In World of Warcraft, each faction has its own set of leaders. The Horde used to answer to a single entity, the Warchief, but the experiences of the faction with their ruling masters have led them to retire the role, instead being ruled by the Horde Council.
The Alliance, in contrast, maintains the practices of the past. While each race has its own leader, they all answer to the High King, the human King of Stormwind whose role is passed down by blood. The current High King is Anduin Wrynn, a just if troubled person who tries to always avoid war but tends to be pushed into it.
Anduin is the son of Varian Wrynn and Tiffin Ellerian, who at the time were King and Queen of Stormwind. This made him the heir to the throne not only of Stormwind, but of the seat as High King of the entire Alliance.
His mother Tiffin died during a Stonemasons’ Guild riot, so when King Varian went missing for an extended period of time, Anduin was given the Crown even when he was only a child.
This would mark the first time Anduin would become King of Stormwind, and it wouldn’t be the last.
Of course, he didn’t actually rule Stormwind as a child. The military matters were handled by Highlord Bolvar Fordragon, while everything else was dealt with by Lady Prestor.
Varian’s disappearance was actually orchestrated by Lady Prestor, who was the Black Dragon Onyxia in disguise.
Onyxia’s plan was to infiltrate the human nobles and then create a copy of the King who was loyal only to her.
While she was seemingly successful, Anduin was able to reach out to this Varian copy, who saw Anduin as his son and loved him much like the original Varian would.
Once the real Varian appeared in Stormwind, Anduin was able to convince them to stop fighting, concentrating their efforts on the real threat: the Black Dragon Onyxia. Seeing her plans crumble to dust, Onyxia kidnapped Anduin and took him to her lair.
In the end, both Varians joined forces to take Onyxia down, and in their efforts, they not only succeeded but became one as well. Varian was once again whole, and Anduin was safe in his father’s arms.
Anduin And The Light
Anduin and his father both wanted what was best for Stormwind, but their perspectives on it were always at odds.
Varian had been through many wars against the Horde, so it was hard for him to see them as anything but enemies. Anduin was born in more peaceful times, thinking that there could be a different path other than war.
Varian didn’t think his son was weak but that he was soft. Looking to toughen him up, he sends Anduin to Ironforge, the capital city of the Dwarves.
There, he hoped Anduin would build a stronger character and learn how to use a real weapon.
Anduin had already seen action during the Scourge invasion, and while he proved himself capable with a bow, that wasn’t a real weapon in Varian’s eyes.
Anduin learned a lot during his time in Ironforge, but it didn’t involve great hammers. He found his calling in the Light and started to learn the ways of the Priest. This fitted the young prince perfectly since he could aid those in need with the Light’s might.
Since this happened during the Cataclysm, earthquakes have ravished the Dwarven domain, costing many lives. Magni, King of the Dwarves, used the Ulduar tablets to stop the earthquakes but was cursed with petrification.
Anduin was there to witness it all and attended Magni’s funeral.
This led to Moira Thaurissan making her claim to the throne, shutting the city gates, and ruling with an iron fist. This would’ve meant that Anduin was a hostage to Moira, but he could easily escape Ironforge, ending up in Theramore.
Jaina Proudmoore is like an aunt to Anduin, and she gifted him a Hearthstone that lets him visit her at Theramore whenever he wishes. This is how he fled Ironforge.
While there, Anduin meets Baine Bloodhoof, son of the Tauren chieftain of the Horde.
This meeting was crucial in shaping Anduin’s worldview, since he saw proof that people from the Horde could be more than enemies. Besides, he had plenty in common with Baine.
Meanwhile, Varian infiltrates Ironforge to put an end to Moira’s rule. Anduin went back to Ironforge to stop his father; while something had to be done, killing Moira was not the answer.
Thanks to the prince’s influence, Moira was spared, and the Council of Three Hammers was formed so no one Dwarf had absolute power.
During several political encounters, Anduin draws the attention of Prophet Velen, the leader of the Draenei. Velen saw the great potential that Anduin had regarding the Light and offered Anduin to teach him what he knew.
Varian was against this since not only was priesthood against his ideals, but he was more overprotective of his son as the years went by.
But Anduin didn’t give in, and Varian reluctantly allowed him to travel to Exodar, the city of the Draenei. There, Anduin would learn much about the Light and the powers it brings while in turn, reminding Velen that every life matters.
While Velen is certainly wiser than Anduin, he had lost sight of things due to his obsession with the Legion. This is where Anduin helped him the most.
Anduin eventually returned to Stormwind, but saw his father continue to rule in a harsh manner.
Father and son eventually talked things through at the graveyard, but during their talk, they were assaulted by Twilight’s Hammer assassins.
They prevailed, but not without effort; both Varian’s might and Anduin’s Light were instrumental in taking all the assailants out.
This made both of them see the value in their strengths, particularly Varian: In a later speech, he said that a time would come when leaders would need to be healers instead of warriors.
Anduin In Pandaria
During a diplomatic mission, Anduin’s ship is attacked by Horde forces.
He shipwrecks in the at the time unknown Pandaria, the traveling isle of the Pandaren.
While lost at first, he sees much of what the Pandaren have to offer of great value, and once Alliance forces find him and try to bring him home, he refuses.
On his travels, he gets involved with the ways and problems of the Pandaren. He studies under Chi-Ji, an August Celestial in the form of a crane.
While learning plenty about Pandaren culture there, he also uses his powers of Light to help them fight the rising Sha.
Sha is a negative power that appears when negative emotions manifest throughout Pandaria.
It’s later discovered that this is the work of the Old Gods, ancient Lovecraftian horrors.
The rising conflict between Alliance and Horde forces was ravaging Pandaria. Anduin returned to his father, explaining to him how the land worked and what more bloodshed could mean.
Varian heeded his son’s words, and while both men knew conflict was inevitable, they’d do everything in their power to keep the fighting to a minimum.
Garrosh Hellscream, the acting Warchief of the Horde, was using the negative power of the Sha to bolster his armies.
The other Horde leaders didn’t agree with Garrosh’s actions, and it all culminated with Garrosh using the Divine Bell of Pandaria for his destructive agenda.
Anduin went to stop him, even if plenty of people urged him not to. He used a tool called the Harmonic Mallet to turn the Divine Bell into an artifact of blessing.
Garrosh, enraged, destroyed the bell, which collapsed on top of the Prince. Anduin barely survived this, and while the Prophet Velen aided his wounds personally, the pain never fully went away.
Once Grarrosh was defeated, Anduin visited him in his cell several times, mostly to try to understand why the former Warchief felt conflict was the only answer.
In the end, they could never see eye to eye; both their worldviews were too far apart.
Anduin The King
When the Burning Legion returned to Azeroth during the Legion expansion, the forces of the Horde and the Alliance went to face them head-on. But the enemy forces proved too great, and both forces barely got away.
The cost was heavy: King Varian Wrynn was killed in the assault.
This was a huge blow for Anduin, since not only did he lose his father, but he also had to carry the weight of the High King on his shoulders.
Many blamed the Horde for the loss, considering they fled too early. Anduin had the difficult task of focusing everyone on the real enemy, the Burning Legion.
But even just as King of Stormwind, Anduin didn’t feel like he had earned the title.
Many valued the Warrior-like demeanor of Varian, and while Anduin was braver than most, he was no warrior. He felt that what his people needed during wartime was a strong hand, not his peace-seeking ideals.
To further understand the threat, Anduin traveled to the Broken Shore, where the main battle was taking place.
He hadn’t seen the enemy firsthand, after all. There, he found the place where his father fell and the blade Shalamayne dormant in the ground.
Shalamayne was the blade of Varian Wrynn. Originally two halves, they merged when the two Varians were rescuing Anduin from Onyxia.
Anduin held the blade, yet he didn’t have the strength to stand. Genn Greymane, who had been a trusted advisor of Anduin during this war, approached him to talk about Varian and his deeds.
Then, an image of Varian appeared before Anduin, who asked what he was supposed to do. Varian responded, “what a king should do,” before vanishing.
This prompted Anduin to accept his duty as King, not only of Stormwind but of the entire Alliance. With this determination, Shalamayne glowed anew, not with the red glow of a Warrior but with the golden Light of a Priest.
With the combined efforts of the Alliance and the Horde, along with many new allies, the Burning Legion was defeated.
Yet this was also not without cost, since in a final desperate move, Sargeras (Lord of the Burning Legion) stabbed the planet Azeroth with his massive blade.
Fortunately, the blade landed on Silithus, an arid and deserted area of the world. From this “wound,” a strange substance started to come out.
While Anduin was busy with the postwar effort, he did order his spymaster Mathias Shaw to look into it since the Horde seemed to already be on the move.
Battle For Azeroth
With the threat of the Legion gone, Anduin looked into ways to heal the world and keep peace.
For the world, he had news from Magni Bronzebeard, who had turned to stone many years ago. Magni said that the world needed help to heal, and the substance leaking from it was Azerite.
With many in the Alliance wanting to weaponize the Azerite, Anduin urged them to find a more peaceful and practical use for the substance.
Meanwhile, the King made plans to facilitate peace among the factions and saw the Forsaken as a way in.
The plan was simple: allow the Forsaken to see their living families, fostering the goodwill of the faction and earning the trust of Sylvanas Windruner, acting Warchief of the Horde.
Yet the meeting turned into a bloodbath as Sylvanas slaughtered both humans and the Forsaken. This proved to Anduin that peace with the Banshee Queen was unachievable.
As the Alliance’s forces were focused on keeping control of Silithus, the Horde used the opportunity to attack Darnassus, the capital city of the Night Elves, and burn it to the ground.
This led to the unified forces of the Alliance launching an assault on Tirisfal Glades, where Sylvannas resided.
The Alliance, led by Anduin, seemed to be winning, but it was all a ruse made by Sylvanas.
She sacrificed her own forces to trap Anduin with deadly blight, but he was saved at the last moment by Jaina Proudmoore casting a teleportation spell.
With their efforts thwarted, the Alliance did get something out of the assault: Saurfang, a renowned Horde leader, was taken prisoner.
During his captivity, Saurfang had many conversations with Anduin about peace and the Horde and how Sylvanas was a blight to everyone.
The war was long and with many losses, but the united efforts of the Alliance and Saurfang’s rebellion were able to put the Horde in a corner.
Saurfang challenged Sylvanas to Mak’gora, which she accepted. There, not only did he manage to get her to badmouth the Horde, but she used strange magic, deeming her unhonorable. Saurfang died during the fight.
Mak’gora is an orcish custom meaning Duel of Honor. It is used to decide a leader in a group, usually for the title of Warchief.
This led to Sylvanas leaving the Horde, putting a stop to the ongoing conflict between the factions. While other dark dangers remained, they were no match for the combined efforts of the Alliance and the Horde.
Travel To Shadowlands
Sylvanas had retreated to her master in the Shadowlands, the realm of the departed. There, she orchestrated her forces to kidnap several leaders of the Alliance and the Horde, Anduin among them.
In truth, Anduin was the true goal, with the other leaders serving as distractions.
Sylvanas’ master was the Jailer, a being of immense power that needed powerful artifacts from the other realms of the departed in order to assume full control.
The armies of Bastion proved particularly problematic since only those of noble souls could enter.
This is where Anduin came in: the Jailer corrupted the High King and turned him into a creature resembling a Death Knight, making Anduin a puppet under the Jailer’s control.
This way, Anduin easily infiltrated Bastion and claimed the artifact in the Jailer’s name.
The Jailer was also the mastermind behind the Lich King and used Arthas’ soul to influence Anduin.
In the final confrontation against the Jailer, Anduin was having an inner fight to try and reclaim control of his soul.
He saw his father, Varian, and his valued ally, Saurfang, who reminded him of his valor and honor. This allowed Anduin to be free of the Jailer’s control and helped in the defeat of the villain.
The War Within
After the events in the Shadowlands, Anduin traveled the world in hiding, unable to bear the burden of kingship again. The Paladin Turalyon was left as regent, awaiting the return of the rightful King.
Thrall, renowned Shaman of the Horde, eventually finds him in Silithus. Both Thrall and Anduin were getting visions from Azeroth’s voice, leading them to the wound made by Sargeras years ago.
They will have to unite their forces once again for what’s to come.
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