Episode #9 – “Bad Romance”

Episode #9 – “Bad Romance”

Sep 03

Our ninth episode features Tzufit and Apple Cider talking about how sex, love, and romance is both expressed and written and what kind of effects this has on both the story and the audience in World of Warcraft.

This episode has a trigger warning for frank discussion about rape and sexual violence. This discussion mostly occurs between 47:00 and 1:05:00.

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Below the cut is a full transcript of Episode 9, “Bad Romance.”

Apple Cider Mage:  Hello and welcome to Justice Points, Azeroth’s social justice and feminism podcast.  Coming to you, episode 9, super excited.  We’re going to be talking today about sex in World of Warcraft.  I know I’m excited as well as my co-host.

Tzufit:  Hi guys!  I’m excited, kind of, for some of it.

Apple Cider Mage:  Just a tiny bit.  We’re doing a very interesting episode on just kind of a breakdown of talking about sex, love, romance in World of Warcraft, how it’s represented, problems, positives, just kind of all it all integrates into a game that we play that I would say is largely not focused on humpin’ or smoochin’ or anything like that.

Tzufit:  And maybe is even intentionally turning a blind eye to those things at times.

Apple Cider Mage:  Yeah, exactly.  So we’re going to dive into that.  We’re going to try and keep it a little bit lore-friendly, because I know we tend to have some lore-heavy episodes.  We have some examples.  We’re going to discuss all this sort of stuff.  Just a warning up front:  We are going to be discussing on the some of the rape content in the game, because there is a bit of it.  So if that is something you’re sensitive to, might not want to listen to this episode.

Tzufit:  And we’ll try and give a warning closer to when we are coming up on those topics as well.

Apple Cider Mage:  So if you just want to skip ahead, totally Ok.  We understand.  First off, World of Warcraft, it’s got tons of war and fighting and punching people and stuff like that; but the question that we had on our minds was – there’s not a lot of sex.  There’s not even a lot of romance in this game.

Tzufit:  No.  There are babies occasionally.  There are families here and there.  There are definitely couples that we know of, but not a whole lot of sex happening.  I mean, there has to be, right, because there are babies?  I don’t know.

Apple Cider Mage:  A wizard did it.

Tzufit:  Must be.  It was probably Rhonin.

Apple Cider Mage:  Rhonin the great progenitor of World of Warcraft.  He is responsible for all the babies and now that he is gone, there will be no more babies.  No more babies in the World of Warcraft.

Tzufit:  Dammit.

Apple Cider Mage:  Basically, how we kind of got started on this episode was that in WoW, there are almost no instances that you will ever find any evidence that people have had sexual relationships other than the fact that they do have kids.  The kids just magically appear out of nowhere.  It was just kind of interesting to us.  Obviously, World of Warcraft is rated T for Teen.

Tzufit:  So they would be allowed to have some sexual content if they would choose to include that.

Apple Cider Mage:  But I think in a lot of ways, the most sexual content you’re really going to get is if you go to Goldshire, from what I hear.  I wouldn’t know myself, of course.

Tzufit:  Right.  It’s sort of the user-created stuff that ends up having any sexuality, and by that same extension a lot of – when we get into later on talking about the possibility of any queer characters – a lot of that is coming from speculation on the part of the players rather than any kind of concrete evidence in-game.

Apple Cider Mage:  Even before we get to the sex aspect of it, we have relationships in-game.  There are obviously people who are couples.  But it’s really kind of rare that you see people in the progress, or in the steps leading up to the love, marriage, and the kids thing.  I was thinking about it – the Thrall and Aggra wedding I think is one of the very few times that you’ve actually ever seen people prior to the long-term relationship sort of thing.

Tzufit:  Yeah, that’s a great point.  That whole courtship really starts and then you get more of a fleshed-out version of it in The Shattering novel, of course, which I guess might be a little jarring for some people who didn’t read that novel prior to Cataclysm and then you hop in game and all of a sudden Thrall has a girlfriend and they’re getting hitched.

Apple Cider Mage:  Yeah, it was really weird to me because I really don’t read a lot of the extracurricular books as it were.  I’m pretty much a game person.  So we meet Aggra in the beginning of Deepholm and she’s just one of Thrall’s helpers and stuff like that.  Then you start to do that whole quest chain before – that was the quest chain that came out right as Dragon Soul came out, correct?

Tzufit:  I think it actually was released with Firelands, because that’s why you’re in Hyjal and that’s why the Firelands druids are the ones who interrupt it.

Apple Cider Mage:  Ok.  It’s right before Firelands, so you jump from Aggra being this character who didn’t even have her own voice actress, her own unique voice actress.  Her lines were all read by the person that does all the orc emotes.  So she goes from that to the Firelands quest chain with Thrall being taken away by the fire druids and she has to go and rescue him.  During the course of this quest, you find out that Thrall wants to make some babies with her or have kids.

Tzufit:  Yeah.  It’s very clear throughout the course of that quest line that they have a pretty intimate relationship, not just in terms of the fact that they have plans to start a family together in the future, but that Aggra is one of the core fears that the elementals are exploiting from Thrall and his fear of anything bad happening to her, his fear of being unable to protect her or protect their children that they might have in the future.  The way that she responds to him and attempts to be supportive of him throughout, it’s very clear that there is a relationship.  And, yeah, I can see how that would totally seem out of the blue without having the context from the novel.

Apple Cider Mage:  For me it was so disjointed because she seems so genuinely surprised that he wants to have kids with her.

Tzufit:  Well and some of that may come from – just to give a very brief overview of how they get to know each other.  Aggra is living in Nagrand when Thrall goes back there to the Throne of the Elements to try and figure out what’s happening.  She coaches him in becoming a better shaman essentially, because he’s lost a lot of that, being away from Outland and not being connected to the elements.  She really chastises him for having taken on this name, “Thrall,” that’s a product of his human captors when he was younger.  So she sort of helps him get back to his shamanistic roots and become a more powerful shaman in the process, but along the way especially initially they have a very antagonistic relationship.  They don’t get along right off the bat.  Aggra is pretty harsh with him initially because she sees him as this outsider who, like I said, she does not like at all that he’s taken on this name from his human captors and she just really feels like he’s forgotten his roots.  He’s forgotten where the orcs come from.

Apple Cider Mage:  It’s pretty obvious by the time you get to the Firelands quest that there is something there, but it happens so between the lines that I feel like just a lot of people missed it.  I was even jumpy about it because I had no idea that they had that kind of relationship.  The fact that Aggra seemed genuinely surprised about the kids thing, made me feel like she was like, “Oh we’ll go on a couple dates but oh my god, you want kids already?  What the hell?”

Tzufit:  And it may be too that certainly the romance aspect of the relationship developed on both sides, but I wonder how much Aggra was really, really focused on – “Ok.  The elements are freaking the fuck out.  Let’s deal with that.”  And she probably was not necessarily prepared for Thrall, in the middle of all this, to be like, “Yeah but babies.”

Apple Cider Mage:  I think it’s probably because Aggra may have been a secondary factor into that goal of his.  I think at that point Thrall was already wanting to have a family and marriage and settle down and maybe Aggra fit into that versus him having those plans after he met Aggra.  I’m not sure.  I honestly don’t know because I am not a huge fan of Thrall in general.

Tzufit:  Unfortunately, it’s really hard to tell with any of this because while you get a little bit of what’s going on inside Aggra’s head in the novel, it’s much more about what’s going on in Thrall’s head, predictably, because it is a novel about Thrall.  I have always sort of had an issue with that character because when she’s introduced in the books, she come across as what you think is going to be a really strong, kickass woman orc character who’s seriously powerful and has her stuff together.  Unfortunately, I think the way that that character was developed once she made it over into the MMO was just this kind of supportive and then eventually just baby-makin’ character for Thrall.  She really was this secondary concern, a means to an end, rather than being a pretty cool character in her own right.

Apple Cider Mage:  I feel like that’s a lot of the trajectory that gets taken when we’re discussing these characters from a sort of sex/relationship standpoint.  It feels like there’s not a lot of room for all of that in between stuff that happens before you have kids, or even if you have no kids at all.  There are some people that do not have kids and that’s not the ultimate end goal of every relationship.  People break up.  There’s not a ton of break ups in World of Warcraft.  So the Thrall and Aggra storyline was really interesting in that respect in that it actually showed you maybe a little bit the arc of a complete relationship.

Tzufit:  It’s not surprising that Warcraft doesn’t have a ton of time to spend on courtship or to spend on marriage or relationships or raising children.  Obviously that is not the focus of the game.  Unfortunately, when you skip these things so completely and just introduce a character because you know that eventually this character is going to marry Thrall and they’re going to have a baby together, and you don’t take any time to flesh that out, from a narrative standpoint it just comes across as what you’re saying is “This woman isn’t important except in the ways that we can make her work with Thrall,” basically.

Apple Cider Mage:  What happened to Aggra was really frustrating to me even as a person that wasn’t a book reader because it did feel like a brush off.  I notice that they neatly sidestep the issue of the whole “Well where did the baby come from” because they had Alexstrasza completely pull a Dogma.  I’ve had conflicting reports about this.  I still maintain that Alexstrasza is just the first person to alert Aggra to the fact that she’s pregnant, not that she puts the baby there.

Tzufit:  Now I always took it that way.  When I first saw the cinematic, I assumed it was just Aggra is pregnant.  Alexstrasza, because of the powers that she has, it’s easier for her to look at someone who has no visible, physical signs of being pregnant yet, and for Alexstrasza as the Keeper of Life to go “Guess what?  There’s an extra life in there.”

Apple Cider Mage:  “I can feel it.  I can sense it.”

Tzufit:  Yeah.  I never took that as Alexstrasza being the catalyst for that.  But I think it is – sort of unrelated but down the road – it will be an important distinction because it’s the difference between is this child going to be the natural production of sex between Thrall and Aggra or is there something magical behind this, based on some gifts from Alexstrasza and are we basically waiting for another Mary Sue?

Apple Cider Mage:  Honestly, it could go either way.  I feel like Thrall and Aggra are mostly out of the picture now, for the most part.  I don’t know how the story’s going to go.  But it wouldn’t surprise me if they pulled a Garona/Medivh situation with their kid, which we will be talking about very shortly.

Tzufit:  For me, best case scenario, both because like you I was not a Thrall fan.  I didn’t love Aggra either, so for me the way I would have liked that story to end and have a nice little bow on it, we don’t need to return to it again, is Thrall and Aggra had a baby together.  They’re going to somewhat retire from everything that they’ve been involved in.  They’re going to raise their kids.  Alexstrasza was just pointing out the fact that Aggra was pregnant.  There’s nothing else going on and their story is more or less complete.

Apple Cider Mage:  It’s an interesting way for WoW to look at relationships that they really haven’t had time to dedicate with other people.  I feel like Thrall and Aggra is kind of the biggest, most representative story and it’s not a surprise that Thrall is a very major character in the story, so that’s why he gets the time to have a developed relationship.  He’s very emblematic of that.

Tzufit:  We should probably talk about the one other relationship between two very major characters that is also covered, to an extent, in the novels and then almost everything that you see in-game is entirely speculation, and this is of course Jaina and Arthas.

Apple Cider Mage:  I think it’s one of the few times that you actually get evidence of some scrumpin.’

Tzufit:  Right.  And this is, as I’ve mentioned before, Jaina and Arthas – and this is in the Arthas novel – is the closest that you ever get to any inclination that sex is about to occur between two Warcraft characters.  Jaina and Arthas are in one of their bedrooms, I cannot recall which, and you essentially get a fade to black.  It’s apparent that they are about to have sex.  Everything has made sense for that to happen, but it is still in no way explicitly stated.

Apple Cider Mage:  I think that’s just going to be World of Warcraft’s MO.  Jaina and Arthas – because I read the Arthas book, but I don’t remember it very accurately.  Most of my interaction with how the whole Jaina/Arthas thing actually got brought up a little bit more in the Tides of War, which is the book I actually do remember.  They were like 20s, early 20s when they had-

Tzufit:  I think that’s probably right.  Either late teens or early 20s.

Apple Cider Mage:  If they were younger than that I can definitely see why World of Warcraft would not want to have teens having sex.

Tzufit:  Oh yeah, they were definitely at the point where they both would have been adults, considered adults.  That’s another one that fascinates me because if you are a person who hadn’t read Arthas or who hadn’t read Tides of War, if you played during Wrath of the Lich King you would certainly get the impression that they had a very close relationship.  Obviously Jaina is just really distraught over the decisions that Arthas has made.  But I don’t know that without that external information it would be clear to you that they actually had a romantic, physical relationship.

Apple Cider Mage:  Yeah, and that’s why I feel like a lot of the criticism of Jaina was really fallacious in that Jaina frequently – and we’ve brought this up before – Jaina frequently gets pooped on for her emotionality, in Icecrown in particular.  I know so many people that were like, “Oh my god.  Jaina’s crying.”  She really cared about Arthas.  She really, really cared about him.  Hasn’t everybody cried over at least one relationship in their life, especially one that was intimate – and I don’t mean just physically intimate, but emotionally intimate.

Tzufit:  I think it’s fairly clear from the Arthas novel that Jaina believed that they were going to be together.  She believed that that was the future and it seemed like Arthas probably believed that too, especially when he reacts so negatively to the fact that she’s not going to stand by him at Stratholme.  Unfortunately my memory of this is not perfect because it’s been a while since I read Arthas, but I want to say that that sort of turnaround at Stratholme when Arthas makes his decision that he’s going to go in and kill everybody and Jaina says, “I’m not going to watch you do this.”  I want to say that happens pretty fast on the heels of them having sex for the first time.

Apple Cider Mage:  So that’s got to be pretty heartbreaking, especially in a world where that sort of thing is not a common occurrence but people have to make those sorts of decisions in the World of Warcraft world.

Tzufit:  It’s essentially Jaina having to come to terms with this person who you had envisioned a future with and who you have been intimate with – as you pointed out, not just in a sexual way but in general, they’ve been very close.  She all of a sudden realizes, “This guy is not who I thought he was.  He does not have the moral compass I thought he did and I’ve just got to walk away from the situation.”  I think it’s understandable that she’s deeply affected by that and she is still deeply affected by that a few years later when – because you’ve got to think, she doesn’t really see him between when Stratholme happens and when she sees him as the Lich King.  So, yeah, it’s going to be devastating.  It’s going to be really, really shitty to realize, “I turned around.  I walked away from him on that day,” and of course she probably has questions about could she have done more to try and change his mind, prevent him from killing everybody in Stratholme.  Would that have made a difference?  I think it is kind of wrong-headed to get on Jaina for being so emotional about the events that happen in ICC because I think anybody would be.

Apple Cider Mage:  Absolutely.  You would be torn up.  You would feel guilty.  You would feel regret.  Jaina is really adamant that before she steps into Icecrown, she absolutely makes sure that there is not a shred of humanity left in the Lich King, not a shred of Arthas left, because she would feel completely broken up over it, despite the fact that they’re exs.  She desperately wants to cling to the belief that there is somebody still left in there and that maybe she can get through to him because they had that kind of relationship.  When it’s clear that it’s not, they go ahead and we invade ICC.  This is obviously a very significant romantic relationship, and so that’s why it stands out so much to me.  Jaina’s involvement in it and the kind of criticism that comes to her, but not Arthas, is really kind of fascinating to me.  She’s the one that’s wearing that relationship on her sleeve, because Arthas gets to go off and do other things.

Tzufit:  Right, and because Arthas – we have no idea who Arthas, the human being, how he would have reacted to the end of that relationship.  You see a little bit of it – this is kind of fresh in my mind because I did Culling of Stratholme today on an alt.  You see Jaina saying, “I can’t be a part of this.”  She walks away.  Arthas is obviously shook up by that.  He has a problem with the fact that she has walked away, but from there on out, he is pretty much on a collision course with becoming the Lich King.  As soon as that happens, we don’t get to see how Arthas emotionally reacts anymore because it’s not there.  We don’t have access to that information.

Apple Cider Mage:  Exactly.  Then it becomes the arc – his story of going to Icecrown, picking up the crown, that sort of thing.  So Jaina’s the one that gets to carry the torch for all these years.  I do think to some degree she’s carrying a torch.  When you do the Shadowmourne quest line and you bring back the locket, she just – “He had it for all this time.  Oh my god.”  That would break me up too because it shows that despite the fact that he did lose his humanity utterly, utterly lost his humanity – you see that from the Icecrown quests.  That part of him is gone and dead.  But the fact that he still had the human remnants of that relationship is a pretty big deal and definitely is way different than how World of Warcraft treats every other relationship they have.

Tzufit:  That’s definitely true.  We get so much more emotionality, I guess, in the Jaina and Arthas story than we do anywhere else.  If Thrall and Aggra is, arguably, the relationship that we get the most information about the events leading up to it and their eventual marriage, then I think Jaina and Arthas is probably the WoW relationship that we have the most sense of how the two characters feel about each other.

Apple Cider Mage:  What made me really bothered about the Tides of War book in particular is how crappy everybody is to Jaina about how she conducts her relationship.  Not even going into the whole fan atmosphere around Jaina where I have heard a lot of people call Jaina some not very nice names because of the fact that she speculatively had a relationship with Thrall, which has never been substantiated, the fact that she actually had a relationship with Arthas, but it obviously fell apart, and the fact that Kael’thas was a complete nice guy to her.  But no, that was totally her fault too.

Tzufit:  Right.

Apple Cider Mage:  So I feel like Jaina is one of the few characters in the World of Warcraft story that really has had multiple instances of having romantic feelings or relationships and then people in Tides of War just crap on her, repeatedly.  It’s either Thrall in the glow of new-fatherhood and glorious purpose tells her that maybe she just needs a man.  Then she gets pushed into Kalecgos.  That made me hella mad, just ridiculously mad.

Tzufit:  I just could not even wrap my head around – I understood the idea that Jaina is an extremely accomplished mage.  She’s highly intelligent.  I can see how, in that respect, she would be attracted to somebody who shares those interests.  But Kalecgos?

Apple Cider Mage:  Yeah.  Kalecgos on his own has already been – it’s illuminated in the book that Kalecgos has had a series of failed relationships with another one of the blue dragons, as well as most famously a humanoid version of the Sunwell.

Tzufit:  Yeah.  So no baggage there.

Apple Cider Mage:  None.

Tzufit:  I would hate not to point out, too, that a lot of times in fantasy literature we get these examples of these men who are truly hundreds or thousands of years old having relationships with women who are in their 20s or their 30s.  The obvious example that comes to me, of course, is Twilight.  It seems like the expectation is that because this is a fantasy novel or a fantasy game, it’s Ok to wave that aside and not pay attention to the power differential that absolutely would exist between people who have such a great difference in age and experience.

Apple Cider Mage:  Exactly.  How are you going to say to a dragon, “I really don’t feel like dating you,” when the dragons have – even the fact that they are not Aspects anymore, and Kalecgos got to be an Aspect for all of 2 minutes.  They have unbelievably immortal powers.  They have ridiculous powers.  I wouldn’t want to date any of the bronze dragons if you asked me, because that kind of time travel stuff is just icky anyway.

Tzufit:  Yeah, we saw how that worked for Doctor Who and River Song.

Apple Cider Mage:  Exactly.  The fact that Jaina gets pushed into this relationship with Kalecgos, the fact that Kalecgos is completely not blamed for any of his failed relationships, but Jaina is and it’s constantly brought up into her face – “Well, you’re turning into your ex-boyfriend.”  Seriously?  I would have drowned Orgrimmar if somebody had said that to me.

Tzufit:  I know, yeah.  Thrall really deserved like a swift smack across the face for that one.  He’s coming to her from this ultimate condescending position because he is someone who has very recently found a successful relationship.  Like you said, he’s kind of aglow with new-fatherhood, so for him everything in his personal, romantic, sexual life is going right.  Of course Jaina is going to look like a train wreck for him and he’s going to unload on her because it’s got to be her fault, right?  He managed to get it all right.

Apple Cider Mage:  Because Jaina really needed that at the moment.  She just needed Thrall to come down and explain to her what nurturing was all about, really.  To kind of bring back the point here, it’s so remarkable when Blizzard actually takes the time to go into the fact that some people’s lives are not always about their rise to power.  It’s a lot of times more emotional than that.  It’s relationships and love and obviously sex as well.  But the fact that World of Warcraft really doesn’t dedicate a lot of time to that, just the beginnings and the ends, is really kind of frustrating to a certain point.

Tzufit:  It is frustrating, and I think it also means that there is some level of responsibility to be extremely economical and extremely aware of how they use that time that they do devote to relationships and sexuality because if you are not putting that much in for people to look at, they’re going to really scrutinize the stuff that is available and you want that to be the sort of thing that will stand up to scrutiny.

Apple Cider Mage:  And that’s why I feel like a lot of women get the short end of the shaft, oh god – stick, short end of the stick when it comes to these rare moments of sex and love and romance because it just always seems to end in babies.  Just babies.  I know that we’re going to explore the actual trope of motherhood in a future episode, but the fact that the lead up to this is that it always seems to end in babies that come out of nowhere, like we mentioned before, because they never go into the sexual aspect.  These babies just pop out – of their mothers, of course.

Tzufit:  Yeah, and if they don’t end in babies, like in Jaina’s case, then they end up with characters who both other lore characters and then fans inevitably treat as if they’ve been overly promiscuous or that they’ve been stupid in the way that they’ve gotten involved with people.  Basically your path is either babies or you’re doing it wrong.

Apple Cider Mage:  Exactly.  Even the people that have been designated baby-makers still don’t get the respect that they deserve.  We have quite a list of the instances where babies did happen without any of the actual sex-talk as to where they might have come from.  I know we talked about Thrall and Aggra and the Alexstrasza business, but what about some of the other couples that ended up getting together and having a baby in the span of maybe a paragraph?

Tzufit:  Right.  This is one thing I guess you can kind of say in the Warcraft MMO’s defense is that because of where Warcraft the MMO starts in the Warcraft history, some of that stuff is already established.  Then when you go back and read the books about that stuff, they gloss over them too.  It’s hard to necessarily fault the video game itself for that.  But we certainly do have plenty of examples of couples who just are together and you don’t get a lot of indication as to why or how that came about, and then children appear.

Apple Cider Mage:  Now interestingly, and I actually got the tip for this from my guild mate because I was discussing with her about this episode in particular and Bee, my guild mate, she said that in Redridge you actually between the pre-Cataclysm expansions and the Cata changes, you actually got a complete story of a relationship in World of Warcraft.  It’s very still between the lines, but in Redridge before Cataclysm if you didn’t get to play, and I remember this very distinctly.  When you went to Redridge from Elwynn Forest, there used to not be a guard tower there.  I think it might have been a tower or it was just some small building and it was called the Three Corners because there’s a road leading to Darkshire, a road leading to Elwynn and a road leading to Redridge.  There was a guard there called Guard Parker.  One of the quests you did for the guard is that you brought him lunch from one of the waitresses.

Tzufit:  Oh yeah.  I remember this.

Apple Cider Mage:  Yeah, Darcy would give you a lunch to pack and bring to Guard Parker because she obviously liked him and Guard Parker liked her back because then he had a quest that you would go and get flowers from the herbalist in town and give them to Darcy.  There was even an implied love triangle there because he tells you not to tell Marny, the herbalist, who the flowers are for because Marny has a crush on Guard Parker.  When you bring them to Darcy she says, “Oh my gosh did you get these from Marny, because you can’t tell me you told her who they were for.  She’s a vixen who only has eyes for Parker.”  So you do that quest chain and you really don’t think about it.  Most of it is just a “FedEx quest.”  But in Cataclysm, Guard Parker is now the head of the tower at Three Corners.  He has gotten a promotion and Darcy and their kid, Libby, are now inside the tower with him.

Tzufit:  Oh that’s cool.

Apple Cider Mage:  It’s interesting that these little quest givers actually got to have a full and complete courtship and then eventually got married and had a baby.

Tzufit:  Right, and that’s something that, obviously because of the way WoW works, could only happen when they’re doing a big revamp like that.  The other one that immediately comes to me, although it’s certainly a different kind of path to marriage, is that when you play through the Twilight Highlands, at least on Alliance side.  I assume this is not there for Horde.  You get through to the Wild, Wild, Wildhammer wedding, which is the final quest line, which is essentially a political alliance between two different dwarven clans.  Then you play all the way through going back and forth with the courtship and the negotiation, and then you finally get to participate in the wedding, which the Twilight Hammer almost disrupts and nearly destroys.  But you save the day and the wedding goes on.

Apple Cider Mage:  It’s little instances like that that kind of make up a little bit for the fact that the rest of the time World of Warcraft has introduced some really odd pairings.  I feel like most of the pairings are just to support the fact that they have kids, like Medivh and Garona

Tzufit:  Yeah, it’s very strange because we don’t know to what extent any of this will make it to the game or if it will ever make it to the game, which I know a lot of people are very adamant that they hope it won’t.  We know that at some point while Garona was in Karazhan as an emissary, she and Medivh must have had sex and they must have been close enough that they wanted to have sex with each other, because they did, because they had a kid together.  That’s about all that we know.

Apple Cider Mage:  The really weird part about it is that Garona already has a very strange story of her own and spends most of that story being mind controlled and being an assassin.  So if you think about it, at the end of the line, is that really what she’s thinking?  “Oh, man.  I should have a baby now, and not just any baby.  I should have it with Medivh.”  Obviously, yes, they have a relationship.  They are close.  But what predicated that?

Tzufit:  There’s just not a whole lot of information, aside from knowing that they were both there in Karazhan and that they did have a cordial relationship.  Most of what we see with Garona in Karazhan is that she’s getting closer to Khadgar.  We don’t see a ton about her relationship with Medivh.  So it does feel a little out of the blue when you find out that they had sex and now they’re having a kid and this kid, Med’an, who I apologize to those of you for whom that’s a dirty word, to even bring him up.  Med’an, who is supposed to be this sort of ultimately important individual because he’s this combination of all these different races.  Of course Garona is – depending on where you come in, before or after the retcon – Garona is half orc and half draenei, and Medivh is a very powerful human mage, who just happens to have been fathered by Sargeras, but let’s not get into that.

Apple Cider Mage:  Which is funny though because if you think of it, that is yet another example of there being babies but no sex mentioned whatsoever.  No one has any idea who Aegwynn had sex with to get Medivh, other than the fact that we all know that Medivh was riding piggyback on a demon.

Tzufit:  I wonder whether that’s Warcraft’s G-rated version of not having to deal with Sargeras essentially raping Aegwynn to make that happen.

Apple Cider Mage:  Again, that’s also something we’re going to discuss at length in a little bit, because on the surface it looks like Aegwynn is just doing what she wants, footloose and fancy free.  The dad is maybe not in the picture because he doesn’t need to be in the picture because she’s a strong an independent woman who’s also a Guardian of Tirisfal.  But on the other hand, how did Sargeras get in there?  Demon babies just don’t come out of the ether.  They’re usually put there.  Sargeras, granted, all-consuming Titan power, but on the other hand that’s pretty gross if you think about it.

Tzufit:  Because one way or another, there is some violation of her body in that process.  I think the few ways that I’ve heard it describes is something like he sort of permeates the cells of the embryo or something completely ridiculous.  So one way or another, it is some part of Sargeras that is interacting with some part of Aegwynn and she has absolutely not given consent for that to happen.

Apple Cider Mage:  Now it’s interesting, because I feel like the very few mentions or indications of sex that we do get in the game are very much removed from this relationship equation.  Think about Medivh in general.  Think about Medivh.  Think about Illidan, who are both part of this weird, creepy, recluse, bachelor pad club.

Tzufit:  Oh god, that would be an awesome reality show.

Apple Cider Mage:  Both of them have dens of iniquity and that’s considered Ok versus people in a loving relationship having sex with each other.  Think about it like this:  There are many instances of sex in World of Warcraft that are completely considered kosher despite the fact that they are solely male-driven, that it is solely exploitative sex.  Medivh has an entire creepy, spooky ghost tower that are filled with demon concubines that entertain clients – so they’re sex workers.  They are prostitutes.  Then, you think about Illidan.  Illidan decides to make a bachelor pad apartment in the remnants of a defiled temple that is filled with mind-controlled concubines.  So they’re not even sex workers; they’re slaves.

Tzufit:  If you want to add to that list, I certainly don’t think we should forget about Lei Shen and his two concubines who happen to be guarding the last bastion into his stronghold.

Apple Cider Mage:  It really bothers me that when we are having a discussion talking about World of Warcraft’s sex, more and more the only remnants of discussion about this that you find are kind of like “wink, wink” jokes to the audience that these single, unaffiliated men have slaves, sex workers, and dens of iniquity.  That’s more extant than people being able to smooch and kiss and do whatever with their relationship partners.

Tzufit:  That to me is where it just really comes across as being a bit juvenile because in whose brain is it more acceptable to only demonstrate sex in a game with examples of sex workers, with examples of sex slaves, when we get further down the line with examples or rape whether explicit or implied.  At what point to we think that that is more acceptable, less offensive to have in the game than honest to god relationships that have a sexual component to them?

Apple Cider Mage:  That’s one of the reasons why we felt that it was necessary to have that kind of discussion in the show.  I think we’re going to save it until after we’re finished talking about babies, but it is a good point to bring up because it is a very juvenile – and I would go so far as to say harmful – view in the game, that they are more willing to devote time to the degradation and enslavement, and it always seems to be women, and it always seems to be heterosexual in the game, versus women with agency, people with sexual agency and love and respect versus jokes about the hookers that slept with demons in Medivh’s tower.

Tzufit:  It is really frustrating to have to deal with so many examples of that rather than anything a little more substantial.

Apple Cider Mage:  I think that’s one of the mentions, like we kind of mentioned, that a lot of the fan-created content, fanfic and fan art and stuff like that, seems to actually be revolving around the fact that their characters have love lives and drama.  It’s so absent in the game.  So many people romance roleplay, I think, because that’s the kind of stuff people do want to see from time to time.  They want to see their characters grow up and have silly flings or crushes or relationships or break ups and things like that.  That’s the stuff of human nature versus what we’re presented a lot of times in-game.

Tzufit:  Yeah, and not to get too cornball here or to point out the obvious, but at the end of the Mists of Pandaria trailer, we have Chen who asks us a very pointed question, which is “What is worth fighting for?”  It seems to me like the idea there is these people must want to lay down their arms eventually.  There must be a reason – and end – for them in sight.  There has to be a goal.  The goal isn’t to fight orcs forever or to fight humans forever.  The idea is that you fight in order to make something secure, whether that’s your property, your land, your family.  You’re doing it for a reason.  So I think it makes perfect sense that people roleplay that, because certainly you’re not raiding ICC 24/7.

Apple Cider Mage:  I can definitely see the reason that the character stories are so seductive in that respect.  Say your character is a real person.  Think of it from that perspective.  If your character is a real person, wouldn’t they want to be in the embrace of somebody they are attracted to even if it’s for a night?  Maybe they’ll die the next day.  That’s the kind of stuff that drives people into the arms of other people, is the very real mortality that you’re probably faced with in a war situation.

Tzufit:  Yeah, it’s absolutely something that they would be dealing with on a daily basis.

Apple Cider Mage:  Now, we kind of went off on a tangent, but I think it would be fair to mention the fact that Med’an was not the first, nor the last, of many of the babies and the children that we do get to see in World of Warcraft – and this is kind of a really tricky subject that does kind of feed into the more dark aspects on the game.  Med’an is actually one of the creations or babies that are of a mixed ethnicity or racial makeup that isn’t gross.  The other one that I can think of is Vereesa and Rhonin having half-elves.

Tzufit:  Med’an and Vereesa and Rhonin’s kids are certainly the exception to the rule.  When you look at somebody like Garona, who as I said earlier is half-orc, half-draenei, we’re told pretty explicitly that that’s a result of so-called “breeding,” which obviously implies that the sex act was not consensual for either parent.

Apple Cider Mage:  That’s one of the reasons that when you do stumble across “half breeds” in World of Warcraft, unless they are half-human and half-elf, like the kid that’s Turalyon and Alleria’s kid, the one that’s in Hellfire Peninsula – most of the time “half breeds” in the game are products of rape or breeding or slavery.  Orc and draenei mixes in general are exiled because they are not part of either culture that they come from, because you don’t ever see their parents, because it’s pretty much assumed that they are products of war or imprisonment or some other kind of dark and kind of gross program.

Tzufit:  Which leads us to the other sort of dark and gross programs that tend to happen a lot in Warcraft, which is dragons and dragon breeding and the way that it seems like quite a lot of the dragonflights end up having offspring.

Apple Cider Mage:  So this is going to be a little bit of the darker part of the show, so if you have a problem with that you might want to just skip ahead and pick it up a little bit later when we get to some of the other discussion on the show.  It is pretty clear to us that a lot of the stuff that has happened with dragons and “half-breeds” and stuff is that a lot of it is violent.  A lot of it is coercive.  A lot of it deals with mind control, and a lot of it does deal with the euphemistic term “breeding,” treating dragons – which are very powerful, sentient animals to some degree as just livestock.  It seems to, because of the nature of how biology in World of Warcraft works, it seems to be 100% women.

Tzufit:  Well and let’s talk about biology just for a second here.  I think while obviously we’re going to be speculating here since nobody, to my knowledge, on the Blizzard team has written us a biology book on dragons.  What I think it’s safe to say is that while there are species that exist for whom eggs are fertilized after the mother has laid those eggs, I really highly doubt that that’s what’s happening for dragons in Warcraft, because they’re not fish, they’re not amphibians, they’re not a species where you would expect that to happen.  So I think, and for the terms of the discussion that we’re having, we are going to make the assumption that for a female dragon to lay an egg, it must have already been fertilized by a male dragon through having sex.

Apple Cider Mage:  Yeah, kind of like reptiles and chickens.

Tzufit:  Bearing that in mind – and as Apple Cider said, there is really no question that dragons are sentient beings.  They absolutely feel pain.  They absolutely have self-awareness and a complex sense of what’s going on around them.  They are, I think not even arguably, much more intelligent and much more powerful than any of the playable races that are available to us in Warcraft.  So they certainly – I think we need to afford them the same level of respect and personhood that we would to humans or orcs or anybody else.

Apple Cider Mage:  There’s no doubt in my mind that dragons have 100% of the agency that all of the humanoid races in World of Warcraft have.  So for that part, we are going to be discussing it  – it is rape.  It is rape across the board.  It is rape, coercion, and treating them like livestock, basically.

Tzufit:  Yeah.  While the dragons may be animals in some technical sense of that word, I don’t think there’s any way that it makes sense with the amount of agency that they have to talk about it as you would about, you know, 2 lions mating in the wild or something like that.  This is a completely different ballgame.

Apple Cider Mage:  I feel like the biggest portion of this discussion would probably be Alexstrasza.  Alexstrasza is one of the few women in World of Warcraft who is alluded to by her very occupation as being the red dragonflight and Lifebinder, as it were.  She makes some babies.  She has a lot of babies.  She has a lot of sex.  That is canonically stated.  Do I think that her sexy, skimpy outfit is a little bit over the top?  Yeah, definitely, because I think it’s not even an original thing.  But the thing is that she has a lot of sex.  That’s kind of where all the dragon babies come from in her flight.

Tzufit:  I think it’s reasonable to assume that a lot of the dragons have a lot of sex because that’s part of the process is you’re trying to establish that next generation.  When you look at – there are a lot of dragons out there.  There are a lot of dragonkin out there.  That’s because the dragons are producing a lot of offspring.

Apple Cider Mage:  Exactly.  Unfortunately, because of that role that she has in creating life, keeping life moderated, she has been abused heavily from what I understand by the black dragonflight and orcs.  This is part of the lore that I am not super familiar with because I want to say that most of it happened in either Warcraft 3 or one of the books?

Tzufit:  I’m going to pull this up-

Apple Cider Mage:  Grim Batol used to be a stronghold of-

Tzufit:  I have it if you want me to – so essentially in the timeline, we’re looking at some time after the second war ended, so I think – and I’m not as good with the first 3 games, so I’m not entirely sure – but I believe that would be either Warcraft 2 or in the interim between 2 and 3.  Essentially, the Horde gains control of Alexstrasza at that point.  They make her a slave.  They do this by capturing her and capturing all of her consorts, including her oldest consort.  The reason that she has to go along with the slavery at this point is that if she doesn’t, they’re going to kill all of her clutches, every single one of them.  Since she’s the aspect of life this is beyond comprehension how much pain it would cause her, so she basically becomes a slave to the Horde at that point.

Apple Cider Mage:  Kinda gross stuff.

Tzufit:  Oh yeah, without question.  “Come be a slave to make babies that we want you to make or we’re going to kill your entire family” is what they’re saying here.

Apple Cider Mage:  And we’re going to turn your children into slaves for us.

Tzufit:  Yeah, and that’s why the Horde wants her, of course, is because they’re going to train up these dragons so that the Horde warriors can use them in battle.  Deathwing, who is partially responsible for the fact that she’s been abducted and enslaved by the Horde, he has this big plot that he creates to get her out into the open, steal her children so that he can create his own new children.  In the process, fortunately for Alexstrasza, she actually manages to escape.  But essentially what happens is the orcs are moving their dragons out of Grim Batol because they think they’re doing it to move them to a safe place away from the Alliance, but Deathwing ends up attacking the caravan.  In the battle that follows, fortunately like I said Alexstrasza is able to escape, but her eldest consort is killed.  In retaliation for everything that’s been done to her, Alexstrasza turns and she swallows whole Necros, who was her primary captor, and manages to more or less reclaim the rest of her children.  But Deathwing has still had his pick at that point.

Apple Cider Mage:  You really see the threads of that particular story when you do Outlands, when you finally get to Outlands are you realize that a part of this overarching black dragon breeding program to create a new race of dragons happens with the orcs again in Outland and Sinestra and the nether drakes.  But you also see it when Alexstrasza has her final confrontation again with Deathwing in the Twilight Highlands.  That is a showdown and a revenge fight for all intents and purposes.

Tzufit:  Oh yeah.  That’s one of the things that’s always made the story more problematic for me is that part of what Deathwing has at stake is he sees his relationship with Alexstrasza with him being sort of the Aspect of Death and her being the Aspect of Life – he doesn’t see it as a symbiotic relationship.  He sees it as one opposed to the other.  So desire that he has to just completely oppress her and enslave her in every way, I think is partially informed by that in addition to all of these things that he wants to do in terms of creating this new, more powerful dragonflight.  And that, to me, is where it just gets really fundamentally gross.

Apple Cider Mage:  Yeah.  Also the fact that Deathwing always seems to talk about the other female dragons in a very weird, creepy family incest sort of way.  He does that about the other members of the black dragonflight as well.  That goes for his clan as well.  Deathwing is obviously the father of Nefarion, Onyxia, who are I know brother/sister twins.  Onyxia, again, her ultimate purpose is she gets put in the position – she’s obviously a heavy-hitter politically and we’ve talked about her before in our women villains episode.  But Onyxia’s secondary purpose is to basically be a broodmother and that’s also a term that I don’t really like that basically comes up when we talk about dragons.

Tzufit:  Yeah.  I don’t think we mentioned before, but it might be helpful to point out as well that Sinestra or Sintharia is actually the mother of both Nefarion and Onyxia.  She’s also the one conducting all of these experiments to create the twilight dragons.

Apple Cider Mage:  For anybody who didn’t do the fight on heroic – obviously you see Sinestra when you go do Outlands because she’s the one that’s behind, or at least running as kind of like a lieutenant, the nether drake program to capture the nether drake eggs so that they can make twilight dragons.  But you see her when you do the Sinestra fight in Bastion of Twilight.  She is ripped apart.  Deathwing has obviously had relations with her since his unhinging as it were.  She is torn apart.  Her face and her body are scarred with oozing lava wounds.  And I don’t want to go into so much detail but Deathwing’s jaw is probably not the only part of him that is falling apart, molten, held together by magic and dark iron.

Tzufit:  It’s clear from the marks just on her chest and her side – those are claw marks.  There’s really no 2 ways about it.

Apple Cider Mage:  She has been absolutely brutalized by Deathwing in order to keep creating children.  That’s one of the problems that I really had with how Blizzard has handled dragon stuff.  I kind of wish I had done a little bit more research on this because I know that there was a quote from Ghostcrawler or one of the other C-devs or raid-devs that was very flippant about the fact that women dragons seem to get relegated to just being broodmothers.  Alexstrasza is one of the few that gets the agency to be a mother versus just pooping out eggs for whoever wants them to.  I want to say it was Ghostcrawler that was very flippant about the fact that a lot of rape happens around the dragons in World of Warcraft, namely Keristraza.  Now this quest line in particular really stuck with me because, as we’re going to go into, World of Warcraft has a lot of rape content.  There is a lot of gross, creepy shit that goes on in World of Warcraft and it all seems to be around sex and relationships as some of the few instances where that’s actually mentioned in the game.  Keristraza was one of those situations where the dragon thing and the rape thing intersected in a really gross, creepy way.  You go to the Nexus and it’s the quest line that you do for the mages there where the red dragonflight is basically pitted against the blue dragonflight because Malygos obviously has come to his senses and is completely driven mad by the fact that we’re abusing the ley lines.  What you do is you go with Keristraza to essentially incite Malygos into coming out by killing his consort.  You kill his girlfriend or the person he’s having relations with.

Tzufit:  Seragosa is his consort.

Apple Cider Mage:  You kill her just to incite him.  And when he finally shows his face, he takes Keristraza away.  You eventually do the dungeon and you realize that he has completely subdued her in a sort of very gross, violating way.  You kill one woman and he gets revenge on that by taking her as his new consort – whatever that means.  You find her and you fight her because he has completely broken down her ability to act as her own, and she’s covered with runes and he’s completely just violated her.  And then you kill her.  You put her out of her misery.

Tzufit:  Like you said, it’s awful when you go in there initially and I think at first you may not even realize that it’s the same NPC who you helped earlier because she looks completely different.  She has these runes burned into her body.  It’s really disturbing.  It is.  Yeah, the only way apparently to save her is to kill her.

Apple Cider Mage:  The few people that get brought up in the story as being victims and being violated and being completely brutalized, you kill them all.  Obviously , Alexstrasza is one of the few examples where that doesn’t happen.  But think about it – Sinestra, she dies.  Keristraza, she dies.  We kill so many dragons and considering the high instance of dragons being violated in this game, it’s really, really awful.

Tzufit:  The other thing for me with Keristraza too is, if we didn’t sway you with our arguments at the beginning of this section about why it is important to consider dragons as fully agent beings for the purposes of this discussion, I think that when we interact with the dragons in their humanoid form regardless of what race they actually choose to take, there’s something about that that really even more drives home the point that they’re just like us.  They may be giant dragons at the end of the day, but in terms of their wants, their agency, it is the same as us.  When you do that whole quest line over by the Nexus, Keristraza interacts with you as a human woman just as often as she does as a dragon.

Apple Cider Mage:  And you kill Seragosa as a human woman in her humanoid form.

Tzufit:  Yeah, that’s true.

Apple Cider Mage:  Just because they’re dragons doesn’t mean that they’re not represented in a way that’s completely indivisible from the humanoid NPCs that you play as.

Tzufit:  One final dragon who we’ll point out before we move on to hopefully a little bit less problematic discussion is Kiragosa, who was kidnapped by the Twilight’s Hammer in really kind of a juvenile phase for her.  She was just about to lay her first clutch of eggs.  So the cult then experiments on her unhatched eggs, basically trying to continue the research on the chromatic dragonflight.  This is mostly covered in Twilight of the Aspects because the person who abducts her is called the Twilight Father.  We later find out in the Dragon Soul patch that that’s actually Archbishop Benedictus from Stormwind.

Apple Cider Mage:  I had no idea about that one in particular.

Tzufit:  They actually were planning to force her to have sex with Chromatus who is a 5-headed dragon, because they think that since she’s the child of an aspect they think that maybe she’s going to be strong enough to be able to have living chromatic offspring.

Apple Cider Mage:  Interesting.  Chromatus is one of the few chromatic animals or dragons in the game, but it only gets referred to in passing.  I honestly want to believe that Chromatus was supposed to take the place of Ultraxion in Dragon Soul but it wasn’t feasible.

Tzufit:  Yeah, that would make sense.

Apple Cider Mage:  The whole chromatic / twilight dragons thing with the black dragonflight in general is basically why most of the dragon lore is really fucked up and rapey basically.

Tzufit:  It’s just this ongoing – they’re trying to improve the flight however.  The way that they do that is they’re doing all these experiments and obviously people aren’t going to volunteer for those experiments.

Apple Cider Mage:  There are some other instances in World of Warcraft of rape and violation.  I want to say the mogu top that list, absolutely.  I know that we mentioned before that in one of the quests with the mogu that you do as part of the Golden Lotus, it’s actually implied that the guards of the mogu going to have their way with you as prisoners.  The mogu are a very sexually sadistic race.  That is proven times over, but even the stuff that you dig up as part of archaeology shows that they’re very cruel.  They’re very malicious, and they have instruments of torture that are also things like flails and whips.  It has a very creepy, sadomasochistic aspect to it.

Tzufit:  We should point out that we’re in no way attempting to shame or degrade anybody who appreciates any type of kink.  That’s obviously not what we’re saying here.  I think it is clearly demonstrated throughout Pandaria that the mogu brutalize everybody and everything they come into contact with.  I think it’s probably a safe bet that not every mogu woman in the history of the Empire was into kink.

Apple Cider Mage:  Yeah.  It seems like it’s definitely a lot more of a demoralization, brutalization, violence sort of aspect as opposed to 2 consenting mogu individuals who just like do to wild and crazy stuff on the weekends.

Tzufit:  Yeah, exactly.

Apple Cider Mage:  I’m kind of glad there weren’t as many problematic things in World of Warcraft in this latest expansion.  Obviously I know that we also mentioned the quest where the virmen are making the pandaren dance on the carrot and stuff like that, but I feel like a lot of their instances of really sexually aggressive rape content was firmly in a lot of the older stuff.  I hope that they keep that to a minimum or none at all going forward.

Tzufit:  There’s definitely work to be done in terms of the sort of little – and I hate to call them “throwaway” moments, but that’s kind of what it is – the small aspects, the quests that you get into along the way may still have some of that problematic content.  But the overarching narrative as a whole seems like it’s backed down from that significantly from where it was prior to now.  I think that that’s certainly partially about what we discussed earlier on in that they’re not dealing with preexisting lore at this point.  They’re inventing the lore themselves so they’re not locked into place with “All this crazy dragon shit happened and we’re going to have to deal with it.”

Apple Cider Mage:  Even if they’re not dealing with rape specifically, I feel like the lack of agency and sex and relationships and love in the video game has a lot to do with the fact that I don’t think a lot of the writers know how to handle that particular type of material.  Look at something like the Stalvan quest line in Duskwood.  That was a quest that was revamped for Cata because originally it crossed through several zones when you did it pre-Cata.  But the Legend of Stalvan quest line is basically you finding out a retread of the Lolita storyline in-game.  It’s about a teacher named Stalvan who falls in love with a very younger woman that he is supposed to be teaching of a rich private family.  He falls in love with her and it’s very unrequited.  He considers it to be love but it’s not.  It’s obsession because she apparently gives him like a flower and he basically confabulates well beyond what it actual is.  When she comes home with a fiancé, he brutally murders her entire family and her.

Tzufit:  Wow.

Apple Cider Mage:  That really stood out to me, even when I was doing questing way back in Vanilla.  I did that quest on several characters back when I was leveling in Vanilla and Burning Crusade.  It gave a lot of experience but at no time did I not feel completely creeped out.  I feel like it’s because Blizzard, thankfully over time has gotten better about this, but I feel like a lot of their writing still focuses on really anti-woman tropes to express love and sex, but it’s never in a healthy way.  It’s always obsessive or sexist like the Ji Firepaw thing.  Attraction and crushes and things like that never seem to just quite get expressed in a healthy way.  They always seem to be bent in some sort of skeevy way.

Tzufit:  I wonder to what extent that is because it’s not seen as being appropriate to the genre or it’s seen as being something that would appeal to the player base if you put relationships, crushes, those kinds of things into the game.  Whereas you can interject sexuality and different types of relationships with these established fantasy tropes, but the thing is – and I think we should expect more of Blizzard and I think Blizzard should hold themselves to a higher standard than just trotting out a bunch of essentially sexist tropes.  If that’s what they’re falling back on to be able to have any element of romance or sex in the story, it’s just not good enough at this point and it’s harmful.

Apple Cider Mage:  Exactly.  It makes me upset because it’s obviously been proven that they can put these things in the story in a way that’s compelling, dramatic, and interesting.  Just to even look at how the tweaks to the Ji Firepaw story went, he went from being kind of a chauvinistic jerk that kind of demeans you when you talk to him, especially as a female PC, to honestly having kind of a cute little crush on Aysa Cloudsinger.

Tzufit:  It is a completely different feeling that you get from that quest now than when you played it in beta.  They have absolutely demonstrated – Blizzard has good storytellers.  There’s no question about it.  We had one of them on just a few weeks ago.  She obviously understands how to tell a good story.  It’s just making sure that we’re not falling back into lazy patterns, making sure that we are making conscious decisions about the way our characters are developing so that we’re showing them as people of agency who choose to be in relationships and choose to have sex with that they have relationships with.  Whether that leads to a family or not, all of that’s fine but we should have that full spread in-game.  It shouldn’t just be examples of violence or jokes that are just kind of one-offs.

Apple Cider Mage:  There is room for every kind of relationship and interaction with characters.  If you think about it positively, are there places in a story about war where people are going to be prisoners or there’s going to be violence?  Are there stories that have those sorts of things in it?  Yes.  If you look at something like Game of Thrones, there are tons of places where there is rape and violence.  I don’t think it necessarily has 100% place as much as it occurs and this goes for Warcraft as well.  If you want to use it, you have to be able to use it in a smart fashion that doesn’t demoralize your player base, it doesn’t make them feel gross, and to beef up the stuff that makes them feel good.  I think one of the reasons that both myself and Tzufit really loved Suna Silentstrike is that here was a character, a woman, who’s powerful and intelligent who had a real love for her husband.  She loved him in a very huge and emotional way.  Why can’t we have more of that?

Tzufit:  Yeah, and hopefully not ending in her death because of her emotions.  That sort of strength of relationship obviously exists in WoW.  We have the example of Suna and there are plenty of other Warcraft quests that are very good at getting an emotional impact, whether it’s because of a relationship or it’s because of what the characters are going through who you have to help.  The one that always comes to my mind is the Oracles that you have to help in Sholozar Basin.  That crushes me every time.

Apple Cider Mage:  Oh my god.

Tzufit:  So it’s very clear that the Warcraft team can totally write emotional quest lines and emotional narratives.  It’s just making that conscious choice of what type of emotion do we want to cause and what type of narrative do we want to tell.

Apple Cider Mage:  So the fact that there is still not a lot of healthy stories that are full of crushes or enduring friendships or sex or relationships that aren’t just the tried and true “Oh, they’re married and have kids.”  We expect more.  We want more of it because I think that it makes Warcraft a fun place to be when you get a little bit of that “Oh well the innkeeper has a crush on the guard.”  Stuff like that.  It doesn’t have to be huge, over-arching stories.  It doesn’t have to be a Jaina or a Thrall.  Just even sticking it in places where the player might uncover it makes you feel like it has a more complete world and a healthy world.

Tzufit:  Yep.  Completely agree.

Apple Cider Mage:  So this is actually going to be part 1 of a 2 part series because we were not expecting to talk about sex and relationships-

Tzufit:  I really thought it would be 5 minutes.

Apple Cider Mage:  Same here, but apparently it seems like we have a lot to say about this topic.  So we’re actually going to do part 2 next week.  It’s going to be an amazingly constructive and rip-roaring episode.  We’re actually going to look specifically at some of the relationships that do not often get talked about in World of Warcraft or even acknowledged canonically, and that is gay, queer characters in World of Warcraft.

Tzufit:  And yes, we have a whole list.

Apple Cider Mage:  A list, and we will have plenty of opinions about this list and how World of Warcraft treats sexuality as kind of a jumping off point of what we were talking about today in that sex – where is it in World of Warcraft?  So we’re going to jump into how do sex and attraction and love get expressed if it is not a heterosexual-normative relationship?

Tzufit:  And as always, we want to thank Safe Shark Hosting because hosting doesn’t have to bite.  Safe Shark Hosting does WordPress migration and WordPress and website hosting.  Please remember to subscribe on iTunes, read the comments, please rate us, leave your own comments.  We appreciate all that good stuff.

Apple Cider Mage:  And if you want to get a hold of us, we are on Twitter @justicepoints.  We are on our website.  You can leave a comment on justicepoints.com.  And we are also available by email at justicepointspodcast@gmail.com.  We will see you next week.

 

3 comments

  1. Jen

    One note on Medivh, his biological father is actually in game, although it’s a bit subtle. The Kara boss Shade of Aran is the spirit of Nielas Aran, Medivh’s father. Aegwynn seduced him in order to be able to control her own successor.

  2. Aldirick1022

    As to the part with Alexstraza, The Dragonmaw Clan had ‘found’ the Demon Soul that was created at the time of the sundering. They were using it to compel the reds to copulate to produce massive generations of dragons for the Dragonmaw to use as mounts to fight against the Alliance. Ronin is approached in Dalaran by a mage of the Kirin Tor council to go search for what is happening, this mage happens to be one of Alexstraza’s consorts who was not captured. Ronin convinces the alliance to move on Grim Batol before the eggs hatch, the orc’s try to move the dragons and that is when Deathwing moves to steal the eggs. He is hoping that one of the eggs will be born female for him to use as another consort for his personal breeding program. The book that gives the full story is called ‘Day of the Dragon’ It also tells of the destruction of the Demon Soul and the first fall of Deathwing.

  3. Arcadia

    Note: Aggra is seen at the pre-Cata events in Nagrand.

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