115th Annual Conference - Honolulu, Hawaii
Friday, November 10 - Sunday, November 12, 2017

No breeches, but plenty of breaches: Class Conflict in Dragon Age: Inquisition 

Edward Henry, University of Massachusetts, Boston

This paper analyzes the dramatization of class conflict and sociopolitical discord in Dragon Age Inquisition. More specifically, this paper attempts to answer how class conflict is depicted across the Dragon Age Universe, and the value of such depiction of academic discourse.

Proposal: 

In the game Dragon Age: Inquisition, released by Bioware in 2014, players return to conflict in the land of Thedas, which has been rocked by apocalyptic rifts in the fade while the war between mages and Templars continues to slaughter innocents. As the player, you are the Inquisitor. Your companions help you face your numerous enemies. Except... Sera wants to steal their breeches. How does that help when fighting an enemy? Well. It's funny...they don't have any breeches.

Sera is a controversial figure in the DA fandom, with some arguing in the Tumblrsphere and Reddit that Sera is “immature” and “hypocritical” who “only sticks it to the rich without helping the poor.” However, Sera and the Red Jennies, the loose organization she belongs to, are key components to the class discussion within DAI. Sera represents the “folk down here” (check this quote)in a group of powerful individuals who, intentionally or not, are reshaping the international order of Thedas. Sera forces the player, through the Inquisitor, to face the class conflict in Thedas. From there, the player can choose to address it or not. Is political change enough if it does not address the class divide? Sera would say no.

This paper will discuss the depiction and lessons of the class divide in Dragon Age Inquisition through a close-reading analysis of the character Sera and her organization, the Red Jennies. In doing so, this paper has two aims: to shed constructive light on Sera as a character, and to demonstrate the value of a video game in a class analysis.