Let’s just note upfront that this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles will have lots of Guild Wars 2 spoilers, including but not limited to the recent Living World S4E6 War Eternal. Also, wild speculation that may well be completely wrong. You have been warned!
But in the midst of this epic final battle, we got a fascinating insight into the mind of the elder dragon. The magic he had consumed was at war within him, forcing him to do things he didn’t want to do, promising relief but always bringing more torment. In the end, he freely gave up his essence to Aurene, and she ascended to elder dragonhood. His last words were, “I only hope that you never have to kill what you love.” Is he perhaps referring to Glint? Or perhaps the whole of Tyria?
It seems to me that the writers are implying that the elder dragons weren’t always the mindless, world-ending death machines that we’ve always seen them as in Guild Wars 2. They have been driven insane because of the imbalance of magic caused when we killed the other elder dragons (and Balthazar). Yet they were destructive long before we killed Zhaitan. Is there, perhaps, more to it than this?
Let’s set all of that aside for now and talk about the six human gods. It has long been speculated that The Six are not all that godly. It has been theorized that they were once regular old humans who found some powerful magic and brought their “chosen” humans to Tyria (from where isn’t exactly clear) to play god with them. This seems to be supported by the fact that the human Kormir was able to ascend to godhood by being gifted Abaddon’s power.
Even within the universe, there are skeptics. In the Durmand Priory Special Collections instance in season 2, there is a book by an Asura named Xakk, who writes, “[A]re they gods? I say no. They are what we would all become if given the amount of magical energy they possess and allowed to live as long as they appear to have.” Add to that the fact that Caudecus was able to trick everyone into thinking he was a god using some mesmer trickery and a whole lot of bloodstone, and this becomes even more plausible. If Caudecus can (almost) do it, why not six others?
Some also believe that the magic that made The Six into so-called gods is starting to run out. In Path of Fire, Kormir claims that The Six decided to depart Tyria for fear of making the conflict with the dragons worse, but Balthazar, being a war god and all, wanted to stay and fight them. Because he refused to leave with them, the other gods bound him in the Mists and left him there – until Rytlock accidentally freed him. Once back in Tyria, Balthazar immediately went after the dragons and the magic they held, knowing full well that killing them would destroy the world. Was his motivation bloodlust and greed, or did he know his time was short without a new infusion of magic?
Another interesting thing that comes up from time to time in discussions of this type is that there are six god and six dragons, and at least some of them seem to mirror each other. Grenth and Zhaitan are both associated with death, Melandru and Mordremoth are both associated with nature, Balthazar and Primordus are both associated with fire, and Abaddon and the unnamed sea dragon (whom players affectionately call Bubbles) are both associated with the ocean. It kind of breaks down from there, as Grenth is also associated with ice like Jormag, and there aren’t really any gods associated with crystals like Kralkatorrik (maybe Lyssa’s association with illusion magic if you squint), but it still seems like more than a coincidence.
Now for the speculation: What if the dragons were once benevolent, or at least harmless, but The Six tried to use them to gain magical power and in doing so messed with them somehow? What if they actually stole their god-like power form the dragons in the first place? Then they brought the normal humans to Tyria hoping that if things ever went south with the dragons, the humans would fight that war for them. What if The Six left Tyria not to protect it but out of fear of the dragons’ revenge? Kormir may not have even knowingly lied to us; given that this would have happened long before her ascension in Guild Wars: Nightfall, she may well not even know where her power came from.
This seems to be supported by the fact that Kralkatorrik and Aurene were able to absorb Balthazar’s magic when he was defeated, and Kralkatorrik was able to use that magic against us. This would make sense if Balthazar was using magic that originally belonged to the elder dragons.
So what would this mean for the future of Guild Wars stories? Well, first it would be a huge blow to Human society. It was bad enough when Balthazar went rogue; imagine what would happen if the remaining five were revealed to be impostors. Second, there would be a huge “I told you so” coming from the direction of Ascalon. The Charr have long been opposed to the veneration of The Six, and quite frankly, I’ve been surprised at the lack of gloating so far with just one rogue god. Surely this wouldn’t be good for the already strained Human-Charr relations.
It would also mean that our job as The Heroes of Everything (that’s what Dragon’s Watch is going by now, right?) is now to find a way to fix the remaining elder dragons by removing The Six’s influence. I’ve been assuming that the next step would be to replace each dragon with an Aurene-like dragon that is free from corruption, but if we can figure out the source of the corruption, we may be able to cleanse it with much less drastic measures. Now that I think of it, I’m surprised that nobody has looked into the ritual that the Forgotten used to purify Kralkatorrik’s influence from Glint.
So what do you think? Am I way off here? Any other theories on where Guild Wars 2’s story is going? I don’t know any more than you do at this point, and I am far from the biggest lore hound around, so I’m interested to hear what you think in the comments!