Today the page for sylvari on the Guild Wars 2 website was updated, detailing the little bits of information we had before, as well as adding new information, screenshots, and an amazing video (seriously, if you haven’t watched it yet…go do so).
There was one bit of information in that page that struck me as very interesting, though. Interesting, and unusual, and it got me thinking.
“While the other races may be corrupted by the Elder Dragons, turned into undead minions or crystalline creatures of the Brand, the sylvari are never turned. Those born of the Pale Tree simply die before the corruption takes hold. Many sylvari believe that this is because they were born to battle the dragons, blessed with a certain protection against their most horrible powers. Some non-sylvari scholars state instead that the sylvari’s strange biology foils the corruption of the dragons. A few clever souls state that sylvari just taste bad to dragons. No one knows for certain which is the truth.”
Now, any of those three possible explanations could work. Maybe the Pale Tree does grant them some sort of magical protection against the corruption of the dragons. Maybe their plant biology prevents it from happening somehow. Maybe the dragons simply are carnivores. We don’t know.
But there was something from the blog post about writing the sylvari that also stood out to me. Essentially, sylvari lack the prejudices and that the other races have. They have a strong sense of honor, and stand by it. They’re highly curious and wish to experience all they can. And while sylvari are capable of love and loving (in all manners of the terms), they do not reproduce, and hence do not subscribe to human-style gender roles. Who they love is not defined by gender.
In short, as they lack the typical prejudices that the other races have developed, they are likely the only one of the races of Tyria that is capable of truly capable of accepting everyone and anyone as they are. This doesn’t mean that they’ll necessarily tolerate evil (they hold a strong hatred of the dragons, for example), but if you’re someone who doesn’t fit whatever norms your society dictates? A sylvari may as well be your best friend. They’ll be curious about you, but they won’t judge you for it. They’ll just accept that as being you.
What do these two points have to do with each other, though? Well, you’ll have to bear with me, as this is just speculation on my part, but I do believe that it does make some sense.
The reason why sylvari cannot be corrupted does not have to do with any magical protection, or their biological (botanical?) makeup, or the dragon’s opinions on salad. Rather, it is because of the race’s high sense of honor and lack of prejudice. They find all new information as something to be explored, not shunned, and are too young, as a race, to have developed the sort of prejudices that plague the other races. Essentially, they are too pure as a race, and lack any corruption within themselves for the dragons to take hold of and twist to their advantage. The other races do not have this advantage; they are old and have learned prejudice, both personally and as a society, and even the most heroic person will have a seed of negativity within them that can be used to corrupt them.
Of course, I could be incorrect, and there are some things we don’t know about. Are the Nightmare Court as equally free from the risk of corruption? They are merciless and believe that Ventari’s teachings have twisted the Dream, and that they are the true sylvari, and explore the darker side of things. If they are also incorruptible, then that’s a sort of wrench in my theory, but at this point we don’t know – and I doubt the Nightmare Court really have gone out seeking to fight dragons, preferring to add their nightmares to the Dream to try and win over the Pale Tree.
The other big question is, will the sylvari always keep this ‘purity’ and lack of corruption? After all, they love to learn and experience new things. Tyria is a harsh world. They are a very young race, but as they age (individually and as a whole) and learn more about the world and how things work, is it possible for a sylvari to become jaded and perhaps learn some of the prejudices present in other races? Again, we don’t know, and at this point in time it’s impossible to tell, I think.
I am also assuming that the corruption of the dragons uses and takes advantage of the negativity and fears that are within everyone. This could be the case, or it might not be! This is just an idea, after all.
I could be way off, but I feel that there’s a good chance that the inability to be corrupted and the race’s sense of honor and acceptance could be linked. Why do you think the sylvari can’t be corrupted by dragons?