WoW: Redemption or eternal damnation for Sylvanas in the Sanctum of Domination?

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The dungeon master scores a major victory in Oribos. The Judge falls and the Dungeon Master retrieves the final seal, which opens a gateway to the Tomb of the First. However, the tomb where the creators keep their final secrets will not play an important role until WoW Patch 9.2. What concerns us at the moment is rather the fate of Sylvanas and Anduin. So let's take a closer look at the final cutscene from the new Sanctum of Domination raid.

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The grand finale in the judge's chambers

The jailer's sigil is hard core and not spectral like his siblings' sigils. Source: buffed

The Jailer enters the Judge's chamber and regains his old form with the final seal. It is exciting to see that his seal looks different from those of the other Eternals. Perhaps Zovaal originally had more power than his siblings. This is supported by the story told by the Archon and the Winter Queen in Patch 9.1. According to the Lady of the Night Fae, it took the combined forces of the Pacts to defeat the Dungeon Master.

With Zovaal's metamorphosis, his old power also returns. He immediately puts Bolvar, Jaina and Thrall in chains and he is on the verge of wiping out the trio. Sylvanas has had enough, however, and tries to distract the jailer from the heroes. From her point of view, no further violence is necessary, they have finally achieved the first major goal. However, it seems as if she is trying to reassure herself. At Zovaal's promise that he will recreate reality, the banshee slowly turns to Anduin, who stares ahead like a soulless doll. At this point, Sylvanas realizes what the jailer's new universe should look like. A moment later, the villain confirms her worst fears.
Sylvanas delivered Anduin Wrynn to the jailer. The king is now the puppet of Zovaal. Source: Blizzard

The jailer drops his mask

The banshee shows a triumphant smile as the jailer gets his seal back from the judge. Source: Blizzard However, the laughter fades from Sylvanas as soon as Zovaal shows his true colors. She was hoping for a savior, but instead she got a monster that reminded her of the Lich King. Source: Blizzard

"A new reality where all will serve me." This speech is like a slap in the face to Sylvanas. These are the same words once used by the Lich King and later Arthas to describe their vision of the future. Zovaal's speech reawakens the old unruly spirit of the Banshee Queen. Sylvanas fires a cursed arrow at the dungeon master, just as she once attacked Arthas with a poisoned arrow.

Ridiculous. The dungeon master intercepts the arrow. Anyway, that attack was a symbolic gesture Sylvanas used to renounce Zovaal. He never fully trusted her anyway. Though he shared his power with her, she could never overcome her past life. The jailer is disappointed, but not surprised. Thus, Sylvanas' response of "I will never serve" has no meaning to him; after all, she has already done her service.

So we're not surprised that Zovaal ends up dropping the banshee queen like a hot potato. At the height of his power, he could wipe her out with just a snap of his fingers. But the dungeon master has other plans for Sylvanas. She has helped Zovaal reclaim his sigil. In return for her services, the banshee gets back something Frostmourne once stole from her - a fragment of her soul. All this time, the jailer kept this frozen soul shard in his secret chamber somewhere in Torghast.

Shattered Souls

Splinters? There was something! If that shard belonged to Sylvanas, to whose soul did the fragment the dungeon master conjured while forging Königsgram belong? Arthas, Nathanos, or even Varian? Source: Blizzard The dungeon master used a similar soul shard when forging King's Grail. Source: Blizzard

Zovaal fires the shard at Sylvanas, she staggers and her eyes turn blue again as they did when she was a ranger general of Quel'Thalas. Sylvanas' soul is complete again, but the price the banshee must pay is high. The jailer disappears through the great portal, leaving Sylvanas at the mercy of the remaining heroes who have been trying to stop her and Zovaal all this time. At this point, the Jailer shows just how ruthless he is. He knows that letting Sylvanas live instead of killing her is a crueler punishment for her; laden with all the sins of the past years.

Another important detail in this cutscene is that the rest of the heroes did not witness these important moments with Sylvanas' rebellion and the healing of her soul because they were dazed by the dungeon master's chains and thus turned off. Zovaal frees them only a few seconds before he disappears into the portal with Anduin. Sylvanas is left as the scapegoat and it is clear that the trio will not speak well of the Banshee Queen. The scene where Thrall, Bolvar and Jaina walk up to Sylvanas looks very menacing. Will the trio kill Sylvanas immediately or spare her?

The Tomb of the First

The decoration on Zovaal's helmet is the same as on the Lich King's crown. Source: Blizzard There's still a huge hole in Zovaal's chest. Have the Eternals wounded him? And is this old wound his only weakness? Source: Blizzard However, the tragedy of Sylvanas no longer matters to the jailer. Zovaal got what he wanted with the judge's heart. He knew from the start that he couldn't rely on the Banshee. With Anduin Wrynn, the villain now has a servant who will follow his orders unquestioningly. Our only hope is the golden compass Anduin drops before leaving Oribos with the dungeon master. Thanks to the compass, we learn where the duo disappeared to and this mystical Tomb of the First. What mysteries will we find in this ominous tomb?

No redemption for Sylvanas

The end of Patch 9.1 once again raises more questions than it answers. Except for the fate of Sylvanas, the direction in which the story of Shadowlands is going was already clear. Now we have a similar situation as at the end of Mists of Pandaria. Bolvar, Jaina, and Thrall executing the Banshee Queen on the spot is unlikely.

This gives us another warchief who will most likely go behind bars and be court-martialed. Fine, Sylvanas could slip away from her judges once again and follow the jailer to the tomb to stop him on her own. That would be her personal Redemption story.

Sylvanas is fired! Who needs a banshee queen when you have Anduin at your side? Source: Blizzard But even if she can save Anduin and stop the jailer, she won't be able to make up for her countless crimes. How the developers will resolve this tricky story remains to be seen. Perhaps we can expect a similar story as with Illidan Stormrage in WoW (buy now 14,99 € )

Legion. While questing, we replayed some important events in past Warcraft history. In doing so, we slipped into Illidan's skin, thereby gaining a new perspective on what happened in the War of the Ancestors and beyond.

While this didn't mitigate Illidan's crimes, we were able to better understand Illidan's motivations afterwards. The big question here is whether the developers have that much time for an elaborate rehashing of Sylvanas' story in the game right now. We suspect they're more likely to resolve her story in the novel Sylvanas, which won't be released until February 2022.

Of course, ex-Blizzard employees were also eagerly following the end of Patch 9.1, with former Blizzard icon and lore guru Chris Metzen thanking Christie Golden for her work in a tweet. It takes talent to write great stories, but it also takes courage to tell them.

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Sure, after all the shitstorm surrounding Sylvanas and her role in BfA and Shadowlands, the WoW author's encouragement certainly feels good. After this cliffhanger in Sanctum of Domination, we are of course curious what background info Christie Golden's novel will give us early next year.

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The dungeon master used a similar soul shard when forging King's Grail. [Source: Blizzard] 03:42WoW
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