As a medievalist I read a lot of books which form the basis of fantasy worlds like Tyria: Arthurian romances, tales of chivalry and myths of exquisite beasts which have been told and retold for centuries and have become embedded in our culture. In the present day, people draw upon these legends for inspiration, be it for books, films or videogames, and the world of Guild Wars is no exception.
What I’d like to do today is begin to look at possible sources of inspiration for Tyrian lore, beginning with the pre-history of the world, and what the game creators may have drawn upon in the birth of Tyria.
A brief gloss of Tyrian pre-history is possible through archaeological evidence in-game, however there are little surviving texts from that period which makes it difficult to have a true understanding of the events of that time. The Giganticus Lupicus, or true giants, are believed to have walked Tyria before 10,000 BE (before the Exodus of the Gods), when they went extinct at the hands of the Elder Dragons. They can be seen as the ‘true inhabitants’ of Tyrian land, having been the original occupants. Far later, around 786 BE, the Six Gods settled in Tyria and brought humanity to the world, who pushed from Orr into Kryta and Ascalon.
A similar situation is recorded in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae (published c. 1136), which tells the tale of the original settlers of the British Isles, their battles and struggles, and the stories of the kings who ruled, including Arthur. Brutus, who is exiled from Greece for the accidental murder of his parents, sets sail with the Trojans for a new land free from persecution and attack. In his hunt, he comes across a Goddess in a dream, who tells him the following:
“There is an island […] once inhabited by giants,
But now it is deserted, ready to receive your people.
There kings shall arise from your line, and unto them
Shall all the lands of the Earth be subject.”
If we look at what this passage says, we can clearly see the parallel between the message from the Goddess, and the assumed message from the Six Gods of Tyria: humans go to a land which was once dominated by giants but is now empty (in Tyria, this is due to the rampage of the Elder Dragons, from which the land is still recovering), and are sent to rule. The humans in Tyria’s eldest age, with the assistance of the Gods, assume power over three kingdoms, and conquer the natives in those areas, such as the Charr in Ascalon.