The Guardian Angel from Borderlands: A theory

A being of legends

A being of legends.

With the second Borderlands game coming out on September 18, fans are getting excited, and I count myself in there. I mean, how can I not be excited? The launch is the day after my birthday. It’s almost as if it were on purpose; simply a great gift.

Anyways, onto the topic.

Borderlands is a great game. While many people may debate on the definition of fun, this is what it was for me: simply fun.

However, that is not what I’m here to discuss. I want to talk about the Guardian Angel, and my view of this being. I’m not saying that the theory is mine alone, I’m just going to expose my view on this topic.

Be warned though, if you have not played Borderlands, or are trying to avoid information about Borderlands 2, there may be spoilers ahead.

So, what is the Guardian Angel?

“Now, go. I’ll be watching.”

Notice how I ask “what” and not “who”? This is because the most popular theories for the GA (Guardian Angel) are about her being a program or AI, left on the Hyperion satellite that orbits Pandora a long time ago, made by the Hyperion company or the Eridian race, in order to keep luring to Pandora the “right kind of people”  so they (whoever is/was in control of the AI/program) would remain in control of whatever was in the Vault.

Other popular theories are that she is in fact of the Eridian race, and that she is the program gone rogue that Tannis created in order to translate the Eridian language.

My theory however is that she is very alive. That she is, in fact, a Siren.

A Small Bio about the Sirens

Lilith, Maya and Steele.

The next facts are taken from Borderlands Wiki:

Sirens are people who have been altered by alien technology into an enhanced being with superhuman abilities.
“There are reportedly six Sirens in existence at the time that the events in Borderlands take place. The player character Lilith is one of them, and part of the reason that she is on Pandora involves searching for another whom she believes to be on the planet.
  • Sirens are born, not made. The tattoos are a side-effect of being a siren.
  • According to the Bradygames Strategy Guide, there are thirteen Sirens in existence.
Each Siren has an ability unique to themselves. For example, Lilith has the ability to Phasewalk through another dimension for a short period of time, and Maya has the ability to Phaselock enemies, rendering them completely immobile.”

So, we have the information that there are not six, but thirteen sirens in existence, in the whole universe. How do we know that it’s not only on Pandora? Because Lilith came to Pandora in order to search for a siren that is rumored to be there.

Unlike what we could have concluded with the first game, all sirens don’t have the same powers; there is Lilith, who can Phasewalk, and Maya, who can Phaselock. The only thing that seems to be a recurrent theme here, is that they use an alternate dimension with their abilities (yes, according to the wiki, Phaselock locks the enemies in another dimension).

And we are not talking about Commander Steele here, who also has similar tattoos to those of the sirens in her body. Yes, I know she is supposed to be the old model for Lilith, but they could have removed the tattoos if they didn’t mean anything (Or perhaps not. Who knows, maybe that’s a very hard thing to do? I don’t want to think this was the case, though).

The Message on Tannis’ Wall

Tannis trying to analize the Guardian Angel.


You are the Design Output that travels in the loop of Pandora to the final Result, back to the beginning where you do it all again and again and again and again. These calculations confirm that you exist in some kind of circular reality.

She is talking of course, of that being that keeps trying to communicate with her. Keep in mind that Tannis has a very hard time believing in anything that can not be explained with science, hence her analysis on the wall of the GA.

You are the Design Output that travels in the loop of Pandora to the final Result, back to the beginning where you do it all again and again and again and again.

While this seems like an obvious description of a satellite orbiting a planet, it’s explaining more things that don’t really fit into that description. If the message ended in the “loop of Pandora” part, then yes, I would agree that it just means a satellite… but Tannis takes the message further, saying that it travels to the “final Result”. The final Result is, in fact, the opening of the vault every 200 years; we can conclude this because, right after she says this, she says “back to the beginning where you do it all again”, which means that this is an event that keeps happening no matter what… and what is the only event that takes place in Pandora again and again and again and again? The vault being opened every 200 years; hence, the loop.

This also means that the GA is either immortal, or has lived for a very long time; at least to see the vault being opened more than once. We don’t know for how long have the sirens been around, nor how long they can live, so this is all a possibility.

The Eridians are a very old race, and as we can see from the Wiki, sirens are not made, they are born, and also have been altered with alien technology. The GA could simply be the result of the very first experiment an alien race (I am going to go with the Eridians, since the glowing marks on their structures resemble the sirens tattoos) made on a pregnant human female; the very first siren.

The problem with this part for me is that, it makes no sense that they made her so long ago, and that new sirens are popping up in the present time. A plot hole in my theory.

So, what can the Guardian Angel do?

For what we can tell from the game, she:

  • Projects herself to you and send you messages. She doesn’t need the ECHONet to contact you, only to get feedback; the two most obvious examples of this are the time she talks to you on the bus before the claptrap has given you the ECHOnet, and the time you lose communication with everybody because de ECHOnet system is down.
  • Uses machines (like the ECHONet) in order to guide you through Pandora. While the ECHONet is mostly used for communications, she doesn’t need it to reach you, only to see you. She must have some kind of link with the player to be able to project herself to you like that, but must need a machine (like lets say, the satellite) in order to see you.
  • See through time and space! No, really. She somehow must be able to see the future, or multiple futures, because she chooses to make happen the only one in which Pandora and its inhabitants wont perish because of the Destroyer.

How can I be so sure of this? Well, because of her last message to you:

“You opened the Vault. I’m sorry I couldn’t warn you about what was in it, but for you to be there to stop it, it couldn’t have unfolded any other way. You did well, and your actions haven’t gone unrewarded. The Key won’t open the Vault for another 200 years, but I’m sure Tannis will pay you quite the fortune for it! Now, go. I’ll be watching.”

She knew.

  • She can also live forever, or for a very long time. Or who knows, maybe she is sending this messages from a whole different moment in time! Yay.

So, if Maya can Phaselock, and Lilith can Phasewalk, then the GA can Phasetime?

In Conclusion

To be honest, I never liked the idea of her being just a program. She seems to be too human for it (and I don’t mean about how she looks, but how she acts too). She uses hope, deception, trickery, and so on, in order to control the player, and she feels genuinely frustrated when she loses control of the situation (although this could also be said of the claptraps… ). And even though she does all of this, she is empathic with the player; she knows what the player is feeling, and in the end apologizes for the lies, but she clearly understood what the player was feeling every step of the way.

What makes sense to me is that the Guardian Angel is a Siren. That her ability is to use another dimension to quickly project herself to the player, and that she can use the technology in the planet in order to see you on the map; for all you know, she may be able to see your face, but it’s easier to guide you when she can track you on a map, with the help of any given technology. She has been around for a very long time, and we don’t know for certain how long sirens live and she is a being from old legends.

Maybe she was the first one, maybe that’s how she knows about what’s in the vault, maybe the Eridians themselves left her there; maybe she has her own agenda, or maybe she was hired by the Hyperion company a long time ago, maybe she founded it! Yes, those are a lot of maybes, I know, but still. These are just wild possibilities.

It has been confirmed that she is coming back for Borderlands 2; as I said before, one of the popular theories is that she is an AI inside the Hyperion satellite that gets activated every 200 years to prevent the Vault from opening. If this were so, then why is she coming back for the next game, that we know for a fact that does not take place 200 years after the first one?

And lastly, here is another interesting tidbit from a Borderlands 2 trailer:

Well, would you look at that, a winged Lilith.

From this trailer:

Now we just have to wait for the second game and see if they can give us an explanation about the Guardian Angel.


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