When you Retcon, you're not supposed to destroy lore.

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Darmikau

Senior Member

10-17-2012

Half the map of Runeterra might as well not exist.

Now that Karthus has been retconned the Howling Marshes serve absolutely 0 purpose.

Might as well retcon Nasus and Amumu so you can get rid of the Shurima Desert too.


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Snes C

Senior Member

10-17-2012

You're right, without being identified as Karthus' home, the Howling Marshes don't really have a purpose. That should tell you that they do more to complicate the lore than enhance it. Moving him to the Shadow Isles fits more thematically.

Conversely, Malzahar, Xerath, Rammus, Amumu, Nasus, and Ezreal all have connections to Shurima Desert.


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Cerubois

Senior Member

10-18-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnesController View Post
You're right, without being identified as Karthus' home, the Howling Marshes don't really have a purpose. That should tell you that they do more to complicate the lore than enhance it. Moving him to the Shadow Isles fits more thematically.

Conversely, Malzahar, Xerath, Rammus, Amumu, Nasus, and Ezreal all have connections to Shurima Desert.
Having a complicated lore made it feel more realistic. More believable. With these areas known to us, we have more to explore.

Besides, I'm sure they won't outright say the Howling Marshes just don't exist anymore. It'll just sit there and leave people wondering why it's there, which is far more complicated than having it serve the one purpose it needed. A kingdom for Karthus and his undead.


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ZodiarkSavior

Senior Member

10-18-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darmikau View Post
Half the map of Runeterra might as well not exist.

Now that Karthus has been retconned the Howling Marshes serve absolutely 0 purpose.

Might as well retcon Nasus and Amumu so you can get rid of the Shurima Desert too.
Old lore still happened, new lore is just explaining his childhood and how he became a lich.

I fail to see why people are not capable of figuring this out :x


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Grand Viper

Senior Member

10-18-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZodiarkSavior View Post
Old lore still happened, new lore is just explaining his childhood and how he became a lich.

I fail to see why people are not capable of figuring this out :x
Fine, you want to know how?

Old/JoJ Karthus

It is thought that Karthus was a mage who, in life, was foolish enough to enter the fetid waters seeking his fortune, and that he was forever transformed by whatever dark magic permeates the swamp. Karthus now rules over his swampy dominion with an iron (albeit skeletal) fist. Visitors are not welcome, and those who are not scared away by the lich's terrible power most likely end up as one of the undead themselves... skeletons and zombies in Karthus' growing army of eternal servants. On the darkest of nights, Karthus is said to sing the tales of those who have succumbed to the swamp, past and present.

Karthus' tenure in the League of Legends is one of the more unusual ones in the history of the League. First, it is highly unusual that a lich who was known for isolation and hatred of life would even be a willing part of an organization which promoted the preservation of life. Next, Karthus specifically eschews the accrual of power and influence gained through service to the League; he is essentially an unpaid volunteer. This behavior is completely different than what his life outside of the League would have onlookers believe. Karthus has never spoken about his intentions in being a champion of the League, and in fact becomes quite agitated when asked about it. In the interests of not aggravating a lich, most sensible people subsequently drop the issue.

*“In life, there was one worth singing for forever. I have kept my promise, though to some now the song is not as lovely as it was once meant to be.”*

*Remember this line, it is important!

Updated Karthus

Karthus is a terrible creature who was once a mortal so obsessed with death that he eagerly embraced the gift of undeath. Now in his unlife as a lich, Karthus is closer to his beloved grave than he ever imagined. He commands magic with oblivion as its source, and seeks to bring his grim truth to the rest of the world: only in death does life gain clarity and purpose.

Even as a boy, Karthus was different. There was a darkness within him that could not be denied. The young child clung to the shadows and shunned the company of others. He snuck into the funerals of strangers, and spoke to their tombstones in the cemetery. He sought out corpses of animals to preserve and memorialize them, creating a grim collection of morbid art. Karthus volunteered to tend to the sick and dying, though his intentions were not to help, but to closely witness the passing of those who were beyond help. Ultimately, he went so far as to elaborately stage his death, and he secretly observed his own funeral with intense fascination. When others discovered what Karthus had done, they were so shocked and disturbed that, in a way, he became truly dead to them. Karthus found himself fully rejected by the living.

His isolation only served to fuel his obsession. Karthus delved further into his exploration of death, and became fascinated by the legends of the Shadow Isles. There, it was said, the specters of the deceased continued on in unlife everlasting. Possessed by these tales, he knew he had to discover for himself if they were true. Journeying to those dreaded isles, Karthus soon found himself wandering through the mist, overcome by the surreal beauty of the place. He felt as if he had finally come home. He had always chased the elusive purity of the moment of death, when life passed and in a single instant achieved meaning. Karthus saw that undeath was like that moment, preserved in dread stillness forever.

Old Karthus

''Come visit my home, and I shall sing a dirge of your life as it once was.''

New Karthus

"There is no sweeter song than the last breath of the dying."

-----------------------------------------

These are two separate people. One is a mysterious figure while the other one became obsessed with death and the idea of it. One would sing outside of destruction and sang for someone he loved while the other cackles as he sings your death. One is ambiguously evil because he's a skeleton that shoots trespassers who don't listen to hsi warning while the other is undeniably evil because everyone needs to see that only in death do we gain clarity, so kill us all.

They do no coincide. New Karthus has nothing but death on the brain while the old Karthus was something more of a mysterious figure whose intentions were, gasp, ambiguous.


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Tolfor

Senior Member

10-21-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grand Viper View Post
These are two separate people. One is a mysterious figure while the other one became obsessed with death and the idea of it. One would sing outside of destruction and sang for someone he loved while the other cackles as he sings your death. One is ambiguously evil because he's a skeleton that shoots trespassers who don't listen to hsi warning while the other is undeniably evil because everyone needs to see that only in death do we gain clarity, so kill us all.

They do no coincide. New Karthus has nothing but death on the brain while the old Karthus was something more of a mysterious figure whose intentions were, gasp, ambiguous.
(I would have responded to each of the lines you quoted in turn, but that would have made this post gigantic)

You're making a lot of assumptions to call new Karthus "undeniably evil" and accuse him of "cackling" as he "kills everyone." All I got out of the new lore was that he has an intense morbid/philosophical fascination with death and specifically with the exact moment that someone passes on. Further, he views undeath as the extension of that exact moment into an eternity.

Depending on how long ago his visit to the Shadow Isles was, his old lore does not need to be considered obsolete, and none of the things that you quoted - not even the underlined bits - seemed to directly conflict with one another to me.

Honestly it just seems like you're choosing to read old and new as two different characters more than it seems like Riot is trying to present them that way. What I get out of the new lore is totally different. I think of him as being like Yorick; someone who was alive hundreds of years ago and who came back to the mainland as an undead and has been here ever since.

Also, even if you're right and Riot now considers the old lore fully retconned, frankly I don't mind because "ooh he's mysterious and ambiguous and nobody knows anything about him or his motivations" is not good writing or characterization.


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Kyryck

Senior Member

10-21-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tolfor View Post
(I would have responded to each of the lines you quoted in turn, but that would have made this post gigantic)

You're making a lot of assumptions to call new Karthus "undeniably evil" and accuse him of "cackling" as he "kills everyone." All I got out of the new lore was that he has an intense morbid/philosophical fascination with death and specifically with the exact moment that someone passes on. Further, he views undeath as the extension of that exact moment into an eternity.

Depending on how long ago his visit to the Shadow Isles was, his old lore does not need to be considered obsolete, and none of the things that you quoted - not even the underlined bits - seemed to directly conflict with one another to me.

Honestly it just seems like you're choosing to read old and new as two different characters more than it seems like Riot is trying to present them that way. What I get out of the new lore is totally different. I think of him as being like Yorick; someone who was alive hundreds of years ago and who came back to the mainland as an undead and has been here ever since.

Also, even if you're right and Riot now considers the old lore fully retconned, frankly I don't mind because "ooh he's mysterious and ambiguous and nobody knows anything about him or his motivations" is not good writing or characterization.
I'm utterly astounded that people are reading the new lore and somehow declaring that there aren't several points in it that directly refute the old lore.

1) Karthus was a mage who went into the Howling Marsh and there died while foolishly seeking his fortune. He did NOT die in the Shadow Isles as the new lore implies. To top it off, the first Karthus becomes a lich entirely by accident. He doesn't seek to become that. The second Karthus is actively campaigning for a spot on Dracula's friend list and is trying his damnedest to worm his way onto it.

2) Furthermore, Karthus' entire motivation leading to his becoming a lich is astoundingly different in both tone and scope. In the old lore he's a greedy mage who went to the swamp seeking his fortune. In the new lore he's a psychotic with a death fetish who goes to the Shadow Isles and discovers that he wants to be undead. The first mage wants wealth, the second just wants to be undead.

3) Old Karthus doesn't wander around seeking to bring death to anybody. He sits in his bloody swamp, warning people away and killing them when they don't listen to the warnings. New Karthus actively wants to 'bring his grim truth to the rest of the world.' He actively WANTS to kill people so they can embrace his reality.

These are only three of the most egregious ways in which the old lore is utterly violated by the new. If you can't see that, then I'm sorry, but you're lacking in even basic literary conceptual knowledge, much less critical examination skills. The entire character's purpose and personality has been altered, as has his backstory.

Now, do I think that Riot doesn't have the right to do this? Well, it's their champion, so sure they do. They have a basic literary ethic to uphold though (or so I would argue), and I think that's where they're failing here. They're dumbing down the lore for, what seems to me at least, to be no good reason whatsoever. They seem to want champions to populate the Shadow Isles, so hooray, Karthus gets to go there and needs lore that lets him do that.

But let's not have any of this rubbish about how the new lore is somehow just 'expanding' the old lore. It's outright rewriting it and, I would argue, for the worse in terms of complexity and characterization. Finally, having mysterious or ambiguous characters can indeed be 'good writing'. Some of the most famous authors in history have used ambiguous or mysterious characters that are fully realized in terms of characterization. And hey, if Bill Shakespeare can use an ambiguous or mysterious character, or Mark Twain, or Melville, or Dickens, or any of a huge list of spectacular writers, I think that pretty much negates your claim that such things aren't an example of 'good writing'. Just sayin'.


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Aurionin

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Senior Member

10-21-2012

First, I would like to point out that I'm not trying to outright disagree with you, but I do feel that both lore can be considered valid.

Quote:
1) Karthus was a mage who went into the Howling Marsh and there died while foolishly seeking his fortune. He did NOT die in the Shadow Isles as the new lore implies. To top it off, the first Karthus becomes a lich entirely by accident. He doesn't seek to become that. The second Karthus is actively campaigning for a spot on Dracula's friend list and is trying his damnedest to worm his way onto it.

2) Furthermore, Karthus' entire motivation leading to his becoming a lich is astoundingly different in both tone and scope. In the old lore he's a greedy mage who went to the swamp seeking his fortune. In the new lore he's a psychotic with a death fetish who goes to the Shadow Isles and discovers that he wants to be undead. The first mage wants wealth, the second just wants to be undead.
First of all, Karthus becoming a lich on accident and Karthus seeking his fortune are both described in his lore as "It is thought that..." which, to me, seems like Riot left it open so they could fill it in eventually, probably through the JoJ or something. It's like Shaco, no one knows what he is, or where he's come from, so people make up stories about him, the greedy mage story becoming the most popular. Also, it says that no one knew why Karthus came to the League in the first place, but the new lore tells you that he came to the league so he can "bring his dark requiem to the world."

Quote:
3) Old Karthus doesn't wander around seeking to bring death to anybody. He sits in his bloody swamp, warning people away and killing them when they don't listen to the warnings. New Karthus actively wants to 'bring his grim truth to the rest of the world.' He actively WANTS to kill people so they can embrace his reality.
Again, Karthus doesn't just sit in his swamp, he actively takes parts in League matches, arguably the most death-filled thing he could choose to do. His new lore expands on this by giving his reason for joining the League.

Anyways, just giving my input. I'm a big fan of lore, and I really don't see why Karthus can't have both stories, the new one just filling in the ambiguity of the old. As for the first post, where the guy was complaining about the Howling Marshes, nowhere in the new lore does it say Karthus doesn't still live in, and control, them. Just because the Shadow Isles was where he became a lich doesn't mean he can't have turned the swamp into the undead-filled place it is now and made it his home.

[P.S. One thing I do have to note, by the way, that I don't like about either lore is that Karthus is "The Deathsinger," but neither of his lores explain his singing, or even mention it, save for the quotes at the end.]


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Kyryck

Senior Member

10-21-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurionin View Post
First, I would like to point out that I'm not trying to outright disagree with you, but I do feel that both lore can be considered valid.

First of all, Karthus becoming a lich on accident and Karthus seeking his fortune are both described in his lore as "It is thought that..." which, to me, seems like Riot left it open so they could fill it in eventually, probably through the JoJ or something. It's like Shaco, no one knows what he is, or where he's come from, so people make up stories about him, the greedy mage story becoming the most popular. Also, it says that no one knew why Karthus came to the League in the first place, but the new lore tells you that he came to the league so he can "bring his dark requiem to the world."

Again, Karthus doesn't just sit in his swamp, he actively takes parts in League matches, arguably the most death-filled thing he could choose to do. His new lore expands on this by giving his reason for joining the League.

Anyways, just giving my input. I'm a big fan of lore, and I really don't see why Karthus can't have both stories, the new one just filling in the ambiguity of the old. As for the first post, where the guy was complaining about the Howling Marshes, nowhere in the new lore does it say Karthus doesn't still live in, and control, them. Just because the Shadow Isles was where he became a lich doesn't mean he can't have turned the swamp into the undead-filled place it is now and made it his home.

[P.S. One thing I do have to note, by the way, that I don't like about either lore is that Karthus is "The Deathsinger," but neither of his lores explain his singing, or even mention it, save for the quotes at the end.]
Okay, first: I don't care if you disagree with me. I've not got any personal ego in this. But yes, you are indeed outright disagreeing with me, which is fine so long as you can back up what you're typing with actual fact and conclusive thought. As long as you're not a dick or staggeringly ignorant, disagree all you want and I won't take offence.

Second: Karthus does indeed just sit in his swamp. He's teleported whenever he is summoned (hence, 'Summoners') to the arenas. Otherwise, he sits in his swamp, he doesn't live in the 'League Residence' as it were. The way the writing is presented, it is heavily, heavily implied that Karthus plomps his bony ass down in some fetid swamp and snuffs anybody who is dumb enough to come in after he has warned them off.

Third: The League is not the most death filled thing he could do. He doesn't kill anybody. He banishes them or unsummons them or whatever, but at the end of the match they're all fine. He's not killing anybody.

Fourth: Indeed, it says that Karthus was quite reticent about why he was participating in the League in the first place. Nobody knew because Karthus himself got upset when people tried asking. This is ENTIRELY different than Karthus just wandering in and claiming as his reason for joining that he wants to 'share' his gift with the world. It is a complete and total change of character. One version he will not speak of his motivation and gets upset when asked. The other version gladly spews out about how he wants to off everybody so he can be the best sharer around.

Fifth: The very act of Karthus revealing his life story is a change of character. His previous character was that of a mysterious undead sorcerer. Nobody really knew why he was doing what he was doing, they just kind of accepted it so as not to yank his chain. This current version of Karthus doesn't have any mystery whatsoever in his story. He's told people. That, in an of itself, is a ridiculously huge change of character.

Sixth: You're right, it doesn't say that he doesn't go to the Howling Marsh and make that his home. They could have altered the original lore to make it so. Except that they didn't. For all we know, he could live on the moon or under the sea or in Brand's ass. We don't know, so to claim that one option is better than the other is speculation at best and shoehorning at worst.

Seventh: It does indeed explain a little of why Karthus is 'The Death Singer'. While the entire background isn't known, he says himself that he sings for one he thought was worth singing for forever. He also sings for the dead of the swamp on the darkest of nights. The new lore, on the other hand, makes no reference whatsoever to his singing such songs (so you're right about there not being any explanation in the new lore).

I hope that this demonstrates just how different the old and new lores actually are, and also why people saying that they somehow mesh together seem to be missing several salient points as to why that just isn't so.

Ultimately though it's unlikely that anybody who wants that to be the case will be convinced by anything I have to write about this. I could pull out the Riot writers themselves and they could categorically claim that they directly refute the old lore with the new and people would still claim that it works that way.


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Grand Viper

Senior Member

10-21-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tolfor View Post
(I would have responded to each of the lines you quoted in turn, but that would have made this post gigantic)

You're making a lot of assumptions to call new Karthus "undeniably evil" and accuse him of "cackling" as he "kills everyone." All I got out of the new lore was that he has an intense morbid/philosophical fascination with death and specifically with the exact moment that someone passes on. Further, he views undeath as the extension of that exact moment into an eternity.

Depending on how long ago his visit to the Shadow Isles was, his old lore does not need to be considered obsolete, and none of the things that you quoted - not even the underlined bits - seemed to directly conflict with one another to me.

Honestly it just seems like you're choosing to read old and new as two different characters more than it seems like Riot is trying to present them that way. What I get out of the new lore is totally different. I think of him as being like Yorick; someone who was alive hundreds of years ago and who came back to the mainland as an undead and has been here ever since.

Also, even if you're right and Riot now considers the old lore fully retconned, frankly I don't mind because "ooh he's mysterious and ambiguous and nobody knows anything about him or his motivations" is not good writing or characterization.
I did not add the last part of New Karthus' lore because I had thought I had drawn a big enough parallel with the connotations both lichs carried, and maybe someone looked it up themselves to make sure I was not spouting utter nonsense. I honestly would have preferred for you to have made a big post, to show that you cared enough of my opinion and my post, and the points I brought up, to refute them.

New Karthus' Lore

His isolation only served to fuel his obsession. Karthus delved further into his exploration of death, and became fascinated by the legends of the Shadow Isles. There, it was said, the specters of the deceased continued on in unlife everlasting. Possessed by these tales, he knew he had to discover for himself if they were true. Journeying to those dreaded isles, Karthus soon found himself wandering through the mist, overcome by the surreal beauty of the place. He felt as if he had finally come home. He had always chased the elusive purity of the moment of death, when life passed and in a single instant achieved meaning. Karthus saw that undeath was like that moment, preserved in dread stillness forever.

He had discovered his destiny, to cross over the veil and leave the living behind for eternity. Something awoke in the Shadow Isles that day, when Karthus did something no other creature had ever done: he willingly gave his life over to undeath. When he reentered the world, Karthus had become the embodiment of his own obsession. An undying lich with the keys to life and death, he seeks to bring his dark requiem to the world.

--------------------------------------------

He wants you, me, the dog down the street, to die. Because he wants us to see clarity in death. Irony coming from an undead person, since being undead means you are not dead. Especially not for someone who is obviously not a thrall, has the passive "Death Defied" going into a soul form and whose in game quote states, "Share...my curse!"


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