Observing Schrodinger’s Dragon

The “Nozdormu is really Prospector Remtravel” idea didn’t work out. Well, I did say I didn’t really believe it.  Now that the Dragon Soul raid is out, and the End Time dungeon as one of the five mans leading up to it, I’ve seen quite a few people asking if Nozdormu can still become Murozond since the Aspects have all become mortal.

I’m not caught up on everything that’s happened on the official forums, WoWInsider, or blogs during December. It’s been a busy month for me getting ready for Christmas, and I’ve been having fun babbling about bears at Precious and Soft when I have had some free time.

Yes, that’s right. I neglected to read your blog because I thought bears were more important. And I’m not sorry.

My point is that I’ve seen the questions. I haven’t seen much in the way of answers that go beyond, “You know… No. That doesn’t make sense to me, either.” That doesn’t mean the attempts at answering this aren’t out there. It does mean I’m not taking them into account as I write this because… well, do you usually take things you’re completely unaware of into account? Didn’t think so.

Who do we blame for this?

One assumption I keep seeing is that there’s a problem with the Aspects being created to prevent the Hour of Twilight because the Hour of Twilight wouldn’t happen if it weren’t for them. I think this idea could be flawed.

In the story Charge of the Aspects, Alextrasza and Nozdormu have a nice little chat about what, exactly, they are supposed to do. She says at one point, “Eonar charged me with preserving life.” She also asks Nozdormu, “[D]id Aman’Thul grant you dominion over time just so you could watch this world die?” And then there’s the moment where we seem to find out why the Aspects were created:

“Time is your charge just as life is mine, but what is our duty?” Alexstrasza said.

“To preserve thisss world at… all costs. To prevent the Hour of Twilight,” Nozdormu whispered.

I’m not convinced that was their only purpose. It could very well have been an additional task. Something along the lines of, “Each of you will be the guardian of an aspect of Azeroth… hey, that’s a good word… you’ll BE the Aspects! Okay, each of you will be the Aspect of an aspect… um… Look, you’re each in charge of something! And, in addition to that, you’re going to have to prevent the Hour of Twilight. At all costs. Because the rest of it isn’t going to matter if that happens. The bad news is that you don’t get to be an Aspect anymore after that. But I’m warning you now… you don’t get to be an Aspect anymore if you don’t prevent it, and everything else will have been a waste!”

If there are two things we know for sure, it’s that 1. the Titans have backup systems for the backup systems, and 2. Brann Bronzebeard can disable them. Blizzard, however, did not choose to make Brann part of this.

You see, there seems to be a lot of assuming that the Hour of Twilight could have only come about one way… the way it has played out.  Rades does a great job of making Deathwing’s insanity sound perfectly reasonable. It’s easy to look at the story and ask yourself, “Yeah, really… how the hell did they not see that he could end up this way?” Maybe they did. Maybe not that it would be Neltharion, but that it could be one of them. Or maybe they didn’t expect the Hour of Twilight to come about because of an Aspect being corrupted at all.  Just because you start at point A and head for point B doesn’t mean there’s only one possible route to get there.

Personally, I’m wondering what system they’ve got in place in case this happens again. Or maybe there isn’t one. It’s been shown that things can happen that the Titans failed to consider. Just ask Algalon. Or maybe it could only possibly happen once before the Titans would return to check on things. Look how long it took to come to this point, and they know more than we do about what’s on their schedule.

Would you believe I can just grab a couple of things off a shelf in my house and have a picture of Nozdormu?

But it’s all over now. The Aspects are mortal.

You say that like it matters. Okay, that was a rude response. The truth is, I think it does matter. I think it plays a huge part in why Nozdormu will go crazy.

It sounded like a clever response when Daxxari replied to “Nozdormu is both dead and alive” with, “Schrödinger’s dragon.” I think there’s quite a bit of truth to it. Something I’ve always liked about how Blizzard handles the Bronze Flight is that they’re something like a quantum superpositioned flight. From our point of view, there’s time travel. We leave our present time and go into the past when we do things in the Caverns of Time. Like the real world, the races of Azeroth experience linear time.

The bronze dragons aren’t experiencing things this way. Why is Chromie always confused about whether or not you’ve met before, yet also seems to think it doesn’t really matter? Because unlike most NPCs, it actually does make sense for Pally McLightbringer to be talking to Chromie in the Plaguelands while Stabby McRoguesauce talks to Chromie at Wyrmrest Temple. Chromie isn’t just in both places, but in both times.

What does Nozdormu tell you after you defeat Murozond?

At last it has come to pass. The moment of my demise. The loop is closed. My future self will cause no more harm from this day on. Still, in the future, I will… fall to madness. And you, heroes… will vanquish me. The cycle will repeat. So it goes.

And what did I just say about there being multiple ways to get from point A to point B?

Just because you defeated Murozond doesn’t mean Nozdormu’s fate is radically altered. If his fate is to go crazy and have to be killed, that door is still very wide open. Not just because “anything’s possible”, but because of the way Dragon Soul ends.

So… who do we blame for this?

Let’s review Schrödinger’s cat real quick. It was a thought experiment. No actual cats were harmed in this (as far as we have observed), and people often mistake it for Erwin Schrödinger saying this is how quantum mechanics works. Actually, it’s how the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics says it works, and Schrödinger was pointing out a problem with trying to apply that to the classical world.

Put a cat in a box.

Put a flask of radioactive poison in the box.

Close the box.

If radiation is detected, the flask is broken and there’s no way the cat survived that… it’s dead.

Isn’t it? How do you know? You haven’t seen whether or not the cat is dead. Therefore, because the cat could not have possibly survived but you haven’t seen any evidence that’s dead, the cat is both alive and dead until you open the box and observe that it is one or the other.

Schrödinger knew that cat wasn’t alive and dead. He was making a point. And now I’m going to make a point.

There’s a certain blessing in having a closed box. You get to make the choice to open it or leave it closed. Until you make the choice to open it, you still have that choice. If you walk away and leave it closed, you can always decide to come back and open it another day. Once that box is open, though, there’s nothing you can do about it. You could close it again. That won’t change the fact that you once opened it and found out what was inside.

Nozdormu has had an open box all this time. He didn’t know what could happen… he knew what would happen. I was discussing this with my husband, and he pointed out how Muad’dib saw The Golden Path… all possible outcomes… but didn’t know for certain which would happen. I think we could say that’s a broad view, and that Nozdormu has had a very long view. It seems the fracturing of timelines caused Nozdormu quite a bit of upset, and I think that resulted in him seeing something more like The Golden Path.

Nozdormu knows what will hapopen because he’s already there. It’s already real for him. Your past, present, and future are all his present. He is everywhen. Think of the times Chromie said the Bronze Flight couldn’t find him because, even though they knew where to look, they just didn’t know when he was. Time itself is a place for Nozdormu.

Take someone like that and lock them into a linear experience. Make The Timeless One be at the mercy of the very thing he once had dominion over. Make him a slave to every grain of sand in an hourglass, every tick of whatever timepiece an engineer can dream up. Make him not just grow old, but simply experience the passage of time. Make every passing second press down on him like a millenium.

Make him take in everything happening around him and not even be able to fully realize what he’s seen until it’s over.

Give him a closed box and tell him to make choices when he doesn’t know what’s inside.

Make him be mortal.

Sounds like the kind of thing that could drive him insane, doesn’t it?


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