So, I read all three parts of Riven's new story, and I have many mixed feelings on it. To be honest, I think this story was a good opportunity to let Riven get some development of her own, since she's had literally zero since her release almost seven years ago, and Yasuo got several short stories already. She's long overdue for some lore love in general. I have a lot of feelings about this story. Some are good, others not so good. But out of respect for you guys, the readers, I'll try to simplify my issues or praises into singular points below. Since I believe in trying to end on a good note, I'll start with the "bad stuff" first.
> #Cons -
> * Riven used to reforge her blade with her own willpower, showing her personal strength to overcome, but now it's just a magical trinket that does it for her with a mind of its own, taking a huge source of inner strength and resolve away from her character, weakening her even more than she already was.
> * Riven, though broken, still loved Noxus at heart, what it _could_ be if not what it _was_, but sought a way to rebuild what was broken and find her own path. Now, Riven hates everything about Noxus, disconnecting her entirely from a land that could use, I daresay NEEDS, someone like her. Quilletta Varn is a poor replacement for what Riven could be for Noxus.
> * The story has left Riven in only a marginally better place, narratively speaking, than she's been in for _nearly **seven years**_. In short, after waiting for _so long_ to have her left in almost the same place is...frustrating. Especially after Yasuo has gotten so much development, comparatively, via Taliyah etc, in his five year existence. Heck, Twisted Fate and Graves got WAY more development in just _one story_.
> * I think this story ultimately leaves Riven's place in the world completely ambiguous and tucked away where she can, currently, have no impact on anything story-wise. It's solidified her as a total exile, and for me, this is a bad thing.
And to show I'm not totally a negative nancy...
> #Pros -
> * Riven's personification, outside her new hatred of Noxus, is EXACTLY how I think she should be. She's haunted, of few words, but commands the air around her, and carries PTSD around. It's not a laughing matter in any regard, and it is given its proper weight in the story.
> * She's muscular, a soldier and warrior first, and not a smooth white-washed fantasy in a bunny suit (thank heavens). There is a roughness and an edge to her. And that's not lost even when she breaks and shows her human emotions. Thank you for this. So much.
> * As much as I dislike that parts were carved from her character, I have to admit that this leaves her in a place where she can do something she never could before in lore: Move Forward. I want so much for Riven to find peace of mind and the redemption she seeks, and while I think Noxus is where she really belongs, is the place that _truly_ needs her, I can't deny that Ionia is a good place, if not the best place, for her to _start_ on that path.
> * As much as her exile from any real events is a negative, I suppose it can also be seen as a positive. As much as Noxus needs someone like Riven to reforge what's broken about IT, I think this path potentially opens Riven up to being able to help reforge Noxus _and also_, to an extent, Ionia.
>* This story is set a year after Noxus pulled out of Ionia, which I think means it is 6 years in the past, as Swain took control of Noxus "7 years ago" and pulled the Legion out of Ionia when he did so. As such, this leaves roughly 6 years for Riven to begin to heal, and find her path. This is in the "Pros" section because I feel like it gives Narrative a reason to show us Riven's progress in that time, and show us the path she's chosen when the time comes. Please do not wait another **seven years** to develop her further. Riven has suffered enough in waiting...
I could elaborate much more on anything posted above, but I won't for now. I can't say that I'm pleased with how this has turned out, but I can easily say it could have been much, much worse than it is. And there are certainly things I really like about this. I just wish it wasn't so "halfway" to something more meaningful for her development after so long waiting for anything substantial.
And, in case it wasn't clear, this is in NO WAY a slight against ThermalKitten's writing. I think she captured the character she was expected to capture here wonderfully, even if that character was changed from the one I know and love (but not changed by her, I know how writing works). Despite my very mixed stance, I just want to honestly say "thank you" to ThermalKitten for bringing Riven's mannerisms and personality to life in such a great way. After years of being Riven's biggest fan, to see her written so true to form was a great treat. I just hope the Narrative team can do even better going forward, just like Riven herself.