It is hard to find a middle ground in the Genshin Impact community when it comes to feelings about Paimon. I do not mind the little demon, and her interactions with NPCs lead to a few laughable moments here and there. My editor, on the other hand, has strong feelings about her squeaky voice and incessant interruptions.
Today we are going to explore my favorite fan theory about Paimon: that she may not be the benevolent sidekick Genshin Impact players are supposed to think she is.
The spark of this conspiracy theory begins with the origin of Paimon’s name. Paimon is also the name of a demon king from the mid-1600s manuscript Lesser Keys of Solomon. King Paimon is one of the nine Kings of Hell, and one of Lucifer’s most loyal devotees. Those of us who saw Hereditary would remember the name from there, probably for the rest of our lives.
As the description goes, Paimon appears in the form of a man sitting on a Dromedary camel with the face of a woman. Originating in Arabic mythology, Paimon is classified as a Djinni, a supernatural creature that can grant wishes when summoned. Paimon is invoked either to gain knowledge, or power over the physical world.
It is said that Paimon can“teach all Arts and Sciences and other secret things. He can discover unto thee what the Earth is, and what holdeth it up in the Waters; and what Mind is, and where it is; or any other thing thou mayest desire to know. He giveth Dignity, and confirmeth the same. He bindeth or maketh any man subject unto the Magician if he so desires it. He giveth good Familiars, and such as can teach all Arts.”
Right now, this should all sound familiar to a small fairy companion that follows you on your journey through Genshin Impact. She wears a crown, grants wishes that summons familiars to assist you, and might curiously be the key to the Traveler’s power.
We don’t summon Paimon in Genshin Impact, and in fact it is a little fishy (pun intended) how we come across her. However, what adds to the theory is the Traveler’s newfound power over the elements. Djinni are not inherently evil, as long as they are given a proper request and the magician or summoner returns the favor.
A likely story
There is a significant gap in the story from when the Traveler first encounters the evil god, when they wake up, and when they encounter Paimon. We don’t know why Paimon has decided to follow the Traveler, but according to this community theory, the protagonist may be a puppet for this mysterious being.
Following the events of the opening cutscene, it is plausible that the Traveler called upon Paimon to assist in our hero’s journey. However, both seem uncertain as to how they ended up together, other than pure fate. As a fan of Black Desert Online, I know better than to trust an adorable sidekick who provides celestial levels of power and claims to be doing what is best for you.
Paimon’s origins are only half of the conspiracy in question, however. The focus shifts to what her intentions are, and who she truly is. Following the theme of cute-fairy-turned-final-boss, Paimon shares more than a few similar features with the evil god that beat down the two Travelers at the beginning of Genshin Impact.
First things first, the symbol on Paimon’s hair clip is almost exactly the same as to that of the portal that the evil entity comes through. A lot of characters in Genshin Impact have blonde or white hair, so that feature isn’t significant in revealing Paimon’s true form.
However, both the evil god and Paimon have wings flowing from their back that show constellations on the underside. Our little companion boasts a vibrant wing pattern that flows between blue and purple, whereas the sinister being from the introduction has a red and orange tint to their wing pattern.
Paimon has never made her intentions clear, and as far as I’m concerned, she is waiting until we gather enough power to steal it away from us and take over the world.
Currently, there are seven total elements in Genshin Impact, and the Traveler has domain over two of them so far. Developer miHoYo will more than likely expand the world through additions of other regions and elements for the Traveler to master. Five expansions later, once the Traveler has mastered all the elements, they may have to face off against the evil god who – and this bears repeating – shares more than a few similarities to Paimon.
None of this is confirmed, of course, but it is a fun conspiracy theory. For now all we can do is keep playing, and hope that Paimon reveals her true colors soon, whatever they may be.