Warning: This post contains major spoilers for the latest World of Warcraft novel Jaina: Tides of War, Theramore’s Fall scenario and some spoilers for Mists of Pandaria.
I’m not usually one to go into detail about a book or even list the events, however, the in-game scenario leaves out a LOT of important information. I know that a lot of my fellow or ex-WoW players probably won’t read the novel so when Mists of Pandaria comes around there are going to be some massive gaps left unanswered. So first I’m going to relay the ‘Facts’, the events and information in the novel and then I’m going to give some of my own thoughts.
- Blue Dragonflight – At the beginning of the novel the Blue Dragonflight has began to grow smaller with many dragons choosing to leave their ‘home’ in Coldarra. Some have simply disappeared while others have informed their leader, the former Aspect Kalecgos and this has left Kalec unsure of what to do next.
- The Focusing Iris – From the in-game scenario you know that this was used to power the biggest mana bomb ever which destroys Theramore. What you’re not told is that the Horde successfully murdered FIVE blue dragons to get their hands on it. At this point in the novel the thieves are unknown (I only knew it was Horde as I’d done in the game scenario) but the fact that they were able to kill five of the best/most powerful Blue Dragons is rather bloody scary. Kalec blames himself for not being able to protect it and his people so goes off to find it, leading him to the Kirin Tor and then Jaina.
- Northwatch Hold – Before Theramore, Garrosh gets the Horde to attack and devastate Northwatch Hold, there are very few survivors. To ensure victory his orc shamans use very dark shaman magic to create monstrous and dangerous magma giants – the earth mother responds in kind by causing an earthquake. Baine Bloodhoof and Vol’Jin have already begun to worry about Garrosh’s plans but the use of such dark magic proves that he is going one step too far. Unfortunately, they cannot risk angering him for the sake of their own people.
- Theramore – Baine warns Jaina about Garrosh’s plans, which gives them time to prepare a defence of Theramore. Much to all the horde leaders/generals (there is a general representing the Forsaken and Blood Elves) surprise, Garrosh doesn’t immediately attack Theramore. Eventually, his plan comes to light and it is even more horrendous than they first thought. He purposely let the Alliance aid Theramore; resulting in many of its heroes and leading generals to be present.
- Deaths – The result of Garrosh’s plan is that a great many Alliance heroes are now dead; destroyed by the massive mana bomb. Rhonin, the leader of the Kirin Tor, draws the bomb to the mage tower and himself. He forces Jaina through a portal at the last moment, sacrificing himself in order to draw the bomb to the magically protected tower to save even more lives. General Marcus Jonathon, Pained, Kinndy (Jaina’s gnome apprentice created in the book), Archmage Tervosh, General Tiras’alan (Draenei General of the Shattered Sun Offensive), two dwarf captains and more I probably can’t remember. The only major Alliance figures that survive are Alleria Windrunner (Rhonin’s wife, mother of his two twins) and Shandris Feathermoon.
- Jaina’s Reaction – There is no way to describe how horrifying the events of this bomb is, Christie Golden has done an amazing job of writing it. I was in tears and I’m not ashamed to say that; the Alliance heroes that died were like comrades to many Alliance players – we worked beside them to overcome so much. Then in an act of complete cowardliness and devastation they are just wiped out. Gone forever. It isn’t a surprise then that Jaina is furious; anyone would be. Her response is to steal the focusing iris, a book from Dalaran and use both to wipe out Orgrimmar – regardless of the civilians and children living there. Only a joint combination of Thrall and Kalec manage to stop her.
- Alliance’s Reaction – The horde place a blockade around the alliance cities/strongholds in Kalimdor to stop anyone getting in or out; the next step of Garrosh’s plan is to wipe out every trace of the Alliance on Kalimdor. Of course, it doesn’t matter that that Night Elves were there thousands of years before the orcs ever set foot on its soil. Jaina tries to get King Varian to help her destroy Ogrimmar and finally we see the King recognise that such bloodshed isn’t the answer. Our hot-headed horde-hating King has finally begun to realise what is more important. It is he who comes up with the plan to release rumours of the Alliance attacking other locations such as Darkshore and Teldrassil, while in reality, they hit Ogrimmar.
- Ogrimmar Battle – It never actually reaches the city. Everything takes place in the sea around Durotar because Garrosh gets his shamans to unleash massive krakens against the Alliance ships. It is Jaina, armed with hundreds of water elementals via the Focusing Iris, that helps to save the day. Without Thrall and Kalec’s interruption she would have not only destroyed the horde but her own fleet as well. It is a sobering moment for the once neutral mage.
- The Horde’s Reactions – As mentioned some of the horde leaders have already begun to realise how dangerous Garrosh has become. Throughout the novel, we learn that he now has a Blackrock orc, Malkorok, as what appears to be his second in command/advisor. This orc, along with the Kor’Kon, has become Garrosh’s personal hit squad. Many people that spoke out against Garrosh have “disappeared” long before Theramore happened. Towards the end of the novel the Blood elf general (Kelantir Bloodblade) and the Forsaken general (Frandis Farley) are trapped in an inn and assassinated by bombs because they were speaking out against Garrosh. The Blood Elf leader, Lor’themar Theron, informs Garrosh during the novel that his loyalty is unwavering to the Horde as they were the only ones that accepted his people – however, now that one of his own Generals – his representative – has been assassinated I wonder what he will do. I doubt Sylvanas will take such a betrayal too kindly either. Baine informs Garrosh that ‘another Theramore’ and he won’t be able to count on his aid, but Garrosh simply smirks in response. Vol’Jin is seen giving Baine a sad look which clearly says that he must look after his people and therefore cannot be so open about his displeasure.
- The Kirin Tor – A lot of changes happen regarding the Kirin Tor and this is probably where one of the biggest gaps I feel is going to be in MoP. Suddenly Jaina is the leader and huh, what happened? Well; Rhonin had been left prophecies by Krasus (Alexstraza’s mate, red dragon) and one told of Jaina being the future of the Kirin Tor. For this reason he fulfilled the prophecy, sacrificing himself for her. At the end of the novel Jaina asks to rejoin the Kirin Tor as a Novice, instead they decline and inform her that she can’t join as a Novice if she is their leader. The prophecy is revealed and Kalec is offered a place in the Kirin Tor as well. The Kirin Tor lost members in the mana bomb as well, and with Jaina as it’s leader they are no longer neutral. Archmage Aethas Sunreaver, despite being a Blood Elf, agrees with Jaina regarding Garrosh. In fact, he sent one of his own mages to help Theramore and he turned out to be a spy for the Horde. The danger that Garrosh represents is far larger than Alliance or Horde and the Kirin Tor recognise this.
- Kalec & Jaina – They are now a couple; for how long, who can say? Both have lost loved ones, had their worlds turned upside down and have needed a new place to start life afresh.
- Thrall & the Earthern Ring – Although Thrall stops Jaina it is only because the elements sent him a vision directly which said ‘YOU need to stop this’. Otherwise, Thrall and the rest of the Earthern Ring are busy healing the world, the wounds created by Deathwing. They don’t seem to be getting that involved in the fight to stop Garrosh.
I thoroughly enjoyed and hated this novel – mainly because it is so heartbreaking. As mentioned above I did cry my eyes out. This novel bloody hurt to read as an Alliance player. I knew what happened because I had done the scenario in-game before reading the book but it didn’t prepare me for the massive shock as I realised how devious Garrosh had been. Most WoW players knew he was going to go bad but I don’t think everyone has quite realised just how much so. He’s going to be the last boss for MoP apparently, and that puts him on the same evil scale as the previous end bosses; Deathwing, Kil’Jaden, Arthas etc. So far he has done one single bad act and already he is at their level. I’m somewhat scared of what is going to happen in MoP. He isn’t aiming for war; he’s aiming for genocide.
On a lighter note; I’ve always loved the dragons and Kalecgos, and although I mourn Krasus (I’ve yet to read that novel, probably because I don’t want to read it!), Kalec was a welcome replacement of sorts. I like that some effort has been put into thinking about what the dragons will do now, rather than just dumping them to the side of the road. I hope we see some more independent dragons in the future of the game. The pairing of Jaina and Kalec hadn’t even been considered until this book and I am really happy for both of them. They have both loved and lost so much, they really fit together well. I had never really been a big fan of the Anveena/Kalec pairing and never of Jaina/Thrall so I am happy with this one.
The book and the changes it brings create a lot of questions for me as a player; Will Dalaran be changed to show the new leader? When will Blizzard update Northrend and Outland? How can the horde leaders fight Garrosh without leaving their own people vulnerable? It’s all very exciting!