Are Guardians 'Preserved' By the Light?

The question is in the title. Are Guardians preserved by the light? Here is what I mean.
People decay. When they die, their remains rot and decompose.
But this doesn’t happen to guardians. We see this multiple times in Destiny and the gameplay Reveal.
Some examples:
Your Guardian
How though?

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Interesting theory. I’d argue that they’re just brought back though, as dead bodies decompose due to their coolness, immobility and probably a bunch of other things. If you’re running and jumping, I doubt you’ll decompose.

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The thing is, in the normal version of Paradox, the player finds Praedyth’s skeleton.

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True, but I think because the light couldnt reach him

That is true, but of you see the Zavala opening cinematic you see that Zavala is fine, but the other guy is a skeleton.

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We don’t actually see Zavala before his Ghost arrives to reanimate him. I assume that he, too, was a skeleton before the Ghost worked it’s magic to wake him up.


I don’t think you can just assume that their skeletons would always survive. How would you explain revived in Crucible when being disntigrated by a super or fusion rifle? There are many ways to die in Destiny which leave no remains behind and yet we can still get revived…

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I’ve always thought we don’t technically “die”. More like our Ghosts/our Light just change us from one state to the next (similar to how matter changes from one state to another) and we " respawn" back into us.

Does that make sense? I’m short on sleep and can tend towards waffling lol

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Could you explain on

By state do you mean dead to alive? That’s the only thing that would make sense.

Yes, pretty much. I haven’t really articulated it before, hence the terrible analogy. :grin:

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This question has been plaguing me because it seems like Bungie just didn’t really think the lore mechanics through on this issue.

On one hand, there must be something in our pile of bones and ghost can sense because that’s how we start the game. However, this doesn’t address how an exo would become a guardian because they have no bones. It also doesn’t address how we can be revived if we die in a way that completely obliterates a body.

I wonder if we can use Toland and Shin Malfur as clues. We know Shin has some light before becoming a guardian because Jaren Ward’s ghost (i think) comments on it. As for Toland, I tend to think that he continued to exist as the spark of light which guides us through Dreadnaught and scolds us after we abandon Oryx’s throne world.

So, I wonder if certain people contain a spark of light that can be survive after physical death and be used by our ghost to revive us. Perhaps this spark initially exists in bones but, once we become guardians, can withstand physical obliteration and continue to exist without a body, at least for a short time. For this to be correct, however, this spark of light would need to be transferred to an exo body along with the consciousness.

A separate explanation would be that ghosts can create bodies using some sort of nanotech. We know that our armor and weapons are made from engram matter which is a type of nanotech. Perhaps our ghost has schematics for how to rebuild our bodies, armor and weapons which would also help explain how we can access our vault and switch gear in-game. However, this wouldn’t explain why we start the game as a pile of bones and exist as seemingly living carbon-based life forms (as humans and awoken).

Both of these theories have holes in them and unless someone develops a more thorough theory, I’m leaning towards the notion that Bungie just never really thought this issue through initially and now we are too far down the road for a coherent theory to be developed.

Unless that spark of light is our soul, our consciousness - maybe even our will?

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Yep that’s possible, but Bungie has never explained how that spark could exist in bones for centuries.

The other inconsistency is how revives happen. In cinematics, our ghost does the work but in some gameplay modes we revive ourselves, in others our teammates must do it, and in strikes our teammates do it until a timer passes then we can do it ourselves. There is just no consistency on this topic.

The more I consider it, the more it seems like Bungie just really didn’t consider the lore implications of the game mechanics here. Pretty unusual for them.

For the complete disintegration aspect, Ghosts probably have a complete physical copy of ourselves stored in them, and they can pull back together the atoms of our bodies. For the multiple revives, that can be explained by the amount of Darkness in the area. Darkness zones are concentrated areas of Darkness. In Darkness zones it takes some time for our Ghost to revive us; those other Guardians who step in and revive us do so by “jumpstarting” the process faster. Outside of Darkness zones it just takes a little amount of time, due to all of the passive Light around and about us along with the Darkness. As for gameplay modes, that is probably due to “rules” that Shaxx set up for the Crucible and has the Ghosts enforce it.

As for how they choose and revive us, that is something Bungie will have to explain, because outside of what you noted, it also makes no spiritual sense either. In Christian theology, when a person dies, their soul goes “somewhere” and stays until the Final Resurrection, and then they are judged and either condemned or sanctified. Perhaps, using this as a base, the soul is recalled from that “someplace” by the Ghost – which is a mixture of machine and Light itself – and put back into the body. But this raises more theological questions, which would anger many religious traditions outside of Christianity, and historically many Christian traditions don’t like things using their religion for anything, despite the Bible saying nothing on the subject; so Bungie must tread carefully. I personally wouldn’t mind it, as it raises many fascinating questions to pursue, but others may differ.

I think that all makes sense in terms of the levels of darkness, it’s just frustrating that Bungie has left us to fill in the holes on this point.

As for the issue of Christianity and the soul; as far as I’m aware Bungie tends to use the older “pagan” religions as sources and has tended to stay away from the Abrahamic religions.

I think there’s a lot more to the idea of our ghost using the spark of light to map and store our DNA. I just still don’t know how exo consciousness and personhood fits into the situation.

Then in the case of the pagan religions, the soul of the dead person goes to Hades for essentially the same thing. Presumably, the Guardian soul is called back before it completes its journey to the Fields of Elysium or Valhalla.

To mention a faith a lot forget: Druidry.

There are three states: Here, Inbetween, After. Here is literally here and now. Inbetween is like a storage, a doorway between Here and After, whereas After is the place you move to (and when you’re reborn, you go back to Inbetween first). Your soul will stay Inbetween for many reasons (like if you’re still having something unresolved, or your will means you don’t want to go). So on a very technical basis, it would easily be possible for a Ghost to summon you or recall you back from there.

That’s not a bad idea.

Thinking of it as the Guardian’s soul or consciousness entering a state of In Between makes a lot of sense where thanatonautics are concerned.

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I think it could also be goodness of your heart. After there are lots of remains from the collapse. Why us?

Or there might be some logic to it that we are missing.