I am slow when playing video games so I have been playing Dragon Age: Inquisition since January and I still have not finished yet (even though I have over 60 hours of play time). At the same time I have discovered my favorite character is Iron Bull. Iron Bull is a Qunari, agent of the Ben-Hassrath (a Qunari spy agency), as well as the leader of a band of mercenaries called the Bull’s Chargers. Part of what makes Iron Bull so interesting is that he is very different from other Qunari that you have met in early Dragon Age games. Usually the Qunari are so serious, but Iron Bull just has such a sense of humor, but still respectful, of the Qun in general and of other people. Some of my favorite interactions in the game have come from Iron Bull and he honestly presents some of the most progressive mindsets in the game. It is just really funny having it come from this bulky bull man who jokes about killing his enemies. (Spoilers for Dragon Age: Inquisition after the jump)
When we first meet Iron Bull it is because we have heard of a mercenary group that wants to work with the Inquisition. We go to meet up with the group and we meet Iron Bull and his right hand person Krem. As we play through the game we learn more about the Charger’s and Iron Bull as their leader. The biggest thing that we discover is that Iron Bull is fiercely loyal. Most of the people who work under Bull have some story about how he put himself in danger to protect them from one thing or another. He never asks someone to do something that he would not also do himself. He also does not care about your past or where you came from, what he cares about is that you hold your weight. This does make sense with the teaching of the Qun because the Qun is about everyone having a place and purpose and fulfilling that purpose. Thus as long as you pull you do your expected task then everything works and it makes sense. At the same time Iron Bull also knows how to relax with his crew, which is not exactly part of the Qun, but he still balances his belief and life of the Qun and his act as a leader of the Charger and a spy for the Ben-Hassrath.
The other place that Iron Bull really shines is when you are just running around the world and he has random conversations with the other characters in the game. Some of my favorite times are when he makes, not vulgar comments, but he will make sexual innuendos at times or talk about the blood and gore being used to scare his enemies. Sometimes during this statements Vivienne will break in with “Bull, darling” and make some comment. Initially for like half a second Iron Bull tries to protests and then says “yes, ma’am”. He is this big hulking dude and so in some ways he plays the part, but he is very quick to apologize if he offends. Now this is to maybe everyone except for Dorian because there is a bit of animosity between the two of them, due to the fact there is natural animosity between Trevinter and Qunari. At the same time both of them hold their own in the conversations and are very willing to conceded when the other makes a decent point. These great moments show that he is not the barbarian that he kind of comes across as at times.
Now with the Charger’s and the random character conversations we do get some of the most and best progressive comments. First of all Krem is transgender, but it really does not matter. There is a great conversation that you have with Krem where he talks about being born a woman, but never fitting in to that situation. The great thing is Iron Bull does not care Krem is Krem, the whole gender discussion does not matter. The other moment that really stood out in my mind is a conversation that Iron Bull has with Cassandra, who is a female warrior. He totally takes a moment to call out the fact that she is wearing good practical armor, she of course asks what she means. Then Iron Bull makes the comment that we have heard from many people online about the whole problem with boob armor. He is like these women want this fancy armor showing off their figure, but one good hit and you would break their sternum. The fact that Iron Bull is the one that makes the comment just adds to why I love him so much. He is a full fledged character and has respect for everyone, even when he might make some off color comments every now and then.
This is just a glimpse of why I love Iron Bull in these games and really I will take him with every party group that I have. The one problem that I have run into is that his loyalty quest ends up with you having to make a horrible decision. The Qunari have contacted Iron Bull to let the Inquisition know that with help they are willing to assist in stopping a smuggling ship of Red Lyrium. So Iron Bull asks for you to help and you head down their with your party and the Charger’s. At this point you have sent the Charger’s on other missions and even sat down for a friendly drink with the whole group getting to meet all of them. The Charger’s go take care of one hill of watchers and you go with a party to take care of the other. When the Qunari ship is about to engage the smuggling ship you see that the Charger’s are about to be ambushed. Basically the choice is to either let the Charger’s get slaughtered to complete the mission or abandon your post to save the Charger’s and let the Qunari ship get slaughtered. On top of this if you let the Qunari ship get slaughtered Iron Bull ends up exciled and considered a Tal’Vashoth (a Qunari who has turned his back on the Qun).
Both of these options are horrible because Iron Bull (even though he does not follow it as strictly as others) still feels tied to the Qun, but he has such a fierce loyalty to his band of mercenaries. Also, the fact that Krem is amazing and in the end it is my decision whether to kill off the Chargers or basically let the shipment of Red Lyrium pass. I have not made the decision yet. I actually looked up both outcomes and still could not decide what to do. I reloaded my game before going on the quest because I like the Charger’s and I like Iron Bull, but both decisions end up bad, either Iron Bull loses the Charger’s or he loses his identity in a lot of ways. The Qun is more than a religion or a home it is everything.
At some point I will probably make the decision, but for now I get to laugh hysterically at Iron Bull engaging with the other characters and some of the off the wall comments he will make.