League of Legends – No Religion in League Please

Disclaimer: I do not own League of Legends or any of its related content, RIOT Games, Marvel, D.C. Comics, or Batman. I also don’t own any of the Gods or religious figures mentioned.

As you may or may not know, I’m a rather avid gamer. Gaming is awesome. I love gaming. I also happen to be a rather avid League of Legends player because, hey, it’s free and I’m broke! (Insert shameless referral link here)

However, I’m going to say I’m really starting to get ticked at the community trying to press for skins based off of the Gods.

There is no need for a Thor skin for Olaf, or a Loki skin for Shaco. In fact, their stories don’t match up correctly and it’d be a great misrepresentation of the Gods. I’ll walk you through this.

OLAF

On an uncharted continent beyond Valoran’s grasping clutches, the conqueror named Olaf was born to a long tradition of soldiers unlike most others. Berserkers, as they tout themselves, are warriors who channel fury deep from their cores, unleashing pure and savage wrath upon their enemies. This fearsome evolution is a product of their unforgiving home, Lokfar – a barren tundra where all creatures must vie bitterly for every resource. Olaf belonged to a seafaring clan known for ruthlessly pillaging any and all villages within reach of their dragon-crested longboats. The last time he saw his icy home, Olaf was embarking on an expedition to pioneer and plunder a distant land known only to legend. However, while underway, a terrible storm sprung up and Olaf and his crew were thrown to the mercy of a roiling and pitiless sea.

His ship destroyed, his crew nowhere to be found, Olaf miraculously washed up untold miles from “friendly” waters on the foreign shores of Valoran, south of Demacia. This unfamiliar place stunned and frightened the Berserker, for Lokfar is not privy to such potent magicians. Approaching them, Olaf hoped that they could use their mysterious powers to send him back to his people. A bargain was struck. Olaf would use his awesome prowess as a warrior to serve the unusual wars of Valoran in the League of Legends, and in exchange the sorcerers would find him a way to return. Despite his participation in the League, Olaf knows better than to trust the “finger wagglers” that run the Institute of War. He deliberately keeps details of his life and home from them. After all, with enough information, they would most certainly find the Lokfarians and dominate them as they have dominated all of Valoran, keeping both quietly — and unwittingly — in their thrall.

“Beware the war cry of the Berserker. What surges toward you is unyielding, free from the shackles of reason.”

Obviously, Olaf is supposed to be a Viking of some sort without going so far as to say this. That influence is clear enough. But RIOT Games still stops short of calling him a viking. Olaf also happens to be a blonde and a dual axe-wielder. His ultimate is called “Ragnarok”.

Take a look at Thor. He’s a God that was worshiped by a great many people (and that number is starting to grow) opposed to being a mortal like Olaf is. He does have a beard, but His hair is noticeably red (Ring of Seasons: Iceland – Its Culture and History, p.85). He wields Mjolnir, a hammer, not axes – though I’m sure He knows how to use them. Finally, what Ragnarok means to Olaf is, in general, becoming more threatening by doing more damage or taking less damage and being mostly unhindered. To Thor, Ragnarok means His death and the death of Jormungandr.

NOTE: Marvel did NOT create Thor. I repeat, Marvel did NOT CREATE THOR. Thor has been around for far longer than Marvel. Marvel also did NOT create any of the Norse deities, and if I read more of Marvel, I’d go so far to say that none of the deities mentioned in Marvel Comics were created by Marvel… unless they’re like universe-specific or something and don’t have real world equivalents.

SHACO

Most would say that death isn’t funny. It isn’t, unless you’re Shaco – then it’s hysterical. He is Valoran’s first fully functioning homicidal comic; he jests until someone dies, and then he laughs. The figure that has come to be known as the Demon Jester is an enigma. No one fully agrees from whence he came, and Shaco never offers any details on his own. A popular belief is that Shaco is not of Runeterra- that he is a thing summoned from a dark and twisted world. Still others believe that he is the demonic manifestation of humanity’s dark urges and therefore cannot be reasoned with. The most plausible belief is that Shaco is an assassin for hire, left to his own lunatic devices until his services are needed. Shaco certainly has proven himself to be a cunning individual, evading authorities at every turn who might seek him for questioning for some horrendous, law-breaking atrocity. While such scuttlebutt might reassure the native inhabitants of Valoran, it seems unimaginable that such a malfeasant figure is allowed to remain at large.

Whatever the truth of his history might be, Shaco has joined the League of Legends for reasons only he knows. He is a terrifying figure, typically shunned by both his fellow champions and the media at large. Only the summoners in the Institute of War know why such a creature was allowed into the League, but most Runeterrans suspect it to be a means that allows the power that be to keep an eye on the ever-elusive Shaco. Unsurprisingly, this champion is popular in places where madness can openly reign, such as among the power-hungry summoners of Zaun and Noxus.

“Whatever you do, don’t tell him you missed the punch line.”

Shaco is… well… hm. He’s not Loki-like at all to me, and as a worshiper of Loki, I feel I have at least a teeny amount of authority on the topic. The title “Demon Jester” is the clue there, since Loki is not a demon. I know a lot of people don’t like Loki, but He’s not a demon. He’s also (don’t kill me) not a homicidal maniac. Shaco is, Loki is not. Loki may or may not have caused the death of Baldr, depending on your sources and beliefs, but he wasn’t some mass murderer. I’d argue Shaco is more like the Joker from the last Batman movie than like Loki any day.

NOTE: Marvel did not create Loki.

Final Words and Comments

There’s also Nasus and Renekton who are clearly influenced by Anubis (Nasus), Sebek (Renekton) and Ammut (Renekton). But I’m going to leave those alone for now, aside from pointing out that Anubis’s Egypt-related skin is called “Pharaoh Nasus”, not “Anubis Nasus”.

I’m sure a great number of you reading this may not see the issue here. However, I’m not one to enjoy the misrepresentation of any Gods or religious figures. I mean, would Christians find no issue with RIOT Games creating a Jesus Zilean skin? What about Mary Lux? Or Mary Magdalene Evelynn? Same thing goes for any other religion. Would you want those you worship or pray to be shown inaccurately?

I’m sure there are also a number of you who are atheist. For you, I offer this: I don’t know how you as an individual feel about any individual religion, religious group, or deities aside from them being “wrong (for you)”. I promise you that I won’t impede on your right to believe that, but I’d really prefer the Gods being left alone when it comes to gaming. Religion and politics are usually banned from bars for a reason. It’d be wise to keep them out of a game as well.

So, RIOT Games, if you ever stumble across this blogpost, I’m begging you, please keep all religion out of League… drawing inspiration is fine, but don’t go so far as to label any of the champions or their skins after religious icons, figures of worship, et cetera. It could cause a lot of headache for a lot of people, along with your company in and of itself. It’s a safer bet to keep religion out of League of Legends than to accommodate a group of fans who want a Thor skin for Olaf because they recently saw the movie Thor.

For those who may be interested in learning about the modern worship of the Norse deities, look into Asatru and Heathenry.

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