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WoW Community Contribution: Will The Lich King Return?

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As one of the favourite end-bosses of the game, the Lich King has been a hot-topic of conversation ever since he was "defeated". New theories have resurrected the old argument that he may not be gone for good...

 

The majority of the information that is used in these arguments are found either in the game's lore, or the actual raids surrounding the characters involved. There have been two major Reddit threads that have identified some of the key points, but I think they weren't laid out in the most coherent way. I'm going to attempt to reform the information they have given and fill in a lot of the gaps that opened up in their posts. You can find links to the original posts at the bottom.

 

Without further ado, let's begin with our old friends, Kil'jaeden and Ner'zhul.

 

The Birth of the Lich King 

 

For those of you that don't know, the origins of the Lich King actually lie beyond Azeroth, inside the Twisting Nether. When the continent of Draenor was about to self-implode, Ner'zhul, the old orc Shaman turned Warlock, escaped through a portal. Unfortunately, he had broken an oath to Kil'jaeden before leaving Draenor, who was waiting for him on the other side of the portal.

 

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Kil'jaeden awaits Ner'Zhul on the other side of the portal.

 

As punishment for breaking his oath, Kil'jaeden tormented Ner'zhul by tearing apart his body, leaving only his spirit alive. Kil'jaeden believed he needed to suffer, so he forced Ner'zhul to serve him once again. He bound the spirit of the old orc to the Frozen Throne, as well as the armor encased within, and the Lich King was born, destined to rule the Scourge until Arthas took over the reins.

 

How did the Lich King arrive on Azeroth? 

 

This is the first section where we see the first glimpse of the revival theory surrounding the Lich King.

 

The Lich King was sent to Azeroth in order to rule over the Scourge; he was thrown from the sky in a huge block of ice and landed in Icecrown. The theory comes into play here when we assess where exactly he fell. The Frozen Throne is located dangerously close to the prison of Yogg-Saron, Ulduar.

 

Now, Kil'jaeden is most certainly an extremely powerful individual within the Burning Legion, but his power is nothing compared to that of Yogg-Saron. Yogg is simply on another level as an Old God. His power was barely strained when corrupting the minds of the titan watchers put in place to guard his prison.

 

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A map of Northrend, showing the location of the Lich King (Circle) and Yogg-Saron (Square).

 

The fact that the Lich King is so perilously close to Yogg-Saron, combined with the extreme powers this Old God possesses, hints at the idea that the Lich King was perhaps being controlled this whole time. There was actually never any hold on the power by Ner'zhul, but it was Yogg pulling the strings from the sidelines. 

 

What did this mean for Arthas? 

 

If we assess the powers that Kil'jaeden gifted to the Lich King, we can undoubtedly confirm that the power to control and influence the dead is among them. There is, however, no record of the Lich King ever influencing a living being. That is, until Arthas came along.

 

Arthas was the Crown Prince of Lordaeron, who arrived in Northrend in search of the dreadlord Mal'Ganis. The two had previously encountered each other at the Culling of Stratholme, but Mal'Ganis escaped to Northrend, inviting Arthas to follow him.

 

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Arthas battles Mal'Ganis at Stratholme.

 

The fact that Arthas was supposedly "driven mad" in Northrend by the Lich King simply doesn't make sense, since he generally has very little power over the living. We have, however, seen the Old Gods influence the minds of the living time and time again. If this is in fact true, then it was actually Yogg-Saron influencing the mind of Arthas this whole time. He drove Arthas mad in his search for the Frozen Throne and Frostmourne.

 

Why was Arthas chosen? 

 

This is an interesting question. Why did Yogg-Saron need Arthas? What was his purpose? The simple answer is, to cause as much death as possible. 

 

If we assess Yogg-Saron in terms of the other Old Gods, we start to see a pattern emerge. C'thun slowly escaped his prison, with very little protection to prevent it happening. The heart of Y'sharrj was buried in a vault under the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Again, there was very little protection surrounding it.

 

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Yogg-Saron in his prison, Ulduar.

 

Now let's take a look at Yogg-Saron. He has five watchers to guard his prison, all created by the Titans themselves. The prison itself is a titan creation. Yet despite this extra protection, he still managed to corrupt the minds of every titan creation in Ulduar. Simply put, Yogg-Saron is on a completely different level than the other Old Gods. He is extremely powerful and, if let loose, would destroy Azeroth in a heartbeat. His existence is simply to act as the "God of Death", inflicting his curse on any he may find. In his own words:

 

"Your fate is sealed, the end of days is finally upon you and all who inhabit this miserable little seedling." (Said by Yogg-Saron in his raid encounter)

 

As a being solely based around the concept of killing everyone on the world of Azeroth, Yogg-Saron was limited to Northrend. Between him and the Lich King, the entirety of Northrend was dominated and under their control. Arthas allowed Yogg-Saron to expand his reaches to the rest of the continents, giving him a being that he could channel power through, while simultaneously causing as much death as possible.

 

The theory proposed, however, highlights that Arthas turned out to be the wrong person for the job of Lich King. The corruption didn't completely take over his mind, evidenced by the fact that he still held some compassion about certain beings in the world. Yogg-Saron saw every individual as equal fodder to death, while Arthas still cherished his horse, Invincible, and still held fond memories of his childhood love, Jaina Proudmoore.

 

It was these feelings that began to cause problems between Arthas and Yogg-Saron, so something had to be done.

 

The Replacement Lich King 

 

Yogg-Saron realised that something needed to be done about Arthas. He was beginning to resist the corruption in his mind, so he was no longer of use to the Old God. Enter, our fiery friend, Bolvar Fordragon.

 

We can look at this from both a lore and in-game perspective. Bolvar was kept alive by Arthas to be tortured endlessly, but we never find out why he was not killed. The theory suggests that he was kept alive because the Lich King must be a living being. 

 

Bolvar is kept chained up above the Frozen Throne, but he somehow manages to unchain himself without our help, after the Lich King has been defeated. With Arthas defeated, the Scourge is supposedly destined to run rampant around the world, slaughtering all who it encounters. There's a pretty big flaw in this argument, since the Lich King wouldn't be there to add to their numbers. 

 

The theory suggest that, in reality, this argument was only put forward because it was actually Yogg-Saron speaking. Whether we look at the voice of King Terenas, the father of Arthas, or Bolvar himself, the whole conversation makes sense when you place Yogg-Saron at either side.

 

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Bolvar Fordragon, after being crowned by Tirion.

 

The God of Death has managed to convince one of the most powerful Paladins on Azeroth to hand over control of the Scourge. He tells Tirion, as though making a large sacrifice, that none should look for him. This seems like the perfect set-up to begin plotting the demise of the world, since you now have complete control over the Scourge, as well as your own powers.

 

Didn't we kill Yogg-Saron?

 

A fantastic question. Technically, no, we didn't. We simply defeated some small part of the Old God, but the theory takes it one step further. Yogg-Saron is an incredibly powerful being and he knew exactly what needed to be done to remove Arthas from the equation. Yogg-Saron allowed us to defeat a small portion of him in Ulduar, as well as sacrificing his hold over the titan watchers, in an attempt to deceive us. It worked.

 

We ventured on, believing the Old God was no longer a threat. We removed Arthas for him and then crowned his new champion, Bolvar, as the new Lich King. We literally handed the power over to him, just as he had planned all along.

 

Is this all just coincidence?

 

It would seem we can actually back this theory up with a number of pieces from the game, such as:

  1. In the video of the Fall of the Lich King, the entire conversation is orchestrated to force Tirion into crowning Bolvar, despite not making sense at points.
  2. Kel'Thuzad, the lich, can be resurrected from his phylactery, which was mysteriously stolen after being taken from his corpse.
  3. Tirion is the only person on Azeroth, except the player, that knows Bolvar is now sitting on the Frozen Throne. If something were to happen to Tirion, this information would disappear.
  4. Dalaran is no longer in Northrend, venturing with us to the Broken Isles in the Legion expansion. 
  5. Arthas, as he is dying, asks if it is "finally over", but he supposedly suppressed the spirit of Ner'zhul long ago. This means something else was inside his mind controlling him. Since Yogg-Saron would no longer need him, he might have allowed Arthas his mind back in his dying breath.

Conclusion 

 

The theory is not perfect, there are definitely flaws, but it is still an incredibly well thought out piece. There is definitely some link between the two characters and there are just too many "coincidences" for none of this to make sense. The fact that the major magical power, Dalaran, is leaving Northrend as the hub of the next expansion signals that Blizzard might want us to forget about Northrend for a while.

 

The introduction of such a heavy amount of Vrykul lore in Legion also might indicate that we could receive word from the Vrykul after we defeat the Burning Legion that something in Northrend is amiss.

 

Old Gods expansion confirmed? God, I hope so.

 

If you want to read more into the discussion and original Reddit posts, you can find them here:

 

The /r/WarcraftLore post

 

The /r/wow post

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