Editorials

Abaddon Will Eat Your Metaphors!

An image appeared recently on the GW2 Tumblr that has been making some waves around the speculation circuits. It consists of a charr, presumably the currently missing (presumed Lost In The Mists) Rytlock Brimstone, surrounded by flames and wearing a blindfold with a mysterious symbol. A caption, presumably in Rytlock’s voice, informs the reader that… well, see for yourself:

Over two centuries since his death, and Rurik's sword is still managing to bring Charr to the realm of the dead...

Fighting with a blindfold makes anyone 20% cooler, and ensures that they never commit the faux pas of looking at an explosion. Even if the explosion is all around them.

A number of theories have emerged within the GW2 community as to why Rytlock may be wearing a blindfold.  One of the more interesting ones is that, while in the Mists, Rytlock found himself face-to-face with one or more of the gods.  Part of the reasoning for this is the likelihood that a ritual to remove ghosts from Tyria would send them to the place where human souls are supposed to go when they die: the Underworld, to be judged and sorted into the appropriate realm for their reward or punishment by Grenth. Therefore, it stands to reason that on emerging from the portal, Rytlock would have emerged in Grenth’s domain – and, being Rytlock, he would likely have responded by immediately demanding to see (and possibly challenge) whoever was in charge. As we know from the story of Malchor, it is not possible for a mortal to look upon the gods for long without losing their sight. (Possibly in the sense of the visage of the god being burned onto the viewer’s retina.)

One continuation of this line of speculation is that Rytlock may have come to some sort of accord with the god or gods in question. While the charr would never accept the gods as masters, they do seem to be growing to accept the worshipers of the gods as potential allies rather than enemies. Thus, they may be willing to accept a non-hostile relationship with the gods, as long as it is also a relationship of partners rather than as worshipers or servants. From the perspective of the gods, there has been an indication from the developers that the withdrawal of the gods from Tyria is, at least in part, to encourage humans to make their own way and solve their own problems without the oversight of the gods. If the gods feel that it is time their ‘children’ achieved independence, it seems unlikely that they would be looking for new worshipers from a race that has already claimed their independence (with the overthrow of the Flame Legion) and shows no need or desire for guidance from anyone.

Another parallel has been drawn with the last time a major character began wearing a blindfold after a life-changing event: Kormir, after having the misfortune to be captured by demons that, in her own words, “have a taste for eyes”. So, in one line of speculation, we have two means, both connected to the gods, that a mortal can find themselves without sight.

Kormir’s blinding is revealed.

What if this isn’t a coincidence?

While blinding is apparently the result of looking upon the gods, this property is not shared among the fallen gods like Abaddon and Dhuum – or at least, we were able to fight them in Guild Wars 1 without physical characters having to put up with a permanent 90% miss chance. However, it is likely the ambition of both to return to full divinity, and a revitalised Abaddon or Dhuum would not have any qualms about using this quality as a weapon. Thus, the warcry of “Abaddon will eat your eyes!” may be a prediction of what will happen when Abaddon inevitably (in the minds of his followers) regains his full divinity: any mortal who stands against him will be blinded by his divine aura. Abaddon will not literally pluck out the eyes of his enemies as a light snack – instead, the warcry is a metaphor for how the sight of a fully reconstituted Abaddon will consume the vision of all who look upon him.

Varesh delivers her prophecy.

So, why do his demons eat eyes? As the demons are not gods, they lack both the blinding glamour associated with full divinity, and any reasonable expectation of gaining it. However, through ritually ingesting the eyes of captured enemies, the demons are able to grant these unlucky individuals a foretaste of the darkness that will come to all of Abaddon’s foes in the event of his victory. Essentially, the enactment of the literal interpretation of the metaphor serves as a symbolic representation of the idea behind the metaphor. Afterwards, for as long (or short) as the victim continues to live, they will thus serve as examples and harbingers of the fate that waits for all of Abaddon’s enemies. Of course, perhaps the demons genuinely do simply enjoy the taste of eyes…

In addition to this ritual significance, the blinding of captured enemies also has a practical effect. If, for whatever reason, an enemy of Abaddon is not to be put to death immediately, blinding them in this fashion serves as a means of preventing their victim from being able to fight directly again, even if they somehow escape (or are rescued from) their captors.

Unless, of course, their victim has other means of perceiving the world… like the members of a certain profession from Tyria’s history:

Go on! Take my eyes! I DARE you!

Eyes are overrated anyway.

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