Monday, 26 May 2014

Status of Sylvanas Windrunner

For some time now I wanted to write something about the Dark Lady and her position within the Horde and among the Forsaken. I wanted to ponder on her actions, to show how word evil means nothing once you know the circumstances, how evil is the very word without any real sense as one brilliantly named talent of Paladins suggests. Instead, as I continually pushed the idea away, I will now focus on what Sylvanas was up to during the Golden's novel War Crimes and after it.

There is an old saying saying that wolf changes his hair, but not his nature. This is something that is very true even for Sylvanas. Even after she died, was raised into undeath, and after she made certain Arthas died, she is still the same as she was while alive, commanding the armies of Quel'Thalas. She is vicious, calculating, hard-headed. She does not flinch when in face of danger, she loves to spite everyone, to show everyone she can do better, yet after all that, she still longs for love, for her lost family.

At the start of the novel we see Sylvanas that is thirsting for blood. She feels resentment for Garrosh. She seems to see beyond that. She seems to realise that no matter everything, Garrosh will not change, she sees that he is not humbled by defeat, ashamed of his actions, she sees in him no regret, beyond the most obvious regret of failing against the traitors. What Sylvanas sees in Garrosh is her own reflection, and this frightens her. This is why Sylvanas wants Garrosh dead as soon as possible.

It is not the fact that Garrosh ordered her around, that to Garrosh the very existence of Forsaken was an abomination, not even that Garrosh tried to hold her on a tight leash. Nothing of that really matters to Sylvanas. Her hatred for Garrosh is much more personal even if she would never admit it. Not even to herself alone. Garrosh is very special wake-up call for Sylvanas. The one that screams to her that acting rash will spell a quick doom for her Forsaken. Something she cannot and would not ever allow. Thus, in killing Garrosh, she would rid herself of every single thing that makes her like him. She means to reach for catharsis by killing her sacrificial lamb that is Garrosh.

As Sylvanas thinks who could be able to help her with this scheme she is approached by the most unusual request. The one from her sister. Vereesa Windrunner wishes to meet with Sylvanas. It turns out Vereesa hates Garrosh at least as much as Sylvanas if not more, and is willing to help her elder sister to kill the late warchief of the Horde. What is even more interesting is that by some strange notion Vereesa's willingness to forfeit her life and join her elder sister in the undeath.

I guess her motivation was vengeance. To avenge her husband who died in the bombing of Theramore. But Vereesa herself has done quite a lot against much more innocent residents of Dalaran whom she imprisoned, robbed, and murdered by the orders of Jaina Proudmoore. It would be interesting how Regent Lord of Quel'Thalas takes the news that former butcher of Dalaran is now ready to sow death among the enemies of the Horde. Alas, it never comes that far.

As the two sisters scheme how to kill Garrosh, plot about the best course of action that would not make them fall under suspicion, and the trial slowly progresses, we get to see the softer side of Sylvanas. Sylvanas after all this time longs for all that she lost. Her family, time of peace and prosperity, love of her siblings. We see the other side of Sylvanas. Dare I say a humane side? She is daydreaming, making plans how life will be after they kill Garrosh, how everything will be perfect. This is far from the Dark Lady we know. This is the first that we know that Sylvanas showed her soft side.

Granted there always was a sense of longing in Sylvanas. Longing, depression, and deep sadness, this for a long time seemed to be the only things that made her help the blood elves in the first place, the only things that made her try to ensure the survival of the Forsaken, whom she came to see as her own people. And even then, Sylvanas was always pragmatic, she understood that not everything can go according to plans, she knew adjustments need to made every so often. But Sylvanas we get to see with Vereesa, is warm, hopeful even. Granted, there is not just small amount of morbidity in her hopes, but hopeful nonetheless.

And then, it all shattered to dust. Not because Garrosh escapes, but because Vereesa changed her mind in the last moment. Vereesa realises she would be abandoning her two sons, for whom I truly thought were of age until she mentioned them. And while Sylvanas has nothing to lose, Vereesa loves her children, as any sane mother would, and is not ready to abandon them for the sake of her sister.

This is where Sylvanas snaps. She is seething with fury. She is angry, ravaged by rage and betrayal of her younger sister. She feels betrayed, crushed. Sylvanas was not present when Garrosh escaped, Celestials did not share their infinite wisdom with her. And even if she was present she would not understand. rare few truly understood why Garrosh had to live, or even escape. Rare few truly grasp the meaning of all that chaos that came to be during the daring escape plan of the Dragonmaw.

If Sylvanas was present, she would without a moment of hesitation at  the first chance send a poisoned arrow into Garrosh's heart. She would have a perfect excuse that none could object as well. She wanted to crush the escape attempt in its roots. But she was absent, and in this absence of others she vowed never to love ever again. A terrible vow, yet what it lies underneath is even more terrible. There is couple of targets right now on her list.

For one, Varian, who was the first one to prevent Garrosh's death. Then there is Vereesa who betrayed her, and because of that probably Jaina under whose command Vereesa resides. On the Horde side, there is Vol'jin, but unlike the Alliance counterparts, he is the Horde warchief, and at least for now cannot be touched. And then, there is Garrosh. It would be interesting to see if Sylvanas sends her forces after Garrosh to Draenor, or if she decides to sit this one out and prepare for the threat to rise, or to deal with her other enemies in the meanwhile. Varian after all promised an invasion on Gilneas, and he is sorely mistaken if he believes Sylvanas would not use any means to defend the territory for which many of the Forsaken lost their lives. Especially now.

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