“My name is Abigail Walker, but my friends and enemies call me Fetch.”
No, but really, I think the fact that Audacity, the demon in the cave, is a pride demon is a really key thing. Merrill’s fatal flaw is NOT pride. It really isn’t. It’s DESIRE. All through the game, she is wanting to fix the mirror, to recover knowledge of the Dalish. She isn’t proud of her abilities. She’s desiring to recover what’s been lost. Merrill WANTS.
But Marethari? She’s extremely proud. She’s certain she knows best. She has a blind spot for Merrill, caused by parental pride. She cannot get past the belief that she’s absolutely right, and she gets consumed in that parental pride all through the game.
In fact, there’s a really good argument to be made that Marethari was possessed by Audacity from at least Act 2, if not all game long. Think about it. We see with Anders/Justice that, for a time, being bound to a demon can not impact someone’s everyday life too severely, but eventually, they will be consumed by it. Act 2 is where Marethari asks if Merrill intends to return to the clan, despite the clan being openly disdainful of her and telling stories of her blood magic, the kind that got Pol killed. Then she bends (if not breaks) the rules of the Dalish agreement she and Merrill make to give Hawke, who made no agreement with her, the tool that MERRILL negotiated for.
And then in Act 3, she has kept the clan at Sundermount to be close to Merrill, she goes from ‘the clan still has business here’ to ‘the clan will not leave until MY business is concluded’ in the space of about a minute, and then arrives AFTER Hawke and Merrill in the cave, but already has bound the demon to herself? There is no possible way that she could have done so before Merrill reached the cave. So the demon was already bound to MARETHARI, and well before Hawke and everyone got there, and I fully believe she was bound at least as of Act 2.
And that’s why Audacity is a pride demon. Because he’s feeding on Marethari’s pride, not Merrill’s desires.