World of Warcraft

[Theory] Sylvanas and succession [possible spoilers]

wow8 - [Theory] Sylvanas and succession [possible spoilers]

I had a thought last night, after playing through the Horde side of Tyrande's transformation to the Dark Warrior. I don't think that Sylvanas will be a raid boss any time soon or perhaps ever. I think she's going to succeed Xavius as Nightmare Lord and here's the supporting evidence from the lore itself.

A recurring theme in the World of Warcraft is succession. Chronologically, it began with the War of the Ancients, when Malorne the ancient guardian of Nature, was killed by Archimonde. Cenarius succeeded Malorne as the guardian of Nature. Since the loss of Cenarius to the Nightmare, Malfurion as Archdruid of the Cenarion Circle has filled the place of his shan'do.

Another succession is Thrall taking the place of the Earthwarder during the events of the Dragon Soul. After the corruption and descent into madness suffered by Neltharion, the other Aspects chose Thrall to temporarily take the place of Earthwarder. Now as World Shaman, he is central to the more physical elements of Azeroth.

A most notable recent succession was Bolvar as Jailor of the Damned. There must always be a Lich King! It may have been Alexstraza's plan after Bolvar was nearly killed by Blight and returned by dragonfire. Unlike Arthas, (champion of Ner'zhul who was bound to Kil'Jaeden and bound in turn to Sargeras) Bolvar isn't exactly undead or alive. He's in stasis, but was placed there by the Dragonqueen of Life, rather than corrupted and deceived into undeath. He willingly chose his role, without temptation or deception we know of, as his guides. No king rules forever though, and the brilliant and tragic story of the Lich King doesn't seem to be quite over yet.

In each case, the new inheritor is closer to mortality, having been or remaining mortal after their ascent.


Now on to Sylvanas; I don't believe the Nightmare will ever be fully removed. Like the duality of Light and Void, the Nightmare is the counter to the Emerald Dream. The opposite of Life isn't death but rather Undeath. Death allows for renewal whereas undeath is stasis. Xavius, as the Lord of the Nightmare established by Sargeras, was killed by us in Legion (at least as dead as anything gets). Now, the Nightmare has no leader.

Don't worry, N'Zoth has a plan! Azshara as its servant is a likely replacement, as Queen of the Nightmare. In Rise of Azshara, we will probably change that plan however. Azshara as Queen of the Nightmare and puppet of N'Zoth, for she owes her existence and her Naga to it, the power of the Nightmare is fully in the tentacles of N'Zoth. Xavius having been "satyrized" by Sargeras and placed as Lord might even be considered a usurper by N'Zoth and the Old Gods as they were the creators of the Nightmare. Fandral Staghorn planting Vordrassil over saronite without the Aspect's blessing gave the Old Gods a conduit to the Emerald Dream. Sylvanas throwing herself off Icecrown and "her body burst on the saronite stones below" likewise allowed the Old Gods to whisper to the Banshee, the only Undead known to have this ability.

Sylvanas, armed with Xal'atath and her unique ability as an Undead Banshee will challenge Azshara's succession. Why? For power, for immortality as Queen over the tortures of the Nightmare she would likely be damned to otherwise. We also know the last words Arthas spoke, "I see… only darkness before me." If the darkness was that of the Nightmare, the Queen of the Nightmare would have dominance over the final fate of Arthas' soul. Perhaps Xal'atath will have a new resident.

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