~*~*~ Warning: this post contains spoilers about early Legion storyline, and end of expansion story line. If you have not defeated Argus yet and don’t want to be spoiled, please do not read any further.~*~*~
I have to preface this post by saying that prior to Legion, I hadn’t really given Malfurion and Tyrande much thought other than Tyrande’s dress is super pretty, and Malfurion sleeps an awful lot. I always found their relationship a little odd (possessive? super co-dependant?), but that was about it. Come Legion though… well, I think they’re just some of the most selfish characters in Warcraft and really don’t want to be helping them with anything else in future.
I know, unpopular opinion much?
Here’s the thing- I find both of them immensely hypocritical, self-involved twits. The pair are so far up themselves that they don’t see there’s a whole world of existence outside of their tree and the Emerald Dream. I pretty much blame Malfurion for what happened to Ysera in Val’Sharah, Tyrande spends most of her time pining for, or trying to find, Malfurion, and both of them have done catastrophic things that have changed the fate of hundreds of thousands of beings.
Which is what it is (which is in the past), but you’re probably asking me what tipped me over the edge. Well, I’ll tell you- it was their complete and utter disinterest in Illidan’s departure that really got to me. Oh and boy did it get to me.
We spend a fair bit of time with these two in early Legion. Malfurion continues to marvel at how amazing the world around him is (oh and did you know Cenarius is a demigod and his mentor? I mean he’s just so freakin’ humble about it /sarcasm). Well it turns out Cenarius has gross corruption coming out of him, and Malfurion doesn’t know what to do (how does he not recognise this, btw?!), so let’s get Ysera here to sort stuff out. And that’s ok, things aren’t looking good, we should probably get some help.
So we do a bunch of stuff to then summon Ysera who tells us we need to get the Tears of Elune (which is what we were here for anyway). Anyway we go get the Tears but surprise surprise, Xavius beat us to it.
And then Cenarius disappears. And this is the point where Malfurion is an epic hypocrite, and I get mad. Instead of turning to the grove that is literally full of some of the most powerful people available to him in the moment, including the being responsible for the Emerald Dream itself, he runs off. He literally gets up, and runs in a random direction where he thinks he can find Xavius. Good one, mate. Don’t bother to consult with anyone about what might need to be done. No, off he goes, testosterone flailing all over the place. It is this action, right here, that sealed Ysera’s fate. I mean, Malfurion and Tyrande have been in this exact situation before and they did the same damn thing. And this time, Ysera paid the price.
This is but one (more recent) example of their self-important behaviour. But what does that have to do with Illidan?
Illidan spent his entire life finding a way to defeat the Burning Legion. Every. damn. second. And some (many) of his actions were questionable (at best). But his motivation and goal never, ever wavered. Defeat the Burning Legion.
Malfurion was a terrible brother to Illidan. His high and mighty attitude belittled Illidan to no end. And instead of telling Malfurion to shove it, Illidan just wanted to impress him (and Tyrande, of course) even more. It’s for this reason that I hold Malfurion and Tyrande a little responsible for everything Illidan did. You don’t have to be blind to see that all Illidan wanted was to be accepted and loved by them. Well, maybe not blind… maybe just too far up themselves to see.
Don’t get me wrong, Illidan really made it difficult for those around him. In many ways he was just as stubborn and pig-headed as Malfurion in his bid to rid the world of the Burning Legion. It required absolute blind faith and trust in Illidan to see his actions being for the greater good. And I don’t blame people for questioning Illidan’s actions- they were not always what one would consider “good”. But for Malrfurion and Tyrande to say they are not as culpable is outrageous.
Apparently it’s ok for Malfurion to take it upon himself to render night elves mortal by destroying the Well of Eternity. Guys, it’s like, totally ok for him to literally rip the world to shreds in the great sundering because he, like, did it for the good of all Azerothian kind, ok? Sometimes we have to think outside of the box.
Oh but wait, no Illidan- well Illidan he apparently went about things the wrong way. He said he was gaining power to defeat the Legion, but you know, we don’t like how he’s going about it. See, Malfurion screwed the world over the “right” way. Illidan is a danger to us all and should be locked away forever.
Even Tyrande, for one shining moment, takes a tiny peek outside of her own little bubble to release Illidan from his prison because, believe it or not, maybe there’s more than one way to annihilate a universe-destroying horde of demons. But then Malfurion got mad at her, so she took it all back. (Thank goodness someone else figured out he was needed to get this done.)
Despite all this; despite everything that happened between these three characters, one truth remains: Illidan is the only one of them to follow through on his actions.
At the end of the Antorus raid, after Argus is defeated, Sargeras is finally revealed, and captured. And Illidan was there every step of the way. He did everything he promised he would do- he fought with us and stopped the Burning Legion. But no only that, oh no- Illidan went one step further. He knowingly sacrificed the rest of his life to watch over Sargeras to make sure he never comes to power again. He gave his damn life, and any remaining shred of possibility that Illidan did everything he did purely for selfish power was obliterated in that moment.
For all his faults, Illidan did it. It was touching, and a worthy ending (and yes, I cried my damn eyes out).
It felt like everything Illidan had done had been worth it. It made me feel, as a person (not my character) that even if I’m trying to do what is right, I may not always get it right, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Illidan’s actions gave me hope for the underdogs, that we can do it.
So you can imagine my utter disgust at what followed next.
The first time we defeat Argus, a short quest line is started – Moments of Reflection. Here we have a crystal with parting messages from Illidan to Malfurion and Tyrande. (You can read/listen to all of the messages on wowhead here.)
To Malfurion first. And here Illidan speaks of the different choices they made in their lives, but for the common goal they shared- to keep the world safe. Illidan acknowledges he wasn’t easy to trust, but hopes his actions show the truth of his words. It’s very moving.
And you know what Malfurion says?
My brother made selfish choices, brought pain to so many. His transgressions are difficult to forgive.
This coming from the guy who literally tore Azeroth a new one?!?!!?!? Holy hell dude. Illidan hurt people, yes! He made mistakes, yes! But you know what he did? He kept on fighting to defeat the Burning Legion, because that’s what he said he’d do. What did you do? You went and had a bloody nap!
Alright, there’s still another message to go. Tyrande once saw the potential in Illidan. Surely she will understand.
Contrite words, yet I must wonder whether he truly meant them….
Seems he has a duty to fulfill…
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?! Illidan is literally not on this planet anymore after having saved it (and the rest of the universe). And instead of coming home to revel in the celebration he deserves for saving us all, he stays in who-knows-where for the rest of eternity to make sure that Sargeras never comes back. And she thinks he’s lying? That says a lot about who she is and what she thinks of people. Where was she while we were fighting the Legion? NOWHERE. (To be fair, she did come to Suramar, which is a darn lot more than Malfurion did. Probably too busy licking his wounds. But for the rest of it, where were they?) Illidan was there every step of the way, and they abandoned us.
Even in his final moments, this very last goodbye, Illidan wanted nothing more to love and be loved by Malfurion and Tyrande. And they shrugged him off. Absolutely jerks.
I am glad there was a third message in the crystal for us champions. I will gladly defend Azeroth in Illidan’s place. Malfurion and Tyrande can go take a nap, because it’s quite clear they truly don’t care about anyone else. And I certainly do not care about them.