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A Good War Novella: Plot Summary

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Why did Sylvanas decide to go to war and burn down Teldrassil? What's Saurfang's reaction to all this madness? Check out our plot summary of "A Good War" to find answers to some interesting questions!

The article contains spoilers.

After reading A Good War, I must admit that the in-game War of Thorns was insufficient and lacked a lot of information. If you thought that it was Blizzard's bad writing, the novel will prove you wrong. I still need to finish reading Elegy to get the full picture, but here's a summary of the Horde novel.

A Good War Summary

Sylvanas wants to go to war, because she believes there can't be a long-lasting peace between the factions, unless the Horde wins it on the battlefield on their terms, so why delay the inevitable? She also fears of imminent Alliance attacks carried out by Anduin/Greymane. Both factions still do not understand the full potential of Azerite, but they know for sure that it will create a new generation of warfare.

Alliance spies have infiltrated Orgrimmar and Sylvanas wants to use that to her advantage by making the Alliance's intelligence tell the wrong story and fool them into sending an army to Silithus. She has a private meeting with Saurfang and asks him if it was possible to destroy Stormwind. She trusts the High Overlord, because he's the only person she knew who had conquered both Stormwind and Orgrimmar. Stormwind has a huge terrain advantage over Orgrimmar and it would not be possible to conquer it with just one direct assault. As opposed to Stormwind, Orgrimmar has docks outside of the city, making it vulnerable if attacked from both fronts.

Anduin is an inexperienced leader, he's not like Varian. Sylvanas thinks that Genn could wage war against the Horde without Anduin's permission. In the past, he attempted to murder her without any approval of the Alliance and got away with it without any form of punishment.

Sylvanas asked Saurfang if it was feasible to take control over Kalimdor, given that the Alliance hold on Eastern Kingdoms was strong. She would like to destroy the Alliance from within and cause chaos among the leaders. If Genn, Tyrande & Malfurion, all, wanted different things from Anduin, he would not be able to make the right decision for everybody. Defeating and making deals with the individual Alliance leaders would make the Alliance crumble.

Sylvanas and Saurfang next discuss if it was possible to attack Darnassus. Sylvanas literally wants to inflict a wound that can never heal. She knows there's no turning back and if successful, the Alliance would attack Undercity and Silvermoon City.

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Both the Horde and the Alliance have lost their naval power after defeating the Burning Legion. Sylvanas specifically mentions that the Horde can't use their ships for both transport and war.

Malfurion Stormrage and Tyrande Whisperwind are considered unbeatable, those two would be a terror for the Horde once the fighting began. They had lived for so long, and survived so much, that Saurfang had to consider the possibility that they could hold off the Horde long enough for the Alliance to send help. The next stage was to wait for an opportunity and take it if they give the Horde one.

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Sylvanas praised Saurfang for learning the ways of deceptions well. Next, they needed the Alliance to believe the rift between them is widening. They let a caught spy escape and the Alliance gladly took the bait.

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Everything is going so smoothly that they launch the attack in just one week. Horde forces march into Northern Barrens, but at the Crossroads, Saurfang orders them to go to Ashenvale instead of Silithus. Horde Rogues (Lorash and Rifen) kill an Ashenvale Commander, but Rifen's hand is bitten off by a nightsaber, he's killed while Lorash manages to escape.

The Horde advancement in Ashenvale is described thoroughly. Lorash's portraited as a cunning rogue in combat. His goal is to get Malfurion's head. Alliance Druids are trying to fend off the Horde by burning down bridges, but they only delay the inevitable. It's more than clear that the Alliance knows about the Horde presence in Ashenvale, but they won't be able to send reinforcements in time to make a difference.

Malfurion summons a wisp wall to win enough time for Night Elf forces to arrive. Sylvanas orders the forces to retreat and Saurfang to find a way route from Felwood to Darkshore.

Mr. Honor interferes in the duel between Sylvanas and Malfurion. Saurfang delivers an almost fatal blow, but regrets it shortly after. Sylvanas tells him how well he did and orders him to finish off Malfurion. When she later finds out that Saurfang failed to kill him, in other words, inflict a wound that would never heal, Sylvanas decides to take things into her own hands and burn down Teldrassil. Saurfang is obviously not happy with her choice and wonders if it had been the plan all along.

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...and what exactly did the Alliance leaders do to help Elves defend Teldrassil? Well... nothing. Malfurion was only trying to win time for more forces to arrive and Anduin was just casually chilling in Stormwind. Many questions still remain unanswered, I'll report back after reading Elegy.

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You've covered why conquering Darnassus was a step towards conquering Stormwind but you failed to cover why conquer Stormwind or go to war at all. This is actually essential. I don't know if you wanted to give people reasons to hate Sylvanas even more but such inaccuracy is the reason for the whole drama and "Sylvanas is Hitler" bullshit. Some idiots are afraid of books and you should cover such important details when attempting to summarize things for them.

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When she later finds out that Saurfang failed to kill him, in other words, inflict a wound that would never heal, Sylvanas decides to take things into her own hands and burn down Teldrassil.

Retconned so soon? Woah that's quick even for Blizz.

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4 hours ago, Haheisenberg said:

You've covered why conquering Darnassus was a step towards conquering Stormwind but you failed to cover why conquer Stormwind or go to war at all. This is actually essential. I don't know if you wanted to give people reasons to hate Sylvanas even more but such inaccuracy is the reason for the whole drama and "Sylvanas is Hitler" bullshit. Some idiots are afraid of books and you should cover such important details when attempting to summarize things for them.

It's right there in the summery, Sylvanas doesn't think (long lasting) peace is possible unless the Horde has it on their own terms after a victory. I'm also reading that she wants to solidify her position as Warchief by conquest.

To be fair she has a point, cold wars tend to become hot eventually unless M.A.D is involved as powerful as the factions are, they aren't there yet. It's always better to start a war on your terms rather then let the enemy chose the time. That doesn't excuse her behaviour with the burning of course, but it goes a long way to explaining it... Of course if only this could have been told in-game...

Instead we get the lamest pre-patch event I can remember.

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20 minutes ago, tkioz said:

It's right there in the summery, Sylvanas doesn't think (long lasting) peace is possible unless the Horde has it on their own terms after a victory. I'm also reading that she wants to solidify her position as Warchief by conquest.


Of course she's creating a foregone conclusion.  She's doing what so many people do in life to ruin relationships.  I can't depend on this other person to stick around so I'm going to do everything I can to make that outcome happen.  Because being right and certain is easier than being uncertain and potentially happy.

Actually, she wants to take Stormwind to create more Forsaken out of the Human population.  She doesn't want to let the Forsaken that already exist to ever die and she wants to enslave the rest of Humanity to serve her.  "The Horde" is the instrument she's using to achieve this, because without their protection and boots on the ground they would be obliterated.

Whatever wrongs have happened in the past, her agenda is why this is happening and she's now not much better than the Lich King himself.  

Edited by Sholto
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1 hour ago, Sholto said:


Of course she's creating a foregone conclusion.  She's doing what so many people do in life to ruin relationships.  I can't depend on this other person to stick around so I'm going to do everything I can to make that outcome happen.  Because being right and certain is easier than being uncertain and potentially happy.

Actually, she wants to take Stormwind to create more Forsaken out of the Human population.  She doesn't want to let the Forsaken that already exist to ever die and she wants to enslave the rest of Humanity to serve her.  "The Horde" is the instrument she's using to achieve this, because without their protection and boots on the ground they would be obliterated.

Whatever wrongs have happened in the past, her agenda is why this is happening and she's now not much better than the Lich King himself.  

This. What further makes this all the more head scratching is that Voljin died firmly believing she had to be the next Horde leader. There were several candidates who had his guts and honor that could have been given the mantle, but the "Loa" chose her. Right now, the Loa look like total morons and Voljin the Rhonda Rousey of Horde leaders.

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8 hours ago, Stan said:

Sylvanas wants to go to war, because she believes there can't be a long-lasting peace between the factions, unless the Horde wins it on the battlefield on their terms, so why delay the inevitable

Because there's - oh I don't know - an intergalactic faction that consumes planets that have their eyes set on Azeroth?

 

Was this not obvious the past 10 or so years?

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5 hours ago, therainking said:

This. What further makes this all the more head scratching is that Voljin died firmly believing she had to be the next Horde leader. There were several candidates who had his guts and honor that could have been given the mantle, but the "Loa" chose her. Right now, the Loa look like total morons and Voljin the Rhonda Rousey of Horde leaders.

stealing "voljin was the rhonda rousey of horde leaders" 🙂

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12 hours ago, Haheisenberg said:

You've covered why conquering Darnassus was a step towards conquering Stormwind but you failed to cover why conquer Stormwind or go to war at all. This is actually essential. I don't know if you wanted to give people reasons to hate Sylvanas even more but such inaccuracy is the reason for the whole drama and "Sylvanas is Hitler" bullshit. Some idiots are afraid of books and you should cover such important details when attempting to summarize things for them.

Thanks for bringing this up, I updated the article with more info 🙂.

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A good summary, thanks for posting here.

It is such a shame we didn't get even half of the details and insights from the books in the game. We really have no friggin idea of Sylvanas motives from the quests and cinematics, and they skipped the whole spying/mind games/war preparation detailed in the books.

There were a few points where the plot felt kinda forced, specially near the end, but they were good reads. I would recommend everyone to read them fully, at your time. The writing is very good and most characters depictions are on point.

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In fact, the burning of Teldrassil is Saurfang fault.. He had the chance to inflict a wound that would never heal By killing Malfurion and no burning then. 

It's sad to see that in game when we start the questline Sylvanas is portrayed as a brain dead who wants war for the sake of it. 

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3 hours ago, Eukray said:

In fact, the burning of Teldrassil is Saurfang fault...


In fact, it isn't.  He and the rest of the Horde have been brought into this conflict by Sylvanas' agenda and her agenda alone.  Prior to all of this her and Blightcaller's ultimate goal is to take Stormwind and create more Forsaken.  And she wants more Forsaken, not because she loves them, at least no more than a wife beater loves his wife.  And that's what she is, her mentality.  They are the weakest group within the Horde, without a viable means to grow, and she has to remove all hope that they have anything but Her to rely on.  Because without them she's got nothing, and so if they will not be hers she would rather they meet their final death.  

Sylvanas will murder and slaughter The Forsaken themselves to achieve her psychopathic goals.  And she has.   She is a villain.  Plain and simple.  And the rest of the Horde leaders are simply being manipulated.

Edited by Sholto

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7 hours ago, Eukray said:

In fact, the burning of Teldrassil is Saurfang fault.. He had the chance to inflict a wound that would never heal By killing Malfurion and no burning then.

Debatable. But I fell like Saurfang did what many horde characters (maybe even most of, also debatable) would do in that situation. And no one, not even Sylvannas, had thought about burning the tree. It is something both the book and in game depict as a last minute decision/realization.

Not to mention that burning the tree would backfire much more violently, as it did happen. We might not get the immediate start of the war if only Malfurion was killed. Sylvannas would have gotten some extra time to plot and prepare, and might even be able to star a war in more favorable terms, since at this time both factions are weak and of similar strength.

7 hours ago, Eukray said:

It's sad to see that in game when we start the questline Sylvanas is portrayed as a brain dead who wants war for the sake of it. 

That I agree.

Edited by lChronosl

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