In spite of his association with the Qunari and the Qun, he has spent so much time away from it that he has learnt to be far more pragmatic and down to earth than idealist. The ease with which he can be encouraged to abandon the Qun and live as Tal-Vashoth for the sake of his friends is evidence of this. He also adores physical sensations, as is evident to anyone who takes him to slay a dragon. Simply because he is not dedicated to the Qun does not mean that he does not like structure. As said to those who romance him, he likes structure and organisation in the world, something to tame his impulses and this is evidence of his Introverted Thinking (Ti). When encountering something novel, he is quickly able to organise it into his personal system, which has certainly been shaped by the Qun, though it is not limited to it. Bull is open about his feelings, though is less serious about them at first, as is clear to any who romance him. Due to this Extroverted Feeling (Fe), he can seem very much like an open book, for any feelings are easily shared. In this position, however, the function is relatively simplistic. Underneath it all, he is guided by gut instincts and raw luck. This is representative of an underdeveloped inferior Introverted Intuition (Ni).


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Varric - ESFP (The Performer)

Highly observant, Varric's attention is near constantly fixed upon the state of the world around him. He regards events and people and objects and absorbs them all through his dominant Extroverted Sensing (Se). Varric enjoys new experiences, for his delight comes from taking these and weaving them into over the top tales and stories. Furthermore, he has fine taste, epitomised in his love of commerce and money, which is a fundamental drive for his mercantile side. The true analysis comes from his auxiliary Introverted Feeling (Fi) which reviews his experiences as produces private emotional responses and an internal system of subjective ethics. Interesting, this leads him to fail to involve himself with either side of the Mage/Templar war, though he is not unsympathetic to its nature. The presence of such sympathy is shown through his remaining with the Inquisition and even contacting Hawke for their assistance, even though he could easily leave. Varric does have an idea which he wishes to push out onto the world: one in which he is able to live a relatively quiet life as a merchant, making enough money by which to live and ultimately keeping himself free from the dangers of the grand stories of history. This tertiary Extroverted Thinking (Te) is what ultimately leads him to stay with the Inquisition, for he realises that without its success, he cannot have his ideal life. His inferior function, Introverted Intuition (Ni) does not seem all that developed to me, though perhaps further reflection will reveal more to me at a later date. 

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Sera - ESFP (The Performer)

Similarly to Varric, Sera simply wants to lead a quiet life outside of the grand chapters of the history books. Her dominant Extroverted Sensing (Se) manifests through her attitude of living in the moment, her ability to be incredible flexible and her love of novel sensations. Were she able to, Sera would fill her days with the pleasures of food, wine, song and women and, like Varric, it is her realisation that she cannot have her goal, through her tertiary Extroverted Thinking (Te) that she ultimately remains with the Inquisition. Auxiliary to her Se is Introverted Feeling (Fi) which manifests itself through pranks and playful attempts to engage with others. For example, she constantly mocks Vivienne for her nobility, though she does not seem to want to cause offence so much as engage in some harmful expression. Beneath everything, she seems to hold several principles which effect the rest of her behaviour, evident of an Inferior Introverted Intuition (Ni). She does not seem to critically engage with these, which make them her greatest weakness. An example of such is her unreasoning dislike for the Dalish "elfy elves". 

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Cole - INFP (The Healer)

Though the dominant function of an INFP is Introverted Feeling (Fi) which is focused far more upon the self, rather than the feelings of others and whilst feeling in an extroverted form is more able to pick up on the feelings of others, the way in which Cole interacts with emotions seems to me to be highly introverted. Due to the fact that he is a spirit, Cole's personhood and sense of self are often called into question. Speaking with him reveals that he is very unclear as to what he is and who he is and this void is filled with the needs of others. He experiences the pain of others, not through empathy, but through living it himself, he literally experiences their pain and their memories and then deals with the emotion internally before he 'helps' them. This, coupled with the fact that he treats all those he helps in a highly individual sense, rarely, if ever, regarding them generally betrays a strong sense of Fi. The manner in which he helps others is often through helping them forget, though he approaches each case with a sense of wonder, every one of them requiring that he test several approaches, making them forget him each time her fails. This is evidence of his auxiliary Extroverted Intuition (Ne), which helps him expand on a key idea (that of helping another) and allows him to generate novel ways of approaching them. Tertiary is his Introverted Sensing (Si) which naturally turns him away from the world and places him in a dreamlike state (which is obviously augmented by his being a spirit). His experiences of people allow him to develop, and he is able to look to previous cases in order to develop a method of helping, though ultimately he prefers to use his Fi and Ne in conjunction. Extroverted Thinking (Te) is his inferior function and it manifests in his desire to eliminate pain, an end goal to which he is always working. However, this function has often, in the past, at least, caused him issue. He used to murder individuals in order to help them, so dedicated to his goal was he. 

The Magi

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Dorian - ENFP (The Champion)

Dorian is driven by a desire to improve the world, though he has no clear goal in mind, no clear vision of the future. Primarily, he desires to make things better in Tevinter, though he has no clear idea as to how to go about this. He shows himself as wondering at the potentials which lie within the future, with all the potentials. Due to this, I consider his dominant function to be Extroverted Intuition (Ne). Whereas Solas and Leliana (to be discussed later) both work toward a "closed conclusion" with a specific nature and path, Dorian champions liberation in order to open up worlds of possibility. He is not deterred by the insurmountability of the problem, for he deals in possibilities, not in facts. Personal emotion is highly motivating for Dorian. He champions the liberation of Tevinter because it is personal to him, because his personal ethic demands it. This is demonstrable of auxiliary Introverted Feeling (Fi) which concerns the subject itself. It is further evident in his demand for authenticity above pleasing others. Rightly so, he does not wish to change himself to please his family or his culture, and, though the act is not without challenge, he finds it easier than he might have done to bear the burden of his exile, for he has earned it through being his genuine self.  This goal and his sense of self lead him into becoming a voice for those who a voiceless, or at least he desires to become such a thing. Genuinely, he wants other people to be themselves, and he realises that the world must change in order to allow it. This reflects his tertiary function Extroverted Thinking (Te) through which he seeks to impose an order of things, no matter how lax this may be in practice, upon the world. His inferior, and thus most problematic, function is Introverted Sensing (Si) which is predominantly concerned with the past and his own experiences. Dorian struggles with these, mainly due to the nature of them as so different and overtly opposed to the sense of genuine self he has created with his Fi. The past is a place of worry for him, thus he turns himself to a future of infinite possibility. 

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Solas - INFJ (The Prophet)

This section will include discussion of spoiler material most explicitly, and is also based upon my own theories and understandings of the character. When originally considering him, I had him penned down as an INFP, the same type as Cole, however, all things now considered, I am almost certain that he is an INFJ. However, I think that, like many INFJs, he is guilty of putting on masks and appearing as another type. I think it is possible to mistype him as an ISFJ. 

Look away now. 

As is revealed in the post-credits epilogue, Solas is in fact Fen'Harel, the Dread World, a deity of elven myth who has survived the fall of Elvhenan. There are currently many theories as to the nature of this character. In short, I consider him to have indeed sealed the elven Gods, save for Mythal (and perhaps Andruil), who were, like him, ancient elven rulers. In doing so, he created the Fade and sealed away the spirits, alongside the other Gods. He then rested and upon awakening, discovered that his people had been overwhelmed by the Tevinter Imperium. Since, he has single-mindedly pursued the goal of releasing the Gods. 

Solas is fixed upon the future and his singular pursuit of a very important goal and he constantly seeks it, it defines him entirely. This is a fundamental trait of Introverted Intuition (Ni) his dominant function, for he always looks for the connections between ideas, in this case various articles of magical power, in order to know best how to bring these elements together in the right way and thereby achieve his goal. Furthermore, he is captivated and repulsed by Dalish myths, in which he is portrayed as a traitor and an antagonist. When looking at the tales, and the fate of his people, he looks beyond facts, seeking deeper meaning, another trait associated with Ni. It is further reflected in his want to understand spirits and the Fade, a world of hidden and concealed meaning. His drive is emotional, he feels so very strongly about his failure. This is his auxiliary function, Extroverted Feeling (Fe). As we seek him in Inquisition, he keeps his feelings to himself most of the time, mainly due to his attention focused on his goals and his inner world. However, he is among the first to speak out when emotionally engaged with an issue. He will switch from a quiet demeanour to one of anger the moment you chose to take a path he objects to. Another reason he is so distant is due to the fact that his Fe seeks out connections, though the connections he wants, those with his people, are impossible or unwanted. Modern day elves reject him. However, when he speaks with Flemeth/Mythal (Flemythal) during the epilogue, someone with whom he is very close, he instantly becomes expressive. However, his pursuit of his goal is not mindless. He is not simply guided by instinct and emotion, he rationally assesses before taking a step and this is his tertiary function, Introverted Thinking (Ti). Thought the conclusions he reaches are attained through Ni and Fe, he checks his methods through Ti. His connection with the physical is far weaker than the mental, shown in his preference for the Fade over reality. He is able to understand his experiences and study them, but that which he experiences for himself is far less important to him than the deeper meanings and emotional responses they produce on inspection. This is evidence for an inferior Extroverted Sensing (Se). 

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Vivienne - ENFJ (The Teacher)

Though she does not always care about it, Vivienne is supremely able to understand what others are feeling. She is empathic in the sense that she is able to comprehend and play the social area to her advantage. Should the inquisitor take the view that justice and lofty concepts are more important than people, she responses to say that most people would never be able to understand such an abstract position and that people need to be cared for first and foremost. This is her dominant Extroverted Feeling (Fe) coming out to play. However, though she prefers people to ideals, she is rather concerned with ideals herself. She has a clear vision of the future for Mages. She wants the Circle to be restored and young magi to be protected and nurture. ENFJs generally concern themselves with the nurturing and teaching of those they care for and her understanding of the Circle as a place where magi can be protected clearly shows her compassionate side. Her clear vision for the future and her almost stoic ethics (she seeks reality as a series of necessary restrictions and the wise focus only on the choices they have, something I will be discussing in depth later, I would imagine) reveal that she is fluently able to understand deeper meanings. Introverted Intuition (Ni) is thus her auxiliary function. Importantly, her tertiary function, Extroverted Sensing (Se), expresses itself in her affluence and her desire for beauty. Vivienne has high standards and good taste. She delights in pleasant experiences, though is not dominated by them. As she tells Blackwall, she misses her comforts, but does not need them. Though it is not her greatest trait, Vivienne is able to understand her inner thoughts in a structured and coherent manner due to her inferior Introverted Thinking (Ti). 

The Advisers

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Cullen - ISFJ (The Protector)

Defined largely by his desire to serve others, Cullen's attitudes are defined largely on reflection through his past experiences and established traditions. His motivations for joining the Templars was born out of his need to do good and to help others and he certainly seems more willing than most templars (save for the moments immediately following the collapse of the Ferelden Circle during Dragon Age: Origins) to sympathise with Magi. During Inquisition, he reflects often on his experiences during Dragon Age II in the Kirkwall Circle and these experiences directly feed into his attitudes towards the present. This is typical of a dominant Introverted Sensing (Si) function. His judgements and his conclusions are heavily motivated by his emotions. He cares for people, which both leads him to value magi and also demand, temporarily, that they are heavily restricted in order to protect others. Though he is certainly able to act in a detached and purely 'rational' manner (evident of a tertiary Introverted Thinking (Ti) function) his central mode of operation is emotional. He seeks to provide and accommodate his allies and, though he will often share his opinions and his capable of criticism, he values unity and coherence above all else. This is the work of his auxiliary Extroverted Feeling (Fe). At his core, he is shaped by a desire to seek novelty and new ideas, which is his inferior Extroverted Intuition (Ne). However, this function is not so developed. 

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Josephine - ESFJ (The Provider)

A diplomat through and through, Josephine works towards unity and harmony. She is able to understand the feelings of others, abstract herself into their perspectives and then fluently manipulate, plucking the right strings at the right time in order to provoke the desired response. Her intention is to ensure that the Inquisition is viewed positively and to avoid war and conflict with other organisation. Her warmth and her tendency towards harmony and kindness is representative of Extroverted Feeling (Fe) her dominant function. Among the reasons she is so good at being able to perform this task is through being able to rely on her own experiences. When in doubt, she turns to the past, reflects on previous situations and how she can best learn from them. This indicates that her auxiliary function is Introverted Sensing (Si). However, she is certainly not bound by her own experiences and she is able to produce novel approaches and ideas through abstract thinking. When presented with a problem, she ensures that there is a way around it. She can smooth over situations with other organisations and this penchant for problem solving is aided by her inspired sense of novelty, which is representative of a tertiary Extroverted Intuition (Ne). Though she has relatively little need to, she is able to reflect upon the internal consistency of her ideas and approaches, developing an inner framework and approach. This is her inferior Introverted Thinking (Ti).

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Leliana - INFJ (The Prophet)

In a previous entry, I typed Leliana very differently. This was done at a time when I did not understand MBTI and its subtleties as I do now. As mentioned regarding Solas, INFJs have a tendency to hide themselves behind the mask of another type and this may be true of Leliana.

During Inquisition, Leliana more than any other character is concerned with the final outcome, with the fact that the Inquisition is working towards a particular set of goals. She is not so limited as to think that is purpose is solely to close the Breach and end the crisis, for she realises that its goals will be far more wide-reaching. What she desires is the levelling of the playing field, so to speak, to equalise things for all people. Through her series of informants, she gathers together many experiences, though these do not directly shape her attitudes so much as the deeper significances of them. It was by her vision that the Inquisition was able to come into being, and there are hints that it was her vision, shared with Justinia, which eventually led to the creation of it. For these reasons, I contend that her dominant function is Introverted Intuition (Ni), focused on outcomes, conclusions and, as any good spymaster, on connections. I struggled to decide between INFJ and INTJ when I was typing her this time around, though I think that her auxiliary function is Extroverted Feeling (Fe). She cares for others and it is her compassion and her anger which drives her towards her vision. Furthermore, as a Bard, she has developed this function and is able to manipulate the emotions of others through her exceptional reading abilities. Though guided by inner inspiration (somewhat divine, one could say), Leliana does consistently use her tertiary function, Introverted Thinking (Ti) to ensure that her framework of approach is logically consistent. However, she is willing to sacrifice somewhat on it if doing so allows her to feel as if she is remaining true to her guiding vision. She does possess a love for fine things and for external sensations, which is represented in her inferior Extroverted Sensing (Se), though she is a far more conceptual being, which is shown in her preference for remaining behind the scenes. When she has to, however, she is able to engage directly. She was, after all, very helpful to the Warden in Dragon Age: Origins.

So there we have it, an MBTI analysis performed on each of the characters. Let me know what you think. Of course, I may be wrong. We shall see!

I hope you enjoyed reading. 

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