Alt History is a new series of posts on All Things Azeroth which are going to take on a bit of a change from the Tin Foil Hat articles from WoW Insider, instead looking at alternative history, at what might have been if some things had occurred in different ways. Join us in imagining the way the game might have gone if things had happened differently.
Welcome! Let me first explain a bit about how this series is going to go. Each post in this series is going to do a bit of lore theory crafting to imagine where we would be now, if things had not gone how they did. We will first recall the way it did go, then look at what would have happened differently, and lastly try to figure out what the world of Azeroth would be like now if it had gone that way. I think it will be a lot of fun to look at and imagine. So, let’s get into the D.A.R.T.I.S (Demonically Advanced Robotic Time Influencing Shed) and go back…
Jaina, the Lich Queen. Has a nice sort of ring to it, doesn’t it? This post is going to theorize the possible alternative history where Jaina, not Arthas took up Frostmourne and eventually became the Lich Queen of Azeroth.
How it was
In brief, Prince Arthas Menethil of Lordaeron and Jaina Proudmoore, born of Kul Tiras and a student in Dalaran, were traveling about Lordaeron and found out about the plague. They travelled in search of the cause, and eventually found the plagued grain. They then travelled to the source, Andorhal, and on the way ran into Uther Lightbringer, head Paladin of the Order of the Silver Hand, who accompanied them. Upon arriving at Andorhal, they discovered the plagued grain had already gone out, including to the city of Stratholme.
The three heroes ventured there, and upon discovering that the citizens had already eaten the plagued grain, which the heroes knew would turn them into undead, Prince Arthas ordered his men to slaughter the citizens before they could turn. As the history of Azeroth shows, Uther and Jaina refused his command, even though Jaina and Arthas were lovers, and departed Stratholme. Arthas and his men, taunted by the dreadlord Mal’Ganis, slaughtered many of the citizens of Stratholme, and then ventured to Northrend in pursuit of the demonic Dreadlord.
Once in Northrend, Arthas and his men came across Muradin Bronzebeard, who was there searching for a mythical rune blade named Frostmourne. They eventually found it, and it called out to Arthas. He took up the blade, sacrificing his friend and childhood trainer, and slayed Mal’Ganis on the battlefield. This was the beginning of the end for Arthas, as he quickly became not the destroyer of the undead, but it’s commander, and eventually it’s king when he donned the helm of the Lich King.
Now for the change. What if Mal’Ganis had been seen by Jaina, and he had taunted her that the only way to save the man she loved was to go to Northrend. At that point, before Arthas could even leave for Northrend, Jaina could have teleported there and met with Muradin. The incredible magic powers that Jaina wields would then help the Dwarven forces and herself battle to the blade, and she would then take it up and lose her own soul, much like Arthas did. She would save her beloved, but at the cost of herself.
Upon returning from Northrend, Jaina would no doubt have gone to Kul Tiras first, and likely wiped out her people, much like Arthas did. She would then have the entire Alliance fleet, converted one ship at a time. She still would have proceeded to move on to Lordaeron and taken the city unawares, as word of her conversion to Death Knight would not be well known. If Arthas was there, he would likely fall much like his father did in the way it was, and Terenas would not be far behind. With the fleet gone, the Orcs and Humans would have no way across the ocean to Kalimdor, and would never have discovered it.
Theramore would not be founded, just as Orgrimmar would not be founded, unless Medivh found some other way for the Orcs and remnants of humanity to get to Kalimdor. I have no doubt he could, but it might be a bit tricky. If he could not, the Orcs all on their own would likely fight valiantly, but against the humans, dwarves, elves, gnomes and undead, they likely would not stand much of a chance. Thrall and his people would likely fight a battle of attrition, if they did not fall to the lure of the Burning Legion as some did in Ashenvale.
In the campaigns across Lordaeron, I think Jaina would follow a similar path as Arthas did, but would have made very different decisions. I do not think Jaina would have raised Sylvanas, and therefore would not have had the eventual assassination attempt. I think Jaina would have merely leveled Quel’Thalas due to her connection with Kael’Thas, and left no one alive. Therefore, when Jaina left to go back to Northrend, she would be in control over everything north of Hillsbrad and Arathi, and once she became Lich Queen, the forces of undead would move down from those lands to take all of Lordaeron under her control. The only thing that might have stopped her would be the Thandol Span, but you forget she has the Kul Tiras fleet at her disposal. With the living fleeing before her, it is entirely possible she would soon have control of all of the Eastern Kingdoms.
There is no doubt Dalaran would fall, much like it did in real lore, but I somehow suspect Death Knight Jaina, with whispers of Frostmourne in her ear, would be especially vengeful, and leave no one and nothing alive to rebuild the city. Antonidas would fall at the hands of his student, who had become more powerful than even he could imagine. It is even very possible that the Dalaran that would be left after Jaina was done would look similar to the crater on that spot now, but without the floating city in Crystalsong Forest.
Speaking of Northrend, once Jaina returned to become the Lich Queen, I do not think she would have half the chance against the powers used on her mind. I suspect that while her humanity would be stronger than Arthas had, I do not think she would have had the strength to resist Ner’zhul and he would have taken her over quicker, and become a problem while we were in Outlands, if not before. My reasoning in this is that Jaina, gone there for love, would have more easily become corrupted by the entity inside the helm, which we know as the Lich King, as compared to Arthas, who was there for his people, for his kingdom. With Archimonde on Azeroth, I think that Kalimdor would quickly become a target, and it would not be very long before the undead forces would multiply exponentially, and Azeroth would become another world under the rule of the Burning Legion.
Thankfully Jaina did not take up Frostmourne, in fact did not go to Northrend until we did, and the strength of will that Arthas has kept the undead from washing over us. Now the undead are under the control of Bolvar, but we do not know what kind of success he is having keeping the undead at bay.
Header image credit to miladygeek.com