on January 17, 2014
I will preface this entire review with the fact that, I am no authority on the subject of World of Warcraft. Not even a novice, in fact. Surely, I’ve seen the South Park spoof, and understand what I’ve learned through this story (with some extrapolation and attention to detail), but this is my first real exposure of any sort to what is WoW. I was… moderately impressed. By no means high-literature, this is pretty interesting if you want a real quick paced story (Durotan before his rites to adulthood, through his rites, to his marriage, into Clans Chieftain and through 3 years of War against the draeni) that has some degree of nerdy depth to it (in kind, in kind!) then this is definitely your kind of story. From a critical perspective: the story is seems very rushed, for in the time which elapses, there might be other significant stories there.
What we see, essentially, is the coming of age of two great Clan chieftains, and the manipulation of the Orcs by the Burning Legion, specifically Kil’Jaeden who is bent on the extermination of the eredar (here known as draeni). The Orcs, because of their gullibility and the faith they place upon their ancient ways are easily led astray and manipulated by Kil’Jaeden’s convincing banter and the ‘proofs’ he utilizes to win their arms – enhanced abilities, weapons and magics. While some of the Orc parties have moral qualms with what they are doing and how they are doing it – because this war is based essentially on ‘alike’ vs. ‘dissimilar’ – the fight rages on and we witness the genocide of a race along with the disastrous moral fall of the Orcs. A tragic scene where the Orcs, used as pawns, are pitted against the draeni in a grudge match that isn’t even their own. Ruining two nations, taking away their sacred rites, erasing a generation of Orc youths and nearly obliterating the draeni. A very tragic and heart-rending story if WoW were to have such a thing. The author is clearly an Orc apologist… and a decent crypto-historian!
Each chapter opens with a brief excerpt or preface written by Thrall (he is apparently more recognizable as a member of the current WoW games; the son of Durotan & Draka) denoting brief snippets of this dark-age of Orc history from his perspective as both Shaman and War chief, leader of the Horde he details the Orc fall from their true nature as he is able to recount the story based upon details given him by Drek’Thar – the Frostwolf Shaman (Warlock) who supported his father. Each entry bears some ominous news, generally related to the ease with which the Orcs were deceived and the sorrow which Thrall experiences for his once mighty and proud people before their great deception at the hands of Kil’Jaeden and the man’ari.
Opening to Saragras’ enticement of the eredar: Kil’Jaeden, Archimonde and Velen, he promises them and their people absolute rule, where thousands chant their names, a world conquered through war, bloodshed and the propagation of fear. Velen sees the destruction of the heart and soul of his people, a compassionate individual whom soon becomes an exile: a draeni, rather than a man’ari (a horrifically transformed eredar, more commonly known as ‘The Burning Legion’, 822). Velen also encounters the Naaru, and K’ure, a powerful being that resides in the mountain (Oshu’gun) the Orcs consider to be sacred. The story essentially revolves around the gradual drawing of the Orc clans into Saragras’ legions, with guile and deception the stage is set for a grand battle.
We soon encounter the younglings: Durotan Garad & Orgrim Doomhammer, two orcs of different clans who form a bizarre and competitive friendship before the Om’riggor (rites of coming of age) festival. This is notably the first time a friendship had been borne of different clans (Frostwolf & Blackrock, respectively) and thus is a novelty to their clan’s leaders as well as to the draeni whom save Durotan and Orgrim from a large Ogre and show them their city while picking their brains about Orcishness, its people, history, habits, beliefs and customs.
Having sent his most trusted spy, Talgath, on a reconnaissance mission, Kil’Jaeden learns where the draeni are hiding out and he sees that they’ve established a rudimentary harmony with the Orc clans than inhabit their shared world. He soon puts his master plan to manipulate the Orcs into full order. Initially appearing in dreams to the Clans shaman as ancestors (Shaman can converse with the deceased) the Shaman are informed that the draeni are plotting their destruction.
The Orcs do not send a single ambassador – NOT ONE. Instead they immediately commence war-faring against the draeni, slaughtering their hunting parties and doing every single thing possible which works contrary to the way the Orcs were being painted up until this point. Generally they were depicted as honorable creatures, thrilling in the hunt but unwilling to take down defenseless prey or enemies. But, frightened as they were by the news from their faux ancestors, they waste little time engaging the fight.
Ner’zhul, Shaman of the Shadowmoon clan, is visited by the visage of his deceased partner, Rulkan. Beguiled into believing the draeni dangerous he asks the Orcs to congregate and verifies the threat with the other Clan shaman. Progressing through many battles the orcs soon find that the shamanic powers of the earth they’d relied upon have been depleted! They’ve been abandoned by the ancients and they’ve expressed their disapproval by failing to appear to the shaman. Ner’zhul is soon usurped by his apprentice Gul’dan, a power-hungry orc who draws Blackhand (the Blackrock chieftain) into his ploy, after Ner’Zhul realizes that the orcs have been tricked because he took a pilgrimage to Oshu’gun and saw the ancestors turn away, abandoning the orcs. There is to be a pair of councils formed: the Horde, a governing body whose business is open (2124) and a secret committee, to do the dirty work behind the curtain. Because their earth-borne powers are gone (with the abandonment by the ancestors) the Orcs are now reliant upon the dark-magics propagated by the man’ari. These new magics come equipped with the assistance of daemon pets to further inflict harm upon the Orc’s victims.
Drinking an elixir of Mannoroth’s (Kil’Jaeden’s lieutenant, something akin to a dragon) blood the Orc’s become little more than bloodthirsty savages. This aides them in the attack against the Temple of Korobor and laying it to waste. Expecting Velen killed and being hurried by Archimonde, Kil’Jaeden vanishes off to do Saragras’ bidding elsewhere. Meanwhile Medivh, purportedly Saragras’ master, begins presenting himself to Gul’dan. The goal is a portal to Azeroth. This achieved: the Horde is let loose upon the Warcraft World.
A neat picture of the Orcs, from a crypto-historical perspective!
Orc Clans mentioned:
Frostwolf, Blackrock, Warsong, Shadowmoon, Shattered Hand, Bleeding Hollow, Thunderlord, Dragonmaw, Laughing Skull, Bladewind, Red-Walker, Bonechewer (and some I missed).
‘… the story of my father and those who believed in him (Durotan); and of those who betrayed him and indeed, all our people.’ (203)
‘There is no shame in fear… Only in letting fear prevent you from doing the right thing.’ (435)
‘It is said that the last of the Doomhammer line will use it to bring first salvation and then doom to the orc people.’ (573)
‘Teach him well Kashur, for one thing is certain: From his line will come salvation.’ (re: Durotan, 792)
‘Hate is powerful. Hate can be eternal. Hate can be manipulated. And hate can be created.’ (816)
‘All worlds, all beings, all races were horrifically equal in Sarageras’s eyes. They all needed to be obliterated in a ghastly festival of carnage and fire.’ (1439)
‘He loved his wife, his clan, his people. He hated what he was seeing: an entire generation rushing headlong to adulthood with only blind hate in their hearts.’ (1761)
‘The ancestors had never appeared to him (Ner’Zhul) at all. It had all been a trick concocted by Kil’Jaeden.’ (1942)