The Queen's Gift: Hope for the Night Elves and a New World Tree - Cinematic Analysis
Patch 9.2.5 features a new cinematic between Tyrande and the Winter Queen. This cinematic, titled 'The Queen's Gift', brings a long-needed promise of hope and renewal to the Night Elves.
The cinematic opens with the Winter Queen addressing Tyrande. The Winter Queen asks Tyrande if she found the justice that she was seeking when she first came to Ardenweald.
Winter Queen: Tyrande Whisperwind.
Winter Queen: You came to my realm in pursuit of justice.
Winter Queen: Did you find it?
Though Tyrande journeyed to the Shadowlands at the same time as we did, she did not arrive in Ardenweald until the Battle for Ardenweald, the first chapter of Chains of Domination, Patch 9.1's storyline. Tyrande arrived in pursuit of Sylvanas, and was
willing to give her own life
in exchange for the power that she would need to defeat the Banshee Queen. For a moment, it seemed like she would get her wish - but Elune retracted her power at the last minute, leaving Tyrande unconscious - but still alive. Later, during the Power of Night, we learned that Elune had acted to save Tyrande's life.
Justice vs Vengeance
Straight away, Tyrande corrects the Winter Queen, echoing a sentiment that we have witnessed many times in the Shadowlands - that she was not seeking justice, but vengeance.
Tyrande: I came here seeking vengeance.
This has obvious parallels to Uther Lightbringer's story - while Uther told himself sending Arthas directly to the Maw was an act of justice, he later came to realize he was motivated by revenge.
Uther says: Devos convinced me that my death was wrong. She promised me justice.
Uther says: What we did to him was not justice. It was vengeance.
Justice Has Been Found
However, even though Uther may have initially been motivated by revenge, his questioning of the Kyrian path ultimately led to a better future for all of the Kyrian.
Uther did regret throwing Arthas into the Maw. He, and most of the Kyrian, came to realize they were being used as pawns by the Jailer - that they were working for the Maw without even knowing about it - and that their allies in the Maw had no interest in the justice of their cause, the Jailer only wanted to exploit them.
Even so, none of that invalidated the Forsworn's problems with the Kyrain Path. The Archon herself came to realize they had valid complaints, and that the Kyrian Path
be questioned after all. As a result, the Path was changed - the tenet of Loyalty replaced by Devotion. While Uther was not seeking justice, he ultimately helped the Forsworn find it anyway.
In the same way, Tyrande may not have been seeking justice - but she found it anyway. When Sylvanas submitted to the judgment of Tyrande Whisperwind, it was under the guidance of Pelagos, new Arbiter of the Shadowlands. Pelagos - who now holds the power of the Arbiter - is the paragon of justice in the Shadowlands, and he encouraged Sylvanas himself to declare Tyrande her judge.
Sylvanas Windrunner says: The Jailer did not control me. My actions were mine alone, and I accept their consequences.
Arbiter Pelagos says: Then... you know in your heart, to whom you must answer.
Sylvanas Windrunner says: I submit to the judgment... of Tyrande Whisperwind.
In this scene, the Winter Queen did not ask Tyrande simply if she found justice - but if she found justice in Ardenweald. Tyrande's correction highlights that any justice she has found was neither sought for or found in Ardenweald. In Ardenweald sepcifically, she found something else.
Hope & Elune
For a long time, Tyrande's relationship with Elune has taken on a more sinister form.
The Night Warrior power draws from the phase of the New Moon
, when the moon is entirely dark. Tyrande has also seemed increasingly frustrated with Elune, wondering why the moon goddess didn't intervene to save the Night Elves at Teldrassil, or why Elune withdrew her power just before Tyrande gained the killing blow on Sylvanas. But here, she refers to the "light of Elune". This, alone, indicates the change in Tyrande, and the return to hope. Her relationship with her goddess is once again one of faith and light.
As for the Winter Queen, her relationship with Elune has also been healed. The Winter Queen believed her sister had abandoned her, but through Tyrande, came to understand that wasn't true.
Tyrande: But within these groves, and by the light of Elune, I found something I feared lost.
Winter Queen: And thanks to that choice, a sisters' bond once broken has been mended.
It should be noted, there is still something strange about Elune. The goddess does not seem as all-knowing or all-powerful as she perhaps should be - unable even to communicate with her sister properly. The abandonment the Night Elves and the Winter Queen both felt still raises concerns, but at least there is hope that Elune is as loving and trustworthy as they previously believed her to be.
The Sisters' Tear
The Winter Queen produces the seed that she and Elune created together.
Even before she learned that Elune had not betrayed her, the Winter Queen opened Ardenweald to any Night Elf souls that were brought there. Night Fae players helped rescue many souls that died in Teldrassil from Torghast. Later, the Winter Queen hinted that a special purpose awaited the Night Elf souls.
Shandris Feathermoon says: The Winter Queen spoke of a purpose for the souls of our people. What did she mean?
Tyrande Whisperwind says: That, Elune did not tell me, daughter. Not yet.
Here, we finally see that purpose. In a scene reminiscent of Warcraft 3, the Night Elf souls transform into wisps and begin flooding into the seed. There are several reasons why this parallel is so powerful.
Winter Queen: This tear was born of sorrow.
Winter Queen: Now it shall become a vessel of renewal.
Winter Queen: These souls were saved from the darkness of the Maw.
Winter Queen: Unto them, I have offered eternal tranquility in the boughs of Ardenweald.
Winter Queen: They have chosen instead to become part of a new beginning for their kin.
During the Battle for Mount Hyjal, when Archimonde began to climb the World Tree Nordrassil, all hope seemed lost. The Defiler would consume the World Tree's powers and rip it from the Well of Eternity. He was stopped only because the souls of Night Elves - thousands of wisps - sacrificed themselves by swarming him until he was overwhelmed, and detonating. This also greatly harmed Nordrassil and damaged the Night Elf race - who lost their immortality - but Azeroth was saved.
Later, the Night Elves would fine hope in the growing of Teldrassil, a new World Tree. And though Teldrassil is now destroyed, the reference is clear. Though the Night Elves have suffered a great loss, all hope is not lost - and a new World Tree can be grown again.
The Cycle of Death... And Life
What's more, these wisps do not detonate. No enemy is being killed here, and nothing is being destroyed. Instead, the wisps infuse the seed with their own life.
As the Winter Queen explains the seed embodies the cycle of death and life, it is a promise that from death - the death of the Night Elves at Teldrassil - will come life. We have been to the Shadowlands.
We have experienced the "death" part of the cycle. Next
come life - this is the Winter Queen's promise, and gift.
Winter Queen: This seed embodies the cycle of death and life.
Winter Queen: I offer it to you, Tyrande Whisperwind.
Winter Queen: May it bring your people happiness and peace.
As Tyrande presses her forehead to the seed, we hear a heartbeat. Once again driving in the point that these souls have not been destroyed - they are alive, and finding purpose in the hope and promise of life that they bring to their people.
Tyrande's final words, "Andu-falah-dor", means "Let the balance be restored".
Tyrande: On behalf of all the kaldorei, I thank you.
At the moment, Azeroth is still carrying the scars of the Fourth War - but with this patch, we are seeing the signs of healing. It seems clear that this seed will be used to once again create a World Tree for the Night Elves, restoring the balance that was lost with Teldrassil's burning.
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