Why are the Blood Elves so freakin evil, anyway?
I don’t think the Blood Elves are evil, so much as a race of creatures that have gotten nothing but the bad end of the stick for the majority of the time that they’ve existed in Warcraft lore. They’re the whipping boys of both Alliance and Horde, so it only stands to reason that they don’t really trust anyone, Alliance or Horde at this point. Look at it this way:
The original quel’dorei weren’t really doing anything bad per se, they were just doing what they thought was required of them. The Highborne of Zin’Azshari were just trying to do what was right, follow their Queen – and it was Azshara who was corrupted, not the race as a whole. So suddenly all that magic they were practicing got tremendously out of control, and backfired in the most spectacular of fashions.
But instead of being allowed to try again and learn how to control this power they’d been imbued with since birth, they were told by the leftover majority of their race that they weren’t allowed to do it. No second chances allowed, and if they tried, they’d be killed. That’s cause for resentment right there.
Say you accidentally knocked over a bookshelf with a lot of antiques on it that were worth an awful lot of money. Instead of allowing you to learn to walk more carefully, the owner of those antiques tells you nope, you’re going to have to move around in a wheelchair for the rest of your life, as you’re obviously not capable of watching where you’re going. A wheelchair on a track. That runs a circle through the house, carefully avoiding any bookshelves. And the kitchen. So you’re hungry. And tired of sitting on your butt. But if you get out of the wheelchair, that antique owner is going to whip out an antique shotgun and kill you.
Fun life, huh? No wonder the quel’dorei rebelled, and no wonder they left. Then they get to a new continent full of terrible things – Old Gods, trolls, etc – and instead of being able to deal with these things immediately, they find themselves weakened, physically changing into tiny little weak things that can’t even manage to flip the switch in the wheelchair to the ‘on’ position. Why? Because Nordrassil, that big tree that was supposed to keep them safe? Yeah, well it covers the night elves, but it doesn’t cover you, bucko – you and your meddling with the arcane and your bad bad bad terrible self.
They create the Sunwell and manage to regain a fraction of what they had prior to the Sundering, despite all of this – and that Sunwell is pretty amazing, but it’s nowhere near the power of the original Well of Eternity mind you. Suddenly they’re under attack again by trolls because they didn’t watch where they were putting their city. And to top it all off, they have to go talk to these little pink-skinned human runts to get enough help to drive these trolls back, because they can’t manage to do it on their own.
For a race that was once top of the world, this has to be about the bottom of the bucket for them – humiliation at the hands of the night elves, then forced to ally with a race that was obviously much weaker, much more savage than they were. But they discovered the humans were an all right sort – that Thoradin guy was actually okay. Heck, you know, if they’re going to be re-learning magic control, they might as well help these humans out and show them a trick or two. It could be fun, right? Might as well – and while they’re at it, they tell Thoradin they’ll help him out whenever he needs it. After all, those humans only live to what, seventy? Eighty? A tiny fraction of time, to the quel’dorei.
Except these little pink-skinned guys are awfully pushy. Here it is, thousands of years later and the elves are being contacted by some old king that they don’t know, based on the last tiny remains of that oath the elves made to a guy thousands of years before. Okay, Thoradin wasn’t a bad sort, so they’ll send a little help, even though they don’t even KNOW the guy that’s asking. Only it turns out that little problem the humans are having is way larger than expected – dark portals, orcs, what the hell have these humans been UP to, anyway?
The humans were responsible, at least from the quel’dorei’s standpoint, for the orc invasion – and the orcs burned down a good chunk of the nice little spot the elves had carved out for themselves. So here’s the elves, helping out people they don’t know on the basis of a flimsy remnant of an oath given three thousand years before, and the thanks they get is the destruction of what they’d been working so quietly at trying to rebuild ever since they got unceremoniously chucked from Kalimdor.
No wonder they pulled from the Alliance – why would they bother staying?
But the problems with the humans weren’t over – some human punk with a god complex went and got himself a tinker toy of a sword on a whim and suddenly he’s uppity raising the dead and razing the ground he walks on and he’s making a beeline for the Sunwell – the most important, integral part of the quel’dorei’s existence. Do the other humans help out? Oh gosh no, sorry, we’re busy over here dealing with dead kings and zombies, thanks. We don’t have time to assist you with defending the one thing that gives your life meaning, that thing you spent what, four, five thousand years establishing? Yeah, sorry, we’ve got our own problems.
Bam! Death, destruction, the majority of the elves dead at the feet of the invaders – invaders that were created by a human, mind you – and to top it all off, not only is the Sunwell gone, but the leader of the elves is gone too. Okay, look. We elves realize that you guys are having some pretty awful times down there, so we’ll send a force of what we’ve got left – you know, the warriors that didn’t keel over and drop their swords, the strongest people we’ve got left over – yeah, we’ll send them to help you. With your problem. No, no, don’t worry about us up here, we’re just slowly dying off, thanks.
Oh. Oh well, you know, thanks for treating us like we’re weak little mongrels not worthy of putting on the front lines. Thanks for calling us a bunch of nancy-pansy little flowery buggers not capable of actually helping you out. You know, because we totally are. We spent the last 10,000 years or so perfecting our skills in Posy Picking and Flighty Dancing About The Maypole. It’s only 375 – sorry, Wrath hasn’t launched yet so we haven’t had a chance to get to 450.
Oh look – here’s some people actually offering to help. People we don’t know. Sure they’re scaly, but they seem sort of…familiar somehow, and hey at least they aren’t leaving us to die. I’m sorry, what was that, mister xenophobic human with the god complex? Accepting help so that we can actually do the crap you asked us to do is treason? So sorry. Won’t happen again. Wait – so you want us to do more, but you’re…pulling…all…support that we had.
You know what? The scaly dudes may look a little…sketchy and they smell like fish, but at least they’re doing something. We’re just going to throw our support behind them for the moment, okay? Look, see, we did it-oh. Oh, you’re throwing us in dungeons now. Thanks. No really, thanks.
…is it any wonder that the quel’dorei decided at this point that the human race and whatever they’d decided to ally with weren’t exactly the best allies in the world to stick behind? The quel’dorei were broken, utterly destroyed, but they still tried to help – and that help was summarily slapped back in their faces. If this was how the Alliance was going to treat them, then they had little use for the Alliance.
So they sought help from elsewhere – and when the now-resurrected Ranger General showed up and offered them a different kind of ally, what choice did they have but to accept? They were dying, one by one, and they had little alternative but to accept. But even that alliance was a cautious one – because this Horde the Ranger General lauded included the very trolls that had been a thorn in the sin’dorei’s side for thousands of years.
So no, the blood elves don’t really trust anyone – they haven’t really been given a good reason to do so. The Alliance turned out to be a bunch of bigoted, self-absorbed jerks, and the Horde views them as a weak bunch of allies at best – but at least the Horde is trying to help them out, unlike the Alliance. The elves left behind on Azeroth had a lot to overcome, and they’d lost damn near everything they had, so they grasped at whatever straws they could to try and make their world better again.
I don’t think the blood elves are inherently evil – I think they’ve been given a bad rap, and from a lore standpoint, there were so many twists and turns in their history where things could’ve turned out all right, but didn’t. Circumstance led them to where they were – all because they weren’t given a chance, waaaaay back when, to learn and exercise the proper form of control.
Blood elf history is, frankly, fascinating, and raises far more questions and what-ifs than the rest of the Horde races. The Burning Crusade was viewed as an ‘okay’ expansion, but from a lore standpoint a lot of people were angered or disappointed by the choices made in terms of the Horde’s new allies. I still think there was more than enough history present to make the choice a viable one – unfortunately, there are still far too many people who simply say ‘Horde needed a pretty race’ and leave it at that.
While the blood elves induction into the Horde was a controversial choice, the Burning Crusade offered another choice that led to even more controversy among the lore nerds and the players alike – the introduction of the Draenei. Space goats, space ships, dimensional travel, and sabotage – the sci-fi element was largely unwelcome to a good chunk of WoW’s target audience. But there were lore elements introduced that hadn’t been present before – and as Warcraft is an ever-changing story, the Draenei had to fit somewhere. Tune in next time when I go over Draenei history!
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