TL;DR: The main purpose of the Warbringers videos are to show us the transformations, evolutions, and motivations of the final raid bosses of Battle for Azeroth (obviously excluding G’huun). Furthermore, I believe Sylvanas Windrunner will be the final boss of the the expansion, however we will not kill her (nor will we kill Azshara in the Azshara's Eternal Palace raid).
Prenote: This is all just speculation that I did for fun and I thought it would be cool to share. There are some light spoilers if you haven’t completed Battle for Dazar’alor yet, as well as some very minor Rise of Azshara spoilers from Blizzcon as well.
So last week I was getting ready to go into Battle of Dazar’alor with my guild and I happened to be listening to Jaina’s Warbringers song. I glanced over to the album cover and I had an interesting series of thoughts:
“So Jaina is a Warbringer and the final boss of Battle of Dazar’alor, where we don’t manage to kill her. Queen Azshara is a Warbringer and is announced to be the final boss of the next major raid in 8.2. There are plenty of theories in the community that we also won’t kill Azshara as she likely has a much larger role to play than a raid boss, given her lore. Does this mean that Sylvanas Windrunner will be the final raid boss after Azshara (and possibly the final raid boss of the expansion), and will we also not kill her?”
After that initial thought, I started dissecting the evidence we have as of writing this post, trying to draw lines and parallels between these three characters, and disprove some of my ideas. I started with Jaina’s video; we begin the video seeing Jaina repenting for her past actions (and in-actions), and trying to come to terms with where her decisions have lead her. By the end of video, Jaina has not only raised her father’s ship, but has fully embraced the entity of the “Daughter of the Sea”. We ultimately see Jaina evolve into the wrath of her homeland, willing to do whatever it takes to try to reconcile with Kul Tiras and defend those she loves from the Horde.
Next I looked at Azshara’s video. Hers begins with the collapsing of the Well of Eternity and the destruction of her crown jewel Zin-Azshari. We see her “let go” of her Highborne empire, prepared to let it end and accepting that she has failed her people, her empire, and (most importantly to Azshara) herself. But N’Zoth approaches her, and as we know, she strikes a deal with him to serve as a queen of N’Zoth’s empire, and her people are transformed into the Naga. For now, the information we have on Azshara’s Eternal Palace is limited; however it is highly speculated in the community that Azshara will not perish at the end of the raid. It would be such a waste of potential storytelling on Blizzard’s end, as many say Azshara is just as much as a “classic WoW villain” as Illidan or Arthas.
So here we see some interesting parallels between Azshara and Jaina’s Wabringers videos. Firstly, we see that their past decisions have led both of them to great failures. For Jaina, these decisions are many from not stopping Arthas at Stratholme to stepping aside while her father is killed by the Horde. For Azshara, her failure is obviously in the fall of her empire as well as her failure of bringing the Burning Legion to Azeroth. But after these characters reflect on their failures, we also see these characters transform (Azshara more literally than Jaina). Jaina embraces the entity of the Daughter of the Sea, while Azshara transforms into Queen of the Naga. I think it’s also important to take note of where these videos take place: Jaina’s video starts in Thermore but mostly takes place in The Great Sea; interestingly enough, her raid battle also takes place in The Great Sea (granted not near Theramore, but I think that detail isn’t 100% relevant). Azshara’s video takes place in Zin-Azshari, presumably near her place; likewise, her encounter space will likely be in or around her palace in the next major raid.
With these parallels between Jaina and Azshara in mind, it becomes even more interesting analyzing Sylvanas’s video; though I think Sylvanas’s video is much more open to interpretation than the other two. For example, the most literal and obvious transformation we see in Sylvanas’s video is her being slain by Arthas and turning into a banshee. Though it could also be argued that her transformation occurs during her conversion with Delaryn, where she realizes that occupying Teldrassil would not be enough to accomplish her goal of breaking the will of the Night Elves and the Alliance. Her plan shifts, and for arguably the first time since she has been Warchief we see her make a decision as leader of the Horde that others would have a hard time making. Many think this was a tantrum by Sylvans, but I think it was more of an epiphany.
I think it’s also pretty interesting to analyze where Sylvanas’s failure is in her video. Again, the most obvious interpretation would be her failure to save her people of Silvermoon. Though I think it could also be argued that her failure was her initial attack on Darkshore and Teldrassil, and her failure to realize how resilient her opponent was. Furthermore, you could “mix and match” her failures with her transformation; if you subscribe to the idea that her transformation was her making the decision to burn Teldrassil, you could also interpret her failure to be her defeat in keeping Silvermoon safe. I’d also like to point out the setting of this video, which is Darkshore, specifically right on the coast that is most adjacent to Teldrassil.
Ultimately, my theory relies on first finding the comparisons of Jaina’s and Azshara's Warbringer videos and in game appearances. Using those established similarities and looking to Sylvanas, I believe Sylvanas will follow the same trend established by the other Warbringers videos. I think Sylvanas is going to be the next final raid boss after Azshara, which will also likely be the last major raid of Battle for Azeroth, and I also think we will not actually kill her just like Jaina and likely Azshara. Furthermore, based on the settings of the videos, I think the last raid will take this battle to where this war began; to the remains of Teldrassil. Why exactly the raid would be set there, I’m not sure; however it is a definitely a place of power. Maybe Sylvanas will attempt to do something with the Blade of the Black Empire here?
As a last miscellaneous point which doesn’t hold much weight but I still think is interesting to think about: when you are defeated by Jaina in the Battle of Dazar’alor, she says “Beware, beware… of me.” This is a clear quote and reference from her Warbringers video. I think Azshara and Sylvanas will have similar quotes lifted from their videos if you fail to defeat them. I think the most obvious for Azshara will be her laughing: “Hahaha… Magnificent!”, in awe of all of the death before her. Maybe upon defeat from Sylvanas, she’ll say something like what she says to Delaryn: “Life is pain… Hope fails.”
Thanks for reading! Looking forward to hearing what you guys think!
Edit: Changed "Xal'atath" to "the Blade of the Black Empire" for clarity that Sylvanas is likely not working with the entity Xal'atath herself but more specifically the blade. Thanks for pointing that out!
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