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Literature / Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects

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Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects is a World of Warcraft novel by Christie Golden. Basically a follow-up to her earlier The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm, the book follows the titular ex-Warchief as he struggles with his inner demons, while at the same time the Twilight's Hammer plots to destroy all life on Azeroth, starting with the dragons.

This novel contains examples of:

  • Absolute Xenophobe: Arygos, proud son of the genocidal Blue Aspect Malygos, hates everyone who isn't a blue dragon, and even wanted to kill Thrall just for being in the Nexus even though he was a on a mission from the other aspects. Of course, it later turns out that he had aligned himself with the Twilight's Hammer.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Wyrmrest Temmple is taken early on and not reclaimed until the climax.
  • Alternate Universe: Thrall visits an alternate timeline in the Caverns of Time, where his death in infancy was the point of divergence. Aedelas Blackmoore from that timeline, the usurper king of Lordaeron, is recruited by the Infinite Dragonflight to kill Thrall.
  • Arc Words: ...Kind of. "All that matters is this moment," while only said once or twice in the book, has been repeated by Nozdormu at least twice more in the World of Warcraft game (including as a greeting).
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Aggra to Thrall.
    Aggra: You see? If you do not know who you are, how can you know what to do?
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: Not that it makes him any less of a jackass, but the alternate version of Blackmoore is evidently a strong fighter and an effective commander, given that he fought the orcs back to Blackrock Spire and beat Doomhammer in a fair fight, thus winning the respect of the orcs in the doing.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Kalecgos becomes the new Aspect of Magic.
  • Badass in Distress: Kirygosa is kept in captivity under a Shock Collar, but eventually escapes and fights in the final battle.
  • BFS: Fleshrender.
  • Big Bad: Deathwing.
  • Cain and Abel: Arygos and Kirygosa, an accomplice to and prisoner of Twilight's Hammer, respectively
  • The Chains of Commanding: Kalecgos is wary about becoming Blue Aspect, and this enables him to become friends with Thrall, who also had to become Warchief after Doomhammer's death, and realizes that he has been bound by that role.
  • Dead Guy Junior: The alternate version of Arthas has a son with Jaina Proudmoore named Uther after his mentor, who was killed during Blackmoore's seizure of the throne.
  • The Dragon: The Twilight Father is this to Deathwing, and Chromatus is a more literal one once he is awakened.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Thrall receives powers similar to the Aspect of Earth's to coordinate the Aspects against Chromatus
  • For Want Of A Nail: In the alternate timeline Thrall visits he died as a baby, leading to Aedelas Blackmoore switching to a better plan, sobering up, killing Orgrim Doomhammer at Blackrock Spire with his mercenaries, and then striking a deal with the orcs in order to usurp the throne of Lordaeron.
    • There's a few other changes as well. Kel'Thuzad never became a necromancer or lich, instead becoming Blackmoore's top advisor. He never went to work for the Scourge, and the Cult of the Damned doesn't exist. The Scourge Invasion never happened, though it isn't mentioned whether this is simply because they didn't have the numbers to be a legitmate threat or the Scourge itself doesn't exist because Ner'zhul never formed the Horde of Draenor and set the events of Beyond the Dark Portal into motion, thus not becoming the Lich King. Either way, this has its own set of consequences.
      • Arthas never pulled a Face–Heel Turn and was never corrupted into a Death Knight. His father Terenas and mentor Uther ended up getting killed anyway, but Arthas escaped the wrath of Blackmoore. He and Jaina are married and have a son named after Uther. They're currently guests at the court of Varian Wrynn in Stormwind, but Arthas and Varian both intend to take back Lordaeron from Blackmoore.
      • Lordaeron is intact, if ravaged by war, and the Forsaken don't exist — its members are either still alive and living in Lordaeron or dead anyway because Blackmoore's forces killed them.
      • The worgen are still in the Emerald Dream, because without the Scourge there was no reason to unleash them.
      • Quel'Thalas was never destroyed and Kael'thas and his father are still alive; the modern blood elves apparently remain at their original population level and are still high elves in both name and function.
      • Dalaran remains intact and in place, since if the Legion still plan to invade Azeroth, they haven't done it yet.
      • It seems likely that Zul'jin is also alive and well and still leads the Amani. No doubt even without him the forest trolls left the orcs to their fate, because they'd never work with a human like Blackmoore.
      • The book does not mention what happened to Northrend, though if the Scourge don't exist it's probably a very different place. No Lich King would mean the vrykul never accepted Lich King!Arthas as their god of death, and no Scourge would mean Azjol-Nerub and Zul'Drak were never invaded. In turn, that would mean Anub'arak is still alive and still reigns as king of the nerubians, and that the Drakkari never sacrificed their loa for their power, their culture thus remaining largely intact. The full implications, however, are impossible to imagine.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Nozdormu has seen that he will some day become corrupted into a dark version of himself called Murozond and start the Infinite Dragonflight. He isn't very fond of that idea.
  • Heroic BSoD: Alexstrasza goes into one after she finds out Korialstrasz was responsible for the destruction of the sanctuaries and all eggs within. She gets better when Thrall reveals that he did it to stop the Twilight corruption (see Heroic Sacrifice below).
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Korialstrasz/Krasus sacrifices himself to destroy the Wyrmrest sanctuaries and all the corrupted dragon eggs.
  • Hero Killer: The colossal chromatic dragon Chromatus was bred by Nefarian with this very purpose. In addition, alternate universe Blackmoore is this to Thrall, King Terenas, and Uther the Lightbringer.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Arygos, through the head.
  • In Spite of a Nail: In the alternate timeline, Thrall notes that Taretha and Blackmoore are more or less the same people he remembers, even if their lives are very different.
    • Also, despite Arthas not being evil, his father Terenas and mentor Uther are both dead anyway; the only difference is, he's not responsible — they were both killed by Blackmoore's forces during his seizure of power. It's also mentioned that Anduin Lothar escaped being killed by Doomhammer only to fall to the orcs who invaded Capital City.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: The Twilight Father tells Arygos he should have done this to Thrall after he says too many were watching for him to kill him.
  • Meaningful Name: Thrall sees his name as symbolic of the forces he has been a slave to all his life.
  • The Mole: The Twilight Father is a respected member of human society. Specifically, Archbishop Benedictus.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Fleshrender, Blackmoore's weapon of choice. Thrall calls him out on how such a brutish name shows his true lack of sophistication.
  • Never Learned to Read: Alternate timeline Taretha
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: Apparently, you can fall from large heights and only get slightly wounded if you land in snow.
  • Off with His Head!: Desharin by Blackmoore
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The Twilight's Hammer cult's defining trait, as always.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Chromatus was defeated, but the dragons still don't know how to actually make him DEAD-dead. They keep him in an arcane prison until they figure it out.
  • Psychosomatic Superpower Outage: At the start of the story, Thrall's inner conflicts get to the point at which he cannot reliably perform his duties at the Maelstrom.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Thrall gives one to Blackmoore.
    Blackmoore: Fleshrender hasn't claimed a life for a while. I'll make it quick. (Thralll laughs) What amuses you at the moment of your death?
    Thrall: You do. The name you have chosen for your sword makes me laugh.
    Blackmoore: Makes you laugh? You should not. It has indeed rent the flesh of the corpses I make!
    Thrall: Oh, of course. But it's so blunt — so brutal and unsophisticated. Just like you are, at your core. Just like you tried so hard not to be.
    Blackmoore: I am a king, orc. Remember that.
    Thrall: Only of a stolen kingdom. And you will make no corpse of me! (fight begins) I feared you once. You were everything I hate... weakness lucky enough to be in a position of power. You made me see myself in a way I loathed, in a way-."
  • Shock Collar: Used on Kirygosa.
  • Shout-Out: To Star Trek: The Next Generation, more specifically to the episode 'Tapestry', during Thrall's vision of Medivh. Should be noted that Christie Golden has written several Star Trek books.
  • Sinister Minister: Archbishop Benedictus has betrayed the Light in favor of the Twilight's Hammer.
  • Smug Snake: The Twilight Father.
  • Spanner in the Works: Thrall royally fucks up the Twilight Hammer's plan. Though it is partially subverted in that Deathwing is aware of the threat he poses and has made Thrall the top of his hit list
  • Take That!: In an argument with him early in the book, Aggra angrily confronts Thrall about "gossip" regarding potential relationships with Jaina (and before her, Taretha), and tells him off. Considering Golden wrote the novel where Aggra first appeared and sunk the ship, it's hard not to see this as a Take That! aimed at Thrall/Jaina shippers.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: The Hour of Twilight, when all life (except the twilight dragons) will be extinguished and the Old Gods will have won. Fortunately, it is so far only a prophecy.
  • Tin Tyrant: Alternate Universe Aedelas Blackmoore usurped the throne of Lordaeron, and was then sent by the Infinite Dragonflight to hunt down Thrall. He wears a suit of black armor that incorporates pieces of the Doomhammer armor.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Arygos and the Twilight Father as their plans go awry.
  • Villains Want Mercy:A defeated Blackmoore begs Thrall for his life, but he refuses to spare him. The Twilight Father asks Deathwing for another chance, and gets it.
  • Wham Line
    Nozdormu: You asked me how I knew the infinite dragonflight was behind Blackmoore'sss creation and liberation. I know this because... I ssssent him after you.
    Archbishop Benedictus: Thank you, my lord.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Thrall realizes his parents are going to be killed, but can't save them lest he cause a Temporal Paradox
  • You Have Failed Me: Subverted. Deathwing is really annoyed, but he still sees the Twilight Father as a useful mole and teleports him back to Stormwind instead of letting the dragons find him.
    • Played straight with Arygos, whom Blackmoore kills after his failure to become Aspect. Kirygosa thinks it's You Have Outlived Your Usefulness, but the Twilight Father says otherwise.