We recently were given the chance to sit in with Ree Soesbee in an exciting roundtable like Q&A session on her upcoming book: Sea of Sorrows. There are some interesting tidbits that we’ve learned about not only the production of the book, but on crafting the GW2 lore, zombies, and the books effect on the game. For those of you not in the know, Ree Soesbee is part of a team that created the lore, specifically the lore between the original Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2. From the very start, it was her and Jeff Grub who worked in tandem to craft the living and breathing world – including its history – which we’re all enjoying today.
The Book Itself
Find out more and details to purchase on the official site.
First, a little backstory on the book as it was presented to us. The book takes place 150 years before Guild Wars 2 and focuses primarily on the destruction (via Zhaitan awakening) and the re-establishment of Lion’s Arch. The main character, Cobiah Marriner (which has been retconned into the lore via statues and plaques), is a thief like character who goes through various stages of life both on land in sea during and after the cataclysm that destroys Lion’s Arch.
Cobiah is actually a pretty cool and interesting guy. He uses daggers, is rather mobile, and has a great hero background. His dad leaves when he’s young, his mom is abusive, and he had to protect his sister. It took to being a sailor when Orr rose and was thrown into a situation where he had to be a bad enough dude to do it all and spoilers – he did (since LA is in fine shape 150 years later). It’s like one of those stories where the ending is spoiled for you by playing the game or watching the original Star Wars trilogy before the new trilogy.
Ree did run into some difficulties in crafting the book. First, there are no ships and no navel combat in Guild Wars so all of that had to be created by her. The Asura ships for instance are going to be more magical while the Charr are cats, so they naturally hate water, but are also a race bent on war, so their ships will be sturdy and (while she didn’t exactly say it, I more or less imagine it) dreadnought -ish.
The other difficulty is making sure the book matches to the game – she personally explored LA countless times to make sure that areas matched up perfectly, the difficulty being she had to adjust the current world for not only 150 years ago, but also for its destruction and its rebuilding. Fans can expect copious amounts of tie-ins with the actual game.
One of the questions asked was – why zombies? In GW2 there is a lot of focus on the undead (or Risen), but it’s sort of something that isn’t very original or unique. Ree did outline the fact that the in-game zombies (or Risen) aren’t really zombies at all, but servants of Zhaitan. They are completely under his command and in her book it not only focuses on the Risen, but the people who first had to deal with them originally in addition to the people as their lives were before Zhaitan took control over them. They are far disconnected from George Romero type zombies. It’s not a plague, but an evil necromancer.
I think the Risen are a pretty good take on zombies myself, but feel free to leave any comments below on how you personally feel about a large portion of the game dealing with the undead.
Ree, if you don’t remember, actually wrote “Fear Not This Night.” She also wrote a Sea Shanty for the book. If this isn’t turned into an actual song for the game, then I feel that it is our civic duty to let @GuildWars2 know our support for more of Ree’s lyrical compositions.
Well that’s pretty much the interesting parts of the Q&A! The book comes out on June 25th and can be purchased from your favorite book retailer along with on the Kindle. You can also find out more information on the official site.