Viego, the Ruined King, was added to League of Legends in patch 11.2. At the time, he was probably one of the most anticipated champions to join the roster, and for good reason.
Viego has been part of the League of Legends universe since champions like Hecarim, Thresh, and Kalista entered the game in 2012, 2013, and 2014. Once Riot decided to dive deep into Ruination and shape their story, it was only natural that the Ruined King became the center of attraction amongst players and lore fanatics.
Viego’s lore in League of Legends is definitely interesting since his actions have started to affect the kingdom of Demacia and Noxus.
The tweet above shows the way Ruination is getting hold of warriors like Shyvanna and the rise of the Sentinels of Light.
Thus, it leads audiences to what fuels Viego's hunger and whether his past has anything to do with his current state as showcased within the game.
Viego's story so far in League of Legends
It is important to focus on Viego’s life as developed in League of Legends. He was the second son of the King of Camavor, and just like his father’s younger brother Vladimir, Viego wasn’t the eldest child of the family.
This meant that he was not the intended ruler of the kingdom, so he lived a selfish and luxurious life. However, the untimely death of his brother forced him to take over the reins, which he did not enjoy. He's selfish and self-centered. But all that changed when he met Isolde, a poor seamstress. Viego was deeply attached to her until, one fateful day, she died while trying to save him from an attack.
Enraged and depressed, Viego did everything in his power to bring Isolde back, but nothing seemed to work until he found out about the Blessed Isles. However, even though he was warned that the waters of the Isles only worked on the living, Viego raided the inner sanctum where the sacred waters rest.
Viego tried to bring his wife back from death but failed miserably. However, an apparition of Isolde rose for a few seconds and stabbed him in his heart with his own blade. This led to massive disruption in the story and the events of Ruination unfolding within League of Legends.
The reason behind his madness
It is important to now focus on how the story presented in League of Legends provides more depth to the character of the Ruined King. There will be a few references from in-game events as well as the cinematics. Note that within the League of Legends universe, everything is connected. The events in the game and the cinematics always converge in one single lore.
The loss of his loved one excessively saddened Viego. However, he conveniently forgot about the moment where his wife's apparition stabbed him. The last incident etched in his memory was finally letting go of Isolde’s body as it floated away in the water. While League of Legends does not directly showcase the relationship between the two, the game definitely hints at how their relationship might have worked.
The above tweet provides insight into what Viego might have been thinking, according to the lore. This will be further addressed later, but for now, it is important to note that he did not understand love. He was selfish in the way he thought about passion.
This means that the twisted mind of Viego remembers that he was denied something he wanted. As can be inferred from his story earlier, Viego always got what he craved in life. It can be extrapolated that his love for Isolde was tied to her exquisite beauty. Therefore, to him, she was a trophy meant to be conquered and kept safe.
The fact that Viego destroyed kingdoms searching for a way to revive Isolde showcases his obsession with her. A black mist that keeps flowing out of his body kills anything that it touches, symbolizing the darkness within him. The destruction that he causes immediately becomes the past, and he marches on to cause more. He could not stand others being happy because he felt that the world denied him happiness.
The story “Redeemed” on the League of Legends website, focused on Senna, establishes that a part of Isolde’s soul was present within her. However, as shown in the Ruination cinematic, Viego extracted that piece out of her body. Upon close inspection, it can be observed that Isolde’s soul warned Senna about the mist. Secondly, the piece of soul started howling when Viego ripped it out of Senna’s body.
This leads one to question whether Isolde loved Viego the way the story portrays it. If so, then why did she resist a resurrection? Is it because she is scared that Viego is not the same person he was before? Did she want to run away from Viego? It is vital to note here that the reason Isolde stabbed Viego in his heart was that her soul was unhappy she was ripped from death.
This further solidifies the statements made earlier regarding Isolde being a prize for Viego. To provide context, an argument can be made regarding Viego’s genuine love for Isolde. In Viego’s biography, as published by Riot Games on the League of Legends website, the following is mentioned:
"He showed little interest in his position until he met a poor seamstress, Isolde. So taken was he by her beauty that the young king offered her his hand in marriage, and thus, one of the most powerful rulers of the age was wed to a peasant girl.”
The key points of interest in this are Isolde’s physical beauty and her being a peasant girl. This shows that Viego’s love, as he keeps pointing out, is tied to Isolde's physical attributes.
The bio further mentions that:
"Their romance was enchanting, and Viego, who’d rarely shown interest in anyone other than himself, devoted his life to her. The two were inseparable—he scarcely went anywhere without Isolde, always lavishing gifts upon his queen, and his attention could seldom be broken when she was present.”
There is a stark connection between the two sections. Suddenly. a selfish and self-loathing person becomes deeply attached and starts showering another person with gifts. This radical change of behavior says that Viego understood little about love. He was strategic in what he wanted to conquer.
League of Legends is good at dropping hints about characters, and this is one such blatant hint. Viego believes that everything in life can be bought. Since he was a king, he could easily purchase the beauty of Isolde. This shows materialistic thinking rather than an emotional one.
The Sentinels of Light event, currently ongoing in League of Legends, has a section where Senna mentions that Viego will take anything he thinks belongs to him. This attribute of Viego highlights that he never contemplates whether something belongs to him. He never considered an alternative.
His actions in the recent cinematic are meant to showcase that he finally got what he wanted and that no one could stop him from doing that. Viego wanted to prove that no one could deny him of his destiny. But all this could flip. He could mend his ways and leave the world in peace. However, the evil grin on Viego’s face at the end means he will not stop anytime soon.
Close attention to Viego's voice lines showcases his ego and self-pride. The most important amongst them are:
"The curve of her lips, the softness of her smile.”
"What is lost never lost to me.”
"The world denied my happiness and now all will die.”
"A world that would rob me of beauty is a world that deserves destruction.”
These four voice lines have one thing in common. All of them point to his grief about losing something beautiful. It shows that he is more focused on the idea that he was denied beauty and happiness. Isolde was "the most beautiful thing" to him. Now he wants to destroy all beauty because of his loss. He is ready to compound the pain.
The first line clearly shows his attraction towards her was physical in nature, and the second one shows his inability to accept the loss. However, this is not the loss of his loved one but rather the loss of possession or control over an object of desire.
Viego believes that once he has captured and killed everyone, his mission of searching for her would have come to an end. His interaction with Senna within the League of Legends game is telling in this regard:
"Why Isolde, why do you hide your face from me?”
Viego believes that killing Senna will force Isolde to reveal her face once again. In the short story “SHE”, Viego attacked a city far away from Ionia and Bilgewater. He raided the place until he reached the retreating king, left guarding a small treasure box behind him. Viego wanted the treasure, and the king wanted to keep his city safe.
However, when asked whether Viego would spare the king's life if he got the treasure, he responded by cutting his opposition in half. He took the box and ripped it open. Within it was a simple musical gift from the fallen king's wedding day. It is important to note that Viego did not have to kill the king of a humble city.
But he did so because he could not stand the happiness and peace on the citizens' faces. He wanted everyone to feel that type of sorrow that he felt, the sorrow of losing something precious.
How the narrative might progress
Over the course of the year, Viego’s story in League of Legends is expected to develop further, ultimately revealing his ulterior motives. Currently, he possesses everything he has ever wanted. So it will be interesting to see how he reacts towards the Sentinels of Light.
In the game's current events, as weekly missions are updated, players will gain further depth into the story of Viego and his fight against the Sentinels. Apart from that, more information will be available as soon as the Ruined King game is released this year. It is expected that the stand-alone game's story will expand on the existing lore.
Sentinels of Light were formed so that ordinary weapons do not work against harrowed monsters. Harrowing is an event where a person gets consumed by black mist.
As more champions like Vayne, Riven, Irelia and Gwen join hands with Lucian and Senna to stop Viego, only time will tell whether this will be enough to stop the Ruined King from engulfing the world with the black mist.