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Rox Rocks

By Robin Baird on April 13, 2018 | Columns | Comments

Rox Rocks

Over the last year in general discourse about the Guild Wars 2 story I’ve seen a reoccurring theme of people saying Rox is boring. Also, there’s been a lot of confusion about why she has stayed with Braham even though he was behaving badly and doing stuff she obviously didn’t agree with. Both thoughts are a bit disheartening because Rox is a deep and interesting character who should be completely relatable to anyone who has ever wanted to find a place where they belong and fit in. Unfortunately, anyone who missed Season One Living Story also missed all the backstory on her which is why she often fails to resonate. Come with me as we explore Rox’s backstory and why she makes the choice to be there for Braham multiple times.

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The first step to understanding Rox is you must understand the char society she grew-up in. There is no real family structure at the core of their society. While they know who their parents or offspring are there’s little interaction or real forging of bonds. Instead when a char is very young they are put into a group of other cubs called a fahrar. This where they first learn about how to be in a warband and form their first real familial bonds. The fahrar is supervised by and adult and trained as a military unit until they are old enough to be considered adults and operate on their own as a full warband.

The strength and importance of these bonds can’t be overstated. They are family to each other. In fact, char even take their surname from the name of their warband, which really shows the depth of these bonds. The warband not only gives a char a sense of belonging but also give them a sense of purpose in the Charr society. A Charr who has lost their warband, a gladium, is the lowest rank which can be had in their society. So, the loss of a warband is not only a huge personal blow but also causes the complete loss of one’s place in their society; and it is within this context we first meet Rox.

As part of her introduction Angel McCoy posted a brilliant short story about Rox and what had been going on in her recent past. The short version is her warband was working in a cave and she went out to get some water. On her way out, she told her pet devourer Skewer to stay resting and there was no need to accompany her. While she was out of the cave a cave-in happened, which killed everyone in her warband and Skewer. In one moment she had lost everyone she cared about including one who she had specifically told to stay there. This quote from her perfectly describes her feelings in that moment: “No, they’re my warband. I need them. I’m nobody without them. I’m…nothing.”

Luckily for Rox, Rytlock had taken an interest in her and allowed her to undergo some trials to join his warband. Not only would this give her a place where she belonged in Charr society again, but it would also allow her to join one of the most prestigious warband she possibly could join. Her first task was to dismantle the Molten Alliance’s facilities. It was at this point where we first meet her, and she first meets Braham.

Braham of course had his own issues when he first showed up. His father had died when Braham was seven and it was only then he learned his mother was Eir Stegalkin. Braham had the scars of someone who had lost someone who had been the world to him and of a mother who everyone venerated as a great hero, but who had never been there for him. Because of Rox and Braham’s mutual past of loss and general feeling of not knowing their place in society it was natural for the two of the to form a tight bond. Additionally, they came to respect each other as capable fighters and as genuinely good people.

Fast forwarding a little, after defending Divinity’s reach together and destroying the Tower of Nightmares, important news arrived. Rox had just one more task to earn her place in the stone warband… to personally slay Scarlet Briar. Upon learning this news Braham completely lost his cool on her. To him Rox joining this warband would mean her not only abandoning the group we had formed but also abandoning him. This reaction had surprised and confused Rox because she had told him about wanting to find a new warband and didn’t understand at first why he wasn’t happy for her.

After a long pursuit we finally tracked down and confronted Scarlet. Everything Rox had been wanting for so long was finally at hand for her, and this is where she makes her most character defining choice. While we were pursuing Scarlet, Braham had broken his leg and could no longer fight. He wanted Rox to go on, so she could kill Scarlet and earn her spot in the warband. However, I think it was at this moment Rox realized our group had become her warband. She already had a place and a purpose and didn’t need to join Rytlock’s group to belong. She also knew if she didn’t join a charr warband she would still be viewed as a gladium by all charr. With all this knowledge she chose to stay with Braham and help him rather than to go kill Scarlet.

The importance and weight of this choice can’t be overstated. Although she did spend most of Season 2 avoiding Rytlock and not dealing with the consequences of this choice, it does underscore what was most important to her. Although it would be fair to wonder why if she considered us her warband, and because she did join Dragon’s Watch, why she left us for Braham. That choice can absolutely seem nonsensical.

The thing is, we had help from all the other members of the group while Braham was setting off to do something foolhardy and dangerous on his own. In this light it makes sense she would go with him. It was a beautiful act of “I don’t agree with what you are doing but I still care about you and support you”. Really when you look at her whole story there was no other choice she would have made. Loyalty is what she’s all about.

All these things are why Rox is my favorite character. Her past and her story currently just resonates with me on a deep level and I hope all of this has helped you gain new appreciation for her. I know she can’t be everyone’s favorite character, but I think we can all agree she isn’t boring. She’s deep and complex and just about the best friend anyone could possibly hope for.

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