Garl, Zale and Valere in Sea of Stars official artwork
Image Source: Sabotage Studio

We Don’t Deserve a Character as Pure as Garl From Sea of Stars

He's so much more than just a Cook.

Sea of Stars has had an extremely successful release, with plenty of players praising the game for its simplistic yet cute story revolving around friendship and heroism, gorgeous 2D pixel art graphics, and endearing and lovable main characters. However, while the magical Solstice Warriors Zale and Valere are brilliant key protagonists, there is one character who steals the show from these two, despite having no powers himself.

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This, of course, is none other than Valere and Zale’s best friend from childhood, Garl. He may not be gifted with any magical powers, but he’s certainly just as much — and at times even more — of a hero than his two friends. Unfortunately, for the most part, Garl seems to just slip under the radar as the humorous, lovable Cook despite being so much more.

Warning: Minor spoilers for Sea of Stars mentioned below!

Image Source: Sabotage Studio via Twinfinite

Right from the very beginning, where Garl is first introduced through a playable flashback sequence of Valere and Zale’s childhood, he proves himself to be an exceptional friend. He doesn’t treat the two young Solstice Warriors any differently because of their powers, or hold any level of jealousy or envy.

Instead, Garl is just an outgoing and cheery young boy who is excited to see his friends grow into capable adventurers, sharing his love and appreciation for them through gestures of hand-made snacks and cooked meals. He adores his best friends so much that he even dreams of one day leaving their hometown alongside them, setting out to see the sights of the world, such as The Sleeper – which is one of his dream goals.

Of course, when you combine a fresh group of determined youngsters with the powers of magic, there’s bound to be some chaos. During a prohibited exploration of a forbidden cavern, the group soon found themselves surrounded by monsters. It is here that Garl shows his first act of heroism, pushing Zale out of the way from a powerful incoming attack and taking it in his place; which resulted in the loss of the young boy’s left eye.

Garl didn’t even hesitate here. He acted on pure instinct, despite knowing he didn’t stand a chance. After witnessing this moment in the flashback, Garl gained my immediate respect. At this point, I didn’t even know if I’d enjoy his personality or playstyle, but one thing was certain — I would never utter a single bad word about this character.

After this horrific incident, Zale and Valere are sent away to begin their training at the Academy, a task Garl is told will take a while to complete. However, this ‘while’ ends up being ten years long, and during this entire period, Garl is forbidden from entering Academy grounds or even visiting his beloved childhood besties.

Most people probably would have accepted that things weren’t going to work out the way they had planned, or worse, assume that they had been abandoned, and attempt to move on with their life in Zale and Valere’s absence. Not Garl, though.

Garl, Valere, and Zale by the Celestial Willow Tree
Image Source: Sabotage Studio

Instead, He took these ten years as an opportunity to train himself up both mentally and physically. He gave himself the best chance at facing the dangers of the world head-on and alongside his friends just as they’d planned in their youth.

At one point, Garl even manages to sneak into the Academy, and while he doesn’t secure a visit with his comrades, he does leave them a home-baked gift of cookies to enjoy together. He proved just how much he believes in the two and assures us all that he never gave up on the friendship they share.

And then, once Zale and Valere set out on their adventure, they stumble upon Garl for a wholesome and heartwarming reunion. Here, he announces his skills not only as a cook, but a defensive fighter, and officially joins the party of two for their adventure. He must have worked incredibly hard in those ten years, because for the most part, he meets all expectations with ease, keeping up with the Solstice Warriors at every twist and turn; and proves even those without powers are capable.

Image Source: Sabotage Studio

However, the more time Garl spends with his friends during their adventure, the more obvious his value to the team becomes. While powerful in combat and capable of great Magical ability, Zale and Valere sometimes struggle in certain social situations – which isn’t that much of a surprise considering they were isolated for ten years to complete their training.

Garl, though, can make friends wherever he goes, with no issues whatsoever. It doesn’t matter what one’s species or alignment is. Garl is there to make everyone smile, and that is a truly special thing. It’s so pronounced that Zale and Valere often only find themselves with a new ally or acquaintance because of Garl’s approachable nature, letting him carry out enough social interactions for all three of them.

While always eager to help out, he never takes sides and is willing to listen to whatever people have to say before taking an encouraging and positive approach to remedy any problems. A perfect example of this is when he reassured Malkomud that he wasn’t wrong for being different, and to embrace the unique strengths of his powers to put them to good use.

Garl talking to Malkomud in Sea of Stars
Image Source: Sabotage Studio via Twinfinite

Garl never lets the opinions of others stop him from seeing the best in everybody, and in a world that is troubled by the threat of dark forces, this is an incredibly valuable trait to have. No matter what struggles he faces, he is always excited to meet more friends and learn new things. He never lets his past experiences deter his positive outlook on everything and everyone he approaches during his journey.

Hell, even the Elder Mist himself noticed that Garl has a remarkable quality in his personality and sunny demeanor, claiming that his heart may even be warm enough to soothe long-tormented souls. In other words, Garl literally saves people from the path of evil by establishing genuine bonds and friendship, which is so fitting and satisfying for his character.

Honestly, I’m a bit of a sucker for an underdog story, but I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed Garl’s presence. As I undertook my adventure, I often found myself more intrigued by his character than Zale or Valere. Garl is the glue that holds the team together, the encouraging friend that enables Zale and Valere to reach their true potential, and the passionate Cook who keeps all of his friends well-fed and prepped for adventure.

Garl, I see you for what you truly are. May your backpack always be full of tasty ingredients so you can cook up a storm for all the friends you’ve made along the way – and don’t forget the Celestial Willow Tree Jam!

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Grace Black
Grace is a writer and digital artist from New Zealand with a love for fiction and storytelling. Grace has been writing for Twinfinite for one year and in the games industry for two years. She's an enthusiast of everything spooky, an occasional anime enjoyer, and a die-hard Ghost-Type Pokemon fangirl. Her favorite video games include Overwatch 2, Life is Strange, The Last of Us, Baldur's Gate 3, and Pokemon - all of which she will never tire of.