Dorian Pavus

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Character
Name: Dorian of House Pavus
Occupation:
Title/Rank:
Location: Tevinter, Redcliffe, Skyhold
Status: Alive
Relationships: Player, Iron Bull if both unromanced and brought on quests together
Fandom: Dragon Age: Inquisition
Other: Dragon Age, Dragon Age Wiki
Dai-dorian.jpg
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Dorian Pavus is a companion in the video game Dragon Age: Inquisition, and a possible love interest for male Inquisitors. Dorian is written by David Gaider, and voiced by Ramon Tikaram.[1]

Pre-Release

Before Dorian's name was officially revealed, fans referred to him as Dramatic Hands Moustache Guy (DHMG), a nickname that even Dragon Age: Inquisitions' developers used.

When it was revealed that characters in DAI would not be playersexual, there was speculation that Dorian would be the male-only romance. This was eventually confirmed in an interview with David Gaider:

[DG]: Dorian is gay—he is, in fact, the first fully gay character I've had the opportunity to write. It added an interesting dimension to his back story, considering he comes from a place where "perfection" is the face that every mage puts on and anything that smacks of deviancy is shameful and meant to be hidden. Dorian's refusal to play along with that façade is seen as stubborn and pointless by his family, which has contributed to his status as a pariah.
[DA]: Are you happy with how his character turned out?
[DG]: I suppose this aspect of Dorian will make him controversial in some corners, but I was glad to include it. It made writing Dorian a very personal experience for me, and I'm hopeful that will make him seem like a fully realized character to fans in the end.[2]

Gaider's use of "fully gay" to describe Dorian led to some controversy, as some fans felt that it implied that Dragon Age's bisexual characters weren't "gay enough." [3][4]

Fans also debated whether Dorian was intended to be a character of colour.[5][6] As one fan wrote in a blog post entitled Dragon Age and the People of Colour 'Debate':

The internet (namely, tumblr and twitter) have been abuzz as of late with an oddly large number of people freaking out about the ethnicity of a recently announced character for the upcoming Dragon Age: Inquisition. Much of the fan art for the character has made him look ‘more white’ than he was intended. This, naturally, caused a sort of uproar wherein the majority of people were 100% confused, spurring such comments as:

Dude. Dorian’s got olive skin, which is the usual southern European/Mediterranean colour, and you can bet your arse that we all identify as white.
…how is Dorian NOT white. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for poc character and I got super excited when I saw vivienne because not only is she black, she HAS features common of african ethnicity and not just a white person colored black…but Dorian’s a pastry white ass guy.[7]

David Gaider later confirmed in a Tumblr post that Dorian was not intended to be Caucasian,[8] while Lead Narrative Designer John Epler went on record to state that “Indian would be the closest real world analogue” to Dorian's race.[9]

Post-Release

There was some discussion as to whether Dorian's personal quest followed the "gay man not accepted by his family because of his sexuality" cliche.[10][11]

If neither Dorian or Iron Bull are romanced by the Inquisitor, the two men begin a relationship. The Iron Bull/Dorian pairing is known as "Adoribull." As all previous companion relationships not involving the PC had been straight in previous BioWare games, there was some hope for an Iron Bull/Dorian relationship even before the game released. Some fans love the pairing, while others feel that it is unhealthy at best, emotionally abusive at worst. However, some of this appears to be connected to many fans conflating BDSM with abusive behaviour, as well as having some bias against The Iron Bull's character, who is strongly connected with BDSM and kink culture.[12] Others take issue with the manner in which their banter occurs - which has been subject to much debate and interpretation. Part of the debate also includes critics casting Bull as a sort of "predator", and Dorian as a "victim", despite The Iron Bull's insistence on consent in his Inquisitor romance.[13]

The Adoribull relationship, however, has been more positively received in the Trespasser DLC, where it includes discussions of their long-term commitment and an epilogue slide talking about them meeting up at a border town villa, as well as The Iron Bull mounting an assault within Tevinter to rescue Dorian from Venatori.[14][15]

David Gaider addressed the "Adoribull" issue on his Tumblr:

Are there people who consider Dorian and Iron Bull’s potential relationship to be “cute”? Huh. That’s not a term I would use.
I’m not going to go into detail on what I think about it—most of their relationship is left undetailed, after all, and the player is only catching the very edge of it…thus I think it’s a matter best left to headcanon—but I’d say that it has a real potential to either be a very passionate affair or the kind of epic mistake that one or both of them regrets later. Maybe both. I’m uncertain when it was dictated that relationships depicted in game had to only be of the safe and positive kind, but in this case I don’t think that Adoribull (heh, I do love that moniker) is really either of those things…and that’s not necessarily bad, in my view.[16]

Writer of The Iron Bull and Solas, Patrick Weekes, has shown affection for Adoribull in tweets, as well as presumably in writing further Adoribull content in Trespasser along with David Gaider. He also confirmed through an ROT13 coded tweet that a high approval Dorian who romances Bull provides two pairs of sending crystals, one for the Inquisitor and the other for The Iron Bull. The decoded tweet reads: "in games w dorianbull can we assume dorian gave bull the magical amulet to help w the long distance relationship thing?" [17][18]

Fandom and Fanworks

As stated above, Iron Bull/Dorian is a popular pairing. So is the male inquisitor/Dorian—in fact, on AO3 Dorian may be the most shipped male/male character.

Resources

References

  1. Dragon Age Video - The Phenomenal Cosmic Power of Ramon Tikaram (Accessed Sept. 12, 2014)
  2. Character Profile: Dorian (Accessed July 13, 2014)
  3. Tweet by user Anais to David Gaider: "@davidgaider 'fully gay'? i didn't realize bisexual people apparently just didn't level up yet. :/ why must you guys always be biphobic." (Posted June 27, 2014; Accessed July 13, 2014)
  4. Dragon Age Inquisition's Dorian Character is "Legitimately Gay," BioWare says (Posted July 1, 2014. Accessed July 13, 2014)
  5. Forum:Dorian POC and Caucasian, Dragon Age Wiki. Thread started July 2, 2014 (Accessed November 10, 2019).
  6. [DAI Spoilers] Regarding Dorian's "ethnicity" via Reddit. Thread started October 25, 2015 (Accessed November 10, 2019).
  7. Dragon Age and the People of Color 'Debate' by thequantumcretin via WordPress. Published July 3rd, 2014.
  8. Post by dgaider via Tumblr (archived). Archived August 16, 2014 (Accessed November 10, 2019).
  9. Stop Whitewashing Dorian Pavus by Amanda Jean via Medium. While Tevinter, Dorian’s homeland in Thedas, is a fantasy country in a fantasy world, according to Lead Narrative Designer John Epler, when describing Dorian’s race, “Indian would be the closest real world analogue.” Published June 29, 2017 (Accessed November 10, 2019).
  10. Dorian's Personal Quest, And Why It Still Bothers Me (Thread started Jan. 11, 2015. Thread accessed Jan. 12, 2015)
  11. As much as I love Dorian... (Thread started Jan. 13, 2015. Thread accessed Jan. 16, 2015)
  12. https://adamnrayofsunshine.tumblr.com/post/106670710625/not-a-prompt-but-i-was-hoping-at-some-point-to
  13. https://dalishious.tumblr.com/post/186776431902/dorian-iron-bull-aka-adoribull-analysis/ Adoribull Analysis by dalishious
  14. Iron Bull & Dorian -- it's a problem (Spoilers) (Thread started Dec. 30, 2014. Thread accessed Dec. 31, 2014)
  15. Dorian and Iron Bull romance sliders Trespasser spoiler
  16. http://dgaider.tumblr.com/post/106628581634/i-have-a-question-that-im-not-sure-youd-want-to
  17. https://twitter.com/PatrickWeekes/status/946947760498073600
  18. https://twitter.com/PatrickWeekes/status/641375320004788224/ (Tweeted Sep 8, 2015. Tweet accessed October 13, 2019)