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Vrykul Artifacts: The Humanity of Azeroth?

June 9, 2011

“The vrykul are the missing link. They are the progenitors of humanity,” quest giver Thoralius the Wise grandly states, revealing how some vrykul nobly saved their children from genocide. Thoralius later aids Westfall, watching Vanessa, who witnessed her father’s murder, burn the human town down as revenge. Why do the humans choose to pick the vrykul as their ancestors, based on spotty evidence? And what exactly is humanity in the context of Azeroth?

The vrykul artifacts are sparse, failing to answer the major questions about the proto-race. Why did they suddenly disappear on Northrend? What was their original purpose? What was their elaborate system of magic that current wizards cannot decipher? Why did they ally with the Lich King?

Instead, the artifacts cover daily life and physical combat, with intermittent references to non-human races. The artifacts heavily reference Norse mythology, except on Azeroth, the vrykul aren’t semi-divine, they’re mortal; their blind devotion and heroic battles lead to disaster instead of glory. The parallels to Norse mythology both enrich and stifle the lore of the vrykul; it’s a complex mythological legacy that overpowers a race already overshadowed by the Titans in Ulduar, the Nerubian in ToGC, and the Scourge in Icecrown Citadel.

The vrykul saved their young from genocide, creating the human race; they also serve the Lich King and kill humans. What’s definable about them, once the Norse references are stripped away?

Utgarde Keep

Vrykul in Northrend

The vrykul, perhaps one of the ancient races created by the Titans (similar to the earthen and giants), inhabited Northrend until they vanished seven thousand years ago, for a mysterious reason. With the recent appearance of Alliance and Horde, they have once again resurfaced, using Utgarde Keep as their stronghold from which to launch attacks. There are digsites all over Northrend; notable ones include Jotunheim (the site of the recent vrykul awakening), Ymirjar (the most important town for the scourged vrykul), and Gjalerbron (a fortress where vrykul are awakened and transformed into undead). Howling Fjord is dedicated to the lore of the Vrykul, with numerous quests and settlements for players to explore. One engrossing quest, the Anguish of Nifflevar allows the player to interact with the Lich King and observe a dialogue between parents deciding to disobey King Ymiron and instead save their ‘imperfect’ child over 15,000 years ago. Another quest takes you to Gjalerbron, where slumbering vrykul are awoken and transformed into undead.


Chris Metzen said about the vrykul: “The first time we started talking about these guys, there were probably six different things that defined them, right? They’re giant…dark…vampiric…barbarian…vikings…from hell, right?” This is a long list of epic attributes to live up to; not all made it into the final portrayal of the vrykul. The vrykul take their name from the Greek word vrykolakas, meaning vampire, but have no actual vampiric tendencies, which were transformed to the Darkfallen instead. They’re dark and hellish, reflected in their pact with the Lich King to raise the hibernating vrykul and turn the dead into the Scourge. There’s obvious parallels to the Vikings and Norse mythology; many Vrykul sites share mythological names and the race is based on the Einherjar, noble warriors who die and chosen to ascend to Valhalla by the Valkyries, female warriors loosely based on the Stonemaidens. The buildings in Howling Fjord in particular parallel Scandinavian architecture: an emphasis on wooden Romanesque-style buildings with pointed arches and barrel vaults, notably seen in medieval Stave churches, small wooden churches with runic decorations and timber-frame interiors. Urnes Stave Church is an example of one such church: built around 1130, it merges Christian and Viking elements, with animal-themed decorations and a mysterious portal with stylistic elements that straddle both Christianity and Norse beliefs.

Urnes Stave Church

Urnes Stave Church

There’s speculation from the Tribunal of Ages in Halls of Stone that the hibernation of the vrykul developed from Loken, a treacherous Titan corrupted by Yogg-Saron, who started a war among the giants. At the end of the war, the vrykul, earthen, and giants were relocated to the Halls of Stone and Reflection; Loken also waged war on his brother Thorim and murdered his wife Sif, sparking a series of events leading to the Sons of Hodir chain in The Storm Peaks, paralleled in the interactions between Thor and Loki in the great 13th century work Poetic Edda.

After their long hibernation, the vrykul first awakened in Jotunheim, on the cliffs of Icecrown, ruled by Overthane Balargarde. After defeating the Overthane, the player participates in the honorable battle pit at Valhalas, another reference to Norse mythology. There’s also the Underhalls, a ceremonial hall where the vargul, rejected vrykul by the Lich King, are being used for experiments. There’s a running theme in Titan-based races of unworthy prototypes and unfit races; the vargul are no exception. The vrykul sense they are viewed by the Titans as an imperfect race; King Ymiron states, during the Anguish of Nifflevar quest, “Even now, in our darkest hour, they mock us!  Where are the titans in our time of greatest need? Our women birth aberrations – disfigured runts unable to even stand on their own! Weak and ugly… Useless..” This impassioned speech leads the King to spurn the Titans and order his subjects to kill imperfect children: “On this day all Vrykul will shed their old beliefs! We denounce our old gods! All Vrykul will pledge their allegiance to Ymiron! Ymiron will protect our noble race!” The vrykul are offended by the Titan’s perceived lack of loyalty; it makes sense how they’d turn to the security of the Lich King centuries later.

There’s another branch of vrykul that inhabit the sea; the Kvaldir, walkers of the fog, who inhabit the shores of Howling Fjord and Borean Tundra. They reference longboats and burial mounds common to Viking culture in their quests. In Howling Fjord, Shield Hill was desecrated by a band of pirates and later pinned onto the peaceful tuskarr. The power of the stolen artifacts causes the resulting thieves to go insane, and the Kvaldir continue to exact mistaken revenge against the Tuskarr. Reawakened in Borean Tundra, they sabotage Queen Azshara’s efforts by enslaving kraken and turning them on the naga at Riplash Strand.

Kvaldir Longboats

As the progenitors of humanity steeped in mythology, the vrykul appear as the stuff of legends, instead of a living, breathing race. The Dwarven artifacts allude to the Earthen and Troggs, but also feature contemporary items, making the race approachable. The Vrykul artifacts do not include contemporary human ones as parallels, so what we have left to analyze are a handful of archaic artifacts that paints the vrykul in broad, and at times, contradictory strokes.

Vrykul Culture: Brawn and Loyalty

The vrykul were renowned for having a complex and ancient system of magic; current wizards cannot decode their runes. Yet they were also impressive warriors, which the artifacts emphasize. There’s the Nifflevar Bearded Axe and the Scramseax, melee axes and swords. In the text for the Scramseax, we learn about the combat style of the Vrykul: Scramseax are large, straight knives with a single edge and a simple hilt worn by many vrykul warriors as a sidearm. One common fighting style among warriors involves an axe in the main hand and the scramseax in the offhand. Such a mainhand axe would be the Nifflevar Bearded Axe; Many of the axes forged by the vrykul display an unusual style: the bottom edge of the axe blade extends down below the width of the butt. This style increases cutting area while minimizing weight; it can be used on both weapon and tools. Some dwarven axes show a similar construction.

In comparison to other cultures we’ve looked at, the vrykul depart from the tradition of ornate and tacky carved weapons—at least for melee. Their weapons are simple; the power is in their craftsmanship. Unlike the discarded weapons of the draenei and dwarves, these weapons still appear dangerous. And while the runecasting prowess of the Vrykul may be celebrated, there’s direct evidence in Northrend attesting to their physical combat skills as well. Deathbringer’s Will, the premiere melee trinket from ICC, turns you into a vrykul. Scramseax, or Seax, is also a common name for ancient Viking knives.

Seax and replica

The Fanged Cloak Pin alludes to the skill of vrykul hunters: “his brooch would have been used to fasten a vrykul greatcloak around the shoulders. Attached to the cruciform main pin are two large but dulled teeth, most likely from an aging proto-drake. It’s unclear whether the brooch’s owner felt some affinity for the old drake or whether that creature was all he was capable of defeating.” While the owner in question was feeble by vrykul standards and the text appears to slight his skill, by most standards, mastering a proto-drake is no small feat. The pairing of proto-drakes with vrykul is a pointed choice; the proto-drakes were rejected dragons created by the Titans, as covered in the article on fossil fragments.

For a race elevated to “the predecessor of humanity,” the flavor text for vrykul artifacts can be snarky at times. More savage than any jewelry worn by humans, the cloak pin is subtly ridiculed, the teeth apparently belonging to a weak drake. The flavor text for the Intricate Treasure Chest Keys is also oddly dismissive, comparing the skills of the vrykul to the technology of the Alliance and the Horde; bizarre considering this is an ancient race. Yet another artifact, the Thorned Necklace, outright insults the vrykul’s craftsmanship, as it is “a wreath of bronze thorns, but unfortunately many of the spines point inward. It might have been worn by a runecaster or just designed by an artist with poor foresight.” (The joking text, hypothesizing that a runecaster would wear it, would also fit well into the tradition of curators skeptically viewing magical artifacts. So many useless magical artifacts that were preserved, so few powerful ones!) An immediate parallel is the crown of thorns depicted in Christian iconography, but the curator is adamant this was a poorly-constructed necklace. From this hesitation, perhaps modern-day curators are hesitant to embrace all aspects of vrykul culture, instead choosing the most noble parts to associate current human kingdoms with.

Shoulder Clasp from Sutton Hoo

The flavor text in the Nifflevar Bearded Axe also questions the direct lineage between the vrykul and the humans. The Axe alludes to the similar style of dwarven weapons, without mentioning human ones. The idea of killing unfit children is echoed in the naming ceremony of Orcs, in which infants were held above a pool of water and drowned if they were found lacking. The architecture of the vrykul and topography of the land is reminiscent of Lordaeron as opposed to the southern Kingdom of Stormwind—it does not reflect all humans. And, as covered in the next section, the Vrykul have formed lasting connections with the Lich King, and as a result, the Forsaken.

The Flint Striker is another surprising inclusion, as the Vrykul frowned on manual labor. One would think a runecaster could create a fire easily, instead of relying upon a ‘simple striker.’ It has symbolic value though, as the ability to create fire generally is pinpointed as the starting point of human civilization. While the Titans created proto-races that were highly advanced, the act of creating a fire references a cornerstone outside of WoW.  It could also reference an discreet item the escaping Vrykul took with them, when fleeing King Ymiron and settling on the Eastern Kingdoms. The Flint Striker is decorated with a proto-drake and fish, heavily laden with symbolism; proto-drakes were the discarded forerunners of dragons, deemed imperfect by the titans, and fish are a religious symbol for rebirth and a free soul.

Duels on the Savage Ledge

Legacy of the Vrykul: Humanity and Death

The act of saving “ugly and weak” children is the vrykul’s legacy to humanity. In defying the will of the king, the vrykul that possessed the qualities of compassion and reflective determination escaped and raised their children in a far-away land. We learn that the mother of a doomed infant is determined to save the child at all costs, in contrast to the father’s hesitancy. (Ancient Female Vrykul says: NO! You cannot! I beg of you! It is our child! Ancient Male Vrykul says: Then what are we to do, wife? The others cannot find out. Should they learn of this aberration, we will all be executed. Ancient Female Vrykul says: I… I will hide it. I will hide it until I find it a home, far away from here…) Throughout history, the Vrykul are always serving someone blindly: their king, the Lich King, Sylvanas. In the act of defying authority, a vrykul becomes human. It is this element of free will and independence that can lead the vrykul to start the human race; its absences leads to their alliance with the Lich King in Wrath, and later Sylvanas in Cataclysm.

The portrayal of the female vrykul is more nuanced than that of the male warriors, with some parallels to the warrior-women of the Night Elves. Respected as both spiritual leaders and protectors of their land, Night Elf Sentinels and Priestesses of the Moon act in ways that play with gender stereotypes without falling into a specific trope. (Perhaps the topic for another Flavor Text roundtable?) The female vrykul are not simply docile mothers who happen to be skilled with weapons, or power-hungry warriors insanely bent on destruction. They parallel the Valkyries of Norse mythology, a term roughly translated as “chooser of the slain,” who hail from royal lineage and determine the fate of fallen heroes.

The Vrykul Drinking Horn, a rare artifact, is a ceremonial object given only to high-ranking vrykul. To handle the object was a great privilege: “the passing of such a vessel to the vrykul in question was a matter of ceremony, usually performed by the highest-ranking female present along with formal declarations of rank and deed.” Drinking horns are common to Viking and Medieval culture; the Valkyries guiding warriors to Valhalla presented them with drinking horns. Yet in history, the drinking horn remained an item of the male sphere; it was used to celebrate battles and perform community toasts. The ritual described on the artifact (While most drank mead or ale from bowls or cups, only those of great prestige quaffed wine from elaborate horns such as this) is similar to the religious and political toasts described in epic poetry or stone-carvings, but the presence of a high-ranking female shifts the gender balance slightly. In this act, the female participant also gains a voice; she is the one narrating history, telling the great warrior how his actions were perceived, instead of being the silent wife in a poem.

Brunnhildar Village

There’s evidence to suggest vrykul women were also trained warriors in their own right. In Brunnhildar Village and Valkyrion, female vrykul train their combat skills. The two villages hate each other, as the Brunnhildar loathe the vrykul in Valkyrion for allying with the Lich King. Brynhildr, the namesake of Brunnhildar Village, was a female warrior in Norse mythology, appearing as a queen, shieldmaiden, and valkyrie whose actions cause great political turmoil and unmask duplicity in society. The women in nearby Sifreldar Village have abducted all the goblin male warriors, and the warrior maidens in Brunnhildar Village fight the Sons of Hodir, since Thorim attacked them in rage after the death of his wife, Sif. Things turn suspicious when Lok’lira the Crone tells the player that the man-hating Amazonian hyldnir are fighting to win Thorim’s favor. The player initially tries to upset the Hyldsmeet following the instructions of Lok’lira the Crone, eventually luring Thorim out of his sanctuary and unwittingly leading him to capture at the hand of Loken, Lok’lira in disguise. In finishing the chain, the player feels duped and sheepish for buying into Loken’s plot, which reduces women warriors to vying suitors.

In the Intricate Treasure Chest Key, women hold a more traditional role as the protector of the house, but with a twist. The “woman of the household…keeps the keys, often displaying them prominently to show her status.” The key is decorated in an ornate manner, causing even the jaded curator to express awe. Just like the value of the Scepter of Nezar’Azret was highest compared to other Nerubian artifacts, this key is worth the most gold out of Vrykul artifacts. The keys were most likely displayed on a chatelaine worn by Anglo Saxon women to reflect their status, a belt that dangled keys and featured scenes hammered from metal-alloy. These are not simple household keys though; a warning message is included that this ‘Does not open Dark Cleric Salem’s chest,’ as people must think otherwise based on its appearance. And who is Dark Cleric Salem? Nobody knows, but his locked chest used to be in Tirisfal Glades, before Lillian Voss exacted revenge on the Scarlet Crusade.  The chest has fueled a wide range of speculation, from hints that it’s tied to the Ashbringer to any number of Forsaken NPCs.

With the val’kyr’s recent alliance with Sylvanas, don’t rule out the possibility of interactions with Dark Cleric Salem just yet. Under the Lich King, the female val’kyr served as arbiters of the fate of the male vrykul, whether they’d either ascend as a ymirheim or be doomed as a lesser vargul to science experiments and torture. They terrorize the Argent Tournament and carry players off the platform during the Lich King encounter. Currently, they are employed by Sylvanas, raising fallen humans (and only humans) from the dead into Forsaken, an act that enrages Warchief Garrosh. They maintain key qualities of the vrykul even in undeath; a fierce determination in battle as well as a blind loyalty, causing three val’kyr to sacrifice their lives to save Sylvanas after she’s mortally wounded in Silverpine Forest.

The Bone Witch

The Bone Witch, a vrykul possessed by the banshee Lady Nightswood, is a fascinating melding of past and present. Killed by the Lich King in Quel’Thalas, the player frees her from her servitude while unlocking Rhe Shadow Vault in Icecrown. As a free spirit, she does not try to repurpose her elven body and reclaim her past; instead she inhabits the body of a vrykul, uttering statements of revenge and free will through the mouth of a creature designed to blindly serve authority. The vrykul’s body knows this too, as the quest text notes “The face of the witch breaks into a reluctant grin as if she’s fighting the will of Lady Nightswood.” In the following quest series, your player wrecks havoc upon Jotenheim as revenge against the Lich King through a variety of underhand means. In The Art of Being a Water Terror, you use the ancient magic of the vrykul against them, inhabiting a water elemental. In Find the Ancient Hero, you awaken Iskalder, one of the greatest vrykul warriors, to control his body in order to lure Vardamadra, a skilled valkyr, into the open. Lady Nightswood then inhabits Vardmarda’s body and exacts revenge on Overthane Balagarde. Unlike the emotionless reactions of many Forsaken, Lady Nightswood has an acute indescribable feeling when her revenge is complete and expresses a desire to see the Lich King dead.

Lady Nightswood turns Vrykul traditions on their head, using their magic, warriors, and obsession with loyalty against them. She separates herself from the vrykul by her free will, and from the Forsaken by her emotions. In her story, the mythological elements enhance her plot, instead of chaining her to a conventional tale we’ve all heard before. Free will and emotions, two elements devoid in so much of vrykul lore, define humanity in Azeroth, leading to great triumphs and awful tragedies.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Poeryth permalink
    June 9, 2011 7:13 am

    Eee. I love this post. It has everything a girl could want– if that girl is me anyway. Vrykul, Norse Mythology, Human Lore, and Wrath events. >_>

    Yeah, it’s funny how different humans and Vrykul are though, and how key those differences are. And while I love Norse Mythology, I wish they had used less of it in the Vrykul, because like you said, in a way it takes away from them. I feel this is an issue with a lot of races in wow.

    But you’ve given me a lot to think about, in terms of free will and humanity, and the inherent removal of that involved in the Scourge as a whole… makes me want to work with my own characters again. >_>

  2. perculia permalink*
    June 9, 2011 11:22 am

    I agree that a lot of the races get overshadowed by their cultural references–I felt the same way when referencing the Tol’vir, but at least they feel more relevant to Cataclysm.

    I sort of wonder if the humans latched onto the Vrykul as a way of saying ‘see! we’re linked to the Titans too! Just like the nelves and the dwarves!’ even though one could argue the vrykul inspired several races and there’s other examples of free will/selfless heroism throughout the ages the humans could have used too.

  3. June 9, 2011 9:53 pm

    A couple of points
    1) Where are you getting the figure that the Anguish of Nifflevar quest takes place 15,000 years before the common era? I’m not saying it’s impossible, as there were a few references in, I believe, Last Guardian, to ancient humans interacting with knight elves in pre-sundering Kalimdor, but that said, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that precise figure
    2) Proto-Drakes are not “failed” drakes. There is nothing implying they were created by the titans, if anything, they were native lifeforms that were empowered by the titans and “uplifted” (to use a common sci-fi term) into the dragons we know today. While it’s not an entirely apt comparison, proto-drakes are to dragons as apes are to (real world) humans.
    3) I seriously doubt there’s some grand connection between “Dark Cleric Salem” and the Val’kyr. Salem’s chest was probably a remnant of some quest in the alpha or beta that never made it to live and simply became a running joke in the community akin to Leeroy Jenkins or Captain Placeholder and its inclusion on the key’s flavor text was likely a joke.

    That said, the article does raise a few good points, though admittedly when I read the article’s title I was expecting more talk about Warcraft’s humans than Earth’s ancient Germanic tribes. There does seem to be a pretty large disconnect between the humans and Vrykul that, frankly, I’m a little annoyed with at Blizz for leaving out. We see modern humans and ancient vrykul but we have no idea how one really became the other. It’s a shame that Blizz never updated Arathi Highlands with Cata as said zone would’ve been an excellent place to delve into ancient human lore. I was also surprised to see that Vrykul archaeological digs were wholly confined to Northrend, unlike the Nerubians: ancient human sites like Arathi Highlands or Tyr’s hand would be good places to find some vrykul artifacts, maybe left by the human refugees’ parents.

  4. perculia permalink*
    June 9, 2011 10:30 pm

    1. From Wowpedia: “The humans are descendant of the vrykul.[5] Around 15,000 years ago, the gods “abandoned” the vrykul, and a certain time after that, their children were born “weak and ugly.”[6] King Ymiron ordered all those children to be killed, but not all parents obeyed this order and instead hid their children to grow up far away from Northrend.[7].” References the quests I mentioned and a Gamespot interview with Jeffrey Kaplan and J. Allen Brack. The article further goes on to talk about the appearance of non-vrykul humans before the Sundering that were fairly savage; after the Sundering their numbers dwindled. It may not have been 15,000 years precisely, but I think it’s safe to say that it was around that time to fit in the other human interactions pre-Sundering.

    2. “Proto-drakes are generally bestial and display none of the great intelligence and wisdom of true dragons.” I read this negatively; the artifact doesn’t sell for very much and the tone taken is a bit dismissive, instead of playing up the elevated/uplifted aspect you raised. Wowpedia also refers to them as ‘long-forgotten’ and several links are given at the bottom of the page for references. There is a theme of races getting cast off/discarded/forgotten–the curse affecting the Troggs, Skardyn from the Dark Iron, the vrykul’s discontent. So I do see a parallel between the vrykul feeling abandoned and the proto-drakes being described as forgotten.

    3. Well, the purpose of this archaeology series is to cover all possible connections between artifacts and their flavor text. There could have been a reference to Dark Cleric Salem slapped on any number of other keys in the game–keys on the keyring, rogue pickpocketed items–but it was slapped on this key. I don’t mean to imply that the vrykul have stolen his key, but for newer players, now they know who Dark Cleric Salem is, and it’s neat to me how it was stuck on this particular key. I’m a big fan of inquiry-based learning (What do you see? What makes you say that? What can you see from another point of view?) where I explore all options as long as there’s some facts to back it up (as opposed to, say, wildly speculating that the vrykul most definitely have stolen the key and the owner of this fragment was definitely a noblewoman involved in a political scandal…) The spirit of this series is from this point of view; I provide some background information on the race, place the artifacts in it, analyze the text, and see how it changes the previous perception of the race.

    I think it would be cool if there were some Lordaeron-based artifacts that could foreshadow some current happenings with the Humans, Forsaken, and Worgen. The Vrykul stuff felt somewhat incomplete and the treatment of the race has left it mostly confined to Cata (besides the Val’kyr). I’m skeptical that one can prove the humans descended from the vrykul simply by pointing and saying ‘they were noble, some saved children’ when there’s other examples of that. Perhaps they were the first race formed by the Titans to exhibit compassion? Either way, I agree, I would like to see them fleshed out more.

  5. June 9, 2011 10:51 pm

    1) Isn’t your site’s header “Wowpedia is a secondary source”? I’m not disputing that humans split from the vrykul a very long time ago, but I’ve never heard the “15000” figure beforehand. In fact, just running a quick google for “15000 and vrykul” results in one anonymous wowhead comment (not even quest text) and this very blog post.
    2) The skardyn have nothing to do with the titans. Skardyn are, essentially, dragon-dwarf hybrids, though whether or not they’re just a step in the apparently natural process that creates dragonspawn or deliberate genetic experiments by black dragons (as they are wont to do, see: chromatic and twilight dragonflights, drakonids, maloriak, chimaeron). The main protodrake “nest” featured in the game, to my knowledge, is in Sholazar basin, an area that, along with Un’goro, contains many organisms that predated the titans (though to be fair, the same individual who states so, Nablya, that not all do). That said, the “forefather” of all of the dragons, Galakrond, is explicitly named as a proto-dragon in one of the Trag Highmountain stories in Warcraft legends, which leads me to believe that the proto-drakes literally predate the dragons as opposed to being a side effect or a failed experiment.

    Well, one reason the Vrykul probably feel so incomplete is because out of all comparable “ancient” cultures, only the Vrykul and Tol’vir are relatively recent creations by Blizzard. I think one of the developers said at Blizzcon 2007 “They are one of the ancient races of Northrend that we haven’t spoken of before… because we hadn’t made them up before” or something to the effect. It’s kind of hard to take a fully formed culture and insert them into ancient history, like hammering a round peg into a square hole. I also disagree that the Vrykul were the first titan creations to feel “compassion”- first of all, despite there being stone vrykul according to The Shattering, we never see any, meaning that the fleshy Vrykul we see in-game are already cursed and are not the original titan creations, nor can we say that all titan creations use “robotic” or “uncaring” logic… especially when you consider that the Titans created Alexstrasza the Lifebinder, who I’d say is pretty much the poster child for compassion in the Warcraft setting.

  6. Lani permalink*
    June 10, 2011 7:17 am

    I’m putting on my blog mod hat for this one for a sec.

    For clarity, she’s not actually referencing wowpedia. She’s referencing the references listed on wowpedia’s article about humans, specifically reference [5], which is this interview with Kaplan and Brack, reference [6], which is the Anguish of Nifflevar quest, and refernece [7], which is The Echo of Ymiron quest. Those are the direct references she is using, though wowpedia distilled them.

    WRT the “15,000” year thing: that number comes directly out of “The Anguish of Nifflevar” quest. Specifically from the description text, “All that we know of the vrykul indicates that they only recently appeared in Northrend. Why, then, are we seeing vrykul in visions that date back 15,000 years? Surely if the vrykul had previously existed in Northrend we would have known.” The vision you see in that quest is directly related to the incidence of human-like children being born to the Vrykul, so it’s really not unreasonable to extrapolate that it began to occur circa 15,000 years in the past.

    WRT Skardyn, she mentioned the Skardyn in reference to the recurring motif throughout WoW of various races and splinter groups getting cast off, corrupted, and/or forgotten–they don’t necessarily have to be connected to the Titans in order for them to fit into the motif, and in fact she never does say they’re directly connected to the Titans. Don’t confuse her pointing out storytelling patterns for endorsing in-lore connections. As she already told you, her interest is in asking open-ended questions, often explicitly with the purpose of drawing parallels that may not be obvious in-game and may not even be a part of developers’ intentions. That’s the whole point. Notice you did not at all address her point of “inquiry-based learning.” Do you understand what she means by that? Your comment indicates that you don’t. For example, you said “I also disagree that the Vrykul were the first titan creations to feel ‘compassion.'” But she didn’t say they were. She said “Perhaps they were the first race formed by the Titans to exhibit compassion?” It is an open-ended question. She’s not making a statement, it’s meant to be a point of discussion. You actually did engage in that discussion, which is awesome, but you falsely assumed she was making a statement of fact when she was not. We’re actually not here to convince you, or anyone, to see the lore a certain way, we’re here to invite discussion and perhaps provide alternate interpretations, again, to fuel discussion, not to dictate what the developers mean to do. This is largely how our blog works.

    As a final note, Omacron–your reputation precedes you. We are happy to have you here because you are fairly well-known as a knowledgeable lore fan in WoW. However, this is not a space like the Story Forums or Scrolls of Lore. We created this blog, in fact, because we made an effort to participate in those places and found they didn’t provide the kind of discussion we enjoy. This is not to slight either of those forums; I for one still read both regularly. Just please don’t confuse us with them. If I am perfectly honest, I really don’t care about details like dates in WoW, and that is at least partially because Blizzard can, and has demonstrated that they will, change those kinds of facts and details to suit their story as they wish, so it seems pointless to get invested in them. If you want to argue over details, this is not the place to do it. If you want to discuss themes, ideas, and motifs, that is what we’re here for. We are interested in the forest, not the trees, despite the fact that two of our founders are main-spec resto druids.

  7. June 10, 2011 10:21 am

    You know what? I do apologize. I guess I’m just way too used to lore discussions taking on an argumentative tone than otherwise. I’ll try to keep in mind the more… educational nature of the blog in the future.

  8. Lani permalink*
    June 10, 2011 11:45 am

    Thanks. 🙂 And I totally understand where you’re coming from in terms of being accustomed to more argumentative forums. That’s actually the major thing that put me off the official story forum, unfortunately (and I was sad because I was REALLY excited when that forum launched!). I’m just not interested in a fight, and I don’t think any of my co-bloggers are either. That’s what raiding and pvp are for. 😉


  1. ‘Guys, are Blue Posts a Primary Source?’: Progress Notes on the Real Warcraft Thesis « Flavor Text

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