You hear this roar. So loud it rumbles in your chest. You don’t know who they cheer for. What they cheer for. Victory, glory, or death.
There’s really only two things you need to know about Gorr. He’s a big man, with a big laugh. A man who crushes mead steins on his head, and laughs heartily at his own foolishness. Gorr can be imposing, and he’s damn sure intimidating, but only when he isn’t smiling. When he puts his big paws on his belly and roars, all the fears inside you are swept away.
You could say he’s a gentle giant, but he’s hardly gentle to bandits. He might pet a mudcrab, but if he’s hungry it won’t stop him from eating it. He’s a man with his own code, but not the brooding type who spends all day thinking about it. He goes where his stomach takes him, or he’ll flip a bandit and let you call it in the air. Heads we go this way. Tails we go that way. Yet in the end, it doesn’t really matter. As long as you’re going somewhere, there’s adventure to be had.
People often tell me they love Gorr’s voice, and by proxy, they love Nile’s voice as well. I think it’s safe to say, however, that Nile sounds nothing like Gorr. That’s how much range he has an actor. His original audition for Gorr was more of a raspy, sinister voice. What I wanted was something that filled the room, a voice that made his foes tremble and his friends rally. With this in mind, Nile went back in the lab, jacked up the bass, and Gorr spoke for the first time.
The original difficulties weren’t surprising in the least. From squatter to wanderer, follower to marriage candidate, Gorr’s development has always been a bit circuitous. Most times I have an idea of who the character is going to be, but in some cases, they’re molded out of something far more nebulous. Gorr, for instance, was a character who was built around a concept. It wasn’t about a big brute who loved horkers, or even the lore of the Imperial City Arena. From the beginning, Gorr was a character that was fashioned out of my love of sports.
But that’s the beauty of the Arena, ain’t it. Nothing’s ever written, nothing’s ever known.
When you write a story, there’s always a line you can’t cross. There’s a point of demarcation where the reader loses their sense of disbelief. If halfway through Gorr’s arena story, I said he went back to his quarters and fucked a unicorn, that would be grounds for an uninstall. The beauty of sports is, that line can be crossed every day. Unbelievable things happen. Unicorns may or may not be fucked. You just never know. That’s why we watch – to see that 40 point comeback, or the underdog beating the undefeated champion. We’re amazed when the old, overpaid star, redeems himself with a single game, after you and everyone else had buried him and prayed for the groundskeeper to rake off his face. In sports, you’re free to imagine. Whether it’s a kid attending his first baseball game, or a little Redguard sneaking his way into the Imperial City Arena, it’s the same. Nothing is written. There’s no hand guiding you to a single end. You never lose your sense of wonder.
That’s why we cheer. Why we’re so passionate about watching a bunch of grown men play with balls and sticks. Sports is the closest thing we have to a meritocracy, and the closest thing we have to the surreal. Every year there are thousands of articles and blog posts and talk radio rants that try to unravel the alchemy of it all, and every year there’s an outcome that leaves us holding our alembic. In the information age, when everything is researched and perused and analyzed, when algorithms predict the future with startling accuracy and all the answers are there at the click of a mouse, there’s something to be said about being surprised, even when the outcome isn’t all that surprising.
The Grand Champion can win a hundred matches and name a skeever as his next opponent, and the audience will still hold their breath. Unlike the stories, it’s always a surprise when the hero wins. ‘Cause in the Arena, the hero’s allowed to fail.