Loghain did nothing wrong. Okay, no. He did many things wrong. He betrayed his king in a battle that should have otherwise been won, brought civil war upon his country in the middle of a Blight, outlawed the Grey Wardens-the only ones capable of ending the Blight, mind you- and almost doomed the entirety of the map accessible in Dragon Age Origins. That being said, I think his crimes pale in comparison to the transgressions of one Alistair Theirin. Alistair Theirin is a little bitch. I hear you gasp and exclaim, “Oh, but Alistair is one of the good guys! He has such a great jawline! How could you say such a terrible, terrible thing about him?!” Okay, maybe you didn’t exclaim as such. And while I will not ever imply that the jaw of the members of the Theirin bloodline is anything less than perfect, I must beseech you to hear me out if you are one of the people who do like Alistair.
Let me first begin by justifying, or at the very least, explaining as many of Loghain’s actions as possible. That is the difficult part of my whole argument that Alistair is a little bitch. First, the betrayal at the battle of Ostagar. Very damning. During my first journey through Dragon Age Origins, that single act of his cemented my view of him as the villain of story. It was as clear as the difference between night and day. It was a murder most foul. Let us all first acknowledge that Cailan was a man with a heart of gold who deserved a better fate. But let us face the facts. The moment we are introduced to “Good King Cailan” and his clownish albeit perfectly chiseled face, we learn one important thing about him: He’s got the maturity of a five year old. He speaks of the Grey Wardens with much adoration and worship. He does not take the Blight seriously. Sure, he has rallied his troops to fight it seriously enough. But he is disappointed that it appears as though he won’t be getting a glorious battle against an Archdemon. From what we learn later, this goofiness is characteristic of him. An incompetent ruler who would have sent his kingdom to ruin were it not for the combined efforts of the people around him, especially Queen Anora. But we will get to her later. The point is, Cailan didn’t know shit about ruling or strategy. Anora ruled on his behalf. If Loghain had helped at the battle of Ostagar, several lives would have been surely saved. But there was no telling what would happen if the Archdemon showed up. Let’s not forget, it took an alliance of several nations to finally bring it down. So, Loghain was only doing what he thought was best for his country. Abandoning an incompetent king and saving his soldiers from having to needlessly sacrifice their own lives at the behest of said incompetent king. When I look back at his actions now, I do not judge them so harshly.
Second, outlawing the Grey Wardens. This was obviously another dick move. By the end of the game, it is revealed to us that only a Grey Warden can truly kill the Archdemon and end the Blight. I shall not spoil the reason for this but this fact was kept a secret from everyone else… and I can understand why it was kept a secret. Because it would draw much suspicion to how it was that the Grey Wardens conveniently held the power to destroy the soul of an Archdemon. I’ll just tell you it has to do with the Joining Ritual that everyone must go through in order to truly become a Grey Warden. And I can totally understand why they would want to keep that ritual a secret. Again, I would be spoiling many things if I told you why the Joining Ritual must be kept secret. That being said, this also means that literally no one else grasps the humongous importance of the Grey Wardens. Including Loghain. To him, they’re just a bunch of really good warriors. He does not know why they are essential to ending a Blight. But he watched in disgust as Cailan placed his trust in Duncan and how everyone somehow believed without empirical proof, that the Grey Wardens would magically defeat the Archdemon and end the Blight. Now, there had been Blights in the past and it was always Grey Wardens who ended them but to someone looking at it from outside, those were just circumstantial and did not provide solid evidence that ONLY Grey Wardens can end the Blight. Simply put, just because your computer has always booted when you turned it on until today, it is not a guarantee that it will boot the next time you turn it on. To assume as such would be inductive and not deductive. By letting Cailan die and blaming it on the Wardens, Loghain assumed he could break the myth surrounding them. He assumed that the people would then finally see some sense and take the Blight more seriously. That obviously didn’t go as planned since a good number of the Arls did not support him and thus began the Civil War but we will get to that in a minute.
Third, his refusal to accept aid from Orlais. Now this was just bad attitude. I won’t justify it. He would not allow Cailan to accept the reinforcements from Orlesian Grey Wardens. Again, I suppose he just did not want Grey Wardens without their fairy tales running around but his official answer appears to be “We cannot trust these foreigners.” And I am not very sympathetic towards people who say such things. I can understand that he had lived under Orlesian imperialism and had also fought beside King Maric to reclaim Ferelden from the Orlesians. But he allowed his paranoia of the Orlesians to override his concern for the Blight. I will not defend this.
Fourth, starting the Civil War. Now, this was not entirely on him. Had all the Arls temporarily sided with him at least until the Blight was ended, they could have avoided a good amount of needless deaths. I’m sure they were all broken up about the death of their king but was that REALLY the time for a civil war? Regardless of whatever their suspicions were, they were all bickering among themselves while the Archdemon approached. In this one matter, I shall declare that both Loghain and the Arls were utterly petulant.
I would like to conclude that Loghain was a brilliant strategist who might have succeeded in uniting Ferelden and making a stand against the Archdemon if it wasn’t for those meddling kids! Okay, no. Even if his plan had succeeded, the Archdemon would have wrecked him and Ferelden’s army. Like I mentioned before, it took the combined might of multiple factions to face the Darkspawn Horde. Elves (or Werewolves, depending on what you did), Dwarves (with or without an army of invincible Golems, depending on what you did), the Circle of Magi (or the Templars of the Chantry, depending on what you did) and the army of Ferelden all working together with the Grey Wardens is what finally won the day. Now, my whole problem with Alistair is that he knew how terrible the Blight was. He knew how badly Grey Wardens were needed. And there was no doubt that Loghain was a top tier fighter. On top of that, he was once a well respected hero who fought for the freedom of his people. That doesn’t excuse his actions in the least but it should at least earn him an opportunity to redeem himself by fighting the Archdemon to save his people. But no! “Muh Duncan! (Maker rest his soul, Duncan was the best man in the whole game. It pains me severely to take his name in vain.) Waah, I can’t do anything right but I’m gonna leave if you don’t kill Loghain!” Right from the start, Alistair did not want to be a king. But suddenly, he wants to get his way. He is ready to seize the throne if it’s the only way to ensure “justice” (read “petty revenge”) is carried out. No tact, no patience. We can’t even punish Loghain AFTER the Blight is dealt with. We HAVE to kill him now! As Anora rightly points out, he would make a disastrous king. I had half a mind to just let him die and give the throne to Anora. Alistair is so lucky that getting him to rule side-by-side with Anora is the strongest combination of rulers, lore-wise. That is the only reason I kill Loghain over and over again in all my journeys. It breaks my heart to see Anora kneel before her father’s dead body. Even in death, he remains the Hero of Fereldan to me. His last words convey his faith in me, saying he can rest easy knowing that I would be facing the Archdemon. Till his final breath, he only thought of his country. And while the real me might not be so sickeningly patriotic or nationalistic, I do admire the man’s dedication. As for his daughter, Anora… she has my respect. She ruled in the shadow Cailan and then stood up for herself, saying that she would never again play second fiddle to a fool. She did love and respect Cailain. But that had nothing to do with her outstanding ability as a ruler. If it were up to me, I’d leave her to rule Ferelden with her father, Loghain, as her general… just as he had planned it. Actually, the game does allow me to do precisely that. But my OCD demands that I leave the perfect combination on the throne and regardless of my opinions, the Lore dictates that Alistair+Anora is the way to go. So, I do it with clenched teeth. On the other hand… I think I’ll follow my heart in my current journey. Yes. Alistair Theirin is a little bitch. And now he dies.