Analysis of Dragonflight Legacies: Chapter One - A Carefully Edited Dawn of the Aspects
29/10/2022 à 10:00
is a series of animated shorts preceding the release of Dragonflight. These shorts follow Nozdormu, the Bronze Dragon Aspect, as he "delves into an ancient past that holds the key to saving" the future of the dragonflights.
, we see Nozdormu showing Scalecommander Emberthal, an important dracthyr leader, the history of how the Dragon Aspects - and dragonkind as we know it today - came to be.
Dragonflight Legacis: Chapter One
Our Narrator - Nozdormu
The animation opens with Nozdormu arriving outside a ruined and overgrown building - his shadow showing his change from dragon to visage form as he prepares to enter through the doorway in front of him.
The area that Nozdormu is visiting appears to be the Forbidden Reach, the dracthyr starting zone that will
become available on November 15, in phase two of the Dragonflight pre-patch
. As Nozdormu walks through the ruin, he is confronted by a pair of glowing red eyes in the darkness ahead - Emberthal.
Nozdormu: This place holds many mysteries, but few answers.
Emberthal: Stop there! Who are you?
Our Listener - Emberthal
Scalecommander Emberthal plays
an important role among the dracthyr
- her authority was once second only to Neltharion's himself. Nozdormu, it seems, must know this - as he has chosen to seek her out specifically in order to tell his story.
As Nozdormu expresses his hope that he might help guide Emberthal - and, by extension, the dracthyr - he illuminates the darkness further by touching an old dracthyr weapon - a poleaxe - causing light to shine off the blade. The choice of beacon reminds us that the dracthyr are inherently soldiers -
created by Neltharion
for that purpose specifically.
It may even be a subtle hint that, as a guide, Nozdormu will lead the dracthyr towards violence and war.
Nozdormu: One who would be your guide. Tell me, what do you remember from before?
Emberthal's Last Memory
The shadow of the axe can be seen in Emberthal's eye - clearly, the eye of a black dragon - and she looks away slightly as it calls to mind her memories.
Emberthal: My general. A fierce battle.
Emberthal's memories show a black dragon, with red eyes like hers - her general. She remembers the dracthyr, wielding the weapons that Nozdormu has highlighted, standing to attention in formation - soldiers. The general Emberthal refers to is Neltharion. The battle, likely the one fought against the Primalists, who we will face in Dragonflight's first raid.
We see a glimpse of a fight between a smaller dragon against one that is much larger - a hulking silhouette of a Primalist proto-dragon, possibly
, the final boss of Dragonflight's first raid. An ancient threat, Raszageth was locked away beneath Froststone Vault in the Forbidden Reach.
The scene changes to the silhouette of a more humanoid figure, turning away from Emberthal as she reaches out to it.
Emberthal: And then I was... imprisoned, in darkness.
Emberthal's wording here is interesting. In the dracthyr starting experience, most dracthyr don't remember what happened - why they were put to sleep. Some just about manage to remember the battle with Raszageth, but it seems Emberthal remembers that it was not just the Primalist dragon that was locked away. The dracthyr were imprisoned as well.
For his part, Nozdormu does not comment on Emberthal's memories. His reaction, "Hmm", could be agreement. It could be an indication that he knows more that is being left unsaid. Presumably, he already knows Emberthal was imprisoned, and knows why. But he turns the focus to the here and the now - maybe they were imprisoned, but now the dracthyr are free.
As he states this, he begins to summon time magic. The sight seems to startle Emberthal. She gasps, and her eyes widen in surprise.
Nozdormu: Hmm. But now you are free.
Emberthal: What are you?
Emberthal's question is pointed. Nozdormu never fully explained who he was, but now she wants to know
he is. The power he shows, clearly not that of a mere mortal.
Nozdormu completes the spell, teleporting them to another time. The scene changes to a landscape of snow-covered mountains, proto-dragons flying overhead. We see a glimpse of Emberthal's shoulder - clearly more humanoid than a dragon - as she asks Nozdormu where they are.
Nozdormu: Come. There is much I would show you, to prepare you for the challenges that lie ahead.
Emberthal: This place... So strange. Where are we?
Nozdormu: Where is less important than when.
As Nozdormu states, the location is less important than the time period, but it is of interest that they happen to be in the area that would one day be known as Dragonblight in Northrend.
Nozdormu: Many thousands of years ago, when our world was... young, Azeroth was home to the ancestors of dragons - primitive beasts ruled by primal instincts.
Nozdormu is describing the time before the dragons became as we know them today - when they were still proto-drakes. We watch as a proto-drake drops in front of dragon eggs, licking its lips with the obvious intent to eat them. This shows a harsh reality of how brutal and base proto-dragon society could be - where the drakes' own young need to be protected from hungry adults attempting to devour them.
But then a flame of green fire chases the proto-dragon away, and the scene changes, to show us two more proto-drakes, one red and one green.
Nozdormu: Yet there were a few in whom the spark of intelligence was lit, who thought, spoke, and felt more deeply than the rest.
These more intelligent proto-drakes are Alexstrasza and Ysera - who were clutch-sisters and close since their birth. It's Ysera's green magic that drives the attacking proto-drake away from the eggs, while Alexstrasza stands protectively over what are clearly her eggs.
We are reminded by this framing that Alexstrasza will go on to become the Aspect of Life, but it is Ysera's actions that show us the bond that would make these proto-dragons so powerful.
As a proto-dragon, Ysera was small, even weak. The sort of proto-dragon that usually dies young. Yet here she is helping to protect Alexstrasza's eggs. The attacking proto-drake does not even attempt to fight back - it sees that it's up against two dragons - working together - and decides to flee.
This is what set the former Aspects apart - not their individual strength, but their empathy. They worked together, loved each other, protected each other, and that's what made them strong.
And now we learn what it is Nozdormu really wants to show Emberthal - the first great threat that the Aspects, before they were Aspects, faced: The story of Galakrond.
Emberthal: What does this have to do with me?
Nozdormu: Were it not for them, your people would not be. From these proto-dragons, there arose the monster Galakrond...
Galakrond was a monstrous proto-dragon that started to grow uncontrollably, along with his hunger, which became so insatiable, he began to feed on his fellow proto-drakes.
In this animation, we see how he began to mutate - his eyes duplicating in his skull - how he fed on his fellow proto-drakes, and how monstrously large he grew.
Nozdormu introduces the five proto-drakes that would become Dragon Aspects - Alexstrasza and Ysera, as we have already seen, Nozdormu himself, Malygos - who would one day become the Aspect of Magic - and Neltharion, creator of the Dracthyr, Emberthal's former general. His inclusion of himself is not lost on Emberthal, who now seems to be working out the answers to her questions about Nozdormu.
Nozdormu: ... whose insatiable hunger would have consumed us all. When the fate of our kind was at stake, we five overcame the instincts of fear and self-preservation, and united to battle the leviathan.
Emberthal: "We"? So, you were one of these.
Though Nozdormu doesn't show us the exact details of how the proto-drakes defeated Galakrond (it involved clever usage of a large rock) he does show us the essence of how they defeated such an impossible foe: by working side by side, together as one.
As the dragons celebrate their victory, we see a moment of affection between Nozdormu and Ysera. It's possible this is hinting at something more between them, but it also, once again, highlights the qualities that set these proto-dragons apart in the first place: their empathy - love and affection for each other - that made them willing to work together, even when it meant putting their own lives at risk to protect each other.
Nozdormu: For our bravery, risking everything to save the world, we were granted a gift of the Titans - transformed into something greater.
The Bronze Aspect's version of events isn't quite the whole story. While it is true that the Dragon Aspects were granted their powers by the Titans, he's left out the fact that it was the Titan Keeper Tyr who approached them and encouraged them to fight against Galakrond in the first place.
Dawn of the Aspects
Nozdormu shows us the transformation of the proto-dragons into Dragon Aspects - with a focus on Alezstrasza, the Dragon Queen.
Nozdormu: Together, we became the Aspects, leaders of the dragonflights, the protectors of Azeroth.
little peets - - BIG PEETS
As we get a closer look at Malygos here, it's interesting to note how his design is closer to Kalecgos, the current Blue Dragon Aspect, rather than Malygos himself. This could be a reference to the Dawn of the Aspects novel, where we first learned about the story of Galakrond. In this novel, Kalecgos comes across an ancient Titanic device that lets him witness these same events - from the perspective of Malygos.
Left - Malygos. Right - Kalecgos. Center - Malykalecgos?
The design choice could be a visual reference to the fact that, in that sense, Kalecgos was also there. It could also be an indication that Nozdormu is not telling the full story - merely the story he wants Emberthal to hear. Though it may have been justified and needed, and done to fulfill their duties as Guardians of Azeroth, the other Aspects would eventually
help kill Malygos
, after all.
Nozdormu also shows us the dragons transforming into their visage form.
Nozdormu: In time, we took on visages like this, to better commune with the younger races.
While we see only silhouettes, the visage form of Neltharion matches exactly the silhouette of the general that Emberthal mentioned in her own vision - confirming that it was Neltharion himself that chose to imprison the Dracthyr after the defeat of Raszageth - for reasons that remain unknown.
Yet again, Emberthal asks the pointed question. Though she has witnessed something remarkable, she narrows her eyes - cautious, suspicious - highlighting her character's intelligence, she will not be easily impressed into not asking questions.
Emberthal: Why have you shown me this?
Finally, Nozdormu answers Emberthal's questions - and in order - telling her first who he is, then what he is.
Nozdormu: I am Nozdormu. I was Aspect of the bronzeflight.
As he closes his hand suddenly, the magic he held dissipates with the finality of his words. He was the Bronze Aspect, but no longer.
Nozdormu goes on to answer Emberthal's last question - why he has chosen to show her this vision. He talks of an ancient enemy that has returned, that the dracthyr will need to help with.
Nozdormu: It is my fate to see all of time. But now a threat to our world approaches. An ancient enemy has returned. You will play a part in the events to come, and you will have to make a difficult choice, as we did.
Presumably, this enemy is Raszageth and the Primalists. However, there is also a chance that Nozdormu is saying more with what he doesn't say. An ancient enemy could refer to Raszageth and the elementals. It could refer to the Old Gods, or have something to do with
- or all of the above. (More on that later) It could even refer to Murozond, an enemy who is, arguably, as ancient as Nozdormu himself, since it has always been Nozdormu's fate to transform into Murozond.
As for the "difficult choice" that the Aspects had to make - it's hard to know what that was.
A Story Ending, A Story Beginning
Emberthal holds her hands up in front of her face - they are dragon-like, but humanoid as well.
Emberthal: I am not like you.
Nozdormu: No. My story is already written, but yours, and that of all Dracthyr, is only beginning to unfold.
When Nozdormu states that his story is already written - he, above all others, knows how true that is. Nozdormu was granted the power of future sight when he was made the Bronze Aspect - he saw his own death, and knows that it is his destiny and fate to transform into Murozond. By contrasting his story to that of the Dracthyr, which is only just starting, the implication is that Nozdormu's story is coming to its end. There have already been
that Nozdormu's transformation into Murozond is coming in Dragonflight, this just adds to them.
However, we do transfer our focus to Emberthal, representative of the new race coming with the new expansion and, hopefully, a new era in
World of Warcraft
itself. She finally steps out of the shadows and stretches out her wings. Dragonflight is about to begin.
The Things Nozdormu Doesn't Say
Nozdormu's version of the Dawn of the Aspects is, as we said, carefully edited - Nozdormu doesn't mention the fact that the Aspects were encouraged by Titan Keeper Tyr to stand against Galakrond - but this isn't anything new. For centuries, the Dragon Aspects kept the true story of Galakrond to themselves, telling younger dragons only that he was the progenitor of dragonkind - officially so that other dragons wouldn't try to imitate his cannibalistic ways in the hopes to become like him.
However, the Primalists see themselves as followers of Galakrond regardless. According to an interview Jeremy Feasel and Graham Berger did with
These purist dragons believe that, as children of Galakrond, dragons are the apex of creation who should be served by mortals, rather than the other way around.
A revamped version of Uldaman is coming in the second phase of the Dragonflight pre-patch. This dungeon involves fighting against an Infinite Dragon, one who
claims Murozond's time is nigh
- again an indication that Murozond may be the "ancient threat" that Nozdormu is referring to.
More significantly, a series of lore books was recently discovered in this dungeon - which contain some very interesting previously-unknown information. We learned that Galakrond obtained his powers, not through his cannibalism, but through
water contaminated by the Old Gods
Furthermore, we learned that this water was originally meant to be infused with Order magic, and that Keeper Tyr specifically intended it to be used on those proto-dragons who were willfully resisting Titanic influence. One line in particular, in a letter from Tyr to Loken, is particularly ironic, considering the video we've just seen.
By ingesting the water (or causing their eggs to absorb its effects), it should be possible to keep even the most willful dragons aligned with the titans' philosophies.
To illustrate the proto-dragon's savagery, Nozdormu shows us how they would go as far as devour innocent eggs. Yet here, we see Tyr matter-of-factly fully intending to infuse innocent eggs with - essentially - propaganda juice. It's not quite eating them, but it's not entirely unsinister either. Especially in context of the Primalists - and their stated reasons for rejecting the Titans and the Aspects.
From the start, and even in this retelling, we are shown how Titan magic blessed the Dragon Aspects, and the dragons themselves, with greater power and intelligence. Yet the Primalists reject this power - believing the natural elemental power that the proto-dragons had developed before the Titans came along - is their legacy and true power. Raszageth in particular is proof that there is plenty of non-Titanic power to be had by a proto-dragon. In the same Game Rant interview, Jeremy Feasel made it clear that Primal Incarnates like Raszageth comparable to the Aspects themselves.
These ancient Primalists have their own leaders we’re going to be meeting over the course of this expansion pack. They are their versions of the aspects that are directly antagonists to dragonkind.
And while the Aspects may have had a wonderful relationship with Tyr, the Primalists' resistance was met with force - used by Tyr even against their eggs.
It is even more interesting, therefore, that Nozdormu left out Tyr's specific influence over their actions. Of all the Aspects, he's most likely to have knowledge beyond what he was personally told as well. Perhaps he does not know about these more underhanded attempts to force Titan influence - or perhaps he agrees with them, knowing the brutality and threat of proto-dragons like the Primalists first-hand.
As for the Primalists themselves - do they know the full story of Galakrond? Do we? Do the Dragon Aspects even know? Are the Primalists aligned with the Old Gods? Do the Aspects know about the potential Old God influence on Galakrond? Was Tyr forcing propaganda on the dragons in a way that justifies the Primalist resistance - or was he merely trying to protect them in a way that justified his methods?
All in all, we found that a seemingly uncomplicated and straightforward video left us, ironically, with many mysteries, but few answers.
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