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The Balance Of Magic And How It Could Kill Us All

Stephen.6312Stephen.6312 Member ✭✭✭
edited April 5, 2021 in Lore

Our understanding of the "balance of magic", as Ogden Stonehealer once put it, remains as abstract now as ever before. His understanding of this arcane subject is derived from his study of the Map of the All, an artifact attributed to the Margonite known as the Apostate. Ogden believes the map reveals that "too much magic [will cause] the world [to spin] out of control", whereas too little magic will result in it "[crumbling] into darkness". This interpretation of the map is pretty straightforward, especially when the PC scrutinizes the tome in which it is contained. The word "imbalanced" is used and the tome's author does warn, "[s]hould [a magical imbalance occur], the world will tilt and all beings will fall off it into the void".

Jormag's recent remarks regarding balance have given us good reason to question the reliability of our interpretation of the Apostate's work. We should've questioned it long beforehand, though. Notable characters have acted in a way that seems to disregard both the Apostate's and Ogden's warnings about disrupting the balance of magic; these characters include Trahearne, who stated that "the dragons are not stars in the sky...one day, we will kill the last of them". Trahearne was a dedicated scholar. There is no way that he didn't know about the Map of the All, no way he didn't read it. He had to know that killing Zaithan, without installing a replacement, would cause a magical imbalance. Balthazar also appeared to disregard any concerns for the balance of magic.

You might think that, because Glint's clutch was at the ready, a scholar like Trahearne reasoned that he'd use one of her offspring to replace Zaithan. That doesn't seem likely, though. Sadizi, an Exalted scholar, notes that the loss of Zaithan and Mordremoth was "unexpected", causing "[a] void that caused the system to break down and the collapse to begin". In other words, it is unlikely that Trahearne planned to replace Zaithan.

Maybe Trahearne was just mistaken? He's a good guy, after all. Naturally, because Balthazar's a bad guy, he's obviously wrong. But then we get to the Elder races. The forgotten, the race to whom we attribute the plan to replace Kralkatorrik, once fought against Zaithan. So did the mursaat. The list doesn't end there, but the more parties I add to it who acted as though our interpretation of the Map of the All is somehow wrong, the more convinced I become that Jormag's frustration with mortal superstitions is reasonable. We really don't know what we're talking about.

The core of the issue may lie in the nature of the Apostate's warning. Apparently, it's a metaphor. I really do wonder if the entirety of our cognitive dissonance is centered upon an inability to comprehend figures of speech.

So where do we go from here? The Apostate took the time to write his tome; he took the time to warn readers about the consequences of magical imbalances. There must be something of relevance within. Moreover, it doesn't seem honest to dismiss mainstream interpretations of the map, even if they are formed by luddites like Ogden Stonehealer, Sadizi, and yes, the PC. I think that at least some evidence has emerged, within the PC's lifetime, to demonstrate the dangers of a magical imbalance. We've known about the Great Collapse for a long time and, although the true reason behind this disaster has never been revealed, the title "Great Collapse" naturally invokes thoughts about the balance of magic. Here's my take on the calamity: The collapse followed too much mingling between Canthan human and Northern Tyrian human bloodlines. This may not have been solely through interbreeding, but it remains a strong possibility. The other possibility is that the magics practiced by humans of various heritages comingled too freely and this caused the implosion. As I understand it, condensing too many Canthan humans into the same general area (the Canthan District of Divinity's Reach), together with their Northern Tyrian human relatives, created an environment brimming with explosive potential. To mitigate this, following the collapse, the number of Canthans allowed to congregate in a single space was reduced.

Another potential source of evidence from the PC's lifetime is the Thaumanova Disaster. We don't know exactly how the reactor exploded, but I have long wondered whether Scarlet Briar provided the Inquest with a sample of either the Deep Sea Dragon's magic, or even Abaddon's. The latter certainly wouldn't have been too hard for her to obtain, as the Parable of Abaddon indicates.

The final contemporary example is Subject Alpha. This experimental life form, created by the Inquest, successfully combines the magics of the Five Terrestrial Dragons (Jormag, Primordus, Mordremoth, Kralkatorrik, and Zaithan). The Deep Sea Dragon's magic is absent. This doesn't appear to be because the Inquest don't have access to samples of the latter's magic, as a space is being renovated at the Infinite Coil Reactor to accommodate one of the water dragon's minions; rather, it's likely because the Inquest have yet to find a way to successfully mix the Deep Sea Dragon's magic with that of the Five Terrestrial Dragons.

What can we take away from this? I believe that Canthan humanity has the strongest affinity to water magic and that it is safe to assume that they represent it. Thus, water magic is the common variable in each instance.

Why is water magic such a problem? Humans have practiced various forms of water magic for as long as they can remember, and the charr/norn/asura/sylvari PC is an example of a spell-caster from another race that, canonically, can practice water magic as an elementalist, ranger, and engineer. So I don't think water magic is really at fault. As you all know, I believe that the nature of spell-casting traumatizes magic and that, of all the elemental magics, water magic is and water magicians are the most sensitive to this trauma.

This brings us to Jormag's comments about the mortal paradigm that we call the "natural balance of magic". In every example that I can think of, the only elemental magic that doesn't mix well with the others is water magic. Thus, if we were to ask ourselves, "How do we create a magical imbalance?", the answer that is always, absolutely true is, "By incorrectly mixing water magic with the other elemental magics". Humans incorrectly mixed bloodlines strongly affiliated with water magic with those associated with the other elemental magics and...POOF! The Great Collapse. The Inquest incorrectly mixed the traumatized water magic of the Deep Sea Dragon with that of the Five Terrestrial Dragons at the Thaumanova Reactor and...POOF! The reactor blew. What does all of this mean? You can kill quite a few terrestrial Elder Dragons, maybe all of them, and it won't disrupt the balance of magic. But if you kill the Deep Sea Dragon, it likely will tip the All into the void. Why? Think of it this way: Each Elder Dragon ensures that the volatile magics with which they work remain separated from each other and so, in a sense, they prevent all six elemental forms of magic - air, fire, earth, time, water, and aether - from mixing. As water magic is the most unstable form of magic, if the Deep Sea Dragon is killed, no being will be found capable of managing it's volatile magic, leaving the sea dragon's magic to freely mix with all of the other magics and...you know how this goes: POOF!

Now we come to the most important part: Let's say that magic doesn't want to remain separated forever; let's say that magic dreams of unification, a state similar to that presented to us as the City of Arah. What do we learn from the holy city? That once, long ago, all of the elemental magics - each represented by a different deity - successfully and peacefully mingled with each other. This means that, in principle at least, water magic can peacefully coexist with the other elemental magics. The only thing working for or against this union is time.

How would you successfully mix water magic with the other elemental magics? Remember, if you get it wrong, you destroy everything. There is only one example of a union that the PC has witnessed: Malchor's love for Dwayna. In the Tragedy of Malchor, Malchor represents water magic; Dwayna represents air magic. Of all the elemental magics, then, water is drawn to air. And so from the tragedy we learn that the successful mixing of water magic with the other elemental magics is best facilitated by an air magician. And as you all know, I believe that Jormag is the Elder Dragon of Air. Sure, Jormag uses ice, but I believe that this is merely one of a number of different forms of air magic that Jormag employs. It's definitely the safest, given the volatility of water magic. But why would Jormag want to kill Primordus? If water magic is the trigger for explosions surely Primordus isn't a problem for Jormag? I believe that Jormag and Primordus can safely cohabit the same corporeal form. Subject Alpha and Kudu's Monster demonstrate this. I also reckon that Jormag secretly wants to be unified with Primordus and that Braham's decision to become Primordus' "champion" is business as usual. Nothing is presently happening that Jormag hasn't foreseen or doesn't want to come to pass. The Machiavellian machinations of the Elder Dragon of Ice and Persuasion are such that Logan Thackeray's remark is spot on: Mortal spell-casters are just "caught in the middle". When Braham says, "We're going to bring the twin dragons together", he can't know how much what he wants is what Jormag wants. Braham's voice, his mind, and his heart are no longer his own. They became Jormag's during Braham's first expedition against the Elder Dragon and the son of Eir Stegalkin has been living in denial ever since.

Want to delve into some theories about the lore and story of GW2? Check these posts out: The Search For Answers P1 and The Search For Answers P2.

Or you can follow my blog, The Lyssa Mystery.

Comments

  • The Greyhawk.9107The Greyhawk.9107 Member ✭✭✭✭

    Imagine taking anything Jormag says to actually be the full truth, and then proceeding to base some kinda unifying theory of magic on that. Sure, we're the ones that are the luddites. ◔_◔

    Hate Is Fuel.

  • Hypnowulf.7403Hypnowulf.7403 Member ✭✭✭

    Delusional neo-luddites, then? Grey, are you familiar with the concept of Word of God? It's when the leader of a creative team informs a fanbase of something, often to put an end to the likes of Indoctrination Theories. Narrative lead Tom Abernathy told us that Jormag doesn't lie, manipulate, or mind control. It not only isn't their style, but it isn't how they function. Denying Word of God leads to Indoctrination Theories. It's really worthwhile to pay attention to what the people actually making the game are taking the time to tell you.

    This is their passion project, it's their joie de vivre, it's what they love doing. There's no more true of a source than the people who're actually creating the work. It's like asking an artist what they think their art means, then dismissively shaking one's head at them and saying "Nah, that isn't it. It has nothing to do with that." It's confidently arrogant, I'll give you that, but it doesn't lead to anywhere worthwhile.

    Word of God says Jormag doesn't lie. I'm sorry, but that's that.

  • The Greyhawk.9107The Greyhawk.9107 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 5, 2021

    @Hypnowulf.7403 said:
    Delusional neo-luddites, then? Grey, are you familiar with the concept of Word of God? It's when the leader of a creative team informs a fanbase of something, often to put an end to the likes of Indoctrination Theories. Narrative lead Tom Abernathy told us that Jormag doesn't lie, manipulate, or mind control. It not only isn't their style, but it isn't how they function. Denying Word of God leads to Indoctrination Theories. It's really worthwhile to pay attention to what the people actually making the game are taking the time to tell you.

    This is their passion project, it's their joie de vivre, it's what they love doing. There's no more true of a source than the people who're actually creating the work. It's like asking an artist what they think their art means, then dismissively shaking one's head at them and saying "Nah, that isn't it. It has nothing to do with that." It's confidently arrogant, I'll give you that, but it doesn't lead to anywhere worthwhile.

    Word of God says Jormag doesn't lie. I'm sorry, but that's that.

    But none of that matters, when one follows your logic as you postulated in the recent Ascalon thread, because that "Word of God" can change any time someone new steps up to the plate. And someone will replace Abernathy eventually, it always happens with gaming studios like Arenanet. And that person, again by your own logic, is completely free to do whatever they want with Jormag, consistency be damned.

    Hate Is Fuel.

  • Konig Des Todes.2086Konig Des Todes.2086 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @Stephen.6312 said:
    Jormag's recent remarks regarding balance have given us good reason to question the reliability of our interpretation of the Apostate's work. We should've questioned it long beforehand, though. Notable characters have acted in a way that seems to disregard both the Apostate's and Ogden's warnings about disrupting the balance of magic; these characters include Trahearne, who stated that "the dragons are not stars in the sky...one day, we will kill the last of them". Trahearne was a dedicated scholar. There is no way that he didn't know about the Map of the All, no way he didn't read it. He had to know that killing Zaithan, without installing a replacement, would cause a magical imbalance. Balthazar also appeared to disregard any concerns for the balance of magic.

    The issue with Trahearne's comment, is that it was said before the confirmation of The All. The Apostate's book is one thing, but it's not a reliable source in of itself. It wasn't until Season 2 that The All was proven to be a thing, and even then, the Priory firmly establish that they don't know what it is other than "the Elder Dragons are somehow tied to it". Trahearne also didn't know about Glint's plan or the Exalted; no one knew about the fact that the Elder Dragons couldn't be killed - not until later.

    Another issue is that Trahearne's comment was written before the devs thought up of The All. Same with the whole "Elder Dragons dying is bad news".

    So it isn't that Trahearne was mistaken. It's that Trahearne's comment should not be taken in the context of The All.

    Meanwhile, the issue with Jormag's remark is that it's coming from an individual who has an active reason to avoid balance. As Jormag says: "Your balance traps me to an animal". Jormag has a personal beef with the notion of balance, sees it as a prison. So of course it's going to not believe in it.

    We've known about the Great Collapse for a long time and, although the true reason behind this disaster has never been revealed, the title "Great Collapse" naturally invokes thoughts about the balance of magic.

    We know what caused the Great Collapse, and it has nothing to do with magic. To quote the wiki that you link:

    "It collapsed sometime between 1324 and early 1325 AE due to a rushed construction and being placed atop a cavernous sinkhole which local Krytans had used as tombs in the past."

    In other words, it was a massive sinkhole, and outright confirmed by devs - even cited on the wiki. Though there are implications in-game of there being White Mantle manipulations behind the scenes (in that the Shining Blade were very fast onto the scene).

    Here's my take on the calamity: The collapse followed too much mingling between Canthan human and Northern Tyrian human bloodlines.

    Standard bloodlines have nothing to do with magic though. Only royal bloodlines blessed by the gods have any great magic potential - hypothetically.

    Another potential source of evidence from the PC's lifetime is the Thaumanova Disaster. We don't know exactly how the reactor exploded, but I have long wondered whether Scarlet Briar provided the Inquest with a sample of either the Deep Sea Dragon's magic, or even Abaddon's. The latter certainly wouldn't have been too hard for her to obtain, as the Parable of Abaddon indicates.

    We do know how the reactor exploded. The fractal firmly covers it: Scarlet prompted the Inquest head researcher to mix dragon magics together under the guise of calling it chaos magic, and combined with the reactor being built on top of a ley line hub, caused a magical overflow.

    There was no Abaddon magic involved (and even if there was, we see what that results in, in Nightfall and PoF - sulfurous sands and sand jackals; not water). And while the DSD's magic might have been involved, given that it is Scarlet we're talking about, Mordremoth's magic makes far more sense, though on the flip side, given the four elements of Thaumanova's sections, a mixture of Primordus, Mordremoth, Jormag, and the DSD's magics make the most sense..

    The final contemporary example is Subject Alpha. This experimental life form, created by the Inquest, successfully combines the magics of the Five Terrestrial Dragons (Jormag, Primordus, Mordremoth, Kralkatorrik, and Zaithan). The Deep Sea Dragon's magic is absent. This doesn't appear to be because the Inquest don't have access to samples of the latter's magic, as a space is being renovated at the Infinite Coil Reactor to accommodate one of the water dragon's minions; rather, it's likely because the Inquest have yet to find a way to successfully mix the Deep Sea Dragon's magic with that of the Five Terrestrial Dragons.

    Subject Alpha's lack of DSD magic actually is because of the lack of samples - as that dialogue you reference establishes, that DSD minion was recently captured and hasn't even been brought to the Infinite Coil Reactor yet, so they haven't experimented on it.

    There was no time for them to integrate its magics into Subject Alpha (or another test subject).

    What can we take away from this? I believe that Canthan humanity has the strongest affinity to water magic and that it is safe to assume that they represent it. Thus, water magic is the common variable in each instance.

    Where do you get that Canthans have affinity to water magic? If any human ethnicity did, it'd be Margonites. if Canthans have a natural affinity to any particular kind of magic, it'd be celestial magic.

    There is zero evidence of Canthans using water magic any more than other humans. And you provide none.

    You are going to be in such a disappointment when End of Dragons come, I can just tell.

    Inquest incorrectly mixed the traumatized water magic of the Deep Sea Dragon with that of the Five Terrestrial Dragons at the Thaumanova Reactor and...POOF! The reactor blew.

    This statement directly contradicts your earlier suggestion about Subject Alpha and how the Inquest weren't capable of mixing the DSD's magic with the other Elder Dragons' magic.

    What does all of this mean? You can kill quite a few terrestrial Elder Dragons, maybe all of them, and it won't disrupt the balance of magic. But if you kill the Deep Sea Dragon, it likely will tip the All into the void.

    So you begin stating that the balance of magic is a lie... and continue by saying it's true but with a caveat.

    Which is it?

    Do you think Jormag is telling the full truth, or not?

    Now we come to the most important part: Let's say that magic doesn't want to remain separated forever; let's say that magic dreams of unification, a state similar to that presented to us as the City of Arah. What do we learn from the holy city? That once, long ago, all of the elemental magics - each represented by a different deity - successfully and peacefully mingled with each other. This means that, in principle at least, water magic can peacefully coexist with the other elemental magics. The only thing working for or against this union is time.

    There is zero evidence of your claim here. Just because the Six Gods lived there for a few hundred years doesn't mean that elemental magics were co-existing. Furthermore, the Six Gods' magic is not Tyrian magic, so it technically wouldn't be elemental magic that humans use.

    How would you successfully mix water magic with the other elemental magics? Remember, if you get it wrong, you destroy everything. There is only one example of a union that the PC has witnessed: Malchor's love for Dwayna. In the Tragedy of Malchor, Malchor represents water magic; Dwayna represents air magic.

    This... has nothing to do with water magic. Malchor has nothing to do with water magic. Malchor was a sculptor - if he has any magic that can be classified as an element, it'd be earth, but there's zero evidence of him using any magic other than a generic barrier protecting the statue he carved.

    And as you say, that's a tragedy. It didn't end well.

    And as you all know, I believe that Jormag is the Elder Dragon of Air. Sure, Jormag uses ice, but I believe that this is merely one of a number of different forms of air magic that Jormag employs.

    Kralkatorrik was the Elder Dragon of Air, if there was one. His magic was literally (and I mean actual literally and not metaphorical literally which is not literally at all) divided into wind, sun, and lightning magic. We've known this since Season 1. Heck, we've known this since Edge of Destiny.

    All these squares make a circle.
    All these squares make a circle.
    All these squares make a circle.