The Children Of Mountains – A Norn Week Review

Norn, a band of heroes who have their own stories, and this was their week, although they will always be the ones in the spotlight. They will do everything to become a legend or die trying, which will be the way they stay famous. And this their summary.

The Norn seem to be little children that want to grow up, but are still childlike in their heart. They consider everything that resists them a challenge and brag about their victories, something we knew from Guild Wars. But they seem to have seen the light, or in any case the Spirits of the Wild. They now accept the help of others when they know the challenge is too great to face on their own. And not only of their own Race, but also of other Races. They now know that other Races can be useful, be it on the areas of strength, knowledge or willpower. But, with whatever means they won the challenge, they are going to brag about it and put the attention on their own person. A Norn is made by its victories, not its followers. While Humans have the goal to survive another day, the Norn have the goal to be remembered another day. They don’t care about how or with which means they achieve their goals, as long as they achieve their fame. They are the big brother that wants to show off and be the hero of their little brother, but will help everybody with their problems, as long as they get some fame for it. They will accept everybody, even the ones who abandoned their brothers and their believes. The Sons of Svanir, who attack Hoelbrak at a regular base and follow the arch-enemy of the Norn, are accepted in their society as long as they don’t pose a threat. In Edge of Destiny, we saw how the Norn reluctantly had to kill their dead and frozen brothers and now it appears that they can stand being around the ones who threaten them. There even seems to be a better relation between the Norn and the Sons of Svanir then between the Charr and Humans. Maybe, in time, they will begin to hate each other as much as the Charr and Humans once did. And, as always, the Spirits of the Wilds stay strong inside the Norn, although it doesn’t always show.

Monday began with the now famous big hall picture and a general idea to start the week.

Tuesday was a bit the “disappointment day”. The only things we got to know is that the Norn lodges are really massive buildings and that the city has a centered Lodge with four lodges around it that are dedicated to the Spirits of the Wild, which gives us a general idea of the city lay-out of Hoelbrak, like we know that Divinity’s Reach has the ground plan of a wheel with the Royal Palace in the middle. Although it doesn’t really tell us much, you can read between the lines. In Human culture, the Queen and royalty are central, as is the Royal Palace in the center of their capital. Now, with the Lodges being in the center of the Norn capital, the center of their culture is most likely the heroism told in these halls and the worship of the Spirits of the Wild, something that is supported in the post posted on the first day. It now also seems very likely that whatever lies in the center of the capital of the other Races is also the center of their culture.

Thursday, we got a look at the territory of the Norn, together with a new Norn page on the website. The updated page gave us a summary of the new info we got, so nothing new, but the new video was revealing indeed. We got a good view of the Shiverpeaks, although I can understand why not everybody was satisfied by the footage in the video. Again, we saw some old footage, but the new things we got to see were particularly good. We saw a glimpse of the Shiverpeaks like we never got before and in one particularly shot of a valley, the background was fascinating and gave an impression about how ArenaNet wants to give Guild Wars 2 an ‘illustrated feeling’. But, for those among you who weren’t satisfied, and are probably Norn fan, an announcement made on the same day will make you roar. The Norn will be playable as a starter race on the demo of PAX East, together with the Guardian. So, get ready for the Shiverpeaks and the Master of Protection (the Guardian, not the Condom).

Friday, we got a look at the center of the Norn culture, the Lodges, their Animals and … the Sons of Svanir. We got an incredible look inside the Norn culture and learned a lot of things. The Spirits of the Wild are not Gods of a trait like anger, love or fire, but each have their lessons. Bear teaches strength and tactics, Raven wisdom and cunningness, Wolf friendship and teamwork and Snow Leopard individuality and stealth. They are not almighty and all-knowing being like the Six Gods, but spiritual guides who can manifest and interfere in a more direct way. They are not worshiped as strongly as the Six Gods, Norn ‘pray’ to them when they need guidance in the hunt and if there is no response, they don’t need help and are apparently able to do it on their own. They do have priests, shamans who praise the spirits, but the rest of the Norn just follow all spirits equally, not devoting themselves to one in particular, although one can. And they are not always friendly to each other. Followers of different spirits can have fights and talk badly about the other Spirits and their lessons. These animals can die too. The animals that stayed behind in the Far Shiverpeaks to fight Jormag were presumably killed. And, on top of that, you have the havroun. There is one havroun for each animal, but an animal doesn’t always have to have a havroun. A havroun can pass into the Mists without doing anything special, except when they take someone with them. And then, last but not least, you have Dragon. Some Norn, young, male and foolish, reject the Spirits of the Wild and pray to the Elder Dragon, Jormag. They believe he is a force of nature, a totem animal, himself and should be allowed into the ranks of the totem animals. They are lead by the story of Svanir and his sister Jora. Jora, a female norn, rejected the gift of Jormag while her brother accepted. She killed her brother because he became a monster, but the Sons of Svanir still admire Jormag and because of Jora’s rejection, all women are rejected by the Sons as well. They have no true shaman or havroun. The shamans only learn cruelty and suffering and in the end become icebrood, slaves of Jormag, themselves. While humans are a group, Norn are an individual. A Norn group doesn’t get punished for the action of one of its members, the member is. The story that is told with the explanation is nice too and gives us a better view of the Spirits of the Wild. Snow Leopard even seems a bit evil, teaching their members how to kill their enemy while sacrificing themselves. I will end with a story to explain.

“More.” Valharantha lowered her eyes and smiled. “Snow Leopard will turn your vengeance into legend.” “Snow Leopard trained me in stealth and tracking. She also taught me to steel my mind against slumber. I can go five days without resting. I’ll die after six, but I’ll do it if I must. But you…you have to sleep sometime. And I’m willing to bet my life that you’ll rest before I do.” “You would kill me in my sleep?” “I will wait until my prey is at her weakest, and then I will strike.”

“Let me tell you a tale. The story of the hero known as Viskar Whisperclaw, who despite all challenges, was willing to give his life to claim blood-debt from the one who had done him harm…”

But, a general idea is not enough for a true Guild Wars 2 fan. Read the post on the totem animals if you plan on ever interfering with the Norn.

The Norn Week brought us insight in a wonderful culture of Tyria, as well as a step closer to the release of Guild Wars 2. Which is more important? You decide.

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