League of Legends. The number one eSport in the world. One of the largest global games of the past decade and counting. It’s been at the forefront of the free to play multiplayer PvP market since its inception and it’s still going strong. It has 150 million players per month and is also starting to release supplimentary games and shows to build out the brand even farther. It’s also pretty zooey. “Zooey” meaning, zoosexual, zoophilic, basically a sexual and romantic attraction between humans and nonhuman animals, in case you found this article as a LoL person rather than as a zoo person. And League isn’t just zooey if you squint your eyes and tilt your head. In fact, there’s actually a number of really interesting ways that the game portrays zooey characters and themes, especially considering that the game itself is just a 5v5 arena battle. But, there’s much more to it than that, and so today I’m going to take you on a journey through a few things in League of Legends to prove to you that this game is more zooey than you ever could have imagined.
Let’s start with the simplest point to prove here. Shapeshifters. League of Legends has a lot of shapeshifters, and all of them tend to be very horny. Take Elise for example. Elise is a character that looks like a mostly naked human spider lady half the time, and the other half of the time is just actually a spider. A large piece of her character is that she seduces men with her human form to get them back to her lair. And once they get there sure they get eaten, but all those baby spiders have to be coming from somewhere.
And what about Shyvana? Shyvana is canonically the child of a dragon and a human. And this isn’t some kind of magical talking dragon, oh no. This is a very much super deadly but super animal kind of dragon. Because of her cross species parents, shyvana is humanoid in appearance, but her ultimate ability turns her into a feral dragon spewing fire across the battlefield. But it doesn’t end there, because Shyvana also has a fling with another character. Jarvan IV. Jarvan is the king of a country that hates magic, and was at one point saved by Shyvana while he was imprisoned. While they spent time together, he fell in love. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems pretty zooey to be in love with someone that was born from an egg and spends half their time walking on all fours.
Jarvan isn’t the only character who gets down with dragons either.
The two last shapeshifters we have to talk about are Neeko and Nidalee. Neeko is a gecko looking girl who has the ability to transform into any living thing. She’s also a lesbian, and one of if not the most eager characters in the game. To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, here’s a voice line from her in-game, where she is speaking about herself in the third person:
“Neeko might have a thing for birds. And bird people.”
I cannot overstate how hornily this line is read. If you’re not willing to look it up yourself, you’ll just have to trust me when I say that when she says she has “a thing” for birds: She means a thing. She’s also crushing on Shyvana, the dragon lady from the last paragraph, with a line that says,
“Does dragon lady want to eat lunch with Neeko sometime? Maybe?”
Nidalee is another shapeshifter. She grew up in the forest and was raised by a tribe of big jungle cats. At the start of the story, Nidalee is a cat just like all her tribe mates. As she grew older however, she started shapeshifting to display human qualities from time to time. Her paws would turn to hands. Her fur to skin. While it’s not currently confirmed why she’s like this, I can think of one simple answer. That her birth was the result of a human and a cat getting together. Just like Shyvana, she was born an animal, but can turn into a human.
Those paying attention may have noticed that I mentioned Nidalee and Neeko together. The reason for that is because they canonically were a thing for a while. This is literally straight out of the box a zoo relationship. One side is a girl, (a furry, but close enough) with a love and lust for nature. The other is a cat who sometimes becomes a human. It seems incredibly likely that their relations would be had in the way both of them would probably prefer. With Nidalee as a cat.
We’re done with the shapeshifters, but that’s not the end of the zooeyness in League of Legend’s lore. There’s also Evelyn, a demon of lust. While she might be a little more on the sadistic side of things, she has some choice zooey lines. For instance, while fighting dragons you may hear her say things like
“Don’t worry, honey, I’m open to all types.”
“Not the first time I’ve had dragon.”
And when fighting a large purple void worm called Baron Nashor, she also says
“Finally! A man who can satisfy me.”
We here at Zooey Dot Pub do not condone the kinds of harm-oriented relationships she’s looking to have, but it’s all the same interesting to point out the fact that she’s so clearly animal attracted.
There’s also a few more characters who might not be quite as directly zooey, but clearly have a very strong relationship with animals.
First up is Quinn, a human girl, and Valor, a large male bird. Valor saved Quinn’s life at one point, getting injured in the process. Quinn then nursed Valor back to health, and they’ve been absolutely inseperable since. Quinn is a ranger, and Valor scouts for her. They spend a lot of time alone in the wilderness together getting up to all sorts of adventures. With the clear bond between them, and only each other’s company for so long, it’s hard to imagine that they aren’t intimate, even if the story doesn’t confirm it.
There’s also Sejuani, a human woman, and Bristle, a boar she rides in combat. Sejuani freed Bristle from captivity when they were both young, and have now grown up together into grizzled warriors. They’ve spent decades together, trusting each other implicitly through the hardest of battles. And you know what they say about love blooming on the battlefield. And also what they say about women and the animals they ride.
Finally, rounding out our trio of humans with animal companions, there’s Kled and Skaarl. Now, technically speaking Kled isn’t a human. He’s a yordle, basically just think a small furry. Skaarl on the other hand is his lizard-like companion and mount. Kled is a little bit crazy, very territoral, and extremely angry. Skaarl is the only being that Kled cares about, and he cares about Skaarl a lot. Here’s a few choice lines between them. Skaarl can’t speak, so when I say *Skaarl noises* assume that there’s a clicky lizard noise.
*Skaarl noises* - “Nah, them we kill them too! Ain’t nobody on my team but you.”
“Ain’t much I love. Only this big sky, and this dumb lizard.”
*Skaarl noises* - “Well, you the only thing I trust.”
“The sky is my roof, the open plains are my bed, and this lizard is the only company I need.”
And there are plenty more lines to that effect. Most of this character’s lines are about him wanting to cause mass amounts of violence and chaos, but when he talks to Skaarl it’s different. Sure, they bicker sometimes, almost like an old married couple you might say, but there’s always an undertone of love. The love between a human (or humanoid in this case) and an animal.
There’s one more character that I want to talk about, and that’s Ivern. Here’s the thing, a lot of people see Zoosexuality as just sex. But for countless zoos around the world, there’s so much more to it than that. What it really comes down to is a love and appreciation for animals. That’s where Ivern lands. He used to be a very evil murderous barbarian, but eventually cut down the wrong magic tree and became one with nature. While this is a pretty fantastical telling, the base of the story is that he learned to stop looking at animals like they’re just things, and started to see the world around him for more than just what he could take from it. The reason that I bring Ivern up is because he’s zooey not just in his lore, but also in his gameplay.
Ivern is a jungler. In League of Legends terms, that’s someone who focuses on killing animals and monsters to get stronger. Killing animals to get exp is a pretty common trope in video games, so it’s no suprise to see it in League. But Ivern is different. He doesn’t kill any animals. He loves animals. Instead, he gives up a portion of his own HP to save them, whisking them away to somewhere less potentially deadly for them. He also has a number of voice lines that I would consider particularly in support of zoo ideas.
“Animals have more to offer than warm pelts and meat.”
Ivern is the only character in the game to actually talk to the animals in the forest. Everyone else views them as animals, but he sees them as his friends, and has conversations with them.
“Brambleback, thanks for helping the beavers move their lodge.”
“I’m telling you, Blue, you and Daisy would make a cute couple.”
“Found any good crawdads lately, Scuttles? Let me know if you do.”
“Everyone needs to run with a wolf pack every now and then.”
Ivern represents someone who really loves and understands nature, and the animals within it, and what could be more zooey than that?
I could probably keep going with a couple other smaller stories, but I think this certainly is enough to make a point. Just in this article alone, I’ve listed six characters that are definitively zooey and three that almost definitely are as well. Considering what League of Legends as a game is, there certainly are a lot of people in love with animals. But, when you really get to understand the lore of the game, it makes a lot of sense. Much of the story of League isn’t just about one or two characters. It’s about the world itself, and the way that certain characters interact with it. The land is powerful, and many stories are about the ways that we as people interact with the world around us. From the living island of Ionia, to the harsh north of the Freljord, the untamed jungles of Ixtal, the sweeping plains of Demacia, and the barren desert of Shurima. Each of these locations are known just as much for their ecology as they are for the people inhabiting them. And when you have so much love in your story for the natural world, it makes sense that a few of your characters would end up loving the natural world in a more visceral way too.
And so the next time that you get dove by an Elise at level 2, or take half your health from a Nidalee spear, just remember. That’s zoo representation.
Article written by Tarro (March 2023)
Find them at https://twitter.com/hereforthezoo
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