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- "It is arrogant for one to reject change because it is undesirable. Rejection of change is the rejection of possibilities."
- — Harald Hoerwick —
Harald Hoerwick (ハロルド=ヒューイック, Harorudo Hyūikku) was a genius programmer and creator of Fragment, precursor to The World.
He was infatuated with Emma Wielant and her work, the Epitaph of Twilight. When Emma died in 2004, Harald refused to accept it and became obsessed with a certain project. He would immortalize Emma's work as well as his love for her through Fragment and the creation of the ultimate AI, Aura. This secret project exists as data in a mysterious black box folder that exists even in Fragment's successor, The World. The black box's existence is known by CC Corp, but they have been unable to analyze its contents. It is also due to Harald's secret project that several disasters and mysteries resulted from The World. Harald's program is what ties all of the .hack works together.
After the death of Emma Wielant, Hoerwick took it upon himself to create the computer game Fragment. During the construction of Fragment, his niece, Lara Hoerwick, accidentally finds the game and is consciously dragged into it.
Though Harald's presence is felt throughout the entire .hack series, the only significant appearance of his real life self occurs in Liminality. He is briefly seen standing over Emma Wielant's grave at the beginning of In the Case of Mai Minase, swearing to continue her legacy. Later Junichiro Tokuoka and Kyoko Tohno research him and Emma, discovering the events that drove Harald to create the black box program.
As part of her investigation in "The World". Akira Hayami and her friends Asaoka and Hagiya research Harald, and his connection to Emma and the Epitaph of Twilight. Their findings are almost identical to those found by Tokuoka and Kyoko in Liminality.
Jun Bansyoya mentions that Harald's consciousness was trapped inside the network by Morganna when she began malfunctioning. The shock of this caused Harald's physical body to die in the real world, trapping him permanently within the system of the game as an AI.
- See AI Harald.
Harald left several developmental notes hidden in multiple places inside The World. As well as numerous AI copies of himself. Several of these notes and AIs were discovered over the course of Project .hack.
(Found in Θ Cursed Despaired Paradise)
- And so, I shall name her Aura.
- Without you, she would not exist.
- The shining girl, Aura.
- We will entrust her with our will.
- Our future is in her hands,
- She is our...
Harald's Note 2
- I must... speak with Morganna.
- To go where she is... the living flesh poses a hindrance.
- But I must... I must go. For our Aura.
- Emma, please give me a little more courage.
(Heard in Σ Chatting Snarling Twins)
- Humans have physical limits, but the AI has no limits to growth.
- I want to know where it will lead. I want to see what lies there.
- The ultimate AI makes mistakes just like humans
- There is no growth without error.
- The difference is not to repeat the same mistake.
- Harald, this is a critical time.
- Earth is the womb of life and death,
- So the mother is both the goddess of life and death
- Thus maternity has two sides: life and death
- So was her manifestation a necessity?
- Morganna Mode Gone - She rejects my intervention.
Harald's Second Message
(Heard in Σ Screaming Wind Sand's Fate Castle)
- Evolution... does not always mean progress.
- Evolution sometimes leads to an undesired vector.
- It is arrogant for one to reject change because it is undesirable.
- Rejection of change is the rejection of possibilities.
- Allow diversity.
Harald's BBS Post
- When the Twilight Eye doth open, so too shall the path to me.
- Discourse with me and against that power fight.
- When the key that overturns all is possessed everything shall unfold.
A.I. Harald's Message Loop
A.I. Harald's loop message as seen in episode 14 of .hack//SIGN
- I love you.
- I... I wanted to leave my feelings and yours in a tangible form...
- The proof that you were alive.
- The proof that I loved you...place them in a tangible form.
- But... It seems I was mistaken.
- I sent the message as soon as I realized it... Was it in time?
- I'm sorry. I failed as a father.
- She... is my... is our hope.
- Look after her.
- I know that I, who failed as a father asking the one who comes here is too convenient. I know that... However, that is the only thing I can do. I did not know this feeling of impatience. How narrow was my world. Please. She is your and my... the fruit of my feelings for you, my beloved...
- I could not do anything as a father. Please forgive me. No, it is all right if you don't forgive me. I, who was a fool, do not have the right to be forgiven. But her... Please look after her.
- I love you.
- In End of The World, his name is pronounced HEW-ick, similar to the Japanese rendering (hyuuikku).
- The dub credits for episode 18 of .hack//Roots erroneously lists Harald's name as "Harold".