Orlesian mage and magical advisor to Empress Celene, Dragon Age’s Madame de Fer is one of the few companions that can’t be romanced. Here’s why.

In the Dragon Age universe, those who know Vivienne call her Madame de Fer, the Lady of Iron. This is not only because is she a strong, steadfast mage who rose to power at an incredibly young age, but she can be terrifyingly brutal when necessary.

When Empress Celene offered Vivienne the position of Court Enchanter after only a single meeting with her, no one thought much of it because prior to her assignment the position carried very little weight. However, Vivienne took on the responsibility and made herself indispensable to Empress Celene, earning favor enough to gain advisory status despite the laws against mages being granted positions of political power.

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A fierce adversary and mage loyal to the Circle and the Chantry, Madame de Fer seems as cold as the ice her elemental powers draw from her fingertips, but beneath her frigid exterior beats a contradictory warm heart. When she asks the Inquisitor for help gathering odd potions ingredients, it seems she might be up to no good. However, further investigation reveals that Vivienne’s lover is dying, and she would do anything in her power to save him.

Even from a young age, Vivienne’s magical skills were remarkable. Taken to the Ostwick Circle of Magi, she quickly became one of the youngest mages ever to rise to power. At 19, she transferred to the Montsimmard Circle and rose to ranks as a full-enchanter. In 9:16 Dragon, she attended the Imperial Wintersend Ball, and at court, she met Duke Bastien de Ghislain for the first time. The duke was instantly enamored with her and spent the entire evening snubbing the other nobles so he could pour all his attention onto Vivienne. It wasn’t long before she began appearing at the lavish parties he hosted at his estate, and he quickly took her on as his mistress, moving her into a suite of rooms at the estate.

The nobles of Orlais did not take kindly to her swift rise up the rungs of the social ladder, and they began hiring assassins to try and take her out. Vivienne met each one with remarkable skill and frigidity, returning their frozen bodies to the source of the contract in fair warning to back off. This societal malcontent endured for four years, and when the newly crowned Empress chose Vivienne to be her Court Enchanter, the mage’s ambition shone as she took the position and expanded upon it. Her sudden closeness to the Empress brought nobles from all over Orlais clamoring to gain Vivienne’s favor in hopes of getting close to the Empress as well.

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As her power and reputation grew, so too did her prestige. Known for her fashion sense and authority, people began referring to her as the “Jewel of the High Court of Orlais.” And while other women might have shriveled in the shadow of their lover’s wife, Vivienne thrived as Duke de Ghislain’s mistress. She empowered herself in a way that resulted in no jealous from or towards her lover’s wife, rather the two shared a symbiotic and respectable relationship.

After the mage rebellion, Vivienne headed the Loyalist mages, believing that those who turned against the Circle and the Chantry were selfish beyond belief. She sympathized openly with non-mages, believing they had every right to fear mages and the dangerous power they could wield. The most likely move for a person in her position would be to join the Inquisition, where she might gain favor and influence with the Inquisitor. After joining, an Inquisitor who agreed with Vivienne’s views could encourage her to devote more time and resources to Chantry politics, and even suggest that Madame de Fer might be a worthy candidate for Divine.

Despite her power, however, Vivienne felt powerless in one aspect. During her personal quest, she asked the Inquisitor to bring her the heart of a snowy wyvern, but did not explain why. The Inquisitor could either do as she asked without question, or bring her a plain wyvern heart, which inevitably caused the magic she planned to conduct to fail. Upon bringing her the heart, she offered to bring the Inquisitor with her to her dying lover’s bedside, where she planned to cure him of disease.

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Regardless of the type of heart the Inquisitor offered, Duke de Ghislain passed away, and Vivienne could do nothing to save him. Witnessing her heartbroken by the loss granted the player a moment’s glance beneath her cold exterior and into the warmth she was capable of sharing with another. While other interactions could make it difficult to imagine her as anything other than a perfectionist snob who saw herself as superior to everyone else, this was a rare moment of vulnerability.

Throughout Inquisition, there are minor opportunities to flirt with her in conversation, choices which would prompt a laugh of appreciation before she’d call the Inquisitor adorable. But romancing Vivienne was impossible, as her heart belonged to another. Even after her lover passed away, it was hard for her to imagine finding anyone else she felt to be worthy of her love.

A woman of Vivienne’s power and authority could very well go on to appear in future games. The Inquisitor had the option to support Vivienne to become Divine, which means she may continue to play a prominent role in Thedas. She could even appear in the upcoming Dragon Age 4, which is rumored to take place in the Tevinter Imperium. Putting Divine Vivienne face to face with the Black Divine would be a fight well worth paying to see.

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