Guild Wars 2’s Icebrood Saga has so far been filled with plenty of nostalgic callbacks to the original Guild Wars’ Eye of the North expansion. Perhaps the most striking appearance so far has been that of the Eye of the North itself at in the finale of the recent Episode 2, Shadow in the Ice. I know many Guild Wars 2 players missed out on this expansion back in 2007, and for those who did play it, it may have been a while, so for this week’s Flameseeker Chronicles, I would like to take a look at the importance of this mysterious locale!
No one knows who built the Eye of the North; it predates both the Norn and Dwarves who first settled in the area. I have seen speculation thrown around that it may have been built by the Seers, Forgotten, Mursaat, or even the ancient Jotun, but at this time we simply don’t know. In 1078 AE, the time of the Eye of the North expansion, it was used as a base of operations by the Ebon Vanguard, led by Gwen Thackeray, ancestor of Guild Wars 2’s Logan Thackeray. The ghosts of several of the NPCs who originally inhabited the outpost still guard the outpost’s Hall of Monuments to this day, protecting the treasures locked away there for use by future generations of heroes.
Guild Wars 2 players have always been able to access the Eye of the North via the Hall of Monuments Portal Stone. Players with their Guild Wars 1 and 2 accounts linked will receive this item upon character creation, but anyone can get one for free from an NPC in Lion’s Arch. Its primary purpose in Guild Wars 2 is to allow players to claim goodies awarded for completing certain achievements in the original game.
More recently, around the time of Shadow in the Ice, the young elder dragon Aurene has taken up residence there, feeling drawn to the magical energies emanating from the scrying pool, saying that, “Its waters connect many threads in the Mists. Threads throughout time.” She has done a bit of redecorating: cleared out the cobwebs, added some new flora, and spread her glittery branding around, casting colorful reflections on the gilded walls. It’s a truly beautiful locale now, and the bright, warm atmosphere feels all the sweeter in contrast with the dark, oppressive, and icy Bjora Marches where we’ve spent the last two episodes.
Now that you know what the Eye of the North is, it’s time for a little speculation. I think it seems likely that the Eye of the North and the scrying pool sit atop a ley line hub, like the ones found in Dry Top and Lion’s Arch. The resting places of both the elder dragons Primordus and Jormag are nearby, and it makes sense that elder dragons would choose to nap near a ley line hub so they have a good amount of magic to snack on when they rise. Additionally, the original asura gate hub was also not far. We know that Asuran teleportation technology relies on ley lines to function, so it seems logical that their original gate hub would be near a ley line hub.
The “Threads throughout time” line, as well as the pool’s ability to grant visions, remind me a lot of Aurene’s mother, Glint, who, like Aurene, was able to grant prophetic visions, which she used to help the races of Tyria. This makes me wonder if the Eye of the North has some connection with Glint. Was it perhaps built by the Forgotten who cleansed Glint of Kralkatorik’s control?
Either way, it seems like a pretty safe bet that the upcoming Visions of the Past — a new type of story content that ArenaNet promised in its preview of the year to come that will let players “Scry into the past and witness what life is like as a member of Ryland’s elite Steel Warband,” (note that word “scry”) — is going to be kicked off from the Eye of the North’s scrying pool.
What else could this location’s appearance mean for the future of the Icebrood Saga’s storyline? For one, I’d love to know more about the history of the Eye of the North. Who built it? Why was it constructed? Why was it abandoned, despite being in relatively good condition probably thousands of years later?
If the Eye of the North does indeed house a ley line hub, could Bangar, leader of the Charr renegades who believes that he can control Jormag (though it seems quite clear to us that Jormag is the one controlling Bangar), potentially destroy the Eye of the North, releasing the magical ley line energy and awakening Jormag, in much the same way that Scarlet Briar did for Mordremoth way back in Season 1? Maybe this is a bit of a stretch, given that the Eye of the North already has an elder dragon (and her champion, the player character) sitting on it, but who knows what mischief that crafty Charr imperator could get up to.
I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about the Eye of the North and reading my wild speculations about what its appearance might mean for the story. Obviously, I could be way off on any of this, and we will just have to wait and see what unfolds in the coming months. Do you have any speculative ideas of your own to share? I’d love to swap theories with you in the comments!