World of Warcraft (WoW)

Free Will & The Shadowlands

Content of the article: "Free Will & The Shadowlands"

So in the cinematic between Sylvanas and Anduin in Torghast, she tells him that what she and the Jailer want is to break the machinery of death and give souls free will to choose their own afterlife.

Obviously, Sylvanas is motivated in this by her own experience after committing suicide after Arthas’ defeat at Icecrown. She doesn’t want to experience the Maw in that way, so she apparently joins the Jailer in a plot to overthrow the current leadership of the Shadowlands and reshape it to give her and others the opportunity to choose their own destinies.

But what would this actually mean in practice? Would anyone be able to choose how they experience the Shadowlands? Who would shepherd souls from the mortal realms if there were no more Kyrians? Who would be made to atone for their sins and save their souls from being torn apart by anima without the Venthyr?

Let’s say for argument’s sake that Sylvanas’ plan works and the Shadowlands becomes a choose your own adventure experience: A sadistic mass murderer decides to evade justice on his world by committing suicide. He arrives in the Shadowlands, and now he gets to do whatever he wants? No punishment, no justice; he just finds a nice ethereal beach somewhere and chills for eternity?

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Sylvanas may selfishly want to avoid accountability for her own actions in life/undeath, but would she want the same for Arthas? Would she think it was fair that he got to choose his own afterlife after dying in Northrend? I suspect that if she’d died and found herself in paradise but was standing alongside and restored and happy Arthas that she would have decried it as unjust.

I guess this long-winded post is to ask whether or not Sylvanas has really considered what it is that she seems to be proposing and how it would actually function. Once she she had assured that he own fate is secured, is she really going to be satisfied with the “justice” of such an afterlife? It seems unlikely to me.


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