The Case of a Savathun Redemption Arc
Destiny 2 has a plethora of evil characters who serve themselves, darkness, or both. However, perhaps none are as notorious as the Witch Queen Savathun. Originally called Sathona, a Krill from the planet Funadment billions of years ago, Sathona listened to her father’s dead worm tell of a cataclysm destined to destroy her world. Sathona descended deep into the oceans of Fundament with her two sisters and discovered the gods to whom granted them immortality and the powers of darkness.
Destiny 2 has woven an intricate story around the brutality of Savathun, who uses his cunning and knowledge to manipulate friend and foe alike to further his cause. Using his skills, Savathun was arguably the Guardians’ toughest foe. His true motives remain obscure through outright attacks or disguising himself as Osiris in the Last City to learn more about the Guardians. However, The Witch Queen expansion the story enhances the lore around Savathun, hinting at possible redemption.
Question the logic of the sword
When Sathona and her sisters took the worm larvae and formed a symbiotic relationship to become Hive Gods, they discovered that they would forever need to nurture their worms through violence following the logic of the sword. – an ideology in which those who cannot defend themselves do not deserve to exist. As the sisters gained more knowledge and power, they also honed their skills against each other, following the same logic. Embracing the views of darkness, the Hive Gods sought to liberate the universe by removing decay – the weakest life forms – to form a final repeating form.
Destiny 2 lore dating back to Taken King reveals insight into Savathun’s mind, which questions the logic of the sword and the nature of the worms. She remarks that she hasn’t found any proof that this is false, but suspects that may be the case. Although this train of thought came long before The Witch Queen’s expansion, Destiny 2 the writers have created an explicit and intentional saga.
Further evidence of Savathun questioning her belief in sword logic comes during the Forsaken expansion, where she plans to refinance her existence from an economy of violence to an economy of secrets. While this shows his haughtiness and pride, Savathun’s continued questioning of continued violence underlies his abandonment of total devotion. The path to redemption is never easy, but recognizing that one’s motives are wrong can start that journey.
remove the worm
After abducting and impersonating the Warlock Osiris, Savathun arrives at the Dreaming City to speak with Mara Sov, ruler of the Awoken. Savathun offers Mara Sov a deal: if she helps eliminate the worm, Savathun will render Osiris unscathed, help defeat the Dark Fleet, and end the curse on the Dreaming City. Mara Sov agrees, but secretly hopes to destroy the Witch Queen in her weakened state. The worm’s exorcism is successful and Osiris is back, but a crystal fragment stabs Savathun as she flees.
Mara Sov keeps the Worm of Savathun alive to learn more about the Witness and Witch Queen’s role in the collapse of humanity hundreds of years before. The worm reveals that when the witness set his sights on the traveler to destroy him, Savathun used his cunning to push the witness back out of the solar system. While her actions were not done to serve humanity but to protect the Traveler, Savathun turned against the Darkness. Knowing that death is possible without her worm, she still sets out on a quest to remove it and further separate herself from the entity that requires death and conquest to survive.
Back as Guardian
In the Destiny 2 universe, the Traveler granted the powers of Light to humans, Awoken, and Exos, creating Ghosts to revive and guide them. When the ghosts revive their guardian, the resurrected do not retain their memories, causing the ghost and other artifacts to transition their memories. Ghosts are tied to a particular guardian and can spend hundreds of years searching for their counterpart. Throughout the tradition, the traveler is believed to choose people based on some inherent or noble qualities.
As The Witch Queen campaign follows the Guardians trying to uncover how Savathun stole the Light from the Traveler, a massive story twist reveals that the Traveler granted Savathun the power of Light alongside a Ghost, Immaru, after the death of the Witch Queen. Additionally, the Guardian’s actions restored Savathun’s memories. The Traveler was seen as a benevolent guardian of humanity, so his actions granting power to Savathun open up possibilities for Savathun to try to redeem himself.
The story of the Witch Queen reveals how Savathun received the light and sheds more light on the origin of the Hive Gods billions of years ago. The enigmatic Witness, an incarnation or child of Darkness, has planned the plan to grant Light to the Krill species. To prevent this, the witness lied about the cataclysm that befell the Foundation through the familiar dead worm that Sathona took from her father.
Although it is implied that Savathun may have suspected this truth, his discovery sends him into a violent and tragic rage, contrary to his generally calm and omniscient demeanor. This outburst reinforces the emotions she had already begun to feel while impersonating Osiris, though Savathun struggles to fully comprehend them. With such manipulation played out on the Goddess of Deceit and her growing sentimental emotions, time will tell if Savathun redeems herself.
Destiny 2 created a rich and compelling villain. While Savathun’s genocidal conquests are undoubtedly vile, the discovery of his manipulation by darkness through parasitic worm larvae lays the groundwork for redemption. The fact that Savathun begins to question her actions and eliminates the parasite within her indicates that she still has a vital role to play.
Destiny 2 is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.
MORE: Destiny 2: Why The Pyramid Ships Of Darkness Have Been So Quiet