The Norn are a race of nine-foot-tall warriors who live in the northernmost Shiverpeaks. They revel in the harsh climes, leading dangerous lives among savage beasts. These mighty hunters are not organized into a single nation. Instead, those who display exceptional strength and prowess in battle establish homesteads, though they are certainly not considered "rulers". They often spend years at a time tracking a particularly strong or clever quarry; they never give up on a battle, a pursuit, or a friend.
The Norn revere the spirits of nature—from the wolf to the snow lynx—but the most powerful of these is the Bear Spirit, who, according to myth, blessed the Norn with the ability to change shape and "become the bear".
-Guild Wars Eye of the North Manuscript
Little is known about the Norn's great history prior to meeting them for the first time in Guild Wars: Eye of the North. What is known though is that the Norn, who are normally very individualistic and prefer to not be in any sort of clan if they can avoid it, once joined together to fight the Great Destroyer. They united as a group to aid in the destruction of the Great Destroyer and bring about his original downfall. After that was accomplished however the Norn split up again and no gathering of Norn like that has been seen since. Each Norn is very adept at survival and is usually extremely self sufficient, which leads to little desire for contact with others who are an unnecessary nuisance. And each Norn governs themselves. They are not given formal rules by a higher power but instead live by a strict code of honor, that if breached disgraces them beyond redemption. The largest gatherings of Norn can be found at various trade posts and hunting parties.
In recent history however the Norn have been driven far south by a mighty dragon named Jormag. Along with this the proud Norn have had their pride damaged and their culture shattered. They now reside in the abandoned forts and buildings left behind by the dwarves in the Shiverpeaks. It is here in this ruins that the Norn try and salvage their culture by building new Norn settlements all across the Shiverpeaks and the High Peaks. They fight and brawl in their new homeland to keep control over what they have so recently claimed as their own, and because they are Norn they absolutely revel in this new found fighting.
The Norn have always respected those that fight honorably and courageously. Holding those that do in the highest esteem, which makes the true heroes of the Norn the closest thing they have to a formal leader. This great respect is no restricted to just the Norn people however. The Norn respect any and all who fight bravely and with honor, a prime example is the Charr. The Norn however do not care much for Quenn Jennah, the Queen of the Humans. This does not mean however that the Norn have a hatred for Humanity, as a Norn would still respect a Human who fought with honor.
In Guild Wars 2 if the player chooses to play as a Norn they will be given the option to choose a totem. The totem the player chooses will affect the players background story but not the abilities or the shapeshifting of the player. Players may choose to walk the path of the following totems:
- Snow Leopard
- The Norn are massive, standing nearly 9ft. tall.
- It is generally accepted that the Norn are closely related to Humans and may share a common ancestor.
- The Norn enjoy a good fight, doing heroic deeds, and drinking good ale.
- The Norn race could be categorized as a "Lawful Good" society as they do good deeds because their code of honor states that they are to be good under punishment of being stripped of honor and worth.
- The Life expectancy of a Norn is still not defined due to many dying in pursuit of glory, though it has been stated that Norns can live up to 80 years and still be active and adventurous.