(Warning: Contains spoilers for DA:I and Trespasser.)

Seriously, though…why do all these prestigious Tevinter families consistently seem to have just a single blood heir? Both Felix and Dorian are only sons and heirs of their fathers, and other noble-blooded Tevinter characters such as Maevaris Tilani and Livius Erimond also appear to be only children from what little we know about them.

In a society where bloodlines mean everything and Altus children are forced to memorize their family genealogies, where assassinations are so ubiquitous that a dinner party’s practically a dull affair without one, you’d think parents would take especial care to safeguard their bloodlines with as many children as they could manage.

I could see maybe in the case of arranged marriages – such as Halward Pavus and his wife Aquinea, who according to Dorian can’t stand one another – sharing a bed for long enough to produce a single child might be all they could stomach. But that doesn’t explain Alexius, who genuinely loved his wife before her untimely death. (WoT Vol. 2 describes Livia Arida as his “longtime sweetheart and fellow researcher.” That’s right, Alexius and his wife were mage nerds who married for love instead of ambition. D’awww.)

The only logical explanation I can find points to the Tevinter tradition of naming apprentices as heirs instead of one’s blood progeny. This seems to be fairly commonplace with Archons specifically: “Archons usually inherit their titles; they are the sons, nephews, brothers, cousins, or apprentices of previous Archons.” (WoT Vol. 1 p76)

Most notably, Archon Almadrius once started a bloody civil war when his Laetan apprentice, Tidarion, succeeded him as Archon and the Altus magisters refused to recognize his legitimacy. (WoT Vol. 2 p38)

I wonder, though, if these “apprentice heirs” aren’t a common practice among magisters and noble families, as well – perhaps even something akin to the ancient Roman tradition of “adopting” sons among the upper class. Roman “adoption” wasn’t the adoption we think of today; it was a way for noble families without sons to ensure that their names were carried on into the next generation, and a way for families with too many sons to be spared the expense of raising a dozen children.

Although Tevinter magisters don’t appear to actually “adopt” their apprentices from what we know of DA canon, there’s evidence to suggest that they might serve as heirs or at least protégés in the absence of a suitable blood heir.

Here’s a passage from the WoT Vol. 2 (pages 250-251) about Alexius and his wife Livia Arida:

Their only son, Felix, was born a few years later, and while the child displayed a little magical ability, it quickly became clear that Felix Alexius would never be much of a mage. Even with all his parents’ tutoring, he could cast simple spells only with immense effort. Gereon’s father, concerned that his future heir was, he said, “just barely more than a Soporati,” tried to have his own grandson assassinated. His gambit was effortlessly countered by Lady Livia, who then had her father-in-law killed, making Gereon head of House Alexius and safeguarding her son.

Gereon doted on his son. Since Felix could not learn much in the way of spells, Gereon brought in tutors to teach him history, music, literature – anything that the boy could study was offered to him on a silver platter. When Felix’s interests and talents turned out to be mathematical, his proud parents sent him to the University of Orlais to work with the best mathematicians in Thedas.

Since their son could not be part of their research, Alexius and Livia brought in apprentices. Livia took half a dozen of the most promising young scholars of the Fade and the Veil from across Tevinter under her wing, but Gereon chose only one: an exceptionally gifted student of thaumaturgy from the Minrathous Circle by the name of Dorian Pavus.

For the next few years, Alexius and Dorian worked on breaking the boundaries of magic itself, while his wife and her team of apprentices sought to determine the effects of such magic on the Veil.

First of all…can we all take a moment to appreciate Alexius’ badass late wife? Livia found out her own father-in-law wanted to get rid of the “embarrassment” of her magically challenged son and fucking murdered him. Mama Livia don’t play around. Alexius’ reaction to his father’s death isn’t mentioned, but I like to imagine the conversation went something like this:

Livia: Amatus?
Gereon: Yes, love?
Livia: You know how your dickhead old man wants our son dead?
Gereon: Oh yeah…I’ve been meaning to talk to him about that.
Livia: Yeah, I killed him. He’s dead.
Gereon: Oh…well, good, then. Thanks, sweetie.

And can we take a second moment to appreciate that Felix was a fucking mathematician at the University of Orlais? Am I the only one who finds that incredibly sexy?

Anyway. I digress.

We see in this passage that even though Felix remained his parents’ heir apparent, Alexius and his wife took on apprentices to serve the role their son would ordinarily serve, had he been born a more gifted mage. Dorian further confirms the idea of apprentices as their mentors’ trustees in his dialogue with the Inquisitor in DA:I Trespasser:

Inquisitor: What did you do in Tevinter while you were away?
Dorian: I went home…twice. Father was only there once. Mother was drunk both times. I also went to Qarinus, to see my good friend Maevaris. Then I settled some of Alexius’ affairs. That wasn’t fun.

With Felix dead and Alexius either dead with him or condemned and stripped of his titles, his apprentice Dorian was the one tasked with settling Alexius’ legal affairs. It’s not discussed whether Dorian actually inherited any status or holdings from Alexius, but I like to imagine that he did.

Dorian talks about heirs yet again in Trespasser during the conversation about his own father’s death:

Dorian: I received notice this morning: a perversely cheerful letter congratulating me on assuming his seat in the Magisterium. We only met a few times while I was home. He didn’t say anything about keeping me as his heir.

The way he says that Halward “didn’t say anything about keeping me as his heir” suggests that Halward had others he might have appointed as his heir in Dorian’s place. Since Dorian is an only child, it’s fair to presume that he might be referring to Halward’s apprentices – or perhaps he simply meant cousins or nephews who belong to the Pavus bloodline. It’s hard to know for certain.

In any case, it’s something interesting for us to ponder about Tevinter culture and the significance of the mentor/apprentice relationship among mages both academically and socially.


@mirabai0821 *INTENSE NERD SOUNDS* this is amazing. I am so happy they mentioned Roman “adoption”, my brain immediately went there. Also holy fuck Livia Gereon is my hero and also damnit I’ll never be able to execute Alexius ever again bc he’s a gd cinnamon roll driven to excessive measures out of love and desperation. Aaaaagh.

I’ve been trying to figure out how I think things work in the Marches too bc Mira is the Bann’s only surviving heir but she probably hasn’t been home in close to 7-8 years.

@lustfulpasiphae knew you’d like this


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