In the Dragon Age: Origins games, players are presented with the option to side with either Bhelen or Harrowmont when choosing a new king for Orzammar.
Both candidates have their pros and cons, so who is the better choice? Let’s take a look at each leader and see who comes out on top.
Is Bhelen or Harrowmont Better as a New Orzammar King?
Although none of them is particularly good or bad, Bhelen is unquestionably more brutal in his pursuits.
On the other hand, Harrowmont is a strict traditionalist of the Dwarven culture who firmly believes in the caste system, which means that the casteless would continue to be oppressed while the middle and higher classes are kept content.
Additionally, he leans toward isolationism and would prefer that Dwarves not engage in surface trade, which is how they make their living.
He also views the practice of using the arenas to settle disputes as legitimate, which is what he forces the Warden to do if they choose to support him. He has a far nicer disposition than Bhelen and is also a lot gentler.
Bhelen, who deviates from tradition and is more of a reformer, would grant the casteless additional rights and privileges in exchange for helping to combat the darkspawn, which is something Harrowmont would never do and which will enrage the nobility.
Additionally, he aims to boost trade and fortify relations with the outside world. The lifeblood of the Dwarves is trade with the outside world. Even while it’s usually preferred to avoid maintaining relationships with strangers, this is something that is done in order to survive.
This may explain why trading is so limited and may even be done illegally. Bhelen is considerably more cunning and cruel, though, and he resorts to murder, extortion, deceit, and bribes to accomplish his objectives.
If they support him, he forces the Warden to carry out these kinds of actions. Since he schemes to have you and your siblings killed so he may become king, his cunning and treachery become evident when you’re a dwarf noble.
However, since nobles are known for playing games of intrigue, it’s possible that he simply followed the rules. Harrowmont, who serves as the King’s counselor, is on the side of the dwarf nobility.
But because you are a Dwarf Commoner and your sister Rica is one of Bhelen’s mistresses—whom he appears to adore—if you support Harrowmont, your sister will be furious with you for jeopardizing both her and her lover’s lives.
Not to mention that Harrowmont’s views on the casteless are not at all helpful if you identify as one. However, Harrowmont’s views about your old life and family have not changed even if you are made a paragon.
In other words, the decision is ultimately up to the individual’s or character’s unique perspective, values, and experience. In order to return to morality, one must consider their viewpoint or angle because one person’s moral decision may be seen as immoral by another.
Because it’s possible to claim that upholding tradition is moral, but is it still moral if doing so compromises the freedoms of others?
The casteless have very few options for surviving because they aren’t given many liberties, so they turn to crime to make ends meet.
Crime is viewed as morally wrong, but is it still morally wrong in such circumstances? Should they be held accountable for their theft when they aren’t allowed to support themselves?
Because there wouldn’t be any “noble hunters” or Dwarves in general to carry children, and because their society is already in decline, the Dwarf population  will drastically drop without the casteless, or at least those people nearby, whether they were given freedom or not.