Trying to draw them from memory
Reading about it is one thing. Being there is entirely different. Linett records what she finds in lands far from Bree, but you really ought to see it for yourself.
Trying to draw them from memory
it takes about a week of following the hawke sisters around for varric to finally see the older one smile.
even at his most charming, the most he gets out of her at first is a shift from surly and suspicious to what would be called “neutral” on anyone else’s face, though bethany assures him it’s a good sign from her sister.
“i think she decided if she seemed unfriendly to everyone, they’d leave us alone and wouldn’t look too closely at father and i,” bethany confessed to him once, while a few steps away hawke frowned thoughtfully over the lowtown swordsmith’s booth. “but she’s really kind, i promise.”
they’re in hightown later when bethany says, “i had a twin brother, carver.”
varric is no good at vulnerabilities, his own or other people’s; if he can pass a joke off over them he does, and if he can’t he just ignores them and leaves the ‘dealing with’ for another time. bethany’s a sweet kid, and varric can tell she’s still grieving. she doesn’t deserve to have her pain ignored, so maybe he can make her smile instead.
“i’m sorry about your brother,” he says sincerely, then, “do you want mine? i’ve got a spare.”
bethany shakes her head and huffs a little laugh, which varric is willing to count as a win, then turns to glance over hubert’s overpriced goods to hide her face.
when varric glances up at marian, she’s watching them with an expression so foreign on her it takes him a moment to realize it’s a smile of her own. “thank you,” she says, softly enough that bethany doesn’t seem to notice.
after that, she frowns a lot less around him.
The entire fact that Varric finds Sebastian boring is odd to me. Sure, he might be dull NOW (even though he isn’t), but his past should appeal to him, right? What sensational writer could resist a prince in exile with a mysterious, checkered past?
To say nothing of the brutally murdered family, the search for justice (or vengeance), the ability to cling to faith… to see good in a world that’s done its best to heap shit upon shit upon shit…
I sometimes wonder, and this is a wacky theory that may hold no real weight, whether there’s something about Sebastian that actually makes Varric deeply uncomfortable and that’s why he retaliates and dislikes the way he does. As a kind of armor? Or defensiveness?
I mean, when you think about it, Varric and Sebastian actually have a lot in common. They’re youngest sons of important families (merchant and nobility, but still; Varric’s family were noble in Orzammar). They’re both archers. They’re both rogues. They’ve got weird family relationships and dynamics going on. They actually both really do enjoy helping people. Depending on how one untangles the mess of the DA2 timeline, it’s possible they’re actually closer in age than, say, Varric and Hawke. They’re also the characters who’ve spent the most time in Kirkwall, and have the closest connections there, and the strongest ties.
I tried to put this in a reply and immediately went over the word limit.
Story of my life
But. While I completely agree with all this, I will say that listening to the actual in-game intonation of that particular banter, it seems like Sebastian is sort of… coyly saying it. Being truthful, yes, but… not revealing everything all the same. And also add to the fact that Varric more than likely does find Sebastian’s past very interesting. And probably very odd that he would be so… up front about it. I almost feel like Varric is jealous that Sebastian’s come to terms with (metaphorical) demons that he most definitely hasn’t. Despite the fact that Sebastian’s got a lot of other things to work through and come to terms with/own up to, but Varric might not… even see that?
Perhaps he’s hung up on the fact that this other person, who really is so very much like him in probably far too many ways, has been able to deal with issues that Varric hasn’t been able to–maybe never even tried? Even the ones he knows he should, that hang around his neck like an albatross–and it just stirs this… negative sentiment?
Why would Sebastian reveal all these mistakes about himself and his past readily when asked about it, when Varric doesn’t? Why would Sebastian just simply tell the truth about those things, when Varric doesn’t? Why would Sebastian try to move on from his past, all the while acknowledging it and the mistakes he made, when Varric doesn’t?
Sometimes I feel like this is a case of Varric looking at Sebastian and seeing a mirror of himself, except it’s the person he could have been, if he’d chosen a different path, even though he enjoys what he does (because there is no doubt that Varric immensely enjoys what he does), he also wants to have chosen that other path. Either that, or he wants Sebastian to have not chosen that other path and not inadvertently caused Varric to feel bad about his own life decisions. Or maybe both.
Varric: Hey Stiff, you’re pretty spry for a dead girl.
Sigrun: And you’re pretty beardless for a dwarf. You know what they say about looks being deceiving.
Varric: You’ve got me there.
Sigrun: Speaking of deceiving, here, you can have your coin purse back.
Varric: Hey, wait just a-
Sigrun: I thought for a merchant you’d have more coin on you.
Varric: You learn not to carry much coin when you spend a lot of time around Isabela.
Varric: Hey Stiff, if I write a book about you, would it be considered a eulogy?
Sigrun: Oh, because I’m dead right? Very original.
Sigrun: Oh! Oh! When you write it, be sure to emphasize how scary I am. Intimidating tattoos, sharp daggers, you know.
Varric: Your unkempt hair, your breath that can stop darkspawn in their tracks. Got it.