It's not everyday that I come across a fantasy story that fires my imagination so much that my head's abuzz with scenes and dialogues. Lisa Smedman's Lady Penitent Trilogy was one of them, and Neverwinter Nights 2: The Mask of the Betrayer.

Dragon Age: Origins was one of the few big hits that I've had in my life. The world just kept expanding before me, and I was hooked. I created backstories for ALL my characters, wrote a few for the canon sidekicks, even fell in love with one of my Wardens so much that I've written over 80,000 words for her, detailing her story. As I wrote about her, my Thedas expanded, and it now encompasses not only Ferelden but Orlais, Anderfels, and Tevinter Imperium. Three more Wardens were added to the roster, each with a past, dreams, hopes and idiosyncrasies. I gave Alistair a family, an added maturity, and inner conflict that we didn't really get to see in the game.

So forgive me if I'm critical of the works the followed Origins. Dragon Age II was not disappointing as a standalone game, but Marian Hawke paled in comparison to Amarina Surana. The budding love between Amarina and Alistair was far deeper than the passionate affair Marian had with Fenris (first round) or Anders (second round); Alistair's last words lingered far more than anything Fenris or Anders could say. (That's a hint for the writing team when writing romances: sometimes, simplicity gets the message across far better than verbosity. "I'll love you. Always." was far more moving than Anders' blah blah blah at the face of an epic battle.) Calling, Stolen Throne, and Asunder left far too many questions to succeed as a game spin-off, and as standalone novels they kind of sucked with Gaider's madlib formula of "X did Y, Z-ly".

So when Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker was announced, the Dragon Age fans were abuzz, mostly with anger and annoyance. Now that the disc release date is approaching, many more trailers keep popping up (far more than the new Avengers film, as a matter of fact. Is FUNimation uncertain of its success? The only sales point the FUNimation rep had about the film was the sound effects. That's pretty weak). More griping ensued. And then, this:

I think they should award this wikia of having the most whiners award, or maybe the most closed minded award, I don't know... Really, so it's done in a Japanese style, why if it was done Disney would it totally make it better? Then Cassandra can sing and become friends with the Dragon...

Did it come to you idiot whiners come to the conclusion that maybe she hit a dragon's major artery? It's not like the dragon had it's attention on her, too busy looking at her friend...

But then again, it was done in a Japanese style and there for it's bad as we all seem to racists and hate anything from Japan... I bet most people here can't even tell the different between Anime and Manga.

Are the fans really just "whining"? Or are we truly upset because we absolutely adored Origins, felt like we got slapped in the face with DA2, and can't bear to receive the punch again? I don't know; I've watched the thing already, so I'm hardly a good judge. I'd like to think I fall in the latter category; Origins changed the way I write, and my stories became darker, but far more realistic, with internal struggles that became far more clearly defined. Before, it was just people adventuring, but now, I'd like to think my characters each have emotional conflicts that they must overcome... or be defeated.

All I want to say is, Thedas is a beautiful world, filled with fascinating lore and creatures. If Tolkien felt mythical to me, Thedas felt alive, and I could see and feel that each character had a daily life, mundane things going on... which made the world even more fascinating. We didn't have noble rangers, scions of kings, archsorceresses and master of thieves; we had a young Warden, an upstart assassin, a young and brash mage, a young and naive bard. Each character had a margin to grow. And that's what was fascinating.

So it just won't do to ruin it by using the wrong medium, or trying to please all audiences at once. Keep Thedas as subtly cruel and harsh as it was in Origins. Don't make the characters all beautiful and clean (how many of us found it realistic that Oghren had fish bits stuck in his beard, that Sten liked sweets, Morrigan was oddly vain, Leliana liked cute little animals and Alistair had holes in his undergarments? I did). Don't let the character kill a dragon in one blow. We want to see realism in fantasy that we hadn't seen before, not yet another superhero film that makes our heroes - Warden and Hawke - feel like small children in comparison. We grew with the Warden, struggled through difficult battles and felt Warden's pain. Don't make us feel like that was for nothing.