The Shadowlands aren't "the" afterlife, are they?

I mean, we know that Odyn as well as Bwonsamdi just straight out created their own realms and were grabbing souls before they arrived at the Shadowlands. And even beings at Val’kyr/kyrian levels were able to just grab a soul and put it wherever they liked, bypassing the judgement system entirely. So there could essentially be an unlimited number of afterlifes that have no relation to the Shadowlands, couldn’t there? An Earth Mother could just take the Tauren she wanted into her realm and nothing about the SL-Lore would prevent that, as far as I understand.

So… do the Shadowlands really matter that much? Even if they were the “default” or even the “final” afterlife, atherothian religions could still mostly be right - though not for the people we actually saw this addon.
Now, call it copium, but we need to mitigate the damage Shadowlands did with our headcanon in some way… and I am wondering if this interpretation is an option or if the lore actually contradicts it in any way.

P.S. Who knows, maybe Elune does have an afterlife of her own, and letting Teldrassilians to the Shadowlands instead was meant as a contribution she wouldn#t usually have made…

Unless intercepted by something all mortals are meant to end up within the Shadowlands. We know that the Dreanei store their souls in temples like Achindoun, while dark naaru and demons effectively devour them/use them for fuel.

The biggest problem this expansion kind of presents is that they didn’t adhere to the bloody chronicles and did whatever the hell they wanted. “They are Nightmarish realms of decay, labyrinthine spiritual planes teeming with souls of the dead who have passed from the world of the living.” You could argue that the realms we visitted were the glorified janitor’s closet and management offices, but still :confused:

Who cares how it is meant? As soon as a powerful entity means differently, they don’t, do they? So that only excludes non-deistic religions, kinda. :wink:

The only time we’ve ever seen it done by a benevolent entity was Crusader what’s his face, in WotLK, when 3 naaru went to fetch him. All the other times were a mix of being devoured, enslaved, used as rocket fuel or combination of the three.

Bwonsamdi and Odyn pretty much gave them what they were going for.

Bwonsamdi has a small corner within Ardenweald so still is Shadowlands, whilst Odyn nicked them from the Shadowlands and counts under the enslave bracket.

Who cares about the access place? It’s its own realm, and it bypasses the Arbiter, as we know from Shadows Rising. That’t the important bit.

Call it enslavement, the point is that it is the afterlife they were expecting, their religion was true. I’m not arguing for everyone to go for their personal heaven - that’s the Shadowlands model, and that sucks. I’m arguing for the possibility of truths in the azerothian religions and their ideas of the afterlife. Yes, people who expect to spend eternity drinking and fighting for Odin do just that.

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Elune too is cheating death by turning the dead into Whisps. Furthermore, i think it’s the principal reason of her treason, as said by the Winter Queen. By this action, she broke the cycle of life and death to keep souls from going in the Shadowlands and stay in the living realm, protecting life’s interests.

Like the Val’kyr of Odyn, she’s capturing the soul on their death, before they get picked up by the Kyrians and keep them in her own place, the forest kept by her people.

Something I was thinking about the other day is how to retcon the Shadowlands and what I came up is essentially the Jailor and the brady bunch aren’t titan level beings, the first ones are outcast titans that created the Shadowlands (if you think about it we never learned why this realm is called SHADOWlands) that is essentially a shadow of a realm and because it is not a natural realm it cannot produce souls organically so the first ones created the Zereth installation. Similarly to how Skyhold and Helheim, the shadowlands are not the actual afterlife but pluck souls on their way to the afterlife (on a much grander scale) to sustain itself. Zovaal only understood the nature of his own realm so naturally he assumed that other realms worked similarly (in reality they don’t, SL is the exception), also he lied he was not behind it all. The dreadlords were not created by Daddy D, Mal’ganis and the others played him and only made it look like he created them, dreadlords came from Nathreza. Sadly can’t fix Elune or the damage done to the OG characters.

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