Characters: Warcraft The Scourge
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Arthas Menethil (The Lich King)
Class: Death Knight
The son of King Terenas Menethil, Arthas started out as The Wise Prince
, an idealistic, chivalrous hero of Lordaeron, and was also Jaina's Proudmoore's lover. Unfortunately, the events of the Third War drove him to abandon his idealistic stance in favor of purging the plague of undeath sent by Ner'zhul (the original Lich King). Eventually, the trail set up by
the Dreadlord Mal'ganis led him to Northrend and the sword Frostmourne, which consumed his soul and turned him into a Death Knight. He went on to slaughter his people and his father, the king and helped summon Archimonde in a failed attempt to claim the power of the World Tree. Shortly thereafter, Ner'zhul called him back to Northrend to defend against the assault of Illidan Stormrage. Arthas defeated Illidan, then rose to the weakened Frozen Throne, merging with Ner'zhul and becoming the Lich King. Arthas then destroyed Ner'zhul's spirit
some time after their merge but before Wrath of the Lich King
, establishing him as the sole leader of the Scourge.
- Advancing Boss of Doom: In the Halls of Reflection his boss "Battle" is just running from him as fast as possible while breaking down the walls of ice he creates.
- A God Am I: Or damn near close to it. The background fluff calls him the 'god-like Lich King' or a 'demi-god' or even 'a being of incalculable power'. He also sees himself as a god-like being and is worshipped as such by his minions.
- And I Must Scream: Consider how many ruined lives and captured souls this guy is responsible for through the entire timeline, and yet when Sylvanas sees him in the afterlife he's broken down in tears from the unspeakable torture that's going on there. Suppose Uther's hope for there to be a special place in Hell for him came true.
- Anti-Hero: Goes from a straight up hero slowly down the scale throughout the human campaign to type IV and then goes straight-out evil after his soul is taken by Frostmourne.
- An Ice Person
- Arch-Enemy: To many, many people. Particularly Illidan, Kael'Thas, Sylvanas and later Tirion Fordring in Wrath of the Lich King.
- Notably most of these are one-sided, except for Tirion.
- Badass: Was one even before becoming the Lich King. Became one of the biggest in the series after his crowning.
- Being Tortured Makes You Evil: The Lich King believes that he can make Bolvar Fordragon become his servant if he breaks him long enough. Ironically, he ultimately ends up becoming the new Lich King.
- Big Bad: Of Wrath of the Lich King. (He is the eponymous character, after all.)
- Black Knight: Oh yes.
- Bling of War: Minus the color scheme, his armor fits this to a T.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: You won't see it right through, as he spends his time doing good when he's blonde. But slowly...
- Casting a Shadow
- Complexity Addiction: His convoluted gambit to repeatedly let his plans be thwarted and minions killed to make the player stronger is totally unnecessary. The Halls of Reflection instance reveals that if Arthas were killed the Scourge would wipe out Azeroth in a Zerg Rush, even without Arthas' immense personal power or a guiding intelligence controlling them.
- Cool Sword: Frostmourne, which is the most iconic weapon of the franchise, with the Doomhammer close in second.
- Cool Helmet: The source of all his God-like power; the Helmet of Ner'zhul. Rather intimidating as well.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: While he throughout Wrath of the Lich King appeared Genre Blind, he is revealed to be this. Arthas knew the player characters would come for him, and purposely let them get stronger and assault his fortress all the way to his Frozen Throne just to kill them and raise them as powerful undead warriors for his own. He would have an army of powerful minions and he wouldn't have to lift a finger until they reached him. It is also heavily implied that he is holding his forces in reserve, so when he has slain the player characters and Tirion, the armies opposing him are right where he want them, ready to be crushed. He never gets that far, as Tirion breaks free with the help of a literal DeusExMachina and destroys Frostmourne before the player characters can be raised.
- Darth Vader Clone
- The Dragon: Was previously one to Ner'Zhul.
- Dragon with an Agenda
- Dragon Ascendant: Arthas destroyed Ner'zhul's spirit at the end of Rise of the Lich King, leaving him the only one in control of the Lich King body.
- Dragon-in-Chief: Due to Ner'zhul being stuck in his armor, Arthas was the one who led the Scourge in destroying Lordaeron.
- Deadpan Snarker: Possibly the single wittiest character in the franchise, really. Emphasis on Dead.
Nerubians: *In reference to Anub'Arak* "Look, brothers! The traitor king!"
Arthas: *Ironically* "Who, me?"
- Later upon meeting with half-demon Illidan:
Illidan: *angrily* "Hello, Arthas."
Arthas: *mockingly* "You look... different, Illidan. I suppose the Skull of Gul'dan didn't agree with you."
- Heck, he's already deadpan even far before his Start of Darkness. For example when confronting an Abomination for the first time:
Jaina Proudmoore: "That creature looks like it was sewn together from different corpses."
Arthas: "Let's study it after we kill it, okay?"
Uther the Lightbringer: "Your father ruled this land for seventy years, and you've ground it to dust in a matter of days."
Arthas: "Very... dramatic, Uther. Give me the urn, and I'll make sure you die quickly."
- The pure gold is when he confronts Sapphiron the enormous Blue Dragon:
Sapphiron: "You dare enter my lair? I am Sapphiron, ancient servant of Malygos the Spell-Weaver! Explain yourselves!"
Arthas: Who is this "Darkness" anyway?.
- The Dreaded: He attained this reputation sometime after his face heel turn. Hell, in Frozen Throne, three top-ranking DREADLORDS would rather run away than face him in battle.
- In the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, his appearance during a quest will cause every character in sight to shit themselves.
- The Determinator: You gotta give the man credit. He did sail all the way to an unknown land, build a city there, fight through an unending tide of rotting flesh and take up an evil sword to kill a Dreadlord.
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu? and Sarcastic Confession: He did this to Sapphiron as mentioned above.
- Dying as Yourself: Like all the others, Arthas's soul was released when Frostmourne was shattered. Sometime between that and his death scene, it returned to his body, and suddenly he was the young prince again. Doesn't seem to have gotten him into a good afterlife, though...
- Evil Feels Good: He agreed.
- Evil Is Deathly Cold: He employs a lot of frost magic and lives on the Azeroth equivalent of the North Pole.
- Evil Plan: He allowed you and your fellow heroes to come all the way to his throne room so he could personally slaughter and ressurect you to have the greatest warriors of the world on his side.
- Evil Prince
- Evil Overlord: Of the second most powerful villainous faction in the game besides the Burning Legion.
- Evil Sounds Deep
- Exact Words: When he was still human, told his men that the troll rabble destroyed their ships and stranded them in Northrend. He just didn't mention the part where he hired the mercenaries to do it in order to keep his men from returning home.
- Face-Heel Turn: The page image. And god of the trope.
- Fallen Hero
- Final Boss: Of Wrath of The Lich King; it is in the title after all.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: After putting on the Helm of Domination.
- Guttural Growler: As voiced by Michael.
- Happily Married: In the Twilight of the Aspects novel, in an alternate future, Arthas is this with Jaina. They even have a son, who is ironically named Uther Menethil. (In that timeline, although Arthas did not turn evil, Uther was still killed by somebody else. The child was named in Uther's honor, some time after his death.)
- Heel Face Door Slam: If the theory that he regained his humanity in his final moments is correct.
- Hero Killer: In Warcraft III, where he killed Uther, Sylvanas, Antonidas and many other distinguished personages rather handily. He regains the title in the final battle against him, where he pretty much freezes Tirion solid and kills the entire raid in one blow, before he begins raising them as his minions. It doesn't stick though, as Tirion is broken out by a Deus Ex Machina and breaks Frostmourne, which frees Terenas who ressurrects the entire raid.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Arthas is the textbook example of this. In his attempt to stop the Scourge, he became what he was trying to stop.
- Humanoid Abomination: Upon becoming the Lich King.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: In Halls of Reflection and in Icecrown Citadel. The only reason you win the second time is because Tirion gets an infusion of Light and shatters Frostmourne.
- Ignored Epiphany: While walking up to the Frozen Throne, Arthas has a vision of all the people close to him telling him what a mistake he's making. He still does it.
- I Let You Win: Yes, he let you all win throughout the entire expansion for his Evil Plan. He pretty much plays this also on Tirion in regards to their first meeting.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope
- Karmic Death: Held down by the souls of his victims while the heroes hack him to pieces.
- Killed Off for Real: So far at least.
- Knight Templar
- Light Is Not Good
- Lightning Bruiser: In Warcraft III and its expansion — Arthas is incredibly fast and hits extremely hard even before taking into account the various Tomes of Strength and attack-power increasing items you'll find for him. Combined with his Death Coil, which is arguably the most damaging direct damage attack in the game; Arthas is adept at eliminating hero units and powerful infantry. In fact, he's so strong that he'll beat his counterpart — Illidan, roughly 90% of the time.
- Locked into Strangeness: He turned white-haired after becoming (debatably) undead. (Technically, Arthas never died until Icecrown Citadel of course.)
- Master Swordsman: Once he trades his paladin hammer for Frostmorne. See ▄bermensch below. This guy accomplishes a lot with (unholy evil) cold steel.
- Merger of Souls: At the end of the undead campaign in Frozen Throne, he merges his soul with Ner'zhul and becomes the Lich King.
- More Than Mind Control: Despite what Jaina Proudmoore believes, Arthas was always a fundamentally weak man who feared responsibility. Ironically, being the Lich King frees him from all responsibility whatsoever.
- Depending on how you read it, exactly the opposite could be true in that his morals are overly strong and he attempts to take on more responsibility than any man could handle, driving him over the edge. Ironically, either way the fear of said responsibility and a fear of commitment is still present.
- Magic Knight: He's always been this. Turned into an evil and frankly, far more powerful one after his face heel turn.
- The Necrocracy: He founded one, or rather expanded it.
- The Necromancer
- Near Villain Victory: Arthas really wasn't bluffing when he said he could kill the players at any given point. In the fight against him, he eventually gets tired of toying with your raid and kills everyone but Tirion who is trapped and forced to watch. Of course, Tirion has a Big "NO!" moment and manages to break free thanks to the power of the Light and destroy Frostmourne, which unleashes all the souls stored in it, which not only revives the raid, but restrains Arthas so the raid can kill him.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: While he did not have any evil intentions back then, by picking up Frostmourne you know what he ends up as.
- Not So Different: In his many appearances throughout Northrend in Wrath of the Lich King, he points out that the adventurers sent to fight him are no so different than he was. This is especially true in the Shadowmourne quest line.
- Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: Tirion is the older hero while Arthas is the younger villain; he also had this with Uther but Tirion succeeded in taking him down whereas Uther failed.
- One-Man Army: Even before he became the Lich King, when he was just a very powerful death knight. You know why none of his men came back with him? He killed them and raised them as the walking dead.
- The Paladin: Initially and as we all know, it did not last.
- Physical God: After becoming one with the Lich King, he┤s one of the most powerful characters in the entire series, rivaling that of minor deities.
- Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: "Illidan has mocked the Scourge for long enough. It is time we put the fear of death back in him." And what a glorious asskicking he unleashed.
- Prince Charmless: Prince Arthas was never the world's best boyfriend to Jaina. Lich King Arthas oddly has an Easter Egg sentimental attachment to her that he more or less lacked as a Prince.
- Protagonist Journey to Villain: His story in Warcraft III.
- Rage Helm: The helm of the Lich King has a permanent glare.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Towards Mal'Ganis after the Culling of Stratholme.
- Rousseau Was Right: Turned to evil because of circumstance, not birth.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: A royal who fights on the front, kills orc blademasters, tracks down demons to the uncharted north and kills them brutally.
- Sequel Hook: It has been confirmed by Blizzard that both Frostmourne and the body of Arthas are now missing. They also heavily implied the possibility that someone might be trying to reforge Frostmourne and bring back Arthas.
- Shoulders of Doom: With a nice big skull on the left one.
- Skeletons in the Coat Closet: He has skulls on his kneecaps. And his shoulders. And his gauntlets. And his chest. And his elbows. And his belt buckle.
- Slasher Smile: His default facial expression in the official art, apparently.
- Slouch of Villainy: Arthas loves to sit on his Frozen Throne like this, slouched slightly, and was once in this position for 5 years straight.
- Spikes of Villainy
- The Starscream: To first the Burning Legion then, in the novel Ner'zhul.
- Tin Tyrant: Oh, how he does nail the aesthetic.
- Took a Level in Badass: First when he claims Frostmourne for himself, then takes a million more when he became the Lich King, ascending to Physical God levels of power.
- ▄bermensch: Arthas has accomplished more than any other native Azerothian. He carved a path of destruction across a continent, brought about the decimation of entire civilizations single handed, defeated god-like beings and did in fact ascend to godhood. By his actions the very face of the world was irreversibly changed and radically so for all eternity even if Tirion did defeated him in the end.
- He even had a Last Man equivalent in Tirion.
- The Undead: Arthas is a very interesting take on this. There was never a point in his character arc before his final death where he was simply "dead". However, he has sustained injuries that would render a living being dead on the spot (most notably, when he cut out his own heart) and presumably his necromantic magic kept him animate. Basically Arthas was a very weird place where he managed to become undead, but never actually died in the first place, if that makes any sense.
- Ungrateful Bastard: He enlists mercenaries to help destroy the ships that his men are trying to escape to. How does he thank them? By accusing the mercenaries as the one who burnt down the ships and slaughtering them. Muradin called him out on this.
- Villain Protagonist: Gets two whole campaigns centred around him in Warcraft 3, and a third in the expansion.
- Villainous Breakdown: A subtle one; before Tirion breaks out and shatters his blade he's laughing maniacally; after wards he's more subdued first saying "Impossible" then calmly saying that they don't fear him despite how he threatened and to destroy them. It's subtle but there.
- Voice of the Legion: After becoming the Lich King.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: At first.
- Worthy Opponent: Illidan regards him as one. When they first met, he is surprised to find Arthas is his match as a combatant and actually finds himself struggling to keep up with him; where Arthas has no such trouble. Then again Illidan had been imprisoned and probably hasn't had a chance to practice and maintain his fighting skills for thousands of years.
Illidan: We could go on fighting like this forever... what is it you truly want?
- What the Hell, Hero?: Uther and Jaina's reaction to his choice at Stratholme.
- And later Muradin when he told his men that the mercenaries destroyed their ships, even though that was his orders.
- Warrior Prince: Arthas tended to fight on the front lines with his troops far more often than any Prince rationally had the right to...
- Warrior Monk: This used to be his job. Up until he became the God of his own religion.
- You Have Failed Me: Several times, such as to Drakuru.
"I am Kel'Thuzad, and I've come to deliver a warning. Leave well enough alone. Your curiosity will be the death of you."
A powerful necromancer in life, Kel'Thuzad was resurrected in the energies of the Sunwell by Arthas shortly after the latter's Face-Heel Turn
. With the help of the Scourge forces, he was able to summon Archimonde into Azeroth via portal magic; the Eredar's ensuing rampage destroyed the city of Dalaran and culminated in the loss of the World Tree. Despite the defeat of the Burning Legion (and by proxy, the Scourge), Kel'Thuzad was not killed; rather, he accompanied Arthas on his journey to Northrend, where the prince eventually became the Lich King and appointed Kel'Thuzad as his right hand lich. Currently, he rules the necropolis of Naxxramas, always eager for a raid group to fight.
- Affably Evil: Much more so after he is raised as a lich, and takes on a mentoring role to Arthas. He even waves off Arthas killing him.
- An Ice Person: Most of his arsenal is built around frost-based magic.
- Back from the Dead: Twice. His resurrection as a lich was the first. Before the Burning Crusade, however, he was the final boss of the original Naxxramas instance; after being killed by the players, his phylactery was turned in to an Argent Dawn NPC. However, this NPC turned out to be a Smug Snake who sold the phylactery back to the Lich King in exchange for lichhood himself. One expansion later, Kel'Thuzad was back.
- Beard of Evil: While alive.
- Came Back Strong: Goes from an over glorified Necromancer Giant Mook to a Lich Hero, with the best base-razing power in the entire game.
- Camp Gay: In the Arthas novel, Kel'Thuzad is... prissy.
- Casting a Shadow
- Cuteness Proximity: The deepest, darkest depths of Naxxramas are home to...his adorable pet kitten, Mr. Bigglesworth.
- Deadpan Snarker: Ghost!Kel'Thuzad still has time to sarcastically compare the still-living Sylvanas with Paladin!Arthas; after so much Death Knight!Arthas had done to resurrect him, started from killing Uther, gaining his father's ashes' urn, killing many elves, etc. Lucky for him, Death Knight!Arthas is only slightly pissed off.
Ghost!Kel'Thuzad: "She is persistent. Reminds me of you, death knight."
Death Knight!Arthas: "Shut up, you damned ghost."
- Dem Bones
- Disproportionate Retribution: When you kill his Right-Hand Cat, he swears vengeance on you. Urban legend has it that this activates Naxxramas' hardmodes, but this has no effect on the instance. One interpretation of it is that if groups don't heed the advice to not kill the cat, they most likely won't follow strategies on the boss fights.
- The Dragon: One of two, along with Anub'arak, to Arthas' Big Bad. In World of Warcraft, Anub'arak is the significantly less powerful of the two, making Kel'Thuzad the clear Dragon. Like Kel'thuzad before him, Anub'arak has now been brought back from the dead again, as a harder end game boss than the second incarnation of Kel'thuzad, but easier than the first incarnation.
- He also has Sapphiron, an undead wyrm which is his dragon.
- Evil Genius: Back when Ner'Zhul was The Big Bad and Arthas was The Dragon, he had this role.
- Evil Old Folks
- The Exile: From Dalaran.
- Final Boss: Of Naxxramas, and the last boss of pre-expansion World of Warcraft in the very same dungeon.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Implied to be this among the Kirin Tor when he was human, as a result of his idea to study Necromancy to fight it crossing the Moral Event Horizon and being seen as a loner.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: Implied to be the case when Kel'Thuzad was just human, due to his coin his social status.
- Inferred Survival: When Kel'Thuzad is defeated in Wrath of the Lich King, players don't find his phylactery like they did when he was defeated for the first time. Since liches can't be killed permanently unless their phylactery is destroyed (a point that was firmly established in the game), Kel'thuzad could potentially return again someday.
- More Than Mind Control: After he becomes undead, a lich to be exact, you may argue that he, just like many other undeads, is under Lich King's mind control. However, you can't forget that while he was still alive, he is the one who found Cult of The Damned and already worshipping Lich King since then.
- Mundane Wish: You can find Kel'Thuzad's coin in Dalaran fountain, from when he used to be human. Rather tragically, all he wished for was a hug.
Kel'Thuzad's Gold Coin: "Sometimes... I wish someone would come along and just give me a big, long hug."
- The Necromancer
- Ominous Floating Castle: Naxxramas.
- Power Echoes: How he speaks as a Lich.
- Power Floats: The only time he touches the ground is when he's dead.
- Religion of Evil: Started the Cult of the Damned back when he was alive.
- Right-Hand Cat: Mr. Bigglesworth.
- Single-Target Sexuality: Implied this is how Kel'Thuzad feels towards Arthas. After his trasformation to an undead Lich. Squick.
- Spirit Advisor: Before his resurrection, he made several appearances to Arthas as a ghost, instructing him on how best to proceed (which, naturally, included bringing him back).
- Villainous Friendship: With Arthas. Arthas even calls him a loyal friend after Kel'Thuzad saves him from Sylvanas.
- Wizard Beard: While alive at least.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In Reign of Chaos' Undead Campaign, Kel'Thuzad believes this is Burning Legion's view on orcs. And it later gets funny when in Orc Campaign, we are shown that Archimonde along with his two Dragons, Tichondrius and especially Mannoroth, seriously considered to re-recruit the orcs.
- The Undead
- Undying Loyalty: To the Lich King.
"The scourge will devour all!"
Class: Crypt Lord
Anub'Arak is the former king of Azjol-Nerub, who was killed and raised by the Scourge. The big crypt lord is now called a "Traitor King" by the surviving Nerubians, who wish to see him destroyed. He met up with Arthas on Northrend, who, alone and severely weakened, gladly accepted Anub'Arak's help.
- Affably Evil: Arguably the least overtly evil character, in Frozen Throne.
- An Ice Person: In Trial of the Crusader.
- Attack Reflector: One of his abilities in The Frozen Throne sends part of Melee attacks back at the attacker.
"My might cannot be matched!"
- Brainwashed and Crazy: You can't see it in Frozen Throne because he seems entirely loyal to Arthas, but his Last Words in Wrath of the Lich King clearly show it.
"RAAAAAAGH! Never thought... I would be free of him..."
- Subverted in the end, as his death in Azjol-Nerub is reversed in the Trial of the Crusader raid, which ends with his actual death.
"I have failed you, master..."
- The Big Guy: In the undead campaign of Frozen Throne.
- Deal with the Devil: Subverted: Kel'Thuzad had guessed this was how he'd become a Crypt Lord, to which he replied "'Agreed' implies choice."
- Demoted to Extra: His first appearance in Wrath of the Lich King was as a level 74 dungeon boss, which outraged many players. Then the Argent Coliseum was completed, and he turned up again, just a wee bit harder.
- This has mostly to do with Blizzard scrapping the idea of Azjol-Nerub as an entire underground zone.
- The Dragon: Along with Kel'Thuzad he acts as this to Arthas. He used to be a much more important character, then Azjol-Nerub got scrapped and turned into a bunch of dungeons.
- Even Evil Has Standards: In Frozen Throne, Anub'arak is horrified by the Faceless Ones and the Forgotten One.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: One of his attacks and part of his defence.
- Killed Off for Real
- Mighty Glacier: Big slow, and very durable, he even has an ultimate that helps him survive big fights.
- Spikes of Villainy: One of his abilities causes him to grow spikes on his carapace, granting bonus armor and partially sending attacks back at the sender.
- The Swarm: His ultimate attack.
- The Undead
Once an esteemed magister, Dar'Khan Drathir would become one of Quel'Thalas' greatest traitors. His limitless ambition, combined with his egotistical mindset, made him an easy pawn for the forces of the Lich King. Empowered by the treacherous Prince Arthas himself, Dar'Khan opened the way for the Scourge to enter Quel'Thalas and ravage the land in their march to the Sunwell.
Though he was killed at some point after the fall of Quel'Thalas, Dar'Khan has been resurrected by the Lich King and now resides at the fortress of Deatholme in the southern Ghostlands, where he commands the Scourge in Quel'Thalas.
An ice troll encountered by the players, having been captured by the companions of Budd Nedreck. He makes a deal with the player that is supposed to ensure that Drak'tharon Keep remains unbreached and Zul'drak safe from the Scourge. In reality, he tricks the player into lowering Drak'tharon Keep's defenses, allowing the Scourge to swarm over it. He is subsequently placed in charge of subjugating the rest of Zul'drak for the Scourge and tries to forcibly convert the player to help in this. The player and the Knights of the Ebon Blade exploit this to infiltrate his forces and sabotage his plans, culminating in his death at the hands of the Lich King himself.
- Affably Evil: He is quite amiable and friendly with the prayer, even if he tricked them into lowering Zul'drak's outer defenses. He even offers the player to share in his reward and lets them go when they refuse. Even when he later tries to forcibly convert them to his cause, he still considers them a friend and only begins to rail against them angrily when they betray him.
- Casting a Shadow: Utilizes shadowbolts as part of his arsenal after the Lich King grants him his reward.
- The Chessmaster: He quite cleverly manipulates the player into aiding the Scourge's cause by lowering the outer defenses of Zul'drak, in the belief it'd help strengthen them instead.
- Killed Off for Real: The Lich King himself kills him and doesn't raise his remains.
- Large and in Charge: Turns quite huge after being granted his reward by the Lich King.
- Ludicrous Gibs: Blown up this way by the Lich King.
- The Quisling: Betrayed his people to the Scourge and takes up a high position amongst them to subjugate the rest of his homeland.
- Villainous Breakdown: Takes the player's betrayal of him quite badly.
- You Have Failed Me: The Lich King explicitly says this before he kills him.