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What is Canon and why does it need polishing?

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#1 BladeLakem

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 10:52 PM

Welcome to Polishing Canon! This forum is focused on discussing the nature of Canon in Uru and the D'niverse. This is also the place to discuss how to integrate stories and characters into Canon, as well as discussing when and how to break from Canon to forge your own path.

Below is a brief discussion of Canon, which will be updated regularly.

What is Canon?
Canon is the body of information that is considered true and factual within a continuity of story and/or history.

Within the context of the D'niverse, canon defines the details of the D'ni, the Art of Linking, the lives of Atrus and family, etc. For example, it is canon that the D'ni fled Ronay to Earth around 10,000 years ago.

The ultimate authority on what is Canon is Cyan World, and more specifically Richard A. Watson (aka RAWA), the official D'ni historian at Cyan.

Ambiguity of Canon, Levels of Canon and Artistic License
The Canon of the D'niverse has gotten a bit vague in several places over the years, due to changes in development of the story and contradictions between various games and novels. Different games have presented details of the world differently, either due to technical limitations or business needs. Some decisions were made to retcon aspects of the world as well. In addition, there are areas which are deliberately vague and, in all likelihood, will never be clarified by Cyan.

As I mentioned above, the ultimate authority on Canon is RAWA and Cyan. What RAWA says is true is the 'most real' aspects of the D'niverse. This is the most authoritative aspect of Canon.

Slightly less authoritative are the Uru games (Uru: Ages Beyond Myst and the expansions, Uru Live, D'mala, Myst Online: Uru Live). These are treated by Cyan as the reality of the D'niverse in action. This can still be trumped by Cyan, however.

What about the Myst games and novels?

The Myst games and novels occupy a unique place in Canon. The games are not considered completely canonical.

This is partially due to what Cyan has called 'artistic license'. Parts of the games are considered to have been artistic license to deal with technical issues and other considerations. The best example of this is the concept of a trap book. In Myst, Sirrus and Achenar are trapped in the books ("Bring me the blue pages!"). However, Cyan has stated that trap books do not exist in canon, even though they were used in both Myst and Riven. Rather, there were meant to be Ages behind those book, but would have made the game too complex to create. Another instance of artistic license is that Myst Island as presented in the Myst games isn not entirely accurate - Myst is actually bigger and has underground living chambers.

Making this more complex is that the Myst games exist inside of canon as games. Within the canon of the D'niverse, Cyan made the Myst games based off of information they got from the early DRC, in the form of the journals of Katran. The differences between the games and 'reality' are written off, once again, as artistic license. The same holds for the novels.

However, members of the DRC have stated that the Myst games are 'pretty close' to the reality. So while they are not considered authoritative, the Myst games and novels are considered to be strong sources.

Modern happenings in D'ni and fan story

Because Uru is considered 'real' in the D'niverse, everything that happened in the various incarnations of Uru can be considered to be 'real'. This means that actions taken by explorers (players) in the cavern have a level of canonicity to them. If something happened in the cavern, then it happened in the cavern.

However, it is important to note that while the actions themselves did happen, anything those actions imply do not gain the same level of canon. You can say you are a descendant of D'ni, and the fact that you said it is as canon as anything else that happens in the cavern. But that does not make it true.

There are a lot of gray areas in this interpretation. However, RAWA has stated that Cyan will generally try to treat things that happen in Uru as real.

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