Sylvanas Windrunner is the leader of the Forsaken faction in World of Warcraft. After taking over several cities and defeating a powerful tyrant, she was met with nothing but scorn by her former jailer. Here’s what happened when Sylvanas found out he died…
Sylvanas is the night elf leader of the Forsaken and one of the most powerful undead characters in World of Warcraft. She was originally a human, but she became an undead after being raised from the dead by Arthas Menethil. The Jailer is another Night Elf who also appears in World of Warcraft. Sylvanas has been trying to bring him back to life, but he has refused her every time. Read more in detail here: what does sylvanas mean.
Christie Golden’s latest book, World of Warcraft: Sylvanas, finally resolves certain mysteries concerning the precise nature of Sylvanas Windrunner’s agreement with the Jailer.
At first, Sylvanas was skeptical of the jailer.
Many people have wondered why Sylvanas chose to associate with someone like the Jailer, who utilizes Domination magic and was instrumental in the creation of the Lich King. Sylvanas was right to be suspicious of the Jailer when she first saw him.
Sylvanas and the Jailer first met after her second death, when she hurled herself from Icecrown in the short novel Edge of Night. Sylvanas found herself in the Maw, rather than the tranquil afterlife she had hoped for.
In the narrative, Zovaal approaches her and introduces himself, informing her that everything she thought she knew about free choice was a lie, and that there is no such thing as life or death freedom or justice. Sylvanas, who recognizes the Domination markings engraved into the Jailer’s skin, first dismisses his accusations.
“My name is Zovaal. I ruled the domains of Death from the edge of eternity itself before becoming the Jailer of this world. I presided as Arbiter over every mortal soul whose existence had sputtered to a halt. I knew all there was to know about them in an instant. And do you know what I saw time after time? Fragile creatures who have been abandoned to the vagaries of destiny. These things were imposed upon them, whether they were clever or stupid, hale or ailing. The decision was never theirs from the minute they inhaled their first breath until they breathed their last. And when their lives came to an end, it was up to me to determine what would happen to their souls for all eternity.”
As she considered her own life, she became enraged. The choices that were made for her. “I refuse to accept this bullshit,” she says.
Her gaze was drawn to the illuminating symbols, and the foggy forms became crystal clear for the first time. And in that one second, she summoned the banshee’s wailing to shatter the darkness with her fury.
“Frostmourne! You bore the scars of the sword that put an end to my life!”
The Jailer’s tone remained cold and detached. “My brother’s furious mind created this sword. The same brother who bound me with Domination.”
Sylvanas growled, “I will not listen to whatever you have to say.” “Your comments reeks of deception! Because of you, I am dead, I am this! Why would I ever want to help you?”
Claims of the Jailer
Zovaal informs Sylvanas that as Arbiter, he learned there was no free choice in Life or Death, and that he was punished when he ventured to challenge this. He finds parallels between Sylvanas’ own feeling of unfairness and Sylvanas’ own sense of injustice. Sylvanas is still distrustful, but she can’t help but remember her own ordeal. The Jailer develops a relationship of shared sorrow between them in this manner.
The design is dangerously, horribly, and worst of all indifferently defective from conception to implementation and throughout everything that has been and is.
“I ventured to oppose the creators’ will.” I set out to undo their poor design and replace it with something better. And it was because of this that my own family sentenced me to this cruel destiny.
Sylvanas reflected on what she had gone through in life and in undeath once again. Resentment crept back in, drowned out by blind misery.
“Your tale resembles mine in many ways,” the Jailer added. “We’d both been deceived… and we’d both been shattered. I, too, was ripped apart, and I know what it’s like to be excruciatingly, forever unfinished.”
The Jailer is careful to emphasize that he is not seeking for Sylvanas to serve him, but rather that he regards her as a peer.
“Sylvanas Windrunner, I don’t want to be a slave. I was in desperate need of a friend. Someone with a mind sharp enough to grasp my purpose and the will to see it through, no matter what it takes.”
“Remember what I’m giving you before you say no. We’re going to re-create… everything. Death and life. You’ll be at my side every step of the way.”
He also makes it clear that he does not expect Sylvanas to just trust his words, and that instead, he would provide proof that she can see with her own eyes, suggesting that the Val’kyr show her whatever she wants in the Shadowlands so she may see for herself how unfair everything is.
The Jailer said, “You are sensible to be wary.” “However, just because you do not believe something does not make it any less true.”
“If you don’t believe what I’m saying, then let your own views disclose the reality. My Val’kyr can prove that what I’m saying is correct.”
Lies Told by the Jailer
The Jailer is shown lying to Sylvanas from the beginning. The Jailer, for example, informs Sylvanas that she was brought to the Maw because of an unfair system.
“You rescued so many people, some who didn’t even want or deserve your aid, but you saved their lives nevertheless.”
“Despite that, the fake Arbiter of the Shadowlands put you here.”
He later informs her, however, that Arthas ended up in the Maw as a result of decisions he took as the Lich King, decisions that the Jailer separates himself from.
“Frostmourne was employed by Arthas to kill your mortal existence, but not on my orders. He lacked the strength to fully use the mourneblade’s capabilities. In the end, he utilized Domination’s instruments to further his own egotistical ambition for dominance. He had deceived everyone. You can feel him here, helpless and terrified, because of his vows, his family, friends, and even himself. Weak.”
Of course, we all know this isn’t true. Uther, not the Arbiter, was the one who sent Arthas to the Maw.
If the Jailer can lie about Arthas’s imprisonment in the Maw, it casts doubt on his statements concerning Sylvanas.
We know – though she doesn’t realize it at the moment – that Jailer already had a piece of Sylvanas’ soul when he met her. This shows he was significantly more involved in her death than he claims, as well as the possibility that he was the one who took her soul to the Maw.
We can see how the seeds sown by Zovaal’s falsehoods have started to take root later, when Sylvanas notices Zul’jin is in Revendreth rather than the Maw.
Sylvanas gave a faint frown. She was beginning to understand what the Jailer meant. “If Zul’jin isn’t in the Maw, then the Arbiter has condemned me beyond redemption… but not him,” Sylvanas said.
Sylvanas comes finds a creature that was taken to a flawless heavenly afterlife as a prize for a magnificent gesture of love for her partner in another pivotal scenario. When Sylvanas inquires about the creature’s mate, the Val’kyr informs her that he has been transferred to another realm. Sylvanas is taken aback, and he starts to see what the Jailer meant when he said the system was “cruelly and indifferently” defective.
“Are there any families that are complete… in the afterlife?”
“We can’t give you a definitive answer since there are so many variables—”
“Yes, I understand; they are limitless, and you can’t go to every single one of them. But, in your experience, and based on what you’ve observed, have any spirits been reunited with their loved ones?”
Agatha’s strong, attractive face was solemn and sorrow-etched. “No, Lady Sylvanas, in our experience.”
Sylvanas feels she’s witnessing proof with her own eyes that backs up what the Jailer has informed her. We, on the other hand, have evidence to the contrary. While certain characters, such as Durotan and Draka, do journey to various afterlives, this does not mean that families are never reunited. The former Night Warrior Thiernax and his spouse Qadarin, who are both in Ardenweald together, are introduced in Chapter 5 of the Night Fae Covenant Campaign.
Sylvanas’ belief that she is witnessing confirmation of the Jailer’s remarks runs throughout the novel.
Five Ways to Earn Your Trust
Even after the Jailer has persuaded Sylvanas that part of what he has stated is correct, she expresses her distrust of him.
“Now you see,” he said.
“Yes, I do. But I’m a little wary. Careful. I don’t readily offer my confidence, and I still don’t trust you “she said
“Trust between friends must be earned,” said the Jailer, “but if your own eyes do not persuade you, I am not sure what would.”
In actuality, the Jailer returns Sylvanas without reaching an agreement. Instead, he assures her that she will come to understand the validity of his remarks. She will begin to see unfairness everywhere now that he has informed her there is no justice.
The Jailer responded, “Then go.” “Send a Val’kyr to me once you’ve made your decision, and if it’s a yes, keep an eye out for a kid of blood. With this new perspective, you’ll see inequity everywhere and no fairness at all.”
Finally, he promises that there will be five signs that prove his words are true.
“Keep an eye out for these five indicators, and know that what I’m saying is accurate. There will be a return of a raging darkness. You must emerge from the shadows and take the initiative. A sword will penetrate the world’s heart, and you will grasp the blood from the wound in your hands and feel its strength. Finally, you will depose a monarch and break the very sky.”
The Betrayal of Vereesa
Sylvanas returns to her undeath with this in mind, and she begins to observe injustice everywhere. Even yet, she isn’t quite ready to approach the Jailer, and she starts to consider other options for finding purpose in her life.
Sylvanas and her sister Vereesa renewed their connection in the book War Crimes, bonding over their common hate for Garrosh. Sylvanas started making arrangements to live in Undercity with Vereesa – twisted plans, since she anticipated Vereesa to die and be reared in undeath – but she still intends to live with her sister. Sylvanas felt betrayed and abandoned when these intentions went through, placing her in a position where she must have been especially open to the Jailer’s machinations. A scene from the film War Crimes:
The agony was excruciating. It was the same phantom anguish she’d been having for the last several days, when she’d been so content with Vereesa. Except now, even the euphoria that had accompanied the suffering had vanished, and all that was left was agony.
Sylvanas knelt, buried her face in her hands, and grieved, wailed, wept like a shattered child who had lost everything.
Moon, Moon, Moon…
The tears subsided gradually, and the usual comfort of ice pushed the burning pain away. The agony she felt at first, when she mistakenly allowed herself to want for anything other than what she had now, to feel something for someone else… to experience love again… It was a forewarning. She was given a warning that she was no longer designed for emotions like hope, love, trust, or joy. These were things for the living; these were things for the feeble. The Banshee Queen of the Forsaken, Sylvanas Windrunner, would never make the mistake of thinking she could love again.
In Sylvanas, the identical scenario is mentioned:
But, in the end, it didn’t matter. When Lirath died, Sylvanas was the one who turned away from Vereesa. Little Moon was the one who had turned down Sylvanas this time.
Why do I keep allowing myself to be concerned? It’s never going to work. Faith in something or someone untrue, or the vagaries of the world, always misled her, either knowingly or unknowingly.
To believe she could be loved was insane. Maybe once, but not now.
The Jailer was absolutely correct. She needed to be free of these pitiful tangles of relationships. The ostensibly binding bonds were little more than shackles. She’d harden her heart and pretend it didn’t exist.
Vol’jin’s Death & Sylvanas Makes Her Choice
Everywhere she looks, Sylvanas sees injustice. After The Betrayal of Vereesa, she loses any hope of finding love in her existence. By the time the Jailer’s predictions begin to come true, Sylvanas is ready to be convinced.
“The Burning Legion has returned,” says the narrator.
Of course, Sylvanas was appalled as well, but her main reaction was shock. Shock… followed by a gradual sensation of surprising pleasure and fulfillment.
There will be a return of a raging darkness.
The first of the Jailer’s prophesies has been fulfilled. What was the Legion if not a raging inferno?
She had been watching and observing, as she had promised the Jailer, and had seen injustice and unfairness in almost every area of life, and now… this. He was gradually demonstrating himself to be faithful to his promise.
Sylvanas, still horrified by the unfairness of Vol’jin’s death, is ready to make the bargain, according to the second prediction.
The loa had bestowed a vision and a name onto the dying shadow hunter. “Many will be perplexed,” he added, his tone softening. “However, you must emerge from the shadows… and take the lead.”
The words themselves. The words themselves. Unmistakable.
The torrent had finally slowed to a trickle, and she was alone, starring at Vol’jin’s empty throne, where he had done two things that had been inconceivable only moments before:
He’d died, and he’d appointed her as warchief.
The second of Zovaal’s prophecies. The first, involving the Burning Legion, may undoubtedly be seen as a fortunate guess by the dubious. This, on the other hand, was exactly what Zovaal had said he would use when he was ready.
Sylvanas, persuaded, sends a note to the Jailer, consenting to join him. Of course, she is unaware that Zovaal’s ability to foresee Vol’jin’s precise words is due to his own comrade, Mueh’zala, being the loa who murmured those words to the dying Warchief.
Sargeras’ sword did indeed puncture the heart of Azeroth, as the Jailer said, and Sylvanas could feel the planet’s lifeblood, Azerite, in her palm. The final prophesy became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sylvanas did manage to overthrow Bolvar, the Lich King, and shatter the sky, but only because she had previously decided to do what the Jailer requested.
The Il’gynoth Whispers
As you may have already realized, the Jailer’s talk of five signs is reminiscent of one of The Il’gynoth Whispers.
We’ll need five keys to get started. Our journey will be illuminated by five candles.
This isn’t the first time a whisper of Il’gynoth seems to foreshadow a plot twist, and it’s unlikely to be the last. Many of these murmurs are ambiguous enough to apply to a variety of possible outcomes, much as the Jailer’s vow that Sylvanas will perceive injustice. We figured we’d share them again just in case:
Flesh is his gift. He is your true creator. To find him, drown yourself in the circle of stars. The king of diamonds has been made a pawn. The lord of ravens will turn the key. The boy-king serves at the master’s table. Three lies will he offer you. Her heart is a crater, and we have filled it. We’ll need five keys to get started. Our journey will be illuminated by five candles. At the hour of her third death, she will usher in our coming. From the earth, he draws strength. Our earth. Our strength. Its surface blazes bright, masking shadows below.
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