Shyvana The Winged Beast Analysis

Hello, GreatSirZachary here. You may have seen my previous threads on the topic of Shyvana’s lore, character design, and gameplay. Shyvana’s color story, [The Winged Beast](https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/shyvana-color-story/), is significant because it was the farthest along we’ve ever pushed Shyvana’s narrative until the mention in the Lux comic. We get to see how Shyvana beaves now that she is a part of Demacian society. In the past versions of Shyvana’s lore things stopped after she returned with Jarvan IV to Demacia. It also reaffirms Shyvana’s main themes. As I discussed in my [analysis of Shyvana’s bio](https://boards.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/story-art/U9VeTR2j-shyvana-analysis-empathy-and-community) those are empathy and community. I will also be discussing another theme, one of my favorites. In fiction, characters with fire powers usually get hotheaded, volatile, personalities that can spiral out of control. You know, like a forest fire. The other common thing these kinds of characters explore is self-control. What that means depends on the author. Sometimes it means unhealthily suppressing how they really feel. Sometimes it means letting out those feelings and all of those destructive consequences. Other times, and this is my favorite, it means whether you wield power or whether power wields you. To put it another way, the struggle between civilization mastering the wild and the wild resisting mastery. That is where Shyvana comes in. In the Winged Beast Shyvana investigates a watchtower and finds that the guard, Thomme, is not at his post. She smells his blood. >She chewed her tongue to distract herself from her growing hunger at the scent. This is the first indication of Shyvana’s fight against her beastial side in this story. Let’s make sure we go this clear: Shyvana is literally bloodthirsty here. Smelling human blood makes her hungry! But that bloodthirstiness and Shyvana’s ability to track the creature that killed Thomme come from the same source. Shyvana turns her fixation on blood into something that serves her humanity by tracking the creature with her sense of smell. When Shyvana catches up to the creature using her keen sense of smell it is stated explicitly: >The smell of fresh blood was intoxicating, but Shyvana forced herself to focus on the hunt. She had joined Demacia to be part of something greater, not to surrender to her animalistic desires. Here we reaffirm Shyvana choosing community and civilization over predation and savagery. When Shyvana comes face to face with the creature, the vellox, she sees that the face looks human. I think this is more than just make the human-eating creature scary, it is to present Shyvana with a dark reflection. Something that has a resemblance to humanity, but has chosen savagery. The creature talks to Shyvana, another resemblance to humans. The ability to speak also shows us velloxes are intelligent. An intelligent creature can wield agency, can choose and the vellox has chosen the beast. When approached by Shyvana this vellox, currently *eating* Thomme, simply smiles and says “All yours,” and runs away. It is clear immediately that the vellox assumes Shyvana is acting as a predator, not as a civilized person. The vellox interprets the situation differently. The vellox sees this as a lion scaring a hyena off of a buffalo carcass and claiming it as their own. The vellox has already eaten some and decides it isn’t worth the effort to fight over the leftovers. We, the human readers, and Shyvana the civilized half-dragon see a vicious murder that must be punished. Once again, Shyvana follows the scent of Thomme’s blood to track the vellox. The beast serving the human. When she hits a ravine she has to rely further on the beast, but doing so makes controlling it more difficult. She transforms into her dragon form by embracing “her hunger until it powered the furnace-heat beneath her skin.” She must feed the fire a bit to make it useful. However, the bigger a fire gets the harder it is to control. When Shyvana catches up to the vellox the creature finally realizes who Shyvana isThe vellox’s attitude shows us that from its point of view Shyvana has chosen wrong in choosing humanity. The vellox thinks Shyvana has sacrificed her freedom and that it isn’t worth it. Their dialogue lays it all out >“I know you,” the vellox snarled, fighting to break free. “They call you the Chained One.” The golden beast leapt, slashing taloned paws and grazing her throat with its teeth. Shyvana sank her claws into its back and savored the sensation of tearing flesh. “Why do you hunt me?” the vellox asked. “We are not enemies.” “You killed a soldier of the Demacian army,” Shyvana said. “Thomme.” The vellox drew blood from her neck, but she exhaled plumes of fire and it spun away to avoid the flames. “Was he your friend?” “No.” “And yet you attempt to avenge his death. I fear the rumors are true. You are merely a tamed pet.” Shyvana growled. “At least I am no killer of men,” she said. “Truly?” the vellox smiled through its stained teeth. “You have no thirst for human blood?” Shyvana circled the vellox. “I see the hunger in your eyes,” it said. “The taste for living meat. You need the hunt as much as I. After all, where’s the fun in a meal without a good chase?” Notice that Shyvana enjoys clawing the vellox, Notice how the vellox calls her out for enjoying the hunt. They are not all that different. The vellox rejects the concept of comradery or tribal identification beyond the ones you personally know. Shyvana, in contrast, stands by her ideas of community and duty. They fight and Shyvana wins, but that is not the important part. The important part is after she kills him. >Though her hunger was unrelenting, Shyvana stopped herself before she devoured his flesh. Shyvana exhibits executive control. She consciously overrides her instincts and leaves behind the vellox’s body. This is what makes Shyvana heroic, she chooses the human over the beast even though it is harder. It requires continuous conscious effort to become the kind of person she wants to be. However, Shyvana also would not have succeeded without the beast. The strength lies in her ability to wield power (make the beast serve the human) and not be wielded by it (devour the flesh of the vellox). Our connection as readers is we need anger and fury and fear and all of those things. It is all about knowing when and how to administer those things that makes for an emotionally mature person.
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