Whether you hate Anders or love Anders, you were probably a bit blindsided by the ending of Dragon Age 2. Suffice it to say, everything went off with a… bang. Throughout the game, you know that Anders feels very strongly that mages are entitled to their freedom. Anders also is an abomination; he has the spirit of Justice inside of him.
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But is he an evil terrorist? Maybe, maybe not. At the end of the game, Anders sparks off the war between the templars and the mages by blowing an entire building up. But he may not have been entirely in control of himself at the time. Remember, Anders is a healer and he is trying to do what he thinks is best. But he’s got a bit of a problem going on…
Justice is Blind
Throughout the game the player is given indications that Anders is losing control to Justice. Whenever something very serious happens–such as seeing a mage getting abused–Justice takes over and Anders has absolutely no control over himself. Scenes in the “rival” romance with Anders further indicate that Anders is losing control and that his actions actually aren’t entirely his own. Moreover, he really wants to be cured of this, but he can’t find a way to do so.
The Past is Pretty Bleak
One also needs to remember that Anders was actually a fairly lighthearted individual before he offered himself up to save his friend, Justice. He could not have anticipated what would happen, though one could say it was very naive–though Justice was a friendly spirit, he was still a spirit and it was still dangerous. Following this, Anders had his lover and friend become a tranquil, which would make anyone bitter and scared. We all know what fear can do to a person. But more than that…
Everyone in Kirkwall is Insane
Anders isn’t wrong about the situation. The situation in Kirkwall is very bleak for mages–unreasonably bleak. Mages are being abused, killed and made tranquil left and right. And everyone in Kirkwall is sort of losing their minds. See: Orsino and Meredith. He’s certainly wrong about what he does, but again, the implication is that it wasn’t Anders who did it. Justice is a complete consciousness operating inside of Anders’ body, which you can see if you take Anders to the fade.
It was really Justice who planted the bombs.
So Why Isn’t This Clearer in the Game?
Probably because as Hawke you really wouldn’t know much of this: you’ll just be blindsided by Anders’ actions and you have to respond immediately. You can draw your own conclusions from the evidence presented, but no one is going to beat you over the head with it and Anders himself doesn’t seem to fully understand the relationship he has with Justice anymore. And Justice or not, Anders does seem emotionally unstable. He’s not even really in the position to muster up a defense for himself.
Essentially, Anders is actually a tragic figure. You can’t excuse his actions, but you can recognize that they weren’t entirely his actions. And even if you do recognize this, you might not be wrong to sentence him to death. At that point, he’s not only dangerous but he’s in danger of losing himself entirely.