Powers and Final Match-Ups of the Five Elders
Card games have been a recurrent theme in the New World, present in both Doflamingo and Kaido crews. They help us understand the power structures of their respective side, with Kaido on one hand being all about numbers and raw power, while Doflamingo is more calculative and tries to use his members powers as meticulously as he can.
This gets interesting once you consider Kaido is presented as a knock-off Joy Boy: Everything he did felt like it came from a check-list of things Joy Boy achieved he had to replicate. Joy Boy had an army of minks? I guess an army of low-quality fake zoans will do. Joy Boy led 10 fighters from Wano against their oppressor? Well, Oni were the original inhabitants of Wano, so I guess the Numbers fit the definition. A giant elephant? Don’t you see we have Jack?
It all became devoyed of its original meaning, and considering how much Oda loves to draw parallels, we can assume the same goes for Doflamingo: He is nothing more than a bootleg version of Imu.
Since we know of the symbols of each Doflamingo family member, we can associate a symbol to every single Gorosei. Moreover, thanks to Hawkins, there is no doubt that the Major Arcana is canon in the One Piece universe and that we can replace each symbol by their Tarot equivalent to decipher the lost meaning of their rank.
Taromancy is particularly elusive by design, so we’ll only stick to broadly accepted notions in order to avoid any biais in our interpretation. In addition to the major Arcana, tarot contains the minor arcana, divded in four card suits, each composed of 14 cards associated to a way to rule as well as an elemental power. Since several versions of these elemental attributions exist, I’ll go with the Egyptian Tarot that is presented on the japanese wikipedia:
- Wands – (Clubs) – Fire – Power through knowledge
- Swords – (Spades) – Wind – Power through Weapons
- Pentacles – (Diamonds) – Earth – Power through Trade
- Cups – (Hearts) – Water – Power through emotions and love
Now that this is clear, let’s get into it and look at each individual gorosei in order to deduce their most likely powers. You’ll see, a lot of things will make more sense as I explain them.
Saint Jaygarcia Saturn – Godhead of Science & Defense
Tarot cards : King of Wands (minor), The World reversed (major)
Elemental connection : The Mother Flame
Theorized Power : Mythical Zoan – Buru Buru no Mi, Model Minotaur
Reverse Character : Professor Clover
The latest arc gave us a lot of clues about what to expect from Saint Saturn, notably from the confirmation of his real name and the introduction of the Mother Flame. Before that, we knew very little about him except that he cried at Dr. Clover’s death and was probably family related to him due to his similar nose shape.
The name Saturn holds some relevancy to the major Arcana, as each planet is associated to a specific card. In most versions, Saturn is connected to “The World”, the card of accomplishment and harmony. Nevertheless, once it’s reversed it becomes the card of stagnation, enclosure, and lack of completion.
Saint Saturn is probably not an inventor but a keeper of secrets whose purpose is to keep an eye on the worlds technology, keeping any advantage for his own side. Since he only protects secrets and doesn’t actually create anything, the Minotaur fruit fits him quite well. It’s the power to turn anything into a labyrinth, he can alter reality to prevent his enemies from reaching their initial destination or escaping him. They are forced to go through every single one of his soldiers and machines unless they can find the exact way out. (And the obligatory rule of a labyrinth is to have an entrance and an end point).
His power is probably the reason why seafaring on the Grand Line is so complicated and requires log poses, preventing islands from sharing their progress too easily. Now would be a perfect time for him to display the extent of his powers when the straw hats are supposed to escape from Egghead island.
In the minotaur myth, Ariane escapes using a red rope to find her way back inside the labyrinth. I can’t see anyone doing that here, so we might have to go with the Ariane space program instead. In other word, the only way to escape Saint Saturn power range currently is to escape earth and go right to the moon! 🚀 🚀 🚀
Final match-up : Considering his relation to technology and Ohara, he should be the opponent of Franky and Robin. But, I could also imagine one of the Vegapunks with them: Lilith. Outside of the obvious reason of avenging the Vegapunks that are going to die in Egghead, she has been introduced as a pilot, which means she could be able to manoeuver at full speed inside a Labyrinth. With the help of Robin as a co-pilot using her observation skills, and Franky to fight the enemies inside the maze, she could turn the fight into a remake of TRON and rush right at Saint Saturn for the killing blow.
Saint Marcus Mars – Godhead of Environment
Tarot cards : King of Swords (minor), The Emperor reversed (major)
Elemental connection : Wind & Thunder
Theorized Power : Mythical Zoan – Tori Tori no Mi, Model Thunderbird
Reverse Character : Knight of the sky Gan Fall
We don’t know much about this character, except that he bears a striking resemblence with Gan Fall and can turn into a bird. Nevertheless, based on his name and tarot relation, it is quite evident that he is a tyrannical warmonger who rules the sky. Despite his calm appearance, he might have the most destructive power out of the five Gorosei.
The most interesting thing is the tarot connection with Wind, which makes me think all we need to know about him can be found in Skypea. My theory is that he will be a combination of Gan Fall and Enel which will have to be faced without Luffy. In that regard, the most logical power for him comes from the native-american mythology: the legendary Thunderbird.
That power would grant him mastery over the winds and clouds of the World, allowing him to make navigation harder by creating the calm belt as well as storms where navigation is not desired. He decides which land gets rain and which land doesn’t, explaining his association to environmental management. Alabasta current climate might be of his making, long before Crocodile schemes. Raijin Island may be affected by his powers to hide precious knowledge or artifacts, not that it would dissuade Urouge from getting it, though.
His power might also be a key element in war to carry the mother flame where it needs to go, though we can expect him to use thunder as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if Oda had this power in mind when he drew the eagle symbol in Germa 66 bird throne room (in addition to the nazi reference).
Final match-up : It turns out the best Straw Hats to face Saint Mars are also the three one who faced Enel back in Skypea: Nami, Usopp and Sanji. While they stood no chance back then, Nami understanding of climate has greatly improved and she even has Zeus to defend herself or move through the sky. Sanji can now fly and tank shocks better than ever thanks to his modifed body. And as for Usopp, we can expect him to finally get a power-up in the future, or to shoot at the bird at insanely long distances with new variants of the firebird attack.