Anduin's Goodbye Cutscene Analysis - The Importance of Anduin's Legacy
Anduin's Goodbye is an in-game cutscene that became available with the release of the 9th and final Chains of Domination chapter, What Lies Ahead. Here we analyze interesting moments from the cutscene.
Warning: Story spoilers ahead.
In the final cinematic of the Sanctum of Domination raid, Anduin drops a compass before leaving through a portal with Zovaal. As part of this week's quests, we examine that compass after Bolvar determines that it's been imbued with a memory.
The compass shows us a vision of Anduin and Sylvanas, discussing the battle ahead as they prepare for the events of the Sanctum of Domination raid. Sylvanas tells Anduin that his task will be to protect Zovaal, but he corrects her, saying it will be that he's compelled to - he will not be acting willingly.
It seems Anduin is himself in this scene and is able to speak freely. He describes the feeling of losing himself more and more every time The Jailer dominates him, and asks Sylvanas directly if this is how she felt when Arthas did the same to her. Sylvanas answers him gently, but with conviction, as she calls him "young lion" and acknowledges the domination felt the same for her, but tries to tell him the sacrifices they've made will be worth it.
Anduin cuts across her to say even if the Jailer does break the cycle of Life and Death, it'll be too late for them. He will be lost, and so will she. He ends by telling Sylvanas that he hopes he'll be remembered for who he was, not for what she's turned him into.
Sylvanas Windrunner: The battle is almost upon us.
Sylvanas Windrunner: I will deal with the invading forces atop Torghast.
Sylvanas Windrunner: When we reach Oribos, you will defend Zovaal while he completes the ritual.
Anduin Wrynn: You mean he will compel me to defend him.
Anduin Wrynn: Each time he dominates my will, I feel myself slipping further away.
Anduin Wrynn: Is this what you felt when Arthas raised you, Sylvanas?
Anduin Wrynn: Hollow. Empty. Everything you once were... consumed by darkness.
Sylvanas Windrunner: Yes, young lion. But in the end, the sacrifices we've made will have been worth it.
Sylvanas Windrunner: Once the cycle of Life and Death has been broken, and remade, we will--
Anduin Wrynn: By that time, I will be lost. And so will you.
Anduin Wrynn: I only hope my friends remember me as I was. Not what you made me to be.
This cutscene shows the last of several conversations between Sylvanas and Anduin. In previous conversations which we witnessed during events related to Torghast, we've seen Sylvanas attempting to convince Anduin to join her and the Jailer's cause, hoping to win him over through debate. Anduin has steadfastly refused, until the Jailer rand out of patience and commanded he be compelled. In the final conversation between Sylvanas and Anduin, we saw him challenging her to make a choice - giving her a chance to do the right thing and not go through with compelling him.
Since that moment, we have since seen Anduin is now under the Jailer's control, performing his commands and even acting as a vessel that Zovaal speaks through on occasion. However, we've also seen that the old Anduin isn't completely lost - for example, in the Kingsmourne cinematic, we saw an expression of distress on Anduin's face as he attacked the Archon, showing that at least a part of him is still there - and horrified by what he's being forced to do - underneath it all.
The Story of Torghast Analysis of Kingsmourne
A Surprising Conversation
One of the most immediately striking and surprising things about this cutscene is the fact that Anduin is still almost entirely himself. Unlike Arthas, who became the Lich King fully and completely, Anduin's transformation does not seem yet complete. He speaks candidly to Sylvanas about how much he hates the feeling of being compelled by Zovaal, and how he hopes to be remembered by his friends.
The next striking thing is Sylvanas' own response. She is surprisingly gentle with Anduin, calling him "young lion", and not in the mocking way that she used to wield the phrase "little lion". Instead, she seems to be almost respectful, even caring - her many conversations with Anduin have clearly affected the way she sees him. Sylvanas is not a character that shows affection lightly, which makes this change in attitude from her even more significant.
By the time we see this cutscene, we already know what is to come. Sylvanas, finally realizing that she can no longer stand by the Jailer's side, aims an arrow at him in an act of defiance. The Jailer responds by giving her back the portion of her soul that Frostmourne took from her, an experience so painful she is overcome by it, and she remains unconscious even now.
This cutscene reminds us of how much of a role Anduin has played in causing Sylvanas to reach that moment. Even while he was being tortured, even after he's lost almost all hope and has become a servant of the Jailer, Anduin's challenge to Sylvanas has been relentless. As he asks her, point-blank, if this is how she felt when Arthas compelled her, we can see from her face how much his question is getting to her. How she is experiencing doubts.
Once again, we see Sylvanas attempt to rally. She doesn't need Anduin to agree with her - the Jailer controls him and will force him to do what he wants - but she still seems to want to try to convince him. Conviction shows on her face as she begins to argue, once again, that any and all sacrifices that have been made are worth it in the end.
I'm reminded strongly of the way Sylvanas was previously shown to have internalized and repeated the Jailer's words - when he told her "We have not come this far for you to falter now", Sylvanas would go on to tell Anduin the same thing - "I've not come this far to falter now." In a way, Sylvanas is stuck in a
sunk cost fallacy
- she has sacrificed so much for Zovaal, and has invested so much in his plan, she has to believe that it will all be worth it.
This is perhaps why she seems so determined to argue with Anduin, even when she doesn't need to. To Sylvanas, Anduin has come to represent her own doubts. It's his words that have been shown to get to her the most, the Jailer's treatment of him to be the thing that causes her the most discomfort. Sylvanas is not really arguing with Anduin at this point, she's arguing with herself - If she can convince him, then maybe she can silence her own doubts once and for all.
Anduin, however, is having none of it. And once again the frankness with which he speaks to Sylvanas is striking. He does not seem to be arguing with her. This isn't a debate. As Sylvanas begins to talk, once again, about the greater plan, Anduin cuts across her - interrupting her to force her to attention on the facts that she cannot avoid or escape.
And this is important. From Sylvanas' perspective, everything she's done, every morally despicable act, she's justified with this idea of a "greater plan". It's easy to argue that the Jailer will not reorder the universe into one that's more just, but Anduin doesn't do that here. Instead, he points out the fact that it doesn't matter - not to him, and apparently not to her. "By that time, I will be lost. And so will you."
Anduin is making it very clear to Sylvanas that he finds no comfort in the thought of a better, more just reality, for as long as the road to that reality is littered with injustice. To Anduin, the ends do not justify the means, and he will not permit Sylvanas to argue that they do.
Anduin's Legacy - Sylvanas's Choice
Anduin's final words are resigned. It seems he has lost almost all hope, and can only find a small shred of comfort in the idea of being remembered well. But even as he faces falling entirely under Zovaal's control, he uses his last moments to remind Sylvanas that she is accountable for what she has done.
Anduin Wrynn: I only hope my friends remember me as I was. Not what you made me to be.
Anduin does not say "what I have become" or "what Zovaal has made me to be", he says "what
made me to be". He does not have a choice in what happens next - he is being compelled - but he does not walk away from Sylvanas allowing her to think she also doesn't have a choice.
When Sylvanas shoots an arrow at the Jailer in the Sanctum of Domination finale cinematic, it might have seemed like a pointless gesture, but it was not. It showed that Sylvanas is finally ready to stop hiding behind the idea that she's working for a greater good, or the fears that she's already come too far to turn back now.
Sylvanas must be fully aware that she will likely be held accountable, and rightly so, for everything that she's done. She could have just stayed by the Jailer's side and relied on his power to protect her from ever facing the consequences of her actions. Instead, she finally made the choice that Anduin has been challenging her to make since the start.
Anduin, defeated and resigned to his fate, hopes to be remembered for who he was. Perhaps the fact that he finally got through to Sylvanas will mark the beginning of a different fate for him. The Jailer may have sneered at Sylvanas's decision to turn against him, but he's still lost a powerful ally. As we've seen in this cutscene, a compelled ally, still able to work against the Jailer's plans when not under his control, will never be quite as reliable as someone who actually believes in the Jailer's plan. It's hard to believe things will be quite as smooth-sailing for Zovaal now that he no longer has Sylvanas by his side, and we have Anduin's tireless determination to challenge Sylvanas even when all hope seems lost to thank for that.
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