Garrosh, demon blood & Sylvanas' master plan

I've speculated in the past about a number of intriguing Cataclysm revelations, including Sylvanas' alarming use of Val'kyr to raise corpses as new Forsaken, the bizarre behavior of High Warlord Cromush, and the possible clash between Garrosh and the newly-resurrected Cenarius. Well, the other night these threads all came together and struck me like a thunderbolt - suddenly, IT ALL MADE SENSE.

As previously discussed, I think a conflict between Garrosh and Cenarius is inevitable. There's too much bad blood and too much Garrosh bad attitude. The Grumpy Elf had a very plausible explanation of why Cenarius would stoop to Garrosh's level, which I will quote here because I think it's perfect:

"Garrosh challenges him and of course he refuses the challenge. When the Horde contingent begins to leave, lead by Garrosh saying they will not fight by the side of a coward Cenarius regretfully accepts his challenge with the one rule that if he wins and Garrosh falls to him that his people must assist in taking down the firelord and follow him as their leader for this one battle.

Garrosh agrees to the terms and says that he, and his people, will assist in the battle win or lose as Cenarius has show due honor by accepting the challenge."

I said in my last post that relations between the Alliance and the Horde would be forever ruined if Garrosh killed Cenarius. Well, in retrospect, I think there is ZERO chance of this happening. Garrosh is nowhere NEAR the warrior Grom was. First things first, Grom had the demonic power of Mannoroth's blood. But even without that huge buff, Grom was battle-hardened from years of fighting, earned his fearsome reputation on the battlefield, and quite honestly, wasn't an idiot. He definitely made some regrettable choices, but he was much more intelligent and calculating than Garrosh has ever been.

Conversely, Garrosh has had everything handed to him. Unlike Varok Saurfang, who earned his rank by leading the joint Alliance/Horde forces against the armies of Ahn'Qiraj, or Eitrigg, who has served the Horde loyally and honorably for years, Garrosh was simply handed a leadership position because Thrall was best buds with his dad. And the one time Garrosh had to seriously fight for his position, against Cairne, he got pummeled and only escaped with his life due to Magatha Grimtotem's interference.

No, I think the Cenarius/Garrosh fight could only end one way - with Cenarius stomping the unruly Warchief. Cenarius would, of course, spare his life - partially because he really doesn't have anything against Garrosh, and also because he's freaking Cenarius, but also because they really do need Garrosh to lead the Horde against Ragnaros.

Garrosh, however, would be DESTROYED by the loss. He would be ravaged by embarrassment and humiliation - at failing to avenge the slight to his father's honor, at challenging a foe and being utterly dismantled in front of his peers and followers, and at being deprived of an honorable death, instead having to live with his dishonor and shame.

To make matters worse, his brash demeanor hints at an extremely insecure psyche buried underneath. Following the defeat, I'm sure Garrosh would be paranoid that everyone around him was laughing at him behind his back.

Garrosh has quietly been feeling some self-doubt ever since the incident with Cairne, and I think a solid ass-kicking at the hands of Cenarius would really shake his confidence and rattle him. Unlike Thrall, who turned to the wisdom of his advisors when he was feeling uncertainty, Garrosh has never confided in his elders or placed much faith in their advice. In his eyes, while veterans like Eitrigg and Cairne were to be respected for their accomplishments, they had grown docile and weak, and no longer possessed the true spirit of the Horde.

He's very much like a disobedient teenager. And similarly, when it comes to sharing his thoughts and feelings, I think Garrosh would turn to a peer, someone from a similar background, who wouldn't look down upon him or judge him by impossible standards set before his time. A friend, not a mentor.

Enter High Warlord Cromush.

We've already seen that Garrosh has a lot of confidence in Cromush, entrusting him to watch over Sylvanas, the most dangerous, unpredictable element in the Horde. And not only did Cromush carry out his mission successfully, by helping the Forsaken drive the Worgen out of Silverpine, he also ended the Alliance threat in Hillsbrad and conquered the region for the Horde, despite the "betrayal" of the Frostwolf Clan. Finally, Cromush is also a fellow Mag'har Orc, just like Garrosh, so he would never offer tired advice about how the Old Horde did this or that. Hell, they might even be childhood friends from Nagrand who grew up together.

(Cromush also showed a strange...attachment? to Sylvanas. But more on that later.)

Considering Garrosh's other lieutenants are busy forcing Garrosh to throw them off cliffs, I think Cromush is a very strong contender for the person he would turn to when he was down on his luck and depressed. And the downtrodden, emotionally distraught Garrosh would probably give some serious thought to Cromush's suggested solution.

Drinking demon blood.

Oh I'm sure at first, Garrosh would be outraged. How dare Cromush suggest such a vile, foul tactic?! That is not the way of the Horde! Etc. But when he was alone, stewing over the matter, Garrosh would think about what his trusted friend and fellow Mag'har warrior had suggested. He'd imagine the power possessed by those that partook of the demon blood, the amazing feats of strength and glory they were capable of. And of his father, who with demon blood running through his veins, was able to defeat Cenarius - something Garrosh was unable to do.

Grom Hellscream, after drinking demon blood.

Imagine what he could accomplish! No more would his subjects whisper of his weakness, of his failures as a Warchief. And he knows all about the blood, unlike his father and his fellow warriors, who didn't know what they were getting into. Armed with this knowledge, surely the demonic taint wouldn't be able to influence or control him. He would prove that he was just as capable a warrior as his father, but he would defeat the curse of the demon blood, too! He would never be defeated again.

So Garrosh would drink the blood, much to the chagrin of, oh, EVERYONE EVER. But surprisingly, he wouldn't seem to be much affected, and the combined Alliance & Horde armies would head off to the Firelands to battle Ragnaros. The Night Elves would be extremely unhappy about the new and improved Garrosh, but I think they'd put aside their suspicions for the time being to deal with the greater threat.

Then, sometime during the pivotal battle, Garrosh would succumb to the demonic rage within (big surprise). Maybe he'd turn on Cenarius when his blood is up, or perhaps some Alliance soldiers would become collateral damage during the fight, getting in Garrosh's way as he rampaged across the field.

I could picture a scenario where someone from the Alliance - Jarod Shadowsong, perhaps - was captured and being used as a shield/hostage by one of the Firelord's minions. Would anyone be surprised if the bloodthirsty Garrosh didn't surrender or throw down his axe like the elemental demanded, but instead brutally chopped through both of them?

Regardless of the specifics, the Horde would end up sickened and uneasy with what their Warchief had become, and the Alliance would be FURIOUS. Tyrande would demand Garrosh's head on a stick, and the Night Elves would begin mobilizing for a siege upon Orgrimmar to rid Azeroth of this new monster. They wouldn't be alone, though. Varian's been chomping at the bit for a chance to go after Garrosh since Ulduar, and he'd unquestionably volunteer Stormwind's forces for the assault.

Meanwhile, the swaggering, powerful Garrosh would refuse to apologize, make amends, or do anything to defuse the situation. He'd be completely blinded by the bloodlust, and would probably even lash out at anyone who dared disagree. Even as reports flooded in of the approaching army, Garrosh would simply sneer and await their arrival, stupidly overconfident that the Alliance were weaklings that would be crushed under the Horde's feet. He wouldn't even notice his closest supporters and most loyal followers deserting him, leaving him alone with his delusions.

Until an arrow flew out of the shadows and buried itself in his chest.

"I know exactly what I am going to do about it, son of Hellscream. I will watch and wait as ya people slowly become aware of ya ineptitude. I will laugh as dey grow to despise ya as I do.

And when da time comes dat ya failure is complete and ya “power” is meaningless, I will be dere to end ya rule swiftly and silently.

Ya will spend ya reign glancin’ over ya shoulder and fearin’ the shadows, for when da time comes and ya blood slowly drains out, ya will know exactly who fired da arrow dat pierced ya heart."

-Vol’Jin, in the Horde quest "More Than Expected".

I think Vol'jin would have seen enough, and would be the only one brave enough to do what needed to be done for the good of the Horde - forcibly remove Garrosh from power. Plus, how AWESOME would this be, to have his incredibly badass threat come to fruition?

However, it would be too late. Varian would realize they'd never have a chance like this again, with the Horde leaderless, demoralized, and vulnerable, and a fully prepared and angry Alliance army at Orgrimmar's gates. Varian would order the attack, and though Vol'jin and Baine (who no doubt would be extremely pleased to see Garrosh gone) would mobilize the Horde forces, it would be a losing cause, and they'd get pushed back into the city.

It would be an incredibly bloody affair on both sides, with hundreds from both sides dying on Orgrimmar's streets, but the Alliance would slowly overcome the disorganized Horde forces. However, just like the Wrathgate, everyone will have forgotten one important element.

The Forsaken.

Right as Varian and Tyrande are about to declare victory - perhaps Vol'jin and Baine are even defeated and helpless - Sylvanas would appear, possibly disguised as a generic Horde soldier, something she's done in the past. To the shock of everyone watching, she would command her Val'kyr legions to go to work, raising the hundreds of freshly dead corpses as brand new Forsaken citizens.

The Alliance army would be horrified and enraged, but they would also be suddenly, vastly outnumbered. Varian is a meathead, but he's not suicidal. He would be forced to order a hasty retreat.

Meanwhile, the beaten, bloodied Horde would have no choice but to thank Sylvanas for her timely rescue. Even though many survivors might still distrust and even fear her, they'd know that she was the only reason they were still alive, and the only factor that had kept Varian's chin from defiling Orgrimmar's throne.

In fact, with the Horde in such a weakened, staggered state, and with the Alliance still so rabid for blood, I don't think it would be long before we'd see the naming of the first female Warchief. Think about it - not only did Sylvanas completely save the day, but she's a brilliant military mind, she's a born leader, and most importantly, she's got the charisma, presence and discipline to hold the tattered remnants of the Horde together.

Besides, who else are they going to name to the throne? Vol'jin has the experience, but he's never shown any ambition to be Warchief. He seems comfortable in a supporting role. Not to mention that some Horde would probably dislike the way he dealt with Garrosh, assassinating him rather than challenging him in open combat. Baine is way too young and inexperienced, and Trade Prince Gallywix is an unknown who hasn't done anything of note. And Lor'Themar? Hahaha, please.

Sylvanas is really the only possible choice.

And her first act as Warchief would be to name her loyal follower, High Warlord Cromush, as her second-in-command.

Suddenly, everything falls into place. Cromush's strange loyalty to Sylvanas. Her ominous experiments with the Val'kyr in Silverpine. Why Cromush baited the emotionally fragile Garrosh into drinking demon blood.

It was all to put Sylvanas on the throne, in control of the entire Horde, with the ranks of the Forsaken replenished, and no one left to oppose her rule. And the best part is, the Horde NEEDS her to be Warchief, despite any misgivings they might have. Without her in charge, the Horde would be doomed.

Power and the Horde.

21 Responses Subscribe to comments

  1. gravatar

    So, I'm pretty sure Blizz needs to show Golden and Knaak the door and let you start writing all their books. I didn't see a single mention of 'fiery tresses' or Rhonin's totally awesome... whatever anywhere in this post and I was riveted.

    February 18, 2011 at 2:24 PM

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    Totally and completely outstanding.

    I am slowly nursing a baby Hordling along (being predominantly Alliance). Prior attempts (pre-Cata) died in the Barrens. I am really looking forward to watching the flow of the story and to keeping an eye out for hints of the possible plot line you have drawn out.

    You seriously need to write books.

    February 18, 2011 at 5:25 PM

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    THIS... is a really awesome story/prediction. I've not been especially happy with the Horde story (perhaps because I don't know a ton about it) but this WOULD tie up all the ends and make sense at the same time.

    Maybe Blizz is reading?

    February 18, 2011 at 8:19 PM

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    ily <3

    February 18, 2011 at 11:32 PM

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    Now that is an interesting theory. It works well as a plot line (although anything that rids the Horde of Garrosh is fine by me) and Sylvanas is certainly cunning enough.

    I guess it all hinges on whether Cromush is that sneaky. I got the impression that he wasn't smart enough for that kind of ruse.

    February 19, 2011 at 6:16 AM

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    That would be one heck of an explosive story!

    I'd feel a bit cheated if we didn't see Vol'jin follow up on his threat to Garrosh, but you're quite right that he seems happier in a secondary position than as Warchief of the whole Horde. As much as I dislike some of the things the Forsaken get up to, Sylvanas is the strongest leader among the Horde bigwigs.

    I think such developments would make the Tauren -- from my understanding of them at any rate -- feel like they were really in a philosophical tight spot. They'd feel obligated by honor to stay in the Horde, and they'd also feel like they had a duty to try to keep the Horde from falling into total darkness and depravity -- but they wouldn't necessarily be very happy about it.

    Switching sides and joining the Alliance wouldn't be an easy route either. Blizz wouldn't let them switch sides for game mechanics reasons, of course. You said that in the book the Twilight cultists manipulate a rift between the Tauren and Night Elf Druids, so that would be one reason the Alliance wouldn't want to take them. I haven't yet played through the Southern Barrens, but there's got to be a big grudge by the Tauren against the Alliance there.

    Poor Tauren, I think they would just be in a difficult position any way you spin it after these sorts of events.

    February 19, 2011 at 12:00 PM

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    Ryoko Lam

    Loved the tin foiled hat prediction here of what could happen in the future, directed by a post comment in!

    Imagine if this came to fruition! The only thing to also to consider among all this, would Thrall turn his attention back to his old horde or continue dismissing it to continue the path of the Shaman?

    February 20, 2011 at 5:14 AM

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    As usual your ideas are very entertaining and well thought out.

    Still, I have to say that I hope your speculation will turn out to be wrong in this case. As much as Garrosh annoys me, I'd hate to see him make an even bigger fool out of himself (who thought that was possible) and get murdered by his own allies in shame.

    I'm not even sure why. I think it's because I love Thrall, and if Thrall had so much faith in Garrosh, there's got to be something there, you know? If only he could learn some humility...

    February 20, 2011 at 9:27 AM

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    I love this idea! It is a great possible twist of what is to come, but I only have one question...what is Thrall doing? He hasn't been yet named a replacement for an aspect which is the new speculation. I can't help to think he would show up somewhere if this all went down; I hope you expand on that. I really love your tin foil speculations!

    February 20, 2011 at 12:48 PM

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    :O Completely awesome as usual! I wonder if they (as in Blizzard) would ever let something like this happen in the game world though. We've seen enormous possibility in the past for faction-changing events that haven't really come to fruition... and they seem to shy away from any storyline derailments that would change the way that the game is played.
    Oh I really do hope that it does though :D Vol'jin is my hero.

    February 20, 2011 at 6:15 PM

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    I've already had most of this conversation with you on Twitter, but you threw me for a loop with how Sylvanas would make the push for Warchief. I had a small idea about using the valkyr to turn the tide of some fight, but you strung everything together in ways I'm still having problems *fathoming*.

    You, sir, are an inspiration. /salute

    February 20, 2011 at 7:18 PM

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    Hm... my first time here and what a great theory! I love speculating on the Lore of the game and the direction it can take. Sylvanas has certainly shown she's ruthless enough to take such a path, but I'm not sure that's her ultimate goal.

    I do see one potential issue with your theory. Forsaken, by definition, are free-willed undead. Therefore, a newly-raised Forsaken is not necessarily under Sylvanas' control and couldn't be counted on to attack their compatriots immediately. We've seen evidence of this when Godfrey shot Sylvanas in the back.

    Now, given some time, some of the new Forsaken probably would rally to Sylvanas, as they would likely be rejected by their former nations, but it's not instant on being raised, I think.

    My pet Sylvanas theory rests on the fact of where she is now. Tirisfal Glade. The same area her ancestors, before they founded Quel'thalas, found they could not remain because something there was driving them insane. And she is ruling the Forsaken from that same place... Undead or not, I think whatever that cause was is affecting her, as well.

    Love your writing and your ideas, I will be poking around more regularly. :)

    February 21, 2011 at 9:49 AM

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    @Kayeri - Very interesting point, and one that I hadn't thought of. But I think you hit on a great point. It's true that the freshly raised Forsaken we saw in Silverpine were free-willed and not slaves to Sylvanas, as evident by Godfrey's actions. this still true? Sylvanas tried this, and it got her killed. I wouldn't be surprised if she's since...tinkered with the whole Val'kyr resurrection method to ensure that any new Forsaken are loyal to her and can't repeat Godfrey's betrayal.

    February 21, 2011 at 11:16 AM

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    I think Vol'Jin needs to make good on his threat. Of course, I also think Tauren should leave the Horde and make their own way, perhaps making allies in Wildhammer Dwarves, Night Elf Druids, Taunka and Tuskarr.

    The "Warcraft" two-faction dynamic was even tired in the RTS games, which is part of why they went with the 4 races in WC3. It's time to let the natural racial tensions and storyline take WoW beyond the silly pair of factions with idiot leaders. (Seriously, why are Tauren still even in the Horde, and why do the Draenei and even Night Elves put up with Varian?)

    February 22, 2011 at 10:21 AM

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    Chekhov's law of playwriting - if there is a gun on the mantelpiece mentioned in the first act, it must be fired by the end of the play. Vol'jin is that gun on the mantelpiece. He is going to shoot Garrosh.

    Blizzard loves their redemption stories, however. Utter irony would be if Garrosh beats back the bloodlust and the Alliance advances, masters the rage, makes the decision to seek peace, and THEN gets the arrow in the back because Vol'jin and Sylvanas want to capitalize on the gains that his rage has brought them. But I have no story basis for that twist, just a gut feeling that after spending so much energy setting him up as a bad guy they'll want him to die a good guy.

    February 23, 2011 at 6:12 AM

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    There is a minor hitch in this theory. Garrosh wasn't handed everything. He proved himself during WotLK as a general and loyal servant to the Horde. Thrall and Cairne both agreed he had the makings of a great leader but he always let his hot-headedness get in the way. Thus, I don't think they are going to just kill him off.

    Injure him, remove him from power, Vol'jin starting a civil war that chains into the rest of the theory, I could see that happening. But I don't think Garrosh is going to get axed anytime soon.

    Great ideas though.

    February 23, 2011 at 6:49 PM

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    That is a quality send up there. I could see something like that happening sooner then later.

    Not as in Sylvanas becoming the leader by saving the Horde but as in Garrosh going to her and "stooping" to her level seeking more power.

    Drinking the blood, killing an alliance guard (could even be a horde guard, he does not care) and the creature at the same time, these are all things I see him as capable of.

    As you mentioned, he does not have the skills needed to back up his big talk and sooner or later he is going to have to make some sort of deal to get something supernatural to give him the power to walk the walk.

    Sad part is that Vol'Jin, in my opinion, is best suited to be the Horde leader but he never will. He would prefer to assist the leader then be the leader and that quality is what would make him a great leader.

    I would fear Sylvanas being the leader of the Horde from either side of the coin, more so if I where a member of the Horde.

    What reason would she ever have to work with you when she can kill you and then make you one of her people?

    If she was ever put in complete control the Horde would be Forsaken only, the other races would be absorbed. There is no reason for her to have 2 million mixed forces at her call when she can have 2 million Forsaken forces at her call.

    February 24, 2011 at 8:06 AM

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    Since I play a troll toon I just want to give a big, TAZ'DINGO! At this article. I'm sure all of the trolls are waiting for the day when Vol'jin will make his threat reality. I do agree as well that he isn't a guy that likes to be in charge of more than his people and as much as I'd love to see him take over the Horde, Blizz would have to do a major event to shape his character into such a one that agrees to take charge.

    As for Sylvanas taking charge TheGrumpyElf has made some good points about why she shouldn't be faction leader. As for my opinion I believe she's awesome and powerful and could lead the Horde but that woman has bigger plans for Azeroth, you can just tell!

    Anyway I think we're all forgetting that there is someone who most certainly wouldn't mind being leader and would capitalize on any type of chaos to further his goals... Trade Prince Gallywix. I can just picture the scenario that you wrote Rades of an Orgrimmar under siege but instead of the Forsaken coming to the rescue I see coming from the north a sky full of Goblin Zeppelins loaded with explosives. Either way if either of these two takes the throne as leader of the Horde... we're all screwed.

    February 24, 2011 at 11:48 AM

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    Tesh, Grumpy, Busy, I just want to point out that even though I LOVE Sylvanas, even *I* don't want her in charge of the Horde! I think she absolutely needs someone that is both a) intelligent, and b) worthy of her respect (Thrall) to keep her in line, or else her ambitions will get out of control. Plus, being in complete power...well, who knows how that would affect her already somewhat-dubious scruples.

    If the events I described in this post ever took place, as a non-Forsaken I would be VERY worried. But that's sort of what I was getting at - even though I wouldn't want her in charge (as an Orc, let's say) - I think we would NEED her in charge to survive. The lesser of two evils, I suppose.

    Busu, I think Gallywix could be a great contender except for one thing - he's a nobody in-game so far. I literally have never seen him as my mains or know anything about him. If he were to swoop in and save the day, I'm sure many people would be like "who is this guy??" I think they should get him involved and start displaying his personality, as he's a ripe character for future use. :)

    February 24, 2011 at 12:42 PM

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    I'm Skytotem from the Wow Story Forums

    Honestly I've got to say you have a hard time thinking of this as a WORLD Setting and not a singleplayer game.

    You also tend to read your bias into things, such as when you saw Cromush's "FIX HER" as compassion/devotion (Lolwut?) instead of just realizing that the death of the leader of the Forsaken nation is a BAD THING for the Horde.

    You're creative which is a plus, but really, some of this stuff is terribly outlandish.

    February 11, 2012 at 11:19 PM

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    This is surprisingly close to how MoP and Siege of Orgrimmar played out; right down to Sylvanas's "I can raise your dead, Regend Lord" plans. Great stuff; cheers.

    July 24, 2014 at 8:48 AM