To be fair, there doesn't seem to be a single mage in the Dragon Age universe who doesn't resort to blood magic at the drop of a hat. Guess the templars were actually right all along...
It's like you forgot all about Wynne and Irving (I kid, I kid). My favorite characters in DA2 were Varric and Aveline. I like how they deliberately didn't make Aveline cute, sexy, or vulnerable. She was a soldier who believed in law and order, and was maybe the toughest sonofabitch on your team. But hey, her husband died and she's sad, so her sidequest is to hook a girl up. I liked that. Varric is great; no arguments here. I thought that DA2 ruined Anders. He was a sarcastic, fun Templar-hater in Awakening that turned into a whining, tormented martyr. I was disappointed in how they handled his character.
And honestly? I like DA2, but I think it has some serious problems. I *get* what it was trying to do in build up Hawke's legend in Kirkwall, but I still feel that such blatant reuse of maps over the course of the game is a disappointment. Part of the fun of RPGs is traveling to new areas, and DA2 was seriously lacking on that front. I also think that the endgame is a little screwed up.
No matter what you do or whom you support, the First Enchanter and Templar General end up losing their minds and transforming into monsters and the war begins the same way. The end state of Dragon Age: Origins has a TON of possibilities for the end of the Fereldan Civil War and the state of the nation, but the end state of DA2 is mostly about the fate of its main characters. That was disappointing to me.
I'm not exactly down on DA2, but I think that DA: Origins and DA: Awakening are both better from a story, character, and environment perspective. DA2's combat, skills, and systems are great, though, and I hope that DA: Inquisition is the result of BioWare understand what worked and didn't work about all three games and ends up as the best of both worlds.