I have way too many screenshots to post any decent number of them, but I picked out some that hit me the most, from his early scenes.

Also, ones with pretty hand shots.

I always thought it was interesting that Anders responds much more quickly and eagerly to strong kindness than he does to the really aggressively flirtatious options Hawke can use on him. In fact, most of the options that get Anders to be really aggressively flirtatious and make him come on really strong are the super kind and caring ones.

He’s just so utterly and completely starved for human kindness and affection that he jumps as soon as he senses it. And he falls really, really hard. And that’s part of why I can’t _not_ romance him. I can’t hold someone’s heart in my hand like that and not want to protect it.

Unfortunately, Anders appeals to all of my worst personal neurotic compulsions. My love of the character has absolutely nothing to do with physical appearances or the plethora of pretty porn that people like to create and share. Putting Hawke in my hands and pointing me at Anders is like putting all of Justice’s power in Anders’ hands and pointing him at Kirkwall.

I know it’s going to end badly. I know it’s going to end in tears. I know it’s going to be worse in the end, and that nothing I do will fix it.

But I can’t just sit on my hands and let him keep suffering alone.

Oh, my gosh, reblogging for TRUTH. And eloquence. Beautifully put.

I believe there’s also an element of self-awareness at play here, too. While Awakening Anders was a vain creature unconcerned with failing his interactions with others, DA2 Anders has lost that gleam and confidence and sees himself as someone who probably deserves to be wearing rags and holed up in a sewer. With his self-image in such tatters, flirtations are immediately flattering but probably ring false (especially to Anders, who used to be at the very least a crown prince of kneejerk flirtations) while kindness is easier to construe as genuine. After Justice, Hawke has the maps and Anders’ offer of assistance, what more could s/he want from him? What is there to gain by faking sympathy for a poor quasi-abomination? 

Ugh, this is part of what made my Isabela romance playthrough difficult. Not that her romance is bad (far from it) but Anders. I got through it by being his bestest best friend and headcanoning that Hawke dragged Anders with him and Izzy.