Category Archives: Zombies in Fantasy

Zombies in Fantasy: Diablo (Retrospective)

Standard

I won't mention Diablo III because I haven't played it yet. So stop asking.

It was his SLED. [Spoiler] That’s one of the zombies you fight in Diablo 2.

I like Diablo. And as of my previous article, you know I like Zombies. Not the zombies you see in horror films, although I enjoy those as well. No, I like the undead as staple in fantasy, because let’s face it: zombies would make a brilliant addition to a fantasy setting — hell, they might even be needed. It also suspends disbelief in the air— if you can set fire using incantations, or summon unholy beasts from beyond Space and Time; you most certainly can wake the dead.

The stories of the Undead stretched back as far as every Legend in culture, but the game Dungeons and Dragons was one of several that made the trope popular for the fantasy genre. Zombies, as always, are dark, deadly creatures that will fuck up your day if you let them. They’re also obviously a part of the fantasy genre. So, it would be fitting to insert them in Diablo — a Dark Fantasy series about fighting the forces of hell.

Zombies have always been aligned to the dark side, apparently—in Diablo, you have these Walkers shambling around with their less-skinned brethren, Skeletons, while in Diablo II you have foes that raise the dead. I don’t like the misconception that the raising the dead are necessarily evil—they could be used for good, too. I remember one bad-ass moment in the fifth installment of Percy Jackson wherein the god of the Dead, Hades, sets loose his army of skeletons to aid the Olympians. So it isn’t unheard of that necromancy is necessarily evil—it just lies very deep in Anti-Heroic territory, that we misconceive it to be evil. In short, it isn’t evil all the time.

Unless you want a bone spear tearing through your flesh, and the feeling of anguish as your body explodes, you probably don’t want to mess with this guy.

Which leads us to Diablo II, and the surprisingly-fun-to-use Necromancer.  I downloaded this game the other day, and I find it a lot of fun to play as the Necro, specifically the Summonmancer build. In the said build, my skills usually revolved around skeleton mastery and summoning thralls to fight for me. Which was totally the reflection of my personality.  (Hehe) And possibly, a stylistic preference.

A usual sight in Diablo 2: Skeletons, armed with scythes, running around your vicinity, killing everyone that isn’t your Friend, while you idly stand around and watch them do their thing, or even participate in the battles yourself. I certainly did that, cleaving other Undead, mutant beasts or demons in my way. Or blowing the crap out of them using my Corpse Explosion spell.

Anyway, I still love fighting the general Undead—there was a part in the second act where you fight these brilliant-looking (and not to mention Menacing) Greater Mummies, Undead that previously grafted animal parts on their bodies so that their powers would double in the Un-life. Their very appearance gives me this sudden feeling of dread, until I kill one, and I realize that if I could down one, I could use the aforementioned corpse explosion spell and blow the others up to bits.

I think Diablo is a very good example of how the Undead can be used for the side of good (or, atleast, it can be used for Anti-Heroic deeds), and still be menacing enough to be a horrifying foe. But that doesn’t make killing them less satisfying.

 

Aiodeus, the Necromancer!

This screencap is from my kick-ass adventures in the land of Sanctuary. My minions (excluding my sellsword) aren’t as outfitted with the state-of-the-art undead weaponry.

Edit: NO, I haven’t played Diablo III yet. Don’t wank about not finding it here, please. This is a retrospective. Diablo and Diablo II fit perfectly, since this is a retrospective article.

Zombies in Fantasy: The White Walkers of HBO’s Game of Thrones

Standard
The White Walkers, strange, terrifying creatures of the North. Eldrich Abominations, or just undead things?

A grimly accurate depiction. It’s like they stole it from my head.
Kidding.

I like zombies. Not because of the benefits of a zombie apocalypse, or the satisfaction of having a morally acceptable cannon fodder and killable monster,  but rather the overall undead appearance, and the metaphor it represents: a literal Walking Death to all it passes.

Yeah, the factors I said before those still matter–you can’t have one undead bastard running around without other undead bastards running around, hence a zombie apocalypse. They’re undead, and as such are probably a menace to the living (duh), so you have to kill them. Or, if you were a Necromancer, you could boss them around the like, because it’s awesome.

In HBO’s Game of Thrones, you’re given this intimidating impression that the White Walkers are just that, or at least their by-products are. Earlier in season one, you see a group of wildlings mercilessly killed.  A girl was left hanging on a tree branch during the encounter. Suffice to say, that girl, that creepy, creepy girl turns too look at the screen.

I won’t mention the moments afterwards, but that was horribly chilling (and how fitting! Being in the Wall and all.)

Image

Creepy shit.

 I think how they were elaborated on (the White Walkers, not the wildling girl), were pretty intimidating–raiding cities in the winter and what not, and it was, again, positively chilling to watch it unfold like that.  And the fact that the people they kill reanimate as wights, as if they weren’t deadly enough.

I think in the end the best thing about the white walkers is this impending sense of doom. Winter is Coming, as the Starks say, and with winter comes the White Walkers, with their undead army of wights.  And the Game of Thrones being played in King’s Landing would be all for naught, because Winter is coming.