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Know Your Lore: High Overlord Saurfang

Welcome to Know Your Lore, where each week Alex Ziebart brings you a tasty little morsel of lore to wrap your mind around. Sweet, sweet lore. Mmmm. Have suggestions for future KYL topics? E-mail us! Or, if you have a question for our sister column Ask a Lore Nerd, e-mail us those, too!

Did you know that Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms were actually separated by a stray swing of High Overlord Saurfang's axe? Did you know giraffes are just zhevras that were on the receiving end of a Saurfang Uppercut? Did you know that Saurfang doesn't have a face beneath his mask, just another axe? Overlord Saurfang is only afraid of one thing... Mrs. Saurfang.

Okay, I'm sorry, none of that was true except for possibly that last one. It was just as obnoxious to type out as it was to read, trust me. (Un)fortunately, it's a pretty good introduction to Saurfang, as he somehow evolved into a fan favorite bad ass over the last few years while his Alliance counterpart remained a Blizzard Employee ego stroke. It took me awhile to buy into the hype around this guy, but he's been winning me over as of late.

It is safe to assume Saurfang was one of the original orcs to drink the blood of demons, since he is old enough to have a fully grown son back on Draenor, and his brother Broxigar was stated to be a veteran of the First, Second, and Third Wars. With those things in mind, I'd say it's not a stretch to say that Saurfang was a veteran of those wars as well.

While the War of the Ancients trilogy gave us a little more background about Broxigar, Saurfang's story starts much more recently for us. Who he was or what he did during the three wars is something of an unknown. Where it all kicks off is Silithus. If you're new to WoW as of the last year or two, you may not know what I'm referring to, but you older players should. It was a few years ago in our time, probably about two years ago in the Warcraft timeline, that the Scepter of the Shifting Sands was assembled and used to open the gates of Ahn'Qiraj (the Scarab Wall.)

The Horde and the Alliance came together for the event, to meet the Silithid and their Qiraji masters in battle. They called their forces the Might of Kalimdor, though I can't say I'm entirely sure why. There were just as many people there from the Eastern Kingdoms as there were from Kalimdor, but I won't rain on their parade. Kalimdor needs to compensate sometimes, yknow? Anyway, the Might of Kalimdor's Supreme Commander was the one and only Saurfang.

"I am Saurfang. Brother of Broxigar. You know me to be the Supreme Commander of the Might of Kalimdor. An orc - a true orc warrior - wishes for one thing: To die in the glory of battle against a hated enemy. Some of you have fought in battles. Peace has been with us for many years. Many years we sat idle but many years we battled. In those years - where strife the land and Legion and Scourge sacked our homes, killed our families - these insects dwelled beneath us. Beneath our homes - waiting. Waiting to crush the life from our little ones. To slay all in their path. This they do for their god. And for our gods? We defend. We stand. We show that as one. United. We destroy. Their god will fall. To die today, on this field of battle, is to die an orcish death. To die today is to die for our little ones. Our old ones. Our... loved ones. Would any of you deny yourselves such a death? Such an honor?"
-High Overlord Saurfang addressing the Might of Kalimdor

While game mechanics don't really translate well to story and lore, let me tell ya, Saurfang in action at the Battle of Ahn'qiraj was pretty epic. Saurfang uses abilities that are usually reserved for raid bosses. While his Vin Dieselization is one great big exaggeration, it's been made pretty clear that Saurfang is no pushover. He's the sort of guy who's name is only spoken in whispers by the enemy.

Now, even after the battle in Silithus, I wasn't convinced about this guy's awesomeness. Sure, he's cool and he did a lot of damage, but where's the depth? Is there anything to him, or is he just another Orc with an axe flexing in the street and still learning how to use an opposable thumb? The Wrath of the Lich King beta convinced me.

There are Wrath of the Lich King spoilers beyond this line. If you do not want to be spoiled, you probably shouldn't read any further.

Wrath has definitely given Saurfang that depth of character I was looking for. Garrosh Hellscream, the son of Grom Hellscream, has taken the lead of the Warsong Clan and their push into Northrend. Overlord Saurfang serves as an advisor of sorts. Garrosh is essentially acting like a cookie cutter of Grom, short sighed and prone to temper tantrums. Saurfang shows no hesitation in telling Garrosh that what he's doing is messed up, and emulating Grom is foolish. Saurfang also states that he won't hesitate to just plain kill Garrosh to prevent him from leading the Orcs back down the path of blood like Grom did, which Garrosh seems to be eager to do.

He goes on to voice his regret (regret!) about what the Orcs did over the years, and explains that sure, Grom's sacrifice was nice and all, but it only marginally fixed things. Saurfang is still haunted by what the Orcs did while serving the Legion, and a lot of others are, too. This was, apparently, the 'lethargy' that came over the Orcs when they were put into concentration camps by the Alliance. It wasn't an illness or curse, it was realization that they'd done wrong.

So there you go. Thrall isn't the only major, current Orc character with more than axes in mind, and that's good to see. I know the Horde loves them some axes, but the Orcs were quickly becoming one dimensional again. Saurfang's story is likely not over yet, and I fully expect to see him in Icecrown when it's implemented. Here's hoping he gets the spotlight soon.

That's all we have of Saurfang so far, but bringing him up is never complete without milking the already worn out joke of random Saurfang facts, so let's hear your best!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Lore, Know your Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

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