On the lore junkie scale of 1-10, I’m about a -3.
No, seriously, I’m about to butcher me some lore here.
Sadly, when I play an MMO, I just want to pick up quests and “kill seven of those” or “collect twelve of those” or “bring this package to that guy over there” AS FAST AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE so I can reach endgame, then sit around and complain about how repetitive and boring it is.
But then something changed me.
I watched the 5.4 Siege of Orgrimmar trailer, and it ignited a raging firestorm deep within the bowels of my lore loins the likes of which has never been seen.
I mean, all along, I’ve kinda known that…
…in The Burning Crusade there was some kind of portal that was preparing to unleash an evil into Azeroth that was so potent, so wicked, and so destructive that raids of level 90’s still stand guard at it to make sure level 58’s don’t tinker with it.
…in Wrath of the Lich King there was a guy who LOST HIS GODDAMN MIND because of some cursed sword or helm…or something, and had to be stopped.
…in Cataclysm there was a dragon. That was pretty much it. Just a dragon. Oh, and no shits were given by the laborers in Stormwind to fix the big dragon prints left on the battlements at the front gates while on the other hand, the Horde were working overtime to pimp out their crib.
But the 5.4 Siege of Orgrimmar trailer actually made me do something I’ve never done before. Something that made me feel a little nerdy. A little dirty. Something I thought I would never admit to…
…I Googled “Garrosh Hellscream Wiki” because I had to find out more about this intriguing chap with the obscenely large, spiky, and might I add, BADASS super tusky shoulder armor.
And after devouring the article (and watching one lore video), I became Garrosh’s #1 (and only) fan. Here is why I will be the guy sitting in the front row at the Siege of Orgrimmar waving my foam “we’re # 1” hand, rooting for Team Hellscream:
He’s Only Human (Well, kinda…)
When we meet Garrosh in Nagrand, he’s a whiny, emo little punk who is exhibiting symptoms associated with a case of acute daddy issues. He’s combed his hair over one eye, donned some mascara, and is sitting around listening to Fall Out Boy while complaining that the world just doesn’t “get” him. During this period, he lacks confidence, and lives in his father’s semi-sullied shadow.
As someone who vowed to never follow in his father’s footsteps, who then…grew up to be just like his father, I can sympathize with Garrosh. I think that all of us can remember a time we hated our parents for embarrassing us and/or ruining our lives, or just completely ruining us as human beings, simply due to their unquenchable thirst for power and vengeance, amirite?
Apparently Garrosh’s father, Grom Hellscream, beer-bonged some demon blood to pony up a little extra oomph with which to viciously dispatch his enemies. Grom’s thirst for power corrupted him, and he made some decisions he would later regret. Let’s just say: what happens in the Ashenvale forest doesn’t necessarily stay in the Ashenvale forest.
Garrosh seems to be traveling down the same dark path of lust for power, but it remains to be seen if he will come full circle and redeem himself as his father did in his final moments. To be honest, I don’t want him to. I want him to go out in a blaze of indignant, defiant, IDGAF glory. I like the fact that Garrosh is a heavily flawed character, because I think that most of us can relate to someone who makes a few poor decisions more than we can to those characters that we know will always make the “right” and “just” ones. I’m looking at you, Terry Goodkind and Jim Butcher.
I also appreciate the arc of Garrosh’s story as he grows from the resident Nagrand crybaby to the pinnacle of xenophobic, genocidal, homicidal madness while in command of the Horde forces. However, there is one piece of the story I can’t seem to figure out: why the hell did Thrall keep promoting this guy? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
He Sticks To His Convictions
Garrosh does what he believes is best for those he considers “Horde”, and he protects and provides for them at all costs. (Note: his definition of “Horde” is a little narrower than, let’s say…everyone else’s.) And not one single damn thing is going deter him from his mission, and there is something that I can respect about that.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a bleeding heart for the same character trait which has led to events in real life such as, oh, I dunno: the Holocaust, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the Suuni’s vs. the Shiites, and holy smokes does this list go on and on…
But if you think about it, we live in a highly sanitized world where people tell us what we can or can’t say. They tell us what is right and wrong. What we should or shouldn’t wear. We are told what music, TV, movies, books, magazines or art we should like. Everything is focus grouped to a bloody pulp before the media is allowed to force feed us our decisions.
All of this is why I respect a character’s ability to stick to his or her guns no matter the circumstance, and I find it strangely liberating to live vicariously through them and just go straight O.G. #YOLO with them every now and again.
Yes, we all know — there is good and there is evil, and evil is always more interesting than good by its very nature, but there is something infinitely more interesting than both of them: the antihero. And yes, I know the antihero has become cliché, save the hate mail.
Look at the characters we root for: Walter White, Dexter Morgan, Don Draper, Dr. Gregory House, Vick Mackey, Tony Soprano, Nucky Thomspon, Riddick, etc. (Okay, that last one was all me.)
Generally speaking, we like people who do bad things for “good” reasons. It tears us up inside. It makes us feel conflicted. It forces us tap our moral barometer. *tap* *tap* Is this thing on? In the black-and-white, binary world we live in, these characters rustle our jimmies and jumble our “1’s” and “0’s”. They make us second guess everything we think we’ve ever known.
At the most basic level, Garrosh is doing what he believes in. What he thinks is right for his people. And we all know that the definition of “right” relies heavily on which side of the conflict you are on. Overall, I believe that the thusfar tragic story of Garrosh Hellscream has been spun from fabric ripped straight out of the headlines of each of our lives. More so than we are willing to admit.
There is very little black and white in our world. None of us are heroes. We are just living our lives, making the best decisions we can, the only way we know how, all the while trying to fiercely protect those we care for.
Even if it means we all have a little bit of Garrosh in us.
You say the world will hear of this? That they will come for me? Yes, I’m counting on it…
And sugar, we’re going down swinging.