|“||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 main antagonists of Act 3 of the 2011 video game Dragon Age II as she leads a policy against magic that claims many innocent lives and spreads great fear and tyranny across the land.
When she and Meredith were girls, Meredith's 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. One day, Amelia was possessed by a demon and turned into an abomination which slaughtered her entire family save for Meredith. The Templars eventually slew her sister, but not before the abomination killed 70 villagers. This event contributed to Meredith's harsh view on magic and why she believed mages must be treated as cursed.
An ambitious member of the Kirkwall Templar Order, Meredith rose quickly in the ranks and after helping rid Kirkwall of the Viscount for trying to oust the Templars, was elected Knight-Commander. She had a hand in electing the new Viscount, Dumar, knowing he would not defy the Order and giving her unprecedented power in the city.
Dragon Age II
Meredith rules over the Gallows harshly, seeing magic as a curse and punishing mages for minor infractions. The Right of Tranquility, supposed to be reserved only for those mages who do not wish to do their Harrowing or those thought to be unable to control their powers, is used excessively as a punishment even on mages who have passed their Harrowing. Often these Tranquil are forced to sell goods to the public under threat of physical abuse. In general, Meredith allows the rampant, horrific abuse against mages done by the Templars under her, turning a blind eye to Templars like Alrik.
After Petrice successfully provokes the Arishok to war, he decapitates Viscount Dumar. Meredith, along with Orsino and Hawke, lead the resistance against the Arishok and after Hawke deals with him, she awards Hawke by giving them the title of Champion of Kirkwall. In response to the power vacuum left after Dumar's death, Meredith takes power over the city claiming there is nobody else left who is fit enough to rule. Orsino and some of the nobility in Kirkwall argue that Meredith should concede power to a new Viscount, as it is a conflict of interest to have the Knight-Commander rule, but Meredith refuses to step down.
Meredith becomes increasingly draconian in her rule, getting more and more paranoid about blood magic and refusing to listen to reason or release her control over the city. Rumors that she's called for the Right of Annulment begin to spread and the Gallows becomes an almost literal prison. After the apostate Anders destroys the Chantry, she decides to no longer wait for approval for the Right of Annulment and orders her men to execute all mages, despite the Circle mages having nothing to do with Anders' actions. If Hawke sides with her and their sister Bethany joined the Circle, Meredith will agree to spare her if Hawke insists. Otherwise she will have Bethany killed.
During the final confrontation it's revealed that Meredith obtained a shard of red lyrium and turned it into a sword, the same corrupt lyrium that had been causing havoc ever since it was discovered during an ill-fated expedition. It caused her hatred for magic and paranoia to take over her, setting her on a murderous rampage. Her fellow Templars realize the extent of her madness and stand against her and she engages in combat with Hawke and their companions. Before either side can triumph, the red lyrium sword petrifies her as she beseeches the Maker for help.
During the events of Dragon Age: Inquisition, Meredith's name will occasionally be mentioned, as well as the chaos that occurred in Kirkwall, such as the deaths of thousands of innocent people, the mysterious lyrium discovered in the Deep Roads, and her position as Knight-Commander of the Templar Order.