Literature / Lord of the Clans

Warcraft: Lord of the Clans is a novel by Christie Golden based in Blizzard Entertainment's Warcraft Universe. It was published by Pocket Books. The story of the novel was originally going to be used in the adventure game Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans until it was canceled. It is the second book released in the Warcraft Universe after Warcraft: Day of the Dragon. It is part of the Warcraft Expanded Universe.

The book tells the tale of Thrall, a young orc orphaned by assassins who kill both his parents. After being found by a human named Blackmoore, Thrall is taken to his castle, where he is raised to fight in gladitorial games to earn the alcoholic Blackmoore money. After escaping the castle with the help of a human girl, Taretha, Thrall travels to reunite the orcs.

This book contains the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Distillation: The original source for the plot was a Full Throttle-like game starring Thrall, which was then cancelled due to it not meeting Blizzard's quality standards. Someone managed to get a hold of it here. The original game had a lot more continuity nods to Warcraft II, and some of the major plot points were greatly revised in the book (though it is hard to tell how much due to missing cinematics). There is no sign of sympathetic human characters such as Sergeant or Taretha in the game either.
  • The Alcoholic: Blackmoore.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Subversion is the whole point. This is the beginning of the the end for Orcs' long-standing reputation as the embodiments of nastiness.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Blackmoore comes from a shamed noble house. He is willing to reclaim the family's position by any means necessary, including raising Thrall to use as a puppet general, thereby gaining command of an army of orcs to use against Lordaeron.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Grom Hellscream becomes this for Thrall.
  • Black and White Morality: Despite the fact that this book is about subverting the idea that the orcs are Always Chaotic Evil, there are very few shades of gray in this book. There are good characters and evil characters (on both sides of the conflict), but hardly anything in-between.
  • Captain Ersatz: A lot of Thrall's backstory owes itself to Ben Hur and Spartacus. Thrall, of course, ends up better than Spartacus.
  • The Clan: The Frostwolves are all a bunch of uniform good guys. They're JERKS to Thrall in the beginning, but they're good guys.
  • Droit du Seigneur: Blackmoore forces Taretha to be his mistress.
  • Drop the Hammer: The Doomhammer, which becomes Thrall's iconic weapon.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: This being the first time a true shaman appeared in a Warcraft story, Thralls powers are more similar to a druid's than a shaman, talking to birds and controlling tree branches.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Grom Hellscream, despite being a Blood Knight who has killed many of his foes, orders that his orcs not kill an abducted child, and instead return him to his family.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Sergeant.
  • Fantastic Racism: Thrall is frequently subject to this.
  • Genius Bruiser: Thrall is a lot more intellectual than most Orcs, but is also a very capable hand-to-hand fighter.
  • Get into Jail Free: Thrall lets himself get captured in the first phase of his and Orgrim Doomhammer's campaign against the internment camps.
  • Gladiator Games/Gladiator Revolt: Thrall's backstory, explaining his martial skills.
  • Hate Sink: Suffice it to say, Blackmoore exists as a portrait of everything wrong with humans in the Warcraft universe.
  • Hiding Behind the Language Barrier: An orc tries to tell Thrall to run while he protects him, but this fails because Thrall doesn't know Orcish.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Blackmoore raised Thrall to be the perfect warrior who could lead the orc armies against the rest of the human Alliance. Thrall did eventually become the Warchief of the Horde... and then led his army against Blackmoore.
  • The Horde: Thrall makes The Horde 3.0. It's not yet an Alliance, consisting of just orcs.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Completely subverted. The main villains of the story are all human, and by the end of it, you're cheering Thrall on as he and the Horde storm Durnholde. At the same time, however, Thrall is well aware of humanity's capacity for good as demonstrated by Taretha and Sergeant, and when he sees the collective spirit of the human race during his shaman training, he finds that it's closer to his human friends than Blackmoore.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Langston to a certain extent. Blackmoore is actually just a gigantic bully, but does too much evil to be considered sympathetic.
  • Jerk Ass: Blackmoore, at his best.
  • Kick the Dog: Blackmoore has dozens of moments like this in his treatment of Thrall and Taretha Foxton.
  • Lethal Chef: Blackmoore hired an old comrade from the war as a chef, whose fish has made Taretha ill more than once.
  • Magic Knight: Thrall is proficient in both melee combat and spellcasting (as a Shaman).
  • Meaningful Name: Thrall keeps the name, which means "slave", so that neither he nor Blackmoore will forget what the latter has done when the former comes back with a vengeance.
  • Messianic Archetype: Thrall is basically a cross between Moses and Spartacus, plus some green paint.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: During the siege, Sergeant sees that Blackmoore's gone mad and that Langston is completely useless, but takes up the responsibility of defending the keep because they all think (correctly) that Thrall won't stop until Blackmoore's dead.
  • No Dead Body Poops: Averted. A reference to the "stench of urine and feces" is made a couple of times when describing battles.
  • No Name Given: Sergeant. Lampshaded a couple times.
  • Not Afraid of You Anymore: Thrall has this moment just before his final battle with Blackmoore.
  • Oh, Crap!: Sergeant and Langston's reaction when Blackmoore pushes Thrall too far, triggering his Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Old Master: Sergeant is the only decent high-ranking man in Durnholde.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: A bit of Fridge Brilliance when you realize that the previous two books chronologically had treated them as total monsters.
  • Passing the Torch: Doomhammer grooming Thrall to lead his people to renewed strength, unity and redemption. After his death, Thrall starts using his weapon, the Doomhammer, and wearing his plate armour.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Thrall, though an intellectual among his people, still feels pride for their martial heritage.
  • Red Right Hand: Amongst the orcs, Thrall's blue eyes mark him as untainted (relatively, as The Burning Crusade and Rise of the Horde later reveal that green skin already indicates some level of exposure to fel magic).
  • Re Lex: The words in the orcish phrase "Kagh! Bin mog g'thazag cha!" seem to match the English words, "Run! I will protect you!" one-to-one.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The big finale. Thrall is a tremendously mellow guy, for an orc, and even compared to a lot of humans. The measures necessary to get him up to this are damn near ridiculous. And horrifying. And if you do push him into this... well, he's a shaman, was trained as a gladiator for a good deal of his life, and he's Warchief of the Horde.
  • Secret Test of Character: Drek'thar demands respect from Thrall after meeting him, but is impressed when he refuses to accept being treated like a slave, noting that he proved that he was humble, but not an Extreme Doormat.
  • The Siege: Completely subverted. The bad guys are the few defenders manning the great fortress, while the hero is leading the massive horde trying to rip the place down. They even succeed too.
  • Smug Snake: Blackmoore.
  • Token Good Teammate: Sergeant, for Durnholde.
  • Wham Line:
    • When Thrall defeats an orc who insulted the Frostwolves.
    "My name, son of Durotan, is Orgrim Doomhammer."
    • Thrall gets a very unpleasant surprise in the final assault on Durnholde.
    "Taretha's blue eyes stared sightlessly up at him from her severed head."
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Thrall gives this to some of his men when he finds out they killed unarmed humans.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Thrall does this to Langston, reducing him to a crying baby.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Thrall feels this way after being complimented by Blackmoore as the latter is mortally wounded and tells him "You are... what I made of you... I am so proud..."