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Nobbel87 on the Partnership Between Sylvanas and the Jailer
28.02.2021 um 17:01
Nobbel87's video last week on the Chains of Domination story
, he's back this week with a new video reflecting on Sylvanas' character arc and why should could be allied with the Jailer.
Story of Chains of Domination with Nobbel87Cinematic Analysis of Kingsmourne
Sylvanas looked regretful at the end of the
cinematic, an emotion she hasn't shown in recent times, which led many commenters to speculate in Nobbel's last video. So he's taken those suggestions and reflected on why she could be experiencing some visible regret for the first time in a while.
Arthas vs Anduin
After seeing how Anduin was completely controlled by the Jailer, players wondered if Arthas was similarly dominated and if Sylvanas had a sudden realization which led to her regret. Nobbel wasn't a fan of this idea, as to him, the beauty of Arthas' story comes down to the fact that he had choices.
In life, Arthas himself wasn’t sure about the choices he made and that doubt was with him during choices like the purge of Stratholme. The Light felt his shaking conviction and therefore as he caved in the chest of a boy with his hammer, he absently realized it was no longer radiant with the Light. No doubt that there were outside forces manipulating him, and that the choices given to Arthas were not easy ones. Even to this day people debate about the purge of Stratholme, but a choice was there.
Then he picked up Frostmourne and sacrificed a piece of his soul. Became an agent of the Lich King, but by no means was Arthas entirely gone. If you’ve read
Arthas: Rise of the Lich King
, then you know there are several moments of inner dialogue where he ponders the road that he’s on. Where he feels human emotions, despite pretending like they’re not there.
Like I said, it’s the choices a character makes, the road that they walk that makes them interesting. Nobody will blame Anduin for stabbing the Archon. You can see his own shocked face, it going so against his nature that he momentarily breaks free of the Jailer's control. To take away that agency would be to take away what makes Arthas one of the better stories they’ve done and thankfully Blizzard thinks that as well.
Bellular BlizzConline interview
, Steve Danuser confirmed that Arthas had more agency than Sylvanas.
: There are similarities, deliberate ones, that we're showing in the cinematic to have Arthas overtones. But we see clear differences as well. When Anduin attacks the Archon, we get that moment where the power weakens a little bit and we see his personality come through. He's horrified at what's going on. But then that Domination magic kicks in again, the runes light up, and he is once again suppressed to the Jailer's will.
That wasn't the case with Arthas. Arthas made choices along the way, and yes there was a dark power calling to him and all of that, but it was still very much choices that he made that led him along the path that he went.
However, there are still some instances in Shadowlands hinting that there's more to learn about Arthas' story, both in the Twisting Corridors questline and
cinematic. Uther flings Arthas into the Maw without judgement, implying that perhaps he should have been sent to Revendreth instead if the natural order of things was followed. When we later complete the Twisting Corridors questline and see the Jailer attack Bolvar, Calia even muses if her brother was fully in control of his actions while wearing the helm.
Sylvanas and Free Will
Nobbel then next examines the idea of Sylvanas expressing regret upon the realization that she took away Anduin's free will in a very similar way to her treatment at the hands of Arthas--becoming the very thing she hated and fought against.
However, looking back over Sylvanas' actions, she's done things in the past that have echoed the Lich King, even going back to Cataclysm. When Garrosh is shocked by her ability to resurrect Forsaken, her reply does not inspire confidence:
Garrosh: “Have you given any thought to what this means, Sylvanas? What is the difference between you and the Lich King now?”
Sylvanas: “Isn’t it obvious warchief, I serve the Horde.”
Then in Battle for Azeroth, she raised the dead in the Battle for Lordaeron cinematic, as well as Night Elf spirits in the Battle for Darkshore questline. The most notable example was when she dominated Derek Proudmoore's mind after his corpse was found by pure chance:
Lady Sylvanas Windrunner says: Derek Proudmoore was a hero to the Kul Tirans.
Lady Sylvanas Windrunner says: They are sure to stage a rescue attempt when they learn of his fate.
Lady Sylvanas Windrunner says: And once his mind has been properly conditioned, we will allow the Proudmoores to recover their long-lost prince...
Lady Sylvanas Windrunner says: ... so he can slaughter them in their sleep.
Derek: “I don’t understand this! Please...PLEASE...how is this possible?! Tell me....tell me, where is my father? My mother? jaina...Tandred..please...please... I’m so alone! Don’t...don’t leave me alone!”
Story of the Fourth WarLore of Derek Proudmoore
While Sylvanas may feel closer to Anduin than to Derek, this shows that the act of mind-controlling characters does not seem to be something she's taken issue with in the past. However, we have seen
strong visual comparisons
between Sylvanas and Arthas in recent cinematics, as well as genuine regret she had no choice in her fate, which would lead people to consider this theory.
Discovering the Connection Between Jailer and the Lich King
Nobbel then addresses the idea that Sylvanas has just realized the Jailer created the Helm of Domination and Frostmourne, connecting the Jailer to Arthas.
While not impossible, I hope they don’t make Sylvanas that dumb. One of the first things people noticed when the model of the Jailer came out, besides being bald and handsome, were the runes on his body looking very similar to those on Frostmourne. Sylvanas is intimately familiar with Frostmourne so to not even have an idea that there might be a connection there would make her really dumb, in my opinion of course.
While she could have figured out the connection on her own, it's worth pointing out that she wasn't present for the Runecarver's Memory cinematic which explicitly showed the Jailer ordering the creation of these weapons.
Jailer and Sylvanas Have Different Goals
The likeliest theory according to Nobbel is that over time, Sylvanas is realizing that the Jailer's goals are not aligned with her own. While he may have made promises to her before, perhaps now she's unsure if the Jailer will help her or completely focus on his true goals.
While we don't know every detail of the bargain between Sylvanas and the Jailer, we do know she first met with him in the short story "Edge of Night." Here, she appeared to enter the Maw upon death, a realm of endless torment, but the Jailer was waiting to offer her a deal. This partnership led Sylvanas to return to Azeroth, biding her time until she was appointed Warchief to spark the Fourth War and funnel souls to the Maw after the machine of death broke.
Edge of Night Analysis
Yet their deal seems a bit more nuanced than the Jailer bailing Sylvanas out in return for her support, as BlizzCon 2019 clarified that Sylvanas doesn't truly have a master, viewing the Jailer as a partner with a common end.
If Sylvanas believes that it was her destiny to end up in the Maw, punished for all eternity due to the actions of Arthas transforming her into a banshee, it makes sense why she wants to disrupt the order of the Shadowlands and free the bonds placed upon us by the First Ones. However, we don't see Sylvanas judged by the Arbiter in the short story, so it's unclear if the zone of torment Sylvanas faces is instead an illusion presented by the Jailer to persuade Sylvanas. It does seem odd that Kael'thas and Garrosh would be sent to Revendreth, while Sylvanas would immediately go to the Maw without judgment.
As the events of Shadowlands unfold, perhaps Sylvanas realizes that the Jailer doesn't particularly care about freedom or his allies. He was uninterested in rescuing Denathrius after Castle Nathria, while Sylvanas was set to rescue him.
In Sylvanas' multiple conversations with Anduin, we see him emphasize that the Jailer's actions do not line up with Sylvanas' need for freedom.
Sylvanas has certainly had an unfair existence, turned into a banshee against her will, then sentenced to the Maw after her death in Icecrown, so it's understandable why she wants to tear the entire system down. She believes she is fighting for a true chance at freedom, although as Anduin points out, looking around at his dismal prison, it's a bit dubious if the Jailer has good intentions. So far the plan has entailed the destruction of Teldrassil, a bloody faction war, and the capture and torture of Azeroth's faction leaders--so even if the plan is ultimately noble, it's built on a flawed foundation. Even after her explanation, it's unclear exactly
the Jailer would create a better system for all--especially with the speculation he's
orchestrated many cosmic wars
with the help of the Nathrezim.
What Could Happen to Sylvanas in Patch 9.1?
At BlizzConline we learned that Sylvanas will be the final boss of Sanctum of Domination, the Patch 9.1 raid. Blizzard has heavily hyped up the fight, emphasizing the rich history players have with Sylvanas and story elements that contribute to her fight. While we don't know if she falls or escapes, it's also been heavily emphasized that the encounter will shape the fate of the Shadowlands, with other interviews
strongly hinting at a new skybox
changing the environment, in the style of Argus after Tomb of Sargeras.
Chains of Domination Content Roundup
Personally I think Sylvanas is far beyond redemption. I would find it very strange if she ever returns as a Forsaken leader or a member of the Horde. The motivation behind someone's actions explains a lot about the why, but the morality behind it is for each their own to decide. Good or evil, right or wrong, it’s a matter of perspective. The Jailer could truly be just an evil force waiting to break out and consume the universe or perhaps there is more at play. What the pantheon of death might describe as a betrayal, would be in the eyes of the Jailer a freedom, a gift, a good thing. An easy example would be the dark titan Sargeras. He formed his Burning Legion because he found out, by interrogating dreadlords, that the Voidlords wanted to corrupt a slumbering titan and use that corrupted being to also consume the universe. In Sargeras’ mind the best thing for the universe to happen would be to purge it, to go on this grand Burning Crusade and get rid of the Voidlords' corruption.
The morality of the cosmos was further expanded upon in the
Bellular Lore Interview
The thing to keep in mind is that these forces, whether it be Light, or Order from the Titans, or Shadow...characters in our world tend to ascribe good and evil motivations to these things, but really, those powers don't care about morality. They are driven to do what their nature is. And so, the nature of the Titans is to impose Order on things. If you are on that program, helping them accomplish that goal, then they will be benevolent towards you, and they will help and guide you. Perhaps we'll learn what will happen if you aren't someone who agrees with their agendas.
These things exist beyond the morality we as mortals think of. As that more-cosmic storyline unfolds, those moral questions and mortal points of view, vs these cosmic ancient powers, will be something to explore.
Certainly something we'll be hearing more about in the future as Patch 9.1 also sees the
return of the Dreadlords
, long-suspected to be working for the Jailer and orchestrating cosmic-wide chaos.
Cosmic War and Enemy Infiltration Analysis
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