Who is the Pantheon of Death in Shadowlands?
In recent interviews, Game Director Ion Hazzikostas has mentioned a Pantheon of Death in Shadowlands. This is not addressed specifically in the alpha, and can only be pieced together from interviews so far. As such, some of this is speculation, and has potential spoilers for Shadowlands.
Wowhead reported that in an interview with ZoltanTV Ion said, “For sure there are parallels between the Titan Pantheon that rules over our plane of existence that we’ve seen in Azeroth and sort of the ‘Pantheon of Death’ that has ruled over the Shadowlands. There are parallels there that are going to be fun to explore.”
After this, Nobbel did a lore video on the possible Pantheon. Bellular had a follow up interview with Ion, and pulled a little more information from him about this topic. In that interview, Ion refers to the Titans of Azeroth as the “Pantheon of Order.” He very briefly compares them to the Pantheon of Death in the upcoming expansion. While we do not have have a full picture, we are starting to piece together Blizzard’s thoughts on this.
The following is what we know — or at least what we think we know — so far.
The Pantheon members known so far are Covenant leaders
Each Covenant has a leader. Nobbel surmised the leader of each Covenant was a member of the Pantheon of Death. In the interview with Bellular, Ion mentioned three members of the Pantheon by name, and they are the leaders of the Covenants.
Kyrestia the Firstborn is the Archon, leader of the Bastion Covenant. The Kyrians must cleanse their flaws from their mortal life to ascend and earn their wings. She comes with a coterie of her paragons, like the paragon of courage, of humility, service, wisdom, purity, and loyalty.
The Winter Queen is the leader of the Night Fae, and of Ardenweald. She is maintains the cycle of rebirth for the Wild Gods, Ancients, loa, and other nature spirits. When they die, they go to Ardenweald, then she passes them on to the Emerald Dream, and then they are able to return to life on Azeroth.
Sire Denathrius is the leader of the Venthyr Covenant, in Revendreth. Sire Denathrius created the Venthyr in his likeness, forging them from the souls of the redeemed. Ancient beyond measure, the founder of Revendreth is one of the most powerful beings in all the Shadowlands. He beseeches Azeroth’s champions to help him quell the rebellion that threatens to destroy their way of life. There is a line in a quest called A Lesson in Humility, where The Accuser tells Denathrius that he was once “the lord of dread.” Some speculate that this means he was once a Dreadlord. This would put into question him being the equivalent of a Titan, as the Dreadlords served under Sargeras. This is just speculation, no confirmation that this is what this line means.
And then there’s Maldraxxus, where there are five houses of Necrolords with the Primus serving as the collective leader of all five. He was a master strategist and tactician, and nearly unbeatable on the field of battle. While he was there, there was a balance between the houses. With him gone, they are falling apart in war-torn chaos.
Unlike the previous three, Ion Hazzikostas did not say Primus by name when mentioning the Pantheon of Death. However, as the other three were the leaders of their Covenants, and Primus is the leader of this one — though missing — it is a fair assumption he would be part of the Pantheon.
Probably not in the Pantheon of Death
Nobbel lists the Jailer and the Arbiter as part of the Pantheon of Death in his video, however Ion does not list them as equivalents to the Titans in his interview with Bellular, but instead just asks, “Where do they fit in to all of this?” They could be the beings that are referenced as “The First Ones,” or they could be creations of the First Ones.
The Jailer watches over the Maw, and more importantly Torghast. This was meant to be the place in the Shadowlands where the worst of the worst are sent to be tortured in eternal torment, but when the machinery of death broke down, all the souls of the dead ended up here. The Jailer made a deal with Sylvanas. Her actions are what led us into the Shadowlands, and their plans are causing a drought of anima which is up to us to fix.
In an interview with Ion, it has been confirmed the Jailer is the end boss for Shadowlands. In that interview, the Jailer was described as a “Titan plus plus.” If the Pantheon is the equivalent of the Titans, and he is that much more powerful, then he would not be a part of it.
The Arbiter stands atop the city of Oribos and judges all the mortal souls that enter the Shadowlands. Her existence predates all memory. She is even older than the titans, according to some accounts. She instantly understands a soul when it dies — all of its deeds, misdeeds, thoughts, accomplishments, and failures. The Arbiter then sends the soul off to one of the realms of the Shadowlands, based on the judgement. The Arbiter has recently gone dormant and is no longer directing souls to their deserved afterlives. Instead, all souls now flow past her directly into the Maw.
Considering she is older than the Titans, and no one else in the Pantheon is described as such she seems to be an ancient being, existing before the creation of the Pantheon of Death. This is not exactly confirmation that she isn’t part of the Pantheon, but a strong indicator that she is something greater.
Elune and the Night Warrior
In the past, Elune has been compared to a Titan. The Pillars of Creation items were named after Titans, and the Tear of Elune was mixed in with them. The story of Tyrande taking on the Night Warrior aspect of Elune does not end with Battle for Azeroth, and in Ardenweald there is another character — from another world — who was the first person to take on the Night Warrior power.
This might indicate that Elune travels to other worlds and is not just an Azerothian deity. If the Night Warrior is simply another side to Elune, then she is not from the Shadowlands. She is outside of this realm, and could not be part of this Pantheon. Or, maybe, the Night Warrior is actually a Titan equivalent of the Shadowlands, and uses deities of different worlds to project its powers through. Hopefully we’ll learn more as the story progresses.
What could a Pantheon of Death mean for the story?
Ion said there are parallels between the Titans of Azeroth — that he now refers to as the Pantheon of Order — and this new Pantheon of Death. While they are not necessarily of Order, what we have seen of the Covenant leaders is that they rule their area in an orderly fashion. They mold their adherents in a certain image, and the place runs better while they are present. Though they are far more powerful than us, they recognize our importance and know they must work with us to correct what is off in the world.
And while the Jailer may not be one them, he seems like a Sargeras-type — powerful, rounding up and working with lesser beings to overthrow the Titan-equivalents. If we are going to continue to see parallels, then perhaps we will see that like Sargeras the Jailer cannot be killed, but must be locked away, for now. And someone that once worked for him, who gained power from him, will switch sides, and redeem herself by joining us — and suffer for eternity by torturing him in his imprisonment. The rest of the Pantheon may expend their power to create the prison, and Sylvanas could be the one to jump inside, with her final words to us being, “the Jailer… has become… the jailed.” If anyone could, Patty Mattson will make that line work.
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