- This article is about lore appearances of the Lich King. For a list of his in-game appearances, see Lich King (disambiguation).
The Lich King
|Title||Lord of the Scourge, Dark Lord of the Dead, The Dark One, "Death God" (among the vrykul), Jailer of the Damned|
|Character class||Death Knight, Necromancer; formerly Shaman, Paladin, ex-paladin|
|Affiliation||The Scourge, formerly The Burning Legion|
|Occupation||Master and Supreme Overlord of the Scourge, Lord of Northrend|
|Location||Icecrown Citadel and other points throughout Northrend (see "In World of Warcraft")|
|Status||Passive (Lore), Active/Killable (WoW)|
|Relative(s)||Kil'jaeden (creator), Bolvar Fordragon (current Lich King), Ner'zhul/Arthas Menethil (formerly conjoined spirits)|
|Alignment||Chaotic evil (pre-Bolvar, currently unknown)|
- "Frostmourne hungers."
- —The Lich King
Kil'jaeden the Deceiver created the Lich King from the spirit of the orcish shaman Ner'zhul to raise an undead army to conquer Azeroth for the Burning Legion. Initially trapped within the Frozen Throne with Frostmourne, the Lich King eventually betrayed Kil'jaeden and merged with the human Arthas Menethil. With the destruction of Frostmourne and the death of Arthas, Bolvar Fordragon took the powers of the Lich King within himself, imprisoning the master of the Scourge within the Frozen Throne once more.
The Lich King is the titular antagonist of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King.
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich KingThis section concerns content exclusive to Wrath of the Lich King.
When the Lich King awakened, he removed his own heart, believing that anything that made him at all mortal made him weak.
Attacking Horde and Alliance
The capitals of Azeroth began receiving mysterious packages with infected grain. As their citizens ate grain from the infected packages, they were turned into bloodthirsty ghouls if not treated by members of the Argent Dawn. With all the major capitals thrown into chaos, necropoleis appeared around the world, triggering a second Scourge war. Adventurers from both the Alliance and the Horde fought back the disease and the advancing Scourge armies. Outraged by this treachery, Warchief Thrall with his fellow Horde leaders, and King Varian Wrynn planned an invasion on Northrend to deal with the Lich King once and for all.
The final straw occurred when the Lich King directly attacked the capitals of the Horde and the Alliance. Orgrimmar and Stormwind were attacked by large Scourge armies consisting of frost wyrms and abominations. The Battles for Stormwind and Orgrimmar were won by the brave adventurers and their leaders once more, thus forming the Horde Expedition and the Alliance Vanguard.
These attacks were intended to lure powerful heroes to Northrend, where the Lich King sought to corrupt them and use them against their own people, in a reflection of Arthas' own journey.
Fall of the Scarlet Enclave
Not content to just lure the Champions of Azeroth into his service, the Lich King decided to remove the anti-Scourge presence within the plaguelands. To this end he created a new order of death knights. This new order was led by Darion Mograine and successfully forced the Scarlet Crusade from Lordaeron, with the survivors becoming the Scarlet Onslaught and heading to Northrend. During the battle, he sensed an old enemy that he long ago destroyed, but was content to ignore it for the time being.
Battle for Light's Hope Chapel
- Main article: Battle for Light's Hope Chapel
Empowered by the destruction of the Scarlet Crusade, the Scourge prepared to attack Light's Hope Chapel and destroy the Argent Dawn. Despite the odds, the Argent Dawn won against the army of damned, largely thanks to the arrival of Tirion Fordring. The spirit of Alexandros Mograine, the original Ashbringer, appeared to speak with his defeated son Darion. The Lich King then took to the field himself, sealing away Alexandros' soul.
Realizing how he had been betrayed, Darion attacks the Lich King, only to be swatted aside. Fordring comes forward in preparation to battle the Lich King. The Lich King incapacitates him, stating that sacrificing a small army of death knights was a small price to pay to draw Tirion out of hiding. Lord Maxwell Tyrosus gives the order to attack, and while the remaining Defenders of the Light charge the Lich King, they are easily blasted away.
Darion regains consciousness and tosses the Corrupted Ashbringer to Fordring. The combination of Fordring's own faith and the holy ground of Light's Hope cleanses the Ashbringer, restoring the sword to its original glory. With this new power, Tirion escapes the Lich King's spell and strikes him with the holy sword.
Stunned by this turn of events, the Lich King retreats after promising that the next time he meets Fordring, it will not be on holy ground.
This battle led to the creation of two of the Lich King's greatest enemies: Tirion Fordring's Argent Crusade (a combination of the Argent Dawn and Silver Hand) and Darion Mograine's Knights of the Ebon Blade (an order of death knights who broke free from the Lich King's control).
Angrathar the Wrathgate
- Main article: Battle of Angrathar the Wrathgate
Members of the Horde and the Alliance fighting at the siege for Angrathar the Wrathgate formed a temporary alliance, focusing their attacks on the Scourge instead of each other. With the dragonflights providing aerial support, both factions made a daring attack on the gate, seizing control from the Scourge. There, Bolvar Fordragon and Saurfang the Younger taunted the Lich King to fight his own battles instead of sending his minions. The Lich King entered the battle and quickly slew Saurfang the Younger. Before Bolvar and the Lich King could trade blows, Grand Apothecary Putress, chief of the Forsaken's Royal Apothecary Society and the creator of the New Plague, betrayed the Horde and unleashed his plague on the combatants below. The plague killed most of the Alliance, Horde, and Scourge forces at the Wrath Gate indiscriminately, including Bolvar Fordragon. The Lich King was injured and forced to retreat. This betrayal and the Battle for the Undercity that followed ended upwards of seven years of cold war between the Horde and the Alliance.
Fall of the Lich King
- Main article: Icecrown Citadel (instance)
After the Argent Tournament ended with the death of Anub'arak, the Argent Crusade, led by Highlord Tirion Fordring, struck an alliance with the Knights of the Ebon Blade, led by Highlord Darion Mograine. Thus the Ashen Verdict was born, a combination of opposing orders for a common purpose: the final assault against the Scourge in Icecrown Citadel and the eventual fall of the Lich King.
Icecrown Citadel: The Frozen Halls
- Main article: Halls of Reflection
After intelligence spoke of an opening directly to the Lich King's private chambers, Jaina Proudmoore led adventurers from the Alliance while Sylvanas Windrunner led adventurers from the Horde into the Frozen Halls. While Jaina hoped to find a little trace of Arthas left in the Lich King, Sylvanas planned to simply sneak past all of the Lich King's defenses while he was preoccupied with the Ashen Verdict invasion and claim her revenge. Once inside they discovered that the Lich King had left the Frostmourne unattended within the Halls of Reflection. Both Jaina and Sylvanas attempted to speak with the spirits of the blade in an attempt to find the Lich King's weakness, and both were met by the spirit of Uther the Lightbringer. Uther warned that the Lich King could see what Frostmourne saw and was on his way. Uther finally told them that any trace of Arthas was simply a fading presence inside the Lich King's mind, and that to destroy him, he must be slain at the place where Arthas merged with Ner'zhul, at the top of the Frozen Throne. Finally, Uther revealed that after the Lich King is slain, someone must take his place - without a master to keep them in check, the vast armies of the Scourge would indiscriminately swarm across Azeroth.
When the Lich King arrived in the hall, he banished Uther's soul back into Frostmourne and called his loyal captains Falric and Marwyn to deal with the intruders. He returned to his private chambers, followed by Sylvanas and Jaina. Once the adventurers defeated the captains, their respective leaders, unable to do any meaningful harm to the Lich King, ordered them to flee. Seemingly trapped, they made a final stand before their respective gunships, The Skybreaker and Orgrim's Hammer, arrived to carry them to safety.
One King Falls, Another Rises
Champions of the Argent Tournament, led by Tirion Fordring, stormed Icecrown Citadel and defeated the Lich King's mightiest servants. Atop the spire, the Lich King encased Tirion in a block of ice, forcing him to watch helplessly as his champions battled the Lich King and his minions.
Eventually, the Lich King effortlessly killed all the adventurers with a single devastating attack. The Lich King revealed that he had been waiting for Tirion's assault all along, knowing that he would bring with him Azeroth's greatest heroes, who could then be killed and resurrected as powerful masters of the Scourge. Every obstacle he had laid before them was merely part of his test. Now certain Tirion's champions were "the greatest fighting force this world has ever known", the Lich King began to raise the fallen heroes. Fordring, calling for a final blessing from the Light, managed to break free and shatter Frostmourne with his own sword, Ashbringer. The spirits who had been trapped within Frostmourne, including King Terenas Menethil II, attacked their former jailer by suspending him in the air while simultaneously resurrecting Fordring's champions, who were then able to defeat the Lich King.
Terenas' spirit held Arthas in his arms as he died, then informed Tirion that the Scourge must always have a master to control them, before vanishing in the wind. Tirion picked up the Lich King's crown and prepared to take on the burden of becoming the new Lich King, when he was stopped by the voice of Bolvar Fordragon. The undead paladin sat upon the Frozen Throne, having been horribly burned by dragonfire and tortured by Arthas. Bolvar said that he no longer had any place in the world of the living, while Tirion still had duties to perform. As his final act of service, Bolvar would take the powers of the Lich King within himself, imprisoning the master of the Scourge once more and keeping the undead legions in check. Tirion reluctantly placed the crown of the Lich King on Bolvar's head. As the ice of the Frozen Throne began to envelop him, Bolvar - now the new Lich King - told Tirion to leave and never return, and to tell the world that he died along with the Lich King.
Lich Kings of the Scourge
- Ner'zhul — Alone
- Ner'zhul / Arthas Menethil — Conjoined spirits
- Ner'zhul / Arthas Menethil — Arthas dominant
- Bolvar Fordragon — Presumed alone
While comprised of Arthas and Ner'zhul, the Lich King was ruthless, cynical and unimaginably cruel. He made no attempt to hide this, even from his own minions, openly regarding them as worthless cannon fodder to be sacrificed in his name. The Lich King also possessed an unending hatred of the living, especially of those who oppose him, and does not hesitate to inflict sadistic punishments upon them. It is unknown what personality the Lich King currently possesses, considering the benevolent intentions of Bolvar Fordragon when he upheld the responsibilities.
There had been debate in some areas of the Warcraft community as to what exactly happened when Arthas and Ner'zhul merged.
When asked, "What's the truth about the new Lich King?", Chris Metzen replied: "Arthas and Ner'zhul have become a perfect fusion of one being - Arthas' personality and body with Ner'zhul's wisdom, experience, power and EVIL."
- | 2007-11-27 23:41 by Bornakk:
- Before Arthas donned the Lich King's armor, it was the spirit of the former Orc Shaman Ner'zhul whose soul was attached to the armor and then imprisoned (physically) inside the Frozen Throne. Now Arthas and Ner'zhul's spirit are one and together they are the Lich King.
In a dream state where Arthas sees past, present, and future, presented by Ner'zhul, Arthas murders the child manifestation of his humanity (e.g. love, compassion, and so forth). Delighted at this decision Ner'zhul states "We are one, Arthas. Together we are the Lich King. No more Ner'zhul, no more Arthas -- only this one glorious being." With that Arthas murders Ner'zhul and tells him "No we. No one tells me what to do. I've got everything I need from you -- now the power is mine and mine alone. Now there is only I. I am the Lich King. And I am ready." Ner'zhul is stunned by the betrayal, then disappears. It is uncertain what effect the events in this dream state actually mean for Ner'zhul's essence, but it would seem to indicate that Arthas's soul lorded over Ner'zhul's.
A recent twitter chat suggests Ner'zhul's story is far from over:
Q. Will Ner'zhul appear at any point in 3.3 or the near future? A. Well, he is a chunk of the Lich King now. But if you mean will he appear as an orc, we're not ready to tell his story just yet. We have a lot of stories left to tell, but his is a good one.
CM Crygil also stated, "He didn't actually erase the persona of Ner'zhul. In point of fact, these two beings merged to make up what was collectively known as "The Lich King", on the official World of Warcraft forums. However, this response was made against a claim that Arthas had "erased" Ner'zhul upon merging with him - the event at the end of the Frozen Throne, not the one just prior to Wrath of the Lich King. It does not necessarily preclude him from somehow suppressing Ner'zhul's personality later on.
A debate that has arisen among fans is whether the Lich King can be classified as a god. His origins lie with Kil'jaeden, but his power has continued to increase at an exponential rate beyond Kil'jaeden's intentions. Most of the other gods in the Warcraft universe have their origins with the Pantheon. However, most of them have contributed something to the world of Azeroth. Elune gave birth to the night elves (according to their own legends), while the Dragon Aspects guard specific elements of Azeroth depending on their origins in the dragonflights. The Lich King contributed the undead to this world; unlike the contributions of other gods this wasn't a positive change, but it might still elevate the Lich King to the title. Many Blizzard texts (such as the Warcraft III manual) refer to him as the "godlike Lich King".
The Warcraft Encyclopedia provided by Blizzard classifies a "god" in two ways:
1) Gods are immortal.
- There are no hard and fast rules to define what it means to be a god in Warcraft, save that all gods are immortal.
2) Gods are the object of worship.
- The demigods of Azeroth wield great power and have occasionally played pivotal roles in the planet's history. Nevertheless, unlike gods, most demigods have never been the objects of worship.
Although it is true that the Lich King does not age, it is arguable whether or not he is an object of worship. The members of the Cult of the Damned and the mortals who serve him as acolytes (in Reign of Chaos and The Frozen Throne), as well as the unknown number of intelligent undead he controls (in addition to the countless mindless ones) obviously worship him and provide a strong backing for this criterion. The vrykul revere him as a death god and it is speculated that the tuskarr have identified him with their death-god, Karkut. King Ymiron refers to offering player's hearts as gifts to the death god, as well.
- "Let this be your first lesson. I have no love for you or your people. On the contrary, I intend to scour humanity from this planet, and make no mistake: I have the power to do it."
- "Now...we are one!"
- "You speak of justice? Of cowardice? I will show you the justice of the grave... and the true meaning of fear."
- First words to all death knights:
- "All that I am: anger, cruelty, vengeance - I bestow upon you, my chosen knight. I have granted you immortality so that you may herald in a new, dark age for the Scourge.
- Gaze now upon the lands below us. The Scarlet Crusade scurries to undo my work, while Light's Hope stands defiantly against us - a blemish upon these Plaguelands. They must all be shown the price of their defiance.
- You will become my force of retribution. Where you tread, doom will follow. Go now and claim your destiny, death knight."
- "I see through your disguise, Lady Nightswood. You think that you can fool me?!"
- "Your heart... its incessant drumming disgusts me. I will silence it, as I did my own."
Wrath of the Lich King trailer
Young heroes...I was once like you. You have come to this place seeking to bring judgement upon the damned. You will venture deep into forgotten lands. You will see wonders beyond imagining. But be warned. The land itself will rise up against you. Long forgotten terrors will smother your courage. Sacrifice everything as the final darkness falls...in the end, all that awaits you is death. Only then will you understand - you've been following in my footsteps all along.
So come then, you heroes! Come in all your power and glory! For in the final hour, all must serve the one... true... king.
Fall of the Lich King Trailer
- Spirit of Terenas Menethil: Can you feel it, my son, closing in all around you? The Light's justice has been awakened. The sins of the past have finally caught up to you. You will be called to account for all the atrocities you've committed, the unspeakable horrors you've let loose upon this world, and the dark, ancient powers you've enslaved. Though my soul was one of the first to be devoured by your evil, there are thousands more bound within this blade, and they cry out for release. Look now to your defenses, my son, for the champions of justice gather at your gates!
- The Lich King: Let them come. Frostmourne hungers.
In Icecrown Citadel
- Highlord Tirion Fordring says: Our march upon Icecrown Citadel begins now!
- The Lich King says: You now stand upon the hallowed ground of the Scourge. The Light won't protect you here, paladin. Nothing will protect you...
- Highlord Tirion Fordring says: ARTHAS! I swore that I would see you dead and the Scourge dismantled! I'm going to finish what I started at Light's Hope.
- The Lich King says: You could've been my greatest champion, Fordring. A force of darkness that would wash over this world and deliver it into a new age of strife.
- The Lich King says: But that honor is no longer yours. Soon, I will have a new champion.
- The Lich King says: The breaking of this one has been taxing. The atrocities that I have committed upon his soul. He has resisted for so long, but he will bow down before his king soon.
- Highlord Bolvar Fordragon says: NEVER! I... I will never... serve... you.
- The Lich King says: In the end you will all serve me.
The new Lich King
- Tirion retrieves the Helm of Domination and examines it.
- Tirion Fordring: The weight of such a burden... must be mine. For there is no other...
- Bolvar Fordragon: Tirion! You hold a grim destiny in your hands, brother - but it is not your own.
- The scorched caricature of Bolvar is revealed, sitting atop the Frozen Throne.
- Tirion Fordring: Bolvar! By all that is holy...
- Bolvar Fordragon: The dragons' flame sealed my fate. The world of the living can no longer comfort me. Place the crown upon my head, Tirion. Forevermore, I will be the Jailer of the Damned.
- Tirion Fordring: No, old friend. I cannot.
- Bolvar Fordragon: Do it, Tirion! You and these brave heroes have your own destinies to fulfill. This last act of service... is mine.
- Tirion Fordring: You will not be forgotten, brother.
- Bolvar Fordragon: I must be forgotten, Tirion! If the world is to live free from the tyranny of fear, they must never know what was done here today.
- Tirion nods and accedes to Bolvar's request, sliding the helm onto his head. The chamber begins to shake violently. There is a flash of light and Bolvar's eyes are glowing golden yellow through the eye slits of the helm.
- Bolvar Fordragon: Tell them only that the Lich King is dead.
- Bolvar's voice changes, acquiring the Lich King's characteristic echo.
- Bolvar Fordragon/Lich King: And that Bolvar Fordragon died with him.
- The Frozen Throne freezes over, encasing Bolvar in ice.
- Bolvar Fordragon/Lich King: Now, go. Leave this place, and never return!
|Ascension of the Lich King|
|Wrath of the Lich King cinematic trailer|
|The Lich King defends the Wrathgate|
|File:Wrathgate CutScene 1280 DIVX EN ESRB|
|Fall of the Lich King|
|File:Fall of the Lich King Finale (HD)|
- Undead History, from the Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual.
- History of Warcraft, Chapters IV and V.
- Warcraft relations map
- ^ Vrykul Vrykul motives and their whereabouts for the past several thousand years remains a mystery, though they have recently become allied with the Lich King, accepting him as their "Death God".
- ^ Manual of Monsters, pg. 184.
- ^ http://www.1up.com/do/previewPage?pager.offset=0&cId=3163178
- ^ http://wow.incgamers.com/blog/comments/twitter-dev-chat-2-icecrown-citadel
- ^ http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=23140265258&pageNo=1&sid=1#10
- ^ http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/encyclopedia/417.xml
- ^ http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/encyclopedia/369.xml
|The Scarlet Enclave||Howling Fjord|
|Acherus: The Ebon Hold||Death's Breach||Light's Hope Chapel||Wyrmskull Village||Gjalerbron|
|Agmar Hammer||Frostmourne Cavern|
|Balargarde Fortress||The Fleshwerks||Cathedral of Darkness||Sindragosa's Fall|
|Scourgeholme||Crusaders' Coliseum||Halls of Reflections||Icecrown Citadel|
- World of Warcraft Community Site: History of Warcraft
- World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King – Features