Episode #29 – “Jerkbutt Von Crapantler and Other Pleasantries”

Episode #29 – “Jerkbutt Von Crapantler and Other Pleasantries”

Jan 28

Our twenty-ninth episode features Tzufit and Apple Cider talking to guest Camille (also known as ~lornacrowleys on Tumblr). We have a rousing discussion on the problems with canon in World of Warcraft, being a young woman playing World of Warcraft from an early age, and why lore critique is so important.

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Below the cut is a full transcript of Episode 29, “Jerkbutt Von Crapantler and Other Pleasantries.” Many thanks to @IviaRelle for transcribing this episode.

Tzufit: Hi, everybody, and welcome back to Justice Points. This is episode number twenty-nine and this week we have a very special guest with us. You may be familiar with lornacrowleys, as she is known on Tumblr. She is one of the major voices of WoW feminism and WoW fanfiction and WoW headcanons, pretty much lots of different things that we’re gonna talk about today. So, Camille, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and about how you got into World of Warcraft?

Camille: OK! Hi, I’m Camille, I’m sixteen years old and I’ve been playing WoW since I was maybe ten or eleven? I just remember it was right before Burning Crusade came out, I think, and I basically got into it because I had a bunch of friends who were into it and we didn’t really understand how to play the game outside running back and forth and putting clothes on, but um-

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: (Laughing) Those are really the most important parts anyway.

Apple Cider: Seriously.

Tzufit: Especially the clothes.

Camille: But, that was enough to get me playing on and off until now, so the clothes must have had something to do with it.

Tzufit: So when you first started playing, was there any particular faction or race or class that you really thought, “This is interesting, I wanna learn more about it,” or, you know, one that kind of drew you in initially?

Camille: I’ve always been really Alliance for some reason. My first character was- I think she was a Human warlock. Human because I don’t think I had the imagination for anything else, but… something about the whole, like- I dunno, something about the fact that I could be this character who is, like, this warrior, or like this- not warrior, but this soldier for this noble great city of white stone and NPCs would call you a hero if you killed a squirrel for them.

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Camille: And at the same time, summoning demons on the side was really cool to me.

Tzufit: Now that you’ve been playing WoW for a little bit longer and know more than just running back and forth and putting on clothes, what kinds of things do you like to do in World of Warcraft?

Camille: Um, recently I haven’t actually been doing much. When I stopped playing a while back, I was mostly roleplaying and I’ve been meaning to start doing that again but it’s just- the stars are not in alignment right now. So, once schoolwork lets up and once I have more energy I’m probably going to get back into playing more regularly. I think Warlords of Draenor is probably going to be the big catalyst for that, though.

Tzufit: Yeah, that makes sense. I think everybody’s in a little bit of a holding pattern for the moment. So, what are some of your favorite characters that you roleplay?

Camille: All of my old roleplay characters that I roleplayed back in Cataclysm before I went on hiatus are kind of embarrassing now, so I’m kind of starting from scratch, but I have kind of three sort of solid ideas right now that I’m going to try to build on, even if it’s outside of game and just kind of like, well, what am I putting in the MRP, kind of thing.

Tzufit: Yeah, that’s always a struggle for me, too. I- I enjoy doing roleplay, but I don’t quite have the attention span to make it happen in-game, so it’s like going through the whole process of, “I’m gonna make this really cool character, and I’m gonna fill out her MRP, and then I’m never actually gonna play her because everything that I roleplay is gonna be on a forum somewhere.”

Camille: Yeah, and then it’s- when you’re in and out of the game it’s like, there are very few people you can roleplay with, too.

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Tzufit: That’s true.

Apple Cider: But you still wanna build that story up, you still wanna have that character have the feelings and the motivations and the doing things and the interacting with other people, which is why I feel like WoW roleplay is such an ambivalent thing for me, cause- yeah, the attention span, and the time thing is really hard, but I just wanna have all the feelings!

Camille: Yeah! And when you’re between expansions like this, it’s especially hard to establish a character because you come up with this character, and you’re like, OK what have they been doing all this time, like, one of the characters I thought up was a Worgen, and it’s like, I like Worgen, that’s my Thing, but it’s been, what, it’s been a year in-game since Cataclysm. What has she been doing all of this time?

Tzufit: I always struggle with that, especially, like- I have a hard time with characters who wouldn’t necessarily care that much about whatever the main thrust of WoW’s narrative is. Like, Cataclysm was hard for me because on the one hand, I understand that everybody’s affected by what Deathwing’s doing, I get that, but on the other hand, a lot of the characters that I RPed at the time- they didn’t really seem like people who would be at the front of that fight, so it was like- but then what have they been doing all Cataclysm? (Laughing)

Camille: Yeah. I mean, and the characters I like to roleplay are kind of like- none of them are really connected much to the main thrust of the story, as you said. Like, I’ve never really been drawn to roleplaying the kinds of characters who are always on the front lines, always in the middle of everything, because I kind of like- there’s something a little more explorative about roleplaying the characters who are more interested in hanging out in cities and subplots and the corners of the story that aren’t always brought to the forefront.

Apple Cider: Yeah, that’s- I feel like that’s a lot of the motivation for people when they do start to roleplay or write fanfic or- initially how I actually got to start reading you on Tumblr was this, like, cadroy of people that really wanna kind of explore, like, headcanon or lore exploration stuff. Like, I feel that that’s where the real meat of the story is, but most of World of Warcraft really does have to focus on, you’re the hero, you’re the lone wolf, you’re going and doing and fighting this Big Bad, but it’s like, everybody really I think is interested in the, “Well, what’s this guy in this tavern doing?”

Camille: Yeah, and I think it’s really interesting that- I think Metzen said this a lot, but you know, we want this to be like a hero factory, we want this to be like a comic book when that kind of format doesn’t really carry well into video games when, you know, you build a story around a bunch of big heroes who are in the center of everything and in comics it works ’cause if you like this hero you can choose to buy the books, you can choose to follow his storyline, there’s, like, several universes for each character, but in WoW it’s kind of like- you don’t get that choice. It’s like, there are these three guys who are important, and you’re going- and the story bends around them, and you’re more important than them but it’s not really going to be shown in the story.

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Tzufit: Yeah, it’s a very bizarre tension between the fact that- like you said, the player characters really are the most important characters in the story, and yet we have nothing to do with the story at the same time. It’s not about us.

Camille: Yeah, and I feel like there’s things in the past I’ve been- with atmosphere and with the more minor characters and the more minor storylines, but they continue focusing on the Thralls and Malfurions of the world, and it’s like, a lot of these guys don’t even have the characterization to hold up their own stories, let alone the entire world.

Apple Cider: Yeah, especially because Blizzard has to constantly build so many new stories one on top of the other that they don’t ever finish a lot of them. A lot of stories in WoW get started and then there’s a middle, and there’s not a lot of finishing to it, so you have all of these plot threads that just go nowhere.

Tzufit: Right, ’cause it’s this constant desire to- it seems like in general they always wanna leave the door open for characters, they never wanna completely say, OK, we’re never gonna return to this person again, but then because of that we never have any closure at all with most of the characters in the game.

Camille: Yeah. You definitely get that sense, that they don’t like ending things and that sometimes works to the story’s detriment.

Apple Cider: Yeah. Like, even when characters die, no, that’s not the end. That’s not the end for them. (Laughing)

Camille: We’ve gotta redeem Illidan! We’ve gotta do it right now!

Apple Cider: (Laughing) Yeah, it’s- no.

Tzufit: (Groaning)

Apple Cider: Never.

Tzufit: I don’t know, that- it really sounds like- it just sound, from all the things that Metzen has said about that, that there is no way that World of Warcraft will go offline without Illidan returning somehow in some form.

Camille: It-

Tzufit: And I will cry.

Camille: Yeah, it was fine when it happened in Felwood, I guess, because it’s like, “OK, he’s not really alive, we’re just learning more about him.”

Tzufit: Yeah, it’s just a memory or whatever.

Camille: Yeah, and he’s not really a particularly deep character, but I feel like the end he got kind of- it closed off his arc in a way that was actually kind of closure-y.

Tzufit: Mmhmm! Yeah.

Apple Cider: Yeah. Although, it’s also- I think it’s also a difficult job for Blizzard because- and we’ve discussed this in other episodes, that they do really well when they start creating lore that isn’t based on the RTS because the RTS they always feel like they have to bring it back because it’s a Thing, it’s fan favorites and it’s pulling that story along and it’s using characters from that time period, and this is a big concern with Warlords of Draenor. But when they start to develop their own characters, I start to notice that the narrative becomes a lot more seamless, I think, in some ways. Although, you could also say that about Mists of Pandaria, that one of the major failures of Mists of Pandaria is there are so many characters and stories we are never gonna hear from ever again.

Tzufit: Yeah, but I think the two things go hand in hand, because that’s the problem with Mists of Pandaria, because they are characters that they had to create from scratch. They’re not the ones that existed in the RTS and have been accompanying us from the beginning, there is no incentive for them to sustain them beyond this story. They will be in Pandaria limbo forever, they will never return and we will never know what happened to most of them.

Camille: Yeah. And, like- I feel like having background characters and having characters who turn up once and maybe they don’t turn up again is fine, but you have to give those characters closure and you can’t kind of- if you wanna give their stories importance, you can’t leave it off like that. Like, you can’t- you can’t build up a story or a character arc or a quest zone with, like, a handful of characters and be like, “Oh, this is gonna be something big, this is gonna be something big!” and then just leave them in the expansion.

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Tzufit: Yeah, you can’t give us a Ji and Aysa-

Apple Cider: (Chuckles)

Tzufit: -Or even a Taran Zhu and have us follow them and be invested in them for a year, a year and a half, and then go, “I know these were important to you for the last eighteen months of your life, but-”

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: “-They’re not important anymore, and we need you to be cool with focusing on Thrall again.

Camille: But if you wanna learn more about them, they MIGHT show up in this book!

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Apple Cider: Oh- don’t even get me started with that. (Laughing) But, it- (laughing) Ji and Aysa are gonna live on forever in my fanfic, OK?

Camille: That’s just how it’s gotta be, I guess.

Tzufit: One of the things, Camille, that I think you kind of have a reputation for now, on Tumblr, is knowing a lot about the lore and, you know, that makes sense for somebody who’s been playing for as long as you have, but how did you really start to become interested in, you know, going deeper than just, “OK, we live in this really cool castle with these, you know, white stone walls, and everybody calls me a hero!” Like, what really was the hook that got you into it?

Camille: Um… I think it was a lot of things, but the most vivid memory I have, weirdly enough, is sitting there, not playing the game but the little instruction manual that came with the game, and in the back they had these little blurbs on, like, all of the races you could play and all of the major characters and they had these little sections where they kind of tell you what happened in the RTS games, and I just kind of sat there reading them and I was like, “Oh, these are cool! Like, this is cool, this is a cool character!” I don’t know why ’cause it wasn’t- they weren’t really well-written but that’s just kind of what got me realizing, “Oh, there’s a STORY to this! There’s not just Murlocs and bandits!”

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: (Laughing) Have you read most of the external novels and stuff now, or did you mostly look things up on WoWpedia and that kind of stuff?

Camille: I don’t really have the patience for the novels the way a lot of them are written, so-

Tzufit: AAAMEN!

Camille: I usually just WoWpedia it.

Apple Cider: Yeah. In particular- OK, so this is probably kind of a self-evident question, but what is part- what is a part of the lore that you find yourself most drawn towards?

Camille: Um… from the beginning, I’ve had a really soft spot for everything going up around Sylvanas. She was one of the characters who, early on, I was like, “Oh my gosh, she’s cool!” She has this awesome back story, she does what she wants, she still looked like a Night Elf back then, but I didn’t really mind. So, what she’s been doing has been really interesting to me, and I guess I’m also really into the Worgen, which is probably tied into that a lot because as much as I like Sylvanas as an anti-heroine, I feel like she’s also a pretty good antagonist.

Apple Cider: Mmhmm. Yeah, she’s one of those characters that we’ve actually explored quite a bit on the show, because for as much as she’s done a lot of really horrible things, her back story is really fascinating and I think it has this, like, kind of struggle between how Blizzard’s written her and how a lot of, you know, especially female fans view her because of the fact that I think Blizzard really is not good at writing women in a very nuanced way. (Laughing)

Camille: No, not at all. I think the thing with her, though, is that her motivations are really kind of uncertain, and there’s a lot of debate about them, and I think part of that’s because Blizzard is not good with consistency, just as they aren’t good with women in general, but I also think that kind of makes her interesting, ’cause there is a bit of ambiguity.

Tzufit: Yeah, I agree. I think Sylvanas- I think Sylvanas is kind of an effective character despite Blizzard a lot of the time.

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Camille: (Laughing)

Tzufit: Yeah, this is- you know, one of the few cases where inconsistent writing has worked out in their favor because it comes across as ambiguity and you can totally choose to see it that way, and it makes the story more interesting than it would be otherwise, so yeah, I agree with you there.

Camille: And when they’ve- when Blizzard has tried to push concrete motivations on her, like when Kosak wrote that one really interestingly written short story about her, it just has kind of fallen flat because, you know, they’re like, oh, there are arrows in her quiver, but that goes against almost everything that’s been built up about her since the beginning, and I think part of that motivation is there, but to immediately point to that and be like, “That’s what’s been driving her this whole time,” or, “That’s what’s been driving her since Wrath,” it’s just kind of abrupt, and I don’t think- the way they’ve written her, I don’t think any one explanation for her behavior works.

Tzufit: But check her out in the next novel, ’cause apparently we’re supposed to learn some things there, so…

Camille: Oh, god. And there’s gonna be no evidence of that in-game, at all.

Tzufit: I would not be surprised if you’re right about that, yeah. So, we’ve talked a little bit in the past- actually, we did a whole episode in the past about our personal headcanons, which turns out we kind of had a lot of, and I know that that’s something that you certainly spend a lot of time thinking about as well, so can you tell us some of your headcanon for World of Warcraft?

Camille: Just for, like, everything? OK.

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: (Laughing) Yeah, take as much time as you need.

Camille: OK, I’ve just- there’s been kind of like this one that’s been- it started out as a roleplay thing, then kind of became a, “Why isn’t this in-game right now?” kind of thing. Mostly to do with the Night Elves, and especially to do with my personal favorite character who is Maiev.

Tzufit: (Gasps loudly)

Apple Cider: Calm yourself!

Tzufit: MINE TOO!

Camille: I just- I think it’s ’cause when I first started playing and getting into lore, I was really into Les Miserables, which should not be in past tense ’cause I still am.

Apple Cider: (Laughing hard)

Camille: She’s just so Javert, it’s not even funny.

Apple Cider: This is where I admit I have never actually seen Les Miserables.

Tzufit: Oh, no!

Camille: Well, the storyline is there’s this guy who stole some bread, which is admittedly a lot less than what Illidan did-

Apple Cider: (Laughing hard)

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Camille: (Laughing) He reformed himself and he’s, like, going off and getting involved in this insurrection and he has to take care of this little girl he adopted from a worker, and through the whole time, the primary antagonist is this police man named Javert who is kind of like- he’s completely- if- Valjean’s meant to represent how malleable human nature is and how morality is- kind of exists outside the confines of law a lot of times, Javert is just- he’s- legal is good for him, and a lot of his arc throughout the musical and the book is kind of- the conflict between what he believes is right and what he believes is lawful, and he’s very very hard-line and I think that kind of comes through with Maiev’s character a lot.

Apple Cider: Mmhmm.

Tzufit: Yeah. Yeah, it definitely does. I- the reason that I liked Maiev before I really got into her story at all and really understood what was going on, was that I was just so fascinated with the character model, because it’s so different than pretty much any other Night Elf in-game. I love her armor and her cape and her weapons, like, that was the thing that drew me in was just that aesthetically this character is so different and so powerful-looking, just the model itself screams, like, “Don’t mess with me.”

Camille: Yeah, she’s one of the few characters who you get the sense that she’s designed to look intimidating. I mean, lots of characters are, but you don’t get that with the female characters in WoW. Like, you get the explanation of, like, “Oh, all the other Night Elves dress in these flowery gauzy things with metal filigree bras because it’s ceremonial and it helps them be agile,” but none of them are really designed to be intimidating or imposing and Maiev was, and that’s really cool.

Apple Cider: Yeah. You don’t even get- you don’t even see her face. You don’t even see her ears. (Laughing)

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Camille: (Laughing)

Tzufit: Maiev is serious business.

Camille: Going back to the headcanon thing, one of the things I was kind of thinking about her- her role in the world post-Wolfheart which I did not approve of for a lot of reasons.

Tzufit: Agreed.

Apple Cider: Mmhmm!

Camille: In regard to her character, was that, like, her motivations in that book might not be pleasant, but they make sense for her character and honestly they make a lot of sense in the world. Like, you know, Knaak kind of throws this, “Oh, she’s  this over-traditionalist bigot ’cause she doesn’t like the Highborn, and she doesn’t like the Worgen,” and historically, I mean, she’s been removed from the society for a long time but it’s not like this is coming from nowhere. Like, the Highborn kind of doomed their entire society.

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Camille: And, um- I just- Blizzard kind of ignores what’s going on with Night Elves a lot of the time because they do tend to fixate on central figures, and so there’s the assumption that unless someone is acting up, like Fandral or Leyara or Maiev, that every Night Elf is just kind of like Malfurion. He’s kind of like the face of them, or Tyrande when they want a face that’s less competent so that they can make Varian look more competent.

Apple Cider: (Chuckling)

Tzufit: (Chuckling)

Camille: But, I kind of thought, what if- and- OK, what really kind of triggered this idea was the fact that when I found out that after Maiev tried to kill Malfurion, which I can’t really blame her for in any sense, that he handed leader of the Watchers over to her brother for some reason? And that did not sit well with me at all, because the Watchers were completely her thing, and they were- it was kind of like they were the quintessential Night Elf women, they kind of exemplified that sense of mercilessness but also, like, this kind of rigid protection of the order they had, and to hand it over to the guy who’s been not doing anything for the past ten thousand years, basically just did not sit well with me at all.

Apple Cider: Malfurion handing something over to a dude that’s only been doing nothing for ten thousand years? Why would Malfurion do that?

Tzufit: (Chuckling)

Apple Cider: It’s not like he’s been doing nothing for ten thousand years.

Tzufit: Yeah. I understand-

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: -that they’re trying to make gender roles in Night Elf society a little bit less rigid, because obviously we have lady druids now, and we have to be able to deal with that, but (sigh) there’s something that’s really problematic about the notion of the Watchers, for example, or if they would ever do this with the Sisters of Elune who by their very nature have been an entirely female organization from the beginning. To hand over an entirely female organization to a male leader just gets really iffy.

Apple Cider: Yeah, especially because one of the reasons why there’s not a lot of Watchers left is because of Tyrande and Malfurion.

Tzufit: Right.

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Camille: And Illidan, who was pardoned for killing all of them because he saved Tyrande’s life.

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Camille: But- and my problem is, Jarod Shadowsong does not really have a personality, either. So, it’s like you get it with Malfurion too, is that he would not be as infuriating of a character if he didn’t kind of sponge up all the story because they’re putting him as this pillar of the Night Elf race, but he doesn’t have the personality, he doesn’t really have the internal conflict which he could’ve, easily, but he doesn’t. Like, none of the decisions he makes are actually his fault when they have bad effects. So he’s just kind of bland. He can’t carry his own story, and they’re putting him- pushing him in front of female characters who CAN.

Apple Cider: Yeah. I- like, I would love to say that that’s just a function of Knaak’s writing, because I think Knaak is terrible, but, like, it’s pretty par for the course for Blizzard as well, I think.

Camille: Yeah, and- so my idea was, like, it started out- it would be a really cool guild idea to have- for a roleplaying guild- to have these kind of Watchers Nouveau who weren’t associated with Jarod’s Watchers but rather- like, just a bunch of Night Elves, both older traditionalists and younger Night Elves who have been completely fed up with the passiveness that their leadership has had, who are kind of like- who take on Maiev’s image, sort of, and they don’t- they probably don’t associated with her directly, she’s probably not commanding them, but they kind of used her as this martyr-slash-symbol of, “Well, this is what you’re driving out, Malfurion!”

Tzufit: I love that a whole lot.

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Tzufit: It reminds me a little bit of the Defias Sisterhood thing that we’re kind of working on, in terms of that sort of working internally to bring about change because it’s just not happening.

Camille: Yeah, and it’s funny because- that you mention that, ’cause I’ve actually heard about your Defias idea and it’s so cool and it’s kind of the same thing in terms of storytelling, too, because Varian is another one of those characters who just kind of bends the narrative, and I actually kinda like him, but his characterization is just sort of like whatever it needs to be at the time.

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Tzufit: Yes. Yeah, I think Varian has a lot more going on from a depth standpoint than either Malfurion or Jarod do, but he still is absolutely somebody, like you said, that they bend the story around whatever function they want him to be, everybody else will allow him to be that.

Camille: Even if they have to change their personalities completely to do it.

Tzufit: Yeah, do a full 180. (Chuckling)

Camille: Wait, wait, he’s supposed to be reasonable and- what- where do we put Jaina? Where do we put a characterization? Because- yes, so my idea was basically, like, partially activist, partially kind of like more shady criminal leanings, but not really to the point of full-on terrorism because a lot of Maiev’s thing was that she was kind of like protecting her society, in a way, and she kind of constantly got screwed over for trying to do that.

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Tzufit: Yeah. I could see her specifically targeting highborn like she does in Wolfheart, that makes sense, but in terms of targeting other Teldrassil Night Elves, I think I agree with you there.

Camille: Yeah, and I just don’t want her to be a raid boss, like-

Tzufit: I know!

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Camille: Even in an antagonist that we work alongside, like Magatha in Thousand Needles, I’d be fine with that, but I just don’t wanna kill her because she disagreed with Jackass von Crapantler.

Tzufit: (Laughing hard)

Apple Cider: (Laughing hard) I think that’s what we’re- I-

Tzufit: Yeah, that’s it. That’s the name.

Apple Cider: That’s it, that’s cool, yeah. That’s the title of the episode.

Tzufit: Put it on a t-shirt.

Camille: (Laughing)

Apple Cider: Jackass von Crapantler. (Laughing)

Tzufit: (Laughing) Well, and I think too, one of the things that- and we’ve talked about this a little bit, we had a women villains episode where we went over this somewhat, but one of the things that bothers me with her also is that the arguments that she is making for why it’s problematic for the Night Elves to be allied with everyone they’re allied with up to and including the highborn, are totally rational and they make sense with the history that she’s seen, and when the lore both in and out of game consistently references her with adjectives like, you know, fanatical and crazed and all those sort of things, it’s like, no she isn’t! She’s just making the logical conclusion from everything that she’s seen. There’s nothing [edited] about what she’s doing here.

Camille: Yeah, but you know, she’s a woman so her logical decisions are just caused by her lady emotions and hormones, that must be.

Apple Cider: Yeah. Or the fact that it’s extremely problematic to typify her stubbornness or her persistence as mental illness, and I’ve seen that-

Camille: Yeah!

Apple Cider: -in fandom a lot.

Camille: Yeah, you see that a lot and it’s just really like- it’s really gross and I don’t wanna knock on the idea that she might be mentally ill in some way, ’cause there’s definitely- she probably has some kind of trauma-

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Tzufit: Oh, absolutely.

Camille: – based on what’s happened to her, but like, to kind of discredit the decisions she makes on the grounds of, “Oh, she’s [edited], she’s [edited],” it’s like, NO! Don’t- don’t DO that!

Apple Cider: (Chuckling) Yeah. It’s- but it also- like, any time I’ve seen people talk about her like she’s quote-unquote [edited] it always seems to be in this weird kind of fetish-y sort of way? Which is also-

Camille: Yeah.

Apple Cider: -really unnerving. That is just all-around, just stop talking about Maiev like that. Don’t be weird.

Camille: She gets kind of like the obsessive anime love interest treatment from everyone, it’s like-

Tzufit: Yes. Ugghh!

Camille: It just- the way people talk about it, you’d think she spends half the story chasing after Illidan with an axe and swirly eyes and a nosebleed, and it’s like- why?

Apple Cider: Yeah, she’s-

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Apple Cider: She’s not that one character from Dangan Ronpa, or whatever.

Camille: Oh, the tongue one?

Apple Cider: Yeah! (Laughing) Like-

Camille: Genocide Maiev.

Apple Cider: Yeah. Despite the fact that, I mean, let’s just be real, let’s just be real, I don’t think Maiev is straight, number one. Number two-

Camille: Nooo!

Apple Cider: Why would anybody chase after Illidan?

Camille: For reasons other than bringing him to justice.

Apple Cider: Yeah, exactly.

Tzufit: Right, yeah.

Apple Cider: The fact that you have to- the idea of a jailer being in love with their captive, too, is also creepy-weird, so the idea that Maiev would be chasing after him because she’s fallen in love with him? ALSO really problematic, but yeah. No. Maiev’s not chasing after him because she’s lovesick and Illidan is her sweet baboo or something like that.

Camille: (Giggling)

Tzufit: (Giggling)

Apple Cider: Like, no, she just- the guy legitimately hurt her, hurt her friend, and I mean- I’ve met a lot of people that have very much read that into the fact that Maiev and Naisha were probably a couple.

Camille: Yeah. Definitely.

Apple Cider: You know, so… SHE EVEN MENTIONS HER! After she fights Illidan-

Camille: Yeah!

Tzufit: (Chuckling) I mean, that’s the thing that kills me about the notion that, like, Maiev had nothing better to do over the course of that ten thousand years than talk to Illidan and fall deeply in love with him the whole time. You realize she had all of her sisters there with her, too. All of the Watchers. Why the [edited] would she be talking to Illidan when she could be talking to all of them?

Apple Cider: Yes.

Camille: She wasn’t even with Illidan the whole time, it explicitly says in tons of places, they weren’t just focusing on this one prisoner. They were tracking down criminals everywhere.

Apple Cider: Yeah. Who needs to pay attention to that?

Camille: Yeah. They were like demon hunters, just without all the weird Deviantart “woe is me” stuff.

Apple Cider: (Laughing hard)

Tzufit: (Laughing hard) [Pause] Any other headcanons that you wanna share with us?

Camille: Um, kay- I could probably move into Worgen gear, because, I mean-

Tzufit: Yes!

Camille: If I move into Worgen gear I may not- I’m always in Worgen gear. Um… I had- it’s on the tip of- like- it’s in the back of my head right now, just- Uhh… (Chuckling) Gimme a mo. OK, it had more to do with Sylvanas, but Sylvanas-slash-Worgen specifically Sylvanas-slash-Lilian-Voss-slash-obviously-Lorna-Crowley. I feel like they’re kind of like- it would be really cool to make those three girls, like, this kind of thematic triumvirate with Sylvanas being the central figure and Lilian Voss obviously being her foil in death, you know, the warrior who is fallen and rejected and kind of had to make her own path driven mostly by vengeance, and I kind of want to see that developed, but I kinda get the sense that- I don’t think anyone’s really kind of mentioned this- I noticed a lot of this kind of sense that Lorna Crowley could really easily be the foil to Sylvanas as a ranger. Especially since there are so many parallels between Kelthalas and Gilneas in that they’re both isolationists who were undead-ed into oblivion. So, that’s something I’ve been kind of trying to meta about for a while.

Tzufit: Definite- they need to do SOMEthing else with Lorna Crowley, because if they- that’s a great example of a character that, if they never pick her up again, that’s just a crime. That is so much wasted potential.

Camille: It’s just so much wasted potential for that entire storyline, because without her it’s basically just a couple of rich old white men squabbling about-

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Camille: -abstract concepts, like, UGH, the people! Who are the people here? We don’t see them.

Apple Cider: Yeah, and Lorna Crowley is also one of the- and we mentioned this on I think one or two episodes ago, Lorna Crowley was interesting- and this- cause this was based on the Tumblr post I read as Lorna Crowley was one of the really interesting characters of Gilnean lore because we don’t really see a lot of actual Worgen women in the story. Tess, Lorna, Mia, they’re all still just Gilnean, they’re not Worgen.

Camille: Yeah. And, you know, that’s kind of the whole idea, is that- and I was thinking about how if you’re going to build Lorna as a character, especially in relation to Sylvanas as kind of the ranger general of her own people, it doesn’t make sense for her NOT to be a Worgen, because the only time women are allowed to be monsters in WoW is when they’ve been victimized to the point of it, which you see with Sylvanas, and Sylvanas’s story is a lot- it’s mostly about agency, it’s about- you know she was tortured by Arthas, she was brought back by him, she enslaved him and she broke free and it would be really fitting if- like, what Sylvanas has been doing Cataclysm-on is kind of bringing her character to new era and maybe concluding it in a way? Like, I don’t wanna say this, like, I want her to die, because I love her, but- um… a great way to conclude the previous chapter of Sylvanas’s story is to bring in characters who kind of- their agency is presented in different ways, and so having Lorna be presented as the counterpoint to the Sylvanas that was and choosing to become “monstrous” to protect her people would be really interesting thematically.

Apple Cider: Mmhmm.

Tzufit: I think it would just be interesting to have anybody choose to become a Worgen in a way that wasn’t forced upon them like the nobles in Silverpine. Somebody who actually says, “It is better for my people that I take this upon myself.”

Camille: Yeah, and it would probably have more weight, too, if we actually saw the Worgen curse having negative effects outside of a few cases, but… because I feel like- I feel like after the ritual there’s no, like, repercussions whatsoever, it’s just kind of like, you have to shave slightly more often. That’s it.

Apple Cider: (Laughing hard)

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Camille: All of the characters who were driven to do awful things by the Worgen curse, like, you have Ripsnarl in Westfall. It’s like- after they’re given- sure he’s not gonna care if he’s killed, but after anyone else is given the cure, they’re just kind of good people who are also wolves.

Tzufit: Yeah.

Apple Cider: Yeah, especially when they brought in the whole, like, druid of the bark? I dunno, whatever-

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Apple Cider: -druid of the bark people-

Camille: (Laughing)

Apple Cider: -to make it seem like, “Oh, this is part of the natural order in the Scythe of Elune,” and yadda yadda yadda, whatever whatever whatever, you know? Because I have a feeling that they definitely did not wanna alienate all of the Worgen PCs from playing the race, especially since it was, like, one of the features of Cataclysm. (Laughing)

Camille: Yeah, but- it kind of like- in-game, they’re like, “OK, drink from these waters and you’re fine!” Doesn’t make sense because if you read the supplementary comic, like, the ONLY way to get  Worgen that were created by whatsherface and the other guy was basically to exile them to another plane of existence, so to have these druids come back and be like, “Yeah, we had nothing to better to do for the past ten thousand years than to pick up the cure to a problem we don’t have anymore! Just drink this water and you’re fine!” It’s like, ugh.

Tzufit: Yeah. “We know we haven’t actually seen you all in a couple of decades, but you remember that whole Scythe of Elune problem? It’s OK, we’ve been- we’ve had somebody on that. We got a fix now.”

Camille: Well, they’d probably have a lot of down time between, like, the ten thousand race wars they’ve been in, so…

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: (Laughing) Well, and I think it’s interesting because on the one hand I do see, you know, you don’t want player characters to be fundamentally unlikeable, but I would- (chuckles) you know, I would argue that with the Goblin and the Forsaken, who really have a very strong racial personality, that you are exposed to from the first quests that you do to the last quest that you do in their starting areas, and then with every subsequent Forsaken or Goblin questgiver that you get after the fact, and Goblins- or, excuse me, and Worgen just don’t have a whole lot of racial personality.

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Camille: Yeah.

Tzufit: Like, they’re kind of just humans with a funny accent, you know?

Apple Cider: Yeah. I have a feeling- and this is more of a game choice versus, like, lore thing- is, I wanna say that the druid stuff was shoehorned in because they didn’t wanna fit the Worgen into Stormwind, which would’ve made way more sense.

Camille: Yeah!

Tzufit: Right.

Apple Cider: But they decided to shuffle them off to Teldrassil so they had to, like, tie them in somehow into the Night Elves.

Tzufit: Well, they needed to find a way to have another race on the Alliance side be druids, and they picked Worgen and they already had a way that the Worgen were kind of tied into the Night Elves, because of the whole Scythe of Elune problem which was an existing story in-game prior to Cataclysm.

Camille: Yeah, there’s the little mound of dirt in the cave in Duskwood still.

Tzufit: Right. And so they had this tiny little hook of lore that then they really- I mean, I just- I still get angry (laughing) I still get angry about the Worgen druid thing because, you know, I was playing a druid at the time and it just does not- it’s such a stretch. What they did with Worgen druids is SUCH a stretch, and like you said, Apple Cider, there was a very real way for them to be brought into the kingdom of Stormwind, and you couldn’t have had them be druids necessarily but it would’ve actually made sense with who they were. I mean, they were essentially people who were up near Lordaeron, they were part of the main human kingdom, why wouldn’t it make sense that they rejoin with the other main human kingdom at this point?

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Camille: Yeah, I don’t think- you could have still made them druids without completely tying their identity up with the big ball of plot convenient blandness that the Night Elves have become, especially Night Elf druids, but-

Tzufit: Yeah.

Camille: -the thing is, from the get-go when you wake up as a cured Worgen, you’re given- there’s an alchemical cure for it, not a cure but a treatment, and-

Tzufit: Right.

Camille: -to have.. you could have had the Night Elves feeling bad, like, “Well, we kinda caused this problem,” and coming in to help them with the Forsaken maybe, but the- the way that the Gilneans treated, like, dealt with their curse should have been an entirely Gilnean thing, and it could’ve come from Gilnean harvest witches.

Apple Cider: Yes!

Tzufit: Yeah!

Camille: It shouldn’t have been, like, a Night Elf deus-ex-machina.

Apple Cider: Yes. Exactly.

Tzufit: Yeah, I would have loved to see that. That’s one of my favorite things that did get added in with the Gilneans was this idea of the harvest witch, which I think you absolutely could have done independently of the idea of an actual shapeshifting druid, cause they kinda talk about how this idea of harvest magic is something that’s pre-existing in Gilnean culture, and that they sort of have druids but not druids in the way that Night Elves are druids, obviously. So, you could’ve done sooo much with that, and it didn’t get explored and instead we just have this… thing.

Camille: Yeah, they spent all their time on adding a couple more explosion quests to the Goblins, so…

Apple Cider: (Chuckling)

Tzufit: (Chuckling) I think they spent all their time creating that giant beautiful Gilnean city that you never see after the starting area, and has nothing in it now.

Camille: Yeah.

Apple Cider: Yeah. I bet it’s seriously- well, I mean, we could just always talk about how the fact that most of the Gilnean storyline is in the hands of the Horde? You know. We could just-

Camille: Yeah!

Tzufit: Yeah…

Camille: If you wanna pursue that any further, you have to roll forward, which I mean-

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Camille: -I’m fine with, because I like Forsaken, but at the same time it’s really weird.

Tzufit: It’s- it’s a bizarre way to tell a story, because, you know- I don’t have a problem playing both factions, but there’s something very disjointed about the notion that I’m going to play as this faction to learn the very beginning of the story and then I’m gonna come back and actually play as people who are killing those- that particular race of people to get the rest of the story. That’s really weird.

Camille: Yeah! When I went through Silverpine, I was like, “If I hadn’t played Worgen before this, none of this would mean anything to me.”

Tzufit: Right!

Camille: Like, I’m supposed to hate these people who were, like, leading this rebel army that I don’t know any- I wouldn’t know anything about. And you don’t know anything about that guy who hangs out with Crowley the entire time, so anyway…

Apple Cider: (Chuckling)

Tzufit: (Chuckling)

Camille: Cause he just kinda shows up.

Apple Cider: We’ve talked a lot about headcanon stuff, which I could probably fill several thousand more episodes about, um…

Tzufit: Yeah. (Laughing)

Apple Cider: (Laughing) But, um, one of the things that we actually wanted to talk about on the show with you, very specifically, is because-

Camille: Yes?

Apple Cider: -you are a lot younger than many of the other people that we’ve had on the show, or that I’ve actually met in general. You know, it’s like you said before, you’re sixteen. What has been- what has it been like, playing WoW from a young age and then still, you know, still being a young person who plays World of Warcraft? What is that like?

Camille: Um… I mean, I don’t really have much to compare it to except- I don’t remember much of what it was like when I was younger except that I wasn’t really good at playing the game outside of running around Stormwind, so that’s a very limited definition of playing but… I feel like it’s been kind of weird to go into this game with- there’s a big age range within the fandom, but the player base is still geared towards, like, older people.

Apple Cider: Mmhmm.

Camille: And especially as a roleplayer, it’s kind of interesting the way- the attitudes people have towards you if you’re younger, and especially a younger girl.

Apple Cider: (Chuckling) Yeah.

Tzufit: Oh, I’m sure.

Camille: And a lot of this is more in the peripheral fandoms. I found in-game if you play well and you roleplay well, people don’t really inquire that much into how old you are. But there’s still this kind of undertone of, like- especially on Wyrmrest Accord, which I’ve been on for a while, there’s a sense of, we have to be the big mature players here. We have to be the ones with the deep storylines and it’s because we’re adults and we have to grapple with these big issues with our characters, and like- anyone who’s younger is usually the one in corner of Silvermoon roleplaying the seventeenth illegitimate daughter of Illidan.

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Camille: And you see a lot of that on forums and stuff, where there’s kind of like- the young players, especially the young female player is kind of cast as the irrational, over-emotional shipper figure. Like, you see it with everything, it’s like, “Oh, god! It’s the shippers again! They want to take our big beefy men characters away from us and make them kiss each other!”

Tzufit: (Chuckling) Do you wanna just briefly define shipping for any of our listeners who might not be familiar with that?

Camille: It’s the academic and media analysis theory- it’s a branch of media analysis that revolves around interrogating the source material from the perspective of making characters within it kiss each other.

Apple Cider: (Laughing hard)

Tzufit: (Laughing hard)

Camille: A lot.

Tzufit: (Still laughing) Oh my god!

Apple Cider: (Still laughing) I was like, that’s a really impressive definition.

Tzufit: I was like, where are we going?

Apple Cider: And then they kiss!

Tzufit: And then they kiss some more!

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Camille: And then you have to click the little proceed if you’re OK with seeing mature content button.

Tzufit: (Laughing hard)

Apple Cider: (Laughing hard)

Tzufit: And then it takes you to a DeviantArt page.

Apple Cider: (Still laughing)

Camille: Yeah. That’s always the end destination here.

Apple Cider: (Laughing, strained for breath) (Breathes) (Laughs again) I feel like as I’ve- (chuckling) this is gonna sound so terrible, but as I’ve gotten older I will admit to sometimes having those old grumpy lady feelings about younger players, but I have a feeling they’re geared a little bit more towards younger guys because younger guys-

Camille: Yeah…

Apple Cider: -tend to be a lot more, you know, pants-on-their-heads about everything, and I definitely have a guild that is eighteen-and-older because for the most part there’s some topics that we do talk about that I don’t feel is necessarily something that I feel comfortable exposing minors to, but-

Camille: Yeah, that’s fair.

Apple Cider: (Laughing) But, teen girls get SO much [edited], ALL the [edited] time!

Camille: (Long sigh)

Tzufit: From everywhere, yeah, exactly! So, like, the last place you want that is when you’re doing something fun, you know, in the evenings after you’ve been at school dealing with [edited] all day long, to log into something like World of Warcraft and be like, “Yeah, I’m gonna have fun RPing with my friends!” and then get more stuff.

Camille: Yeah, it’s kind of like- it’s the never-ending pile of [edited] and you just kind of have to make the best of it and, um… I feel like I’ve had it a little easier because I was always really shy when I was younger, so I would always- like, and really self-conscious about roleplaying, so I used to be one of those awful people frequenting those World of Warcraft Mary Sue websites, so-

Apple Cider: (Chuckling)

Tzufit: (Chuckling)

Camille: -I kind of came into it with a sense of what not to do, but also with a sense of cynicism that I’m kind of glad to have gotten rid of by this point.

Apple Cider: Mmhmm. Yeah, it’s- I still try to modify how I think about teen girls and the whole shipping thing, cause I mean there’s some elements of the shipping culture and I definitely do not think that it is restricted to younger women, I think there’s a lot of older women that do a lot of the things that I find pretty problematic, but like- I remember being sixteen! I remember this type of stuff that I was interested in! Sometimes you just need to have that space to kind of figure your [edited] out and making two men or two women, in my case, smooch each other? Like, that’s- the fact that there’s community around that now, because of the internet, I dunno, that makes me feel kind of glad because I definitely didn’t have that when I was younger, and I felt very alone.

Camille: Yeah, and that’s not to say that shipping- I’m not- I’ve not ever been a huge shipper, it’s just kind of been a peripheral but it’s a lot of- I kind of am a part of it because I’m a female girl in what would be called nerd culture, so it’s just kind of like the curse I have to bear. But, there are problematic aspects of it, but I don’t think any of them have to do with, “Wow, these characters were manly and I don’t like to think of them having feelings ’cause that makes me uncomfortable, and just making them gaze into each other’s eyes and that makes me so uncomfortable,” that kind of thing.

Apple Cider: Yeah. It’s- yeah, it feels like, um, yeah, there’s a lot- I mean, I could probably go on for ages. I think shipping is more of a narrower investigation of lore and character creation and when it’s teen girls navigating a fairly hypermasculine culture like nerd culture that has a lot of manly man man characters doing manly-man man things in a very heterosexual way- the fact that they are very interested in writing them in a very emotional sort of way or romantic, that’s a pretty key aspect of negotiating masculinity in a way that is safer for teen girls especially, because by the time you’re sixteen or seventeen a lot of teen girls have had brushes with things that are particularly terrible, so, you know, it’s got a lot of aspects to it, I would say.

Camille: Yeah, and there’s the sense that, like, I was visiting the official forums, which I’m trying to wean myself off of-

Apple Cider: (Laughing hard)

Camille: -because it’s not a good place at all.

Tzufit: Ugh.

Camille: But there’s a sense of, “This isn’t the game for that,” and you get that a lot with people like, “Oh, well, could we have canon queer characters?” and there’s always the person like, “This is a fantasy game, this is about war, we can’t have that kind of thing, we can only have romance when it is between Thrall and-” love interest…

Apple Cider: Aggra?

Camille: With the-

Tzufit: Aggra?

Camille: -with the babies. Yeah, Aggra. So- (sigh) the fact that people respond to shipping with, like, “Well, this isn’t what the game is for!” It kind of like- the fact that it’s prevalent despite not being the focus of the game is maybe kind of exposing something that needs to be examined about the game itself. Like, if it’s so jarring that people are taking characters who were all about killing things and looking- and the only feelings they have are kind of like staring into their beer with- and, like, thinking about the ghosts of their past…

Apple Cider: (Chuckling)

Camille: If it’s that jarring that people are taking these characters and kind of humanizing them and feminizing them in a lot of ways, that kind of means that there’s probably an element missing from the source material, and World of Warcraft is really one-note in a lot of ways.

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Tzufit: I just wanna, like, send you to Blizzard and have you-

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: -talk to some people.

Apple Cider: Yeah, I feel that a more feminine perspective is so far away from a lot of Blizzard, but a team girl perspective is even farther.

Tzufit: Yeah!

Camille: Yeah. And I’ve been playing since I was young, and as someone who’s been on this ship from when I was young I kind of did internalize this sense of, “The internet is full of twenty year old men, so if you wanna be cool on the internet you have to assume the persona of a twenty year old cynical unaffected dude.”

Apple Cider: Mmhmm.

Camille: So I was never really a super DeviantArt-y person because of that, so growing up and playing WoW and when everything’s kind of filtered through a certain perspective, it wasn’t really that jarring to me when I was younger, but now, you know, I’ll go through it and there’ll be one quest here that’s from BC and I just have to stop and be like, “Really? Is this supposed to be universally appealing to your entire fanbase?”

Apple Cider: (Laughing) I feel like that’s a question I have with myself all the time.

Tzufit: (Chuckling) So, I have a question which will certainly be me showing my privilege here, which, like- I know you said that you feel like a lot of the elements of the game really are directed toward an older audience, and being somebody who probably falls into at least a target age group for World of Warcraft, I’m a little curious as to what you think- I guess, what is it that makes you feel like that game is not really targeted toward younger people?

Camille: Um… I don’t think, like, World of Warcraft is as egregious about this as other games, because it’s still very colourful, it is still very pop-cultural, there’s lots of quests and bright colours and-

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Camille: customization options, but just from the get-go lots of the pop-culture references, first of all, are from things that I wouldn’t-

Tzufit: You’ve never heard of.

Camille: Yeah, or things I’ve heard of but not really familiar with because they were a Thing when I was much younger, and then there’s also kind of- a lot of it’s pretty OK, but I think you guys were talking about this in a previous episode, when you’re talking about brutality and WoW, and a lot of it seems to come from this perspective of not, “This will make the story better,” but, “We need to prove that we’re telling a mature story.”

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Camille: Like, not a good story, necessarily, but a gritty story, like, a dark Game of Thrones-worthy kind of tale.

Tzufit: Mmm.

Apple Cider: Grimdark. ARRRR!

Tzufit: (Chuckles)

Camille: And so, it’s kind of like- you look at things like Siege of Orgrimmar and they don’t make any sense from a storytelling perspective, first of all, even less sense from a perspective of purely Garrosh’s characterization, but it’s just all the stuff that seems put there that- the story seems to revolve around this kind of sense of, “What will be considered the most mature,” almost, and I keep using the word mature but- you see it with the fanbase a lot, too, when people think, like- people keep toting this one- this, like, one narrative as what they want to keep seeing, and they’re like, well, Anduin is not- Anduin’s a bad character because he’s not x, y, and z, and so if we want him to be a big hero he needs to grow permastubble and-

Apple Cider: (Chuckling)

Tzufit: (Chuckling)

Camille: -like, suffer some great loss and have blood on his hands and become more battle-hardened, and it’s just the narrative that keeps being repeated over and over again, regardless of whether or not it makes sense. So, I feel like the lore’s driven not organically but rather by this sense of what will be cool and what will be cool to this particular audience.

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Tzufit: Yeah, that’s really interesting.

Apple Cider: Yeah, and that’s definitely some of the criticism that we’ve had on before, that the “cool factor” and who decides what’s cool, and it’s definitely older guys.

Tzufit: Yeah.

Apple Cider: I would say.

Tzufit: It’s fascinating, although not surprising, to see that the thing that men in their probably thirties or forties think is really super cool is exactly what’s really super alienating to younger players.

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Camille: Yeah, and there’s also the whole way the story itself treats children and younger characters, which has always been kind of skeevy, almost.

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: (Chuckling)

Apple Cider: Could you go- I mean, could you go more into that?

Tzufit: Yeah, I’m curious as well.

Camille: I could- I mean, I just- one of my most morbid memories of it was going to Stormwind and being like, “Oh my god!” cause this was before- this was while Varian was still wearing a dorky robe in some dungeon somewhere, I forget exactly which zone, but he was in-game, he just wasn’t doing anything.

Apple Cider: Oh, it’s in- that was a long time ago, it’s Vanilla, he’s in that- Alcaz Island off of Theramore.

Camille: Yeah!

Tzufit: Right.

Camille: And he had the awful headband and the blue kilt and- but, I’d go into Stormwind, I’d be like, “Oh, well, the king’s a twelve-year-old, that’s so cool!”

Tzufit: (Chuckling)

Apple Cider: (Chuckling)

Camille: And you know, he wasn’t the King, he was kind of being driven by and directed by Onyxia and Bolvar, but it was kind of this sense of, “Well, that’s so cool, there’s people who are sort of like me doing important things in this story!” And then I kind of grew up into it, and I realized that a lot of the times kids, especially the kids- especially the children of major characters, are kind of used as characterization switches for those characters, and-

Apple Cider: Hmm!

Camille: -that’s been a thing with Anduin consistently. It’s even become a meme on places like Tumblr, it’s like, “Oh, where’s my son again?” Like, “I’ve lost Anduin for the fifth time this week.”

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: (Laughing) Maybe need a keychain for him.

Camille: Yeah! (Chuckling) And- it’s been interesting to watch, on top of Anduin specifically, because he’s been a character who’s kind of aged with me. I have no idea how old he’s actually supposed to be now-

Apple Cider: He’s supposed to be I think sixteen or seventeen at most.

Camille: Yeah, so it’s been interesting to see the way the narrative’s attitude towards him has changed from this character who’s been- who keeps being kidnapped by Dragons, he’s been kidnapped by Dwarves, he’s been kidnapped by Horde… and he’s kind of been used when he was younger as sort of like the berserk button for Varian. He’s kind of auxiliary to Varian’s character in that we need Varian to do something, let’s threaten Anduin. And then at the same time, as he’s been growing older, they’ve been trying to make him a hero character, and it becomes really weird when they keep- bad things keep happening to him, and you care about him, but you don’t care about the things that happen to him because you know as long as Varian’s around he’s gonna be fine because he’s like the morality pet character for his dad, but they’re also building him up as a hero in his own right. So it’s like that weird middle ground.

Apple Cider: That’s really interesting, I never even thought about that.

Tzufit: Yeah, me either. And I think when you were talking earlier about the ways that people are trying to push Anduin in the story or the ways that people are suggesting he should go, I mean, that poor kid just got crushed by a giant ancient bell. Like, what other bad stuff- and as you just said, he’s been kidnapped by pretty much every possible enemy faction that exists. What else do you need him to go through?

Camille: I think it’s not even making him go through anything, it’s- they wanna make him go through something cataclysmic so that it can have a very certain effect on his character.

Tzufit: They want him to be the one perpetrating the violence, it sounds like.

Camille: Yeah. And, you know, you look at the characters who are firmly younger- like, you look at Dezco and his whole story with, you know, his wife’s been fridged and that’s hugely problematic in its own right, but his kids are kind of there as props, and they are babies so I don’t expect them to be fighting evil or anything, but it’s just sort of this idea that the story is so much focused on the adult characters and when you have parenthood stories, the kids aren’t really considered as characters in their own right the vast majority of the time.

Apple Cider: Yeah, that’s collateral damage.

Tzufit: And with Anduin, I would extend that because one of the things that I like about Anduin’s character, and that I think is interesting, is that he has- he seems like he has the potential to be a good strong leader, but he isn’t your typical warrior. But, even the fact that they have done that, that they’ve made him this pacifist religious priest figure, it feels like the reason that somebody proposed that initially was, “You know what would really piss Varian off?”

Apple Cider: (Chuckling)

Camille: Yeah.

Tzufit: Yeah.

Camille: Send him to the Draenei! That’ll-

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Camille: That’s my other problem both with- that’s my other problem with the whole part was that ninety percent of it, when it wasn’t good Night Elf characters getting shafted, it was Varian manpaining.

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Tzufit: Mmhmm.

Apple Cider: You could definitely say that the children are the other extension of the, you know, idea- like you said with the whole Dezco story, is his wife gets fridged, so that furthers him, and then one of his kids dies by his own negligence, and that furthers his story as well, so it’s- yeah, it feels like kids’ lives, all sorts of family are just extensions for these major male characters to do their great works or nothing but that, and I keep thinking about Taelan Fordring, which a throwback to Vanilla stuff, but… it’s the same thing.

Camille: Yeah.

Tzufit: Yeah.

Apple Cider: It’s the same thing, though. Have a character, a son, who is going against the wishes of his father and he has to die to ultimately push, you know, Tirion into now- now- now that we know, move out of the Plaguelands and go on to help kill the Lich King.

Camille: And then go back to the Plaguelands and ignore the plague bombing that’s going on directly south of him.

Apple Cider: Or just set up camp in the very place where you killed his son.

Camille: Yeah!

Apple Cider: Either way, yeah.

Camille: So, I think that’s kind of- it’s not only the fact that the storyline seems to hinge on this idea that- it hinges on brutality in a lot of ways, because when you’re trying to- when you have this kind of class, this kind of type of character that ultimately drives a story which is hugely gritty, hypermuscular, hypermasculine male character, Blizzard wants them to drive the story but I feel like in a lot of ways they’re afraid for these characters to drive their own story, because that might alienate the people who like them. I just remembered something I said earlier about Malfurion is that he has to make these quote-unquote tough decisions but they’re all sanctions or they’re all- he never takes the hit for any of them.

Tzufit: Mmhmm.

Camille: Like, every decision- no decision that he makes comes at the expense of himself, it all comes at the expense of someone else. So when you have these- this class of characters that Blizzard’s putting in the middle and bending the story around, there’s a sense that if they’re not making decisions for themselves, then who are they making decisions for? And so that’s why I feel like the female characters and the younger characters tend to get the hit, and tend to be used as extensions of the quote-unquote important character’s characterization, because there’s this sense of, “We want this character developed, but we don’t want him to be anything but morally justified for it.”

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Tzufit: Like, I feel like I’m gonna read younger characters completely differently now.

Apple Cider: Yeah, same.

Tzufit: (Chuckling)

Apple Cider: Same. Like, this has been kind of mindblowing, which is funny because like, we do a lot of really strong criticism and different interrogations of the lore as a text, this is completely just not something I ever considered.

Tzufit: Not even on the radar.

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Camille: Huh. I’m glad to bring it up! Like, it’s kind of- this has all been stuff I’ve been sitting on for a while, and thinking about, and so being able to kind of get it out there is really cool.

Apple Cider: Now all of our listeners are gonna hear it, too, which is [edited].

Camille: Aaahhh!

Tzufit: (Chuckling) So, Camille, as we said at the top of the show, you’re sixteen years old, I assume that means you’re still a high school student at this point.

Camille: Yeah.

Tzufit: OK. So, one of the things that Apple Cider and I have talked about in the past is that for us, we took- we took a pretty long path to feminism. For each of us, we were probably in our mid-twenties if not older before we really started to look around us and start to think about things in a different way, and kind of think about the repercussions of that sort of stuff. So, for you to be sixteen years old and have just kind of blown our minds about a whole lot of different things today, um, I think is amazing, and really encouraging and really inspiring to know that, you know, younger women are thinking about this kind of stuff, but can you tell us a little bit about how you got focused on feminist discourse, how you kind of went down this path, what got you started on that?

Camille: Yeah, I can definitely talk a bit about that. Um, and it’s kind of weird because as someone who really got into feminism and social justice really recently, I more vividly remember being a kind of a crappy person than I do how I stopped doing that?

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: (Laughing) Yeah.

Camille: I think the internet, for all of its kind of more toxic and disgusting elements, has actually been really helpful because when you’re growing up, there’s kind of this sense that you’re sheltered and even though people are feeding you these ideas that might not be that great or that healthy, you kind of don’t think anything of it until you’re exposed to the counterpoint. So, being on the internet since a young age, I found that counterpoint a lot more quickly because it’s a lot easier to find people being critical about things and older people who have had the experiences I haven’t, and so a lot of- a lot of, like, what got me into feminism is just reading things that people have said on the internet. For me it came from kind of an artistic place because I’ve always been interested in writing and in how writing works, especially in fantasy, so I spent a lot of time when I was younger reading things people have written- had written about fantasy itself, about the cliches and the mechanics people use and how to improve the way genre is written, and so the website I stumbled into particularly that really set me off thinking was ironically TVTropes, which is-

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Camille: -really funny in hindsight because it’s a notorious MRA website now.

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Camille: And they had, you know, their tropes on gender, and they were all kind of really shallowly explained and really apologetic, and it’s like, “Well, you know, this is what SOME male authors might do but it’s not really their fault it’s just kind of like a society thing,” but that’s kind of what got me thinking, like, “Well, why has-” cause I’d been consuming all this fantasy, you know, I was in love with Star Wars as a kid, like- what was it- I actually got to Harry Potter late, but there’s another- I can’t remember it but- so, seeing kind of this categorization of all the different devices and cliches I’d seen in stuff I’d been consuming for so long, it was kind of like this “A-HA!” moment because it was like, “Oh, that’s what that was, that’s why that thing that didn’t really make sense happened to that character in that story.”

Apple Cider: Mmhmm.

Camille: And so that’s sort of what kind of got me in the path of thinking about feminism and then, later, just social justice in general. Like, how the things I’ve been consuming since I was really, REALLY little have been influenced by what’s going on in the world at large.

Apple Cider: That’s- I- I’m sorry, I’m still, like, completely bowled over by that-

Tzufit: Yeah! (Chuckles)

Apple Cider: -because it’s just like, you know, media criticism is something I actually studied in college and STILL didn’t get into feminism-

Tzufit: Exactly!-

Apple Cider: -until I was twenty five, twenty six, twenty seven from WoWLadies, which was like a World of Warcraft Livejournal community.

Camille: Yeah, I’ve had brushes with them.

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: I mean, I think you should- I think you should certainly recognize that the fact that you get that and get that so deeply and so well is amazing? You know, ’cause, like Apple Cider said, I mean, I studied English literature in college and almost all of it was from a feminist perspective, almost every paper I wrote was from a feminist perspective, and yet I would never have self-identified as a feminist even all that time through college, it was still probably a few years after I graduated where I was finally like, “Oh, this has a practical application!”

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Camille: Yeah.

Tzufit: Yay for you, basically! (Laughing)

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Camille: It started off as a really egotistic for me in the beginning, too, ’cause I was someone who kind of- didn’t really have a- someone who liked to write but really didn’t have any realistic outlook of my own ability. I was kind of like, “Oh, well these are what’s going wrong, so I’m going to be better than this, and I’m going to improve upon this!” And so that kind of got me critically thinking about like, well when I write women how do I write them? And then later as I got older, when I write queer people or people of colour, what am I putting into these characters? And so it did start as kind of an ego thing, but it became a genuine investment as time went on.

Apple Cider: I wish I could’ve been like that when I was sixteen. (Laughing)

Tzufit: I know! (Laughing) So, have you- most of what you’ve- would you say that most of what you’ve learned about feminism has been self-taught and largely via the internet?

Camille: Yeah. I think so. I mean, I’ve had teachers and I’ve had people family members who are pretty liberal and progressive in a lot of ways, and a lot of my education when I was younger was with- I went to a lot of these really progressive schools. Like, I went to this hardline quaker middle school where they would- our history unit was just us talking about all the terrible things America has done throughout history and stuff. Um… So I did have the background, but I think that only kind of made me more receptive to the stuff I was seeking out online.

Tzufit: So, one of the other things that I’ve kind of noticed, just in the last week or two- so, I- it’s kind of like a joke right now that there’s no young people on Facebook right? There was this mass exodus from Facebook and for people of my generation, it seems like everybody exited Facebook to go hang out on Twitter forever, and I just kind of thought that’s where people were. And then as I’ve started to get into Tumblr over the last couple weeks, I suddenly realized, like, “Oh, no, only people of my generation appear to be on Twitter. Everyone younger than me, everybody twenty five and under, they’re all on Tumblr! That’s where they went!”

Camille: I think Tumblr has been great because as someone who came from these forums and websites where everyone was a lot older and kind of had to assume their attitude in order to not around suspicion that you were one of those icky teenage girls who liked yaoi and stuff, um, Tumblr is really cool because I hadn’t really had experience of people who were my age who were actually talking about their experiences and the way I had been mulling through them. So, Tumblr’s actually really cool in that way, and the way it’s formatted is really conducive to it because it’s basically designed to get as much information to as many people as possible, like, quickly.

Tzufit: Yeah, and that’s the part that’s kind of been amazing to me and the hard learning curve, because I- like, Tumblr feels very foreign to me in a way that- exactly that, the way that people interact with each other, and the way that you comment on something or you reblog, like, I’m still figuring all that out, and I think it’s fascinating that that’s actually, for you and for people around your age, that that’s actually- it makes more sense by default.

Camille: And it’s- it’s definitely a generational thing. You know, all of my teachers are- have been going on forever about like, “Oh, you’re the information age, where you have everything conveniently, all this information at the click of a button, you don’t have to search for anything,” but it’s really just kind increased the need for density and I think of a website like Tumblr like- a website like Tumblr fills that need really well because you get a lot of content and you get a lot of content really fast and you can put content up to lots of people but there’s also- you can also control what you’re getting by choosing who to follow, what tag to track, etcetera. So you can really tailor the information you’re getting to a huge degree, but you’re also still getting a lot of information.

Tzufit: So, and it does seem like there is a very large social justice community and specifically focused around WoW in Tumblr. So, given that, do you have any kind of suggestions for people who might wanna start to engage in that conversation?

Camille: Suggestions as in, like, what exactly?

Tzufit: Well, I guess maybe where to look. you know, if there are any specific tags that would be helpful for them to follow, or people that would be helpful for them to follow.

Camille: Um… I kind of- actually, I’ve just kind of been recently becoming a WoW blog again. I kind of did my trip around the anime circuit, spent some undesirable time with the Homestuck bloggers, some time with Dangan Ronpa bloggers I’m putting behind me right now.

Apple Cider: (Chuckling)

Tzufit: (Chuckling)

Camille: It was hard, realizing that game is not well-written at all. But, so, I’m just kind of getting in touch with a lot of the people who do blog about WoW, but the nice thing about people on Tumblr is that almost all of the really discussion-heavy WoW blogs follow each other, for the most part.

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Camille: So if you follow one Tumblr user who blogs about WoW a lot, you’re going to find, like, twenty others.

Apple Cider: Yeah. That’s- I’ve started following you, ’cause I mean- like, before I started following you on Tumblr, and I don’t even remember how I got- how I started following you- is that, like, I wasn’t doing a lot of- that’s the one thing I really don’t like about Tumblr versus Twitter is it’s not very good at protracted discussions with people. On Twitter where that’s all you do, basically.

Camille: Yeah.

Apple Cider: But, I started following you, and then I found ALL of these people that were just really into discussing the lore from a critical perspective. I’m like, “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?!”

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Camille: And I think that’s kind of encouraged especially in a fandom like WoW that can be really critical and really- like, if you go on the story forums and say anything that- I wanna say, like, if you say anything that isn’t accepted but literally nothing is accepted there. Everyone hates everyone and everything everyone else has to say. So, like, on a website like Tumblr that’s really fast-paced you kind of lose the sense of- you’re transmitting information to lots of people and it’s all public and you can’t really do anything about your post once it’s gotten a thousand or so notes, but there’s also the sense that you’re not putting yourself out there as much. It’s like, you’re sharing your ideas without really attaching yourself to them, and so that’s really encouraged discussion on a lot of things.

Apple Cider: It’s been really nice, too, because I feel like Tumblr is the place where you’re gonna find a lot of outside- like, outsider opinion- and I hate to use the term outsider ’cause it’s kind of terrible, but more- let’s say radical sort of readings of lore because this is one of the reasons why I don’t go to story forums, why I’m never going to read Scrolls of Lore-

Camille: DON’T!

Apple Cider: -why I’m never going to go to most of the big names in lore discussion, is because it’s very rigid, it’s very purist, it’s mostly men, and I feel like Tumblr has been very big on headcanons and representation issues and things that I’m interested in. I don’t really give a crap about Varian, really.

Camille: Yeah.

Apple Cider: I wanna talk about… gay Klaxxi. That’s what I- that’s- basically that’s-

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Apple Cider: -what I care about, OK?

Camille: Well, we all have our priorities, right?

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: (Laughing) Yeah, I think- you know, one of the things that Apple Cider and I definitely like to do when it comes to lore is really just play with it, just have fun with it, try it on from another angle or a different perspective, whatever the case may be, and- yeah, I think a lot of times when you enter into those discussions with other people who do know a lot of stuff about lore, you kind of run the risk of them going, “OK but that’s not how it is!” and it’s like, “No, I know that’s how it is, that’s the point, I’m gonna make it better.”

Apple Cider: Yeah, exactly.

Camille: Yeah.

Tzufit: So, I think it’s very cool that Tumblr has kind of shown up as this very safe space to start to do that and to experiment and play a little bit more with the lore in those kind of ways.

Camille: Yeah, and it’s not a perfect environment and there’s a lot of ways where it is really unsafe, even within the fairly insular WoW fandom, but there’s also a sense of- because it’s so fandom-heavy with all different kinds of works, there’s also this sense where if you’re a fandom blogger, your purpose is not just to sit back and appreciate the work, it’s to interact with it, it’s to criticize it, it’s to expand upon it, it’s to make really pretty gifsets of it-

Apple Cider: (Chuckling)

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Camille: -it’s like, if you’re on Tumblr you’re not there to preserve a fandom in a glass case, you’re there to impact it.

Tzufit: I like that. I like that a lot. That’s kind of a mission statement.

Apple Cider: Yeah. It’s- I’ve been really trying to get more into Tumblr in that way, because- this is gonna sound so terrible. Um… In a lot of ways I do feel old when I’m on Tumblr, which sounds terrible, but I do feel old because fandom has never really been a Thing that I’ve gotten into because it’s- it’s too dense, it’s too confusing, it’s- but, from somebody who got a degree in communication science, it’s ABSOLUTELY FASCINATING because it’s a metanarrative and it’s establishing new types of dialog and media creation. It’s all stuff that’s way up my alley, but the fandom aspect of it, I’ve never been able to get into because I don’t necessarily- like, I don’t know if my brain works that way? But when I started finding more WoW lore nerds that were really big into breaking down the lore and headcanons and things like that, that’s where I started to find a lot of the people that were talking in a way that I understood, versus some of the shipping stuff and the gifsets and all that, which I- you know, like, there are fandom aspects-

Tzufit: I think gifsets are universal, but…

Camille: Yeah.

Apple Cider: Yeah… Like, there’s just some aspects of fandom I’m just not really sure what they’re really about on Tumblr, but it has been nice to find fandoms and to be able to relate to it in a way that is accessible.

Camille: Yeah, some of the fandom stuff on Tumblr is really puzzling and overwhelming to me, too, and I don’t wanna get into like, “Oh, that fandom’s awful!” cause a lot of it’s kind of universal, just in slightly different ways, but when you get to that part that’s really invested in changing the source material- not changing it, but kind of adapting source material and really looking at it, I think those are- in every fanbase, those are the cool parts, really.

Apple Cider: Yes. Yeah, being able to find it for WoW has been kind of nice because that’s stuff that me and Tzufit have been doing for a while now, so it’s like finding people that are also into it. I dunno, like, it makes me feel less isolated.

Camille: Yeah, and what I like about it is that it kind of takes- WoW lore is really big, and it’s very complex in a lot of ways, mostly because of a bunch of different writers doing a bunch of different things, but also ’cause there’s just so much stuff, and so while I might be really invested in one or two races or one or two storylines or one or two aspects of the lore, I might not know anything about the other ones. So having people who are really invested in their own kind of pocket of the storyline kind of makes the whole thing a little more accessible.

Apple Cider: Yeah. Especially when you kind of bring the whole social justice aspect back into it, having people who engage in the fandom in a way that is similar to your own political or experiential goals is also really nice. I really like the fact that a lot of the people that break down lore are doing it because a lot of us don’t feel represented, a lot of us- you know, I noticed that a lot of the lore speculation stuff is women and queer people, people of colour, you know, like, disabled people, that sort of thing. It’s all, like- it’s from a lot of different places.

Camille: Yeah, and I think- you know, as much as people will gripe and groan about, “Oh, those- they’re trying to make this PC, they’re trying to bring feminism into MY WoW.”

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Camille: I think the source material can only benefit from that, because fiction that comes from a limited perspective is going to have a limited effect.

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Camille: And by bringing viewpoints into it that aren’t just the twenty-, thirty-, forty-something year old straight dude from California, it’s- it kind of improves upon it because it’s- not only are there more people to be examining and critically thinking about what’s being produced, but there’s also just more viewpoints to it so the writing itself, if it chooses to listen to this, if it chooses to listen to all this input from different places, it becomes more complex and it becomes more coherent because it just- it’s not driven by that one narrative anymore.

Tzufit: In the interview that you mentioned near the top of the show, when Chris Metzen was talking about the idea of a hero factory, one of the things that he had pointed out in that interview was the notion- I think he just straight up calls himself a “[edited] white kid from California” basically, and that he has no concept of what the characters he writes, how they’re gonna be received in other cultures or other countries or whatever the case may be, and- like- and I just wanna sit him down and go, “OK, Chris, that’s step one. You got past step one, you realized that you don’t know. And step two is surrounding yourself with people who do.”

Camille: Yeah, and not saying things like “boys trip” when-

Tzufit: Yeah.

Camille: -trying to pitch your story idea. That’s only going to appeal to a very small part of your audience, Chris.

Tzufit: Right. (Laughing) And you know, for the small joy that it gives to those three dudes, you’re gonna have a whole lot of pissed off people whether they’re women, whether they’re parents, like- he ruffled a lot of feathers with that one.

Camille: Yeah.

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: So, we wanna say a huge, huge thank you to Camilla for agreeing to come on the show today. You have been just a really amazing guest and certainly got us pointed in some different directions and got us thinking about some things that we weren’t thinking about before so we really appreciate that.

Camille: Oh, and thank you for having me! Really, ’cause a lot of what I’ve been doing on my blog up until now has just kind of been me talking to myself and a few people who reblog me, so getting the opportunity to talk about what I’ve really been thinking all the way through has been great, so thank you for having me.

Tzufit: Oh you’re super welcome! And before we leave, we should make sure that everybody knows where to find you on Tumblr and if there’s anywhere else on the internet you wanna make available.

Camille: Um… My base of operations is my Tumblr. (Chuckling) Basically.

Tzufit: (Chuckling) OK!

Camille: So yeah, I’m at lornacrowleys.tumblr.com like twenty four-seven.

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: (Laughing) OK.

Apple Cider: Yes, seriously, thank you so much.

Camille: It’s alright. (Chuckle) You’re welcome.

Tzufit: And I, of course, am always happy to have a fellow Maiev fan on the show.

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: That always makes my day.

Camille: There’s not enough of us.

Tzufit: And if you ever start up that guild, you have to let me know.

Camille: I will, I definitely will. We will overthrow Stormwind together.

Tzufit: Absolutely.

Apple Cider: Seriously! That sounds like a great idea. Although, I mean, you know, me and Tzufit are pretty much categorically into guilds that are seeking to overthrow somebody, so…

Tzufit: (Laughing) Yeah!

Camille: That’s the best kind!

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: (Laughing) Alright, so thank you to Camille, again, for being on the show, and thanks to everybody listening. We will talk to you again next week!

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