Feels Part Two: Let’s Talk About Arthas for Two Minutes

I had a great response on yesterday’s post, so thanks to all who read and commented!  You know, there are definitely a lot of things in WoW that I get feely about.  Blood elf stuff is up there, of course, and sometimes the in-game music hits me just the right way and brings me back.

But when it comes to the storyline for a single character, it’s really tough to beat Arthas.

6In many ways, he reminds me of Anakin Skywalker (assuming you roll with the prequel stuff.)  He’s brash and full of himself and makes some bad choices (that he thinks are right) and then becomes the Big Bad.  The difference is that Darth Vader is ultimately redeemed, and Arthas is not.  He is a tragic character with a tragic ending, and yet despite it all, you still feel for him.

thanks tvtropes
thanks tvtropes

Arthas is, in many ways, THE Big Bad of Warcraft.  Oh sure, Illidan gets a lot of love and Sargeras is technically the Big Bad, but Arthas was the lovable boy next door who turned around and killed his dad and then rained death and destruction on both his people and the elves.  Arthas hits closer to home, which makes him both scarier and more relatable, at the same time.

Will there ever be another villain quite like Arthas?  Probably not, but who knows.  He was a fantastic high point to a fantastic expansion.  Well played, Blizzard!

3 thoughts on “Feels Part Two: Let’s Talk About Arthas for Two Minutes”

  1. The only stumble I could think of with his story in Wrath was that he seemed a bit on the Dr. Claw “I’ll get you next time, Gadget!” side of the villain scale. Overall though, still one of my favorite villains from the WoW-verse.

  2. The rest of the lore…some of it I like, some not, some is quite good, but none of it lives up to Arthas, because, as you astutely note Pike, Arthas’ story is a classic tragedy, and constructed as one. The rest of the lore is a bunch of singles and doubles with a few home runs thrown in. With Arthas, Bliz hit a grand slam.

    And Arthas’ tragic flaw? Le sigh, but…yeah, wrath. See wat Bliz did thar?

  3. One other thing you have to talk about when talking about Arthas is WoW’s current greatest character, Sylvanas. She grew out of his story, of course, and just as Arthas’ story is so powerful because it’s one of the basic classic tragedy stories (man fallen due to his hubris), Syl’s story was also one of the basic classic human tales (the woman horribly violated). Because the violation she suffered was so complete and almost wholly unspeakable, she became Azeroth’s suffering in microcosm, just as Arthas was Azeroth’s fall, and her claim for vengeance and justice the most justified and compelling, which considering what Arthas did is saying something. And her true greatness as a character is that, until Cata at least, she remained WoW’s most sympathetic character despite her undeath, and that she was leading others like her.

    I’m not really thrilled with the direction they’ve taken her in since Cata, as they’ve turned her into, to borrow a phrase from J.K. Rowling, a more ordinary kind of evil, but I’m looking forward to Legion and Turalyon and Alleria’s return for this reason. Sylvanas still has the greatest latent story potential of any character in WoW. Please Bliz, get it right.

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