If you haven't seen it yet, here's a link, go watch. It's only 5 minutes long.
The Warlords trailer was released yesterday, and people have lots of thoughts. There's probably going to be many blog posts soon addressing how the focus was entirely on orcs, how there were no draenei, how there were no female orcs, the heavy masculinity, and how the lore significance was likely lost on the many players that didn't play the older games.
These are valid points, and you should read them! But this is not one of those posts.
No, this post is about one thing and one thing only: Garrosh. While he's present in a good portion of the cinematic, he doesn't play a major role (one could argue that his torch-waving signalling was unnecessary, since the siege machines were already in action), and he only has one line of dialogue, which consists of only two words.
But those two words. Man.
Gul'dan: This...was not our destiny!
Garrosh: Times change.
Okay. Let's talk about this line. On the surface, it's a clever retort. It's a snappy one-liner to Gul'dan's protests, and it has the meta benefit of alluding to the fact that Garrosh has gone back in time to accomplish his goals. It's a good line.
But put that aside for a moment. Ignore the scene, who he's addressing, what's going on around them. Instead, just look at Garrosh's face when he says his line. And listen to HOW he says it.
Me? I hear a distinct heaviness in his voice. A weight. A weariness. A clear absence of the anger, arrogance and brashness that has for years utterly defined who Garrosh Hellscream is.
Think back to oh, every time we've heard Garrosh speak, whether it's to Thrall, Varian, Taran Zhu, or to players in his own faction. He snarls, he sneers, he spits his words like cannon blasts. For him, the very act of talking is a heavily emphasized, violent act. That's who Garrosh IS. Go watch the 5.4 trailer again if you want to compare.
But his words in the cinematic, these two little words...they don't feel this way. This is a different Garrosh. He sounds almost apologetic.
This drastic change in attitude isn't just the voice acting, either - it's written all over his face. Look at the attitude difference between this Garrosh...
...and this one.
There's no fury, twisting and contorting his features. No bloodlust or hatred. Nor is it the smirking expression of someone who just delivered a devastating verbal shot. No, that is the face of someone who is at that very moment, coming to a difficult, perhaps painful, realization.
Remember, until recently it was Garrosh, not Gul'dan, shouting about his "glorious destiny." And when Garrosh realizes he has lost, that he has been denied the fate he so adamantly believes he deserves, it's almost more than he can bear.
(sound credits: Wowhead!)
Fast forward to Garrosh in the cinematic, standing over Gul'dan. Why is Garrosh not angrier? Why doesn't he take out the years of frustration and rage he, like most orcs, now feel towards this traitor to their proud race? Why does he not spit in Gul'dan's face, break his spindly neck, mock his suffering?
Well, Guldan's faith in the destiny promised him has just been shattered. And hearing the pain and denial in the other orc's voice as those dreams and hopes slip away...what must be running through Garrosh's mind at that moment? He knows Gul'dan is a monster. But Garrosh also knows what it's like, to have the world in the palm of your hand, so close you can taste it, only to have it stolen cruelly away at the last second.
Garrosh was in those exact same shoes not so long ago. He knows this pain all too well.
Now, maybe Garrosh has comes to terms with himself, with the unexpected directions his life has taken him. After all, he's no longer the proud, celebrated leader of the Warsong Offensive. He is no longer Warchief of the Horde, leader of the mightiest army on Azeroth. Now, he's an outlaw. A renegade. Hunted and despised by everyone he's ever known. His grand, ambitious plans of conquest, of victory...now all gone, scattered to the winds.
Gul'dan believed he was destined for something greater. Well, so did Garrosh. But guess what?
Maybe he's come to realize that the world might not actually revolve around him...that his purpose, his meaning in life, is what he is doing now. Not to be the one leading the ferocious charge into battle, not to the one defying the rest of the world and daring them to come rip him down off his throne, but instead, helping his father be the one to attain such glories.
To wait behind, to signal the catapults. To retrieve his leader's weapon. To eschew accolades and recognition. To follow, not lead.
Who is Garrosh really addressing in the cinematic?
I said there was a weight in Garrosh's words, and there is. But there's more. A sense of resignation. Of defeat. Of mourning, an unspoken, quiet sadness at what could have been, and at what he knows he has lost.
But there is also something else - acceptance.
The timbre in his voice. The expression on his face.
For the first time, Garrosh seems - dare I say it? - content.
Look at the moment when he retrieves Gorehowl from Mannoroth's corpse.
Garrosh pauses, considering it. He knows this weapon. He's wielded it countless times. He knows its weight, the feel of how it sings in battle, the adrenaline rush of sending it cleaving through his foes. It's not just an axe, it's an extension of his very being, his warrior's spirit. His legacy.
He looks at it. Remembering.
And then he lets it go.