Popular Culture Review 29.1 (Spring 2018) - Page 33

factions as parallel to the political structures of late capitalism). The Alliance are the traditional “good guys”, including humans, elves, gnomes, and dwarves. This faction tends to have visually appealing races whose lore emphasizes commitment to some form of established moral and social order. The Alliance is led by a hereditary monarch who often exemplifies the “good king/ wise prince” trope. The Horde, the opposing faction to which Sylvanas belongs, is in many ways more interesting, consisting of ill-assorted outcast and dispossessed races allied mainly for reasons of convenience. These races include Orcs (traditional villains in the worlds of fantasy and gaming, with a culture valuing hypermasculinity and martial prowess), Trolls (voodoo and Caribbean themed), Undead, Taurens (human-cattle hybrids whose culture is based on Native Americans), Goblins (amoral, acquisitive merchants), and Blood Elves (physically attractive humanoids with an affinity for, and history of corruption by, magic). The Horde is led by a Warchief, appointed by a predecessor and confirmed by acclamation. As the historical core of the Horde in WoW lore had been a group of orcish clans that unified under a single leader, the position of Warchief was initially held by orcs, all male. Within the actual period of the playable game world, Horde players have served under four successive warchiefs, the orcs Thrall and Garrosh Hellscream, the troll Vol’jin, and the undead Lady Sylvanas Windrunner. Vol’jin was the first warchief who was not an orc. He had been the leader of a troll rebellion against Garrosh Hellscream, a previous orc leader whose own violent and arrogant temperament made him vulnerable to possession by various evil influences. When Vol’jin was dying from a wound received in a battle at the Broken Isles, he proclaimed that he had seen in a vision that Sylvanas Windrunner, the Queen of the Forsaken, a high elf transformed into an undead “banshee” by the evil Arthas, should be the next Warchief of the Horde. Thus as of the August 2016 release of the World of Warcraft Legion expansion, shortly after Hillary Clinton’s nomination as the first female presidential candidate of a major United States political party, Sylvanas Windrunner became the Warchief of the Horde, the first woman and the first character of the undead race to hold that position. Unlike Clinton, a middle-class white woman, Sylvanas bears a double burden of racial and gender marginalization, and her rhetorical construction is located in this intersectionality, a phenomenon defined by Collins as grounded in the “and” linking race and gender (2015). Like Africana and Latina women, she is sexually festishized, often portrayed on fan sites as a dominatrix, a form of double marginalization that trivializes her as a leader by reshaping her as the object of a predatory male sexual gaze. On 33