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Literature / World of Warcraft: Chronicle

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World of Warcraft: Chronicle is a three volume book series that covers the history of the the Warcraft universe. It covers the events from the creation of the universe all the way to Cataclysm. The books act much like an illustrated series bible for the franchise, taking the vast lore of Warcraft and condensing it into three easy to reference books, as well as updating and changing plot points to better fit into the game's current story.

The first volume was released March 15, 2016, the second volume came out March 14, 2017, and the third volume was released in March 27, 2018. While it was originally stated that the book series was going to end after three volumes, Matt Burns, senior writer for Warcraft, has hinted that there may be more volumes planned.


This series contains the following tropes:

  • Adaptational Badass: Originally, after the death of her husband, Moira disappeared from the story until her attempted takeover of Ironforge. In the new canon, she and Dagran plotted to free the Dark Iron dwarves from Ragnaros's control and she continued these plans after his death, manipulating events and adventurers in order to banish Ragnaros back to the Elemental Plane.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The new history mixes together Warcraft's original lore, the movie (in spite of the movie's world having its own separate continuity), and the Warlord of Draenor expansion.
    • Gul'dan's new backstory mixes together his origin presented in Harbingers with his original backstory. Also the way he and Medivh opened the Dark Portal is changed to resemble that of the film.
    • Queen Taria is made canon, and is one of the casualties of Stormwind's fall.
    • Blackhand's official design looks almost exactly like that of his film incarnation. The designs of Orgrim Doomhammer and Grommash Hellscream also resemble their film designs, albeit with different skin colors as Orgrim turned green due to fel exposure and Grommash turn red after drinking Mannoroth's blood a second time.
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    • It's revealed that Medivh regularly threw parties at Karazhan for Stormwind's nobles, which matches Hearthstone's interpretation of the character and explains where the ghosts in Karazhan came from.
    • Chronicles 3 incorporates the majority of the revisions made to the Warcraft 3 story from Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, such as Arthas using Frostmourne to freeze the ocean separating the Sunwell from the mainland, and Uther nearly defeating Arthas due to his superior skill and the power of the Light.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • We get the full histories of almost all of the various planets, species and civilizations introduced in the franchise. This especially applies to Draenor, whose backstory before the games only spanned a few decades until Volume II expanded that into tens of millennia.
    • It's explained that the reason the other human kingdoms didn't help Stormwind in the First War is because the city was very isolationist, And when they tried to ask for assistance, the other kingdoms don't believe their claims of the Orcish invasion, with Deathwing, disguised as Lord Prestor, convincing them that it was just a rebel uprising.
    • It's revealed that the Dragonmaw clan's name had a different pronunciation and meaning in the Orcish tongue, explaining how the clan got its name before they first encountered dragons on Azeroth.
    • The reason the Warsong and Shattered Hand clans didn't assist in the Horde's conquest of Azeroth was because they were too consumed by bloodlust at the time and were considered to be far more dangerous than helpful.
    • Aiden Perenolde was now driven mad by Deathwing before his attempt to takeover Alterac and gain influence in the Alliance. This explains how Perenolde went from a cowardly traitor to a murderous lunatic who pointlessly requested that Gorefiend kill the Alliance soldiers stationed in Alterac in exchange for the Book of Medivh.
    • Orgrim Doomhammer hunted down and killed the traitorous guards who murdered Durotan and Draka before they could report back to Gul'dan, which is why the warlock didn't try to have Doomhammer assassinated as well.
    • How Medivh came back to life was something that was not elaborated on in Warcraft 3. Here, its explained that Aegwynn was contacted by the spirit of Medivh after he learned of the Burning Legion's plan to create the Scourge. Though initially reluctant, she used most of her remaining powers to bring him to life long enough to set in motion the survival of the Alliance, Horde, and Night Elves, and the defeat of the Burning Legion's second invasion.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Originally, Aegwynn manipulated Nielas into thinking she was in love with him in order to get pregnant, after which she cruelly rejected his advances. In the new canon, she and Nielas legitimately fell in love with each other and Nielas was aware of her plan to empower their son from the beginning.
    • Kael'Thas is written as a far more heroic and tragic figure than Warcraft 3 portrayed him as. In Chronicle, he is shown to be something of an outcast to his people because he wasn't there during the siege of Quel'Thalas, yet he still returns to lead his people despite this. Furthermore, he is shown to be Not So Different from Arthas during the original Warcraft 3, something that was implied, but not gone much into depth with originally. He also is given a more legit reason for becoming evil and joining the Legion, as its revealed Kil'jaeden manipulated him into doubting Illidan, then revived Kael'Thas after Tempest Keep, meaning Kael'Thas was more or less dead and thus not in sound mind anymore.
  • Adapted Out: A few minor events are omitted to keep the pacing and intent much more smooth and organized.
    • The Night Elfs helping the Blood Elfs escort their people is cut from Chronicle 3, meaning Tyrande doesn't Hold the Line against the Scourge and get swept up by the river. Admittedly this does cut a major part of Illidan and Malfurion's relationship since they instead part after Illidan tries to use the Eye of Sargeras to destroy the Frozen Throne.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Previously Blackhand, while ambitious and power hungry, still ultimately wanted to help his family and his race. In the new history presented, Blackhand was a murderous tyrant who was nearly as bad as Gul'dan himself.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Orcs as a whole get this in comparison to Rise of the Horde. Originally pre-Legion, orcs and draenei simply avoided each other and rarely interacted, Chronicles changed this to many orc clans persecuting the draenei and enslaving the females.
    • The Bladewind clan was mentioned in the novels as one of the clans to oppose Ner'zhul's orders for the most part and stayed out of most of the conflicts until Beyond the Dark Portal. Chronicles has the Bladewind as one of the orc clans that used Draenei females as as breeding slaves.
  • Ascended Extra: Archaedas was totally overshadowed by his counterparts in Ulduar, who were more powerful, more numerous, more friendly, and more clearly important than being a defense mechanism in some dilapidated ruins. Here we learn his backstory, revealing he is actually their equal in rank and power and making him a Hero of Another Story.
  • Been There, Shaped History
    • Gul'dan threw Draenor's elements into disarray and rose tensions between the orcs and the draenei, setting the stage for their war.
    • Deathwing helped the Horde throughout the First and Second Wars. He disguised himself as a human noble and tricked Lordaeron into not helping Stormwind, disguised himself as a Blackrock orc to influence the Horde's leaders and he taught the Dragonmaw clan how to wield the Demon Soul, allowing them to enslave the Red Dragonflight.
    • While the Old Gods have always been manipulating things behind the scenes, Chronicle 3 states they were behind the Naga allying with Illidan, as they wanted him to defeat the Scourge and Legion for them.
  • Broad Strokes: Matt Burns used this trope by name when discussing how Chronicle should be viewed. If a character or event from Warcraft's lore doesn't appear in Chronicle then they're probably still canon as long as they don't contradict any information presented in the books.
  • Canon Discontinuity:
    • The history of the orcs' corruption and Medivh's backstory are changed so much that Rise of the Horde and The Last Guardian are now almost completely inaccurate.
    • Garona is no longer the result of Gul'dan forcing a orc and a draenei to mate, though his manipulations did indirectly lead to her birth. She is now the daughter of a Bladewind orc and a draenei prisoner, born before the war with the draenei even began. She also isn't related to Maraad since she was already past childhood when his sister Leran was captured and sacrificed, and before meeting Gul'dan and receiving a Plot-Relevant Age-Up as in earlier lore.
    • There's no mention of Garona having a love affair with Medivh and being impregnated by him. This, combined with Garona's new origin, makes her son Med'an's already shaky position in series' canon even more questionable. The only mention of him in the books was in Volume 3, where he said to appear in page 404 of the 184 page book.note 
    • Sargeras was originally corrupted when he decided that chaos and destruction was the natural way of the universe after losing ground against infinite demon armies. His new backstory is that started his Burning Crusade when he saw the power of the Void Lords corrupting a world soul and decided the only way to save the universe from them was to destroy all of creation and hope that new, uncorrupted life was born in the aftermath.
  • Child by Rape:
    • The Bladewind clan mated with their draenei captives, resulting in half breeds like Garona who were despised by both orcs and draenei.
    • The Mok'Nathal clan was created through the forced unions of Highmaul ogres and their orc slaves in hopes of creating a Slave Race.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The nightborne's backstory was given in Volume 1, almost half a year before their in-game introduction.
  • Evil Is Petty: The void lords motive for corrupting a world soul is that they were jealous of the power and achievements of the Pantheon and they wanted a create titan a titan who would become an instrument of their dark will and desires.
  • Foil:
    • In a lot of ways the worlds of Azeroth and Draenor are counterparts. Azeroth had very little Spirit, causing the elements to take form, become violent and dominate the planet; Draenor had an abundance of the same, pacifying the elements and causing the growth of flora and fauna. Azeroth was threatened by an invading force descending from the cosmos, Draenor was put in jeopardy by the expansion of its natives. And while Azeroth's land and history were painstakingly shaped by the Pantheon over thousands of years, Draenor's were shaped in haste by one of their members on an impulse.
    • The Mogu Empire and the Gorian Empire. Through the power a magical warrior king, both the mogu and the ogres managed to rise up and become the most powerful and corrupt civilizations of their times. They both also practiced slavery and ended up being brought down by their slaves or those they tried to enslave.
    • The kingdom of Stormwind is one to Gilneas. Long before the First War, the other kingdoms of Azeroth refused to send aid to help stop gnoll attacks, Stormwind decided that they could handle its own problems and adopted a more isolationist attitude. After the Second War, Genn Greymane, who was already an isolationist king to begin with, grew tired with giving support to the other members of the Alliance so he decided to build a wall around the Gilneas and cut the country off from the rest of the world. And both countries ended up getting destroyed by Horde invasions.
  • Foreshadowing: The story of the Zandalari Trolls in volume 3 ends on a cliffhanger, with a mention of an 'old enemy from the past' drawing their attentions. This is likely a reference to their ongoing conflict with the Blood Trolls that was revealed when the Horde travels to Zandalar in Battle for Azeroth.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: When they were on the verge of losing their war with the Gorian Empire, the desperate orcish shaman requested the elemental spirits destroy the ogre's capital city. Due to the Empire repeated meddling with the Throne of the Elements, the spirits agreed with the request and destroyed Goria in a devastating display of power, letting none in the city survive and leaving nothing but ash and rubble in their wake. The remaining Gorian cities immediately ceased any actions against the orcs or the elements while the shaman were left terrified of the elementals wrath.
  • Genius Loci: Titans like Sargeras and the Pantheon are living worlds. It should be noted that the art and Legion contradict this and makes them entities with a Celestial Body that emerge from planets.
    • The fate of Draenor was decided by a battle between these. Grond, a literal mountain on legs, battled against the sporemounds of the Evergrowth, a group of living biomes. Each of their corpses became entire regions of land.
  • The Ghost: Elune, one of the more prominent and mysterious deities in Warcraft lore, is given no backstory or explanation and is barely mentioned throughout books.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: After killing Sif and being tricked by Yogg-Saron into instigating a war with the ice giants and creating an army of corrupted warriors, Loken decided he needed to kill all the other Titan Keepers in a mad attempt to hide his crimes from Algalon and the Pantheon. He was unaware that the Pantheon had already been killed by Sargeras by that point.
  • Loss of Identity: The Mogu made it punishable by death to learn to write, read or speak any other language beside the Mogu tongue. This meant that the Pandaren and the Yaungol lost much of their early early history.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: The first of Draenor's famous giants was Grond, a literal living mountain and one of the largest anything to ever walk on any world. Chunks of his body became the colossals, which as seen in the game are the size of smaller mountains.
  • Retcon: Naturally, trying to reconcile two decades of Writing by the Seat of Your Pants by multiple writers and developers into a coherent narrative is going to involve some major finagling.
    • Aegwynn, Medivh, and Garona's backstories have been almost completely rewritten and Med'an has officially been retconned. Medivh's backstory in particular is heavily altered; Sargeras' possession is more of a variation of Symbiotic Possession with elements of More Than Mind Control instead of being a straightforward Demonic Possession like it used to be, with Medivh being a Tragic Villain.
    • The depiction of Draenor matches more closely with the version seen in the Warlords of Draenor expansion, rather than the versions described in Rise of the Horde and Beyond the Dark Portal which had more in common geographically with Burning Crusade's Outland.
    • Sargeras's motivation was originally a disillusionment with the idea of order in a fundamentally chaotic universe, which came from failing to permanently defeat the evil demons even after eons of fighting them. Here we get a name and a specific end-result that he is trying to prevent with his extreme solution, and establishes they have little to no relation to demons (though the demons did help put him in a state of mind where he felt the extreme solution was necessary).
    • Many actions and feats originally attributed to the titans of the Pantheon are here attributed to the nine Keepers, such as the war against the Old Gods and the growth of the Emerald Dream.
    • Much of what we knew about Ulduar, its history, and its leaders turns out to have been falsehoods and lies-by-omission by Loken.
    • Lei Shen was previously described as having died of old age. What actually killed him was a failed campaign into Uldum where he, his army, and the surrounding land were blasted to death by the Forge of Origination.
    • Arcanagos originally was killed by Medivh when he tried to force him out of Karazhan after sensing the dark forces manipulating him. In the new version, he was killed when he attempted to assist Aegywnn during her battle with Medivh while he was possessed by Sargeras. The quest chain that depicted the old version of his death was removed from the game a few months prior to the release of the second volume.
    • The creation of the Gilnean Worgen is changed from being the result of Argual summoning them in Silverpine to fight the Scourge on his own, to being instructed to do so by Genn. In addition to that, Gilneas is changed from isolating themselves completely for several years, to isolating itself shortly before the Third War, and even tried to defeat the Scourge outside the Greymane Wall before failing and retreating, leading to the use of the Worgen.
    • Gilneas' reason for leaving the Alliance are also changed. In the original lore, Gilneas left the Alliance after the kingdom of Alterac was given to Stormgrade despite Genn's request it be given to him, in addition to being angry that the captured Orcs were not killed, as he saw it as financially stupid for Gilneas to have to invest in it. In the new lore established in Chronicle, the later reason is the largest reason instead of being one of several.
    • The Orcs and Draenei were originally in lore friendly with each other, with the Draenei helping teach the Orcs various abilities and the Orcs helping Draenei learn the ways of Shamanism. It was only when Gul'dan corrupted the Orcs through the Burning Legion that the Orcs turned on the Draenei and slaughtered many of them. Here, its made clear the Orcs were mostly hostile with the Draenei but only were pushed to slaughter them when Gul'dan was given power for it and the Legion found out about Draenor.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The high elves' flight from Kalimdor and the night elves is made out to be this.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Aggramar appears only in the first section of Volume II, when prehistoric Draenor is Just Before the End. He doesn't stay long, as Sargeras's first killing of a planet calls him away, but his few actions save Draenor from a premature death by starvation. All of Draenor's history and races, including the orcs, owe their existence to Aggramar's passing whim, and many races, including the orcs, descend from his creation(s).
  • Start My Own: Disagreeing with the rest of the Titan Keeper's decision to empowered the Dragon Aspects, Odyn pettily decided to create the Valajar.
  • Story-Breaker Power:
    • The Pantheon are the closest thing the series has to true omnipotent beings. They are planet sized deities who can destroy entire worlds with a single gesture. They also have the power to remake worlds as they see fit and they can create entire armies of powerful servants to maintain them. The only reason they didn't directly destroy the Old Gods and Evergrowth themselves was because their strength was so great that even minor intervention on their part could have destroyed Azeroth and Draenor, or at least damage them beyond repair.
    • Medivh's Guardian powers makes him the most powerful mage in existence, possibly the most powerful individual on Azeroth. He has strength to destroy entire armies in a matter of minutes and annihilate dragons with ease. He also has power to the travel the Twisting Nether and still have more than enough strength to overpower Gul'dan. For reference, when Illidan traveled the Twisting Nether, it took a enormous amount of physical and mental energy and it left his body and spirit defenseless.
  • Villains Never Lie: Originally, Kil'jaeden left the orcs to die on Draenor when he believed that they had killed Velen and the draenei. In the new continuity, he fully intended to keep his promises of power to Gul'dan and bring the orcs in the Legion, until Gul'dan's betrayal caused the Horde to lose the Second War.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Med'an's removal from the series lore means that the circumstances of Aegwynn's death are unclear.
    • While other sources confirmed that he died between the Second and Third Wars, the exact fate of Aiden Perenolde after he gave the Book of Medivh to the Horde is not detailed in the books. Likewise, the destruction of Alterac and the creation of the Syndicate is not described in the series either.
    • In-Universe, the Alliance was frustrated that the Gnomes seemed to vanish from activity during the Scourge's attacks, unaware of the battle inside Gnomeregan with the Troggs.
  • The Worf Effect
    • Y'Shaarj was the most wicked and powerful of Azeroth's Old Gods and the full force of the titan-forged army faced defeat against him. Aman'Thul then reached down from the sky with one hand and crushed him to gibs.
    • Much is made of the indomitable might of the Evergrowth and the sporemounds, only for Grond to suddenly appear and kill the first one with ease. We never even learn its name.
    • Many attempts by the remaining armies in the Eastern Kingdoms to defeat the Scourge ended up this way. Gilneas, Dalaran, Stormgarde, and Quel'Thalas all tried to defeat the Scourge and it only ended in failure.
  • Younger Than They Look: It's revealed that Gul'dan actually isn't that much older than Blackhand or Durotan, as the events of his Harbingers episode happened roughly a decade before the Dark Portal opened.

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