Nobbel87 Lore Interview with Shadows Rising Author Madeleine Roux
16.07.2020 um 13:27
Nobbel87 conducted a lore interview with Madeleine Roux, the author of
. In this interview they discuss Anduin, Bwonsamdi, Nathanos, and queer representation, as well as the unique process of writing a novel for a major franchise.
This interview is aimed at players who have read the book and wish to discuss finer lore points so there are
. If you haven't read the book yet, consider
purchasing it now
! And if you like the book, consider leaving a review.
We will also have a collaboration with Nobbel posted over the weekend, going over the major plot points in the novel, so stay tuned!
Process of Writing the Novel
The author's first book for Blizzard was
Traveler: The Shining Blade
and to get the job, she completed an audition by writing an sample chapter.
Writing a book for Blizzard has many constraints. She was given an outline with specifics, including details for specific character beats that will have payoffs later in-game.
Some characters in
have long arcs--the author doesn't know how they'll end, but her job was to set early steps up.
When writing for a major franchise like
, you need to be willing to set ego aside and deliver the company's vision. However, she was able to push for some additions, like the chapter where Anduin disguises himself as Jerek, a commoner, and relaxes in Goldshire one evening. This chapter was meant to show that Anduin is a young ruler who needs time to himself, and it's also sad that he doesn't have any friends his age.
It's tricky to find a balance, when writing a tie-in novel, between people that want to experience all the story in-game and people that enjoy reading all the supplementary books. For
, they wanted the book to foreshadow future events, but not drop any massive events in the actual book. They don't want people to feel like they can't understand the expansion if they haven't read the book.
Roux made an effort to spotlight smaller characters like Ji Firepaw and Katherine Proudmoore in the novel--their cameos add some spice to their scenes.
The Alliance - Anduin and Tyrande
Anduin is a mirror for Talanji in some ways; they are both young leaders dealing with similar traumas from losing fathers in horrible public ways.
Anduin's actions over the course of the novel also draw parallels to Arthas--this is strongest in the scene where Anduin argues with Jaina in the map room about the best way to track down Sylvanas, putting aside moral concerns. Roux imagines Jaina is worried that she's seen similar behavior before from Arthas.
At the end of the novel, Anduin loses his temper and a tendril of dark energy escapes from his hand, leading everyone around him to be shocked. We learned that the author was explicitly told by Blizzard that he should reach for dark energy during this scene. Although she has limited information and isn't sure what type of magic Anduin exactly wields, it was definitely deliberate on Blizzard's part, and could be a setup for more things to come.
Roux was also very concerned about getting Tyrande's character right--conveying all the rage, frustration, and sadness. Roux is also a huge Night Elf fan, with a tattoo of Cenarius, Brightwing, and the Scythe of Elune.
Battle for Azeroth
came across as selfish and callous at points. In the novel, we learn more that his actions are in service of a larger plan.
When explaining how Bwonsamdi used Zekhan for his larger plan, by pushing him into the role of a Horde diplomat to aid Talanji, we learned that the idyllic vision of Saurfang in the afterlife was a trick. Many players have wondered if we'll find Saurfang in the Maw in
, and at first it looked like Bwonsamdi's vision meant someone intervened and saved Saurfang. But this interview confirms the vision was an illusion to motivate Zekhan.
Bwonsamdi is an interesting character--usually when he's nice, it's actually backhanded, and when he's mean, it's part of a larger goal. He's not just a funny trickster god, he knows what's going on in the Shadowlands and that we're close to annihilation.
Nathanos and the Forsaken
Nathanos' relationship with Sylvanas is strained. The dynamic is clearly unhealthy where she gives him orders and he obeys. Nathanos may not even know about Sylvanas' larger goal.
It's sad how while Nathanos is loyal to her, she's clearly loyal to something else. They're not devoted to each other to the same degree.
Even if you're not a fan of Nathanos, his complete rejection by Sylvanas at the end of the novel should have an emotional impact--we've just spent the whole book following him around, showing how loyal he is.
Nathanos failing at killing Bwonsamdi may remind Sylvanas of her past failures--Saurfang's line about failure got under her skin. While Nathanos may be one more failure in her past, Sylvanas may also feel that she succeeded at destroying the Helm of Domination without his help, and her destiny is somewhere else now, away from her past and people that fail her.
She doesn't know what Blizzard has planned for the future of the relationship.
The fate of the Forsaken leadership is still unknown, with Calia and Lillian still sorting things out. When the Forsaken leader is chosen eventually, such a major decision should happen as an in-game event, not part of a supplemental book.
We finally get some long-overdue queer representation in
, most notably with Flynn Fairwind and Mathias Shaw getting together. Roux confirmed that this narrative decision was one of the plot points that came from straight from the top at Blizzard. It's not a "wink wink nudge nudge thing"--she was told to get them together. It's official!
Her favorite character in the novel is Flynn and it was difficult for her to keep it a secret during pre-release interviews. It's fun to write odd couples with opposite energy, and their bickering during the heist in Dazar'alor served as inspiration for their dynamic. Even though their personalities are very different, the novel explores how they have similar backgrounds and define themselves by their job.
Flynn and Shaw also appear together in the upcoming Christie Golden book
Exploring Azeroth: The Eastern Kingdoms
. When asked where that picks up, and if we'd see their actual reunion alluded to at the end of
, Roux said she didn't know (a fair response considering how many other parts of the interview talk about Blizzard secrecy) but alluded to the fan community:
I feel like that last bit at the end of 'meet me later' is very much...here you go fanfiction community. Go wild! What more could you ask for? As a fanfiction writer myself, could you ask for more a more perfect prompt?
Before the Storm
, Greymane suggested Anduin and Tess marry, while Anduin is opposed to it for several reasons and notes that Tess has “taken a page or two” from Mathias Shaw. After seeing Flynn and Shaw get together, this has led some players to speculate that Tess was a lesbian and discreet about her personal life, similar to Shaw. However, Roux said that she wasn't thinking about Tess while building the relationship in
. She reads the line from
Before the Storm
as more that they have similar temperaments and devotion to their jobs.
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