Warning: Spoilers ahead!
“In the pursuit of great, we failed to do good.”
League of Legends spin-off series Arcane has hit all the right notes with streaming audiences, setting the record as Netflix’s best-rated original show so far within a week of its release.
The series tells the origin stories of various League champions from twin cities Piltover, a city prosperous from scientific progress, and Zaun, a dark undercity filled with poverty and crime.
The first three episodes follow two Zaunite sisters, teenager Vi and young Powder, as they deal with the consequences of a heist gone wrong.
While this story unfolds, there is also a B plot about the scientist Vi and Powder stole from, a Piltovan named Jayce.
The heist revealed his illegal experiments to harness magic through science, and we see how he successfully develops his technology despite challenges from the law.
The remaining six episodes take place a few years later, showing us how the main characters develop to resemble their video game counterparts, amidst increasing conflict between Piltover and Zaun.
With complex storylines and compelling individual character arcs, Arcane contains numerous life lessons for us to learn. Here are the three that stood out to me the most.
1. LISTEN TO WISDOM
One major conflict in this season lies between Jayce and his mentor Heimerdinger.
As Heimerdinger is a Yordle, he is over 300 years old and has seen many things, including the dangers of magic.
So when Jayce and fellow scientist Viktor seek to develop Hextech (technology that harnesses magic), the old man continuously warns them to slow down or stop completely for the sake of safety.
But the two young scientists continue in their pursuit of the new technology as they can only see how it will create a better tomorrow.
In the last few episodes, we see Heimerdinger was right. Hextech not only results in the death of Viktor’s assistant but also causes what seems to be the inciting incident of all-out war between Piltover and Zaun.
Jayce and Viktor remind me of many of today’s youth.
We aggressively pursue supposed progress without questioning the consequences. When we hear objections from others, especially those from the older generation, we label them as fools stuck in the past.
Just like Jayce and Viktor, we often forget that “wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days” (Job 12:12, ESV).
History does repeat itself. We who have only read about history would be wise to listen, when those who have lived through history warn us we are on a dangerous path.
But don’t be mistaken: the moral is not to always accept the wisdom of the old, it is to listen to their wisdom. There may be times when our seniors’ advice is too conservative.
This is evident in the show: Heimerdinger’s initial advice was for Jayce to completely give up on magic, but he later adopts a more open-minded stance after Jayce shows him how Hextech significantly improves people’s lives.
The main point is, we have to be intentional with taking our elders’ wisdom into consideration, as they provide invaluable truths and perspectives that the young all too easily overlook.
Finally, unlike Heimerdinger, there is one ancient being who will never provide bad advice — God, our Creator.
Despite knowing this, we still tend to believe in our own feelings rather than what God says.
The issue is our feelings lie. We have all had times when we felt strongly about certain decisions, only to regret them later.
Therefore rather than depending on our fickle hearts, let’s follow the guidance of Proverbs 3:5-6 by listening and trusting in God’s wisdom, which we can get from His word.
2. ACCEPT CHANGE IN LIFE
What really made this show amazing was the story of how Vi and Powder drifted apart.
The first two episodes showcased the immense love they had for each other.
But in episode three, Vi is separated from her little sister against her will. To make things worse, Powder believes Vi abandoned her out of hatred.
After a time skip, we see Powder has grown into a mentally unstable teenage killer named Jinx. We also find out that Vi had been imprisoned in Piltover this whole time.
Soon after, she is released from prison and immediately tries to find her sister.
When they are reunited, she realises Powder has changed.
Despite warnings from others that she is beyond redemption, Vi continuously attempts to get Powder to re-embrace her old self.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work, and the series ends with Powder fully embracing her identity as Jinx, along with accepting that she and Vi have diverged from each other.
“I thought maybe you could love me like you used to, even though I’m different,” says Jinx to Vi. “But you’ve changed, too. So here’s to the new us.”
Change is never easy, especially when things change for the worst.
During such situations, we tend to act like Vi and refuse to see reality.
In my own life I’m currently facing a change I don’t want: entering adulthood. I often delude myself into thinking that because I’m 19, I still have time.
But I know that isn’t true.
At my age, I have to think about university or entering the working world. I should also be independent, ready to take on the responsibilities of an adult.
The problem is I’m not ready to let go of my teenage years.
Hence when I saw how Vi’s refusal to let go of Powder resulted in tragedy, I was reminded that not accepting change will only bring pain in the future.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us that change is part of God’s plan. He can and will bring about a perfect outcome in our lives.
Our life may never go back to what it used to be, but if we trust in His plan and take the right steps moving forward, we will have hope and a great future.
However, we can only do this after accepting that change has happened. If we keep holding on to the past, God will not force us to move onward.
3. PRIORITISE LOVE FOR GOD ABOVE ALL ELSE
A character that many viewers, including myself, came to love is the main antagonist Silco.
This was definitely unexpected, as in the first few episodes he seemed like a generic crime boss villain.
He created a horrible drug, killed many people — all the usual stuff. However, Silco’s turning point comes when he adopts Jinx after she is “abandoned” by Vi.
At first, I believed he only wanted to groom Jinx into his weapon, but the ending proved me wrong.
Silco had the opportunity to get everything he wanted. His life efforts and schemes were about to pay off.
The cost? He had to give Jinx up to the Piltovans.
But Silco refuses to do so.
Tragically, however, Jinx ends up mortally wounding Silco in a moment of madness.
Silco then uses his dying breath to tell her: “I never would have given you to them. Not for anything. Don’t cry, you’re perfect.”
He may have initially approached Jinx for nefarious purposes, but over the years he grew to truly love her as his daughter.
A love so strong he prioritised her above everything else.
As the series ended, I wondered: who — or what — was it I loved above all else? Could I really say I was putting God first in my life?
With so many other things requiring our attention — hobbies, school, work, friends, family — it’s easy to unintentionally make idols in our lives.
For me, I tend to neglect spending quality time with God during exam seasons or when I become busy with projects.
Yet as Christians, that’s not the way we’re supposed to live. The greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).
God should have the highest place in our hearts. Everything we have should be devoted to Him.
There will be moments when we’ll have to choose between God and something else that’s valuable like our dreams, family, love, community, money — even our lives.
If we can’t prioritise God over minor obligations like studies or work now, how can we hope to make the right choice if that time ever arrives?
I was moved to cultivate my spiritual life through prayer, fellowship, and reading His Word. I could certainly stand to decrease my time spent on worldly commitments.
Thing is, the more we feel God’s presence in our lives and receive His great love, the easier and more natural it will be for us to make God our first love.
When we do stumble, let’s confess it and ask Him for help. If we are sincere, He will surely give us the discipline we need to live a holy life.
With its second season officially in production, Arcane’s story is far from over.
If we look at season one on its own, it is about individuals trying to do what is best for themselves and their loved ones, only for everything to tragically get worse.
And that’s the story of humanity. We try to improve our lives and this world, but in the pursuit of greatness, things often seem worse off than ever before.
Ultimately, in this sinful and broken world, only God can save us. As a matter of fact, He already has through Jesus Christ.
And all we need to do to be saved? Say sorry, thank you, and please.
All images sourced from “Arcane” on Netflix.
- Have you played League Of Legends? What did you think of Arcane and the stories it told?
- What is the greatest piece of wisdom you received from an elder in your life?
- Do you struggle with accepting change in your life? Why or why not?
- Are there any idols that are competing with God for your attention? How can you exercise self-control and prioritise God today?