Wednesday, October 06, 2010

World of Warcraft: Book Three by Walter and Louise Simonson and Mike Bowden

King Varian Wrynn, also known as Lo'gosh, has returned to his people, regained his memories and had his split personality reintegrated. Now that he has slain the Dragon Onyxia, he has one more task, to return to Theramore.

Varian wants to make peace with the orcs of the Horde, but he doesn't trust them. An orc, who he considered a friend, slew his father, King Llane, and he hasn't trusted orcs ever since. But unknown to him, the female orc didn't have a choice. She was being controlled by an insidious magic that even she didn't realize she was under. Pregnant by a human, the orc known as Garona is so stunned by her actions and lack of ability to stop them that she gives up her newborn son, Med'an, to be raised by the undead mage known as Meryl, thinking herself a danger to her son and everyone around her.

Now that her son is mostly grown, she comes back to save him from an attack by trolls, but soon disappears again to find out why the two-headed troll chief attacked her son. He tells her that her son is the focus of a prophecy and is heir to undreamt of power. But unbeknownst to Garona, this troll is the one who holds the reins on the spells that make her do his bidding and make her kill with no knowledge of why she is doing so.

Meanwhile, Varian's friend and also a friend of the Orc Chief, Thrall, Jaina Proudmoor contacts Thrall to ask for a summit meeting. Despite how happy he is to see her, he warns her that this isn't a good time for a summit for him. But she points out that Varian Wrynn is in the same position, and the best treaties usually end up leaving both parties unhappy in some way, because they must both give something up. And in this case, both sides will come to the summit unarmed.

But Garona is once again being controlled by the Troll King, and he is sending her to the summit to try and kill Varian Wrynn, Thrall and Varian's son Anduin. Meanwhile, her son, Med'an, who has long thought his mother was dead, overhears the truth of who Garona is and what she was sent to do when he eavesdrops on Meryl's meeting with an orc messenger. Throwing caution to the winds, he flies off in search of her to try and stop her and keep him safe.

At the summit, both sides have brought weapons, and it looks like it might come to blows when Anduin is the first to lay down his weapon and remind everyone that the summit is supposed to be peaceful. Thrall is impressed that such a young boy is the peacemaker of the family, and he and his men follow Anduin in laying down their arms, There follow some talks, but there are those on both sides who oppose any kind of peace with the other side, and during a break, Garona attacks, seeking to slay her targets. But her attack fails and both Varian and Thrall see the attack as a betrayal by the other side. Can they ever see past their differences to realize that not only do both want peace, but that peace would be better for both sides?

And can Med'an save his mother from the magic that is afflicting her, and can the Blood Elf Valeera, who gave up the practice of magic, be saved from the demon possessing her body that afflicted her when she called upon her magic to save them all? And will the troll King's machinations be discovered in time to save the summit meeting and bring peace to the lands of Horde and Alliance?

I read the first book, but completely missed out on the second, and so with the beginning of the third book, I was kind of at a loss. But the blurb on the inside of the dust jacket brought me up to speed. I just found it strange that instead of discussing what happened in the graphic novel I was reading, the blurb on the dust jacket talked only about what happened before. It actually felt kind of strange, reading it like that. On the other hand, it let me know what was happening without leaving me out in the cold. So I actually applaud it, no matter how strange it was.

This is a great volume, completing the story of Varian Wrynn coming back to power and trying to make peace with the Horde. As everyone who has played WoW or even read the books knows, Thrall is a better leader than the Horde deserves. He's more noble than many in the Alliance, the putative "Good Guys" of the story, and he's always looking out for his people, even if some of them want all-out war on the Alliance. And yet, it seems that any time he puts out a hand in friendship, the Alliance ends up wanting to chop it off. Because he's an Orc. And Varian Wrynn doesn't trust Orcs.

Which just goes to show how flawed and stupid both sides can be. The Orcs, with the exception of Thrall, don't really trust anyone in the alliance, and the Alliance all hate the Orcs and can only see the worst in them. Part of me knows it's because the two sides are enemies in the game, but this kind of stupid infighting and distrust is endemic to all races. Sad, but also part of the game world. Still recommended, and I'd like to see how this ends.

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