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"I don't have time to explain why I don't have time to explain."
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This article is about the defenders of Earth. For the character, see The Guardian.

Focal world(s):

Solar System


Protect the Solar System from threats at all cost, both alien and Solar System-born alike
Restore peace and order
Defend the traveler and the city

At war with:




Average lifespan:


Notable groups:

Iron Lords
Iron Wolves
The Hidden

Notable individuals:

Uldren Sov
Commander Zavala
The Speaker
Lord Saladin Forge
Lord Shaxx
Ikora Rey
The Guardian
Anastasia Bray

Other Names:

"The Risen" [1]
"Light Infused Warlords"

"We take our first breath, with no memory of who we were before, yet we are inexorably drawn to the Light. We fight, we die, and we live again."
— Commander Zavala.

The Guardians, once known as The Risen and Light-bearers, are a faction of protectors tasked with defending the Last City and Solar System against the forces of the Darkness, the Taken, the Red Legion, Scorn, and various other threats.


"Legends are carved across history by the brave."
— Grimoire Description.

Guardians of the present are chosen from the ranks of ancient dead by the Ghosts of the Traveler, deemed worthy of resurrection by their past lives and compatibility with their Ghosts,[2] upon their first resurrection, the Guardian will have no memories of their past life, and the deliberate pursuit of information on their past life is forbidden. The Guardians have defended the City for centuries, however, that defense cannot hold out forever.[3] Guardians are charged with the protection of humanity's survivors, but many have splintered off into other groups with their own agendas. For example, it is commonplace for Guardians to align with one of the City's several Factions for support. Some, however, leave the City altogether, such as those aligned with Concordat or the Cult of Osiris. Few have turned their back on the Light and humanity all-together, such as the villainous Dredgen Yor, the original wielder of Thorn.

Guardians are equipped with an advanced arsenal of weaponry and vehicles, as well as the ability to channel the Traveler's power (referred to by some as "magic").[4] It is said that Guardians rarely speak.[5]

Thanks to their Ghosts, Guardians are effectively immortal in most situations. They take advantage of this fact in a number of ways, whether its the live-fire training exercises of the Crucible and Lord Shaxx, or by making new discoveries via visions as Thanatonauts. However, Guardians can be permanently killed if their light is drained by a powerful enemy, such as powerful figures of the Darkness or if their Ghost is destroyed. According to Emperor Calus, it is possible to permanently kill Guardians without having to drain their light first, but the method of how to do this has been forgotten by the Red Legion.[6]

Guardians can also be killed permanently by destroying their Ghost first, removing their ability to resurrect, then killing the Guardian. [7]


Dark Age[edit]

The Guardians' origins are rooted in the very origins of the Last City itself, in the Dark Age that followed the Collapse.[8] In the earliest days, when the survivors of the Collapse were gathering beneath the Traveler and groups like Takanome's Rangers were all that separated refugees elsewhere from certain death, the Guardians were known as The Risen. Having been granted the power to wield the Light by their Ghosts, The Risen lacked a common, unifying purpose, and took up roles as enforcers and bodyguards for the first Factions of what would become the Last City. As the Factions feuded over their competing ideologies and competed for influence among the residents of the fledgling city under the Traveler, some of The Risen became disillusioned and abandoned their Factions, seeking a higher purpose. With tensions between the Factions already near the boiling point, this triggered the Faction Wars, a violent conflict that only ended when The Risen ceased fighting each other in order to unite against a new enemy that threatened them all: the Fallen. In the end, the Fallen were repelled, the Factions' iron grip was broken, the city under the Traveler became the Last City with massive walls erected to protect it, and The Risen became known as the Guardians.[9]

Outside the Last City, various Guardians also set themselves up as petty kings across Earth. Known as Warlords, they forced villages to accept their "protection" in return for tribute and warred with each other for territory. Eventually, four warriors who fought against the Warlords' tyranny, Radegast, Jolder, Perun, and Saladin, joined together to form a force for good modeled after the knightly orders of old. They became the first Iron Lords. Over the years, the Iron Lords' numbers swelled into the hundreds as they defeated Warlord after Warlord and destroyed their Ghosts to ensure their executions were permanent. A number of Warlords, such as Felwinter, even decided to join the Iron Lords' cause. When the Warlords were vanquished, the Iron Lords set about rebuilding human civilization, but this unfortunately led to their downfall. Hoping to harness the Golden Age technology known as SIVA, they breached Site 6 and awoke the Warmind Rasputin, who activated SIVA as a defense mechanism. In the ensuing conflict, all of the Iron Lords perished but two: Saladin, who took it upon himself to guard what remained of the Iron Lord's legacy, and Efrideet, who fled the destruction and hid far from civilization. Saladin sealed the Iron Temple as a monument to his fallen friends, and took up managing the Iron Banner tournament at the Tower.

Red War[edit]

The Guardian ranks would be thrown into discord after the destruction of The Last City by Dominus Ghaul, commander of the Red Legion, one year after the SIVA Crisis and two years after the Taken War, after the Skyburner's distress signal reached Dominus Ghaul.[10][11]

Guardian forces were left powerless after the Light had been sealed by the Traveler Cage, and were hunted en masse by Red Legion forces, with many being executed. Though trapped, the Traveler sent visions to the now lightless Guardians to seek out one of its fragments in the European Dead Zone, whereby they could regain their powers. Dominus Ghaul attempted and failed to win the Traveler's approval and make him into a Guardian, and simply took the light by force. When he gloated in front of the Traveler, the Traveler suddenly broke its cage and destroyed Ghaul, as well as slowly healing itself by drawing fragments back into itself. With the invasion ended and the city retaken, the Traveler was declared no longer dead but living once more, thus bringing back the light to the guardians all over again.


In a prison break at the Prison of Elders, Cayde-6 was permanently killed by Uldren Sov, resulting in decreased morale among the Guardians. The Vanguard ordered every available Guardian to track down and eliminate or capture every escapee from the Prison, but it still wasn't enough to prevent them from terrorizing the Solar system. One Guardian journeyed to the Reef and hunted down Cayde's killers, Uldren and the Scorn Barons.

After avenging Cayde, the Guardian discovered the Dreaming City, and Mara Sov ordered Petra Venj to allow Guardians into the city to combat the Taken corruption that was spreading through the city. This culminated in a Raid into the center of the Dreaming City by a fireteam of Guardians, where they successfully freed Kalli and Shuro Chi from being Taken, then killed Riven, of a Thousand Voices. However, in death, Riven granted one last wish to an entity Riven only referred to as "She".

Black Armory[edit]

Following the events of Forsaken, Uldren Sov was revived by a Ghost as a Guardian of the Light at his resting place in the Dreaming City.


There are three classes of Guardian: Hunters, Warlocks, and Titans. Hunters utilize swiftness, precision, and stealth to efficiently slay their enemies. Warlocks have the least amount of armor but the fastest regeneration and utilize a variety of projectile attacks in their abilities. Titans are able to both take and deal massive amounts of damage, prioritizing either one depending on their subclass. [12] Titans emphasize armor and raw power, while warlocks emphasize the use of their magical abilities and agility. Hunters fall in between both classes.[13] The Guardians include members of the human, Awoken and Exo races, and can be either male or female.

While the choice of race is mostly aesthetic, the choice of class will have more impact. Note that all three classes have access to the same weapons, and are not "locked in" to any particular role. However, each class can specialize in a particular direction depending on which subclass the player is using. Choices of subclass will determine what Super the player can use, as well as what bonuses and other lesser abilities they'll have access to. Subclasses can be leveled up and switched on the fly, allowing a single character a degree of flexibility for different combat scenarios.

Guardians have three base stats determined by their choice of subclass: Armor (shield strength), Agility (movement speed and jump height), and Recovery (shield regeneration speed). Each class emphasizes each of these stats differently but can be modified slightly. Choice of armor can boost any of the three cooldown stats: Strength (melee cooldown), Discipline (grenade cooldown), and Intellect (Super cooldown).

While players gain levels with experience, these levels are mainly for determining what gear and missions are unlocked. The player's actual strength is determined by Light levels. Light represents the average attack and defense values of the player's currently equipped weapons and armor; every mission has a recommended light level, so players who meet that recommendation are more likely to succeed said mission.[14] Generally speaking, items with more rarity have a higher light level than others.

Guardian Organizations[edit]

Tower Leadership[edit]



Other groups[edit]


  • Over the course of the series, the Guardians have received various titles and names for their efforts and adventures. Among them are Hivebane, Wolf-slayer, Killer of Wolves, Warrior of Light, Oryx-slayer or Slayer of Oryx, and recently Young Wolf and Lord Guardian. In Destiny 2, Emperor Calus called the Guardians Light-borne and Traveler-spawn.
  • Guardians are suggested to not require sleep to function. It is unknown if this applies to all Guardians or only Warlocks.[16]
  • Guardians are the first faction of undead beings seen in the Destiny series, the second being Hive, and the third being Scorn.
  • The Spider fallen mob boss calls the Guardians Lightmongers.





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List of appearances[edit]