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Literature / Rise of the Horde

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Rise of the Horde is a novel by Christie Golden, set in the Warcraft Expanded Universe. It tells of the events that happened on Draenor before Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, focusing mainly on the orcs, though the draenei show up quite a bit. It details how the orcs went from Proud Warrior Race Guys to The Horde. The main characters are Orgrim Doomhammer and Durotan, but Thrall provides the Framing Device.

This book contains examples of:

  • Alien Blood: Draenei have blue blood. Demons have greenish-yellow blood. Even orcs fit this trope to some degree, as they have blood of so dark a red that it's nearly black.
  • Ancestral Weapon: The Doomhammer.
  • A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: Gul'dan betrays his master Ner'zhul to Kil'jaeden, but the work suggests that Gul'dan was never exactly of wholesome character before that incident.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Blackhand convinces Krol, an ogre chieftain, and others of his clan to form an alliance by promising freedom and protection from their Abusive Precursors, the gronn, and and a new enemy to fight in the draenei.
  • Berserk Button: When an innocent Draenei child is killed to open the Dark Portal, Durotan loses his cool and starts fighting the orcs loyal to the Shadow Council. His clan follows him into battle, and the only thing that saves them is the portal's activation.
  • Black Magic: The fel magic that the warlocks start using.
  • Continuity Cameo: Medivh shows up a couple times near the end.
  • Darker and Edgier: Easily one of the darkest books Blizzard has ever put out.
  • Deceptive Disciple: Gul'dan. When he spies on Ner'zhul as the latter finds out Kil'jaeden deceived them all, he rats out his horrified master to the demon lord for power.
  • Doomed by Canon: Anyone who's played the Warcraft games and their MMO sequel will know the draenei are this close to being doomed to extinction, and that Ner'zhul's attempts to undo his mistakes are doomed to failure because otherwise orcish history past the events of the book wouldn't make sense.
  • Dramatic Sit-Down: Thrall does this after he's informed that the Draenei are in Azeroth, and have joined the Alliance.
  • Empathic Environment: Averted, and lampshaded in Durotan's thoughts. He thought the weather was way too cheery for what was happening.
  • Et Tu, Brute?:
    • Part of the reason Kil'jaeden hates Velen so much is that they were as close as brothers before the split, which makes their parting that much more bitter.
    • Ner'zhul has a similar feeling when he discovers Gul'dan betrayed him.
  • Evil Former Friend: Archimonde and Kil'jaeden to Velen.
  • Evil is Petty: Kil'jaeden's grudge against Velen seems to be part of the reason he turned the orcs against the draenei.
  • Evil Makes You Monstrous: The orcs' skin turns greenish when they start using demonic magic, whether that specific orc actually used it or not. Orcs who drank Mannoroth's blood turn really green, their eyes turn red, and they become much more muscular.
  • First Girl Wins: The first girl in Orgrim's and Durotan's age group we are introduced to, Draka, becomes Durotan's mate.
  • Freudian Trio: According to Velen, he was this with Kil'jaeden and Archimonde. He was the Ego to Archimonde's Id and Kil'jaeden's Superego.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: What happens to the orcs who drink demon blood.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Any and all attempts to prevent the orcs from becoming The Horde are vetoed.
  • I Am X, Son of Y: This is the naming convention of the orcs.
  • It's Personal: Kil'jaeden harbours a mean grudge against Velen and fantasises about destroying him utterly. Averted by Archimonde, who not only doesn't care what Velen's up to now, but suggests they leave him to it and focus on pursuing the Legions agenda rather than Kil'jaeden's petty grudge.
  • Kicked Upstairs: Ner'zhul is placed in a meaningless, decorative position to prevent him from interfering with the Shadow Council's plans (which he ends up becoming privvy to) and those of Kil'jaeden.
  • The Lost Lenore: Rulkan, Ner'zhul's deceasesd mate. Her spirit does what she can to keep up their marriage by visiting him and offering him comfort. His ongoing attachment to and trust in her leads to Kil'jaeden imitating her to gain Ner'zhul's trust.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Ner'zhul is horrified by the realisation that he has been tricked into committing genocide, and vows to undo his mistakes. He is stopped from doing this.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Ner'zhul is placed in a powerless position where he becomes privvy to all the Shadow Council plans he will be unable to stop so Gul'dan can rub his failure in his former mentor's face. This allows him to discover the plot to forge a blood pact with Mannoroth and warn the clans not to drink the demon's blood. Of course, most of them do anyway, but Durotan and others like him refuse to.
  • Noble Top Enforcer: Doomhammer becomes this to Blackhand.
  • Obliviously Evil: Ner'zhul thinks he is doing what his ancestor's want and protecting his people, as do many of the orcs fighting the draenei. The discovery that he isn't is a harsh landing.
  • Odd Friendship: While not technically forbidden, Durotan and Orgrim Doomhammer's inter-clan friendship is considered against tradition.
  • Oh, Crap!: Thrall's reaction in the epilogue when he finds out that the Draenei have crashed on Azeroth, and have allied with the Alliance. The second half of the book is basically about the orcs massacring the draenei. This new development crushes Thrall's hopes for peace fairly effectively.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Ner'zhul notes that Kil'jaeden's vitriolic hatred of the draenei is inconsistent with the behaviour of the other Draenor spirits, not the least because the ancestors do not harbour such resentments towards the living. He also notices that Kil'jaeden looks more like the draenei than one of the spirits he claims to be.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The Shadow Council sacrifices a little draenei boy to open the Dark Portal.
  • Power Trio: The Eredar Triumvirate was one, with Velen as The Kirk (reason), Kil'jaeden as The Spock (logic), and Archimonde as The McCoy (selfishness).
    • Alternately, Kil'jaeden was The Kirk (logical, but trusting Velen's input) , Archimonde was The Spock (also logical but always siding with his ambitions), and Velen was The McCoy (religious and compassionate).
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Velen is polite and cordial to Durotan and Orgrim when he meets them, arranged for his people to peacefully interact with the orcs whose planet they landed on and saves his people from total destruction.
    • Ner'zhul is seen as this at the start, being revered by the orc clans for his connection to the spirits and the ancestors, and is probably as close as the orcs have to a unified leader; the only blotch on his copybook is that he wants a different kind of power that he doesn't have yet — that of true authority over the clans. This makes him an easy target for Kil'jaeden's machinations.
    • Durotan joins in the orcish attacks on the draenei only on the basis of My Country, Right or Wrong, is disgusted by many of the darker practises that take place and eventually refuses to drink the Blood of Mannoroth when Ner'zhul sends an anonymous letter warning them all not to do it.
  • Start of Darkness: For the orcs.
  • The Power of Blood: Mannoroth uses this to turn the orcs into Always Chaotic Evil berserkers.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Ner'zhul falls for Kil'jaeden's lies. All of the orc shaman fall for it, and the orcs trust their spiritual leaders. note