- See also: Codex entry: The Old Gods
Old Gods are beings that were worshiped by a significant number of Thedosians, specifically the mages of the Tevinter Imperium, thousands of years ago. The mages worshiped them in the form of dragons. Legend holds that it was the Old Gods who initially taught mages how to use magic. It is widely believed (if not generally accepted as self-evident) throughout Thedas that the archdemons are the sleeping Old Gods, tainted and corrupted by the darkspawn.
In the days of the Tevinter Imperium, the Old Gods were a pantheon of deities widely revered by most citizens, with temples and priesthoods dedicated to their veneration, such as the acolytes of Dumat, who swore oaths of silence in homage to their lord. The first magister, Archon Thalsian, accredited his discovery of blood magic to the Old God Dumat, and his power led to the foundation of the Tevinter Imperium. Dragon imagery and iconography was equated with Imperial power all throughout the Imperium. Holidays were popularly celebrated in tribute to the Old Gods, namely the Festival of Urthemiel, which spanned an entire week.
What the Old Gods actually are and their relation to the Maker is very mysterious. It is unknown if one predates the other. The Old Gods are not creators and although they exist outside the Chantry’s pantheon, the people of ancient Tevinter do attribute the creation of the world to the Maker (although by a different name). The Chantry teaches that the Old Gods were false deities. They turned mortals from worship of the Maker, recognized as the "First Sin". As a result, the Maker imprisoned them underground. Their minds continued to roam the Fade like any other dreaming individuals' mind would, and they were able to contact the Magisters and teach them to use magic in hope that the magisters might free them. It was for this reason that the magisters entered the Golden City in a failed attempt to usurp the Maker's throne, inadvertently causing the First Blight.
The event of the First Blight led to a crisis of faith across the Imperium, shaken at the devastation their own god relentlessly championed. Several temples were razed by betrayed believers, slaughtering priests to the Old Gods as retribution for their unheeded prayers. Today, cults devoted to the Old Gods are rumored to still exist in some places, but the religion has since been for the most part replaced with the monotheistic worship of the Maker.
Qunari interpretation Edit
The Tome of Koslun also mentions the Old Gods and how they were worshipped in the ancient Tevinter. According to Sten, it explicitly says that "the Old Gods were like unto dragons, as the first human kings were like unto ordinary men".
Relation between the Old Gods and the Darkspawn Edit
In Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening, it is revealed that there is a particular relation between darkspawn and the slumbering Old Gods. The darkspawn taint is linked with the ancient dragons, all darkspawn constantly hearing the call of the Old Gods. It is presumed that as the fall of the magisters occurred—and they were transformed into the first darkspawn—the link between them and the Old Gods who had ordered them to sin against the Maker remained. Hearing their call, the darkspawn search for the Old Gods continuously. When they find one, they corrupt it and it becomes an archdemon, proceeding to command them into a horde and unleash a new Blight.
The Architect, a sentient darkspawn emissary in Dragon Age: Awakening, describes the call of the Old Gods as a "terribly beautiful sound". He goes on to consider darkspawn existence and their pursuit for the ancient dragons as a never-ending aspiration towards a perfection they can never have, as it is corrupted in the instant they touch it.
It is also revealed that at some time after their Joining, Grey Wardens also start hearing this call. This is the actual Calling and the moment when Grey Wardens know they must descend into the Deep Roads to find their death in battle. The alternative would be to become fully tainted, nothing more than ghouls, or to simply die from the taint.
In Legacy, is it revealed that the Magisters of the Tevinter Imperium heard the voices of the Old Gods, though in their case it seems that the Old Gods literally spoke to them rather than just issuing a call. Corypheus says that Dumat, whilst dreaming in the Fade, led the Magisters to the Golden City, thus creating upon their arrival both the Black City and the darkspawn from the corruption within themselves. After returning as darkspawn and beginning the First Blight, the Magisters—or, at least, Corypheus—felt the Old Gods betrayed them for the apparent nonexistence of the Golden City, and the "lie" of their promised rule over it.
The Seven Old Gods Edit
The Magisters worshipped seven Old Gods. The first—and the leader of the others—was called Dumat, the Dragon of Silence. According to scholars, Dumat was the first Old God to transform into an archdemon and consequently slain during the First Blight.
- Dumat, the Dragon of Silence and the archdemon of the First Blight
- Zazikel, the Dragon of Chaos and the archdemon of the Second Blight
- Toth, the Dragon of Fire and the archdemon of the Third Blight
- Andoral, the Dragon of Slaves and the archdemon of the Fourth Blight
- Urthemiel, the Dragon of Beauty and the archdemon of the Fifth Blight
- Razikale, the Dragon of Mystery
- Lusacan, the Dragon of Night
- Dumat's name may be a reference to Dumah, the "angel of silence," in Jewish mythology. This may also be the case for Razikale who could be a reference to Raziel the "angel of mystery/God's secret".
- The name "Old God" could possibly be an H. P. Lovecraft reference. In many of his writings he refers to ancient, often malevolent, cosmic deities of great physical and spiritual power, some of which communicate, like the old gods, while in a state of hibernation and are capable of driving men to madness.
- Toth, the archdemon responsible for the third Blight, may be a reference to either Azathoth or Yog-Sothoth, two Outer Gods of Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos. Or possibly Thoth, the Egyptian god of wisdom.
- Satan is sometimes personified as a great dragon; in fact, in the Biblical Book of Revelation, Satan appears as a seven-headed dragon. This could possibly be another parallel between Christian theology and that of the Chantry, even as far as the number of Old Gods.
- Following the events of Dragon Age Origins, only two Old Gods remain imprisoned, which may mean only two more Blights can occur.
- It is still possible that there are more than two Old Gods left who were not as important as the main seven. Also, other beings such as The Mother, The Architect, and Corypheus have shown the ability to guide and command large groups of Darkspawn, implying that a Blight, or at least some scale of Darkspawn menace, is possible without an Archdemon at its helm. It is further implied that without the Call of the Old Gods, the Darkspawn would gain higher levels of sentience and pose more of a threat on their own.
- According to Dragon Age: The Calling, the Grey Wardens know the locations of the prisons of each of the Old Gods, however they are in the Deep Roads and cannot easily be accessed by the Wardens without cutting through millions of darkspawn. The Architect told the Wardens that his plan involved advancing the Taint in them, before sending them through the Deep Roads undetected to kill the Old Gods.
- ↑ Codex entry: Dumat, the Dragon of Silence
- ↑ David Gaider. “The Chantry, The Maker, The Old Gods: questions.” Bioware Social Network. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
- ↑ Tome of Koslun
- Developer Post[dead link] on the interaction between The Maker and the Old Gods.
- Developer Post[dead link] on the worship of the Old Gods.
- Developer Post[dead link] on the relationship between high dragons and old gods.