There is news about the lore from the test server for WoW Patch 9.1! Dataminers recently discovered an exciting in-game cinematic in game data (source: Wowhead). The cutscene file is called "Anduin's Goodbye", which can be loosely translated as "Anduin's farewell". Does this mean that Anduin's story in Shadowlands doesn't have a happy ending? Or is there more to the cutscene?
Patch 9.1: New cutscene with Anduin and Sylvanas
The cutscene itself isn't spectacular, but the conversation Anduin has with Sylvanas in this scene definitely marks an important turn for the story of World of Warcraft. The focus is not on the content of the conversation, but on a particularly precious gem - the compass of Varian Wrynn (in the video, the compass is still visible as a blue and white placeholder box). The golden gem could be the key to saving Anduin.
The eternal vicious circle
Arthas wanted neither paladin nor king. But Uther would not listen to him, Source: buffedAnduin's story has many parallels to the tragic story of Arthas, that's no big secret. With patch 9.1, many new stories come into the game, but the developers also tell some old stories further. In one side quest, we help Uther Lightbringer let go of his past and accept his death. One of Uther's memories is particularly intriguing. It not only sheds new light on Arthas, but also helps us understand Anduin better. The paladin recalls a seemingly trivial conversation with Arthas, who apparently doubted his calling as a paladin. Instead of listening to his student, Uther simply brushed Arthas' doubts aside. It is only after his death that the Lightbringer realizes that his ignorance was a great mistake. Arthas was like a son to him, so the young prince trusted in Uther and his guidance.
The ingameskin for Varian's compass in Shadowlands. Source: Wowhead Arthas was the best example of a prodigal son who literally broke because of the high expectations his friends and family placed on him. When we speak of Arthas today, most players have the evil Death Knight or Lich King from WotLK in mind. We tend to forget that the young prince of Lordaeron was in the same desperate situation back then as Anduin is today. Ultimately, he was the loneliness that drove Arthas into the arms of the hostage. What role the jailer played in this is beside the point, because the people around Arthas sealed his fate, Zovaal merely benefited from it.
The burdens of the king
As the son of a famous warrior who had proven himself in countless battles, Prince Anduin often struggled with his fate as well. His father had high hopes for Anduin and expected him to follow the path of a warrior as well. And though Varian Wrynn loved his son, he made no great secret of his frustration. It did not sit well with Wrynn Senior that Anduin chose the path of a priest, relying more on diplomacy rather than brute force. With the crown, the burden became even heavier, after all, the peoples of the Alliance expected him as High King to solve all their problems as his father once did. We saw Anduin's desperation in Legion. In Battle for Azeroth, he donned his shining lion armor, but he was clearly uncomfortable on the battlefield. Remember the scene Tyrande Anduin made in Stormwind? The High Priestess put massive pressure on him after the burning of Teldrassil and accused him of being a weak leader. Anduin was completely lost because he was on his own at that difficult moment.
Anduin Wrynn has always struggled with his destiny as heir to the throne. Source: buffed Don't get us wrong, there's a big difference between Anduin's nominal circle of friends and the familiars who were supposed to stand by him in all circumstances. In Legion, it struck Anduin that his coronation as High King of the Alliance had distanced him further from his people. The people of Stormwind regarded him with awe and even his closest friends suddenly walked at a respectful distance. The frustration of losing his father and friends continued to grow until all the pent up emotions erupted from Anduin a short time later in the form of a dark spell. That was the point where his shiny facade began to crumble. It was only a matter of time before Anduin, having taken leave of his senses, took a dark path.
The break and new hope
The portrait in the compass shows the young Anduin Wrynn. The precious gem should always remind Varian of the good times with his son. Will these good memories save Anduin in Shadowlands? Source: BlizzardAnd this being lost is an important point where the compass comes into play. Blizzard's writing team didn't choose this gem to symbolize Anduin's despair for nothing. Though Anduin was surrounded by subjects as the new king of the Alliance, he was lonely. He mastered the power of light, but he never learned to trust in his outstanding abilities as a regent and diplomat. The jailer eventually took advantage of this weakness. The fact that there was never a discussion with his father is another burden that weighs heavily on Anduin's mind. It is a burden we cannot underestimate. Arthas and Uther never spoke, either. Who knows, perhaps if Uther had listened to his concerns and given him some fatherly advice, Arthas would not have become a monster. Now, Varian can no longer stand by his son directly, but he can symbolically show Anduin the right way again with the compass.
Jaina Prachtmeer risks her own life to free Anduin from the dungeon master's clutches in patch 9.1. Source: Blizzard In this complex story, we must also remember that Jaina Prachtmeer plays an important role. The mage has a similar burden to bear as Anduin. In the Third War, she did the same to Uther and left Arthas at the gates of Stratholme. This was the second heavy blow that threw Arthas off course. Jaina regrets this abrupt separation to this day, and she hoped to the end that she could save Arthas. His death still hurts Jaina and to make up for her mistake back then, she definitely doesn't want to give up Anduin. The big question here is whether she will succeed in saving Anduin in Shadowlands.
Does Anduin Wrynn have a future in WoW?
In the comic - The Son of the Wolf - at the time of the final battle against evil, Anduin Wrynn is an old man. Source: BlizzardBut unlike Arthas, there is still hope for Anduin. The developers reassured players during the big Q&A session at the virtual BlizzCon 2021, explaining that Anduin will not die in Shadowlands. The writers still have many plans for him, and as High King of the Alliance, Anduin will continue to influence the history of World of Warcraft. However, his violent metamorphosis will leave its mark on Anduin's soul. He will - according to the developers - be scarred for the rest of his life. What these scars, left on Anduin by his service to the dungeon master, will look like remains a mystery for now. It's entirely possible that he will age significantly by the end of Shadowlands. This would make the events in the Legion comic "The Son of the Wolf" not that far off in time. The comic ends with Anduin as an old man leading the forces of Azeroth into the decisive battle against ultimate evil. However, since we know almost nothing about the ultimate end of World of Warcraft at this point, this (admittedly bold) story twist is pure speculation.
What do you think of Anduin's fate in World of Warcraft? What might happen next for the Alliance king? And what role do you see Sylvanas playing in this story? Share your fan theories about the future story of Shadowlands with us!Support buffed - it only takes a minute. Thank you!
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