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Sylvanas Finally Explains her Motivations in the No More Lies Cinematic

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Here we finally are! After the entirety of Battle for Azeroth, the burning of Teldrassil and every other horrible decision Sylvanas has made, we finally get to find out WHY. In a cutscene that plays after some endgame Maw quests, the Banshee Queen explains why she's done everything she's done, and whether her reasoning is sound or not, is up to you to decide.

If you've clicked on the article you probably want to know immediately, but we're still going to suggest you play through the full story to get the ramifications of the cinematic (if you're even playing, that is).

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When the VERY best afterlife possible is being forced to forget your mortal life, abandon who you were, and exist as a slave for all eternity then the afterlife is tyrannical and broken and needs changing. Sylv is right. Even if she's become an insufferable and poorly written character her motivations are sound.

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1 minute ago, Brutalis said:

When the VERY best afterlife possible is being forced to forget your mortal life, abandon who you were, and exist as a slave for all eternity then the afterlife is tyrannical and broken and needs changing. Sylv is right. Even if she's become an insufferable and poorly written character her motivations are sound.

That system being broken is completely subjective. Sometimes everyone being completely free can do more harm than good. There ARE wars fought in the afterlife like between Kyrians and the Void. Imagine if 3/4 of your army just went "Nah i don't want to fight these void fellows because we don't feel like it" and you couldn't do anything but watch as void corrupts all of Shadowlands nd fucks things up even more.

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2 minutes ago, Steveson said:

That system being broken is completely subjective.

There is literally no justification for slavery and the loss of free will. The fact others may suffer or there may be consequences to free will is no argument for the removal of it. And the thing is, that forgetful slavery is the BEST afterlife possible, out of all the infinite possibilities... What about the promised paradise? Why should there not be something better than slavery?

Edited by Brutalis
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8 minutes ago, Brutalis said:

When the VERY best afterlife possible is being forced to forget your mortal life, abandon who you were, and exist as a slave for all eternity then the afterlife is tyrannical and broken and needs changing. Sylv is right. Even if she's become an insufferable and poorly written character her motivations are sound.

Thing is, motivations aside, she still did it in the WORST POSSIBLE WAY. I mean thing about it, she decided that to get "free will" back she would decide for everyone without telling them and giving them a choice.

Also this outcome was extremely predictable and I'm pretty disappointed this was where they were going all along (aka a straight line).

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9 minutes ago, Starym said:

Thing is, motivations aside, she still did it in the WORST POSSIBLE WAY. Also this outcome was extremely predictable and I'm pretty disappointed this was where they were going all along (aka a straight line).

Same. And yeah, very predictable scenario and one me and my guild had actually spoken about. It's a shame but like, we weren't going to get some exciting twist and Sylvanas was never going to be depicted as a purely evil tyrant.

Edited by Brutalis
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There have been so many forms of afterlife/types of life after death in Warcraft's history that you can easily just view this one as one of many. Thus when the world is dying due to the burning legion and old gods, the first thing you focus on is apparently just one of the many types of afterlives and "@&$^" Azeroth, who cares?

It'd require a few pages worth of text to explain all the types of afterlife in this lore. Adding in another one just for the sake of an expansion or as a "oh we really screwed up Sylv's writing we gotta do something about it" just... shows how far it's been tumbling down. Even the Alliance who so vehemently hated Undercity for raising their dead, have been doing so themselves before BfA.

No one has a moral compass anymore and the sense of direction is just lost.

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So she just forces her own vision on everyone else, including entities from unknown dimensions and universes, realms outside of time and space, that have moral standards not even imaginable to us, let alone comparable to ours, just assuming that she knows what's best for everyone? Such hubris. And in the process she is torturing and killing people left and right, all for her version of "a greater good"?

What even is free will supposed to mean? Philosophers are pondering about whether it exists or rather should/can exist for thousands of years and some Blizzard writer just thinks he has it all figured out? What if I want to use my free will to abolish free will? There always must be rules when entities with a "free will" that likewise can do right or wrong are involved. And if rules have to be upheld anyway, why would I trust Sylvanas' judgement more that the Arbiter's? She certainly has done nothing to earn my trust. 

I am pretty sure they just went too far with this silly story to go back with dignity and now just picked a random concept that sounds good on paper to be her "noble" motivation, in a last ditch effort to avoid giving her the Garrosh-treatment she deserves.

Man, I really thought they had something better in store and in hindsight, I feel sooo stupid for it... -_-

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Ah yes, the old "I was doing all these terrible things for the sake of the world. I'm good, I promise!" that they did with Illidan. The difference is that Illidan was better written. I really hope Sylvanas doesn't get the redemption arc cliché, it'll feel really cheap specially after everything she has done since Legion.

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9 hours ago, Starym said:

Thing is, motivations aside, she still did it in the WORST POSSIBLE WAY. I mean thing about it, she decided that to get "free will" back she would decide for everyone without telling them and giving them a choice.

Also this outcome was extremely predictable and I'm pretty disappointed this was where they were going all along (aka a straight line).

And what about those she killed in order to sacrifice them for the Maw. So much for free will, they didn't have a choice but to die.

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That's just a bit weird.

Nice to have clarification, but remaking life and death is such an unimaginable concept it needed a little more. A vision instead of a complaint. 

Thing this cinematic brought home to me: feels like her character isn't made for this. The arrogance comes off as annoying obstruction; the pain as self-indulgent. She worked far better when she was focused on an unfairness that was really unfair, and I think she would work better now if she was rejecting any or all of this unfairness on a personal level.

It'd allow you to feel sympathy for her. 

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8 hours ago, Yridaa said:

No one has a moral compass anymore and the sense of direction is just lost.

The BFA cinematic -- particularly Sylvanas' bit, actually -- made me hopeful they would reaffirm what each faction stood for. We didn't get that. In fact the vague morass of 'Why are we fighting? Oh, yes, the plot told us to" crept into the characters themselves.

It's a shame. The Alliance/Horde division has some subtle ideas underneath it. But they're consistently dropped in favour of 'We're the Alliance, we are good.' and 'Rawr, we're the Horde, and if we shout it loud enough we feel very enthused!!!'

Enthused by what? Why are you good? 

10 hours ago, Brutalis said:

When the VERY best afterlife possible is being forced to forget your mortal life, abandon who you were, and exist as a slave for all eternity then the afterlife is tyrannical

I thought her mention of covenants was the one thing which was, probably, spot-on. It sits a little strangely though. One of the ideas of afterlives is that you reap what you sow, simplistically, right? Warcraft seems to have just undercut that by adding in arbitrary creatures to the afterlives who aren't so different to the souls they're ferrying.  

Which makes her complaint work.

But suddenly, you seem to be contradicting the deeper truth a little.

Then complicated by the fact it's not even entirely arbitrary, but you do actually get an afterlife that somewhat resembles you.

Then you've just got a mess.

Edited by Halock

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17 minutes ago, Halock said:

Nice to have clarification, but remaking life and death is such an unimaginable concept it needed a little more. A vision instead of a complaint. 

Exactly that. A digital toy like WoW just does not have the decorum to ask and even attempt to answer these questions as old as mankind. The allegory that comes to mind is that of an unborn child, being asked how it would like to spend its future adult life. It may say that as long as it has an infinite amount of amniotic fluid, it can't get any better, but if you offer it that, twenty years later, it will think vastly differently.

The thought that a mortal mind, shackled by the rules of time and space is somehow able to have an idea as to how it would like to spend eternity or even timelessness, is just... flawed. A mind, or a soul, simply has to transcend to be even able to cope with whatever an afterlife has to offer.

So I guess in the end Sylvanas isn't really fighting an unjust afterlife but instead some writers who bit off much, much more than they can chew. Which of course makes this a very unsatisfying conclusion to the story. Blizzard just destroyed their whole universe and lore and made it seem silly and dumb, to make Sylvanas seem less horrible in comparison.

And judging by many of the comments here, it isn't even working.

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9 minutes ago, Ogerscherge said:

The thought that a mortal mind, shackled by the rules of time and space is somehow able to have an idea as to how it would like to spend eternity or even timelessness, is just... flawed.

S'true, and I do feel Warcraft could do with a helping more reverence (for anything). I think it's okay to have characters do things like this, though. The idea of a character taking on the afterlife is flawed, sure, but so is the idea of picking up a sword and it corrupting you. 

But the sword meant something. Rejecting the afterlife has a meaning, but it's incomplete and draws your attention to its flaws. And it may not have a meaning if they can't provide her with a better solution than teaming up with the Jailor because... he... can... do something?

You ever read Anderson's The Mother's Tale, though? I love that. Weird as hell the first time you read it -- you can see why it's no Disney Film -- but what it says is epic.

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16 minutes ago, Halock said:

You ever read Anderson's The Mother's Tale, though? I love that. Weird as hell the first time you read it -- you can see why it's no Disney Film -- but what it says is epic.

A short one, so I just read it quickly. What's your interpretation? How does it fit in in this discussion? I believe that the moral of the story is that you yourself cannot even know what's best for you, let alone others, whereas a higher power, should it exist, may do. It seems to suggest that there is solace to be found in accepting that you know nothing.

Regardless, a beautiful story, so thanks for the recommendation.

25 minutes ago, Halock said:

The idea of a character taking on the afterlife is flawed, sure, but so is the idea of picking up a sword and it corrupting you. 

That is true, but the difference is that picking up a sword and getting corrupted is very much imaginable and comprehensible. It's unrealistic for sure, but the implications do not have the same weight as revealing what awaits after death does. One adds to the mystery of the world, whereas the other removes from it.

I guess it's just a hard pill to swallow that Sylvanas is basically WoW's equivalent of God, creating the ultimate Paradise in which every soul can live happily ever after.

 

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6 minutes ago, Ogerscherge said:

A short one, so I just read it quickly. What's your interpretation? How does it fit in in this discussion? I believe that the moral of the story is that you yourself cannot even know what's best for you, let alone others, whereas a higher power, should it exist, may do.

Ultimately yes. I'd probably slip by the higher power bit, because it might distract. I think I'd phrase it as you can't know what is best, and the appropriate course is to accept that what you have is best.

It also lays a heck of a lot of weight on the mother's exertions to get to Death. And I don't know how to explain most of it, but a few stand out to me -- she loses her eyes at one point, and it seems to me that perhaps she followed her course so far she couldn't see where she was going. She sacrifices her beauty, too -- just as people who become obsessed become ugly. Or at least old and haggard. I think it's all very interesting, though I don't properly understand.

But I was reminded of it because of what you were saying about not being able to know certain things, though we think we may do, and some of the language you used. It's not terribly relevant, I suppose, but it's a story not many people read so I thought I'd ask. ?

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They're just mixing some lines that are easy to agree with into a confusing mess of her recent actions that don't really explain her motivations.

It's flimsy and hard to believe a character like Sylvanas would actually have any conviction in this path unless she's basically evil.  And if that's the case then it creates a whole new set of problems, like the entire concept of individual justice.

So yeah, I'm pretty much confused.

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19 minutes ago, Halock said:

Ultimately yes. I'd probably slip by the higher power bit, because it might distract. I think I'd phrase it as you can't know what is best, and the appropriate course is to accept that what you have is best.

It also lays a heck of a lot of weight on the mother's exertions to get to Death. And I don't know how to explain most of it, but a few stand out to me -- she loses her eyes at one point, and it seems to me that perhaps she followed her course so far she couldn't see where she was going. She sacrifices her beauty, too -- just as people who become obsessed become ugly. Or at least old and haggard. I think it's all very interesting, though I don't properly understand.

I see. That makes sense for sure, but on the other hand giving up everything was what lead her not only to the goal she thought she wanted to achieve, but also towards her grand revelation. So in the end I am not sure I'd agree that her giving her eyes was a mistake, or that it left her without vision, especially since she got them back anyway in a bit of an Isaac-esque twist. So her great devotion got rewarded ultimately. Difficult to take the religious aspect out of the story, if you ask me. ^.^

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5 hours ago, Ogerscherge said:

but on the other hand giving up everything was what lead her not only to the goal she thought she wanted to achieve, but also towards her grand revelation.

Sure, because even evil serves good in the end. But her pursuing death isn't a good action and the costs are, until the end, merely losses. The scars are remade; they were still wounds. 

 

5 hours ago, Ogerscherge said:

Difficult to take the religious aspect out of the story, if you ask me. ^.^

Definitely. But it makes it difficult to understand for a lot of people, who just end up asking why God's doing X. Which then invites theology. It's a bit like having your character try to remake life and death! Before you get to the theme underneath people are asking awkward questions like isn't it a bit cruel to kill all the firstborn sons of Egypt and what you gonna do when you don't have an afterlife huh.

Although some find it easy and intuitive, so coinflip, but when discussing ideas I try to find another way to put it because it broadens the audience.

(watch me desperately try to wind this back onto Sylvanas)

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5 hours ago, shanghaied said:

They're just mixing some lines that are easy to agree with into a confusing mess of her recent actions that don't really explain her motivations.

Honestly I think this right here wins the thread. 

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7 minutes ago, Halock said:

Sure, because even evil serves good in the end. But her pursuing death isn't a good action and the costs are, until the end, merely losses. The scars are remade; they were still wounds. 

Interesting that you mention evil in that context. Her being willing to sacrifice so much for the sake of her beloved child to me seems everything but that. But maybe that is what makes a good story. It can be interpreted in completely contrary ways. You speak about wounds, but I think that she found solace and wisdom on her journey and will return home a better person, not a wounded one, at least not in a metaphorical sense.

 

9 minutes ago, Halock said:

Definitely. But it makes it difficult to understand for a lot of people, who just end up asking why God's doing X. Which then invites theology. It's a bit like having your character try to remake life and death! Before you get to the theme underneath people are asking awkward questions like isn't it a bit cruel to kill all the firstborn sons of Egypt and what you gonna do when you don't have an afterlife huh.

A good point in theory, but that argumentation can never lead anywhere, as only people who don't believe in God in the first place, judge His actions negatively. If you cannot even agree on what is life and death, there is simply no common ground for discussion. An early death is only a bad thing, if there is no Judgement Day. So what being killed by God means to you personally, depends on whether or not you already trusted in Him before you ask yourself the question. Thus in the end you can never convince any party that their views are wrong on that topic, because in this rare case you find the answer first and then the question.

In the end this is exactly my point though. If it was just Blizzard's intention to have people argue in forums about Sylvanas' actions, they did that in a very cheap way, by simply putting some new paint on a topic that people are in dispute about for millennia and act as if now they really made us think.

 

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