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Does Garrosh Hellscream deserve to die?

Likely one of the most contentious things to come out of the Mists of Pandaria press event was the news that we do indeed have a final boss for the expansion -- and it's the current leader of the Horde, Garrosh Hellscream. Garrosh has been a figure in lore since The Burning Crusade led Horde players to Nagrand and introduced the younger Hellscream, an orc who had been raised thinking his father was the reason the orc race had been through so much suffering. This depressed him to the point that we players actually stepped up and took care of many of the problems surrounding the Mag'har village in an attempt to cheer him up.

But his true salvation came in the form of Warchief Thrall, who was not only gratified to find his grandmother alive and the name his mother and father intended for him, but happy to find the living descendant of one of his closest friends as well. It was Thrall's words that finally broke the stupor of shame and depression that Garrosh had been living with for his entire life. And it was Thrall who took Hellscream under his wing, away from Garadar and to a land he'd never before set eyes upon: Azeroth.


Garrosh's story throughout Wrath is well documented, as was his run through Cataclysm. And Gauss' Adventures isn't convinced that killing the current Warchief is a great idea, given all of the story that we've seen to date. In his post, Gauss points out the moments in Cataclysm in which Garrosh appeared to be learning from his errors and the moments in which Garrosh showed that he was an honorable being, if something of a warmonger.

What Gauss asks is a question many are asking: Why put in so much development over time simply to kill off a lore character who has been shown growing and learning from his errors? Is Garrosh simply being set up to be a scapegoat? And when you look at the current story that Garrosh has been handed to play out, it does seem as though he's been making progress, even if that progress is slow. To be perfectly honest, Garrosh Hellscream is one of the few characters in World of Warcraft who has seen major development beyond the span of one expansion. He's traveled from his hopelessness in Nagrand, an impossible low, to his current seat as Warchief of the Horde, an almost impossible high.

The problem with making assumptions like these, however, is that there is a gigantic chunk of information missing. We've been given the first three major chapters in Garrosh's progression, and we've been given a hint at how the fourth and presumably final chapter will end. But what happens in that fourth chapter is a mystery -- and it's one that is going to span the full length of yet another expansion and a patch or two in between, as well.

I don't think anyone who originally played through Nagrand and saw Garrosh's transformation, upon witnessing the replay of his father's death, from shamed to proud son, thought, "That orc should come back to Azeroth and lead an army." I don't think there was anyone who played through Wrath who saw the fierce and largely brutal leader of the Horde forces and said, "That orc is a hero, and should be Warchief instead of Thrall." I don't think that anyone coming into Cataclysm was expecting that we'd see moments like the ones that Gauss highlighted -- moments where the brutal leader of war in Wrath was shown to have a very different face than simple raw, brutal warrior with no moral compass.

And I don't think anyone can really predict what we'll see that Warchief do when presented with a brand new continent that may or may not contain some sort of valuable resources that could be used to further the Horde's foothold on Azeroth. That missing chapter is apt to be some wholly remarkable storytelling -- and though I'm not sure where I stand on the issue of Garrosh's demise, I know that stepping into Pandaria is apt to be another fascinating chapter in that tale.

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

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