"No one has a place here. Your farmers wish to be merchants. The merchants dream of being nobles, and the nobles become warriors. No one is content to be who they are." -Sten
"Happiness is fragile. Nothing can be built upon it that will last. Only duty endures." -Sten
"Where is the cake? I was told there would be cake! The cake is a lie." -Sten
"The Arishok asked me, 'what is the blight?'. Now, I stand looking into its very eyes and still I have no answer for him. Though I expect you do. You have carried us this far, do not doubt that." -Sten
"Sten" is Danish, Norwegian and Swedish for "stone" along with stein, and also a common first name in Norway, Denmark and Sweden. Sten is an old Norse name.
The Sten (or Sten gun) was a family of British 9 mm submachine guns used extensively by British and Commonwealth forces throughout World War II and the Korean War.
He is one of the three companions who appears in the Sacred Ashes trailer and is depicted with a prominent beard. Of the characters featured in the trailer, he is the only one to have no dialogue.
Of all the companions besides the Warden, Sten is the only one who seems to genuinely like and respect Shale, as he calls him kadan, the same title he bestows on the Warden.
During the quest Sten's Lost Sword, if you take Sten with you to the Frostback Mountains to talk to Faryn, there will be a dialogue option where the Warden can tell Sten to "tear his arms off". This is a reference to the movie The Princess Bride, which has a scene where Inigo Montoya tells Fezzik the same thing while interrogating the Chief Enforcer who had the gate key. Alternatively, it could be a reference to Wookiees from Star Wars, who are also known to rip people's arms off when they are annoyed or enraged.
When Sten challenges the Warden in Haven, he will state that they are going north; however, the map clearly indicates that Andraste's ashes are to the southwest. However, Haven is clearly north of where the Blight originated.
During the epilogue, when the player tries to talk to Sten after the first time, he will exclaim "Where is the cake? I was told there would be cake. The cake is a lie." This is a reference to the video-game Portal, where the phrase "The Cake is a Lie" is written on walls predominantly through many of the game's levels.
In the game Mass Effect 2 (another Bioware game), during the battle for Horizon, a terrified colonist will exclaim "They got Sten, too!" This could be a reference to Dragon Age: Origins.