I just reread Aaron Rosenberg's Beyond the Dark Portal

People tend to judge her rather harshly because of some her trashy comments on Twitter.

Objectively speaking though, Shadows Rising isn’t really all that revealing regarding her quality as a writer. Most of it seemingly came from Blizzards own guidelines, and she merely threw around superfluous embellishments.
To many, the book itself felt rather boring and unnecessary.

That said, the gay couple thing was handled just fine.

Although it’s rather irksome, how Blizzard throws its focus on stuff like that, when there are a whole bunch of glaring issues left unanswered.

It’s probably about the usual corporate virtue signalling, that needs to nail the message for some public praise.

But can’t help but wonder how is it that they put such importance regarding where does X insert his reproductive organs, or who would Y take to her bed, in a setting that, because of writer discrepancies brings yearly retcons to its most basic cosmology, leaves hanging entire chunks of its races (troll leadership, Draenei situation post Argus), and can’t make up their mind regarding the state of entire territories (Gilneas, Ashenvale, Barrens,…).

All the above being neglected plot points that hugely affect big parts of the story setting.

That’s the reason why I think some bring forth the “agenda” speech (Others may do so out of prejudice or bigotry).

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Back in the day people did hate Knaak, but they also didn’t like quite a lot of things. Yes, they cared about the lore. But not only they didn’t like that Krasus and Rhonin were overused. Metzen was also criticized for his pet character Thrall and some people even speculated that the quest in Cataclysm (when you saved him) was based on Metzen’s internal struggles.

Then we also had the problem with neutrality - suddenly Alliance heroes like Khadgar and Malfurion turned neutral without good explaination why they’re neutral.

People worried a lot about other pre-WoW characters - that Blizzard would either make them neutral or, as is the case with the blood elves, will turn them Horde.

In a sense, the current WoW lore is better in that regard. Turalyon and Alleria returned back and they’re Alliance. In the case of Turalyon - he’s even the de facto ruler of Stormwind in the absence of Anduin. Anduin is no longer incapable peace lover - he led the war against the Horde.

True. A lot of people criticize Golden, because she’s currently the most recognizeable writer. They need somebody to criticize, and that’s understandable.

Hm… back in 2011 during the Cataclysm era, it was worth reading Knaak’s book. Otherwise people wouldn’t understand why the red dragons are so mad at the Horde (and even to the Alliance, because Blizzard was lazy to write a separate Alliance storyline)

It wasn’t a bad story. For Alliance fans, it was good to have it, because it was literally the only Alliance victory during the Cata times when the Alliance suffered defeat after defeat after defeat.

They did work to improve it. Having the Chonicles is great. They tried to explain some controversial moments, to save the continuity with as little retcons as possible.

Azeroth was always a diverse place with fantasy races. We don’t need real life stuff in a fantasy world.

It’s not only her prominence, it’s her actual position on the Blizzard team, and the perception that her style from the Shattering pretty much set the tone for what came after. Especially considering that Anduin as a character was stated by Blizzard to have gotten a major role because of her take on him. So yeah, I do tend to blame her for the character drama, and feel justified in doing so. For the cosmic nonsense I’d look at other names.

Kinda, I guess. I think you get the enmity just by knowing the basic WCII lore, though how that was resolved might count as relevant context…

Apart from that I do think it’s more relevant now, where most story-content is character-focused, and the characters in the books are the same we follow in the game.

Could have been great for ordering their convoluted lore, maybe. But I don’t think it’s worth anything now, after they stated that it wasn’t a guidebook directed at players, but an in-universe-perspective on events. So it’s just another try at the continuity they don’t feel bound by anyways.

To me it seems that drama and tears were always part of Warcraft lore. Thrall is also written by her - and the events surrounding his friendship with Taretha. We have to keep in mind that while Thrall may be a pet char of Blizzard, Taretha is not - she’s mostly developed by Golden.

I don’t think the Chronicles have been retronned, right? Or have they been? It’s a good idea to start a new thread.

I don’t know what that shows, except that this was always Golden’s style. Back then, when she was just contracted for novels, and not part of the general story direction.

Also… I found that particular novel particularly horrible, and it killed my respect for the writing around Thrall much more than Cata ever could. People think the world shaman thing was a buttpull? Everything about Thrall was a buttpull, from being a champion gladiator at 9, to being the chosen of the elements at 12 to beating Doomhammer in a duel in which he refused the elements’ help a year or so later, and inspiring everyone to rise from their lethargy by just being so great.

Now that’s a Gary Stu, if I ever saw one.

Not necessarily, but at the last Blizzcon they told us that it was written from a titan-friendly in-universe perspective. So it’s really just as likely to be modified or retconned as everything that came before, and Blizz can alwas tell us that that’s because of the writer’s limited perspective, not because they changed their mind.

So yeah, the information the chronicles gave us is no more reliable than anything that came before. And especially the cosmic stuff doesn’t really seem to fit all that well with what we learned since. Just look up the Chronicles description of the Shadowlands, for example.

To be honest, even the preface to the 1st vol. written by Metzen, says that the Chronicles is an attempt to put together myths, legends, and depictions of “world shattering shaking events”.

Remember that the “draenei are the worst enemy orcs ever faced”?

gl hf

Well, maybe it’s just that I wasn’t aware that it was never planned to be useful for anything, in that case my mutterings are likely unfair. :wink:

Agreed, and that’s not a metric for creative writing.

I also agree with you, but it read pretty fluidly, and the occasional descriptions and events were enticing enough. She also managed to sprinkle crumbs for almost every race in game, thus peeking into the interests of most players. I for one really enjoyed the entire Talaji/Zandalari/Bwonsamdi parts.
Based on interviews with the author Nathanos was supposed to die in the novel, but Blizzard changed that in her second draft because they wanted a more flashy cinematic. (She never outright calls Nathanos by name)

Once again I agree with you, but I don’t feel like having a couple of lines about two female trolls getting married takes away from the plot. The discrepancies in lore are there because they don’t want to deal with them. You and I both know that when it serves the plot or a current storyline they’ll be dealt with. I think we should be getting used to that :sweat_smile:.

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It’s not that it’s unfair or something like that. More that there is basis in the books themselves to take a look at the events and think “ok, so Aman’Thul whos power allowed Nozdormu to see through time, could not foresee what is going to happen in 5 minutes when ripping Y’shaarj out?!”

Not to mention that it’s not the only version of the Y’shaarj story. So, there was plently of contradictions between the Chronicles (is it Chronicles, or the Chronicles, btw?) and other backstory elements, that seemingly were assumed to resolve in favour of the Chronicles.

There are many people who expected (the) Chronicles to be the ultimate truth, and the devs did a poor job at explaining if it should be or not.

Unfortunately that leads to “well, that just happened” moments in the story that seemingly do not grow from anything. And events that should have consequences do not really have much if at all. IMO.

gl hf

No, but opting to make a big deal out of the Flynn/Shaw relation, or the LTT/Thalyssra one, takes away resources and time that could’ve been spent in much more enriching and urgent issues. Specially in terms of narrative spotlight and relevance to the setting.

For example, the effort put into feeding on these love interests could’ve been spent explaining how Gilneas currently fares, who was in charge of the Darkspear throughout all of Legion/BfA, what are the Draenei up to after getting rid of the Legion influence over Argus, and a long etc of plot hooks that come directly as a result of major stories that took place in several expansions.

Put all that at the back of a line wouldn’t feel as weird, if it weren’t for the fact that apparently its to be preceded by a story about who some secondary likes to bang.

Nothing wrong in having those sort of stories. But not if you are downright ignoring the ones that should objectively be considered far more urgent to tackle.

Writers may have said sort of bias leaking into their narrative.

Don’t think that’s the case here, but noting the existence of said posture may turn people way more critic against every move said person does, or whatever creative effort he/she does.

For all the negative aspects Golden stories have, i doubt anyone would hold her to such scrutiny. Mainly because she comes out as a rather nice woman

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That is not how writing works. There are no “resources” inside an author’s head like a WC3 map, where they must dedicate X amount of “author brain” to Y amount of story. And FlynnShaw was not nearly as important in the narrative as this forum seems to act like it is; they shared one kiss near the end, with the rest of their scenes being either plot-related or character developing. It wasn’t about FlynnShaw because it had one gay kiss.

Madeline Roux is a character author. She was brought onto the team to write, you guessed it; character narratives. To flesh out relationships, motivations, dynamics - to make the characters we see in-game feel more fully-realized and real. The story wasn’t about Gilneas or the Draenei or any of that - it was a narrative written to be a pre-empt to Shadowlands, hence why it’s calling Shadow’s Rising, and serves as something a little more lowkey and character-focused than something plot-heavy.

If you didn’t enjoy it, that’s fine, but Maddie was hired to do a job and she did it. If Blizzard hated it or disagreed with it, they’d have told her to rewrite it or hire someone else. These sort of official lore novels suffer heavy scrutiny and rewrites by higher-ups in order to make the product accurate to what the company wants to tell, and I can guarantee you every single one of the plot beats (including FlynnShaw) was directed to Madeline from a higher up, with her job just being putting it on paper and fleshing out the characters.

Madeline Roux made some tongue-in-cheek comments on the fragility of white men on twitter, and predictably, the oh-so-oppressed white men got triggered and lambasted her. That isn’t what this topic is about, but please, don’t try and act like a woman using her twitter to express her views (completely unrelated to her work, or this novel), especially when a white woman is jokingly criticizing her own race, has anything to do with Shadow’s Rising. It doesn’t, and she didn’t deserve the abuse and harassment she received.

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I’m sure those were just tongue-in-cheek jokes.

She joked that white men are too fragile; people then tried to de-platform her and make her lose her career, because a balding streamer told them to. The two are not equivalent. Anybody who is genuinely offended by the position “there are too many old white men dominating politics” needs to re-evaluate their priorities tbqh.

Anyway, that’s not what this topic is about so let’s not too far off-track. I was just responding to the idea that somehow this white woman despises her race because she made some jokes in 2017, and that it has very little to do with the novel Shadow’s Rising (especially when every human character she wrote was white).

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Also totally jokes. You just don’t get them.

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If you’ve got no interest in actually having discourse, then don’t reply lmao. You’re wasting your own time.

Nah, I’m having fun, it’s your time I am wasting.

Writers, (regardless if the come from Blizzard or their subcontracted staff), decide the topics they are going to focus on.

They are the ones that decide where to put their narrative effort, in terms of setting development.
And they’ve used the bridging novel between expansions, and the short stories that act as framework, to rather highlight minor romance interactions instead of tackling the glaring issues left behind by a worldwide conflict and a demonic invasion.

Yes, people are signalled that they are indeed putting the spotlight on stuff that is objectively insignificant, while they ignore stuff that should have major impact on the setting.

And this is the sort of incongruent move that will cause people to wonder the purpose of it all (thus, making them speculate about “agendas”).

She said stuff that, had it been directed to other audience, would’ve branded her in a much more severe way. And probably would’ve kicked her out of the twitter platform as racism.

Regardless if it was tongue in cheek or not (which, given the tone and recurrence, didn’t seem such…).

Still, all the above is irrelevant.

Fact is, that having said sort of stance will unequivocally call forth more scrutiny.
Because usually, when you throw about insults that affect a large portion of your target audience, it’s no brainier that said audience may in turn hold you accountable for it, and be willing to examine your work with less lenience.
Assuming otherwise is either acting stupid, naive, or disingenuous.

Re-read my post. Madeline did not design the plot of Shadow’s Rising. Your ire should be directed at the executives who decide what the plot of the novel will be and its focuses, as opposed to the commissioned author they hired to flesh out said plot.

Do you genuinely believe FlynnShaw is that huge a part of Shadow’s Rising? Why? I have the book with me right now - the two of them barely take up 15% of the pages, and they only explicitly homosexual action it in one line towards the end of the novel. Why is this your focus on “wasted time”, when it is such a tiny and insignificant part of the novel? I told you already; this is a characrer-driven novel, light on plot, about fleshing out some characters and their motivations.

If you want to talk about agendas, then direct it further than Roux - https://www.theguardian.com/games/2020/dec/02/afros-in-azeroth-quest-for-diversity-in-world-of-warcraft

The lead game designer is in full support of the diversity being shown in Azeroth; as are the other independent quest designers behind Pelagos, The Ardenweald covenant Night Warriors, etc. etc.

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You should probably do so too with mine.
Wasn’t talking only about Madeleine.

Compared to the absolute neglect regarding stuff like the Darkspear leadership issue, the Forsaken leadership vacuum, the state of Ashenvale post-WoT, of Gilneas, or the overall lack of reaction regarding the outcome of both Warfronts and the rest of war effort highlighted through the mission tables?


I mean, all the above is but the tip of a huge iceberg that merely represents the peaking bits that resulted from a worldwide war that had just finished. Stuff that could’ve, and should’ve, been addressed in the novel that bridged the intro into the Shadowlands with the end of the Fourth War.
And instead, we got the romance between Flynn and Shaw.

Also, i’m not talking only about the role this relation played in the novel.
I’m also talking about how people perceive the importance this approach seems to be given by writers throughout other narrative means.
To the point that it seems to overshadow a whole bunch of other issues that are currently on hold (some of which have been as such, for several years already).

And yes, people may point at something other than “Blizzard’s guidelines that came from way up”, when short stories such as these:

Highlight the differences between how two authors tackle the task when told to “fill in the gaps”.

This statement gives me a flashback of Before the Storm, when Sylvanas hated becoming the warchief. Only to then have the dev interview stating that becoming a warchief was a part of her plan.

It seems like blizz just give an outline and place some key events, but then let the authors to fill the rest with whatever. On paper it works like that

In reality, while they should check for continuity, there were some contradiction, like in the pre-patch Calia Menethil willing to go and talk to Tyrande about raised kaldorei. But in the book she already tried to and knows what Tyrande wants and how she sees the situation. Which is was not reflected in the game at all.

gl hf