So, in countless discussion threads there has been mention of Aurene's resurrection "invalidating" the emotions created in this episode. "Cheesy writing." "Deus ex machina." Countless others expert critiques on the matter.
But how many have actually stopped to weigh the decision of resurrecting her could have and how much sense it already makes to do so?
- Ogden mentions the death of a lich is part of the prophecy.
- Aurene eats Joko - a lich - that up until that point has never been able to actually die. Because he was consumed by a being that actually eats magic itself. A being that is also known to be able to use said magic - example: Any elder dragon using deceased elder dragon magic, Balth and Aurene both being able to enter and exit the mists as they please due to Balthazar's magic.
- Years worth of bonding with this character and being a part of her destiny to fulfill this prophecy that was reinforced in this very episode.
- Glint pulling Aurene aside to mention that there are other aspects of Ascenscion that she needs to hear about and that we won't understand.
- We have no other back-up story-wise right now that will allow us to fix the damage that will be done if we finish Kralk off, and as easy I can see them finding a way for us to finish Kralk off story-wise if he isn't just slowly bleeding out already we don't technically have a guaranteed way to kill him leaving us needing to find a solution for that first. (A solution that could span an entire season which at the current rate could be two real-life years for all we know. In which we, what? Have this wounded, almost dead elder dragon just chilling out while we find some magical solution that could have worked without Aurene making Aurene's plot entirely pointless?
- We have the branding of Caithe, as well as seeing Aurene earlier in the trials come back from her talk with Glint as changed and glowing herself.
- Aurene isn't shattered like Glint when she's dead, she isn't crystallized like Glint and Vlast were before-hand... which we've also been communicating with throughout this entire journey due to said crystallization upon-death.
- We have an awakened Sylvari in this very same episode acknowledging that a minion or elder dragon descendent can in fact be awakened, meaning whatever magic Joko uses is strong enough or operates on some level that makes it able to resurrect things created from elder dragons. And if a prospective elder dragon happens to gain said magic, what implications might that have?
If Aurene is resurrected and becomes the solution to our Kralk problem, whether after we recklessly defeat him because we know we have to due to his devouring of the mists and we know this is the best opportunity we may get right now or she helps us in that final fight.... how would the emotions we were expected to feel this episode be lessened or negated completely as people imply?
- Her death in this episode and revival next episode would lessen the deus-ex-dragon stigma she's been branded with ever since she ate Joko, and it would validate Joko's death as well as Ogden's words this episode of his death being part of the prophecy.
- Kralk may be prophetic and able to sense things, but would he really sense Joko dying or know that it's even possible for Aurene to return to life due to said magic? Doesn't seem like he would, which would give us an advantage to finishing him off in the next episode.
- The emotions of her death this episode could be what fuels us to finish Kralk off next episode, and Aurene's revival can come after the fact to clean up the mess, so it will have still served a purpose.
- We don't know what her and Glint talked about, and death may have been necessary for her Ascenscion?
- The death in this episode may be part of their general plan to separate us from Aurene moving forward, so that she CAN fulfil the role of an Elder Dragon without being this be-all solution for us in future plots. Perhaps this very death is what severs our bond with Aurene moving forward, despite being resurrected, and that's part of what this scene with Caithe is really about. It could be about showing us that this bond between us is broken. So if she comes back to life, she's free from that bond. She's free to take her own place as an Elder Dragon without responsibility toward us. She's fulfilled her destiny and now we're on our own. She can't just sense when we're in trouble and send us some flowery branded back-up. She has essentially mirrored what Kormir did in the first game. This death may allow her to sever all her bonds and her current ties, and between this and the talk she had with Glint about Ascenscion this may just be exactly what is needed to prep her for becoming Kralk's replacement. This would also be a good story excuse for what she's not just swooping in and saving us in future fights. (Which, again, she only did thus far ultimately because it's what her destiny led her to do while on the path to becoming an elder dragon.)
- Keep in mind, all we really see is Aurene impaled, Caithe saying the connection is gone and her branding falling off, and Taimi screaming. Then it just cuts out, straight to black. It would seem if their goal was to have some huge emotional response to her death, they would have had follow up banter per usual with the rest of our team. They would have created a time for us to mourn after this encounter. But following it up with pitch black and ending it right there? Why do that unless to pick up right where it left off next episode? (Granted that's something they've never done and for some reason always default to mail or comms and to some degree understandably because if you start the story in the middle of lion's arch it would be a little weird trying to teleport the player back into the previous instance. One reason why these kinds of cliffhangers are annoying and not really fit for this style of story-telling imo.)
Aurene stays dead:
- We are left with a grief-ridden team including a dying Asura that just had a close friend die, and now everything in her life is just death death death and misery....
- The entire prophecy was a lie, or just some necessary step to lead us to plan b.
- The story has been based around this character for the past few years, and in the end amounted to her just being some martyr that leads us to our next destination.
- Aurene enters the mists and fulfills the exact same role that Glint does, but for some reason both of them being in the mists now allows them to fulfill the prophecy and kill Kralk. (Because for some reason Glint couldn't do this on her own and the key to their success was being in the same plane of existence and giving each other emotional support.)
- We spent years getting to this point only to have to turn in a different direction, and spend another year or two years (still far less time than the time we've spent with Aurene and her as an egg), trying to find another solution. We find one, and then everything beforehand just feels cheesy and unnecessary.
- Said solution we find may be something you think is cool like the staff of the mists, the weapon Vlast talked about - the weapon that does the work of elder dragons. - Okay, great, so the people complaining about Aurene being the solution to all future problems just got a weapon introduced that has no personality or story background with us and can solve all future elder dragon problems. Great trade, and it only took a few short episodes to get.
This is a bit of a mess, but ultimately, it's just frustrating seeing people reiterate that Aurene's resurrection would trash the story of this episode, without taking into account the many ways it's already been hinted at or the many ways it already makes perfect sense. And from my point of view the only sense. It's the best way that I'm seeing from a story perspective to resolve this plot with Kralk, which could be a very long and rewarding pay-off for years worth of story development that didn't just involve Airship blasting tails and wings or assaulting the mind and body of a dragon. Not only does it create a rewarding pay-off for those years worth of story, but it also creates a blank slate moving forward.
There are parts of this game's story that make far less sense than Joko's magic resurrecting/repairing Aurene and the parts of it that do not make sense can be far more easily explained than going in a different direction and then attempting to justify that direction change. Sorry, but as cheesy or however much it undermined the "emotional impact" of this episode, having this entire prophecy and bonding with this character only exist as a mere step guiding us in a different direction toward the real resolution or a setback among many setbacks on the way there instead of the actual resolution would be far worse for me.