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Know Your Lore: Shandris Feathermoon for Warchief

Matthew Rossi

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

You read that right. Not Warchief of the Horde, no, not even on a drunken dare would I suggest that because Shandris is frankly too cool an underused character to be saddled with something that ridiculous. No, what I want is for the Alliance to create a Dux Bellorum, and I want the job to go to Shandris.

There are other candidates, to be sure. But most of them are rulers of nations, and what we need is someone who can lead the combined military of the entire Alliance. Varian is a King, and needs to start ruling like one, frankly. Tyrande, as High Priestess of Elune, is similarly saddled with responsibilities to her people. The Council of Three Hammers is as yet too disjoined and contentious to even lead the dwarves fully, and so while Muradin could fill the position (as could Varian) he's busy. The gnomes are too focused on Gnomeregan and Gelbin Mekkatorque is not a warrior by nature.

At this stage, with the losses of the Cataclysm and the looming war, I think it's fair to say that it's time for Shandris to step forward. She's been (in my opinion) criminally underused and kept for far too long in Tyrande's shadow. This is a woman with over ten thousand years of military experience, and it is long past time for someone with that kind of acumen to step forward and lead armies in the coming conflict.

Shandris and the world

I don't know why Shandris has lain fallow for so long. It could be due to her gender, or because she's a night elf and night elves only get to do anything in the game if they're insane or it's 10,000 years ago. I'm aware that's not entirely fair and I'm fine with that because I'm not trying to be fair. I'm trying to agitate. I'm tired of the night elves only showing up when they're getting hit. I want to see some proactive kaldorei, getting out into the world and bringing the fight to the Horde. And Shandris is a great choice for this. She already has a spy network throughout Kalimdor, which means she understands espionage and could work well with Matthias Shaw of SI:7. She's served her people in war since the War of the Ancients (taking up bow and armor while not even physically adult enough to wear the armor yet) and has millennia of experience.

This is not a character who should be stuck at Feathermoon Stronghold protecting the coast of Feralas - she should be at the least leading troops into battle where the battle is, and the battle is going to Pandaria, so that's where Shandris needs to be. This is the greatest archer in the world, people. This is someone who can shoot a bow better than Vashj, better than Alleria, better than Sylvanas, there is literally no one who is as good with a bow as Shandris Feathermoon. It's time we get to see her shooting Horde archers down off of their flying mounts, putting an arrow between an airship pilot's eyes while clinging to an upside-down Jai'alator.

Shandris has been defined by her relationships to others - her tentative flirtation with Jarod Shadowsong, her long association with Tyrande as a surrogate mother figure - but it's time to move her past that. I have two main reasons for wanting to see Shandris as the head of a unified Alliance war effort, and those reasons are as follows.

First, I want to see Shandris get some actual story. Not 'Shandris defies the naga in the name of her beloved Tyrande and almost dies, but Tyrande saves her' or 'Shandris confronts Jarod over his ditching her and her budding crush 10,000 years ago and now they're platonic buddies' because that's relationship stuff, and while that's all very well, it hasn't served Shandris very well at all. So far, she always gets to be the stolid supporter or the youthful protege or what have you. This is someone who has led the Sentinels for thousands of years. Frankly, I don't care about her long lost crush, or her surrogate mommy issues. I care about seeing Shandris take that same spirit that led her to march onto the battlefield and fill demons full of arrows while she was still a child, that same spirit that led her to hold off an attacking naga force by herself, and take that into this new war.

Know Your Lore Shandris Feathermoon for Warchief

Shandris, Duchess of Battle

Don't get me wrong - I don't want to see Shandris never have any relationships again. I think she'd make an awesome friend for Sky Admiral Rogers, as they both have a similar no-nonsense approach to war, and I'd like to see Shandris and Matthias Shaw in some planning sessions. I'd even be okay with Shandris getting a new girlfriend or boyfriend, as long as she remained an important, independent figure in that story. But this is a war story, and interpersonal relationships in war stories should exist to add flavor to the theme of conflict and loss, to show why we fight and what we fight for.

The second reason I want to see this is because, frankly, it's time for the Alliance to be an Alliance of nations all working together instead of The Adventures of Human-Man and his Amazing Friends. The recent Horde attacks on Ashenvale and invasion of Azshara, the attack on Nijel's Point, the encroachment in Feralas and bombing in Stonetalon should all serve as wake-up calls to the kaldorei. If Tyrande and Malfurion aren't going to wake up and take action against the Horde, fine. Malfy's off being Captain Neutrality atop Mount Hyjal? Then have Shandris do the heavy lifting and get the Sentinels into the war effort alongside their allies, instead of trying to hold Kalimdor alone. Seeing Shandris in Tides of War was a good beginning, and it's one that should be built upon. Without spoiling the novel, if the Horde's actions throughout Cataclysm were a wake up call than Theramore is a huge warning klaxon saying "This is what Garrosh Hellscream will do to you" and as head of the Sentinels Shandris must respond to it.

This is what Shandris does. Make no mistake - she is the greatest warrior the kaldorei have. She is not reluctant, as Jarod is. She is not diffident, as Tyrande often is. She is not a druid, seeking balance as Malfurion does. While Fandral and Leyara were clearly insane, they had a point - Tyrande and Malfurion's leadership was leaving the night elves exposed and vulnerable to the Horde war machine, and children like Leyara's daughter paid the price of their lives for this failure on the part of their leadership. It's time for the Alliance to be an Alliance, and its time for the warriors with the most experience in the Alliance to step forward and lead their forces into war. And there are few living on the face of Azeroth with more experience than Shandris Feathermoon. It's time we get to see her use it.

While you don't need to have played the previous Warcraft games to enjoy World of Warcraft, a little history goes a long way toward making the game a lot more fun. Dig into even more of the lore and history behind the World of Warcraft in WoW Insider's Guide to Warcraft Lore.

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