In the previous article, we looked at the strong focus of the Power – Fear dichotomy found within the Hunter class of Destiny’s Guardians. Again, I want to make the point that, as with our own personalities in reality, the Guardian Classes don’t necessarily fall perfectly into these categories. It’s actually through this ‘muddying’ of their presentation that the characters in Destiny are given a more acute sense of complexity and reality. People are unique in their individual combination of psychology – and the dichotomies of paradigms is merely one facet of the gem.
That all being said, the intent here is to take a closer look at the Titans of Destiny and their focus on the Honor – Shame dichotomy.
Honor – Shame Dichotomy
This paradigm is very relationship driven – decisions are made based around the interplay of relationships between oneself and others. Every movement affects the honor-shame status of the participants – the crucial objective here being to avoid shame and to be viewed honorably by others. The concept of transgression here is not that of breaking a social construct held as law, but rather of shaming either yourself or your group (often a family-unit), based on how particular actions are perceived by yourself and others within the community. The need then becomes the restoration of the individual to a place of acceptance within the community, regaining the position of honor for either themselves or the shamed group in the eyes of the community.
Psychology of a Titan
“Strive for honor. Stand for hope.”
These are the sworn protectors of the Last City – they are the ones who, having built the Wall which shelters those within, now have taken it upon themselves to protect it. If one of their number falls, they are laid to rest at the Wall – a sign that, even in their final deaths, these warriors will still stand guard against any who threaten their City. The majority of Titans see the City and its inhabitants as their very lifeblood – losing either is simply not an option in their minds.
Duty. Honor. Pride.
While the Titans, most certainly more so than the Hunters or Warlocks, are machines of war who will gladly stand and fight anything that threatens those they view as their charges…they are also more. They are some of the most selfless of the Guardians – though there are some among them who are by no means role models – and that steel will can often hide a powerful mind. These are those Guardians who will not move – they do not run from the monsters in the dark. They are the line upon which the tide of darkness encounters the light and is shattered.
Psychology of the Striker
“A charging Striker presents her opponent two options: move, or be moved.”
– Commander Zavala
The more aggressive of Titans, these are the true blade which cuts away at the enemies of the City and the Light. They see the fist as the perfect weapon – it will never jam, never fail them at the crucial moment in a battle. Of all the Titans, this subclass in particular places emphasis on never running from a fight – those with a powerful affinity towards the Striker are those who are more inclined to see honor in the never backing down from a challenge. They embody the sense of finishing the fight once it has begun – to not do so would bring shame to their self, the Host they belong to (if applicable), and Titans in general. This is not to say they are reckless – Shaxx in particular shows how educated a Striker can be in both general tactics and topics outside of armed conflict. The Striker simply values the act of offense over that of defense.
Psychology of the Sentinel
“Valiant heart, unwavering resolve.”
“The wall against which the Darkness breaks.”
As the name implies, these are the more reserved & defensive of the Titan class. Where the Striker runs into battle, the Sentinel shores defenses to support their allies – creating a safe haven for them to fall back into if needed. This is not to say they are unable to mount an attack – any who have seen the Sentinel in the Crucible knows this to not be the case. Those with a strong affinity towards this subclass merely put the priority on having solid ground before worrying about striking against their enemies. Honor here is seen in their ability to stand strong against attacks and protect those around them. When one speaks of the unmovable Titan – this is the subclass they are thinking of.
Psychology of the Sunbreaker
“The Sunbreakers brought honor to the wild, never seeking the safety of the City. Bound by an oath, they live as mercenaries, seeking battles and alliances beyond the Walls.”
Where the Strikers and Sentinels hold firm to the City and their Walls, the Sunbreaker holds to their clan. They live with a code of honor that, while different, is no less binding than that of their brethren. In some ways, it is more restrictive – as these are those Titans who live in the wilds, seeking alliances outside of the Vanguard and the Consensus. Where the other subclasses view Honor in their ability to protect the City, Sunbreakers view honor in their ability to hold to the contracts and agreements they have made with their allies – some might call them mercenaries, but to them it is simply another way of life.
Rezyl Azzir’s Shame
“And so the noble man hid himself beneath a darkness no flesh should touch, and gave up his mortal self to claim a new birthright.”
A shining example of the level of importance that the titan places upon honor in regards to the Honor-Shame dichotomy is that of Rezyl Azzir. Throughout his fall, the Titan was careful to hide his identity – for no other reason than that the knowledge of his identity prior to becoming Dredgen Yor would “taint his legacy”. He goes on to explain to his Ghost that “if you cannot let that man go…all the good will be washed away in the fire of who I have become.” Event the shadows which have consumed him and torn him from the heights of respect cannot erase that innate respect for the prestige that honor gave him while he wore the name of Azzir. Where Yor would plunge into the depths of shame, Rezyl flew high on the honor of being a beacon of hope.
Yor saw hope as a commodity – but even though the perversion of the name Azzir would have destroyed more hope than he could accomplish with the new and unknown title of Dredgen, he refused to let even his former Ghost taint that man’s status. Why? If he was truly only after hope for consumption, why deliberately avoid this option?
Because it would bring shame to the honorable name of Azzir – a name that Yor purposefully abandoned to distance himself from. His allegiance to that ’clan’ was no more, but where the line of Yor was the House of Shame, even he could not bring himself to sully the name of the honorable Azzir. He changed, most certainly…but that core aspect of his personality – that respect of the dichotomy of Honor and Shame remained. He cloaked himself in the shadows, but in a way, he remained even in his broken state, a Titan to the end.
To reiterate, just as our personalities in reality, Guardians are not simply one of the three dichotomies discussed at the start of this article. They are a unique combination of the paradigms – sometimes made evident in their associations with particular sub-classes over others. The stereotypical Titan, however, does tend to align with the Honor – Shame dichotomy – but this is not to say that there aren’t degrees of Power – Fear or Guilt – Innocence.
So…when you look at the world around you – what do you see?
Ut humiliter opinor,