''The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm'' is a ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' novel by Christie Golden. As her previous work, ''Literature/{{Arthas}}: Rise of the Lich King'', had done for ''World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King'', this story leads into the ''World of Warcraft'' expansion ''World of Warcraft: Cataclysm''.

After the defeat of the Lich King, Azeroth's problems are far from over. The Horde and the Alliance are at the brink of war, and several incidents, as well as Varian's belligerent alternate personality Lo'Gosh, raise the possibility of the conflict being reignited. At the same time, the elements begin to become unruly, and Thrall leaves his post of Warchief to find answers from the elements of Outland, leaving behind Garrosh Hellscream, the hot-tempered and strong-willed son of Grom Hellscream, to serve as acting Warchief. Meanwhile, Varian sends Anduin to Ironforge while he works on how to best deal with Lo'Gosh. Long-standing internal conflicts come to a head for both the Horde and the Alliance, and they must overcome these trials if they are to survive the coming cataclysm.

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This novel contains examples of:

* TheAlliance: As always, the titular Alliance as well as the Horde.
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: As usual, subverted with the Dark Iron Dwarves and Grimtotem tribes. The former join the Alliance, and some of the Grimtotem swear loyalty to the Tauren High Chieftain rather than their tribe.
* AncestralWeapon: In this book, Garrosh inherits Gorehowl, his father's axe.
* ApologeticAttacker: Sort of. Cairne picks a fight with Garrosh, intending to oust him (and possibly kill him) from the position of warchief, but doesn't actually like the idea of doing it, and notes several times to himself that he believes losing Garrosh would be a loss to the Horde, especially after the War against the Lich King.
* BelligerentSexualTension: Thrall is supposed to have this with Aggra. Instead, it comes off more like Aggra just being deliberately cruel to him at every opportunity.
** Well they are orcs.
** Aggra later apologizes for treating Thrall harshly at first and for thinking ill of his motive to learn more about the elements for Azeroth's sake rather than Outland's after [[CharacterDevelopment getting to know him better]].
* BerserkButton: Mentioning the Defias to Varian or putting Anduin in any danger.
* BitchInSheepsClothing: Moira in her dealings with Anduin. He tends to see through her, and her true personality comes out when she talks about her past.
* BlackSheep: The Dark Iron clan are considered this by the Bronzebeards, on account of their clan's less-than-honourable conduct during the War of Three Hammers. As a result, their presence in Ironforge doesn't sit well with many.
* BloodKnight: Varian as Lo'Gosh, and Garrosh as well.
* BrutalHonesty: Baine starts his meeting with Garrosh by stating that [[spoiler:he was partially responsible for his father's death]], and Garrosh appreciates Baine's lack of pretenses.
* CassandraTruth: Palkar doubts some of Drek'thar's predictions because he has been growing senile recently. When it turns out that a vision of an attack on a gathering of druids turned out to be premature rather than false, he decides to start taking his visions seriously again.
** Also, Garrosh denies the attrocities Cairne accuses him of, but the old bull doesn't believe him.
* CatapultNightmare: Drek'thar, as the Cataclysm hits.
* ChekhovsGun: The hearthstone, which enables Anduin to escape Ironforge and reach Theramore.
* CoolOldGuy: Cairne is still a formidable warrior in spite of his age, and is a leader who cares about keeping the Horde united above all else.
* CouldntFindAPen: Hamuul writes a message in his own blood after his ink container gets destroyed in the Twilight Hammer attack.
* CrazyPrepared: Some grenades Garrosh packed away in case Warsong Hold got overrun prove useful against the attacking Kvaldir, and it's noted that this kind of planning is rare for orcs.
* CruelMercy: Inflicted on Magatha by [[spoiler:Baine]].
* DeadGuyJunior: Moira's son Dagran is named after his now-dead father, once the FinalBoss of the Blackrock Depths dungeon and ruler of the Dark Iron clan; that position has since transferred to Moira.
* DuelToTheDeath: Garrosh and [[spoiler:Cairne Bloodhoof]].
* EasilyForgiven: Averted with [[spoiler: Baine regarding Garrosh, as even in light of the new facts, Baine finds him partly to blame for his father's death; he just acknowledges that Magatha is more to blame since Garrosh was ObliviouslyEvil, while she was not.]]
* EveryoneHasStandards: Garrosh was willing to make his duel with Cairne to the death, but does not approve of [[spoiler:coating his weapon with poison without his knowledge]]. He notes that this is largely out of a desire to not be dishonorable like the Alliance.
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: Stormsong's real name is Jevan (possibly Grimtotem), but everyone calls him that because of his [[ShockAndAwe mastery over the weather]].
* FalseFlagOperation: Several orc members of Twilight's Hammer attack a gathering of druids and kill all the Night Elves and Tauren there while making it seem as though Garrosh ordered it.
* FauxAffablyEvil: Moira. And Magatha as well.
* ForegoneConclusion: The Cataclysm takes place, despite Thrall's efforts to prevent it, and he leaves in order to heal the damage.
* GodSaveUsFromTheQueen: Moira Bronzebeard is an unusually subdued version of this trope.
* HeroicBSOD: Thrall has a brief one after [[spoiler:learning of Cairne's death]].
* HonorBeforeReason: Garrosh loves this trope. At times his honor really does protect him doing from the stupid and evil things his detractors claim he does, and sometimes it causes them.
* HopeSpot: Hamuul Runetotem proposes meeting with Night Elf druids for a peace talk. Unfortunately, some Twilight Hammer orcs show up and kill everyone except him while making it seem as though Garrosh is responsible. Magni tries a ritual to "become one with the earth," to prevent another tragedy like the recent earthquake, [[spoiler:but gets turned to diamond in the process]].
* HornyVikings[=/=]WoodenShipsAndIronMen: The Kvaldir, the so-called sea vrykul, attack the Warsong Offensive as they're preparing to sail back to Orgrimmar. At this juncture, they discover that the Kvaldir are just regular vrykul wearing costumes.
* IdiotBall: Cairne doesn't seem as wise as he usually is when he confronts Garrosh over supposedy sabotaging a peaceful druid meeting and massacring everyone there. (In fact, it was the Twilight's Hammer.) Especially since he hurls insults straight at Garrosh's face, has no evidence to back up his claims and doesn't seem to realise that Garrosh ''has no idea what he's talking about.''
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: Renferal.
* ItsAllAboutMe: Garrosh laments the loss of honor associated with [[spoiler:his weapon being poisoned during his duel with Cairne]]... in front of the person who [[spoiler:lost his father and many of his people]].
* KilledOffForReal: [[spoiler:Cairne Bloodhoof]].
** Due to the oddity of [=MMORPGs=], technically this is where [[spoiler:Arthas the Lich King]] met his end. Even if retroactively.
** Archdruid Renferal and any of the other named druids in the group (except Runetotem) when [[spoiler: They were slaughtered by the Twilight's Hammer]].
** Technically, [[spoiler:Magni Bronzebeard]]. He doesn't have x's in his eyes, but the way things move forward in the novel (and the game since then) his death is treated as canon.
* KnightTemplarParent: [[spoiler:Varian invades Ironforge and almost kills Moira for holding Anduin and everyone else hostage before Anduin asks him to spare her]].
* TheHorde: Duh.
* ItWasAGift: Fearbreaker, given by Magni to Anduin, and again by Anduin to Baine.
* LateArrivalSpoiler: Anyone who has played the games knows about the new faction leaders.
* LetsYouAndHimFight: When the night elves revoke the Warsong's hunting and lumber-gathering rights in Ashenvale, political tensions ensue. Hamuul Runetotem attempts to use his druidic contacts to mend the broken bridge, but the Twilight's Hammer cult veto that proposition. They ''want'' the Horde and Alliance to fight each other over petty and minor things, because the more they fight each other, the less time they have to spend fighting the Hammer.
* LiteralGenie: [[spoiler:To "become one with the mountain" means turning to diamond]].
* MagicKnight: [[spoiler: Thrall gives up being one of these to pursue shamanism exclusively.]]
* MauveShirt: Aerin, a female dwarf who is assigned to help Anduin train for combat/survivability, forming a close friendship with him.
* MeaningfulFuneral: [[spoiler:Cairne]].
* MookFaceTurn: Stormsong, one of the Grimtotem, defects to Baine's side. Several others follow suit when he makes them the offer.
* NeckSnap: Employed by some of the SI:7 operatives.
* NeverGotToSayGoodbye: [[spoiler:Thrall and Cairne]] part ways for the last time after an unresolved argument over [[spoiler:Garrosh becoming Warchief]], making [[spoiler:Cairne's funeral]] more of a TearJerker.
* NeverSpeakIllOfTheDead: Averted. Anduin respects [[spoiler:Magni]], but points out that he was a failure as a parent, saying "You can be an honorable man and still make mistakes." Thrall and several others are also quick to point out to Garrosh that his father had some bad moments in his time as well.
* NonActionGuy: Anduin isn't much of a warrior, even for a youth his age. Magni and Aerin are aware of this, and suggest it might not be the path for Anduin.
* NotBrainwashed: Moira says she genuinely fell in love with Thaurissan, and not because she was kidnapped.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Gorkrak (a Twilight’s Hammer member who attacks the gathering of druids) claims that he thought the Night Elves were attacking the Tauren druids, and claims to not even know who Garrosh is. Hamuul finds his performance unconvincing. He's absolutely right by the way -- Gorkrak is a perfectly intelligent (though still fairly unhinged) guy.
* OddFriendship: Baine and Anduin.
* PapaWolf: Varian [[spoiler:raids Ironforge with SI:7 and tries to kill Moira after hearing about Anduin being abducted]].
* ParentalSubstitute: Bolvar is noted as being one for Anduin, with Jaina as something of an HonoraryAunt.
* ParentsAsPeople: Magni Bronzebeard, according to Moira and Rohan, was disappointed that he couldn't get a male heir, and Moira tells Anduin that she genuinly loved Dagran Thaurissan and had a child with him because he and his people treated her with respect her father didn't show her. Varian loves Anduin, but his SplitPersonality and hostile attitude toward the Horde creates a rift between the two.
* PensieveFlashback: Thrall has one on his vision quest.
* PoisonousFriend: Cairne notes Magatha is this to him, only she's not really his friend.
** Later on, she also becomes this for [[spoiler:Garrosh]].
* ProudWarriorRaceGuy: Garrosh and Thrall especially.
* PunctuatedForEmphasis: "Let. Them. Go."
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Baine to [[spoiler:Magatha]], outlining the full extent of his CruelMercy to her and the hope that it will provide her with much-needed humiliation.
* RevengeBeforeReason: Averted with [[spoiler:Baine Bloodhoof]], who wants vengeance, but realizes that [[spoiler:his father Cairne]] wanted what was best for his people, and he must strive to do the same.
* RightInFrontOfMe
-->'''Thrall''': I look forward to meeting this Aggra.\\
'''Aggra''': You already have.
* ShipSinking: Thrall and Jaina Proudmoore.
** Lampshaded when Thrall laughs at Eitrigg's suggestion that Jaina would make a good mate if she was an orc, prompting the LikeBrotherAndSister speech.
* ShootTheMessenger: Magatha kills the messenger who tells her that Garrosh will not help her [[spoiler:because he knows she was responsible for Cairne's death]].
* SplitPersonality: Varian and Lo'Gosh, which is implied to be the cause behind some of his more belligerent tendencies.
* SquishyWizard: Anduin; in the game he's a Priest, and this book notes his total ineptitude with melee combat.
* TakenForGranite: [[spoiler:Magni Bronzebeard]].
* TattooAsCharacterType: Garrosh has traditional Warsong chieftain's tattoos similar to those of his father Grom's painted by the apprentice of the tattooist who did Grom's.
* ToServeMan: Garrosh mentions the traditional troll tendency towards this as a way to screw with and unnerve the crew of an Alliance vessel he attacks off the coast of Northrend, complete with one of his troll soldiers licking his lips in an exaggerated fashion.
* {{Tsundere}}: Aggra.
* TurnOutLikeHisFather: Many people, especially Cairne, are concerned Garrosh will do this. He doesn't, though he does end up looking a lot like him physically.
* UndisclosedFunds: The rebuilding of Orgrimmar costs a considerable amount, and the amount Baine pays to get ready to retake Thunder Bluff is apparently even larger. Unlike many examples, this is presumably to avoid having to compare it with how much things cost in game money.
* VillainousBreakdown: Moira after Anduin escapes. Magatha after learning that Garrosh refuses to help her, and after [[spoiler:Baine passes sentence on her]].
* VisionQuest: Thrall has one under Aggra's guidance in Outland.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Moira wants to unite the dwarven clans and put an end to the Dark Iron's reputation as systematic bad guys, but to do so she rules Ironforge completely tyrannically.
* WhatMeasureIsANonHuman: Discussed. Thrall worries that many of the up and coming warriors of the Horde got their start killing undead, and are thus desensitized to violence enough to not consider the repercussions for wars between the living.
* WhatTheHellHero: Garrosh gets called out for [[spoiler:not showing enough care prior to his duel with Cairne, since he didn't realize Magatha was poisoning his blade instead of blessing it. Eitrigg points out that innocent tauren were dying while he was celebrating his victory]]. Cairne himself can't believe Garrosh would do something as cruel as [[spoiler: attack a defenseless Alliance ship that was blown into Horde waters by a storm, and leave a few crew members alive only so he can be sure that Varian will know who was responsible]] and still claim he was in the right. Jaina and Anduin also scold Varian for Lo'Gosh's more impulsive and warlike behavior.
* WithDueRespect: Captain Tula says this when Cairne orders her not to attack the Alliance vessel, saying that Garrosh is the one in charge of matters relating to war.
* WorfHadTheFlu: [[spoiler:Cairne does well against Garrosh until he gets his first poisoned wound, which incapacitates him and enables Garrosh to fatally wound him]].
* WreckedWeapon: [[spoiler:Cairne’s runespear]].
* YouAreBetterThanYouThinkYouAre: Anduin to Varian.
-->'''Anduin''': Father -- you're a king, a good one, one who wants to do the right thing. You believe in the law. In justice. You're not some-some vigilante.
* YouHaveToBelieveMe: Garrosh to Eitrigg about [[spoiler:the poison Magatha put on his axe]]. Subverted in that the old orc does.
-->'''Garrosh''': Eitrigg, you must believe me!\\
'''Eitrigg''': I ''do'' beieve you.
* YouKilledMyFather: [[spoiler:Baine Bloodhoof]]. Subverted in that he shows remarkable mercy to both parties involved in his father's death. [[spoiler:He allows Magatha to live, in exile, and tells Garrosh that while he's partially to blame, he will work with him for the sake of the Horde. He spared Magatha, however, because he could infict more punishment on her by sending her into exile without her shamanic powers (he crushes her totems between his fingers).]]
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