Warning! Spoilers ahead. If you are yet to complete Fontaine's Archon Quests, this article will be chock full of spoilers. You have been warned~
With the conclusion of the Fontaine Archon Quest in Genshin Impact version 4.2, the stakes have never been higher.
Focalors, the Hydro Archon, is dead and only her human aspect, Furina, remains. With Focalors' death, the divine authority over the Hydro element from the throne of the Hydro Archon has also been returned to Neuvillette, the Hydro Dragon Sovereign.
The Fatui Harbinger Arlecchino has also gained possession of the Hydro Gnosis, which means only the Pyro Gnosis remains unclaimed by the Fatui. Not only that, the Traveler has also learned that the Gnoses were created from the remains of the mysterious Third Descender.
All these events, especially the death of Focalors and the passing of the authority over Hydro to Neuvillette, should have prompted a response from Celestia. After all, these are very real threats to their rule over Teyvat. But for some reason, the Heavenly Principles did seem to raise a finger to such challenges to its authority.
Now this begs the question, what is happening with Celestia? Let's look into what lore has been made available in the game to understand the inaction of one of Genshin Impact's looming primary antagonists.
Is Celestia dormant?
In the final Act of the Sumeru Archon Quest, the Dendro Archon Nahida said that the Sustainer of Heavenly Principles — the unknown god that presumably rules over Celestia and prevented the Traveler Twins from leaving Teyvat — has been silent since the Cataclysm 500 years ago.
In her confrontation with the Fatui Harbinger Il Dottore, she used the threat of destroying the Dendro Gnosis to awaken the Heavenly Principles as a bluff.
Now, I wouldn't go against the God of Wisdom's judgment, so let's assume that Nahida is correct that the destruction of a Gnosis or any similar action that threatened Celestia's authority would awaken the Heavenly Principles.
With that in mind, wouldn't the death of the Hydro Archon and the passing of her authority to a Dragon Sovereign — whose ancestors the Heavenly Principles had to defeat in order to establish their rule over Teyvat — be enough to spur action from Celestia?
Not only that, other threats to their authority in the form of the Fatui and their collection of six Gnoses as well as the stil rampant Abyss Order remain unchallenged.
Any sensible ruler would do well to stamp out any attempts of rebellion before it can fully develop to an existential threat. It's hard to imagine that Celestia would be so incompetent to ignore such threats, so the logical assumption would be that the Heavenly Principles are somehow dormant and unable to act.
The most likely reason why Celestia has been unusually silent is because of the Cataclysm, just like Nahida said.
After all, it was an apocalyptic event that led to the fall of the nation of Khaenri'ah, the death of the original Electro, Dendro, and Hydro Archons as well as countless others, and widespread destruction all across the world.
Even if the Heavenly Principles is the supreme power in Teyvat, the Cataclysm seems to have taken its toll on them too. It did lead to the deaths of three Archons, who can be presumed to be just a step below them in terms of power and authority.
Perhaps the Cataclysm was such a Pyrrhic victory for Celestia that it sapped them of their strength and forced them to go dormant and recover. And even after 500 years, they may not have regained enough strength to respond to the threats against their rule in present time.
There are precedents for this. Venti, also known as the Anemo Archon Barbatos, is known to fall into a deep sleep for many years and only awaken when there are significant threats to Mondstadt.
The Stove God Marchosius, after exhausting almost all of his power, saw his physical size and intelligence greatly reduced and became the adorable Guoba. This even links to another theory that Paimon may actually be what became of the Heavenly Principles after the Cataclysm, but that's a theory for another day...
But even if Celestia being dormant remains the most likely possibility, there are also other explanations for their inaction. A compelling one we'd like to explore is that...
Celestia is dead
In Genshin Impact, dead gods don't just stay silent in their graves.
The late Electro Archon Makoto was able to seal a part of her consciousness within the Musou Isshin, the blade now wielded by her twin sister Ei. The late Dendro Archon Rukkhadevata was also able to seal a part of her consciousness within the Irminsul before Nahida deleted her from existence at her own request.
Even the slain and defeated gods from the Archon War maintain some presence in the world, as their remains taint and corrupt their surroundings. One such example is the Wolf God Andrius, who chose to give up his physical body instead of ascending into Archonhood and now lives on as a spirit in Wolvendom.
So if all those dead gods still leave tangible traces behind after their deaths, then why is Celestia — an entity more powerful than the gods we've mentioned — so silent if they are dormant?
Maybe it's because Celestia is dead and their silence can be attributed to them being so far removed from the world in their floating city in the sky.
After the Cataclysm, wouldn't the Heavenly Principles even in a dormant state still exert some presence in the world? Even while asleep, their power should still exert influence that can be seen as signs that they are still around. But yet they have been silent and inactive for centuries now, even as multiple threats to their authority have risen up and grown stronger.
Perhaps the biggest sign that Celestia may actually be dead is the Traveler's awakening. At the start of the game, the Heavenly Principles was shown sealing the Traveler Twins through some unknown power. The Traveler's Twin was the first to awaken while the Traveler would do so shortly before the start of the game.
It could be possible that after the Catacylsm, the Heavenly Principles was greatly weakened that they could not recover and eventually died after some time. With their death, the power they used to seal the Traveler Twins was undone and eventually led to their awakening.
While we admit that it's a very unlikely possibility, it is certainly compelling. After all, imagine what chaos would ensue when the Fatui, Abyss Order, and the resurgent Dragon Sovereigns discover that the thrones in the sky they are looking to usurp have been empty all this time?
Or perhaps Celestia is still alive after all, just merely biding their time and waiting for the perfect time to act.
Of course, these are all just theories. Even if the Fontaine Archon Quest has concluded already, we still have to spend some time in the nation before we move on to Natlan. There could be a world-shattering Interlude Quest preceding the Traveler's move to Natlan. And who knows what awaits us in the Nation of Pyro?
Genshin Impact is currently in the second half of version 4.2, which features reruns for Cyno and Kamisato Ayato. If you're turn on whether or not you should pull on their banners, we've got you covered.
After version 4.2 comes version 4.3, which features the debuts of Navia and Chevreuse.
Yan Ku is a full-time dog parent, part-time (gacha) gamer, and part-time writer.