Dear Jaina Proudmoore

Dear Jaina

Dear Jaina,

I'm not in the habit of writing letters to fictional characters, but in the face of what we've all seen yesterday, it seemed like as good a time as any to start. Look, I realize this is going to be hard to accept, but your fate isn't exactly in your hands. What you want, and what you'll get, are two entirely different things -- and it might not be fair. It might not be particularly right. It certainly isn't going to feel very good, but the influence you hold only goes so far. And in this case, you can't exactly order around a king.

But let's look beyond that for a second, all right? Because honestly, you seem to be more than a little irritated, justified or not. And I remember who you used to be, a long time ago. I remember a lady who was a bastion of rational thinking, one who looked before she leapt, made sound judgments, and realized that in this big, wide, crazy world of Azeroth, things aren't always black and white, good and evil. Sometimes, most of the time in fact, they lay somewhere in between.

So I'm wondering, Lady Proudmoore -- who are you?

This post contains huge spoilers for patch 5.4, including the end cinematic for the Siege of Orgrimmar. Reader beware!

Dear Jaina Proudmoore

I get it. No, really, I do -- I understand what you've been through, and although I've never been in your exact situation, I can empathize. I did empathize, when I read about what happened to Theramore, how it was an eerie echo of Dalaran's destruction. It wasn't just a town getting sacked, it was total annihilation -- and the people you so carefully ushered across the sea, safe from harm in the Third War, no longer have a place to call home. Worse yet, many of those people that left their lives in the Eastern Kingdoms to follow you no longer exist. They were summarily wiped out by a megalomaniac with a thirst for conquest the likes of which you haven't seen before.

And yet, I remember who you were during the days of the Third War, how you listened to the Prophet Medivh and found an unlikely friend in Warchief Thrall. I remember you had meetings, secret meetings that you kept from your Alliance allies. I remember your conviction when you realized that the Horde, albeit a motley group of supposed savages, had potential. They weren't a group of mindless brutes, they were creatures like you -- some good, some bad, some in a nebulous space somewhere between. You recognized that, you saw it for what it was, and you believed -- whole-heartedly -- that there was potential there to work with.

Theramore is gone. This is an irrevocable fact. It was a horror beyond belief, and you have every right to be angry. Hell, I'm still angry about it. There was no reason for all those innocents to lose their lives, other than the bloodthirsty wishes of a maniacal tyrant who wanted nothing more than the conquest of an entire continent under his belt. But that bloodthirsty tyrant wasn't just responsible for the lives of your people. He was responsible for the lives of people in the Horde as well. People, supposed allies, that he crushed underfoot just as casually as he ordered the bomb dropped on Theramore.

Dear Jaina Proudmoore

I'm not saying that Garrosh Hellscream deserves forgiveness -- but what I am saying, and what has been said over and over again, what should be clear as day to you is this: Garrosh Hellscream is not the Horde. One tyrant and his bloodthirsty sycophants do not a faction make. And the thing is, if anyone should realize this fact, I would hope that it would be the woman who sacrificed her own father -- knowing with certainty that his actions were wrong. You knew your father represented an ideal of blind hatred, and you wanted to make certain that the Horde knew you were not going to blindly traipse down that same path, because that path was abhorrent to you.

I'm also not saying that you, of all people, should turn a blind eye to what happened in Theramore -- it was an intensely personal loss that I'm sure will continue to color the world around you for the rest of your life. What I am saying is that you, of all people, should realize above anyone else that the actions of one person do not speak for another. The person your father was being does not represent the person you are -- it never has, it never will. Garrosh Hellscream does not represent every person in the Horde -- he never has, and he never will.

So it strikes me as odd, given what we know about you, how incredibly sadistic you sounded when you spoke to Varian. It really strikes me as odd that you, of all people, would assume that Thrall, Vol'jin, Baine -- all people who you have worked with, spoken with, been friendly with in the past -- would be plotting against you the moment that Garrosh was taken down. You'll note that Garrosh was taken down by a united effort between Alliance and Horde. A united effort -- two factions working together as one, to bring down the forces of evil. That used to be exactly the kind of thing you could get behind, the thing you promoted for the majority of your life.

What gives? It's just a little unnerving to see you speak in such a way. It makes me wonder. It makes me curious. I'm wondering, Lady Proudmoore, if you've spent any time with a young black dragon named Wrathion at all? I know he's been happily chatting with Prince Anduin every now and again, and while I haven't seen him in your company, your words are strangely reminiscent of what Wrathion is hoping to achieve from this war. Not that I'm implying that Wrathion has somehow gotten into your head, or is suddenly speaking through you, of course, but ... well, black dragons have been known to be particularly manipulative, when push comes to shove. And Wrathion's been shoving ever since we stepped foot in Pandaria.

Is that it? Do you have a black dragon whispering in your ear? Because honestly, I can't think of any other rational reason for you to be the sudden voice of blind, unadulterated hatred. It's kind of funny when you think about it -- that used to be Varian's job. That used to be what you fought with Varian about, endlessly. Yet here is Varian, the voice of unexpected reason, and here you are, the voice of vicious, unrelenting disgust. And that's just weird to me. It feels really, really wrong.

Dear Jaina Proudmoore

That path that you seem to be on the verge of hastening towards is a path that you've spent your whole life avoiding. It's a path that leads to an endless cycle of hatred, one that you so valiantly fought to prevent for years. I know Theramore was devastating. I know you can never go back to those days spent in Theramore, and I know you'll never see those innocent faces again. They've fallen to dust. But I'm worried, Jaina.

I'm worried about that road you're so eager to run down that you're fairly breaking into a sprint. I'm worried because I've seen what lies at the end of that road. We've seen it before. We saw it with Leyara and Fandral, who let their grief for their children's lives overrule any shred of common sense they may have had. We saw it with Maiev, who followed the road of unrelenting hatred so blindly, with so much devotion, that she has turned on her own people. We saw it with Sylvanas, who came back from the dead, tortured and warped into a creature that has turned her hatred of Arthas to seemingly equal disgust and hatred for the living.

Do you know the one thing that all of these people have in common? They are treading dangerously close to villainy, or have stepped over that line with little regret at all. It's a line, one that I'm terrified to watch you edge closer to by the day. I don't want to see you cross it. I don't want to see you leap into that role. You were, and have been, an inspiration and bastion of light, one of the few people in all of the Alliance who held true to her morals and convictions above anything else. That light is dimming, and I don't want to see it die.

Dear Jaina Proudmoore

I know what happens to those that cross that line, Lady Proudmoore. Consumed by hatred, they get to a point where they turn on both their enemies, and their allies -- and then we're asked to take them down. It's a story we've seen before. It's a story that's been played out over and over again. And it's the one story in which I never want to see you play a starring role. I'm worried, Jaina. I'm worried because you don't really have full control of your life, such as it is. And I'm worried that you'll be pushed down that road of darkness, and we'll be forced to reckon with you.

I know you still grieve for Theramore. We all do. But in this case, I'm really hoping it's just a matter of a pesky black dragon, and not the ominous portent of a villain I never wanted to see.