When it was announced that Garrosh would be the final raid boss of Mists of Pandaria, the Garrosh-hatred started up anew, and I couldn't help but notice how many people still blamed Garrosh for the death of Cairne Bloodhoof.
These people are wrong.
Let's take a look at this incident, shall we? Let's try to narrow down why Garrosh might be at fault or to blame for the death of the beloved Old Bull.
Because Garrosh poisoned his axe and cheated!
Wrong. This is perhaps the most egregious, incorrect assumption about Cairne's death you can possibly have. Garrosh did NOT poison his axe. Magatha Grimtotem did, because she wanted Cairne dead, and she saw Garrosh as a convenient tool for accomplishing this. Garrosh did not know she was going to do this, and was OUTRAGED when he found out, because her interference had deprived him of an honorable victory. And this is important to point out - Garrosh would RATHER have lost and died in an honorable bout than win/survive through treacherous means.
This isn't just a Garrosh fan's opinion, either. It's canon. It's in the freaking book.
|Garrosh was starting to grow angry. "Out with it!" he growled. "What are you trying to say? Are you saying I did not win this fight fairly? Would I have let him give me these wounds had I been attempting to cheat?"|
"No. I do not think you fought dishonorably. But I believe someone did." Eitrigg extended a gnarled finger and pointed at Gorehowl. "You received a shamanic blessing with sacred oil on your blade."
"So did Cairne. So does everyone who chooses to fight in the mak'gora," Garrosh said. "It’s part of it. That is not dishonorable!" He was starting to raise his voice, and a strange emotion was churning inside him. Was it—fear?
"Look at the color of the oil," Eitrigg said. "It is black and sticky. No—in the ancestors’ names, do not touch it!"
Most of the blade that had taken Cairne Bloodhoof’s life was coated with dried blood. But in one small spot along the edge, Garrosh could now see a tacky-looking, black substance that did not in any way resemble the golden, glistening oil with which blades were usually anointed.
"Who blessed Gorehowl, Garrosh Hellscream? Who blessed the axe that slew Cairne Bloodhoof?" Eitrigg’s voice held anger, but it was not directed at Garrosh.
A sick feeling twisted Garrosh’s gut. "Magatha Grimtotem," he said, his voice a hoarse whisper.
"It was not your skill in battle that killed your opponent. It was the poison of an evil schemer who sought to destroy an adversary and used you, like a pawn, to do so. Do you know what has happened in Thunder Bluff? While you were out celebrating?"
Garrosh did not want to hear. He stared at the blade, but Eitrigg pressed on.
"Grimtotem assassins have taken over Thunder Bluff, Bloodhoof Village, and other tauren strongholds. The teachers, the powerful shaman, and druids and warriors—all dead. Innocent tauren slaughtered in their sleep. Baine Bloodhoof is missing and is probably dead, too. Blood pours from a peaceful city, because you were too full of pride to notice what was happening literally right in front of your eyes!"
Garrosh had been listening in increasing horror, and now he bellowed, "Enough! Silence, old one!" They stood there staring at one another.
And then something broke in Garrosh. "She robbed me of my honor," he said quietly. "She took my kill from me. I will never know now if I would have been strong enough to defeat Cairne Bloodhoof in a fair fight. Eitrigg, you must believe me!"
For the first time that night, the old orc’s eyes held a glimmer of sympathy. "I do, Garrosh. No one has ever questioned your honor in battle. If Cairne knew what was happening to him as he died, I believe he knew you were not to blame. But know that doubt has been sown here tonight. Doubt that you fought fairly—and they are speaking of it, in hushed whispers. Not everyone is as understanding as I and Cairne Bloodhoof."
Garrosh stared again at the blood- and poison-coated weapon he bore. Magatha had stolen his honor. Had stolen his respect in the eyes of the Horde he so loved. She had used him, used Gorehowl, too, a weapon his father had once wielded. It had been coated with poison, the coward’s weapon. It, too, had been dishonored. And Magatha, in performing such a base, deceitful act, had spat in the face of her shamanic traditions. And Eitrigg was telling him that there were some who believed he would willingly be involved in this?
Because Garrosh challenged Cairne to a duel!Wrong. Garrosh didn't start the duel - CAIRNE did. If you blame anyone for the duel happening, it's Cairne, not Garrosh. Now, it's true that Garrosh did up the ante of the duel, making it to the death. And it's also true that Cairne had good intentions behind the challenge. But these do not change the simple fact that Garrosh did NOT initiate things - it was all Cairne.
Besides, when Garrosh changed the stakes and made the duel to the death, Cairne was perfectly fine with this. He even laughed about it! No, the duel was not some malicious, devious act by Garrosh. Both parties were entirely willing.
Because Garrosh was going to kill Cairne in the duel anyway, with or without poison!Uh, yeah? That's kind of the point of a duel to the death. And Cairne was willing to kill Garrosh, as well. If you view "willing to kill his opponent in a death duel" as a negative trait, then that's fine, but just be aware that you have to apply it to BOTH participants, not just Garrosh.
This is a non-factor. Both Garrosh and Cairne were on the same page here.
Let's put it another way. Let's take the poison out of the equation completely, and now what happens? If Garrosh wins and kills Cairne, is he still a "murderer" for the act? Do you still think he's committed some criminal act? Well what if Cairne had won? Would he be a murderer, or a hero in your eyes?
You can't have it both ways. They both agreed upon the duel, and whoever survived was not going to be a hero or a murderer. They would have simply been the victor. People are letting their personal like/dislike for the combatants color their opinion about what the incident really was - a mutual, agreed-upon duel to the death, tainted by Magatha's interference.
Because Garrosh's stubbornness caused the duel!Nope. When Cairne storms into Grommash Hold and starts yelling at Garrosh over the Ashenvale druid deaths, Garrosh is bewildered and immediately proclaims his innocence. And he IS innocent, remember! We know this, but Cairne does not.
Does Cairne listen to what Garrosh says, though? Does he stop to listen to Garrosh's entirely-reasonable (and true) protests?
No. He slaps Garrosh in the face.
|"It was you who attacked the Sentinels in Ashenvale, wasn’t it?" Cairne cried, moving forward to where the orc stood clenching his brown fists. "And it was you who authorized the mass slaughter of nearly a dozen druids of the Cenarion Circle, gathering together to achieve a peaceful solution to the needs of the Horde."|
Disbelief and then fury crossed Garrosh’s face. "What in the names of the ancestors are you talking about? How dare you accuse me of such despicable acts?"
Cairne snorted. "Garrosh, you have been open in your contempt of a treaty agreed to with honor and in good faith, and of Thrall’s so-called appeasement of the Alliance."
"Yes! I do despise this appeasement. But I would not sneak around the treaty! I would be proud of any attack on the Alliance I authorized! I would shout it from the rooftops to prove to the Horde that all is not lost! The honor of the Horde—"
"How can you even utter that word?" growled Cairne. "Honor? Even now, you lie, Garrosh. You have not the honor of a centaur. At least admit what you have done. Own your foolish, selfish choices!"
Garrosh suddenly grew cold. "You are an idiot to think me a schemer. Age has addled your wits. Because of the esteem in which Thrall inexplicably holds you, I shall ignore your prattlings as that of a madman. Thrall put me in charge of the Horde, and I will always do what I believe is best for it. Go now, and spare yourself the indignity of being bodily tossed out on your tail."
For answer, Cairne backhanded Garrosh right across the face, striking the fresh tattoo. So powerful was the blow that Garrosh staggered and nearly fell, crying out sharply in pain and flailing his arms in an attempt to keep his balance.
"It is I who shall toss you out on your tail, impudent pup," Cairne said. "That blow has been long in coming."
Garrosh did NOTHING wrong here. He told Cairne he was innocent, not once, but twice. Cairne didn't believe him, but whose fault is that? What else was Garrosh supposed to do? Cairne blew in there spouting completely out-of-nowhere accusations, had no proof, and when Garrosh denied them, Cairne started smacking him around instead of conversing or listening.
In fact, read that passage again. Not only does Garrosh keep his calm and insist that he is innocent, he actually tries to defuse the situation by telling Cairne to leave. He doesn't resort to violence, he doesn't have Cairne thrown out and humiliated. We all know how hot-headed Garrosh is, and how quickly he will defend his honor. And yet, he actually displays remarkable restraint and maturity here, by reacting NOT as the volatile, angry savage so many people regard him as, but instead as someone aware of his responsibilities and position, and as someone willing to bite his tongue and bear these completely unfounded insults to his honor.
Garrosh turned the other cheek, and Cairne responded by backhanding it.
Because Garrosh didn't have to accept the duel!Wrong. He couldn't decline, especially not after Cairne started manhandling around like some schoolyard bully. At that point, Garrosh's hands were tied. He HAD to accept the duel.
Why? Because Cairne had just blatantly, brutally impugned Garrosh's honor, and as a member of the Horde, as an orc, as WARCHIEF, that was something that simply could not stand.
Remember, Garrosh is the Horde's bold, brave leader. The orcs (at least) look up to him as inspiration, as a hero. If Cairne was allowed to walk into Garrosh's throne room, beat him up, and Garrosh DIDN'T challenge him to a duel? The orcs would never take him seriously or respect him again. While turning a blind eye might be the civil thing to do (and remember, Garrosh, upon realizing why Cairne is so upset, ALREADY DID THIS), there is no way Garrosh could have let Cairne's grave insult to his honor go unanswered. To do so would make Garrosh look weak, cowardly, and timid. Maybe even scared of Cairne, or scared of the possible duel. And the Warchief cannot be any of these things.
It's not a perfect system, but that's how the Horde works - it's an alpha dog hierarchy, and the top dog has to be ready to show its dominance. That's just the way things are. There's certainly flaws, but those flaws aren't Garrosh's fault. Hell, this incident is pretty similar to when Garrosh challenged Thrall's honor, back before Wrath came out. Thrall is as diplomatic as can be, but he had to answer the challenge and show that he wasn't afraid, that he believed in his convictions enough to fight for them. And it's no different here, with Garrosh. Everyone is blaming him for this duel, when in reality it was Cairne and the Horde's traditions that caused it, not any rash actions by Garrosh himself.
And putting aside the non-possibility of declining the duel, remember that Garrosh had every right to desire justice for how Cairne had just abused him, since Garrosh had done nothing wrong! Cairne comes in, accuses him of awful things he didn't do, then slaps him in the face? OBVIOUSLY Garrosh is going to be chomping at the bit to step into the arena with Cairne and avenge his insulted honor.
Forget about the poison, forget about the results of the duel. Look at this moment and the events preceding it.
Garrosh isn't the villain here.
He's the victim.
Once again, reverse it. Imagine Garrosh storming into Thunder Bluff, screaming false accusations at Cairne, and then slapping the old tauren to the floor. Who would be in the wrong here? Who would we be directing our sympathy at?
And returning to Cairne/Garrosh...as soon as a physical blow was struck, that was it. Garrosh might be able to ignore verbal barbs and insults, but actual violence crosses the line when it comes to one's personal honor. It has always been this way in the Horde. After that first strike, the only possible resolution would be one of them on the floor, defeated by the other. And remember - it wasn't Garrosh who resorted to violence. It was Cairne.
In that situation, what was Garrosh supposed to do? He denied the accusations and said he was innocent. Cairne didn't listen. He tried neutralizing the situation by telling Cairne to just leave, before things escalated. Cairne responded by slapping him in the face. And Garrosh then had to decide between challenging the disrespectful Cairne to a duel, or appearing as weak and cowardly to his people. And to a proud orc like Garrosh - who remember, had committed no wrong - there was no question.
Because...because...BECAUSE I HATE GARROSH!Look at the facts. You may not like Garrosh. You may think he's a hothead, a barbarian, a warmonger. You may fault him for other things he has done or been in charge of, whether it be Ashenvale, Stonetalon, Southshore, whatever. These can be debated, sure.
But Cairne's death? The weird and convoluted events preceding the duel? You absolutely cannot blame Garrosh. In this incident, Garrosh was a victim in every possible way. He was framed, then unjustly accused, having had nothing to do with the druids' slaughter. He tried to let Cairne walk away, and did not strike the first blow. He didn't want Magatha's "help", nor would he have accepted it, had he known what she planned.
He really didn't do ANYTHING but react to other people's actions, and get manipulated by players playing a bigger game, one he was completely unaware of.
No, you can blame lots of people for Cairne's death. The Twilight Cultists who murdered the druids, Magatha, or even Cairne himself. These parties are all very significantly responsible for Cairne's death.
But not Garrosh. He was but a pawn in this tragic chapter.
Hate him, dislike him, whatever. But don't blame him for this. It just makes you look silly.