Remember Gladiator? That movie with Russel Crowe? Fun movie… won the Oscar, and had a climax that was a complete let down.
Why? Because it kept repeating the same promise throughout the movie only to completely abandon it in the third act.
What am I talking about? Russel Crowe’s army. The movie keeps strongly inferring that Russel is going to reunite with his army and storm Rome. The movie was peppered with all sorts of lines in different places…
Senator, “But… but… there hasn’t been an invasion of Rome in over 700 years!”
Russel, “Where is my army?”
Servant, “Right outside the city my liege. And they are fat… and bored!”
Awesome! An event that hasn’t happened in centuries! A cantankerous army invading Rome led by Russel Crowe! Uber-awesome!
Did it happen? NOPE!
Instead the movie pulls a 180 on you. Russel is caught trying to escape, and instead we have him, now hobbling around crippled, fighting a one on one duel with the Emperor. We don’t even get to see the hero at full strength fighting the bad guy at full strength. Yes it won the academy award. Take a look at other best picture winners though and I’d say that had more to do with Russel dieing at the end than anything else.
The fact of the matter is, from a storytelling standpoint, the ending felt like a let down. Don’t infer something over and over in your story then not follow through.
Why am I mentioning this? Because it looks like Chris Metzen is considering doing this.
It happened at Blizzcon ’07 and it has to do with Garona, the famous half-orc, female rogue first featured in Warcraft 1.
Metzen mentioned at Blizzcon that he saw Garona as a den-mother to the Horde. (Fine.) But then he segued into Thrall needing a mate… a bloodline. (Yes, definitely.) But the inference he was making was that Garona would be Thrall’s mate. She be more than just a “breeder” though, he said.
The lore makes a huge deal about Thrall being raised by humans. His first real friend, someone who he possibly even loved, was Taretha Foxton. Taretha dies, then the lore peppers it even further with Jaina, an almost exact look alike of Taretha, who comes into Thrall’s life as an equal after he has taken over the new horde.
Now step back.
Take a look at WoW lore.
What is it?
It’s derived from Tolkien.
The chain actually went like this…
Tolkien created Lord of the Rings. Warhammer was derived from Tolkien’s lore. The original Warcraft was going to be a Warhammer game then became its own franchise.
From that point on, the further Warcraft has come, the further Metzen has pushed the lore’s boundaries. It’s one of his trademarks. Orc’s that aren’t evil. Humans that aren’t necessarily good. More recently, inter-dimensional ships. It’s what he does. It’s natural and right for Metzen then to continue to push those boundaries, and give a human a special place in the horde. But it has to be done right, and that human, of course, is Jaina. He’s already set the foundation. She’s Taretha’s successor; she lives in Kalimdor, even close to Durotar. The foundation is all there. Even carefully laid out. Why then, at the eleventh hour, would Metzen suddenly bait and switch Jaina for Garona? What history does she and Thrall have? It’s ridiculous, completely out of the blue, and shoves a decade’s worth of ground-work onto the floor.
And what for? What reason other than the remedial concept of “Oh, well. The most popular male orc should be paired with the most popular female.” This is so unoriginal it’s almost cliché.
Thrall’s mate, his other half should be Jaina. Simple as that. It fits into all the spaces it needs to. It pushes the boundaries. The foundation is there. It works.
But then again, it’s not my story.