Wrathion, the new Earth-Warder?

He’s the most potentially awesome character WarCraft has introduced in years.  Wrathion, the Black Prince, the last black dragon on Azeroth.  An impressive title, but that’s not the best part.  The real kicker?  The Red Dragonflight used Titan technology on him, before he was hatched, to purify him.  So unlike Deathwing, unlike any other black dragon seen on Azeroth in over 10,000 years, Wrathion is a pure, uncorrupt black dragon.   And considering what black dragons have been capable of as villains, one can only image what one of them could do as a hero.  But therein lies the first question…

Is Wrathion a hero?  I say yes.  He’s ruthless and perhaps even cold, but at the end of the day…  he’s one of ours.  Some have pointed to Wrathion’s arranged assassinations of the remaining, corrupt black dragons, and even Deathwing himself.  But is that evil?  Nonsense.  What would Alexstrasza do if members of her flight were corrupted to the core by Old Gods?  She’d put them out of their misery.  Sure, Alexstrasza would do it with love, but like I said, Wrathion is ruthless.  He’s a black dragon.  What did you expect?  Rainbows?

So, why is this important?  Why does it matter?  Wrathion is the type of character writers salivate over.  He’s got two things going for him: motivation and capability.  Sure, this is where you  all ask, “What the heck are you talking about?”  …But bear with me.  This is a good one.

With Deathwing dead, this finally opens the succession for there to be  a new Earth-Warder.  With Wrathion being the only Black Dragon left on Azeroth, the title is all but definitely his.

Is there another black dragon?  Yes.  But not on Azeroth.  He’s in Outland, Sabellian, a son of Deathwing and likely Sintharia, since he’s also referred to as a brother to both Nefarian and Onyxia.  Sabellian is another interesting black dragon.  For one, he’s on good terms with Rexxar, a character who chooses his associates carefully.  He’s even arguably friendly with us players.  So what’s his deal?  Uncorrupt black dragon?  Heck no.  I think he’s corrupt to the core.  That said, I also believe Outland protects him from the symptoms.  The Azerothian Old Gods simply can’t reach him there.  Sabellian then is in permanent exile if we wishes to remain free.  This in itself is awesome.  Why?  One name:  Obi Wan Kenobi.

That’s right, Obi Wan Kenobi.  In story analysis, Kenobi is what’s known as the “Wise Man”, a mentor to the hero.  See where this is going?  We have a young, uncorrupt black dragon who, whether he’ll admit it or not, still has a lot to learn.  And what do we have in Outland?  A son of Deathwing, capable of teaching Wrathion everything he needs to know about the history of his people, where they went wrong, how it all started, and what he must do better.  Wrathion is already on the right path.  He is understandably sensitive to avoiding corruption at all cost.  Sabellian though… well, he’s Wrathion’s personal loremaster.

So this leads us to the biggest question of all.  Will Wrathion become the new Earth-Warder?  If possible, yes.  But pay attention to the first part of that answer.  The “Twilight of the Aspects” has been a central theme throughout Cataclysm.  I don’t think it’s over.  Blizzard has been awfully mum about what actually happens at the moment of Deathwing’s demise.  Will the aspects sacrifice themselves and die?  Will they give up their power?  Will they pump it all into the Dragonsoul as they did once before?  Any of those are possible.  They could of course just end up going about their daily business, but that would be kind of lame with all of this “Twilight of the Aspects” lore Blizzard has been shoving at us.

So is that it?  No more aspects means no more Earth-Warder?  For the time being, sure.  One could also point out that in the Blue Dragonflight’s case, a new aspect can only be chosen once every 437 years when Azeroth’s two moons align.  Granted, 437 years is the blink of an eye for a dragon, but for us, it’d be WoW2.  Granted the Black Dragonflight’s ascension ceremony could be different, but we’re forgetting something even more obvious.  The Titans themselves.

We’ve still got the Argus expansion on the horizon, and if we’re fighting Sargeras himself, you better believe the other Titans will make an appearance as well.  Khaz’Goroth is the benefactor of the Black Dragon Aspect.  He is the Titan who created “The Earth-Warder”.  Why would Wrathion need to wait 437 years when Khaz’Goroth himself could do it first hand in a matter of moments?

But would Khaz’Goroth have a reason to remake the Earth-Warder?  I say yes… and it goes back to what I mentioned earlier: motivation and capability.  The Titans still have an Old God problem, and  I can’t think of a more fearsome weapon to unleash on them than a restored Earth-Warder who’s resistant to their corruption.  And let’s not forget, this is personal.  Wrathion is alone in the world, because the Old Gods ultimately wiped  out his line.

Before WoW is over, I think we’re going to see the Earth-Warder beat the living hell out of an Old God.  At least I hope so.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jordan November - 2011 at 12:45 pm

Why not Thrall? There’s no decree that dragons are the only Aspects. They just happened to be the most intelligent, powerful, and long-lived race when the Titans came. Thrall’s power is almost that of an aspect.

2 Milan Sovilj November - 2011 at 1:05 pm

@Jordan because they already state that Thrall would not be the new Aspect, and I cant really think of another reason Wrathion would be added besides becoming a new aspect.

3 Cocles November - 2011 at 1:06 pm

We could debate Thrall’s power. In “Twilight of the Aspects” Thrall’s power is described as humble compared to the Aspects, but patch 4.3’s content may crank it up a notch. Anything is possible. That said, Thrall is trudging dangerously close to “Mary Sue” territory if he hasn’t already stepped into it. Metzen needs to pull the reins back a bit if he doesn’t want Thrall to devolve into his personal wish fulfillment fantasy.

4 Milan Sovilj November - 2011 at 5:57 pm

What Cocles said. I really do hope though that he doesn’t just retire like many other characters seem to have done once certain expansions ended.

5 Adolfo November - 2011 at 11:11 am

No trall porque ya le regalaron la inmortalidad , ademas los aspectos estan condenados a los susurros de los dioses antiguos , trsll tsl vez tenga otro papel de aqui hacia pandaria , como mediador de guerra , o tratando de restaurar el mundo .

6 Cocles November - 2011 at 12:44 pm

Translation of Adolfo’s comment:

Not Thrall, because he was given immortality, plus aspects are condemned to the whispers of the ancient gods. They may have a different role for Thrall in Pandaria as a mediator of war, or trying to restore the world.

7 Stormcrow November - 2011 at 10:58 pm

Speaking of Thrall is there a chance he could be benched in MoP? Will blizzard give us a he’s gone off into the middle of nowhere doing good for Azeroth and other than hints or rumors we won’t see him in game for this expansion? I know very little about this expansion so far but from what i’ve seen I think that unless he comes back as warchief he won’t really have a frontline spot in MoP. I’m not holding my breath though for him becoming warchief again, i hope that he does but after all hes done I can’t see them having him settle back into just being warchief of the horde. Thrall is deffinitely in my top 5 for wow lore characters and i hope we see a whole lot more of him, i just fear blizzard not wanting to over play him and take him out of the equation for a while….

8 Gigi November - 2011 at 6:32 am

I hope not! I have a feeling MoP will see him either trying to help the world as a whole or trying to get control back from Garrosh. I highly doubt they would let Theramore be destroyed and leave out Thrall. That is his friend. Garrosh already took one friend away from him, I doubt they would let him sit idly by while Garrosh destroyed another.

Then again they have done stranger things….

9 Cocles November - 2011 at 12:15 pm

Blizzard gave us the impression at BlizzCon that MoP will be about Pandaria, with the major side story being the war between the Horde and the Alliance. I think that’s actually reversed, or at the very least the war will take the front seat after a patch or two. With that in mind, no, I don’t think Thrall will be benched. They planted a huge seed with that “SI:7” betrayal Garrosh storyline. If they deal with the fallout from that storyline in MoP, then yes, we’ll see Thrall. As far as him being Warchief goes though, I just don’t see it. Turning Thrall into a “neutral” character (note the quotes) was as much a logistics decision as a storytelling one. Metzen is a Thrall fanboy. With Thrall out of the picture, it’ll be easier for him to oversee a more balanced Horde vs. Alliance story.

10 Gigi December - 2011 at 5:38 pm

As if on cue, it is official Blizzard had done stranger things….. I can’t stop thinking about the end cinematic of Dragon Soul

11 Cocles December - 2011 at 6:14 pm

Fortunately, I mentioned this possibility in my post. As long as there are Titans, we can always have Aspects. But that might not matter. The power of the Black Dragon Aspect was never relinquished, so with Deathwing dead, Wrathion will likely still become the new Earth Warder when the right conditions align.

12 Yjamie December - 2011 at 2:04 am

after seeing the end cinametic of cataclysm, I’m a bit shocked… I really can’t cutton up to an Azeroth with out the Dragon Aspects. Who will bring back the Dragonsoul into the right timelane if there is no Aspect of Time? Who will take care of the Emerald Dream if Ysera isn’t an aspect anymore? and so on..

Something I really don’t understand is, what Nozdormu said.. To prevent Azeroth from The Hour of Twilight was the great duty of the aspects?! The Hour of Twilight only occurred cause Neltharion went mad! If Blizz will tell me, that the Titans created an aspect specifically so that he would become corrupted, bring about all of the events which led to the final battle between Deathwing and the mortal races of the world, and be defeated — and the other Aspects were to prevent that from happening.

I mean.. what the fuck oO, why should the Titans do smth stupid like that.. i really don’t get it..

13 varuik December - 2011 at 7:04 am

There not making thrall do it because they don’t want to over do the hole thrall thing.

14 Gigi December - 2011 at 8:02 am

Yjamie – I don’t know if you read the books or not but in The Hour of Twilight, he has a realization that everything is connected, everything that has happened to the dragons including becoming aspects were connected to each other. So while the Titans may not have known exactly what would happen they probably figured that the old gods would corrupt Neltharion and that eventually the other aspects would have to stop him. In a way they set him up to fall. So really it doesn’t surprise me that they have expended their use… at this time… there are still Titans (even if they are not near us) so nothing prevents them from coming back and renewing their powers.

I admit though I am still reeling from all of this, and I really can’t wait to see what they are going to do next or if the dragon story is simply over.

15 Cocles December - 2011 at 2:41 pm

Nozdormu comments that now he has given up his powers, the Dragonsoul will slip back into its rightful place in history. (Sure it’s convenient, but hey… there are bigger fish to fry.)

At the end of the day, it seems to me that the Aspects have decided the mortal races are now powerful enough to take care of themselves. We’re the ones killing Old Gods, the Lich King, and two Dragon aspects (the first one on our own). The dragons at this point are finding themselves serving more as advisors to the more capable mortals.

The Aspects as understand that “corruption” is a huge, central theme in WarCraft. With the morals taking up the slack, the Aspects are simply becoming ticking time bombs for when they’ll ultimately be used as a weapon by the bad guys.

So… they give up their powers. Now the mortals still have their Dragonkin advisors, and there’s no chance of another Deathwing being made.

As for Wrathion… like I said above, Deathwing never relinquished his powers as the Earth Warden, which means Wrathion is still in line to inherit them.

16 Gigi December - 2011 at 3:04 pm

I certainly hope we are not done with the dragon story, but I have a sinking feeling that we are…. they have a habit of just letting loose ends stay. I hope we are not done with it, I don’t think they will have a lot of focus in the next expansion but when we have to go up against Sargeras I am hoping they will be renewed.

17 Valkrienn January - 2012 at 3:44 am

I’m surprised nobody bought up my own bugbear with it all. If the dragon aspects lose their powers at Deathwing’s fall, how is it that Nozdormu turns to madness? Surely, if he survives that long, he wouldn;t be a threat even if he did? I mean, he lost his powers over time. Maybe this hints to a later point where they regain there powers. Also, keep in mind that i speak not only of the End Time instance, as he points out that even if that future never came to pass, he would still turn to madness and try to make it so.

18 Durt February - 2012 at 11:05 am

I thought of this as well. How could they lose their powers and yet Morozond exists in the future? And playing through the instances basically tells you that this is certain to come to pass. I explain it away in my head as Moruzond being from an alternate timeline.. but it doesn’t really work.

19 Willis February - 2012 at 9:43 pm

@Durt & Valkrienn
Consider that, upon defeating Morozond he does not “die” but rather vanish. As well as stating upon trash pulls “this is not the true end time”. Remember.. THAT history is if we failed, if Deathwing was victorious. The sheer defeat of deathwing alters the timelines. So can there still be Morozond? A’Yup. But how, if the dragons gave up their powers? I think that question in of itself, is the answer as well.

There are subtle queue’s that I think are intentional in cinematic and dialog, namely when the Aspects gave up their immortality Nozdormu’s shoulder-hour-glass is cracked and he seems distressed by it. Maybe reflecting on things yet to come? Regardless if it’s an addict in rehab or a hero who feels that he can just do more to help, I think he’s going to take steps to get his powers. Maybe even be “trying to avoid this path of time” only to end up causing it. That or maybe he lets himself become tainted just to keep the cycle of time in check (a logical answer but one I bias’s reject). Maybe a little ‘whispering’ will contribute any of those.

As far as Wrathion, I hope not for Earth Warder. I don’t trust the kid. And I question his purity. Sure he rejects the meddling nature of dragons on the mortal races but he’s quick to anger and willing to pick a fight with anyone. That only builds you up to be a vigilante, not a role model. Just because he’s untainted does not mean he’s a good choice. Neltharion used to be gentle and wise before the old god influence, where as Wrathion seems cold and calculative, like the rest of his flight.

20 Cocles February - 2012 at 2:07 am

@Willis You make some good points with Morozond, I also believe we’ll see him again. And you’re right, it definitely hits that the Aspects (or at least one of them) will regain their power.

As for Wrathion… I think he’s more fitted to the job for the exact reasons you’d rather he not have it. I don’t want a “gentle and wise” warden watching over the remaining old god(s). Cold and calculative is the counter to the old gods… if anything, it’s fighting fire with fire. Neltharion wasn’t ready. Wrathion knows what he’s in for, what could happen if he “listens” to the whispers, and therefore well suited to withstand them. I also like the idea of Warden who’d just assume kill the old gods himself if that seemed the most straightforward solution. And don’t we all want to see a suped-up black dragon physically beat the hell out of an old god?

21 Ripper October - 2012 at 12:05 am

Obi-wan Kenobi hmm? I see where this is going Darth Wrathion.

22 Magnus October - 2012 at 7:36 pm

Thrall isn’t all that powerful. Benedictus for example would have wiped the floor with him if not for players in that dungeon.

I’m still upset that Blizz squandered a Golden (lol) opportunity to use pre release events and beef up the game to match the lore. Buttttttttttt Noooooooooo the alliance got shafted again.


23 cheliox November - 2013 at 10:28 am

I think that its more posible than sabellian becames the new warden of the earth, couse he is trying to rebuild the fligth in outland and its posible tthat to become the aspect, you need the aproval or vote of the others who remains in the fligth, and knowing that wrathion things that he s the last one, and savellian at last most know other black dragons, its more posible than he became the new aspect, instead of wrathion (sry 4 bad english)

24 Cocles December - 2013 at 2:36 pm

Definitely possible. I just hope we see more interaction between Sabellian and Wrathion.

25 ? February - 2020 at 8:35 am

The final sentence is funny because its true (visions of n’zoth).

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