Before we go any further, I want to warn you now that there are massive spoilers behind this cut for the Icecrown raid dungeon, including the fight with the Lich King himself. Seriously, they are massive. If you don't want to be spoiled, don't click through to the rest of this article. I am warning you now. Just don't.
Still here? Alright. So anyway, here's a very juicy piece of lore fresh from the Icecrown Citadel raid in Patch 3.3. In a way, we probably saw this coming what with that one vision from Yogg Saron, but now it's official. Bolvar Fordragon hasn't broken, not yet.
As your raid begins, the Lich King appears to taunt your group, revealing that he will soon unveil his latest champion, Bolvar Fordragon -- just as soon as he can break him. This triggers a conversation between Tirion and Saurfang if you're Horde, or Tirion and Muradin if you're Alliance. Both express very similar concerns. Bolvar must be saved, and if he is saved there's a chance that it would lessen the strife between the Alliance and the Horde. That's right, Bolvar Fordragon is the new Moira Bronzebeard. Just hopefully without the pregnancy.
Of course, this brings up a lot of very interesting questions, lorewise. Firstly, Saurfang and Muradin are both apparently eager to end the conflict against the Horde and the Alliance, judging by this text. Yet we know from the Icecrown Raid preview that in only a few boss fights, they'll be commanding the Alliance and Horde flagships in all out battle against each other.
What could have changed the minds of these two stalwarts? Could there be some traumatic event? Some evil revelation, perhaps relating to Bolvar or Saurfang the Younger? Could the crews of the ships mutiny in their bloodlust? Or could it simply be the dark influence of the Lich King?
Of course, beyond that, we have another question to ask: What will be the ultimate fate of Bolvar Fordragon? The Lich King claims he's close to giving in. Any moment now, he could break and become the Lich King's greatest champions. Still, is this true? After all, Bolvar's held out for months already while we've been sidetracked with an Old God and a Renfaire. Has he really come this far only to give in just as the cavalry come riding to his rescue? Is his story doomed to be that tragic? Blizzard does love its fallen heroes, no doubt, but I'm not so sure Bolvar's done, not yet.
Admittedly, this may be my pride as the player of a Human main character, but I can't help but think that Bolvar, rather than being set up as a fall and a failure, will be a triumph. Don't get me wrong, I think we'll have some pretty big failures against the Lich King, but Bolvar won't be one of them. He's the symbol and the hope. First, the hope that Humanity and the Alliance have not fallen into darkness and despair. That the Human Spirit that burned brightly in Lothar and Turalyon still burns. That Arthas' fall, far from being inevitable, was the result of his own bad choices and lack of discipline, that his darkness can be fought.
Of course, even if Bolvar survives, what could his ultimate fate be? I have an idea or two.
You may remember the video that we posted earlier, in which Arthas, the Lich King, breathes his last. What intrigues me is the fact that his helmet - the very thing Arthas donned to complete his transformation into the Lich King, falls off his head and rolls just out of his reach. It's just sitting there, just begging for someone to pick it up.
Now, if this was Lord of the Rings, we'd all be telling Frodo (or Tirion, or Varian or whoever) to pick up that Helmet and cast it into the fires of Mount Doom. But this is Blizzard, and evil doesn't die that easily in Blizzard's world. Who says it will be so easy to destroy the energies of the Lich King? Sure, Arthas and Nerzhul are gone, but the dark energies of the Burning Legion that empowered them, left to wander free, might do more harm than leaving the helm alone. Much like the Horadrim were forced to sacrifice one of their best and brightest, Tal Rasha, and condemn him to eternal combat with one of the Prime Evils, it may be that we'll have to make one of our own take the mantle of the Lich King if only to stop a greater evil.
And who would be better qualified to control such dread power as a man who has already shown the sheer determination to stand before the Lich King, bathed in his power, and refuse to bow?
Bolvar Fordragon may survive, but he may become a member of the Scourge yet. But not a member, their leader, a benevolent Lich King -- at least as long as he can hold out against the whispers of madness and the dark power contained within himself. Arthas' story will end with Patch 3.3, but maybe, just maybe, the Lich King will live on.
I'm interested to hear what others think. Do you expect Bolvar to survive, or will he become another raid boss on the way to Arthas? Given what we know so far, what's your predictions on the fate of Bolvar and the events that lead Saurfang and Muradin to clash in the airship battle?
Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to the Arthas. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.