[GW2] Sons of Svanir Sect

Norn week is in full swing with an overview post on Monday and a two-for-Tuesday posts on norn chatter and culture and the huge norn architecture. As usual though, ArenaNet puts layer and layer of material in their “simple” articles. For instance, in the first post fans are already dissecting one picture of a female norn standing inside somewhere holding what appears to be a long-range rifle. This one picture provides speculation on unreleased professions, size of the norn, size of their housing, ad infinitum. One other little gift caught me completely off guard.

The Sons of Svanir, a group of norns holding allegiance to Jormag, has been well known for awhile. Many, including myself, believed that these norn were evil. They worship an Elder Dragon bent on freezing the world; the same dragon that sent the norn retreating to the Southern Shiverpeaks. Svanir was the corrupted nornbear players had to defeat in the Eye of the North. And this is their concept art? Yeah, I would have no problem running my greatsword through a swath of the Sons of Svanir.

Except, that being a Son of Svanir does not automatically exile the norn to becoming an enemy. It’s just another norn, with a different viewpoint. In the Legend and Legacy article, there is a sound bite (Not Causing Trouble) of a merchant telling someone else that the Son’s money is as good as anybody else’s. This led me to believe that norn might be the most tolerant player race in Guild Wars 2. Would they care if a norn worships the human gods, or asuran science?

Another interesting thing is that ArenaNet seems to be setting up another personal morality issue. Put it this way, if you saw a Klu Klux Klan member sitting at a bar peacefully, tipping his minority waitress, and generally being sociable and respectable is he still a bad person*? What if instead of being racist, that bar patron worshiped a known entity bent on destroying Earth? Back to Guild Wars 2, if you were a norn would you kill a Son of Svanir just for being one?

This is not to say that all possible enemies might be good, somehow in that gray area. ArenaNet has said that the krait, a race of enslaving serpents, are in-the-black evil. I had also pegged anything allied with the world-consuming Elder Dragons as also being KOS, but it appears that I was wrong. Going to be interesting to see how much, if any, ArenaNet uses the Sons of Svanir as a morality challenge for a norn’s personal story.

a man of large appetite, and even with lunch under my belt

EDIT: To clarify, and this is my fault for using such a relative term, “bad” = “without worth.”

25 thoughts on “[GW2] Sons of Svanir Sect”

  1. Concerning the concept art:
    I believe that this is not a Son of Swanir but rather a directly corrupted, mindless husk.

    The second GW2 book (Edge of Destiny) introduces them. They are Norn who went to fight Jormag and he (or his champion) destroyed their mind and twisted their bodies (similar to the Undead in Orr or Kralkatorriks crystal monsters)

    The Sons of Swanir are normal Norn who simply believe in Jormag and Swanir being superior to the spirits. They retain their mind (for now) and look like the other Norn as I see it.

    1. The title of that image is Son of Slvanir (sic), and the text in that article also says they receive “enhancements.” So that’s why I say that, I guess. :)

      1. Point.

        Still, that feels so very inconsistent with the book in which those changed by the dragon are seen as abhorent.
        If the Sons of Svanir look that way I really can’t imagine even the Norn to be tolerant.

        It would be like Krytans letting half rotten, Elder-Dragon-worshipping Zombies into Divinity’s Reach.

        1. I don’t know how reliable I consider the label on a piece of concept art to be. They’ve been been wrong before, IIRC, though I couldn’t point to a specific instance of it right now.

          That said, there could also be multiple “levels” of son-hood, similar to how Chaos works in Warhammer. I.e. a newly-converted Son could just look like a normal Norn with some extra tattoos, but a “champion” or “chosen” Son could be given extra “gifts” that we see in that concept art.

          Lots of speculation, which is never bad. :)

      2. Despite the name of the picture I can’t imagine those creatures to be any sociable, paying gold at a vendor, walking casually through a settlement, sitting in a bar having no face or any need for food, clothes or other items at all.

        Granted, it would be awesome to pass one of these in the street, but them being a tolerated part of Norn society without a way of communication or need to spend gold does not feel true.

  2. i never got into GW1, but i have been interested in GW2. this article terrifies me. will i have ANY idea what is going one?

    1. Well GW has a deep history that is tied with GW2 so in the respect of story ya you will have some catching up to do.

    2. All you really need to know about this instance is that a norn named Svanir was corrupted and went insane. I think that was mentioned in the arenanet blog post. This new group of people have decided to emulate svanir and revere the corruption.

      You can get certain other information (Svanir’s Sister, Jora, hunted her brother down and killed him, partly out of mercy.) from gw1, but its not a particularly long story by any means.

      The most interesting point regards Svanir’s relationship to the animal spirits. Jora killed her brother because only then could she restore her relationship with the spirits, (and norn society) and become the bear.

    3. The game is worth playing through, in all three campaigns and the expansion, just for the story. And it won’t take much time if you do it once on normal mode.

      You might even enjoy yourself.

  3. I’ve mentioned elsewhere that the Son of Svanir are referred to as “evil” in the dynamic events article.

    “A village that was previously filled with friendly norn could, on a return trip, have been taken over by evil Sons of Svanir who are now using it as a base of operations and have put up their own architecture in place of the norn’s.”


    So this begs the question, why are they evil in this reference? Some possibilities include: A) Some of them are inherently evil and some are not, or B) Some people choose to consider them evil and some do not.

    Anet seems to be presenting this choice for the player to decide.

    1. Good point. 1) Things change, and they might have wanted to give SoS more depth instead of 1-d evil enemies, and 2) it could just be saying that yes there are evil groups of SoS.

    2. Actually, this kind of world dynamic isn’t unique or even rare – the grawl, heket, ogres & skritt all include hostile elements and are hungry to claim territory (or at least resources in the case of skritt), yet every one of those races can:

      a] Be chosen for “racial sympathy” during your personal story arc (you only get to choose 1 race), opening up new quests and allowing you to take NPCs of that race into your home instance.
      For example if you take care of opportunists preying on the grawl’s primitive intellects, they’ll send a delegation to your home instance to worship you as their new deity!

      b] Alternate between friend & foe according to the flow of dynamic events.
      For example if the mountain ogres are faring badly they’ll move outwards as marauding foes, but if there area is under control they are neutral NPCs – and if you can improve their situation in that state (e.g. providing fresh water for their animal pens) they’ll graduate to selling you their potions and tameable animals!

      c] Have individuals of their race be present in neutral ground – for instance in the novels, centaurs travel to Lion’s Arch to compete in the arena & presumably trade too, despite their apparently-genocidal ongoing conflict with humanity.

      I believe I’m correct in saying that the quaggan are exceptional (so far) as literally the only non-playable race that are NEVER hostile; all the others have combative potential, even with 10-15 of them at least being ‘sympathetic’ options.

  4. I have the impression from the books that the dragons are not so much “evil” as they are completely indifferent to the dust mites that are lesser forms. Now this does not make sense if the dragons are using lieutenants to essentially recruit armies and spread their influence. It is clear that there are lieutenants however and they are all recruiting from the various races and all of the recruits tend to be involuntary (corrupted, undead, etc.) and viewed with some natural antipathy by most of their former race. What does this infer? Dragons may only care about the lesser races as tools to fight… other dragons.

    There is no reason to think that dragons all coexist with each other in peace than there is to think that all humans do. Perhaps the dragons themselves are engaged in some massive struggle in which all Tyrian races will only lose. Perhaps the goal will not be to “beat”the dragons as it will be to prevent an inter-dragon war that would devastate the land.

  5. On re-reading, I didn’t actually make my point. So: if the Svanir are supporting the dragon which will end up causing a hugely destructive war, then swaying them from that path and having them turn their powers toward stopping the war would be a crucial plot point and may mean that they are not doomed to be “evil” by their association.

  6. So far I think the Sons of Svanir represent the most interesting aspect of the Norn people – the willingness to take their obsession with strength too far. In light of this, I hope they’re tied into our personal stories in ways that give us some juicy choices to make.

    Honestly I find the rest of what we’ve seen about the Norn to be sort of flat. They don’t really have any conflicting goals or desires that I can see – they just like fighting and drinking, and… That’s about it. They don’t have any vices or negative traits, for example they’re not prone to wars of aggression like the Charr or arrogant like the Sylvari. They’re a little too nice, basically.

    I’m hoping as we learn more, some hidden complexities will come to light. I guess I just feel like they need some sort of fault or flaw to feel realistic, right now they’re a bit too fairy tale perfect.

    Again, though, the Sons of Svanir do present one option for giving the Norn a collective Achilles’ heel. So I’m not too worried. And I have liked all the Norn voice acting so far. Can’t wait for more armor screenshots and video, though!

    1. They do have a few, even if they aren’t coming out in Norn Week so far. In their own way they’re as arrogant as everyone else – with the possible exceptions of the charr and kodan, they tend to assume any non-norn is weak unless proven otherwise. Perhaps more importantly, they have a tendency to be rough. Despite their tolerance, they pick fights easily, and are almost EAGER to get in over their heads (Gullik got Killeen killed that way in Ghosts of Ascalon). We’ve also been told about a zone where there are norn that think it’s funny to trick innocent sylvari into doing things like whacking beehives.

  7. You know – I wrote a whole article calling it “Svanvir”. Then I thought I was being clever cus I went back and changed them all to “Sanvir”.

    You have made me realise my idiocy.

    Ta v much.

  8. So I have to wonder if the Sons of Svanir look about as norn as norn can be until they reveal their “enhanced” form.

  9. My idea to that Sons of Svanir concept art is that, since the Norn can transform into the spirits they worship, why shouldn’t the sons of svanir be able to transform into that thing shown in the concept art?
    I can’t quite imagine sitting in a norn bar having those ice creatures all around me :P

  10. Interesting take on the whole thing. I hope they can incorporate this conflict into the personal story lines. Should be interesting to see how it turns out :D

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