This story is notable for defining the nature of the dragonflights and the Aspects, as well as creating three new dragonflights to add into the canon. Many of the details in this book would be touched upon in the The War of the Ancients trilogy, as well as many of the quests in World of Warcraft, particularly the Cataclysm expansion.
This book contains the following tropes:
- All Your Powers Combined: After regaining their strength, the Aspects unleash their full power on Deathwing. He flees rather than fight them at full strength.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Vereesa and Rhonin annoyed each other in the beginning. Their later romance surprises nobody.
- Bound and Gagged: Vereesa and Falstad experience this at the hands of some hungry trolls...
- Canon Immigrant: Many of the Dragon Aspects and other characters in the novel would find their way into the Warcraft games eventually.
- Characterization Marches On: Dragons were introduced in Warcraft II as dumb beasts for the Horde to ride upon. In modern times, players know them as unfathomably ancient and wise shapeshifting creatures who are almost as old as the planet itself.
- Fantastic Racism: More like everything-ism. Everyone in this story holds serious biases. Mages thinking they're better than everyone, Paladins thinking mages are damned souls, the rampant near genocidal hatred of orcs, even humans nations have deeply ingrained negative opinions of each other.
- Faux Action Girl: Vereesa Windrunner kicks very little ass in this story, considering the family pedigree she has to live up too. Screaming, getting hit on and getting knocked out are the grand majority of her contributions to the plot.
- Large Ham: Deathwing, particularly with his evil laughs.
- Mama Bear: Alexstrasza, both for her own dragonflight specifically and for life of Azeroth in general.
- Nekros Skullcrusher finds out the hard way—for his crimes, he ends up in her stomach.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Granted, this is expected from an Orc, but... Nekros Skullcrusher. Also Neltharion a.k.a. Deathwing himself.
- Slasher Smile: Deathwing pulls of a very unsettling one during his first conversation with Rhonin in his human disguise of a nobleman Lord Prestor. At one point, his grins so widely that his mouth stretches beyond the width that would be possible for an ordinary human — revealing an additional row of sharp, draconic teeth to boot.
- Swallowed Whole: The fate of Nekros, courtesy of Alexstrasza. Couldn't have happened to a more deserving Orc.