Shin Malphur – Boy Guardian

Another look at the possible explanation presented in Destiny 2: Forsaken for the existence of Shin Malphur.

This short article is to resubmit an idea I’ve been toying around with for years now. Shin Malphur didn’t receive Jaren Ward’s Ghost and become a Guardian, he was already one. To explore this idea, I’ll be analyzing a few Grimoire entries from both Destiny 1 and 2. My goal is to remove any cases of assumptions and instead review facts presented throughout the stories, and instances in game that in my view back up this theory.
This article, while referencing entries, won’t go too much into the backgrounds of the stories mentioned. This is to save time and word-space. It is recommended however that readers be familiar with Dwindler’s Ridge from the Destiny 1 Grimoire as well as the Confession of Hope lore entries, as well as the opening mission from D2: Forsaken. With that being said, let’s begin with some entries that for many seem to be the linchpin to the idea that Jaren Ward’s Ghost selected a second Guardian.

Ghost Fragment: The Last Word 3

One line in particular, towards the end of the card, seems to indicate Jaren Ward’s Ghost is choosing a new Guardian. The selection reads as follows:

I exhaled and slumped forward. Still standing, but broken.
The tiny Light looked me over with a curious tilt to its axis, then shot a beam of light over my body. Scanning me as it had done the very first time we met.

I’m nervous saying this because many big names have latched onto this line and associated it with Guardian selection, including the site I use as my Grimoire resource, Ishtar Collective. I have a big problem with the line and I think it’s staring all of us right in the face; this wasn’t the first time the Ghost had scanned Shin. In fact, he says it’s the same way it had scanned him when they first met. We don’t take that first scanning as meaning Shin was being selected as a new Guardian, so why should the Ghost performing the same action now be any different? Let’s consider a few things we know about Ghosts from other areas of the game.

Ghosts in Destiny

Our Ghost in Destiny 1 said he’d spent possibly centuries searching for us. In fact, when he resurrects us the first time he says, “It worked. You’re alive! You don’t know how long I’ve been looking for you. I’m a Ghost. Actually, now I’m your Ghost.” This isn’t to say Ghost couldn’t have chosen someone else as noted in a scanable pod from Destiny 1, but it does make one think that the bond is singular and permanent. I think this is backed up by other examples in game. When a Guardian is killed, for them to stay dead you have to kill their Ghost as well. If Ghosts could exchange Guardians you’d probably have to take extra steps to be sure the Guardian couldn’t be resurrected. That, however, has never been necessary. Did Felwinter need to destroy Citan’s body, or just kill his Ghost? Was our Ghost able to heal Cayde-6 in the opening of Foresaken, or did he say that there was “nothing [he] could do”? Further, the lore entry from Destiny 2 Trials of the Nine sniper rifle, The Long Walk, has several Ghosts referring to charges in the singular. So, it’s rather odd that Jaren Ward’s Ghost would get multiples when there is seemingly no other instance of one Ghost having multiple charges.

The Explanation within Confession of Hope

If we rule out that Jaren Ward’s Ghost became Shin Malphur’s, how do we explain Shin’s Guardian abilities? Well, what if he was already a Guardian? Let’s look at the recently released lore entries from Forsaken; Confession of Hope.  In this two-part lore entry Ghost Tianshi recounts their resurrecting of a child as they attempted to guide a group of survivors to the Last City. In the first entry Tianshi describes the moment they resurrected the child:

I felt myself expand. Felt the Light that was me intensify. In a way, it was outside of my control, as if something had reached inside of me and flipped a switch. A beam erupted from my core and bathed with Light the child’s small, broken body.

This description of resurrection is very reminiscent of the opening mission from Destiny 1 where Ghost resurrects our Guardian. This was no mere scan, this was imbuing the child with the Traveler’s gift. I make note of this because, as we might recall from Last Word 3, Jaren Ward’s Ghost merely scans Shin Malphur as he had done before. Further this recounting of resurrection provides another fact that lends to the idea that Shin was a boy Guardian when he met Jaren Ward; child Guardians are entirely possible.
There’s even a slew of parallels from the two stories that may indicate Shin was Tianshi’s charge. Tianshi’s party when the story ends has nine people. The group of people Jaren Ward begins guiding to The Last City has nine people.  Shin grew up hearing stories about how he would one day get to see the City. Shin has referenced having three fathers, which would match up with the one mentioned in Confession of Hope and the two from The Last Word cards. Shin while appearing to be a normal boy is scanned by Jaren Ward’s Ghost and found to be “special.” The list goes on, but that’s more spinfoily than the intent of this article.

In Conclusion

If we review the things we do know however, these connections become much more possible. If all Ghosts have capacity for a single charge, then we have no reason to think Jaren Ward’s Ghost made Shin Malphur a Guardian. If only Guardians can manipulate the light and manifest things like a Golden Gun, then we have no reason to think Shin Malphur wasn’t a Guardian. If only Guardians can manipulate the light, which Shin does, and Ghosts can’t have more than one charge, then we have no reason to think Shin Malphur wasn’t a Guardian to begin with.

2 thoughts on “Shin Malphur – Boy Guardian

  1. There are 2 major problems this this theory.

    1st: risen don’t age, the only argument I’ve seen to counter this is they do but they reset upon respawn.

    2nd: if ghosts can only have 1 charge, that means jarens ghost can’t resurrect shin.

    This amounts to, shin has been alive and and aging for centuries but has never once died.

    Also, though I’m not 100% on this; ghost give us the ability to wield the light. Without a ghost we lose it like asher or eris. If this problem could be solved with another ghost (shin with jarens) them surely all the ghosts without guardians should pair with ghostless guardians.

    1. Thank you for the thoughtful reply!! To answer your questions….
      1) Risen are shown to age, IMO. We see this most notably I think in the Rise of Iron cut-scenes; Saladin has dark hair in the flashbacks but has grey hair in the present day. Aging is also noted in the description of the Drifter now that we’re in D2. It definitely seems to be a slower progression, but it’s there.
      2) You are correct, Jaren’s ghost cannot resurrect Shin. This is Shin’s only life and he has yet to die a second time(first death happening as a child and his second life beginning with Tianshi resurrecting him). That being said there *is* some merit that ghosts can find another charge, just not that Ghosts can work on people who are already risen/guardians. This is shown through Osiris’ lore cards where Sagria connects wit the ghost of a warlord and sends it to reconnect with the Traveler so it can then find another, more deserving, charge. This implies the ghost would be resurrecting someone new though, not that they can do so to other risen.

      Ghosts give guardians the ability to wield light, but this happens at first resurrection. After that all risen are able to wield light, ghost or not. In the case of Eris she has had to stop using her light in favor of studying darkness/magic because of her time trapped on the moon. I think you sort of touched upon why ghosts can’t link up with ghostless guardians; if they could the surely they would in greater numbers than only Jaren/Shin. I would say it’s more likely that they we don’t see that because they can’t. There are many stories of guardians who lose their ghosts who are relegated to Tower Duty(ex: Lush) or something because of their new risk of dying permanently. I would also add that if any ghost could resurrect any guardian then killing the ghost wouldn’t be the permanent death the lore portrays it as. Especially in the warlord era post collapse, there is a lot of finality in the writing when a ghost is put down after their risen is killed. None of that would actually matter if another ghost could resurrect them again.

      Hope that explains things a little further ^^

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