Saturday, June 25, 2016

Navimie's "Warcraft: The Beginning" Review #2 - Lore deviations and my opinions on them

Grimmtooth made a nice post outlining a few lore changes in the movie that bugged him, and I realised I had forgotten to talk about them in my movie post earlier, so I am going to go through each one step by step in this post, and my opinions about each of them.

*** WARNING - SPOILERS ***

The Frostwolves and Go'el

Movie: When Gul'dan first opens the Dark portal, Draka steps through it, heavily pregnant with Go'el. When she emerges on the other side, she births a dead orc child, much to the scorn of the rest of the war party, who are outraged a pregnant female has joined the War Party. Gul'dan takes the infant, and brings him to life after draining the life force from a nearby deer. Durotan continues to oppose Gul'dan and he is taken prisoner.


Gul'dan orders the execution of their whole clan. Draka runs from the slaughter of the Frostwolves and puts Go'el basket on the river Moses-style and she dies fighting one of Gul'dan's orcs to allow her son to escape. Humans find the baby's basket washed up on the riverbank. This is unbeknownst to Durotan who has gone to face Gul'dan in a Mak'Gora, but is weakened then killed by Gul'dan's magic.


Lore: Durotan had opposed Gul'dan which resulted in the exile of their clan, and they hid in the Alterac Mountains for the whole First War. Go'el was born after the First War, and Durotan and Draka went to see Orgrim Doomhammer to once again take action against Gul'dan. Gul'dan had spies in Doomhammer's guard, and Draka and Durotan were assassinated. Go'el is found by Alliance soldiers.


My thoughts: Though horribly sad seeing the Frostwolves all killed, this deviation from the lore fitted in more with the movie's story. Gul'dan would rather kill someone than let them go away and come back to annoy him another day. And also, why waste that life - he could use those lives and souls for more power. In the movie, Go'el still escapes death and makes it into the arms/bondage of the Alliance, which leaves it open for another movie. It would be fit better (and be simpler) in the cinematic universe to be killed by Gul'dan and his minions than to be alive hiding in the mountains. That particular section of lore does not affect Go'el's development or any other part of the storyline.

Lothar's family and Lady Taria

Movie: Anduin Lothar is the brother of Lady Taria. Lady Taria is married to King Llane Wrynn. Lothar has a son, Callan, who is a soldier, and his wife died in childbirth. Callan is killed by Blackhand, and Lothar subsequently slays Blackhand in Mak'Gora.


Lore: Of Lady Taria there is little mention, and there is no mention in the lore of Lothar's sons or offspring. He seemed to me to be a soldier first and foremost, dedicating his life and passion for the Stormwind and the Alliance. In the lore, Blackhand was slain by his second-in-command, Orgrim Doomhammer.

My thoughts: I think that a more prominent role by Lady Taria is welcome, and as Lothar's sister it allows for displays of family closeness and kinship. Lothar's role as a caring parent and brother to his son and his sister make him less of the formidable military commander and allowed us to empathise more with him. I'm sure that was the intent. I think it was a good addition because Varian Wrynn (Llane's son and next King of Stormwind) named his son Anduin, and it is not unreasonable that he is named after Varian's uncle, as well as for Lothar's deeds for the armies of Azeroth.


Lothar's son being slain by Blackhand in turn allowed the movie storyline to propel Lothar to killing Blackhand. At the end of the movie it's not clear who is the new Warchief of the Horde - though perhaps Orgrim Doomhammer would be the next choice as none of the other chieftains had much screen time given to them, implying they are less important in the storyline at this stage.

Khadgar and his relationship with Medivh

Movie: Khadgar, the young mage, is found examining the bodies of human soldiers slaughtered by the orcs, and he discovers fel magic has been used. Khadgar was part of the Kirin Tor but he left, much to the shame of his family. Medivh, the Guardian of Tirisfal, seems to recognise Khadgar as someone who wishes to aspire to Guardian. Khadgar helps Medivh but is not apprenticed to him, and in fact is the one who discovers Medivh has been tainted with fel. He seeks help from the Kirin Tor who take him to Alodi, who is an ancient source of knowledge and power for the Kirin Tor, and speaks to Khadgar, confirms that Medivh is corrupted by fel magic (and her shade had led Khadgar to the book in Karazhan's libarary showing him knowledge of the Dark Portal). She has also been touched by fel, but she is not consumed by it, they seem to be like remnants or scars. She tells him to trust in his friends and from light comes darkness, and from darkness, light.


Khadgar confronts Medivh in Karazhan with the help of Lothar, and defeats a demonic Medivh by teleporting a construct atop Medivh within the font. Khadgar falls into the pool and somehow purifies himself of the fel. Medivh is purified of the demonic influence and as he is dying he opens a portal to Stormwind briefly to help the Alliance fighting at the Black Morass.


Lore: Khadgar was sent by the Kirin Tor to be Medivh's apprentice. Medivh had a seed of the demon Sargeras within him since birth, and as his powers grew, so too did the influence of Sargeras. Khadgar began to suspect something was not right with Medivh when the Orc invasion of Azeroth began. This was confirmed when Garona came to Karazhan and in a vision, Khadgar and Garona discovered that it was Medivh that contacted Gul'dan and brought the Orcs to Azeroth.  The two of them returned to King Llane to tell him of their concerns, and Lothar went back to Karazhan with Khadgar.


During the ensuing battle, Khadgar was magically drained and aged by Medivh's spell, and he struck Medivh with a sword which mortally wounded him and also purified him from Sargeras. Medivh's dying body began to take on a demonic shape and Lothar decapitated him, sending Sargeras back to the Nether.

Alodi was a half elf male mage who was the first Guardian of Tirisfal, who worked with Meryl Winterstorm (the great undead mage who would in the future be a guardian for Garona's son, Medan).


My thoughts: I mistakenly thought Alodi was Aegwynn at first! I had never heard of Alodi and the references to the lore are vastly different. It seems that Khadgar came into great power in his own right, not by the tutelage or guidance of Medivh. Khadgar also didn't age after battling Medivh - which in the movie storyline would be easier for casting, and it also serves little purpose to have Khadgar aged. I must note though that Khadgar looks far from frail and aged in Warlords of Draenor. Someone mentioned on reddit that pre-WoD Khadgar looks like Gandalf and WoD Khadgar looks like a Silver Fox. I wonder why they felt they had to make him more Clooney-esque.

Also, Medivh needs more spirit. He ooms a lot. But in the lore he did have to come back to recover after major magic battles.

There is a significant difference in the Medivh battle compared with the lore. You would expect a "boss fight" to have an epic scene in the movie! Did anyone else think this battle was like Socrethar? First you battle the construct, then you use the construct to fight the boss! The magic effects were rather cool, and I thought it was a bit amusing after Khadgar beat Medivh and fell into the corrupted font and then he was surrounded by a bright yellow light.


Ding! Khadgar is now a max level archmage! Well, he doesn't need to be anyone's apprentice. He can go around and read the library at Karazhan. That should keep him busy for the next 50 years.


The Kirin Tor were creepy looking! I had heard that people found their glowy eyes laughable but I just found them creepy. And apparently that was Antonidas who was talking to Khadgar when he first went to Dalaran? I wouldn't have known that but once it was pointed out it does look like him, and it was also portrayed by Toby Kebbell.

Dalaran

Movie: Khadgar goes to Dalaran to speak to the Kirin Tor (the ruling body of magi) about what he had discovered about Medivh. Dalaran is a flying city in the clouds.


Lore: Dalaran is not flying during the time of the First War. It was located in Alterac Mountains next to the Lordamere Lake. Dalaran was destroyed by Archimonde (who was summoned by Kel'thuzad after Arthas and the Scourge destroyed Lordaeron), but the Kirin Tor rebuilt their city and when the war against the Lich King began, turned it into a floating city above Crystalsong Forest in Northrend, leaving behind a crater where Dalaran used to be.

My thoughts: Duncan Jones though it would be cooler if Dalaran was flying. I think for the movie and for the people new to the Warcraft universe it is easier too. So what will happen to the lore part where Archimonde destroys Dalaran? Well he can always get up to the sky and destroy the city there.

Garona

Movie: She starts off as a slave of Gul'dan, walking towards the Draenor Dark Portal on a chain, and is eventually freed by Durotan during a skirmish against the Alliance and then she is captured by Khadgar and becomes a prisoner of the Alliance. She can speak multiple languages due to her time amongst the captives, and she gives the Alliance a great deal of information about what the invasion is about and with whom they are dealing with. She is gradually accepted by King Llane as an ally and she fights with him and the Alliance against Gul'dan. She goes to Karazhan with Khadgar to meet Medivh, and she tends him in his weakened state. She confides in him that her mother was an orc and she wears her tooth to remember her by. He confides that he had met a woman in his past (and there seems to be an insinuation that he is her father?).


At the battle at the Dark Portal, Alliance forces are cut off from Stormwind when Medivh dies, and the end looks inevitable for King Llane. In a surprise turn of events, he tells Garona to kill him as it would grant her great honour and she would survive and be accepted into the Horde, as to be seen fighting with him would mean certain death. She does so with great reluctance and then is accepted into the Horde as a hero, with whom she remains with the Horde, albeit it seems reluctantly. As a half-orc, she is an outcast in both societies, though you can she that she yearns to belong (she asked Durotan if he would accept her into the Frostwolves).


Lore: Garona has been described as a morally fluid character, whose allegiances swing with her moods. She is half-orc half-draenei (her mother was Maraad's sister, and her father one of Gul'dan's soldiers) and she was bred by Gul'dan and then aged magically and subjected to powerful spells of mind control. She knew the orc culture well due to her travels around Draenor and she believed she was half-orc half-human, which most people believed for a long time, and Gul'dan did not deny this as he believed this half-human kinship would allow her to more easily infiltrate Llane's court.


She met with Medivh on a number of occasions, and was sent to him as an emissary of Gul'dan, and she spent some time at Karazhan. Khadgar was not pleased with her presence and they had an abrasive relationship but eventually one of cautious trust when together they managed to defeat a demon in the Library. Garona became quite close to Medivh, and had an intimate relationship in a moment when Sargeras was not controlling Medivh. However, Medivh and his erratic behaviour became too suspicious for Garona and Khadgar to ignore and they used a spell to find a vision of the past, which shocked them both with the truth - that Medivh had brought the orcs to Azeroth.

Khadgar and Garona went to Stormwind to tell the King of Medivh's deceit, met Lothar on the way, who was brought around to their thinking, but King Llane could not believe his childhood friend had gone so far astray. The three went back to Karazhan to confront Medivh, and Garona was given a vision of the future where she would slay King Llane. They found Medivh and Garona attacked him with the fury of betrayal but she was struck down and Khadgar and Lothar finished him off. Gul'dan at this stage had sensed that Medivh was weakened and tried to enter Medivh's mind to find the Eye of Sargeras (which was what he came to Azeroth for) but in the destruction of Medivh and Sargeras the mental assault to Gul'dan whilst within Medivh's mind put him into a coma.

A vision in Yogg-Saron's brain in Ulduar where Garona kills Llane
Garona became a trusted advisor to King Llane following the battle with Medivh, but she still had some mind control spells present from her time with Gul'dan and the Shadow Council and she was forced to kill King Llane yet she did so in front of Prince Varian, crying as she did so.

My thoughts: Garona in the movie appears to me to have the best interest of both the Horde and the Alliance at heart - she seems to only oppose Gul'dan.


Some people were criticising her "skimpy dress" but she was wearing what everyone else is wearing! What she was wearing was far from a leather bikini but all the orc females were dressed similarly (and the orc males themselves were wearing very little clothes). War harnesses are typical orc dress anyway.


Without the relationship with Medivh, Garona will not have the opportunity to give birth to Medan, who is a MAJOR lore figure with a massive role in the third war. However, if Medivh is Garona's father, then there is the possibility that Medivh's powers may pass through her to her son. I wonder if this is why there was a hint of some sort of relationship between Lothar and Garona? Is Lothar fated to be the father of Medan?

I actually thought the deviation from lore with King Llane asking her to kill him was a good change. In this movie, it seems Gul'dan is acting on his own - I don't see much of the Shadow Council being mentioned here, and without the Shadow Council controlling Garona to make her kill Llane, then perhaps they are not being included in the WoW cinematic universe. With this course, not only are there seeds of mistrust placed now between Lothar and Garona, but also that Garona appears much more honourable than she is otherwise portrayed in the lore. She has demonstrated loyalty to those kind to her - with Durotan, Llane and also Lothar - and yet she honours the orc way by telling Gul'dan that Mak'Gora is a sacred tradition and that the victor must be allowed to walk free, and to deny this is dishonourable in all orc eyes. What surprises me is that Gul'dan doesn't know this, being an orc himself? Garona in the movie is loyal to best of both humans and orcs, and yearns to be accepted by both.

And did you notice the size of the tooth from her mother? It seemed more like a male tooth to me. Draka's teeth weren't that big.

Orgrim Doomhammer

Movie: Orgrim is a close friend and confidant of Durotan of the Frostwolves, despite being from a different clan (which I don't think is specified). Though Durotan wishes to stop Gul'dan by allying with the humans, Orgrim cannot consorting with his foes against his own kind. When Durotan is betrayed and Guldan orders the slaughter of the Frostwolves, Orgrim allows Draka a few moments to escape with Go'el.


At Durotan's Mak'gor, Orgrim calls out against Gul'dan's cheating, which causes some unrest within the orc troops, but once Gul'dan kills a few soldiers, nobody raises a hand against Gul'dan.


Lore: Orgrim of the Blackrock clan and Durotan of the Frostwolves were friends from childhood. Orgrim became second in command to Blackhand after he took up Doomhammer upon the death of his father.  Orgrim, like Durotan, did not drink the Blood of Mannoroth and be imbued with fel, raising the suspicion of Gul'dan.


When Gul'dan fell into a coma after the death of Medivh, Orgrim took advantage of the warlock's incapacitated state to rise up against Blackhand and slay him, assuming the title of Warchief of the Horde. He found Garona, tortured her until she revealed the location of the Shadow council, and then destroyed them. Garona escaped and remained in hiding and gave birth to the child she conceived with Medivh - Me'dan.

My thoughts:Since Gul'dan did not enter Medivh's mind and did not become incapacitated, there was no opportunity for Orgrim to overthrow Blackhand, and so with Lothar killing Blackhand, that part of the story will be different. However, it seems that Orgrim will assume the title of Warchief without having to kill Blackhand, but he will still have to contend with Gul'dan. At least the kinship between Durotan and Orgrim remains in lore and in movie, and of course we will see Orgrim play a greater role in a second movie (if it is made) with Go'el as he passes the mantle of leadership to Durotan's son.

I felt a bit sad that nobody seemed to pay attention to Orgrim as he made a half attempt to rouse the orcs against Gul'dan when Durotan died, but I think that to he himself would have been killed by Gul'dan had that been the case. With Blackhand now out of the way, he will have more opportunity to establish himself as a Warchief and not a Warchief puppet as Blackhand was.

Gul'dan

Movie: Gul'dan is a powerful warlock and Fel magic user, and persuades the Warchief Blackhand to take the orcs to Azeroth for honour and glory. Gul'dan, unlike the other orcs, is not a slave to honour, but to his power and magic. Fel magic requires life for power, and he uses this against all who oppose him - humans or orcs.


A few orcs, namely Durotan and Orgrim, do not trust Gul'dan and Durotan challenges Gul'dan to a Mak'Gora, but Gul'dan uses magic to win which is not the typical orc way, and Durotan loses, though it is felt that it is an unfair and dishonourable fight. Gul'dan kills those who dared oppose him, and it quells the unrest.


He is focussed on opening the portal between Draenor and Azeroth to bring over the rest of the horde, and he has assistance on the Azeroth side from Medivh. He appears to be the only magic wielder on the horde side from the small raiding party that entered Azeroth.


Lore: Gul'dan was formerly a shaman under Ner'zhul's tutelage, who was being manipulated by the demon Kil'jadeden to fight a war against the Draenei. When the spirits and the ancestors began to cease their communion with Ner'zhul he realised something was wrong and tried to cease his interaction with Kil'jadeden, but by then Gul'dan had already made a deal with the demon to become the master of fel magic. Gul'dan formed the Shadow Council, who managed to worm their way into the hierarchy of the orcs and manipulate politics from within. They managed to get Blackhand elected to Warchief as he was easy to control and direct, and with the help of Medivh (influenced by Sargeras) from Azeroth's side, opened the Dark Portal.

Medivh lured Gul'dan with the unlimited power from the Tomb of Sargeras if he brought the orcs to Azeroth. However, during the siege against Stormwind, he became aware of the attack on Medivh and tried to enter Medivh's mind to locate the Tomb of Sargeras - however, Medivh was slain whilst Gul'dan was still inside his mind and the trauma of it put Gul'dan into a coma.

Without Gul'dan to guide him, Blackhand was slain by Orgim Doomhammer, who then, with information gleaned from Garona, set out to destroy all of the Shadow Council.


My thoughts: I love the fact that Daniel Wu, who is hot stuff in China and rather nice to look at, is made into one of the ugliest orcs in the game. With a HUNCHBACK!

There did not seem to be a Shadow Council in the movie. It looked like Gul'dan was working on his own. And the spikes that we've always thought were part of Gul'dan's Spaulders, were demonic manifestations from his own body! That was a revelation and rather cool!

I did like how he was portrayed. Gul'dan is merely using the orcs as pawns in his own agenda for power, and we will see more of this if future movies are going to be made. It's easy to forget with Warlords of Draenor that Gul'dan is actually DEAD (otherwise where would we get Skull of Gul'dan) in the original time line.

It is interesting that Gul'dan does not share the orcs steadfast honour with hand to hand combat, but for one who has twisted fate to do his bidding, it is not that surprising.

Blackhand the Destroyer


Movie: Blackhand is the Warchief, heavily influenced by Gul'dan. He is loyal only to the orcs, and has no tolerance for other races.


His hand is severely injured in a fight against Lothar, who uses one of the dwarven Boomsticks. Gul'dan removes his hand later and Blackhand takes the Fel, resulting a new creepy Black hand regrowing in its place.

At Blackrock mountain when Durotan meets King Llane, Lothar is separated from his son by Medivh's lightning shield, with his son on the Orc side. Blackhand slays Callan almost mockingly in front of Lothar.


Lothar is captured by the horde after King Llane is slain and fights Blackhand in a Mak'Gora, slaying Blackhand and returning to Stormwind with the King's body.


Lore: Blackhand was the chieftain of Blackrock clan and was elected Warchief through manipulation by Gul'dan, Blackhand apparently earned his name after his hand became stone after he sacrificed his hand to the elements and defeated the ogres (though it does not say what his name was prior to this). In Blackhand's Secret (quest in the Legendary chain in WoD) Khadgar says:
There's a section of the Flamebender's Tome that speaks about a "sacrifice," and a more recent notation referring to "the chieftain." I think it's talking about Warlord Blackhand.
Did Blackhand sacrifice someone? Himself? A piece of himself? Is that why his hand is deformed? ...Kill Warlord Blackhand. And bring me his severed arm.

And on completion when you hand over Blackhand's Severed Arm:
What do we have here? The legends ARE true. Blackhand sacrificed his own arm to the elements. Now that he's dead, it's indistinguishable from stone. Or is it?
(Khadgar utters a few incantations from the Flamebinder's Tome. The severed hand slowly clenches into a fist.)
Hmmmm. Yes. I'll be perfectly honest with you: This thing is extremely creepy.
When Gul'dan fel into a coma, Orgrim took the opportunity to slay Blackhand and become the new Warchief of the Horde.

My thoughts: Blackhand probably didn't have enough screen time for me to make much of a judgement of him except that he hated humans. He did do Gul'dan's bidding for the most part, and when he took the fel towards the end, he was truly a fel orc and his soul was Gul'dan's. Was the fight at the end a little too easy? Well, for cinematic purposes, yes. Are we so bloodthirsty that we need a gladiator match to go on for longer to keep us entertained? I have no doubt that a large orc would easily overpower a human, so if Lothar could accomplish that earlier, then who are we to rob him of his Mak'Gora victory?

It's hard to think of him as dead since we got to battle against him in Blackrock Foundry.
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Phew! That's a lot of thoughts there and comparisons on lore and the movie. If there is anything significant that I missed (or that I've gotten wrong), then feel free to tell me in the comments. A lot of this I got from the the books and also from Wowpedia, WoWWiki and Wowhead.

2 comments:

  1. Until you described his role in the movie, I didn't realize that Callan is basically being "fridged" in this movie. In case you didn't know, "fridging" is a literary device in which someone dies a pointless death solely to motivate a character. More strictly, when a *female* character dies pointlessly to motivate a *male* character. It's named after some movie where a woman is killed and literally stashed in a refrigerator and that snaps the male protagonist out of some funk and makes him a rad killing machine or something.

    While male, Callan's death does fit the mold. He exists for no other reason than to motivate Anduin. And the sad thing is, I don't think they needed to do that. I have no doubt he'd've gone after Blackhand at the Portal anyway.

    While I'm sad that the Frostwolves subplot was altered like it was, I can see why they did - they've basically moved Durotan and Drakka's death out of any sequel that might happen so they don't have to go out of their way to inorganically tell that story.

    Besides ... they went from the Morass through Redridge, the Thandol Span (and Bronzebeard, and Wildhammer, and Dark Iron country), and Lorderon, in order to get to Alterac? That's a whole movie! :)

    Now that you've laid it all out, it looks like the biggest deviations from lore are the ultimate disposition of Gul'dan (he ain't comatose, so he's still a player in the sequel) and the lack of a siege of Stormwind, leaving it a still active and vital player in events. I suppose they're doing this to avoid shifting focus to the northern kingdoms, but it really takes some of the punch out of the invasion's impact, too. Whole chains of exposition gonna need to happen now.

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    1. I can see how the simplified story is going to run... I think... and don't forget Metzen was ok with this as well as Blizz, so I can't help but think that the story should be in good hands.

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