*Spoilers! If you haven’t seen the end cinematic for The Eternal Palace and don’t want to know what happens don’t read below the line…*
If you want an in depth analysis over Azshara and what her potential fear could mean for us, read on.
This one is going to be a chunky one, first off we really need to establish what is going through her head at the end of the raid cinematic before moving on to what that then means for us.
Azshara the Scared or Azshara the Surprised?
Unravelling the end cinematic.
We know from the end cinematic that Azshara doesn’t actually die, she flops to the deck in true Spongebob style and either passes out momentarily or actually dies. While there is some logic to her actually dying, either way, when she opens her eyes again she realised that she is awake and not dead (as if she just passed out, she would know that she should have been annihilated by Jaina and Lor’themar…)
While it is a bit of an Illidan/Garrosh ‘cop-out’ but without the Space Nazis involved, it sets up the future with the knowledge that the prison is broken and Azshara is taken somewhere else through a void portal.
One thing that has been discussed a fair amount is the moment Azshara wakes up. Her fishy face has an expression on it but is it surprise or fear?
This is the face in question…
Now I will say that it is kinda hard to distinguish emotion when it is being portrayed in cartoon style but with the ending of the cinematic it’s kinda a big deal if she is happy or scared of being yanked through the portal.
If we have a look through her Warbringers cinematic and see how she deals with life in general we might be able to get a feel for her fear tolerance levels.
Keep in mind that throughout the Warbringer cinematic, high emotion is shown through her eyes glowing. If she is experiencing fear, anger, surprise etc this is always shown by getting her eyes to glow. Which unfortunately is not something that carries on with the in-game cinematics for her.
About To Drown
So, to begin with we have a nice and clear indicator of what fear looks like for the Elves.
Which is wide eyed and a furrowed brow.
These peeps are going to drown so if they’re not shitting themselves they’re more smacked up on the magic from the Well of Eternity than anyone ever thought…
On a side note, I dunno why there was no teleports set up or portals but there we are.
Was Azshara scared? No.
We get shown that she is absolutely adamant that everything she has worked for is not going to get fucked over. Even if the reason her kingdom is going to get wiped off the map is because she was a bit of a tit.
The Drowning Part 1
When she does eventually drown everyone because she gets told to do so by a fish, she’s doesn’t show fear.
Even when the dead blame her for everything in what appears to be a ‘hallucination’ phase she seems to just be disbelieving at the accusations.
In fact. She gets super pissed off that they are blaming her.
Throughout the cinematic, high emotion is shown through her eyes glowing. If she is experiencing fear, anger, amazement etc this is always shown by getting her eyes to glow. So in the images above we can see she is starting to get angry that the dead are blaming her and then she goes apeshit at them.
The Fish Appears
When the fish turns up out of nowhere she doesn’t flinch. I’n fact, she’s pretty mellow over the whole thing.
Eyes are not dinner-plate sized, and once the fish turns up she doesn’t have the furrowed brow or the glowey eyed thing either.
She just realises that the fish is not a fish and is trying to work out what the deal is.
Being whisked away to see Ny’alotha, she gives us the glowey eyed thing and also the wide eyes. But it isn’t accompanied by the furrowed brow. Shes not showing the fear of the rest of the soon to be drowned Elves.
We get the impression that she is anything but scared. Wonder, even surprise but not fear.
And when she is threatened with N’Zoths tentacles coming at her like knives, she still doesn’t flinch.
The Drowning Part 2
After she gives her ultimatum to N’Zoth to either let her drown or make her a Queen to take “advantage” of her manipulative and ambitious nature. She doesn’t show any emotion other than smug defiance on her face, but we can tell that due to N’Zoth keeping her waiting to see if she relents, her emotions are running high through the glow in her eyes increasing.
So we know that she literally shows no fear up until this point. The thought that she might have overplayed her hand is making her internally scream in the above images but on the outside she is as cool as a cucumber.
There is only one point that fear escapes and makes its way to her face.
And that is when she is transformed into a Naga.
She’s showing a similar face to the Elves in the beginning. Wide eyes, furrowed brow. She also has the glowing eyes signifying high emotion and we finally a glimpse of the emotion we as yet, haven’t seen.
Which then turns into agony as she goes through the transformation.
So. Where does this leave us?
Her different emotion of anger, wonder and fear have all been shown. And while wonder carries the same ‘wide eye’ look, her brow is not furrowed, leaving her with a more neutral but happy expression.
So where have we seen these emotions in the end of raid cinematic?
Just after she’s picked up off the floor by the smokey void tendrils of N’Zoth really.
She’s apparently passed out, but then awakes and is then ripped through a void portal. It’s kinda a ‘blink and you miss it’ type thing.
When she wakes up we see that neutral face. Eyes are normal sized, shes not furrowing her brow. If anything, she might be a bit annoyed.
But then we get to the face that has created the confusion.
We have two wide eye emotions to chose from in the Warbringers cinematic.
The top one is surprise. The bottom one is fear.
Azshara in the end raid cinematic is showing facial expressions consistent with fear.
She has furrowed her brow, eyes are wide. We can see this due to the shape and distance of her eyebrows.
When she wakes up her eyebrows are pretty flat and they are spread out in the middle indicating that she’s not furrowing her brow and pulling them together. When this is compared to the image of her seeing Ny’alotha, where she did the traditional surprise facial tic of spreading and raising of the eyebrows, you can see that her face is relaxed.
Yet when she is just about to be yanked back into the void portal, her eyebrow position changes.
Not only that, her facial markings above the bridge of her nose have been squeezed together, which would only happen if she is furrowing her brow.
So, now if we now look at the full face, it might be easier to understand that the emotion being portrayed is fear.
Why Would She Be Scared Of N’Zoth Being Free?
With this, we have to dig around in the history between the two.
When Azshara first gets drowned and the rest of the Elves are getting pissy with her, she screams out that it wasn’t the deal she made.
That deal was the original one with the Legion where she made a deal to let them into Azeroth in return for them helping her purge the world of all other races.
N’Zoth then uses that to his advantage, replying ‘Deal. I like deals.’
Azshara has no idea who this mysterious entity is and demands to know the identity of them.
N’Zoth then tells her that he is been bound beneath the waves and has spent the last 1000 years watching her.
He tells her that he has tasted her essence, but then shows his power by reminding her that she will die soon yet only he can prevent it. In the lore, she is shown to be using her sceptre to try and use the magic within it to enable her people to breathe water but failing, which reinforces that N’Zoth is the only one who can keep her and her subjects alive.
He tries his luck and tells her to serve him. Relying on her agreeing so that he continues to keep her alive. However, seeing as she is conversing with the fish N’Zoth is using she doesn’t see why she should, the fish is nothing.
N’Zoth gets angry and yells at her that he is a god and shows her Ny’alotha. He shows her his empire and the size of his domain. She concedes that what N’Zoth created is amazing, a rival to her own empire but shes also power hungry. He misplayed by thinking that her amazement over Ny’alotha was her realising that being his slave would be the best thing for her and his is latest demand of ‘serve me’ is not well received.
While N’Zoth is pissed off, he reminds Azshara that if she doesn’t agree to it she will die. She is well aware but counters that by telling N’Zoth that she may die, but it will be as a Queen not a slave.
Azshara tells him that as he has watched her for 1000 years then he should know what she wants.
As she wants to cleanse Azeroth of anything that is not an Elf, she states that N’Zoth can have her subjects (as we have seen countless times, she doesn’t really care about them, just herself…) but she can then command then as an army to rid the world of N’Zoths enemies. Which would also provide her with the opportunity to eradicate her own.
She gives N’Zoth the ultimatum of making her a Queen or letting her die and remaining in his prison, helpless.
Seeing as N’Zoth was so angry that she wasn’t willing to serve him she played a blinder in that she knew that he is desperate for help. She tells him that if he doesn’t use her help as a Queen he will languish as a God of Nothing, beneath the waves.
N’Zoth is fucking furious and lets Azshara sweat it out. Removing his magic that was keeping her alive underwater, she is left holding in her last breath hoping that he makes up his mind before she dies.
Just before she has to exhale and ultimately drown, N’Zoth relents and violently transforms her into a Naga. Proclaiming her Queen.
What Is The Relationship Between N’Zoth and Azshara?
It’s a power play between the trapped N’Zoth and the free but less powerful Azshara.
She holds the power while he is trapped but as soon as he’s out, he is the god she is meant to fear. Hes shown her what he is capable of and she knows that it took Titans to bring N’Zoth down whereas Azshara was bested by a ragtag bunch of mortals.
While the plan to release him is devised by the both of them, he is unable to actively participate. Instead, he has to shuffle pawns around the board.
He did this in the Crucible of Storm raid where he was looking for people to be good enough to actually take down Azshara. He also pulls out the relics that you had to collect with Xal’atath. While she made a deal for her freedom in exchange for collecting the relics, we ended up being turned into a mobile CCTV camera for N’Zoth. His ‘gift’ that he bestowed upon us for collecting everything allows him to see literally everything that is going on. Which is pretty handy when we end up in Nazjatar…
While in the raid he was using the ‘gift’ that Azshara gave him which was one of her most accomplished champions and dedicated followers, Uu’nat.
He is described in the adventure guide as follows:
When she struck her bargain with N’Zoth ten thousand years ago, Queen Azshara offered one of her most devoted followers into the Old God’s service. Now Uu’nat and the crawling masses he commands herald the coming of their master, as foretold by the stars.
During the fight Uu’nat is the there as the ‘check’, if you can defeat him then you should be able to defeat her. While he doesn’t actually know that he is more than willing to put you through your paces to ensure that you will either serve N’Zoth or die trying to resist.
- Uu’nat yells: These lowly mortals desecrate your shrine, master! Let us drown them and wash away their defiance!
- N’Zoth whispers: Patience… patience. They may yet prove worthy to receive my gift. I will taste their dreams… their flesh.
- Uu’nat yells: Let it be as you command! They will serve or they will die!
If you manage to defeat Uu’nat then you are told “Master… they are worthy.”
Whereas if you die, you are unworthy, weak and found wanting.
They are actively seeking players strong enough to defeat Uu’nat to ensure that we can ‘open the way’
- N’Zoth yells: Yes… you are indeed the ones I seek. The ones to turn the tide.
- N’Zoth yells: Receive now the greatest of all gifts. My dream has become your own. The circle of stars made flesh.
- N’Zoth yells: She will show you the way. Come… come. The hour approaches when all eyes shall be opened.
How does all this affect Azshara?
Well, if he has found the ones that are needed to defeat her to unlock his prison then she’s in a very tight spot.
He comes out, she looses command over everything. And power over everything is what she wants. She doesn’t want to be the subordinate race on Azeroth, she wants to be the race on Azeroth, lets not forget that’s was her driving force that ultimately led to the sundering.
When she is told that the people who are destined to defeat her are on their way she tells her Handmaiden to set the Tide Stone. After saying this, Azshara shows, what I feel, that she is deeply troubled. Some have read her expression as one of contempt merely towards the Handmaiden but when you put it into context of everything that is going on. Setting the Tide Stone is actually setting up her potential demise or at the very least her losing her grip on power.
While she puts on a pretence of caring towards N’Zoth, she also enjoys poking fun at his situation but claiming that they have ‘both waited so long’ for this before she dismisses him.
Granted, they have waited 10,000 years but that was 10,000 of her in complete control, sitting in her palace looking out over the view of N’Zoth caged away in the bottom of the sea.
She then proceeds to mock and test the mortal champions who have crashed into Nazjatar. Sending out wave upon wave of commanders to clash with, erasing our resolve with dragging comments, she is trying to wear us down to the point where we cannot defeat her, thus ensuring that N’Zoth remains trapped and it is his fault due to picking the wrong people.
In the raid she makes some comments that allude to that sentiment.
She also makes comments that hint she is not happy with the current predicament she is in, telling the assembled heroes that were hand picked by N’Zoth that she is as trapped as they are.
As in, she has stopped us getting out just as she isn’t able to get out.
Jaina: Thalyssra, aid me! Together we can hold her here!
Thalyssra: Now you will know what it means to be trapped, Azshara!
Azshara: I am Azshara! I was destined to rule! No force can bind me!
And then a bit later
Azshara: You caught me off guard. Fair enough. But you are as trapped here as I. This need not be the end… for any of us.
If Azshara is trapped, with N’Zoth in his current state imagine how trapped she would be when he is released.
She takes great joy in reminding everyone that we are not good enough when there is a wipe, telling us that N’Zoth got it wrong and we were not the ones to release him.
It also begs the question as to why we are actually needed to provide the Azurite for the lock.
We know Lady Ashvane is there, well, was there. she knows how to manipulate Azurite better than most, so unless it specifically needs to be empowered with the Dragonscales then she is equally capable to unlock the prison. But, she also tells us that Magni has been an absolute tool and has actually been used to collect Azerite all along. And we have been gathering the blue and gold stuff long before we needed to empower it with the Dragonscales… so surely it is just the Azurite she is needing?
Even if it is Azurite empowered with Dragonscales then why not just kill us? She could then use them at her own pace and just let him out. Unless we need to be alive in order for the Azurite to drain out of it… which would be why she didn’t go full ham on us.
However, It all seems to rest on the point that she wants to be seen to be helping without actually helping. If she can defeat us due to us being shit then she doesn’t have to deal with being the servant after all. Which was what she never wanted to be all the way back when she was first changed into the Naga Queen. So, if she can defeat us without having to use her full ability then he would have fucked up, not her. He stays in the prison, she stays the powerful queen.
By not using her full powers it allows us to put up a fight, so that N’Zoth can feel like his time is near, the consoles etc get powered up but she ultimately wants to take us down in easy mode to prove that we were no where near to being the worthy ones that N’Zoth thought we were.
When the tables are turned and we send her down, she knows that she is screwed. Even more so when N’Zoth picks her up, wakes her up and then drags her off. The prison is open apparently open, leaving him to don the hentai crown and slither out and release his full potential on the world, which apparently involves waking up the rest of the Old Gods etc.
This is why she is fearful when she realises that N’Zoth is actually free. She might have been using her last breath (or last bit of conscious brain power) to be pissed off that we had actually bested her as her play to stop us from empowering the lock has failed. Before, Azshara only knew how to cast aside those who were no longer needed, now she is it risk of being cast aside, or worse for her, enslaved.
She. Is. Scared.
And with one more raid to go, we might see what N’Zoth has in plan for us. Which if the whispers are anything to go by (and they have predicted things about this patch) then it could be worth making note of the following…
- The boy-king serves at the master’s table. Three lies will he offer you.
- Six seats at the high table. Six mouths that hunger. One will consume all others.
- At the hour of her third death, she will usher in our coming.
- The giant rook watches from the dead trees. Nothing breathes beneath his shadow.
- The lord of ravens will turn the key.
- When the arrow finds its mark, the last fetter will fall away.
- The Light has struck a bargain with the enemy of all.
- The fall of night reveals her true face. She will bring only ruin.
But that is another story…
Jaina: She wanted us divided. Fighting each other kept us distracted from the true threat.
Lor’themar: Azshara wasn’t the only one manipulating us. I should have seen it sooner.
Azshara: You caught me off guard. Fair enough. But you are as trapped here as I. This need not be the end… for any of us.