Tyrian Relationships – Focus on the Commander

Warning: this post contains spoilers up to and including Season 4, Episode 5: All or Nothing, as well as Requiem: Caithe. Read at your own peril.

In my last post (Show, Don’t Tell – How ArenaNet Broke the Rule) I discussed how ArenaNet broke the ‘show, don’t tell’ rule of writing.

Anyway, in this post, I’ll explain my thoughts on the different relationships in Tyria, how they work, and how the Commander could possibly have fit in to such an odd system.

Everybody has a partner. Not necessarily a romantic partner, but a partner. A battle partner, a best friend, drinking buddies, any sort of relationship. (Some people had two partners, but I’ll get to that later because they’re kind of special cases.)

I noticed it first with Destiny’s Edge. There were two – three, depending on how you count – problem-relationships among them. Eir and Zojja, Rytlock and Logan, and Caithe and Faolain.

Now, you might argue that these are pairs of people who are fighting, not best friends. But that’s exactly why the arguments were so heated and (possibly) unforgivable – because prior to Snaff’s death, they’d been close friends.

Everybody has a partner – some people have been separated from their partners, or the partner dies, or something similar.

Caithe and Zojja, Logan and Rytlock, Logan and Queen Jennah, Queen Jennah and Countess Anise, Eir and Zojja, Eir and Garm, Zojja and Snaff, Kasmeer and Marjory, Taimi and Braham, Braham and Rox, Rox and Frostbite, maybe even Rox and Rytlock.

But you see, there are a bunch of people who a) don’t have a partner, or b) have more than one partner.

Canach is one of those that doesn’t have a partner. Actually, I mean, who knows, maybe Canach had a love interest at some point and they died, but let’s not think about that. Please let’s not think about that.

The most notable person that does not have a partner, though, is the Player.

The Player actually has a lot of partners, but they die, or find other partners, or something like that.

The Player’s first partner would have been one of the members of Destiny’s Edge – human Players would have Logan for a partner, norn would have Eir, charr would have Rytlock – see the pattern?

But then, Destiny’s Edge as whole moved on to fixing their own relationships/partners, and the Player joined an Order and got a new partner – Vigil Players had Forgal, Whispers had Tybalt, and Priory had Sieran.

Then, at Claw Island, the mentor/partner died, to be replaced with – you guessed it – Trahearne.

I have heard people say that they didn’t want anybody to replace the fallen mentor. I agree with them; nobody really could take Forgal’s place. Even harder it would be to replace Sieran (the person who it seemed was being replaced the most, given the sylvari connection) or Tybalt.

But also, consider this; who else did not have a partner? Trahearne.

The mentors perhaps had partners besides the Player – in Season 3, Demmi Beetlestone continually talks about Tybalt, and (not having mained the Order of Whispers) I see her as being more Tybalt’s partner/student than the Player. Forgal, it seemed, was living to fight the dragons and avenge his family. Sieran had a prior connection with Trahearne, as well – moreso, I will venture, than the others, given the aforementioned sylvari connection.

But they all died (or at least one of them, but even if you don’t play the Whispers storyline Demmi still speaks of Tybalt as being dead) at Claw Island.

The Player and Trahearne are now partners; interesting, that.

Some people roleplayed this connection (or, like me, didn’t know about it but roleplayed it anyway because that’s how friends work) or else (like the people I addressed the last post to) didn’t like Trahearne at all.

In either case, however, the Commander is very much a person to his- or herself, whatever the Player may think. And the Commander is very much friends with Trahearne. And since the Commander has no other partner – their Destiny’s Edge counterpart has (for the most part, at least) taken to their old partner within Destiny’s Edge (Caithe is always the weird one, but yeah) and the Order mentor is dead.

I understand that most of the relationships in Guild Wars 2 concerning the Commander are a clean slate – the Commander is very good at acting neutral and allowing the Player to decide what to think – but to me, that’s how it works.

I’m an introvert, I like thinking a lot and going in-depth over things. (I’m sure you can tell.) So is Trahearne. I, naturally, got to be friends with him immediately, and the Commander not saying anything one way or another allowed me to get on with thinking that. Trahearne and I are a lot alike, I think, and that may be the fuel for why I like him so much. Also a factor to consider is the fact that Trahearne obviously thought of the Commander as his friend – you need only to look at the bazillions of times he addressed the Commander as ‘my friend’ rather than ‘Commander’ as everybody else does.

And Trahearne is an introvert, and it usually takes time for introverts to make friends. Unless they have things in common (like being an introvert, having similar interests, goals and passions), of course, in which case it takes no time at all.

Also, I need direction. Sure, I can have the direction of ‘kill the Elder Dragon!’ and I’ll go ‘yeah, alright, but how?’ Give me better directions, such as ‘kill that Eye/Mouth/dragon champion/etc’ and I’ll happily come up with a more detailed plan myself.

But I do need that direction. Trahearne, obviously, does not. He can take something as crazily vague as ‘cleanse Orr’ and get it done somehow. He’s also good at giving other people direction (obviously). So me being second-in-command to him is perfect.

Now, once the Pact plotlines get off the ground, you’ll notice Trahearne not acting like an introvert at all. Huh. Oh well.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is – you maybe have nothing at all in common with Trahearne. Maybe you are a very big extrovert, and you want to be the one giving all the cool speeches to people. Maybe you like organizing troops and supply lines and etc and whatever else Trahearne did as the Marshal of the Pact. Maybe you can take something like ‘kill the dragon’ and get it done without direction.

Maybe, in fact, you as the Player would have been better suited to the job of Marshal (except for that one inconvenience of being a member of an Order.) But you as the Commander, as a roleplayer, just like bashing things in. (To the point that Zojja says you are like 72.8% (or something like that) of Destiny’s Edge’s firepower. I’m sure she was just joking, but the fact that that could possibly have been anywhere near accurate is telling.) And also, you, as the Player, are playing the game to have fun bashing things in.

From a roleplaying perspective? Maybe you would’ve wanted to lead the Pact. I don’t know. I only know that I didn’t, and I still don’t. I’d rather not bore my hair out, thanks. (Although, writing blog posts… running a military… much the same, ya think? #sarcasm)

Maybe you’re the sort of person who doesn’t like Trahearne’s personality at all – maybe you make friends with a different sort.

But if you roleplay it – see it from your character’s perspective – Trahearne is your partner. Your best friend, your fighting buddy. You helped him complete his Wyld Hunt, and he helped you complete your goals, by the both of you playing to your strengths. He’s a good military leader and thinker, you’re good at bashing in brains and providing moral support.

I know that I’ll never be able to convey how I feel about this whole ‘partner’ business. You’ll probably never get it unless you gain a divine flash of insight (or you already feel this way on your own).

But, hey, at least now you understand (vaguely, but still) how I feel about Trahearne. And how absolutely disgusted and appalled at the way the player base treated him online – how they asked for Anet to kill him off.

Eh. This was supposed to be a blog for me to share my own personal experiences in Tyria… ooh, wait… Tiffany’s Tyrian Experiences. Right? Ah, I feel much better about my own personal tastes and interests literally (pun intended) dominate this post.

Continuing on past Heart of Thorns (because Trahearne died and who is the Commander’s partner now?), we land in Season 3. For quite a while the Commander has no partner, but then Aurene happens. Yay!

The problem with Aurene… alright, Aurene is weird. I’ll get to the weirdness in a later post. Anyway, the Commander has Aurene. Aurene doesn’t really show up much. She’s not a ‘battle partner’ nor a ‘fast friend’ nor a ‘significant other’ (yikes) or anything. She’s more like a bonded companion. (The Tassof Series has an interesting take on how the ranger/pet thing works, which I think would be related, although it definitely isn’t canon unless you can ignore some pretty blatant stuff that’s left out of Edge of Destiny.)

If I had to pick somebody other than Aurene, it would be either Rytlock or Canach. I’m gonna go with Rytlock, since he showed up before Canach. Barely. And he let me use Sohothin (a thing which we all know is absolute blasphemy and ‘who are you and what did you do with Rytlock. Rytlock doesn’t let people use his sword, especially when I didn’t really want to). And Canach was there more in Season 3, and got more of a ‘you bitch!’ toward Anise when she casually dismissed his wellbeing whereas when the Black Citadel charr summoning Rytlock was all ‘yeah, whatever, you be you Rytlock.’

Alright, alright, it’s Canach. Canach is funnier anyway.

Oh, or maybe it’s Taimi. Yeah, it’s Taimi and Canach. Canach is comic relief and fighting partner, Taimi is best friend, Rytlock is crazy fighting buddy. Canach is best friend too, but Taimi stays in touch more, haha. Gah, that means the Commander has four partners. Canach, Taimi, Rytlock and Aurene.

But none of them are a really good partner by themselves. It takes all of them. It takes the whole team, because seriously, those five by themselves coulda done zilch against Balthazar or Joko.

Hey! This just supports my point – Trahearne was the best partner.

Alright, I said I’d deal with people having more than one partner. This is it – people have more than one partner when just one partner doesn’t fit.

Eir had Garm and Zojja. Garm is excellent fighting partner, but really dry on communication. Zojja and/or Snaff filled that.

Braham has Taimi and Rox. Taimi is more of a little sister/best friend type of person, while Rox is the fighting partner and advice/cautionary ‘slow down and think!’ person to counter Braham’s ‘KUH-BAM! kill it!’ thing.

Caithe is an interesting one, though. She was without a partner for ages during the whole Faolain fiasco. My opinion is that Faolain was emotionally abusing her and not letting her go, and once Faolain died/turned Mordrem/Vinetooth thing. Once that happened – no, indeed, since Glint’s egg showed up – Caithe found another partner in Aurene, even before she hatched.

Reading Caithe’s recently-released Requim on the Anet official site confirms this theory. It also hints at a new partnership to come – Caithe and the Commander. Honestly, I think Caithe could fill most of the partner aspects by herself, and finally give the Commander a proper partner. What do you think?

Honestly, now that I think about it, all the times where somebody has more than one partner, it’s because just one partner doesn’t fulfill all the types of ‘partner’ there are. Romantic partner is always optional, haha.

So, you may ask how Trahearne fulfilled the ‘fighting buddy’ qualifier for being a partner to the Commander… well… mostly because he accompanied the Commander on many occasions, and the Commander didn’t fight with anybody else nearly as consistently.

Anyway, in my next post, I’ll explain my thoughts on Aurene, as well as a proper backstory on the whys.

Also, if you want to have fun debates with me on this topic (or any others related to Guild Wars 2 or writing!), join me on my Discord server!