Let’s start by examining one of the most defining words in the Paladin vocabulary, Light.
The two main Paladin Healing spells are Flash of Light and Holy Light. They can spread heals by using Light’s Beacon. These heals are enhanced by Sanctified Light, Infusion of Light, Healing Light, and Light’s Grace. They can further improve their throughput by using Seal of Light. Paladin mana pools are sustained by Illumination and Divine Illumination.
Paladin Tanks are Touched By the Light and Guarded By the Light.
Retribution Paladins have a Sheath of Light, and one of their best attacks is Judgment of Light.
We know that in the Lore of World of Warcraft the Light is a pseudo religion followed by Paladins and Priests. The Church of the Holy Light resides in the Human capital of Stormwind. In the Burning Crusade, we learned of the Naaru, creatures made of Light whom the Blood Elves used to create their own Paladins.
In nearly all cultures, Light is synonymous with Good.
One example of this is the popular Star Wars films where the ‘Force’ is broken down into a Light Side and a Dark Side. The Villains of the film follow or fall to the Dark Side, while the Heroes of the film champion the Light Side.
All people seem to have a fear of the Dark, and the Dark (opposite of Light) is portrayed in art and culture as Evil, while the Light is associated with Good. It is interesting to note that while we have many instances of ancient cultures worshiping the Sun (the Light), I’m not aware of any cultures who worshiped the Night, although some did revere the Moon (a Light in the Darkness).
However, in some eastern cultures, Light and Dark are seen as two parts of a greater whole in a concept referred to as Ying/Yang.
In American culture, Light can be synonymous with Knowledge. We use a ‘light bulb’ over someone’s head to show they have an idea. When asking for an explanation of topic, a common phrase asks for the speaker to ‘Shed some light’ on the issue.
In Christianity, Christ first states that he is the light. When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12 – NIV
Then towards the end of his ministry tells his disciples that they are the light. "You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill can't be hidden.” Matthew 5:14 ISV
This emphasis on Light helps paint the picture of the Paladin as a Hero aligned with the forces of Good. Many of the ideas we have about what makes someone good, self sacrifice, and defending the weak and the helpless become part of our expectation of the Paladin Hero.
On a personal note, this image of the Warrior of Light was something that drew me to Paladin class in the first place.