There are lot of mysteries and clues in every masterpiece of Bioware, but Dragon Age world is my favorite place when it comes to channeling my super nerdy geeky needs.
Many are questions about history of Thedas, but I believe none can be solved without figuring out as much as possible about Elven Gods, since their nature, origin and actions are cruicial to understanding almost every event in Dragon age lore.
I realize the chance of me figuring out somethinh correctly is not likely (altough Bioware really is very fair to its most geeky admirers and provides a lot of clues).
In order to understand the chances of figuring out something crucial we can easily look at Flemeth and our chances of figuring out her connection to Mythal during various stages of develepopment. Call me naive but I truly believe Bioware does actually (much like George.R.R.Martin or J.K.Rowling) care about consistency of its canon lore and that Flemeth was for instance intended to be possesed by Mythal from the very beginning.
Very well. Dragon Age Origins. Now even back then every proper loyal geek would see that in that world full of clues, hints and unanswered questions Flemeth is clearly a living breathing enigma that provides perhaps most clues about various aspects of religions, history and magic.
In DAO we see a witch who seems to be ANCIENT. She seems not completely mortal at least in the sense that she does not necesserily need to die from old age. That alone possibly connects her to Elves however human she looks. Discounting Avernus in the DLC, in DAO we see only few ancient connections to past like paragon Caridin and Keeper Zathrian.
Now what i LOVE about Bioware is their dedication to options and details. Perhaps the single most valuable single piece of information in that entire huge freaking game is a single possible line in dialogue you can have only once at the very beginning with Morrigan and only if you play Dalish Warden. In that line the Dalish warden reveals to Morrigan that dalish keepers have the very same shapeshifting magic as Flemeth and her daughters wield.
Discounting the possibility that you can buy a book which unlocks shapeshifter specialization from a Dalish merchant, this little line not easily encountered or noticed provides perhaps greatest clue for a true nerdy fan.
Every proper fan with the right curious (geeky) questions is immediately fascinated by Flemeth, and after your first playthrough you probably know this: 1. mortals (often mages) can become possesed which is usually a mess, but Flemeth proves this does not always need to be the case. 2. The Old Gods are not simply dragons, they indeed seem to contain some sort of spirits themselves 3. Flemeth was probably a human woman who was possesed by some sort of spirit and lived on for ages 4. Flemeth seems to know about mysteries which predate her own human life 5. Flemeth for some reason shows great interest in securing a soul/spirit contained in and Old God dragon
Proper geek is probably also aware that Black City in the Fade does actually exist and thus that andrastian Chant of Light might actually really provide some actual clues instead of just religious unfounded superstitions and that Elves predating humans might have been immortal and that they worshipped some gods who somehow dissapeared.
If you dig deep enough you are also aware of Forgotten Ones, Forbidden Ones, lyrium, veil and blood magic. But all is next to impossible to connect until that one delicious line about dalish keepers having same sort of magic as Flemeth. Because this provides a connection between a human immortal abomination interested in an Olf God and Elves. Simply invaluable.
Because until that point trying to figure out Thedas is sort of like this:
We have a planet. That planet is connected to some Fade with magic and spirits. On that planet is a continent we know as Thedas. On that continent there is a mineral called lyrium which seems to provide magic as well. On that continent was once a huge elven empire. These Elves worshipped some gods and were immortal. Then humans came and their gods diseapeared. Then humans conquered them, enslaved them and spread across the continent. Then they worshipped some really big and perhaps special dragons and made deals with some demons. Then something went wrong, taint appeared, once it infected one of the weird worshipped dragons the First Blight began and ended after the dragon was killed by the Grey Wardens. Then some Andraste and some Quinari appeared and here we are in DAO.
After a lot of digging my read on Thead was this:
Ancient elves really might have been immortal (considering Zathrian). Dwarven empire might have already existed underground during the time of Arlathan, but I have no idea how dwarves or lyrium fit into those ancient times. Elves worshipped some nine ,,gods“ who were probably popular and probably feared some unknown number of Forgotten ones. Then maybe Fenharel banished the eight gods into heaven (is that some part of Fade?) and forgotten ones into Abyss (is that another part of the Fade, the Deep Roads or some sort of intergalactic void?). What happened to Fenharel? What is the Black City? What is the Blight? Is the Maker some sort of forgotten father of elven gods (considering his symbol is Sun, Elgar´nan is the oldest of the Sun etc.)
The biggest confusion and mystery for me back then were the Old Gods. It makes sense that Elven gods are not much studied or quostioned since they seem like a mere history curiosity at that point, but Old Gods are clearly real in DAO and clearly not just some big dragons. It seems like they are dragons possesed by some spirits and that even in their uncorrupted form they somehow attract the darkspawn,
What seemed crucial to me back then was the confusion whether Tevinters learned blood magic from Dumat OR the Forbidden Ones, because i felt this should somehow solve the questions about nature of spirits contained within the dragons – the Old Gods.
Back then my very foggy idea was this:
the Chant of Light might actually be kind of correct in some small ways. Maybe there was once a really powerful spirit (Maker) who was worshipped and who greatly influenced both the mortals and the spirits. Maybe this spirit even possesed some mage like something possesed Flemeth.
Maybe this spirit ruled from the Golden City, which was in the center of Fade. Maybe he spawned, created, taught, inspired or simply somehow influenced some other beings including the nine elven ,,gods“ who under leadership of Elgar´nan overthrew him, which pissed him off and he was imprisoned/stayed in his Golden City, while Elven Gods had fun in Thedas.
Then something happened, the eight gods were imprisoned (perhaps in the Golden City with their father) betrayed like Cronos was betrayed by Zeus after he betrayed Uranus. The Forgotten Ones might been imprisoned in Deep Roads (abyss?).
I also imagined Fen´harel might have usurped the title of the Maker or somehow rightfully restored worship of the Maker. About fate of Fenharel I was quite clueless even when it came tomere speculations.
But back then I was quite convinced that Old Gods were the Forgotten Ones, the Forbidden Ones are some of the Frogotten Ones who have somehow freed themselves and that Flemeth is possesed by one of the Forgotten Ones.
With Mage origin Harrowing, Uldred main quest, Baronness in Awakening it was proven to me that spirits and mortals are more of a different states of being rather then different species and this phenomenon is also what makes shapeshifting possible and that shapesfhiting, fade, spirits and elves are closely connected (elves had in DAO been clearly established as more connected to magic than humans).
Yeah I was pretty proud of myself (or ashamed how childish time-wasting freak i am?) when DAI proved so much of my speculations correct thanks to Solas and Cole and Mythal.
But ultimately back at DAO I was pretty sure about my specualtions that Old Gods are Forgotten Ones and that Flemeth is possesed by a Forgotten one. All this geeky monologue is meant to show how small are the odds of even a dedicated nerd reading extremely (absurdly really) responsible writers and figuring stuff out correctly.
To be honest there was simply now way how to figure out the Mythal bit. Not in DAO anyway. It was probably impossible to even guess that Flemeth could be possessed by ANY of the Creators, except maybe by the Dread Wolf (now there would be possible to even see fake hints because of Brecilian storyline and Morrigan shapeshifting into wolf if you refuse her ritual.)
Still while this whole case proves how unrealiable can our speculations be, it also shows how much we can start to at least suspect if we dig deep enough (after all the most nerdy of us figured out most of the trespasser revelations in advance).
Often you dont even have to wait that long for more clues. Every DLC provides quite a lot of crucial clues about lore.
Regarding Flemeth and Mythal the first hints were at DA2. I missed the part, where the altar at Sundermount is revealed as Mythals, but if you after DAO suspect enough, you could start to think of Mythal simply due to the fact that Flemeth seems to actively care about the Dalish, which not only points at Creators, it even fits the vague references specific to Mythal most.