I based a lot of this off the special interactions, as I feel it tells me the most about his character, but if we find new or interesting lore when the PBE updates for his longform stuff, this will be updated. That out of the way, we got Swain's rework and...frankly, it paints Swain and Noxus in a very interesting, telling light. To be blunt: Noxus is no longer the bad guy. They're the guy who gets the job done.
#Swain's New Lore: What we know.
_"I have seen this place. A vision...a battle..."_
Swain, for as far as we know, is still the Grand General of Noxus supplanting Darkwill after his convinent demise. From the looks of it, he still keeps ties with the Black Rose and more. We also know that Swain lost his arm to Irelia during the Ionia-Noxus war and that he's supplanted it with the demonic-empowered arm.
This will be updated with new color lore.
#Swain's Implications: A Tyrant out of Necessity
_"People often ask for a hero when a villain is what they truly need."_
The most fascinating thing I can gleam from Swain's lore, appearance, personality and quotes is that he's not doing this out of hatred. He doesn't loath Demacia. He doesn't despise Bilgewater. Hell, I don't think he even holds ill will to Ionia despite losing to them. What I do see, however, is a man who is acting out of things he knows. Things that are deeper threats.
Take a look at some of his quotes:
>"All roads lead to Noxus...but all visions to Demacia."
>"We both move pawns in a grand game. And look at that; I'm winning."
>"They fight the mist above the seas, never looking beneath it."
>"A pattern, spreading. It has learned to be alive."
>"A king remains in the mist and another marches."
From these quotes, while it could be that Swain gleams them from champion soul taking, it could be inferred that Swain is reading deeper into the lay of the world. He knows things about Runeterra that others would soon forget. Things that require a united front. It also ties into things like Noxus's rapid expansion across the world and the swelling army. Swain knows that trials await and he's preparing the world for them. But the most important part is from his own teaser trailer. Which we'll get into next.
#Swain as a Person: No Hiding the Demon.
_"Your trust may be misplaced, old friend, but it is appreciated."_
Swain makes no efforts to hide that what he's doing is barbaric, cruel and monstrous. Everything he does is done out of necessity for both himself and Noxus. These are most apparent in his lines with LeBlanc but can also be seen elsewhere. Swain is blunt and forthcoming: What he's doing is, for lack of a better word, shitty. But it's something that has to be done. Swain understands on some level that this world won't survive if you all try to hold hands and be a goody goody two-shoes about it. Rather, he's going to be the person who is seen as a tyrant but remembered as a hero. Just take a look at his reveal quote:
>"I have the vision to see what others cannot. The monsters of today will be the heroes of tomorrow. And by my hand will Noxus rise once more."
However, this also means that Swain understands this will only be for the victor. He has to win. He has to be the one standing on the hill at the end of the day. To accomplish this, he has to do everything in his power to make sure that Noxus's flag is the one still waving, even when the world is crumbling around him. This also means he has to keep some less-than-kind bedfellows like the Black Rose. It also means he could discard friends (such as Darius) in a heartbeat. No matter what, in the end, he has to win.
Swain represents the new direction of Noxus. A nation that is not evil for the sake of being evil but recognizes what it takes to win. They're a nation of cuthtroats, backstabbers and cruelty but a nation that recognizes backstabbing today means a hero's welcome tomorrow. I, for one, am excited to see what other champs either fit into this new vision of Noxus or rebel against it.
With that said, feel free to share your thoughts and your own takeaways from Swain's new look and voice.