It’s absolutely okay to ask about non-OCs! That’s what I was expecting, actually, since the only semi-original character I’ve written much about is Isla Shepard, and her only recently. And thank you very much for the compliment! *wiggles* I’m so happy you like Velanna’s portrayal in my fics. <3
(Also for serenity-fails, who asked for Velanna as well!)
I said yesterday that I find writing Velanna easier than writing Nathaniel, but on further reflection that’s perhaps not entirely true. I do find her voice a little bit easier to capture, but she’s no less complex a character than he is, so there are certainly still things I mull over while writing her.
1. She tends to respond with cynicism, distrust, or bitterness in most situations because very few people have ever given her a reason not to. I once saw a quote on Tumblr that said (paraphrased) “all the hardest people you meet were once as soft as water,” and I think that fits her really well. Not that she’s entirely blameless, of course, but in some ways I think she’s quite a tragic character because she’s a picture of what a life of constantly being thought of as less than can do to a person.
2. She’s a really curious mix of not caring what people think of her versus being sensitive to others’ negative opinions. She certainly says what’s on her mind, no matter how blunt or tactless it is, seemingly without giving a crap who she might be pissing off. But when, for example, Sigrun says that Velanna’s actions will influence Sigrun’s opinions of elves, Velanna says, “wonderful, I needed more anxiety.” And of course, she also gets upset when people make fun of her ears, and she objects when Anders taunts her about having a chip on her shoulder. I think she has a low enough opinion of herself that she’s essentially come to expect people will react negatively to her regardless, so she might as well not hold anything back.
3. Apologies and thank-yous are tricky when writing her, because she doesn’t express them in the “typical” way. There are instances in canon where she acknowledges that she’s done something wrong (and even expresses regret a time or two), but she’s just not the type of character to actually say she’s sorry, because what’s done is done.
4. For all her strongly-held (and strongly-voiced) opinions about humans and elves, she’s really not as inflexible as she initially might seem. As mentioned in #3, when confronted with the facts about the darkspawn taking her sister, she admits that she was mistaken in killing the humans in the Wending Wood. She admires Andraste even though Andraste was human (and she says she can look past “petty hatred” when given a reason to, which I always thought was an interesting qualifier given that much of her anger is actually quite justified). And although she initially reacts with scorn to the city elves in Amaranthine who treat her like something out of a petting zoo, she ends the conversation by giving them a Dalish amulet and telling them to remember who they are.
First, thank you for sending me this! I appreciate it. =D
I actually don’t have a problem with her reprehensible actions! Or her anger. I mean, I love Anders to bits and he has both in spades.
What I’m missing with Velanna and why I can’t manage to like her is that I cannot see anything beyond her anger. Nothing that endears her to me as a person. And I have a hard time caring about her anger/hate if the game doesn’t give me anything to make me care about her as a person.
That little comic I linked makes me want to try because for someone so uptight? (maybe?) and prideful it’s a cute and awkward interaction with a friend. <3 It’s adorable. I like that. Right now I have a hard time imagining her in many actual positive interactions— which would make her feel more well rounded and in turn also her anger.
As far as I remember, canon really… didn’t give us much of anything. Perhaps flirting with Nathaniel if you squint a lot. That’s why I’d love to hear some more… personable headcanons, if anyone has them. Something sweet, something awkward— anything beyond HATE, really.
First off, I’d just ask if you did all of her conversations/gifts? Especially the ones about writing new stories for the Dalish/giving her the blank journal, because that’s one of the most positive interactions you can have with her and it clearly shows you where her values lie and what her dreams for the future are.
I’d also ask if you got her banters with Sigrun, because they’re cute as hell. (And of course her banters with Nathaniel because I’m a filthy shipper, but those are the DEFINITION of sweet and awkward.)
Then I’d tell you to read this fic by coppermarigolds. And then all of her others, because she is The Best.
The thing about Velanna is that she has a lot of pride and love for her family and her culture, but she doesn’t love herself. She has no regard for self-preservation, she doesn’t seem to believe herself worthy of love, but she fights for the people she cares about anyway. And then everything she loves is taken away from her, and all that’s left is Velanna, alone. I think she’s a person who’s trying to figure out her value outside of being Dalish, because up til now I think that and her magic are the only things she’s had any real cause to be proud of. As the Warden-Commander you get to show her the value of writing your own story, and slowly coax her into looking at the world outside of her clan, to the point where she would become the type of person to lay her life on the line to protect a human village.
Gymnophoria - The sensation that someone is mentally undressing you
"—And my poor Matilda is just suffering something awful this season. For the life of them, the servants can’t find a way to settle her down. They say her incessant mooing disturbs the chickens and that’s why I’ve had such a dismal turnout of eggs lately. And, perhaps I’m simply imagining things, but with Andraste as my witness, I could swear poor Matilda’s milk tastes more sour than it once did.”
Nathaniel blinked down at the shorter man as he prattled on, watching the impressive jowls flap with agitation. “I’m very sorry to hear of your farmstead’s troubles, Lord Lammen,” he said with as much sincerity as he could muster.
The other man sniffed, plucking a delicate handkerchief from his pocket and brandishing it at Nathaniel before dabbing at his forehead. “I see your eyes glazing over, young man,” he said with an accusatory huff. “You should take more interest in the affairs of the bannorn, you know. As go the farmsteads’ fortunes, so goes the mood of the people. Your Commander ought to see to these matters more closely.”
Nathaniel opened his mouth, intent on assuring the Lord that fussy cows fell right next to “rampaging darkspawn” on the Commander’s priority list.
A sudden prickle at the nape of his neck forestalled the response, sending tingling chills down his arms like a half-finished ice spell crystalizing on his skin. He took a controlled breath as the cold gave way to a crawling flush of warmth, as though he’d lowered himself inch by inch into a hot spring bath on a winter morning.
"You’re absolutely right," he said instead, executing a short bow. "I will be sure to bring it to the Commander’s attention immediately. Now, if you’ll excuse me. Enjoy the rest of your evening."