Illidan. He's my favourite. But so is Arthas. I never could decide between the two of them. I think Arthas probably wins because I know more about him and he's my favourite kind of villain, one who has been misled and one you can pity, one whose death makes you cry, but Illidan is a very close second. So I was so excited when I saw the announcement stream on Thursday.
And then I thought about it.
No, I don't recall Illidan actually dying in Black Temple, and his return has been speculated for some time, but the problem is that, when villains return, they're never as good as they were. Either they get right back to work trying to do what they were in the first place, in which case the villain's motive is old news, Or they're trying to do something else and it just feels forced. Villains returning from the dead or imprisonment rarely works. Illidan has had his time, he was awesome, he is a legend, but it's over.
Seeg used to be a role player, and something he said to me a long time ago has stuck with me quite solidly because it's something I took to heart as a dying-to-be-published writer. "You have to respect your characters enough to let them die."
Illidan was loved by so many, and no, he didn't die, so why can't he come back? But he's not going to be as awesome as he was before. Don't misunderstand me, I wouldn't mind being proven wrong at all, but odds are that his return will ruin his previous image. I really hope not.
Arthas and Deathwing, both grand villains, were allowed to die. Arthas was misled and Deathwing had gone stark raving mad and beyond any hope of saving. Illidan seems to me to be in the middle. He's been misled, but he's also aware of what he's doing. He knows what he is, and he's fine with it. He could still be saved, but the trouble was that he was promised greatness since he was a child and that idea understandably rooted itself in him. That makes him extremely interesting as both a villain and a three-dimensional character, but his time has come and gone. I'm not really sure how this could work out well for him.
I don't know. I thought I had a clear idea on how I felt about it, but writing this post has made me realise that I don't have a clue.
I'm happy to see him again.
I don't want him to come back and ruin what he was.
But how about those demon hunters, eh?