Pardon the crude quality of the article title, but it must be said.
My fiancee and I have just finished reading Tides of War, the latest World of Warcraft novel. Overall, we found it to be enjoyable, if somewhat frustrating. For one, Garrosh has gone full-tilt maniac. In the course of the events in this novel alone, he has perpetrated or condoned:
> The incorporation of the Blackrock Orcs into the Horde. Like the Dragonmaw, he has gathered to him some of the most unsavory characters and clans and, with their fealty, has excused their past and current transgressions.
> Dark Shamanism and the binding of Molten Giants to wage war. His Shamans are one tick away from being Warlocks, in terms of the power they wield, how they conduct themselves, and how they dress. To quote Garrosh, in this he has turned the Cataclysm to the Horde’s favor.
> The establishment of a Police State, where Malkorok, his Blackrock lackey, has been given carte blanche to round up supposed dissidents and abuse them, detain them, or assassinate them.
> The opinion that the Horde’s other races, including their faction leaders, are there only to serve him, the Warchief, and by extension, the Horde. He thinks little of them, disparaging them all in one way or another, the Trolls and Tauren most openly.
> The theft of the Focusing Iris from the Blue Dragonflight, and its use in powering a gigantic Mana Bomb — which he subsequently dropped on Theramore, turning it into an arcane wasteland where time and space lie twisted.
> The belief that he is destined to correct the many mistakes Thrall had made when he led the Horde. Quote, unquote.
Now, all this is very interesting, as it appears Blizzard has finally decided what they wish to do with Garrosh Hellscream. They want to make him a villain. I feel the past attempts at his other characterization were poor, slapdash even, and now they’re not mincing words. Garrosh is a nut and he needs to be taken out.
Thrall, however, continues to be “conveniently distracted.” Metzen, the other lore-masters, and Golden are guilty of writing him into a vacuum, where his revulsion at Garrosh’s acts takes second chair to A) Aggra offering him a wink and a smile or B) some half-assed “important work” being done by the Earthen Ring. I give Golden credit for at least acknowledging Thrall thinks of donning his armor, taking up the Doomhammer, and striding into Orgrimmar to put right what is wrong… but then he pushes that aside, and does not act.
Why. The. Hell. Not?
Thrall, you built the Horde. You know Garrosh is destroying it now. There’s no ambiguity to it. Every minute that maniac is in charge, Hordefolk will die, Alliancefolk will die, a war will rage, innocents will perish, and now, the elements themselves will be abused. Get off your ass and get to Orgimmar. Take action. Baine and Vol’jin have a better reason to sit back and be careful — Garrosh will Mana Bomb their people if they don’t keep in step. But you, Thrall, can take the reins here. So, why aren’t you doing it? You stepped up with the world needed an Aspect of Earth. It’s time to step up again, because there are very few people in the world who can do what needs to be done. You’re one of them.
And where the heck is Varok Saurfang? Buddy, you made a promise in Borean Tundra. Don’t think we’ve forgotten it. It’s time to deliver.
If you’ve ever heard of the contrivance “plot armor” then damnit, I call this plot apathy. It is as if the writers know that Thrall, given his past characterization, would make a stand, right here and now, so they have to write in half-baked reasons for him to delay. And Saurfang I believe had all of one paragraph in a recent novel that placed him effectively into retirement. Gee. That’s great.
From a reader’s point of view, it is damn frustrating to want your hero to show up and do something heroic, as he has in the past, and he instead decides to wander off and pick flowers.
I can only hope the final showdown against Garrosh is worth it.