The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.
The Eternals of Azeroth are by and large fairly well known by the mortal races -- the Ancients of the night elves were a strong presence in the War of the Ancients, and the trolls worked intimately with their Loa gods. But there are still Eternals out there that are by and large unknown quantities in the universe -- vague historical records have been made, but the mortal races are mostly in the dark as to who these Eternals really are, and what their purpose is in the world.
Of all of the Eternals, the ones that remain the biggest mystery are the Titans, specifically the Pantheon of titans that were responsible for Azeroth's creation as we know it today. While the dwarves have uncovered a lot of information recently, there are still large chunks of time seemingly out of order or unaccounted for. There are a few different timelines, and varying opinions on what exactly occurred in each timeline -- so writing about the Titans and the creation of the world is an exercise in careful speculation. Today we'll be looking at the Pantheon -- the titan high council -- who they were, what roles they played in Azeroth, and where they are today, as well as taking a look at the creation of Azeroth.
The Titans are basically the organizers of the universe, such as it is. Some call them a progenitor race, others say that they simply travel from planet to planet, quietly rearranging things to their liking and then leaving after everything has been taken care of. In the case of Azeroth, there are two different timelines that have been discovered via various historical records -- one suggests that the Titans found Azeroth and discovered the Old Gods that were already wreaking havoc upon the poor planet, the other suggests that the Titans came first, organized the world and had to make a return trip when they discovered the Old Gods trying to destroy that which they'd so carefully put together.
For the sake of clarity, we're going to follow the latter of the two theories, as it reflects recent discoveries made by the Explorer's League. So here we have Azeroth, a tiny, new world rife with possibility. The Titans came to the world and worked their magic on it, shaping the land and creating life to live upon it. In addition to the regular run of the mill creatures they also formed the Earthen, stone creatures that were meant to usher along the seeds of life the Titans had created and in general just make sure that everything was running smoothly. Satisfied with their work, the Titans took off to find more planets to redecorate.
Unfortunately, little Azeroth was apparently too nice and orderly a world. It attracted the attention of Old Gods -- horrific beings bent on creating chaos and destruction. What better place to sow chaos than a planet that was neat, tidy, and just begging for someone to come in and screw it all up? So the Old Gods arrived and began tearing everything apart and working their way into the world itself. What really worked out for the Old Gods were the Elemental Lords -- native to Azeroth, the Elemental Lords were chaotic by their very nature, and thus easily swayed into wreaking havoc. As for the Earthen, Azeroth's guardians -- the Old Gods unleashed this nasty little thing called the Curse of Flesh that was designed to weaken the creatures into something soft, pliable, and ultimately, controllable.
The Old Gods were merrily having their way with the world when the Titans realized that something was decidedly wrong with the nice planet they'd put together. They returned to Azeroth and were horrified to discover the damage that the Old Gods had wrought -- well, horrified and very, very angry. In what was likely the nastiest war in Azeroth's history, the Titans fought both the Elemental Lords and the Old Gods that controlled them, and won. The Elemental Lords were banished after their defeat to a place called the Elemental Plane -- not quite on Azeroth, not quite another world of its own, the Elemental Plane was a dimensional prison of sorts that existed somewhere in the core of Azeroth -- created for the Elemental Lords so that they could sit and think about what bad, bad creatures they had been.
Satisfied with the reckoning they'd delivered upon the Elemental Lords, the Titans turned their efforts towards the Old Gods themselves. However to their horror, it was discovered that the Old Gods had managed to "infect" the planet so early in its development that they were irreversibly linked with it. In other words -- you kill an Old God; you're killing the planet. Literally. Since they could not destroy the Old Gods, the Titans decided to do the next best thing -- imprison them deep beneath the earth and leave them there to rot. This is why the Old Gods are still present on Azeroth -- they're essentially stuck there. This is also why we, as players, can never really kill them -- we can kill bits and pieces, aspects of them if you will, but destroying an Old God altogether? It would be bad.
So the Pantheon of Titans recreated the races they'd begun with, developing a new, untainted brand of Earthen and put in safeguards to protect the planet they'd worked so hard to create -- the Dragon Aspects, the Titanic watchers. Satisfied that this time everything would be all right, they left, and never returned. While records exist of these Eternal creators, no mortal has ever laid eyes on one. This is pretty much all we know of what the Pantheon accomplished in their time on Azeroth, but who were they? Originally there were six Titans in the Pantheon that created Azeroth, and we have vague records of each of them. The Titans of the Pantheon are as follows:
- Aman'Thul: Aman'Thul was the leader of the Pantheon, the eldest of all Titans. He was responsible for the creation of worlds, and in Azeroth's case he was also responsible for the creation of the Bronze Aspect. After the war with the Old Gods, Aman'Thul blessed Nozdormu with power over Time -- to watch and to safeguard Azeroth's destiny, and to insure that the flow of time would not be interrupted or meddled with. It was not without a price however, in order to keep Nozdormu from abusing his powers, Aman'Thul also showed Nozdormu exactly when and how he would die. This was to keep Nozdormu aware that despite his great power; he was still destined to die as all creatures on the planet he protected.
- Eonar: Eonar the Lifebinder as she is called is just that -- the embodiment of life itself. Eonar is Aman'Thul's consort and closest advisor, and responsible for both creating and protecting all living creatures, flora and fauna, on all worlds that the Titans reorganized. Sounds kind of like Alexstrazsa, doesn't she? Well there's a reason for that -- when the Titans created the Dragon Aspects, Eonar granted Alexstrazsa a portion of her spirit and charged her with doing exactly what Eonar did herself -- protecting and caring for all life in the world. In addition, Eonar also granted Ysera a portion of her spirit, charging the Green Aspect to protect and watch over nature via the Emerald Dream.
- Norgannon: Norgannon was the master of arcane magic, knowledge, secrets and mysteries -- pretty much anything that fell under the realm of magic or lorekeeping was the responsibility of this Titan. While the Titans as a whole preferred not to use or meddle with arcane magic because of its inherently addicting, corruptive nature, they still sought to understand it -- and that's where Norgannon came in. It was his duty because, if ever there came a time when the Burning Legion would be defeated, having every weapon possible at their disposal would be necessary. As the master of magic and lore, Norgannon was responsible for the creation of Malygos, granting the blue dragon a portion of his power and charging him with watching over the secrets and mysteries of the world, and guarding magic. He gave Malygos a map containing all of Azeroth's ley lines in order to help him with his task.
- Khaz'goroth: Khaz'goroth the Shaper was a master of crafting. He created not only the mountains and valleys of the world, but the with Eonar's help, the creatures that dwelled within. It was Khaz'goroth that originally created the Earthen that eventually developed into the dwarven race and the troggs, and it is also rumored that he created the mountain giants as well. As master over the earth, it was Khaz'goroth that charged Neltharion, now known as Deathwing, with watching over the earth and deep places of the world.
- Aggramar: Aggramar isn't so much about creation as he is about eliminating things -- specifically, the Burning Legion and anything even remotely close to it. A warrior by nature, Aggramar isn't involved in the creation of worlds at all, instead he's charged with protecting the worlds the Titans have created -- and especially with ridding the universe of the demonic taint of the Burning Legion wherever the opportunity presents itself. Needless to say Aggaramar was not responsible for any of the Aspects -- as a fighter, it simply wasn't his duty. Aggramar didn't really have a huge presence on Azeroth or a major footprint in its history.
- Golganneth: Golganneth is the son of Aman'Thul and Eonar, and his domain is the air and water -- he created the oceans and seas of Azeroth, and the skies above them. In addition he created the water-dwelling creatures of the world, including the Sea Giants. Golganneth didn't really have anything to do with the Aspects either -- seeing as how the rest of the Pantheon had pretty much all bases covered, there wasn't really a need for him to do so.
You can't really discuss the Pantheon of the Titans without talking about this guy. Sargeras had absolutely nothing to do with Azeroth's creation, because by the time it was being created he'd already gone completely bonkers. Sargeras is the brother of Aman'Thul, and was once his closest advisor and staunchest supporter. Aggramar was Sargeras' second-in-command -- originally it was Sargeras that held the position of protecting the worlds the Titans created. So what happened?
What the Titans are all about can be boiled down to one thing: Order. Anything that sought to unravel or upset the natural order of the worlds that the Titans created was viewed as an enemy, something evil that should be destroyed. Sargeras was the one that did the destroying -- but as he did so, he observed the chaos wrought by the evils of the universe, and the very fact that such evils could exist depressed him. In the midst of this depression, he fought a group of beings called the Nathrezim. Despite defeating them, Sargeras was shaken at the thought of the depth of evil that these creatures had plummeted -- and the more he thought and brooded, the more he began to doubt.
What was the point of putting order to the universe, when the universe was bursting at the seams with creatures that only wanted to destroy? What was the point of putting things in order when it seemed as though the natural state of the universe was chaotic and evil? And if the universe was meant to be chaotic and evil, what business did the Titans have in trying to force order upon it? In fact, if chaos was the natural way of the universe, then these creatures that Sargeras was spending all of his time fighting were the fault of the Titans themselves, weren't they?
In fact, Sargeras reasoned, the very notion that he had to spend all this time fighting and defending was a direct indication that the work of the Titans wasn't really doing any good at all. The other Titans tried to calm him and reassure him that they were doing the right thing, but by that time, it was already too late. Sargeras left the Pantheon and the Titans, intent on finding his own place in the universe -- and oh did he ever find it. By now convinced in his madness and depression that the Titans themselves were a force that should be removed, Sargeras resolved to eradicate their works one by one, and restore the universe to what he assumed was its "natural" state -- pure and complete chaos and devastation.
To this end, Sargeras sought out every demonic race that he'd ever defeated and locked away, releasing them from their prisons and constructing a truly monstrous army. Despite having all these demons to do his bidding, Sargeras lacked a few things -- leaders, tacticians, and commanders, beings smart enough to serve under him and act on his orders. This is when Sargeras discovered the planet Argus and its native race, the eredar. Sargeras managed to recruit two of the three leaders of the eredar for his cause -- Kil'jaeden and Archimonde -- though the third, Velen, refused and fled.
This is the origin of the Burning Legion -- originally a Titan, now Sargeras leads the very evil he once sought to protect the universe from. Aggramar stepped up to take his place within the ranks of the Pantheon -- and, absolutely disgusted at Sargeras' treachery, seeks to take out agents of his army at every opportunity.