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Elven Pantheon

The Elven Pantheon

The elven pantheon comprises five gods and four goddesses, whom the modern Dalish elves refer to as "the Creators". The pantheon is led by Elgar'nan the All-Father, god of fatherhood and vengeance, and Mythal the Protector, goddess of motherhood and justice. There are also references in elven mythology to another race of gods, called "The Forgotten Ones", the enemies of the elven pantheon. It is said that Fen'Harel was the only one able to walk freely between the two clans, and they both thought of him as one of their own.

Interestingly, though the elven gods are responsible for the gifts of the world (and in some cases for recreating it), they, too, were created by and are not creators of the world according to elven belief.[1] Unlike the Old Gods, these gods were never claimed to have walked in the mortal world or have directly challenged the Maker.[2] Their current location is uncertain, as they do not, apparently, interact with the mortal world. However, elven belief holds that the Fade, or "Beyond" as it is known to the elves, is considered a holy place and the gods are trapped there in the "Eternal City".[3]

In elven history, orbs called "foci" were sometimes used to channel the power of the elven gods for various reasons. These items were usually associated with a particular member of the elven pantheon.

Pew

Pews in a forgotten place of worship

and their power required a great deal of energy to unlock.[4]

Splr dai
Click here to reveal spoilers
for Dragon Age: Inquisition.
Solas, who seems to be Fen'Harel, believes that the ancient elven gods were not really deities like how the Maker is perceived, but rather very powerful beings. Either mages or spirits or something else entirely unencountered and forgotten, Solas believes they have a deep and powerful connection to the Fade, where they dwelled and spoke to the elves through various rituals performed in certain locations. Solas also remarks that the elven gods were arrogant and fickle, as they warred amongst themselves and had feuds and vendettas. Similar attitude is expressed in an inscription attributed to Geldauran, one of the Forgotten Ones.

History Edit

See also: Elves#History
World of thedas 2

The presence of figures depicting the elven gods lingers in the wild places of Thedas.[5]

The elven pantheon was revered in the time of Elvhenan, before the humans came to Thedas. Little is known about how the gods were worshipped at this time except that the gods had temples with guards in specially made armor,[6] the elves worshiped their gods for months at a time,[7] and that worship may have included rituals involving water and kneeling and praying before altars.[8]

Once the elves found that the very presence of the humans, or "quicklings," caused the once immortal elves to age and die, they attempted to isolate themselves. Many believed that the gods had judged them unworthy of their long lives and cast them down among the quicklings.[7] The elves retreated within Elvhenan but were ultimately conquered and enslaved by the Tevinter Imperium. During their centuries of slavery, the elves lost most of their language and history and the worship of the old elven pantheon declined. However, the elves, led by Shartan, stood beside Andraste in her fight against the Imperium, and their reward was a new home in The Dales, where the worship of the elven pantheon could be revived. The elves left Tevinter for their new homeland in -170 Ancient (1025 TE).

The elves' new homeland was to be short-lived by the standards of Elvhenan, however. Over the next 270 years or so, relations between the elves and their human neighbours deteriorated, and in the early Glory Age there were numerous border skirmishes between The Dales and Orlais which soon escalated into war. When it appeared that the elves might actually capture Val Royeaux, the Chantry called for a holy war, resulting in a new Exalted March against The Dales that completely crushed the elves by 2:20 Glory. The lands of the Dales were appropriated by Orlais, with elven settlements being uprooted and worship of the elven gods forbidden. Elves who accepted the Chantry's offered truce were required to accept the Maker and live in ghettos, known as alienages within human settlements. Some elves, however, refused to give up their worship or their dream of their own homeland, and they became the Dalish.

Pantheon Edit

Elgar'nan: God of Vengeance Edit

Main article: Elgar'nan

Elgar'nan—also known as the All-Father, the Eldest of the Sun and He Who Overthrew His Father[9]—represents fatherhood and vengeance, and leads the pantheon with the goddess Mythal.

Mythal: the Great Protector Edit

Main article: Mythal

Mythal, the Protector and the All-Mother, and goddess of love[10], is the patron of motherhood and justice and leads the pantheon with her male counterpart, Elgar'nan.

Falon'Din: Friend of the Dead, the Guide Edit

Main article: Falon'Din

Falon'Din is the elven God of Death and Fortune and guides the dead to the Beyond. He and his twin brother, Dirthamen, are the eldest children of Elgar'nan the All-Father and Mythal the Protector.

Dirthamen: Keeper of Secrets Edit

Main article: Dirthamen

Dirthamen is the twin brother of Falon'Din and is the elven god of secrets and knowledge, and master of the ravens Fear and Deceit. Dirthamen gave to elves the gift of knowledge and taught them loyalty and faith in family.[5]

Andruil: Goddess of the Hunt Edit

Main article: Andruil

Andruil is the elven Goddess of the Hunt, known also as "blood and force" and the "great hunter."[11] }}

Sylaise: the Hearthkeeper Edit

Main article: Sylaise

Sylaise, the Hearthkeeper, is the goddess of all the domestic arts[12] and the sister of Andruil the Huntress. Sylaise gave the elves fire, taught them how to weave rope and thread, and to use herbs and magic for healing purposes.

June: God of the Craft Edit

Main article: June

June is the elven Master of Crafts. He is described either as a brother to Andruil and Sylaise[5] or as Sylaise's husband[12]. He taught the elves to make abows, arrows, and knives to hunt Andruil's gifts.[5]

Ghilan'nain: Mother of the Halla Edit

Main article: Ghilan'nain

Ghilan'nain is called the Mother of the halla—white deer-like creatures revered by the Dalish and used to pull their aravel, or "landships"—and goddess of navigation.

Fen'Harel: The Dread Wolf Edit

Main article: Fen'Harel

The Dread Wolf is an enigmatic trickster god of the elves, whose supposed betrayal of both the benevolent Creators and malefic Forgotten Ones is the only explanation most elves have to explain the destruction of Arlathan. Dalish clans view him with wariness and seek to protect themselves and their kin from his treachery.

It is revealed by Solas in Mythal's temple that this could be a misinterpretation by the Dalish and instead he was the god of rebellion.[13]

Splr dai
“Whatever we were before, we are now the Inquisition.” — The Inquisitor
This article contains spoilers for Dragon Age: Inquisition. Click here to reveal them.
Flemeth identifies Solas as "The Dread Wolf".

The Forgotten Ones Edit

Main article: The Forgotten Ones
Only in dreams do we hear whispered the names of Geldauran and Daern'thal and Anaris, for they are the Forgotten Ones, the gods of terror and malice, spite and pestilence.
—From Codex entry: Fen'Harel: The Dread Wolf

There are references in elven mythology to another race of gods: gods of evil, with whom the gods of the elven pantheon fought an endless war. These gods are now known as the Forgotten Ones, and for good reason as even the hahrens, or elven elders, know little to nothing about them. According to legend they, along with the elven pantheon, were trapped away from the world at around the time of the fall of Arlathan.

Vallaslin: Blood writing Edit

Main article: Blood writing
Athras

Vallaslin, or blood writing, on the face of Athras, a Dalish hunter.

I asked him about the intricate tattoos on his face; he told me they were called vallaslin—"blood writing." His were symbols of Andruil the Huntress, one of the most highly revered elven goddesses.
—From Codex entry: Vallaslin: Blood Writing

When a Dalish elf comes of age, they are marked with intricate tattoos representing one of the elven gods. The tattooing is preceded by meditation on the gods and the ways of the Dalish, and by purifying the body and the skin. It is not known whether this practice was part of the worship of elven gods in ancient Elvhenan or is a more recent development.

Splr dai
“Whatever we were before, we are now the Inquisition.” — The Inquisitor
This article contains spoilers for Dragon Age: Inquisition. Click here to reveal them.
Solas reveals that the vallaslin is in fact a practice that was used by the nobles to mark their slaves in times of ancient Arlathan, with each pattern representing the god favoured by the slave's master.

Trivia Edit

  • It is interesting to note that both elves and humans have legends of imprisoned gods.[14] However, there is no known link between the stories of the Old Gods and those of either the elven pantheon or the Forgotten Ones. In the Well of Sorrows, whispers can be heard saying the following (when played backwards):[15]

"Go to him, Dirth..."
"Mythal speaks the calling..."
"Halt... Blind.." or "The call is sweet, from the blood..."
"He is bound to the same..."
"Travel far..."
"Don't speak..."
"She speaks the truth..."
"She's fallen, lost..." or "She saw the lost..."

This is believed to suggest some connection between the Old Gods of Tevinter, and the Elven Pantheon and/or the Forgotten Ones.
Splr dai
“Whatever we were before, we are now the Inquisition.” — The Inquisitor
This article contains spoilers for Dragon Age: Inquisition. Click here to reveal them.
After the post-epilogue cutscene, an elven servant in Val Royeaux can be heard talking about seeing a woman calling herself Mythal in his dreams, and waking up screaming every night[16], implying that Mythal's godhood was passed on by Flemeth. However, this line can also trigger after What Pride Had Wrought but well before the epilogue.

Gallery Edit

References Edit

  1. BSN David Gaider (2009). "The Chantry, The Maker, The Old Gods: questions" . BioWare Social Network.
  2. Dragon Age: Origins Collector's Edition: Prima Official Game Guide
  3. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 143
  4. According to Solas.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 120
  6. Codex entry: Ancient Elven Armor
  7. 7.0 7.1 Codex entry: Arlathan: Part One
  8. Codex entry: A Carved Elven Tablet. This last is known only from a tablet discovered in ruins that post-date the fall of Arlathan from a period when elves and humans lived side by side.
  9. Dragon Age (tabletop RPG), Player's Guide, set 2, p. 22
  10. Dragon Age: The Masked Empire, pg. 183.
  11. Codex entry: Elven God Andruil.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Dragon Age (tabletop RPG), Player's Guide, set 2, p. 23
  13. Codex entry: The Rebel God
  14. See Codex entry: The Old Gods and Old Gods for information about the human legends.
  15. "EASTER EGG - Temple of Mythal Backwards Message DRAGON AGE INQUISITION". Retrieved on April 9, 2015.
  16. Temple of Doodles.
  17. Landmarks in the Graves: "The Guide" and "The Watcher"
  18. Landmarks on the Plains: "The Raven"

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