[WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the WoW Extended Universe story "Trial of the Red Blossoms."]
OKay, so if you're reading this, I assume you have read the Trial of the Red Blossoms... If you haven't... well, Read it here.
So, I really did like the story. It was really well written and all... but there was only one- maybe two- things that really bothered me.
So, we all know the first scene where they're in the temple for the trial and all, but for those who haven't read it:
Basically, we have the group of (I think it was mentioned there were 10) young pandaren recruits standing on a rickety bridge over a lake, listening to a speech and being given their first test.
What is it, you ask?
They gotta race into a tiger-shaped Brazier and pull out a metal coin. There are fewer coins than participants, so it was definitely a race. Surprisingly tame for the most esteemed order in all of Pandaria, right?
Well, remember how I mentioned they were on a bridge over a lake? Turns out at the start of the test, the bridge is literally DROPPED from beneath them and they ALL get to fall into the water. Oh, also, I forgot to mention that it's like... winter or something and the lake is definitely below freezing temperatures? So yeah, those that don't drown immediately (due to being unable to swim or wearing too heavy armor) get to swim the freezing lake, battle Hypothermia and Frostbite, then plunge their hand into a brazier to pull out burning coins.
And these recruits are all children, the oldest probably being teens? Hard to tell, I don't remember if we were told specific ages. But they were referred to as 'cubs' and 'boys/girls' so, definitely implied these are not even adults.
There were 10 of them... 4 of them made it to the next test, the fates of the others were unknown.. but just read this one paragraph:
Keeping in mind this is happening to children/teens.. This is probably one of the most horrifying things I've read in all of WoW.With a clank, the chain holding one half of the bridge dropped from its mooring, and the applicants fell into the lake below, breaking jagged holes into the ice. They came up sputtering, shouting, bellowing, one voice screaming that he could not swim. There were a few seconds of terrifying chaos as some panicked and grabbed onto others, who responded violently with blows and curses to avoid being dragged down into the frigid depths. Those who had been dressed in fancy armor did not surface. The quick ones shucked their heavy gear and struck out across the lake with rapid strokes. They knew that more time in this icy water meant death.
AND THIS IS FROM THE SHADO-PAN. This is the organization that has been set up to protect the people of Pandaria.
I mean, I understand seperating the Wheat from the Chaff, BUT WHAT THE HELL.
Do the Golden Lotus, or the August Celestials know about this?! Would they ALLOW this? I can not believe Chi-ji or Yu'lon would approve of this. This is just..
Oh, and then the second trial involves a tiger and a poisonous snake (which killed another one of the recruits, so we're down to 3 of the 10)
Granted the tiger was dead and it was a SHA instead, but we can't hold that against anyone.
Look, I loved the story. Ten is probably one of my favourite characters in all of the WoW universe, and there were moments I really enjoyed...
But... The idea of the Shado-pan willingly letting a bunch of young pandaren die to, again 'seperate the wheat from the chaff' is just... something that's been bothering me since I read it.
What do you guys think?