So I've taken the liberty of citing down what I like and dislike the most about Zed's lore and creating a video about it. Which you can watch by following this link:
For those of you who have something against watching Youtube videos, here's a transcription of the script I used:
Rivalry with an established character (Shen).
The ďornate, foreboding boxĒ was located within the Kinkou temple (makes sense; put it in a place which is already pretty defended).
He has followers. (although faceless, it is good to see a new faction arise)
He is a character that steps outside of traditional mold of his location. (Provides an internal conflict and shows variation amongst beliefs of a people, instead of having them be cookie-cutter copies).
The ďornate, foreboding boxĒ was apparently unprotected (would have been more interesting to see him have to slip past the guards, and who leaves that kind of evil just lying around?)
He was gathering an army, but no one ever tried to stop him before that? (only students could have possibly known where he might be, and someone certainly would have noticed an evil ninja recruiting civilians)
The Master admitting his failure. (clichťd.)
What was in the box? Why donít we know? (The Summoners are in the heads of the Champions, shouldnít we know?) (Then again, this IS interesting, opens speculation)
Starting with the pros:
Zedís early rivalry and latter antagonistic attitude towards Shen. Most of you watching this probably donít know, but Iím a sucker for continuity, callbacks, and story tie-ins. If something happens in a story that at all harkens back to an earlier mentioned bit of it, I love the story even more.
Zedís relation to Shen isnít as powerful as some of the uses of this Iíve seen, but in comparison to other such character relations within the League (even with the Freljord patch, which Iím sure Iíll give my opinion on at some point, maybe) it is one of the most vivid and most nostalgic.
Rengar and KhaíZix are similar, but you can tell very obviously that they were designed together for just this purpose, even their release dates were one after the other. The whole of the Freljord patch attempts to work off of this, but itís a very elongated fight and itís mostly based on other side information and happenings.
Zedís beef with Shen is spelled out plain and simple in his background story. Just put out there, and is used with champions whose releases were AGES apart. Now, Iím not saying that these other examples are bad, just that I find the variation Zed uses to be a tiny bit more forward and reader-grabbing because of how sudden and accessible it is.
Next is something I recall seeing mentioned on the official forums once: the location of the box Zed opens. The post I saw was a gripe about how someone could think putting a box containing evil shadow powers in a temple full of ninja students who could be tempted to use it was a good idea.
And you know what? It IS a good idea! What better place to store something like that then in the middle of trained fighters and assassins? And in this case an army of them Ė granted an army-in-training, but it still makes more sense than having merely one man guard it (looking at you Varus).
Now, was leaving it unguarded in an abandoned part of the temple a smart idea? No, but Iíll get more into that with the cons.
Thirdly: Zedís Order of the Shadow. Now, Iím just going to go on and say that Iím disappointed with the name in comparison to what it replaced. The Kinkou order has a name that sounds unique and original, and thatís a very good thing; it stands out in the same ways the names of the nations do, giving them a bit of flair and awe. Order of Shadow, however, just sounds like SO many other evil organizations out there. If youíve heard the names, you know what Iím talking about.
Would it have been so difficult to slap a few letters together six or seven times until they came up with something unique that sounded like it fit? The evil ninjas are being led by a guy whose entire kit is revolves around his shadow, Riot; I think we can interpret what this new group, an ďorder,Ē if you will, is based around.
Despite this gripe, Iím still glad it exists. As I mentioned in my Zac review I love it when a character comes along the breaks what is otherwise a very strict mold of a nation. Zedís order adds a dark side to Ionia that outclasses Syndraís potential to be a major villain and Varusí unleashing of whatever Eldritch abomination he had been guarding.
Zed brings to the table an entire FORCE of potential antagonists, all of which step out of the mold of their nation. In this case, itís Zedís want of power that breaks the Ionian ideal of balance, something that we see ALL good-aligned Ionians hold to. Even Syndra, to her credit, at least believes she is within the balance despite what everyone else has said to her.
I said it before in the Zac video, but I want to see more characters like this. What about a Piltover champion that disagrees with his nationís idea about regulation? A Noxian who refuses to accept strength is the key of all things? A Demacian who forgoes honor because it is a form of weakness?
Characters like these could all still fit well enough to represent their cities, maybe attempting to change something about their society through the influence of the League and their representation as a part of it?
Back on track, though, I suppose I do have to mention that, aside from Zed, the whole of the Order of the Shadow IS completely faceless. Besides the knowledge that they see balance as a weakness, thereís not much we know about it. Who did it attract? Other disgruntled students? People who wished to become Kinkou but were not strong enough?
Really, itís the same problem we have with Viktor, Malzahar and Kassadin (sorta for Kassadin): we know they have a fairly large group of followers, we just know next-to-nothing about them. Iíd like to see at least one champion be released that is explicitly created to give credit to the existence of these organizations.
Surely their leaders have favorites within their ranks? Surely said favorite would want to be there to assist his/her boss on the Fields of Justice? So why DONíT they? What is keeping a member of the Glorious Evolution or the Cult of the Void from joining the League to support their master? With the tension between Zaun and Piltover heating up because of Jayce and Viktorís hatred for each other, at least one of these I hope to see addressed.
I DO have a problem with this organizationís existence, though, (aside from all the minor gripes I mentioned here) but thatís a point for the cons.
My final ďprosĒ bullet point says that Iím to discuss the breaking of the Ionian mold and why I think that is a good thing, but Iím pretty sure Iíve already done that. If you think I didnít explain my reasoning clearly enough tell me and Iíll either reply with a comment or make a video specifically dedicated to the topic.
Moving on to the cons:
Remember how I said the idea of putting a box containing a great evil in the middle of a temple of ninjas made sense? Well, what doesnít make sense is how these same ninjas would leave the box unguarded. And for that matter, why is a part of the temple sealed off and, apparently, abandoned?
Did the box have some sort of aura that made it too dangerous for the Kinkou to stay near it? Wouldnít it have been mentioned that Zed could have and should have felt that same aura as he approached the box?
This is a very minor point, but it just seems like a very bad clichť of how evil powers are typically treated. Heck, not only would have it made more sense for the box to be guarded, but it also would have been much more interesting to read how Zed may have snuck past the guards to reach his goal; which would not only be MUCH cooler to picture, but would have lent a little more backing to the idea that Zed and Shen were truly equals (not to say itís not credible, Iíve just seen a few people misunderstand Zedís background as ďhe was not as good as Shen and was angsty because of thatĒ).
Secondly is that problem I mentioned with Zedís Order of the Shadow (aside from the name and lack of information on it): HOW did no one notice it amassing? Itís not even a matter of ďhow did no one see an army moving?Ē itís a matter of ďhow did no one notice people were being recruited?Ē
Only former students of the Kinkou Ė as I understand it Ė would have known where they might find Zed without drawing attention to the fact they were going to find him, but if THAT many students are running off for one reason or another you would think someone in charge would say to someone else ďso, Iím thinkiní we MAY want to keep tabs on where all those people with dangerous ninja training are going. You know, just in case they hurt someone.Ē
ďBut what if he was recruiting ordinary people?Ē you may ask. Well, thatís just a reskin of the same problem: wouldnít someone have NOTICED if an evil ninja was walking up to farmers and saying ďwould you like to know the secret to eternal power?Ē? And then wouldnít they have alerted someone, someone like, I donít know, the ninjas that are good?
It just strikes me as ODD that he was able to amass what is described very plainly by the background as ďan armyĒ without any trouble from the authorities. Ionia IS a fairly big place, Iím sure, so he surely could have hidden the army, but itís also certain is that Farmer Wu would notice that Farmer Chong has been talking to a REALY shady looking guy and isnít working in the fields anymore. Maybe he should tell someone about that?
Moving on; my third problem is very simply how Shenís father treated Zedís return: saying that ďhe failed Zed.Ē I suppose itís some kind of staple for Asian-themed actions films that if a master ever has to confront a fallen apprentice that they take responsibility for it: heck, thatís what happened in the first Kung Fu Panda film as well as in Revenge of the Sith when Obi-wan confronted and beat Anakin (not word for word, but the idea was there).
Does that make it bad? Not necessarily, it works well enough because it makes sense; Shenís father SHOULD have tried to reason with Zed instead of banishing him for what he did. I just feel that the whole notion is overused to a fault, and I would like to see something where the master actually holds to what he said rather than feels bad about it and treats the obvious threat like the obvious threat that it is and not the poor lost sheep he wants to believe that it is (you know, like Obi-wan when he confronts Vader in A New Hope!).
And my final problem is (another) one Iím kind of torn on, but itís still worth mentioning: what WAS in the box Zed opened? I mean, as Summoners weíre privy to the inside of the minds of the Champion, even with the rule that keeps us from (lore-wise) sharing what we know and learn through this communication with other people (even fellow Summoners).
We should STILL be able to know ourselves what it was he unleashed. Was it another form of what got to Varus? Was it something else entirely? What was it that Zed not only used to gain power, but was so enamored with that he had to come back to take another hit of it?
Now, NOT knowing what it is word-for-word DOES open up the every-lovely possibility of fan speculation. Something that Riot seems to want to be cultivating and that I, personally, really enjoy. Itís fun to think about the possibilities and what MIGHT be going on with a characterís life and history rather that just saying ďoh, yeah, itís <insert evil force here>Ē.
As I said, this is kind of a mixed point for me, but I chose to chalk it up as a negative because the ďI think we should know about thisĒ side weighs just a LITTLE heavier for me. You may disagree, and youíre free to do that, itís just my opinion.
And that is all I have to say about Zedís Lore. Until next time, my fellow Summoners.
I hate Zed's lore.
Really i do.
It's just bad and doesn't mesh well with the world or the old story of the Kinkou. Zed's lore seems like it was written by someone who didn't even bother to read the short and I mean short lore "blurbs" for the 3 members of the Kinkou.
Zed should be dead, simple as that.
When Zed unlocked the evil shadow power of his box he became a powerful evil imbalance, yet the order who is all about balance just banished him, instead of killing him, you know because they are so sentimental or something. Maybe they just didn't think killing him would be right.
Except that's not how the Kinkou operate at all. Akali's mother said "We do that which must be done" which means whatever is necessary to preserve balance. As a member of the Kinkou Akali herself "has had to do much in this role which others might find morally questionable". Her job is literally "eliminating those who threaten the equilibrium of Valoran."
Then there is Shen, he is the decision maker of the Kinkou the "Eye of Twilight" and his job is to "dispassionately determine what must be done in the interests of equilibrium". In order to be the leader he had to watch his father being tortured just to make sure he wouldn't react or show emotion. The idea that the Kinkou wouldn't consider Zed a threat because he was close to them and young makes NO SENSE.
The lore of the Kinkou really only reiterates two things:
1. The Kinkou LOVE balance, they pretty much are a balance cult quite honestly.
2. They don't use kiddy gloves, they will kill ANYONE if it is needed for balance, they are cold-hearted and logical murderers for their cult.
So why was Zed allowed to live? I can only think of 3 broad reasons really.
1. The Kinkou are incompetent (which is doubtful).
2. They wanted him to live. Maybe the old leaders of the Kinkou (who are now dead) wanted Zed's evil and chaos to balance out the order and good of the world (remember crazy balance cult). With the League and other stuff going on the world is becoming full of order and light (no more wars), maybe Zed (or someone) was meant to use the evil in the box to bring back "balance". I mean why would the Kinkou have such a powerful evil artifact to begin with. In this theory Zed was meant to be, created to be an evil counterweight to all of the order the league is creating. But by the time Zed attacked, Shen would have been the decision maker for the Kinkou (his father being tortured was his final test), why would none of the active Kinkou agents not know the plan?
3. Inside the box was Shen's fathers head, the box makes whoever's head is in it becomes immortal. Zed removed Shen's father's head (thus killing him) and then put his own head inside. Sacrificing himself to the shadows for power. It would be a cool dark object if this was true but if it is how did he "start" to unlock shadow powers without sacrificing himself? How can he teach the shadows to others?
4. Whoever wrote Zed's lore couldn't be bothered to read 6 paragraphs about 3 different characters and just decided that the Kinkou were now "Naruto's good guy Leaf Village" or something instead of giving him a back story that FIT into the existing lore.
As much as i think option 2 or 3 could be cool I'm pretty sure it actually number 4. Which is disappointing, but after the whole Freljord fiasco I really couldn't care for more "yet unanswered mysteries, which might be answered at some much later date, so finally all this illogical stuff will actually make sense." It's because of the ambiguous writing and seemingly illogical actions, of a supposedly logic obsessed cult that people think Zed is Shen's father in disguise.
I mean why would they just let Zed leave, when he has taken a great and evil power? If the box could be destroyed, why would they use this to "test" Zed instead of just destroying it and stopping him from attaining it's full power? It just doesn't really add up.
(I know it says "the assembled ninjas heard Zed cry out in pain. Mysteriously, he emerged unscathed, and threw the severed head of the master at Shen's feet") I always thought this was reference to Zed's shadows (like maybe Shen's father attacked Zed, but it was a shadow) or that Zed can't die (the box has become his phylactery) and he just re-spawned and retaliated (in his in-game death animation he is absorbed by a shadow that spawns on the ground). I always thought the Shen's father theory a little convoluted but to each their own.
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