Necromancy, Time and the System of the Shadowlands

Hi there!

I would be surprised if this never came up here, so I’ll just ask:
Did Blizzard address at any point how the system of the Shadowlands connects to time and necromancy in the mortal plane of existence / “our” reality?

We know that the Spirit Healers alert the Kyrians, who then bring the souls of the deceased to Oribos for their judgement. But… what about souls who are raised from the dead after a certain amount of time has passed?

Derek Proudmoore, for example. He died decades ago, his body sunk to the bottom of the Ocean, just to be retrieved by Sylvanas in BfA. Shouldn’t his soul have been in the Shadowlands? In that case, shouldn’t he - shouldn’t many Undead beings - remember what came after their Death? And if he hasn’t been in the Shadowlands - did he just chill next to a Spirit Healer for 20+ years, because they told him that “he wasn’t ready yet and eventually, something would happen to him”?

What if someone is resurrected whose soul was already turned into a Kyrian and who let go of their old memories? Or a soul that is trapped in the Maw? Does resurrection undo “soul transformation” / the Arbiter’s judgement and wipe the mind of the undead being?

To summarize my thought process:
How does Necromancy on the mortal plane even align with the system of the Shadowlands? :thinking:

1 Like

Well, Time with the Shadowlands is iffy because Time is a construct of the cosmic power of Order, and the further removed something is from Order, the less stable it’s experience of time is.


As far as necromancy and why souls may or may not remember things from the Shadowlands, I’d argue that while the soul might retain knowledge, what the physical brain can process is limited. It may be that mortal brains are incapable of conceptualizing the Shadowlands.

In a Kyrian only WQ, players are shown past souls that entered the Shadowlands and have to correctly guess that they were sent back to life (for example: elementals and demons) or sent into the Shadowlands (ex: other races that died by different means).

However one case is a human who outright begs to be allowed into the Shadowlands since he can hear the call of the Val’kyr. If you decide he was allowed in, you are briefly stunned for the wrong answer, and after picking the return to life option, you are informed that the Kyrian honor the Val’kyr in this manner due to recognizing them in some manner. Thus I feel we can make the inference that some of killed in conflict like the War against the Lich King that were raised by the Val’kyr actually didn’t enter the Shadowlands at all.

Granted I’m not 100% sure how things with Derek worked out here… but since Death is about eternity and not time, it could be that after Derek died, when the Kyrian came to collect him, they felt that tug on his soul from the Val’kyr and thus sent him back, to the exact moment Kyra resurrected him at Sylvanas’ command.

Though my theory would explain why those like Derek didn’t remember the Shadowlands, I’m drawing a blank on those raised from the dead by death knights and necromancers like Arthas and Kel’Thuzad.

1 Like

The soul is pulled back from the shadowlands, that includes if you’re already a Kyrian etc. You will however not remember what happened in the shadowlands, two death knights ponder this in game as they must have been judged by the arbiter and passed through at their death, but they have no recollection of it.
Then when you die again you’re sent back to the shadowlands, unknown if you’re placed back or judged again though.
Also, I’d imagine if you attempt to resurrect someone who has their soul in the maw, then the necromancy ritual just fail as the maw is/was inescapable.

1 Like

First of all, thank you for the answers! :slight_smile:

I found Danuser’s whole explanation very weird in that interview. I mean, even IF “time” doesn’t have a place in the Shadowlands, we do see an intersection between our dimensions. At a point in our TIME, Sylvanas broke the Crown. Later in our TIME, our leaders were abducted, freed and (mostly) saved. Which enabled the Jailer to set his plan in motion. So there has to be some kind of “temporal proportion” between our reality and the Shadowlands.

It’s just as confusing as the whole “Legion exists outside of Space and Time”- and “Demons die their final death in the Nether”-thing. We’ve killed Archimonde for good in the Nether, so, is he now purged from all Realities and Timelines? What if we visited the Hyjal Battle now in the caverns of time?

I always get the feeling that the writers have certain ideas, “sparks” of a concept and then… just go with it because “they seem to be cool”, without looking further into the possible narrative complications of these established systems.

Correct me, if I misunderstand you, but… theoretically, that would mean that we could witness consequences of events in the Shadowlands, that haven’t even happened in our reality yet? Like a soul getting sucked back into reality because it’s about to be resurrected? What if it were an important soul who was just about to do something meaningful for the Shadowlands?
You get what I mean? There has to be some kind of relativity for these dimensions for all this to work. :thinking:


This one was already basically covered in Chronicle.

The Twisting Nether - and Legion within it - exist outside our relative flow of time. They’re still subject to Time itself, however; Chronicle says outright that while the rate at which it moves is flexible and unpredictable, Time still moves forward in the Nether, as in the Great Dark. In the Twisting Nether the past is the past, the present is the present, and the future is the future there. It’s just not chugging along at the same consistent rate as it does in the Great Dark.

So if/when we killed Archimonde in the Twisting Nether (that’s still made uncertain by the fact that he has to still be alive on Draenor for a short time for Gul’dan to be cast into the Black Gate and every event since then to have happened), he’s dead from that point forward. Meaning he’s gone from the Nether thereafter, and consequently can no longer exist in any new branching timelines in our reality. One could encounter him elsewhere by going back in time (see: CoT Hyjal), but since time moves forward in both planes of reality, that past version of himself would be just that - a past version for whom the events of WoD had not happened yet.

Just as traveling back in time to the Sunwell raid would lead one to face a Kil’jaeden who hasn’t yet been killed en route to Argus. The passage of time still happens in the Twisting Nether; it just doesn’t happen at the same reliable and consistent pace.

Arguably one could speculate the same is the case for the Shadowlands; it’s not that there’s no such thing as Time there. It’s just that the consistent passage of Time doesn’t dictate the rules. There’s still such a thing as a past, present and future there; it’s just that the rate at which such things are experienced varies wildly compared to the stately and consistent pace at which it marches along in the living world. It’s a realm of “eternity,” so whether an hour is experienced as an hour or if it stretches into a thousand years varies from situation to situation, and perhaps even from person to person.


Yeah, I agree with you on that happening from time to time.

Not sure on the reality bit since there is now a direct connection between Azeroth and Shadowlands, but we could theoretically witness a soul get resurrected, especially since we don’t know if Zovaal leaving the Shadowlands could have any side effects on the whole all souls entering the Maw bit.

I think if its a soul that’s at the point of doing something meaningful for the Shadowlands, then it should be past the point for them being able to be resurrect on their planet or whatever either due to the long passage of time or because they’ve officially joined a covenant. Like Uther is now a Kyrian, and so I don’t think it’s possible to resurrect him as a human because his soul has officially changed.

The only thing that should prevent Resurrection or Reanimation is the Body being having rot into dust.

The only people likely to become Undead or Resurrected would be Varian and Terenas’s fathers as their Grandfathers’ Skeletons have likely already rotted away.

Skeletons need to be in the Desert or be Fossilized to survive the Decay of Time. Kings don’t get Fossilized and the only ones buried in the Desert are Sethrak or Sand Trolls.

As for Covenants: Morgraine only joined his Covenant after the Lich King died. Ysera’s Body was converted into Foliage to purify the Tear of Elune. Uther has 3 pieces of Soul so Necromancy or Resurrection will grab whichever is closest.

Amber Kearnen was last seen in the Sewers of Dalaran so if any Necromancer was going to raise her it would have been Sylvanas. Sylvanas clearly left her to rot.

Basically they are in the Shadowlands but necromancy yoinks them out of there and they lose all memories of the Shadowlands.

Danuser explains this in an interview with lore channel: The Lost Codex:


Thank you! I only remembered a BlizzCon quote from years ago where they said that the Legion exists outside of timelines and realities. Your explanation makes way more sense. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Well, they were able to turn just ONE part of his soul into a (flawed) Kyrian. That’s strange enough for me - but Uther and his (three?) Soul Parts is a whole different story. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Uh, thanks for bringing that to my notice, that’s almost exactly the answer to my question! :open_mouth:


Agreed 100%. The thing of it is, after giving these theoretical answers in interviews, the game doesn’t reflect those things at all. For instance, time seems to flow normally in the Shadowlands. It may or may not line up with time in the mortal realm, but there is definitely a past, present and future there. We learn about past Paragons in Bastion, past battles in Maldraxxus, the original Court of Harvesters in Revendreth, how the Winter Queen used to tend to wildseeds herself in the early days of Ardenweald, and even some hints into the past of Oribos, Korthia and the Maw. It’s all described in a normal, linear way that follows the progression of time.

It’s similar to the completely insane “all alternate universe souls merge into the main universe soul in the Shadowlands” thing Danuser came up with. There is literally NOTHING that indicates that in the game. Nothing. AFAIK, the only place that exists is in the interview where he said it. Because with Garrosh’s soul annihilated, that means every alternate universe Garrosh, good or bad, hero or villain, will be instantly annihilated upon death, since they’re tied to the “main” soul.

To be as fair as possible, we don’t know if it’s just Danuser himself coming up with these things or if it’s from the whole story team and he’s just the one who gets interviews, and thus is basically just the messenger. But whatever it is, I wish they’d stop just throwing their half-baked concepts out there as fact. I’d rather just not have answers than be stuck with the convoluted nightmare WoW’s cosmology has become.


Well no, it just means they’d cease to be as with the false timelines that produced them, and over time events resulting from Garrosh still living in those realities along with the compounding consequences of such a difference would render them far enough removed from the true timeline that there would be no more sustainable realities left that still contain other Garroshes.

This all fits with the established standard; only our universe is true and permanent. All of the others eventually fade away and cease to exist as false possibilities that didn’t happen.

It’s indicated in-game by the fact that none of the familiar people we see in the Shadowlands are portrayed as representative of anything but their MU selves. Because when someone’s alternate from another universe born of a false timeline dies, the events and experiences that comprised their life are as false as the universe containing them, meaning that version of their soul wouldn’t bring those false traits along with it.

Hence every mortal soul in the Shadowlands isn’t a deranged hodgepodge of infinite conflicting personalities smashed together as one person. Only one living universe is fully real and true; the rest are by their very natures “shadows” representing what didn’t actually happen. So when a soul in one of them dies, it wouldn’t bring along memories and experiences of those events when it crosses over into the Shadowlands. It would just be a tiny “strand” of the “rope” of potentiality for that soul - a “rope” comprised primarily of the complete version of that soul whose existence actually happened in the MU of the true timeline.

It’s an interesting thought, but that’s not really what Danuser said. He compared MU Draka and AU Draka as both being strands from the same rope. And that eventually, since time and death are not related, those two threads come together along with many other threads of Draka from other alternate universes that we’ve never even seen before.

It seems to me from his answer that he’s operating from a more traditional multiverse theory, and not the “one true timeline, the rest are temporary fakes” that the earlier story team went with.

I agree. It’s a weird explanation and in my opinion halfbaked. If every version of Draka (in the multiverse?) is a thread of the rope that defines Draka, why would we see only OUR “Thread” in the Shadowlands and not multiple versions of these characters? Just as we saw OUR Garrosh “die”. They should at least address if there is a canonical reason for this or… if they just wanted players to instantly recognize these characters, so they just went with it.

Because the multiple versions don’t spawn different characters but rather join in the “rope” so as the AU Draka’s die, they would join up inside maldraxxus Draka. I also think since we come from the “core” and true timeline, our versions hold most sway.

1 Like

Maybe not. maybe that’s why his body was still in such a relatively good shape even after all that time after his death. More than likely his soul remained dormant within it.

Good authors never explain anything they don’t have to. The mechanics of life and death are still pretty much a mystery.

Good authors also wouldn’t leave plotholes. And there’s too much of them in the recent lore.

I’m curious to know what you think of this in regards to Thrall and Geyarah. If they both died do you think they would join together into the same “rope” or would they be separate? Since Geyarah comes from an AU, she can be considered as either a different version of Thrall or someone who wasn’t supposed to exist. I don’t know if the Shadowlands takes the latter into account.

It’s only a plot hole if it’;s missing element that means beans as far as the story.

Well she’s not a different version of Thrall, because she was conceived and born at different times under different circumstances. That’s how reproduction works; if anyone here’s parents had waited a month longer, then a different person would have been the result because different cells with different variations would have been involved.

Technically yes, without the interference of the Prime universe, anyone who solely exists in the reality of a false timeline “wasn’t supposed to exist,” because such alternate realities are by definition fading echoes of what might have been, but wasn’t.