Literature: Arthas

Correctly called Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, this novel chronicles the events of Blizzard Entertainment's Warcraft III: the Reign of Chaos and its expansion pack Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. It also includes the early childhood of Prince Arthas Menethil and events that tie it directly to World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. As such, it takes place in the Warcraft Expanded Universe. It is a novel by Christie Golden and resolves several plot issues nagging from the World of Warcraft game.

This novel contains the following tropes:

  • A Father to His Men: This is how Arthas is able to convince his nation's entire fleet to pull up anchor and follow him to the North.
  • Action Girl: Sylvanas, right up until she becomes a Dark Action Girl.
  • Adaptation Expansion: In general terms, it does a magnificent job fleshing out many of the lore figures who take part in Wrath of the Lich King.
  • Anti-Hero: Arthas starts off as a Pragmatic Hero, becomes a Nominal Hero, and by the end has fallen to a Villain Protagonist.
  • Arranged Marriage: Arthas' sister is almost married to Lord Prestor and is horrified for it. Arthas is horrified at the prospect for himself. Subverted in the fact that his father was entirely happy with his courtship of Jaina Proudmoore because she was a perfect choice.
    • Arthas then dumps her the day after they have sex.
  • Better as Friends: Arthas gives this speech to Jaina. She takes it with a lot more grace than Arthas deserves.
  • Badass: Let's be fair, no one in Warcraft will ever match Arthas' badassery.
  • Berserk Button: Arthas and being betrayed.
    • Or hurting his horse
  • The Cameo: There are too many minor characters to list, considering the nature of the storyline. However, not many expected Tiron Fordring to make an appearance. And surprisingly without a speaking role.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Muradin Bronzebeard's favorite trick - kicking your opponent's abdomen - managed to save Arthas's life during his fight against Kael.
  • Cool Sword: Frostmourne and Felo'melorn.
  • Dark Messiah: Which Arthas eventually becomes, at least for the Scourge.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Arthas is an excellent practitioner.
    "Ah, Kael, even your insults are unnecessarily complicated. Glad to see you haven't changed - as ineffectual as ever. Which raises a question, why weren't you at Quel'Thalas anyway? Content to let others die for you while you sat snug and secure at your Violet Citadel? I don't think you'll be doing that anymore."
    "I must say, I'm rather disappointed in these elves you lead. I had hoped for a better fight. Maybe I killed all the ones with spirit in Quel'Thalas."
    "After how you cowardly fled during our last confrontation, I must say, I am surprised to see you here, Kael. Don't be so upset that I stole Jaina from you. You should let that go and move on. After all, there's so much left in the world for you to enjoy. Oh wait... No there isn't."
    "You look different, Illidan. I guess the Skull of Gul'Dan didn't agree with you."
    "Show your appreciation by getting out of my way, then."
    "[to Uther's displeasure at seeing him return] I'm a bad copper, I just keep turning up."
  • Dramatic Irony: Kael'thas believes that since the Orcs made deals with demons and became addicted to demonic blood that they deserve no sympathy because anyone stupid enough to do that is an idiot. This is exactly what starts to happen to Kael'thas and his followers in the Warcraft III expansion, and what ends up happening in World of Warcraft.
  • The Evil Prince: What Arthas transforms into.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Dreadlords could make a living out of this trope.
    • Arthas' voice is described as being a baritone.
    • Also, Illidan becomes distinctively more bass as a half-demon.
  • Face-Heel Turn: And how!
  • Foreshadowing: "Now I wonder if there are such things as ghosts, too. If there are, our prince will be ten thick in them." The Lich King eventually meets his demise in World of Warcraft when Frostmourne gets shattered, and he becomes overwhelmed with the ghosts of all those he had slain before.
    • Bonus: That quote is credited to Uther the Lightbringer, who just so happens to become one of those ghosts.
  • Infant Immortality: Discussed by Jaina who theorized The Plague might not affect children the same way. It was then defied by Arthas, who made it clear that he was going to kill every last person in Stratholme - adults and children alike.
  • Jerkass: One of the more amusing parts of the book is that Arthas has everyone convinced he's not one. Including himself.
  • The Heartless: Arthas after he takes up Frostmourne.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Everyone but Kael'thas seems to think Arthas is a hero in the making.
  • Kick the Dog: Arthas first act of this was the arguably necessary culling of Stratholme. Then he killed all of his mercenaries. Then he left Muradin Bronzebeard to die. Finally, he killed his own father before unleashing a plague of undeath on the world.
  • Killed Off for Real: Ner'zhul
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Most believe Arthas is this.
  • Knight Templar: Arthas slowly develops an obsession against Mal'Gannis that justifies everything.
  • Light Is Not Good: Arthas is a paladin of light, despite being of fundamentally weak moral character.
  • Meaningful Name: Subverted. Uther Lightbringer remains a nice guy right up until his death. Arthas, named undoubtedly for Arthur becomes a stain on every living things.
    • Uther was the name of Arthur's father.
  • Morality Chain: Jaina is unwittingly Arthas' morality chain. When she turns against him, he jumps off the slippery slope.
  • Motive Decay: Arthas wanted revenge and to protect his people, right before turning them all into undead. Justified as, by the time he does, he's literally lost his soul.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: Kel'thuzad. Practically word for word.
  • Mythology Gag: The book lingers for a while to tell the reader that Thrall's escape from Durnholde Keep spawned quite a bit of Wild Mass Guessing over how he actually managed to accomplish this, with some rumors going as far as "A Dragon Did It". Of course, people who've read Lord of the Clans would know that Taretha, the local servant-girl mentioned earlier was the one who helped him escape.
    • The "dragon did it" rumors add to the gag. In-game, Thrall is indeed released by several heroes under the employ of a dragon.
  • The Obi-Wan: Uther Lightbringer and Muradin Bronzebeard.
  • Ojou: Jaina Proudmoore starts as one.
  • One-Man Army: Arthas.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: It's clear that the Lich King intends to turn the entire world into truly loyal undead slaves.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Deconstructed to hell and back. Arthas is offended his parents like Jaina and want to support his courtship of her.
  • Precision F-Strike: One particular case carries through from Warcraft III.
    Sylvanas Windrunner: Give my regards to hell, you son of a bitch.
  • Prince Charming: Arthas is believed to be this by Jaina (and everyone else). Kael'thas thinks he is, but fails utterly in convincing Jaina of it.
  • Prince Charmless: This is what Arthas actually turns out to be. After taking Jaina's virginity and more or less leading her to believe she's going to be his wife, he suddenly gives her the "let's be friends" speech.
    • Kael'thas held a torch out for Jaina, but she thought it was creepy rather than flattering due to their titanic age difference.
  • Real Men Love the Light: Uther and Arthas before he switches religions.
  • Ridiculously Average Guy: Hilariously, what Arthas seems to be despite being a Prince and legendary hero-in-the-making.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Arthas' reaction to the events of Stratoholme that drive him insane.
  • Sheltered Aristocrat: How Arthas begins.
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: Justified by the fact that Arthas is clearly traumatized and borderline insane even before he picks up Frostmourne.
  • Start of Darkness
  • The Virus: The cursed grain that Kel'thuzad made.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Again, subverted. Everyone assumes that Arthas is actually the loyal and doting son of his father. In fact, Arthas has greatly mixed feelings about his father, right up until Arthas kills him.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Subverted. After Stratholme, it's clear that Arthas doesn't care anymore about protecting his people.
  • White Prince: Arthas has all the appearance of one.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The main threat posed to the heroes and the Kingdom of Lordaeron as a whole. Arthas spends the first half of the novel trying to fight against it, then eventually brings it about.