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What Happens After a God Dies?

Apr 15, 2024
really in mourning. Not just Levias, but the broader, more abstract “Leviathan” of a functioning society. Not a Hobbesian community, but the kind of community that would not have forgotten this deity so easily. But should a dead god represent an end, or could it also represent a new beginning? Although less common, there are stories in which the death of a god brings new life and his remains serve as the foundation on which something new is built. Marvel Comics' city of Knowhere is built on the skull of a fallen celestial, basically that universe's equivalent of a god. In the animated series The Owl House, an entire civilization thrives on the bones of a still-decaying deity.
what happens after a god dies
I've said the word "rot" many times in this video, but in nature, rot is not something inherently negative. The decaying remains of a whale-like leviathan can feed other life forms for years, even decades. These events are called whale falls, and while I talk more about them in my video on Dead Worlds, it's worth reiterating how much life these sea gods bring to the ocean floor, whose skeletons become miniature ecosystems. Has such a form of life even died? But there is another type of divine skeleton that produces another type of rot. The most disturbing region in the Subnautica game is the Lost River, a harmful environment flooded with toxic brine.
what happens after a god dies

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And at the center of these consequences are the bones of the gigantic Leviathan, a creature much larger than the other life forms in the game that borders on the divine. There is a sense that the decay of Leviathan is


is creating this poisonous brine, that its power still haunts the environment after death. But even here there are creatures that have adapted to this brackish wasteland. In fact, some species seem to thrive down here, and their entire life cycle is tied to these pestilent remains. Life in such a polluted and adversarial Leviathan is a struggle, it is unpleasant, but it is still a life.
what happens after a god dies
On Earth, contaminated sacred sites are rarely abandoned by the people who worship them. There are no statistics on how many sacred bo


of water or mountains have been contaminated over the years, but a quick search shows the numbers to be in the hundreds, if not thousands. Many of these sites are still visited regularly by people who must risk their own health to continue their lifestyle. And most of these sacred landmarks are far from impossible to save. Even Everest, despite the severity of its trash accumulation, could once again be a healthy region. But it would require effort, a change in the way these places are unprotected.
what happens after a god dies
It would require fighting. Hyper Light Drifter is a game about fighting for your life, no matter the conditions or the titans fallen before you. At least, I think that's


it's about. See, Hyper Light Drifter doesn't contain a single line of dialogue and communicates its themes entirely through visual and environmental storytelling. And the images that leave the biggest impact are easily the remains of the Titans. These immense beings lie scattered throughout the land, and their presence is... well, it is daunting to say the least. Because there's a rot, a disease, slowly taking over the character you play, seemingly related to whatever took down the Titans.
Although there is evidence that the titans were not the nicest of creatures, if all these beings, these gods, have perished, what chance do you have? The theme of Hyper Light Drifter is rooted in personal experience. Lead designer Alx Preston was born with a worsening heart condition, which he cites as inspiration for the game's presentation. You can also see this in the game's studio title, Heart Machine... and in the Titan's giant, literal heart you can find that, even though a body has been stolen, it continues to beat. Like the drowned giant, one of the titans has been disrespectfully cut into pieces, and yet its fractured parts continue to function.
Alx Preston, who by the way is still creating games, knew that Hyper Light Drifter could be his last project, and yet he went ahead and created something that will last long into the future. At the end of The Drowned Giant, the narrator is surprised to discover that some of the being's bones have become part of the town, and its scattered parts have become structures and supports for the houses. Although the Giant has disappeared, his influence has not. It reminds me of a story from Norse mythology. Although only briefly mentioned in God of War, in the original Norse myth there is another giant-turned-divine corpse named Ymir.
After his death, Ymir's body becomes the foundation of the entire world: “From the flesh of Ymir the earth was formed, and from his bones the mountains were made; The sky of the cold frost giant's skull and the ocean of his blood. Something can still be made from the body of a fallen leviathan, even if it is not the same as before. Perhaps it is wrong of me to wish that Levias had remained the same. I don't know what life he may have nurtured, what ecosystems fed on his remains. Levias still exists, both in my memories (and on my Wii if I turn it on again because it's from a video game, but, you know, metaphor).
The Leviathan of civilization also endures. Although much of the world of Breath of the Wild has been destroyed, there are pockets of survivors from which a community could emerge. Perhaps that society would revere Levias, not for the god of the heavens he once was, but for the modest refuge his remains now offer. Zelda games have always had a sense of decaying divinity, that the land itself was once sacred and is now decaying. Even the brightest titles can capture this feeling. But there is also a constant sense that all is not lost yet, that the world can be rebuilt on the basis of what came before. “For me, the giant is still alive,” the narrator states at the end of The Drowned Giant. “I often dream of his resurrection.
A colossus, walking the streets of the city... picking up the fragments of itself on its journey back to the sea..." And as always, thanks for watching. If you enjoyed this post, please support by liking, subscribing and hitting the notification icon to stay updated on all things Curious. See you in the next video.

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