We were first introduced to Flemeth in Dragon Age: Origins as Morrigan’s mother, the Witch of the Wilds, who had saved us from certain death. Morrigan joked that she turned into a bird and flew us away. Certainly we were in a very inconvenient location. It seems obvious now that Flemeth had turned into a dragon and saved us. But we knew Flemeth only as a shapeshifted. She was a noble who had been betrayed by her husband. Her lover was killed and she fled into the forest. That’s about all we knew of her.
SPOILERS ** SPOILERS ** SPOILERS ** SPOILERS
In Dragon Age 2 we didn’t find much more about Flemeth except that she was clearly more powerful than we at first believed. And yeah, she was still alive. But in Dragon Age: Inquisition we found that she was combined with the spirit of Mythal, an ancient elven god that is often depicted as a dragon.
Is Flemeth Andraste? Is Flemeth Mythal? What the hell is going on?
Flemeth “is” Mythal. Flemeth states that Mythal, weakened, found her, presumably in human form, and gave her the power to destroy those who had wronged her. So there was a Flemeth–a real Flemeth–and she ultimately ended up combining with Mythal, in some sense, until the two were basically indistinguishable (as indicated by the conversations and the design text).
A fan theory is that Flemeth may be Andraste herself. Andraste had only daughters, like Flemeth, and no one really knows how old Flemeth is. Andraste was also betrayed by her husband. And, interesting to note, Mythal, too, was betrayed by her husband and “killed.”
So now we have three female characters betrayed by their husbands that all seem oddly linked in a difficult to define way.
And then there’s the figure besides these people. We know Fen’harel was Mythal’s oldest friend. Andraste had Shartan, an elven warrior, who some say may have been inspired by Fen’harel. But Fen’harel may have also been the maker.
A running theory in Dragon Age is the fact that myth can be true and not true and that myths can change over time. It may be that this is a story that has repeated itself but it may also be that all of these stories are but shadows of the original story.
The problem is that it’s clear that these cannot be all mutually indistinct stories. If they are, that means that the same story unfolded over and over again. It means that two gods sealed away the dark gods into the underworld (Fen’harel, Maker). It means that three women were betrayed by their husbands and either nearly killed or outright killed (Mythal, Andraste, Flemeth).
The redundancies in the story lines must connect in some form but they do not connect in any clear, easy way.
Of course, what do you expect — it’s been thousands of years.
All we know for certain, of course, is that Flemeth was Mythal. Everything else is up to debate.