Wendwu rose to power after discovering a set of mythical rings, and promptly formed an army known as the Ten Rings. As a warlord, he conquered many kingdoms over centuries, using his immortality to amass great power and wealth for himself. Rather than appeal to his children to help him rescue their mother from behind a mythical gate, he decides to test them by sending his warriors after them – he tells his son that “I knew they could not kill you, even if they tried.” He says he has “allowed” them to go their own way for ten years, but now it’s time for them to come home, fall in line, and do what he tells them to do. He intends to open a gate and be reunited with his wife, who he believes has been speaking to him from beyond it, and if the village does not allow this, he will kill them all. When his children object, he has them imprisoned in his dungeons. Throughout, his motivations are those of family, of tradition, and of personal beliefs. He says names have power, they connect you to your ancestors; he wants his family to be whole again, and for his children to carry on his legacy. Wendwu gave up his warlord days and his rings of power to settle down and raise a family, and now that occupies much of his thoughts. He somewhat irrationally believes that if he brings back his wife, then his children will return to him and they can all be happy once more. He has studied as much as he can about his wife, her past, and her village, to understand more about it, and now wants to move forward decisively with his plan. Naively, he believes in something that is impossible—his wife is dead, not calling to him from the great beyond. He doesn’t question where the voice is coming from or think that it could be anyone else, he trusts what it knows of him and his desires and chases a dream until it becomes a nightmare. Wenwu is somewhat selfish in that his desires only include what he wants for himself and his family; he won’t listen to anyone else’s please to spare the village, nor did he have any compassion for the thousands of people he has had killed over the centuries. But he also loves his son so much, he sacrifices himself to ensure he survives. Love for his wife drives him to do many things, include giving up his former lifestyle as a ruthless warlord.

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Wenwu strikes fear into other people’s hearts. Katy says he terrifies her, just by being in the room – and fear caused his children to abandon him, after attempting to please him. He is so callous that he trains his own son to be an assassin and sends him to kill someone as a mere teenager (Katy points out how screwed up that is). He spent many years amassing power for its own sake, always needing to conquer yet another world and bring it into submission, without interest in whether his actions were right or wrong. He isn’t afraid to deal harshly even with his own kids (throwing them into prison for arguing with him). Once he met his wife, the future mother of his children, he merged into wanting to become what she wished of him, so he gave all of that up. He lost himself inside her and has never recovered from it, chasing after a dream in an attempt to restore her to life and make himself whole again, and willfully naïve in his belief that it will make everything right with his children.