|“||Magic is a cancer in the heart of our land, just as it was in the time of Andraste. And like her, we are left with no choice but to purify it with fire and blood.||„|
|~ Meredith Stannard|
Meredith Stannard is the Knight-Commander of the Templars of Kirkwall and a very influential and powerful woman - however her fanatical hatred and fear of mages serves to turn her into one of the antagonists of act 3 of Dragon Age II as she leads a policy against magic that claims many innocent lives and spreads great fear and tyranny across the land. After Petrice succesfully provoked Arishok to war, he decapitated viscount Dumar. Meredith along with Orsino and Hawke lead resistance against Arishok. After Hawke dealt with him, she honored Hawke by giving them a title of Champion of Kirkwall and took power over the city as there was nobody else left to rule.
If players side with Meredith in Act 3, she explains why she views magic the way she does; when Meredith was younger, her sister Amelia developed magical talents but her family decided to shield her from the Chantry, knowing that she couldn't survive in the Circle or pass their rigorous tests. Amelia was described as a kind and gentle soul who was unprepared to carry such a heavy burden and was utterly grateful for her family's efforts. One day, Amelia was possessed by a demon and turned into an abomination which slaughtered her entire family save for Meredith, who survived. The Templars eventually slew her sister, but not before the abomination killed 70 villagers. This traumatic, heartbreaking experience led to Meredith's harsh view on magic and why mages must be treated as people with a curse.
After the apostate Anders destroyed the chantry, she ordered to execute all mages. Hawke can side with her or against her. If the former option was chosen, she allows Hawke to punish Anders as sees fit. If Hawke's sister Bethany joined the Circle, Meredith will agree to spare her if Hawke insists. She does the same with other mages who willingly surrender to the templars.
During the final confrontation Meredith is empowered by the same corrupt lyrium that had been causing havoc throughout the game ever since it was discovered during an ill-fated expedition, which caused her inner-hatred for magic as well as her paranoia to take over her and drive her on a murderous rampage in which even her own followers realized her danger and stood against her. She is defeated in combat by Hawke and his/her companions, and then petrified by the lyrium sword after beseeching the Maker for help.