Destiny 2 Is Finally Getting A Villain Worth Caring About
Next month’s expansion, The Witch Queen, marks the beginning of the end for a Destiny 2 storyline that began, technically, at the beginning of time. Savathun, the titular Witch Queen, made her grand entrance late last year at the beginning of the Season of the Lost after posing as Osiris for most of Beyond Light. While we’ve just been formally introduced to Destiny 2’s next Big Bad, Savathun is not a new character in the way that past villains like Eramis, Riven, and Ghaul before her. Savathun represents an extraordinary moment of payoffs for Destiny players and a significant turning point for the narrative, which has often suffered from episodic, disjointed storytelling. The wait for the Witch Queen has been long, but Bungie is finally delivering the kind of high profile villain Destiny has always needed.
Savathun is a Hive god – one of the children of the Osmium King born on the gas giant Fundament, who made a pact with the primordial worm gods at the dawn of time. We first learned about the Savathun, her sister Xivu Arath, and her brother Oryx, during the Taken King expansion in the first Destiny. Since then, Savathun has been working behind the scenes, pulling the strings and manipulating events at almost every turn.
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It was her Hive forces that infested the Titan arcology and turned a fireteam of Guardians into Void Light crystals during Operation Caliban. It was her Taken army that tried to corrupt the Vex at the Pyramidion and her envoys that took over the Hellas Basin on Mars. Savathun is responsible for Riven’s manipulation of Uldren Sov and the death of Cayde-6. We’ve slain all three of her children, most recently her daughter Dul Incaru in the Shattered Throne, as well as her brother Oryx, the Taken King. Savathun used Nokris to try to interrupt our meeting with the Darkness during Arrivals, and she has been masquerading as Osiris ever since. With the release of the Witch Queen next month, it will finally be time to face Savathun head-on and take our revenge for everything she’s caused.
This isn’t at all typical for a Destiny 2 expansion. Beyond Light featured the rise of Eramis, a hitherto unknown Fallen Kell of the House of Salvation who was only briefly mentioned once before during Destiny’s House of Wolves expansion. Shadowkeep introduced us to the Nightmares of the Moon, but there was no true villain to point to. Forsaken had three main villains – Uldren, Fikrul, and Riven – but only Uldren was known to us beforehand, and of course, was an unknowing puppet of Riven. And Dominus Ghoul, the main antagonist from the original Red War campaign, had never been mentioned before the release of Destiny 2.
But now we can see how all of these separate events were building towards The Witch Queen and what comes after in Lightfall and The Final Shape. When the Traveler killed Ghaul at the end of the Red War, it spread its light across the universe and seemingly signaled to the Darkness that it had finally awoken. The events of Forsaken were very much a prequel to Witch Queen that established Savathun’s influence and power, while Shadowkeep introduced us to the black pyramids and the forces of the Darkness for the first time, setting the stage for the war to come between Savathun, the Darkness, and the Guardians of Light. In Beyond Light, we learned to wield the power of Darkness and discovered that Stasis is merely a tool to be wielded, shattering our preconceived notions about good and evil and redrawing the battle lines. As Season of the Lost concludes and we help Savathun sever her connection to her sister Xivu Arath – the most powerful envoy of the Darkness that we know of – there’s no doubt that we’re jumping into the most consequential era of Destiny 2 to date.
There are bigger, more important battles ahead of us, but The Witch Queen is the first step into the grand finale of what Bungie calls The Light and Dark Saga. Savathun is no mere villain of the week like so many big bads before her. She’s so influential in fact that her leading role in The Witch Queen recontextualizes all of the battles we’ve fought in the past. Destiny has needed a villain like Savathun for a long time, and even though she’s been there all along, I can’t wait to finally meet her on her throne world and show her all the weapons I’ve collected from the corpses of her children.
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