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Literature / Warcraft: The Last Guardian

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Warcraft: The Last Guardian is a tie-in novel to Blizzard Entertainment's Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. It is the closest thing to a retelling of the first game of the franchise, Warcraft: Orcs and Humans that there is.

The story stars Khadgar, a young mage from the magocratic city-state of Dalaran, who is chosen to be the apprentice of Medivh, the greatest wizard of the known world. After arriving to the eccentric magus' home tower of Karazhan, Khadgar is given the impossible task of... cleaning the library. Dozens of apprentice candidates have failed, but the young man does indeed succeed.

Soon after Khadgar finds out that Karazhan is built in a location where the time and space are bent, causing people within to occasionally see visions of the past and future. Furthermore, the Magus himself seems odd, leaving the tower for months at a time with no warning and then falling asleep for weeks after returning.

Just to make Khadgar's life more interesting, the Kingdom of Stormwind, wherein Medivh's home is located, is beset by green monsters called orcs, whom no one has ever before seen. The barbarians strike from the eastern marshes of the Black Morass with increasing severity, only kept at bay by the King's champion Anduin Lothar, with whom the young mage becomes friends during a visit to the capital of Stormwind.

One day, an ambassador of the orcs named Garona, who is in fact half human or at least she seems to think so, arrives to Karazhan. Despite Khadgar's hostile initial reaction, the two quickly become friends and begin to unravel a mysterious plot to kill powerful wizards, make the orcs win the war and unlock the body of the demon-lord Sargeras, which had been sealed in the bottom of the ocean by Medivh's mother.

After almost a decade, the book got a kind of a sequel, called Tides of Darkness, which retells the events of Warcraft II.

One of the original three novels which started the Warcraft Expanded Universe.

This book contains the following tropes:

  • At Least I Admit It:
    Garona: "In your histories, there are continual justifications for all manner of hellish actions. Claims of nobility and heritage and honor to cover up every bit of genocide, assassination, and massacre. At least the Horde is honest in their naked lust for power."
  • Evil Sounds Deep: This is how you know Sargeras is in control
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: This book came out before Warcraft 3, meaning that the orcs are portrayed as violent, unintelligent marauders who have little redeeming qualities. This can be confusing to those more familiar with the current lore or have read other Warcraft novels where the orcs are much more three dimensional.
  • Evil Plan:
    • Sargeras allows his avatar to be destroyed by Aegwynn so he can reincarnate himself in her unborn baby. Then he proceeds to open a gateway to Draenor and release the Orc horde on the world.
    • Turned into a full-blown Gambit Roulette in Rise of the Horde, where it is retconned that the Horde were created entirely separately and their mere existence was total coincidence and had nothing to do with Sargeras' plan.
    • The demon who devised the Horde's corruption was Kil'jaeden, the direct right-hand of Sargeras himself. Rise of the Horde only implies that he had ulterior motives for creating the Horde beside their military power.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Medivh lives in one of these.
  • Foregone Conclusion: When the book was released (before WC3) anyone who had played the original game knew that Medivh is evil. Nowadays, anyone and their mother knows that Medivh is possessed by the soul of Sargeras, the Dark Titan, and is killed by his friends.
  • Foreshadowing: Medivh makes a very brief mention of the Kaldorei. The book was released before Warcraft III.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Garona's life is treated as a fairly typical example of this trope with all the loneliness and outcast status that it implies.
  • The Horde: The Horde of course, though they appear irregularly throughout the book.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Medivh, at the hands of Khadgar, right before he gets his head cut off.
  • It Gets Easier: Medivh says this line towards the end of the book.
  • Just Friends: Garona and Khadgar's relationship.
  • Meaningful Name: Medivh won't quit calling Khadgar "young Trust" because his name is Dwarven for trust.
  • More than Mind Control: Medivh is so powerful in his will that it requires Sargeras to convince him that he's breaking the cycle to finally get him to give into his evil plans.
  • Off with His Head!: Lothar chops off Medivh's head after Khadgar had impaled him.
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Medivh curses Khadgar into becoming an old man.
  • Rage Against the Mentor: Khadgar's version is quite even handed upon the discovery that Medivh unleashed the orcs on Azeroth.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Lothar. Llane, while presented as a good king and otherwise reasonable, doesn't appear as reasonable when the matter of what do with Medivh is brought up, however.
  • Retcon: Khadgar was introduced in Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal as a powerful Kirin Tor wizard. This novel and Warcraft III reveal and establish that he was also Medivh's last and best apprentice.
    • World of Warcraft: Chronicle retcons Aegwynn tricking Nielas Aran into getting her pregnant. Their current story is that Aegyynn rebelled against the Council of Tirisfal and they created an order of magi to hunt her down, of which Nielas was the best. After repeated encounters and battles, Nielas began to agree with Aegwynn's viewpoints and the two legitimately fell in love with each other.
  • Sorcerer's Apprentice Plot: In this case, it's Khadgar getting a vision from messing with the tower's weird properties.
  • Spanner in the Works: Medivh recruits Khadgar and Garona to serve as a spanner in Sargeras' plan. Lothar also functions as this for the fight in Karazhan, as his timely arrival and fight with Medivh gave Khadgar enough time to get out of his master's sight and then stab him.