The Traveler moved across the face of the iron world. It opened the earth and stitched shut the sky. It made life possible. In these things there is always symmetry. Do you understand? This is not the beginning but it is the reason. Chosen from the dead by the Traveler’s Ghosts, Guardians are those rare few able to wield the Light as a weapon. A dead thing made by a dead power in the shape of the dead. A thing that will only ever kill.
Welcome back Guardians. Today we are discussing How Ghosts select their Guardian: What makes us special, why were we chosen, when a Ghost scans a body what is it trying to detect? Whilst there are no clear answers, I would like to use the lore to suggest three theories and would love for some feedback from the community on this topic. If you have something else to add, leave it in the comments below.
The artwork at the beginning of this video was supplied by Brandon McCamey (aka Gammatrap), see his website for his latest paintings, watch videos of his works in progress, subscribe to his newsletter, and purchase the latest t-shirts. Link is in the description below. Thanks to AnonPig for his assistance with this script and also Trey.
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This is myelin games and I hope you enjoy this latest destiny lore episode.
Many people in response to the “How do Guardians Die?” video, asked the question, how does a Ghost revive a Guardian for the very first time: as I speculated that one of the essential elements required to revive a guardian, is that they must have some light remaining. This video is a partial response to that question.
So I speculate that there could be three different elements to how a Ghost chooses a guardian. The first is: 1. Compatibility. Ghosts cannot just revive anyone, the right Guardian for one ghost might be the wrong for another, it is rare (but not impossible) that a Ghost will discover more than one compatible Guardian. The second is personality or for cynical players out there, obedience. There is some evidence that we are selected based on the likelihood of our loyalty to the traveler and blinded obedience to join this cosmic war. And lastly, and probably the most interesting aspect of selecting a Guardian is that we have already been mutated, changed or influenced by the Traveler’s light, allowing us to channel the light as a weapon. Skip to any section as indicated by the time on screen.
Let’s go through each possibility using the grimoire cards and item descriptions. The First, compatibility. We know that numerous Destiny cut scenes reinforce that Ghosts can take centuries to find THEIR guardian. In the opening of the Taken King, your ghost says,
“As I saw the other ghosts find their Guardians, and the centuries went by I wondered if I’d ever find you. And, then I did.”
There is constant reference to this seemingly pre-determined bond between ghost and guardian, this element of compatibility, Ghosts seem to be able to recognize this amongst the ancient corpses. For example, take the conversation between two ghosts trying to find their guardian in Ghost Fragment: Ghosts 2. It reads,
“Obsidian floated closer. “That’s okay. It HAS been a while. I guess you haven’t found yours yet?” Cassiopeia projected glumness. “Not yet. But I haven’t been looking on Mars for that long, at least! I’m optimistic.” “You should be! I was just at the City last year. A lot more of us are starting to find our Guardians latel— what’s that?”
The reference to MY guardian, implies that there is this level of pre-determined bond between guardian and ghost. Once the ghost has formed this bond, risen the guardian for the very first time, they are extremely loyal to the newly created Guardian, in fact, there is only one instance I know of, where a ghost actually leaves their Guardian and that is Dredgen Yor. Initially, I thought it reasonable to speculate that Ghosts can only have one Guardian, or they are destined to only form this bond once, however, of course we have the case of Shin Malphur who inherited Jaren Wards ghost after his death at the hands of Dredgen Yor. However, considering Shin was Jaren’s apprentice, their compatibility may have been very similar, therefore allowing the transfer.
To summarize the first point, I think there is some element of compatibility and even fate when selecting a Guardian, almost a pre-determined bond between guardian and ghost, whilst Ghosts may not be limited to only one Guardian, I think the selection criteria of a guardian is so specific, it is very rare for a ghost to be compatible with multiple Guardians. Shin Malphur is likely a rare case.
I don’t really know what determines this compatibility, however I do have some speculation on what the selection criteria is for a guardian, which leads us to the next point. 2. Personality/obedience.
For those who know the story of the collapse, you understand that Rasputin crippled the Traveler from leaving our system, as Rasputin predicted the Traveler would flee with the arrival of the Darkness, Rasputin also predicted that by forcing the Traveler to stay, the Traveler would have to create a defense mechanism, which turned out to be the Ghost. So, the whole purpose of the Ghost is to create an army to defend the Traveler, so consequently, it would make sense that Ghosts would only select Guardians that would join the cause, join the fight against the Darkness.
The greatest evidence for this comes from the Osiris grimoire card, it reads
“How much of a Guardian’s personality and memories were true? How much had been fabricated by their Ghost? Did Guardians share particular personality traits— a willingness to yield to authority, a tendency to do anything anyone asked for the promise of uncertain reward, a blind knight-errant mentality? Had the Traveler manufactured all of you as living weapons?”
The Silver grimoire card, reinforces that Guardians cannot remember their past lives, it reads,
“Like all Guardians, Fenchurch has no memories before the first time his Ghost resurrected him.”
These two cards pose some really interesting questions about whether Ghosts manipulate our memories, and if they can manipulate our memories, maybe they can look into our past memories. Maybe the Ghost scan allows them to see into the past memories of guardians and they only select those heroic “blind-knight” personalities, who they believe will whole heartedly support the Traveler. Of course, some ghosts have made mistakes with guardian choices, literally every interesting character that questions their existence, Osiris, Toland are clear examples of ghosts that made the wrong choice in guardians.
This is idea that Ghosts somehow detect Guardians who will blindly follow the Traveler is reinforced in the Legends: The Black Garden grimoire card, where the Warlock Purjari has a vision of the Black Garden and a conversation with the Darkness, it reads.
“You are a dead thing made by a dead power in the shape of the dead. All you will ever do is kill. You do not belong here. This is a place of life.”
To be less cynical about this selection process, Ghosts may select guardians based on their Heroic personalities. Shin Malphur may be the greatest evidence for this. For those who are familiar with the story of the Last Word, Jaren Ward takes on a young boy apprentice named Shin Malphur. Jaren Ward is ultimately killed by Dredgen Yor, however his ghost seeks out Shin Malphur and it is implied that Shin becomes a guardian, inheriting Jaren’s ghost. Shin would later go on to become a Gunslinger Hunter and Golden Gun Dredgen Yor putting an end to his rein.
This is the only instance I can think of, where a Ghost was inherited and did not revive the dead. You may argue that the Ghost accepted Shin as the new Guardian because of his similarities with Jaren Ward, practically raised by Jaren Ward he shared a similar philosophy and heroism.
Before Jaren’s death, Shin says this about Jaren’s Ghost in the Ghost Fragment: last word 3,
“From time to time I caught its gaze lingering on me, but always assumed the attention was a result of the bond Jaren and I had. He was a father to me. At the time I didn’t know why he’d singled me out as someone to care for. Someone to protect. After all the loss, I welcomed it, but looking back—taking in the arm’s length at which he kept the others—I guess I should’ve known, or at least suspected there was more to it.”
It seems that Shin not only shares a bond with Jaren Ward, which may have resulted in him being selected as Gaurdian, however there is also something else, something more, which I believe could be my last theory. Beings that have been changed by the Traveler’s light.
To summarize point 2, Guardians were created to defend the Traveler, hence I believe that Ghosts have some way of determining the potential loyalty of the ancient corpses they scan before reviving them, on top of that, they likely manipulate our memories to further solidify our loyalty to the traveler. Maybe, Exos require ongoing mind wipes as they are more adept at retrieving memories in comparison to their human counterparts. The less skeptical person might argue that Ghosts just select potential heroes and warriors from the ancient dead.
Let’s move onto the last point, Ghosts can detect some sort of mutation (well mutation for Humans and Awoken) or internal ability (for the Exos) that allows Guardians to wield the light, to use the light as a weapon. There is definitely an intrinsic characteristic that Guardians have that gift them this ability to wield the light.
This is reinforced by the Guardians grimoire card, which reads,
“Chosen from the dead by the Traveler’s Ghosts, Guardians are those rare few able to wield the Light as a weapon.”
A conversation between Dredgen Yor and his Ghost also reinforces that we have something special about us, an ability that is already present. The Ghost Fragment: Thorn 3 card reads,
“[u.2:2.9] Why’d you pick me?
[u.1:2.9] It doesn’t work that way.
[u.2:3.0] Was I special?
[u.1:3.0] You were.
[u.2:3.1] But only as special as any other.
[u.1:3.1] You are all special.
[u.2:3.2] Seems to contradict the word don’t it.
[u.1:3.2] Not in my estimation.
[u.2:3.3] If we’re all special, are any of us special?
[u.1:3.3] Is that what you want? To be special?”
This card not only reinforces the idea that guardians already have some trait that the ghost can detect but also my first point, compatibility, Dredgen says,
“Why’d you pick me?”
and the Ghost responds,
“It does not work that way.”
This predetermined bond between ghost and guardian.
There is also some evidence that the fundamental forces of Arc, Solar and the Void already exists inside of you and that everyone has this light, however not everyone can access that power, ghost may unlock this and amplify this using the Traveler’s light. This is reinforced by the Stormcaller grimoire card which reads,
“Harmony within, hurricane without. Meditate. Focus. Draw the static from within. The Arc is inside all life. You must feel it take hold, let it flow through, but not consume you. You are a conduit. Between sky and earth. Electricity and matter. Life and death. You are a weapon.”
And the Guardian abilities card also reads,
“Even without a firearm, a Guardian is a radiant engine of destruction. While these abilities rise from within, Guardians master their power in different ways.”
That question is, what allows someone to access this power, what separates us from the other ancient dead who are not eligible guardians. I believe that to be a guardian your biological structure must be mutated, changed, or influence by the Traveler. In the case of the Exos, I wonder whether all Exos have this ability inherently due to their creation during the Golden Age and influence from the Traveler.
But in regards to humans or even awoken, we know that the Traveler can change them. The first evidence of this is Commander Jacob Hardy. Commander Hardy, with his team, was the first human to make contact with the Traveler and it appears that Traveler influenced his biology. This is reinforced in the Ghost Fragment: Human card which suggests that Commander Hardy’s cognition and life span has been increased. It reads,
“It turned out well. Look at me. Look at us! You’re talking to a ninety-year-old man. A ninety-year-old who’s never been sharper. I’m miles ahead of every cognitive benchmark. What’s happened to me is good. What’s happened to all of us is good. When we crested that rise and made visual contact with the artifact I don’t think any one of us dared dream that it would end this well.”
Ghost Fragment: Human 4 further reinforces the change in cognition of the Commander Hardy due to his interaction with the Traveler. It reads,
Not to mention that in the opening scenes of Destiny, the Speaker acknowledges that Human lifespan tripled, now this could be a reflection of the medical advances made with new technology of the golden age, however the experiences and records of Commander hardy seem to suggest that the Traveler can influence on a biological level.
Those that have been influenced by the Traveler in their past lives, like Commander Hardy, may retain a small portion of the light or some remanence of their interaction with the Traveler, a biological marker for those organic beings, or traces of light in the circuity of an Exo. Something, that indicates to the Ghost that this being has been changed by the Traveler in their past life. If this is true, it could be the most essential aspect to choosing a guardian. Regardless of compatibility, Personality, obedience, heroism to be a Guardian you must have been influenced by the Traveler’s light, mutated, changed, affected in some way, a spark that a Ghost can re-ignite.
That concludes this latest destiny lore episode. I hope this has helped clarify how ghosts select guardians and if you would like to support the channel, leave the words, “Blinded knight”, to represent that we were selected based the ease that a ghost could manipulate our memory to fight a cosmic war between the light and the dark.
As usual it has been a pleasure, this is myelin games. Peace.