After a bit of a longer wait than normal Long Live the Lich has arrived, and man did they pack a lot of big things in this episode. At the end of Episode 2 we learned Joko had managed to get his hands on the Scarab Plague and was planning a full-scale attack on Tyria. This newest episode does a good job of picking up where the last one left off and getting things off and running quickly. However, rather than going over everything which happened in Episode 3 I’m going to focus on a few interesting questions this episode raises for me. Also, fair warning, there be spoilers ahead. If you haven’t played through the whole story and don’t want the ending spoiled stop reading now and come back after you are done.
You’re still here… are you sure you are ok with spoilers? This is your last chance to avoid them.
Ok last chance…
Ok you’re still here so I’m going to assume you know all about how the scarab plague only affects humans but the Commander (if they are human) is immune to it due to their previous death and resurrection. Also, you’re well aware of the fact Palawa Joko does die… or at least he gets eaten at the end of the episode which seems like it might be final but there’s some indications he might not be totally done yet, but I’ll get to that. First, I want to talk about some of the things he says after we have our final confrontation with him.
So, he goes on a bit of a monologue about how terrible the Commander really is and how we’ve nearly destroyed the world a few times. One thing in particular stands out though. He mentions how stupid it was to kill not one but two Elder Dragons because they are the lifeforce of the world. We had previously realized the world would fall apart and be destroyed without the dragons, but the wording of them being the life force is interesting. This could be him just embellishing how badly we’ve messed up in the past, but let’s for a second assume he’s being literal. What would that mean?
I don’t think an interpretation where the dragons willingly and knowingly created all life on Tyria would make sense. While they clearly aren’t mindless (at the very least Mordremoth wasn’t) they also don’t really seem to care too much about living creatures one way or another unless they try to get in the Elder Dragon’s way. The interpretation which makes more sense to me is the ‘dragon magic’ which seeps out from the Elder Dragons provided the spark which led to the sentient races evolving. We’d all be children of the dragons in one respect or another.
I realize of course humans supposedly came from somewhere else, but we’ve already seen how the Human view of things and history can be completely wrong. It is possible in their seeking to be special they made-up a folk tale about how were brought to Tyria from some other place. Though humans being different and essentially “not from here” could also explain why the scarab plague only affected them. If all other races are infused with dragon magic in some form that could be what protects them from this specific kind of plague. It certainly could just be a matter of physiology which protects the other races, but I’m not entirely sure about that. The plague scarabs can infect plants which one would think would mean the Sylvari at the very least would be in danger. Also, diseases mutate. So, while everyone except humans might be safe now they might not be in the future… unless they have something within them protecting them.
Let’s go back for a minute to Joko’s “man the commander is one hell of an idiot” speech. Right after mentioning the whole thing about how stupid it was to kill two Elder Dragons Joko mentions Balthazar which got me thinking. The other gods didn’t kill Balthazar, they imprisoned him. But why? There has to be a reason why, it’s just too dangerous to leave someone so powerful around if there isn’t a good reason to. Maybe they just didn’t have the stomach to take out one of their own or they hoped he would come to his senses and could return to being accepted by them. However, there might be more to it.
When Abaddon had to be killed Kormir had to absorb his power to prevent it from running rampant over the world. Very strong powerful magic. Even with Kormir absorbing most of the power enough seeped out to play a role in the awakening of Primordius. This also harkens back in a way to how the Elder Dragons all absorbed extra power after each dragon we killed died. Additionally, we know both the Aurene and Kralkatorrik absorbed the energy which erupted from Balthazar when he died. My guess would be the Gods didn’t want to kill Balthazar because they didn’t have anyone available who could absorb the power and they knew letting all that power loose in either the Mists or Tyria would drastically affect the world.
Ok let’s backtrack again to Joko’s last monologue. While he was talking he drew some magic out of one of his minions and took it into himself. The minion of course died as soon as the magic was removed and in turn Joko healed a bit more quickly than he already was. Then as Aurene was devouring him we saw the same magic seeping into her. My thought here is if the dragon magic is the basis by which Joko is sustaining himself maybe a part of him has survived into Aurene. Sort of the same way Mordremoth planted a seed of himself in Trahearne we might have a Dragon vs Joko mind/personality battle coming up soon. With our unique mind meld capabilities with Aurene we might be pulled into that battle as well… which could get completely crazy.
In addition, with Joko supposedly dealt with now, our attention can be drawn back to the problem of Kralkatorrik. He’s extremely strong and even if we knew how to kill him at this point we can’t do that or else we’ll destroy the world; which leaves us with two, maybe three, bad ideas. The first idea is we try to endure him running around and survive the best we can, essentially just wait until the cycle is over and the Elder Dragons go back to sleep. This is just an all-around terrible idea and probably should be the “last resort” option. The second idea is finding a way to infuse all the Elder Dragons with enough power and magic they go back to sleep early. This has two main problems, one being where would we find that much magic and the other is we don’t even now how much magic it would take to accomplish.
The last awful idea is letting Aurene take on Kralkatorrik and if we win having her absorb his energy to hopefully keep the world from becoming unstable. The upside is then at least one of the Elder Dragons would be someone who would care about the “lesser” races and might look out for us. We hope. There’s no telling how taking on that much energy might change her. Heck even taking in Joko’s energy pretty much exhausted her. For a second, I thought she might have died! All of that is assuming she could even take on Kralkatorrik and at this point it seems not possible.
With us ostensibly halfway through this Living World Season already my guess is we’ll spend the next few episodes figuring out what to do about the Elder Dragons as a whole. Of course, it is possible this could be a longer season like Season 2 was, but either way I’d expect dealing with the Elder Dragons to be what the next expansion would be focused on. It’s been the ever-present threat since Guild Wars 2 started and finally being able to quell the looming doom would be an amazing moment. Anyway, these are just my post 24 hour ramblings of where I think things are headed. Where do you think the story will go from here?