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Rastakhan Dazar'alor Cinematic Analysis - Let's Make a Deal!
22/01/2019 alle 18:16
Bwonsamdi loves making deals, and in the cinematic following the Rastakhan encounter in Battle of Dazar'alor, he's back and chatting with his favorite royal family. In this article, we'll analyze the cinematic in greater detail, highlighting interesting parallels between this cinematic and previous ones involving Bwonsamdi.
We've also analyzed the
Siege of Dazar'alor cinematic
and you can read our response
Bwonsamdi loves making deals, and in this cinematic, Talanji learns the full extent of his deal with Rastakhan. Throughout the cinematic, we’re reminded of Rastakhan’s fateful deal with Bwonsamdi earlier in Battle for Azeroth. In this deal, he sought the protection of Bwonsamdi, after the death of Rezan, to gain strength reclaiming the kingdom of Zandalar after the uprising of Zul. We'll be referencing this earlier cinematic frequently in our analysis, so check it out below:
Death of Rastakhan
The cinematic starts with Jaina at the top of the royal pyramid, staring down at Nathanos. This has several visual references. First, Nathanos staring down Jaina reminds us of Nathanos staring down Tyrande's owl in the "Terror of Darkshore" cinematic. Also, Jaina staring down at the Horde contrasts with the earlier "Blood Moon" cutscene, in which Rastakhan looks down at the invading Alliance before summoning Bwonsamdi for assistance.
Nathanos gets stared down by Alliance leaders.
Jaina and Rastakhan look down at the enemy.
Jaina’s unrepentant, determined look contrasts with Princess Talanji’s anguished cry as she discovers her father is on his deathbed. We're seeing Jaina in a different light than in the Siege of Dazar'alor cinematic, in which her cleverness and military leadership were portrayed in a positive light. But from the perspective of the Zandalari, she is the most visible leader behind the
attack on Dazar'alor
, a complex plan which included stealing the Abyssal Scepter, planning a false attack on the shores of Nazmir, blowing up the Zandalari fleet, invading the city, and slaying the King.
Jaina willingly allowed her father to be killed by the Horde, a man who loved his children but was blinded by prejudice. Now the Alliance invasion is responsible for Talanji, the daughter of another proud and flawed ruler, losing her father at the hands of the enemy faction.
Jaina and Talanji mourn the death of their fathers.
We then cut to Talanji consoling her father, in a reversal of the setup from the ending of the Bwonsamdi cinematic. After Rastakhan made his pact with Bwonsamdi, he took hold of Talanji’s hand, saying “Do not worry my daughter, I’ve taken care of everything.” Now, Talanji cradles her father, as he apologizes for his past actions. We see the frailty of Rastakhan—he struggles for breath, his crown knocked off, his gold splattered with blood. In both situations, however pitiable is situation may be, Rastakhan is a bit of a coward though. He does not tell Talanji what he's agreed to in his deal with Bwonsamdi. Talanji has no idea there is any deal with Bwonsamdi at this point! While he seems very sorry that Talanji is burdened with Bwonsamdi's deal, he does not prepare her at all for the responsibilities she will face.
Rastakhan sidestepping the deal to Talanji.
As Rastakhan begs for forgiveness, clasping Talanji’s hand, the power of Bwonsamdi leaves Rastakhan and courses up Talanji’s arm. This shot echoes the moment Bwonsamdi shook Rastakhan’s hand earlier, binding his bloodline forever through magical ties.
The fateful handshake.
As the pact leaves Rastakhan and joins Talanji, Rastakhan begins to rapidly age before our eyes, with additional wrinkles surrounding his eyes and lips. His hands grow bony and his rings slide off. Once Bwonsamdi’s pact fully leaves Rastakhan, we see green smokey hints around Rastakhan’s face—Bwonsamdi claiming his soul. Green smoke also surrounds Rastakhan's hand, perhaps hinting that Bwonsamdi's force willed Rastakhan to clasp Talanji's arm--the king seemed too frail to move without supernatural assistance.
Aura of Bwonsamdi
Let's Make a Deal
Talanji has no time to grieve as she must make sense of the revelation that Rastakhan had some unknown pact with Bwonsamdi! She summons Bwonsamdi, who appears behind her, similar to how Bwonsamdi first appeared behind Rastakhan. While he may be summoned, he makes you turn around to face him—a neat power play.
He then greets Talanji as “Yes, My Queen,” echoing his first introduction to Rastakhan “You looking pretty good, Your Majesty.”
During the 8.0 cinematic, when Bwonsamdi gets down to business and proposes a deal, the camera cuts to a close-up of Bwonsamdi and his spectral eyes. After Rastakhan says “I will bind my bloodline to you,” that’s when Bwonsamdi gets interested, suggesting “All who succeed you will keep this bargain? To serve me in life and in death?” Now in the Dazar’alor cinematic, Bwonsamdi’s eyes glow fiercely when he reveals the bargain to Talanji, saying “Shame on him.” At this moment in the Dazar'alor cinematic, Bwonsamdi is indicating loyalty to Talanji, disparaging his former ruler. Bwonsamdi realizes this is a bad situation that could earn him the ire of Talanji, so he hopes to mitigate things by pointing out Rastakhan was to blame.
Talanji has no time to reply to Bwonsamdi as she’s alerted to the fact that the Alliance are escaping. Bwonsamdi extends a finger, indicating her to leave the room and go fight. This is a nonverbal acceptance of the deal—Talanij learns of the pact with Bwonsamdi, and now he indicates she should go fight, presumably with his protection. This echoes Bwonsamdi extending his hand to Rastakhan when he seals the initial deal.
Even the music is near-identical in both situations (1:48 in Dazar'alor, 2:20 in the 8.0 Bwonsamdi cinematic). As the music ominously swells, Rastakhan decides to take Bwonsamdi’s deal and shakes his hand, while Talanji makes the choice to go out and fight as the Queen of the Zandalari instead of arguing with Bwonsamdi.
One notable difference between both cinematics is Bwonsamdi's presence in relation to Talanji and Rastakhan. When Bwonsamdi interacts with Rastakhan, he towers over the King, making him look childish and weak. This body language is also present in the Blood Moon cutscene.
When Bwonsamdi interacts with Talanji, they are more equal in stature. Bwonsamdi first bends down to bow to Talanji, and then continues to crouch down as they speak. This frames her as the towering figure in their group shots.
Bwonsamdi also extends a finger to scold Rastakhan, as if he's a child, while the first time he extends a finger in the Dazar'alor cinematic is support Talanji's decision to fight, pointing outdoors to her people.
Watch Your Tone
Now reviewing the lead-up to Rastakhan’s death, one wonders if Bwonsamdi was secretly happy Rastakhan was defeated. Could Bwonsamdi have had a role in his defeat? Let’s review the exchanges. You can listen to all of their audio files below:
First Rastakhan demands Bwonsamdi assist him when the Alliance start their attack of Dazar'alor. Bwonsamdi seems a bit weary due to all the past times he's helped Rastakhan in Patch 8.0, and replies "Oh my my my... Does da mighty Rastakhan need ol' Bwonsamdi's help yet again?" Rastakhan doesn't pick up on Bwonsamdi's impatience and continues to demand favors: "Aid us... or you will be de loa of a ruined kingdom with no one to remember your name." Sounds pretty abrupt and demanding of your closest loa...
Then, at the start of the Rastakhan bossencounter, Rastakhan asks Bwonsamdi for even more help. Bwonsamdi meanwhile sounds a bit laid back about the Alliance attacking:
Whatcha be raisin’ such a fuss about, ya majesty? Ol’ Bwonsamdi ain’t gonna let no outsiders take your throne!
One could say “well, Bwonsamdi you let Rastakhan die…” but really, Bwonsamdi could mean that the Zandalari throne would remain safe and stable…which it would be in the hands of Talanji. The Zandalari Empire will endure without Rastakhan.
Rastakhan then orders Bwonsamdi to fight the Alliance:
Bwonsamdi! You are my loa! Honor our bargain and strike down dese attackers!
Bwonsamdi isn’t too happy about being ordered around, replying:
Ya be mighty demandin’ Rastakhan! I gonna give ya da power ya seek…but ya better watch your tone.
Rastakhan then becomes empowered, and at first all seems well, as he exclaims “Yes! De power of a loa flows through me! Such strength! Now you will fall!” However, be careful what you wish for. This power may have been too much for Rastakhan to handle, with Bwonsamdi having the last laugh. As the fight progresses, Rastakhan complains:
No…de darkness…it is too much to control!
Dis darkness threatens to consume my soul! I must…be free of it!
As Rastakhan continues to complain, Bwonsamdi is conspicuously silent. Also, this dialogue reminds me of our friend N’Zoth, with mentions of “darkness” and “consume." You can read more datamined Old Gods whispers in our
8.1.5 Old God Whispers
8.1.5: Tremble before his hunger! His darkness! All will be consumed!
8.1.5: The darkness within you swells. I warn you, this will be very painful.
Xal'atath: It is ironic that the weakest of us may be the ultimate victor. C'Thun, Yogg-Saron, Y'Shaarj, and... well. Only one would remain to consume the world, that was always meant to be.
Xal'atath: It appears the prison of N’zoth is not as strong as it once was. What you see is a tiny growth of the behemoth that may yet consume your world.
At the end of the fight, Rastakhan is rethinking the power of Bwonsamdi:
Dis power…dis death…it is a curse, not a blessing! Oh daughter…what have I done?!
Bwonsamdi gave Rastakhan what he asked for, possibly knowing he'd be unable to handle the power. Perhaps he wanted Rastakhan to fail, knowing that Talanji would make a more capable leader. Under Rastakhan's leadership, the Prophet Zul worked together with Azshara to lead a coup against the Zandalari Empire. While Rastakhan was successful in reclaiming control, he lost Rezan, the loa of kings. In the Zandalar Forever scenario, he was unsuccessful at stopping Zul from shattering the final seal to Uldir.
Talanji: Future of the Zandalari
The cinematic ends with Talanji, standing alone, ready to take action and drive back the Alliance from Dazar'alor. She's ultimately successful, working with members of the Horde to force Jaina Proudmoore to teleport away at the end of the raid.
Under her leadership, the Zandalari are able to turn the tides of battle, while previously, Zandalari have repeatedly underestimated their situation in the Battle of Dazar’alor. The first time took place when the Zandalari fell into the Alliance stealth mission trap. The second time took place when they underestimated the Alliance fleet and their tricks in the opening raid cinematic. Then, Rastakhan underestimated the extent of Bwonsamdi’s power and paid the price with his life. To clarify--Talanji was not responsible for the Alliance retreating. However, by presenting herself as a calm and capable leader, she improved morale, which led to the Horde and Zandalari forces putting up a fight instead of the Alliance retreating with minimal casualties.
Talanji has always demonstrated her political savvy in BFA, frustrated that her father was unaware of the threats facing Zandalar as well as being cold to the Horde. With Rastakhan deceased, and Talanji next in succession to the throne, it seems likely that she'd pursue a formal partnership with the Horde. If anything, the death of Rastakhan stabilized things for the Zandalari--they are in better hands with Talanji leading them through a crisis. It's a bit puzzling why the Alliance would want to attack the Zandalari in the first place, with the risk that this could drive the Zandalari to the Horde.
Vol’jin speaks highly of Talanji throughout
Che li spiriti stiano con te
, calling her the leader of the Zandalari even while her father was alive. In Patch 8.0, Talanji is the one constantly taking the initiative, whether it's investigating the threats in Nazmir or leading the campaign in Uldir.
Spirit of Vol'jin: Show dem, leader of Zandalar. Show da blade to those dat need to see it da most. Give dem peace.
Talanji: Dis was not my achievement.
Vol'jin: Ya brought de champion to dese shores against ya father's will. Ya learned da secrets of G'huun when no one be listenin'.
Ya set in motion what be needed ta save ya people. Now, more than ever, dey be callin' for a leader dey can love and trust.
Show dem da blade. Become da symbol dey need.
Talanji: Behold de blood of G'huun. By his will were borne de deaths of Shadra, Hi'reek, Torga, and ...and Rezan.
Talanji: By his will were borne de deaths of so many of our brothers and sisters.
Talanji: Let dis glaive be displayed as a reminder dat no matter how far we fall, no matter how much we lose, we are Zandalari! We adapt, we find a way to survive!
Talanji: If it were not for dis hero of de Horde, our losses would have been far worse. Dis proves, more than ever, dat it is time for us to adapt, to become part of de world again.
Talanji: Zandalar forever!
In an upcoming story, taking place sometime after the Battle of Dazar'alor,
Talanji and Vol'jin work together
to figure out which voice told Vol'jin to appoint Sylvanas as Warchief of the Horde. Throughout this questline, characters praise Talanji:
Vol'jin on Bwonsamdi:
Ya best work with Talanji. From what little I been seein', da death loa got a soft spot for her highness.
Vol'jin to Talanji:
Vol'jin: Da Lich King didn't bring me back. Eyir be claimin' she don't got da mojo. Bwonsamdi be as confused as da rest of us. And none of dem were eager ta see Sylvanas in charge.
Talanji: No matter de circumstances, she is leader of de Horde. I will do all I can to ensure dat her rule is a just one.
Vol'jin: Zandalar still stands because of your courage, Talanji. Your father was mired in da old ways, dreamin' of a troll empire lost to time.
Vol'jin: But you be da first to look to da future... to see what da trolls can become. Ya be young, but ya be righteous. Call on me spirit if ya ever need advice from an old chieftain.
Looking even more forward to the
Zandalari Allied Race scenario and Talanji's coronation
, we see that Talanji is respected by all the loa and has chosen her advisers wisely. She also will not become a puppet of Sylvanas, demanding that her empire be respected as equal to the Horde.
Sylvanas: She thinks to summon me? Hmph. I suppose she is allowed some posturing today.
Talanji: De Horde has been a trustworthy ally to Zandalar.
Talanji: Without our partnership, we may not have overcome de threats dat rose against us.
Talanji: I understand dat you have need of our forces. De Alliance will stop at nothing to destroy you.
Talanji: So let it be official. De Zandalari and de Horde will stand together... as equals.
I am de queen of Zandalar. And a queen kneels to no one. Surely, you understand.
Sylvanas: I see... Very well, Queen Talanji. The Horde welcomes you.
While the death of Rastakhan is sad, a new era for the Zandalari dawns with Talanji as their Queen and a partnership with the Horde on the horizon. As for Bwonsamdi? He is probably very happy with the deal, thinking he traded in a partnership with Rastakhan for a better one with Talanji! Do you think he had a role in Rastakhan's demise or was secretly happy to see him go? Let us know in the comments!
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