This article is my response to posts on WoW Insider by both Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney with their respective pieces “Hellscream is my Warchief” and “Hellscream is not my Warchief“. Both articles are very well written and very much worth reading. I also recommend looking at the connected piece “Bloody-handed in Dalaran” also by Matthew Rossi, where he looks at the Operation Shieldwall quests from the perspective of his Worgen.
Varian Wrynn is a king who has had many faces in the history of WoW. He was only first seen in the throne room at the start of Wrath of the Lich King, but those who knew where to look could find him on Alcaz Island just off the shore of Dustwallow Marsh in vanilla WoW, unconscious in a prison. Since his appearance, we have seen different sides of him, in game and in additional materials. The Warcraft comic detailed what has happened to him, and explained in decent detail why he had the personality he had for two expansions. I will recommend you check that out for your own research.
First we had the aggressive, vengeful, and antagonistic Varian, who was fresh from the fighting pits and still held much resentment towards the Horde and the slave owners who pitted fighters against each other for amusement and profit. Then we saw Varian trying to adjust to raising a son, a son he didn’t know existed for the entirety of his time in the pits, but who has had a father around for a while who was.. lackluster as a true leader.
In the additional resources such as novels and books, we have watched as the king, who once was an arena slave named Lo’Gosh, changed in personality and perspective, evolved as a character, a father, and a king into the man we see in the opening of the 5.1 Lion’s Landing events. Varian has fought with his aggressive half, the pit fighter side of the once split personalities, since we saw him returned as King. He has been aggressive towards everyone, downright insulting to the Worgen in their original application to join the Alliance, and more times than can be counted has yelled or otherwise been angry unnecessarily with both his son, Prince Anduin, and his allies like Jaina Proudmoore.
I must say, the events that opened Lion’s Landing changed my view of him, and made me proud to see him as my King. Or perhaps it is better, more appropriate to say that the events of Wolfheart did this, and the events of Lion’s Landing in 5.1 have shown to me the change is genuine. Gone was the leader more concerned with conquest and revenge, and the king who landed in Krasarang Wilds, who greeted his son with relief and joy, and who decided that protecting Pandaria from what the Horde would do if unchecked was of paramount importance, but only if it was done with their customs and lifestyle in mind, that was the king I wanted.
We’re fighting a different war now. This isn’t about hatred of the Horde. This is about a love of what’s right. About doing what needs to be done.
Now I have a King who is level headed, being cautious and wise instead of just charging in like a bull in a china shop, and is all together a much better leader for his people, and the alliance itself. I will admit I have not seen all of the Operation Shieldwall story, but what I have seen shows me a leader who is trying to find balance and cooperation, not bloodshed and vengeance. I am not sure if this would remain if it were Garona Halforcen he was faced with, but I am confident that the events of Wolfheart truly did give us a turning of the page when it comes to the warrior king, Varian Wrynn.