Qunari are a group in Dragon Age shrouded in mystery. They are not even technically a race, but a religion… and yet are often referred to as a race by the people of Thedas. Some have horns, some do not have horns. They are at constant war with Tevinter, and their religion has very authoritarian rules. Also, unlike humans, elves, and dwarves, they are an original Dragon Age race.
But there is more unknown about the Qunari than other races. Where did they come from? Who are they and why are they the way they are?
Fans have come up with a theory about the Qunari, and one that has more evidence than one may think at first glance. The theory takes two elements of Dragon Age and mashes them together: elves and dragon blood. The short story behind the theory is that magisters took elves, made them slaves, and did experiments on them with dragon blood. The experiments resulted in the Qunari. That is the theory, put simply.
However, the evidence becomes more and more overwhelming the deeper into the lore we look. It’s time to pick apart this theory and show why it could actually be quite true.
Back when Qunari did first appear, they were actually called Kossith and appeared in the Kocari Wilds in -410 Ancient. That is about 300 years before Andraste freed the elves. The fact that the Kossith were first seen between when Aralathan fell and when Andraste freed many from Tevinter’s rule is important.
It is no secret that Tevinter magisters experimented on their slaves in the past and present. Fenris from Dragon Age II is one such example. It is also known that many magisters in the past worshipped dragons and practiced blood magic. All these details make it no stretch of the imagination that magisters could have used slaves between the fall of Arlathan and the rise of Andraste to do crazy experiments with dragon blood.
If the Kossith were created this way as Elven slaves and left Tevinter, they would likely settle somewhere close. Par Vallen and Seheron are just north of Tevinter and across the sea. Escaped slaves could have built boats and settled there, satisfied with having a body of water between them and their old masters.
Furthermore, evidence that connects Qunari to the elves includes their pointed ears as well as their cultural background. Before the Qun was founded, most Qunari practiced animism. It is likely that their animist beliefs stemmed from what their ancestors practiced. However, when the Qun was founded, all Kossith temples were destroyed. Little is known about Ashkaari Koslun, the founder of the Qun, but how the Qun treats magic with utter fear may stem from how they were created by magic experiments.
A lot of this information comes from The World of Thedas books. However, there is also evidence found in the games. In Dragon Age: Inquisition, Corypheus actually has a haunting line to a Qunari inquisitor. He says something along the lines of, “Your race is not a race, it is a mistake.” From an ancient Tevinter magister, that is a very interesting thing to say.
Another piece of evidence comes from someone even more ancient, Solas. If he befriends a Qunari inquisitor, he says he thought all Qunari to be brutish and that the inquisitor is different from what he expected. How did such expectations arise? Well, if this theory of Qunari is true, then Solas never saw Qunari before waking up. Knowing how their history or not, he may associate them with everything wrong about the Thedas he plans to remake.
In the games, a constant trend players see from Qunari is their war against Tevinter. If the Qunari were once elves, this may be part of why their long war started in the first place, even if they themselves do not remember what they once were. It is likely that because of the Qun, many were re-educated and taught an alternate history of their race.
The connection between Qunari and dragons became most prevalent after a conversation with the Iron Bull in Dragon Age: Inquisition. The conservation happens after the inquisitor kills their first dragon. The Iron Bull mentions that he feels like he and the dragon had a special connection. He even theorizes that the Qunari may have some dragon blood mixed into theirs. Of course, this fits into the big fan theory. However, evidence goes much further than just a conversation with the Iron Bull.
Dragon blood has been a source of power before, in fact, it can be ritually prepared to make warriors into reavers. Iron Bull himself is actually a reaver class. However, he tells the inquisitor if they become a reaver that he himself never actually drank dragon’s blood. He just was able to become a reaver through training. This would make sense if Qunari do already have dragon blood in them.
Even more is revealed to players that take on the reaver class in Inquisition. In a conversation with Cassandra, who comes from Nevarra which is famous for its dragon hunters, she shares that dragon blood can have ill effects. Many of her family members became more aggressive from the dragon blood. This change of behavior can be actually quite important, and this is where the Qun comes into the theory.
The Iron Bull believes that without the Qun, his people would be savage. This brings up the possibility that the entire reason the Qun came to exist in the first place was to help their people. The creator of the Qun may have created it to protect the Qunari from themselves. Imagine elves that were experimented on, changed, and losing control of themselves as untrained reavers would. It is possible that the Qun was just an answer to that problem, and it grew and changed to the point that no one remembers that history and just see it as a righteous religion like many others.
One suspicious piece of evidence is said by Kieran, Morrigan’s son, if he has the soul of an old god in him. He says to an inquisitor Qunari, “Your blood does not belong to your people.” Also, of course, the dragon-like horns of the Qunari are hard to miss.
In the end, all this is just theory. All could be disproven when Dragon Age 4 comes out. However, this fan theory is definitely worth thinking about before the next game. Is there more evidence out there in the games, books, and comics? Even if the theory is true, what does it mean for the Qunari?