Minipost: The importance of Ishi, Blademaster


One of the characters Horde players meet during the Domination Offensive storyline was Ishi, one of Garrosh's primary lieutenants. He didn't do much, but featured prominently in two of the quests for Horde: the initial expedition to capture the Divine Bell before the Alliance, and the finale where Garrosh starts ringing the bell.

I thought Ishi was pretty interesting, when I first met him. His initial attitude was basically "generic Kor'kron loyalist" (and as such, rather unremarkable) but what I found intriguing was that he was a Blademaster. Blademasters were a prestigious character class back in Warcraft III, and are a rank of great honor in Horde history (kind of like Horde samurai). And while there's been a few Blademasters scattered here or there in WoW (such as Mankrik and Galvangar), we haven't really ever seen one featured so prominently in the main storyline before.

Why did I find this cool? Well, I thought it might be an indication of Garrosh revitalizing dormant/forgotten parts of the Horde. I mentioned a few weeks ago how cool it would be if Garrosh was uniting the separate orc clans into a unified force, and if he was bringing back Blademasters too? That would have been awesome.


Adding to Ishi's appeal is that he's a Mag'har orc, like Garrosh. While we never find out anything about Ishi's past, I like to imagine that like High Warlord Cromush, these Mag'har in high-ranking positions are actually Garrosh's friends from Garadar, young orcs who all survived the Red Pox together.

Finally, Ishi plays a major part in the Domination Offensive finale, Breath of Darkest Shadow. In the quest, Ishi gets possessed by sha energy, and players have to fight and kill him, which leads to the big confrontation between Garrosh and Anduin.


But Ishi's dialogue during this quest was very memorable, because of how sincerely Garrosh answered him. What really struck me about their conversation was how rare it was to hear Garrosh speak this way. For once, he wasn't puffing out his chest and trying to intimidate his fellow leaders. He wasn't trying to throw his weight around and act tough. He was speaking to a peer, a trusted companion, maybe even an actual friend.

And their dialogue is very revealing! Even Ishi, loyal as he is, has his doubts about Garrosh's war. He expresses some fears and concerns that are so rarely (if ever) voiced among the orcs, and it was great to see the personality beneath Ishi's confident exterior. Great, but also a little sad, when you hear Ishi's innermost doubts.

Garrosh strikes the bell again, this time turning Ishi!
Ishi says: Auugh... Auuuuuugggghhhhh! This pain! I cannot control it!
Garrosh Hellscream says: Fight the sha - master it! Use it!

Ishi says: Do you speak the truth, Garrosh? Can the Horde truly survive another war?
Garrosh Hellsceram says: Doubt is for the weak! Do not question your strength, Ishi. We will survive because we must! The Horde will prevail!

Ishi says: We have lost so much, Warchief. Our families, dead. Our friends, lost. Our homeland, gone. How much more must our people suffer?
Garrosh Hellscream says: Our suffering is at an end. When this war is won, our people will see prosperity at last.

Ishi says: Why should be be slaves to honor, when we could slaughter the children of our enemies while they sleep? My blade thirsts for Alliance blood!
Garrosh Hellscream says: Control your hatred, Ishi. There is killing, and then there is murder. Direct your rage to our enemies.

Ishi says: At night, I see the faces of all those I have slain. Where do our spirits go after our bodies lay cold? I fear... death.
Garrosh Hellscream says: Use your fear, Ishi! Turn it on your foes. When death arrives, will you stand and face it or kneel in defeat?


Regardless, I thought it was super cool to see Garrosh actually answer and address these worries. Even though he's gone to such lengths to acquire the Divine Bell, and everything is shaping up to be a REALLY BAD MISTAKE on his part, what he says to Ishi seemed to reveal a different side to Garrosh than the one we'd been seeing. A Garrosh who still cared about honor, who still cared about his people, who kept encouraging his companion to be strong and persevere, and not to give up.

/deep sigh

2 Responses Subscribe to comments

  1. gravatar
    Arcadia

    Ugh, its mess like this that kills me.

    THIS Garrosh would've been a hundred, thousand times more intriguing and interesting that the chest-beating, ham-fisted Disney villain we got. This kind of characterization flew straight under the radar and the writers made little effort to expound upon this anywhere. So much nuance lost, so much potential gray areas all but swept under the rug because certain writers felt that the only way to do The Faction Conflict was to have one side be evil and one side be good.

    There's so much stuff thats been written circles around, such as the famine in Orgrimmar, or the struggles of the orcs to survive in a desert land, or any sort of details that give understanding and insight as to why so many orcs jumped on the bandwagon with Garrosh. Ugh. This makes me so mad just thinking about it.

    But still, thanks Rades, it was a good article.

    March 3, 2014 at 7:32 AM

  2. gravatar
    Balkoth

    Yeah, it does seem that Garrosh went from being a potentially interesting character to being a http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CardCarryingVillain holding a http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/VillainBall

    Kind of aggravating.

    March 3, 2014 at 11:13 AM