The Grey Wardens certainly are an enigmatic set, aren’t they? They’re literally the only thing that keeps Thedas from being torn apart by unknown horrors — yet they are constantly screwing up. Here we have a group that prides itself on honor and sacrifice, but continuously tries to do things like dig up archdemons to kill them all, because that can’t possibly go wrong. Dragon Age: Inquisition leaves the fate of the Grey Wardens a little vague — and for that matter, their story in Dragon Age: Inquisition can be a little confusing, too.
What the Hell are the Grey Wardens Doing?
Don’t feel bad if you don’t quite understand what’s going on during your first playthrough. It really depends on when you hit Adamant; some players rush through it towards the end and don’t really get the full experience. The Grey Wardens are all hearing the Calling, which means — in their minds — that they are soon to die. Consequently, they decide to leash demons with blood magic to help them kill of the existing archdemon. The theory being that without an archdemon, there can be no more blights.
That’s their plan. I didn’t say it was a good plan. They are not being compelled (until they raise the demons; then they certainly are), they have simply willingly followed this plan. But, as noted in-game, the Grey Wardens are allowed to do literally anything to stop the blight. So they’re technically still within the rights of their charter.
Why Are the Grey Wardens Hearing the Calling?
The Grey Wardens aren’t hearing a true calling. Corypheus has a fear demon faking The Calling, in order to take control of the wardens and to raise a demon army. This is the fear demon that you fight in the Fade. Once you fight that fear demon, Corypheus no longer has his demons. It’s a big deal, but because many people go straight from Adamant to the endgame, it doesn’t always feel as though it is.
Are All the Grey Wardens Hearing the Calling?
No! Only the Grey Wardens in and around Orlais are actually hearing the calling — this is specifically mentioned in the game. Grey Wardens in other regions are not. This is why the Grey Wardens are sent to Weisshaupt if they are banished; presumably, there are Grey Wardens still there.
What Are the Grey Wardens Looking For?
During the early game, you’ll find some signs that the wardens are looking for someone. The quest resolves itself once you’ve found all of the signs and then it is never brought up again. They are just looking for Hawke’s warden friend — it’s just not explicitly stated in the game.
Would Their Plan Have Worked?
There are a few reasons why the Grey Wardens are kind of insane:
- They are trying to kill the archdemons because they believe they are going to be eradicated. But the Grey Wardens outside of their geographical area are not hearing The Calling, which they could have verified via messenger or bird. So it’s not like all the Grey Wardens are disappearing.
- The whole plan supposes that they would actually be able to kill an archdemon after digging it up. In fact, they would be able to kill all remaining archdemon. As we have seen, this is not exactly a trivial task. They could have simply been setting them loose and unleashing another blight.
- They really have no reason to believe that killing an archdemon would stop blights forever, they just know that an archdemon rising and a blight generally correspond. Since the darkspawn usually “find” and then “taint” an archdemon, it could be supposed that the darkspawn would find some other way to initiate a blight. (Solas suggests that this is true.)
What Happens to the Grey Wardens Following Dragon Age: Inquisition?
Well, it’s kind of vague. If you kept them, it’s possible that you get them all killed through war table missions — really. Watch those missions. (That’s just your local band, obviously, not all the wardens in Thedas.) If you send them off to Weisshaupt, it’s said at the end that Weisshaupt has gone silent — indicating that something, yet again, is wrong with the Wardens. Still, it isn’t known exactly what. It’s indicated that the Wardens who were involved with Corypheus and the fear demon could potentially be susceptible to possession following what they went through.