Getting into the Lore… a teeny bit

No, I’m not going to pontificate about lore.

I did want to say that, after reading Arthas: Rise of the Lich King (during that whole contest thing for the book release, remember?) it inspired us to go seek out more of the books.

Cassie and I both read and enjoyed the Arthas book. This is kind of amazing, since Cassie, as a rule, does not like fantasy novels. I can’t speak for her, and maybe she’ll let us know what encouraged her to read it, but she did tell me she enjoyed it.

She enjoyed it enough that she tried to find Christie Golden’s other Warcraft novels through our local library system.

It took some cross-library requests to get it, but we got Rise of the Horde through the inter-library transfer system, and bought Lord of the Clans at a local used bookstore, along with (since what the hell, we were there anyway) The Last Guardian and Beyond the Dark Portal.

Edit… the spoiler section talks about a book due this month that, apparently, I am totally wrong about as to what the subject matter is and such. Can’t update it with good info yet, so just follow the link and check out the comments. There is no way for me to track down the truth, and figure out what book is about Varian Wrynn and what the Ashbringer graphic novel is about. Working Bear is working as intended.

Spoiler alert!
The collected graphic novel of the King of Stormwind comics, World of Warcraft: Ashbringer is due out later this month, and I’m hoping to get a look at that, because I’d like to see how they resolved “The King is Missing, Oh Noes!” quest chain from Alliance side into “The King is Back and Cranky!” that we see from doing the Dragonblight quest chain tand storming Undercity with the King, and being pissy with Thrall.
Spoilers over

Anyway… so we got these books, and Cassie read the Rise of the Horde, followed by Lord of the Clans, and then said I should get busy with them, that they’re very good.

I have been reading the Ian Rankin “Inspector Rebus” novels from 1 to whatever based on the recommendation of our friend Daak, so I’ve been distracted (I’m on The Black Book now, with four more in the series lined up on the table at home) but I took time out to read those two Warcraft books, plus The Last Guardian since I lived for so long in Karazhan that I wanted to read about it a bit.

I don’t know what Cassie’s thoughts on them are, but I have to say that I loved both books about the Horde. The Rise of the Horde was, obviously, a little richer in the lore of the Orcs, not surprising considering how many years of development passed between the two books, but Lord of the Clans kicked ass too.

Makes me want to run Escape from Durnhold again for old times’ sake.

I don’t know how many of you out there have read the books that have come out, but if you haven’t… I suggest you give them a try. They really are very good, and they tie into our game play events really nicely.

It does add an extra dimension to the game when you know so much more about the world and the people in it.

Hopefully Cassie will have the time to mention her thoughts about them as someone that only plays the game and doesn’t usually (okay, ever) read fantasy novels.

And let me know if you enjoyed these books too, or if they inspired your creation of a guild or changed how you did quests. I’m curious, because I can see how, if you played on the Horde side, these books could inspire all kinds of fun RP events and activities to flourish!

20 thoughts on “Getting into the Lore… a teeny bit

  1. You really want the regular series comic if you want to know about crabbypants Varian. Ashbringer is about Morgraine


  2. I’ve been thinking about reading some of these books myself but since I had no idea about the quality I couldn’t make up my mind in buying one. After this post, and some of the replies, I might actually get to the point of buying one (or more). I don’t hold much hope about finding any in a library over here but maybe I’ll check, I guess they actually might surprise me some day.


  3. Hey,

    Ive just got into WC books too.
    I can highly recommend the Well of Eternity books! Not only does it tell you all about Iilidan but will also give you bits and bobs about the emerald dream (next expansion maybe) and how Druids came to be!


  4. I’ve read all the others as well, but I absolutely LOVED The Last Guardian. It added so much to Karazhan, for me, after having read it. Even an expansion later, we recently went back to KZ and poked our heads in every little corner we’d never been before.. remembering the book as we did it made it a lot of fun. I was so happy to see Moroes when we first started running it. I was always a little disappointed there was no Cook w/ rose coloured glasses in the instance.

    But yes, I do agree they add a lot to the game. The first time I ran Durnholde and we rescued Thrall and Taretha.. knowing what you were “sending her back to” was a neat, bittersweet moment.

    I would not recommend the novels written by Richard Knaak, unless you are a heavy fantasy genre fan. They are often very prosey and longwinded. I ended up disliking Khadgar a lot for them. However, you do get a lot of Dragon Backstory with them, which was a huge bonus for me when playing through Dragonblight, and then the Eye of Eternity (originally I howled long and hard about killing Malygos, somehow it made it okay to know what he’d been through).


  5. Ouch, that made me wince; especially since I work in the equivalent department in my library. We pride ourselves on our service and I like to think we succeed in that. Anyway, even bigger kudos to you and your family for persevering despite the crappy customer service, especially for your son.


  6. Nozekrusher, I hate to tell you this, but we use the inter-library loan system in spite of the librarians, not thanks to their being helpful.

    In fact, one of our personal pet peeves is the fact that we have never, not once ever had any interaction with a librarian in the Ramsey County Minnesota Library System where the librarian was anything other than rude and made it clear that we were wasting his/her precious time.

    We have come close to reporting the behaviour of a few, in fact, but it’s so pandemic that it seems resistance is futile.

    Imagine, if you will, how approachable someone is if, when you approach the front desk, they look up from what they are doing, a sneer (no, I’m not exaggerating, sadly) comes across their face, and before you even ask your question, they announce in a loud and frankly snotty tone of voice, “You need to check out your books from one of the self-service stations instead of here at the desk.”

    Our Ramsey County system has installed the self-service stations, which are nice, and an automated book/material return conveyorized system, and many other computer driven systems to reduce the amount of time the librarians have to spend checking books out and checking them back in. It’s very nice.

    Unfortunately, there are many times when you have no choice but to talk to one. Such as picking up an inter-library book request, which is held at the desk. Or when picking up a DVD that has disks kept behind the counter rather than in the case on the floor.

    And at those times, they are pricks.

    We do everything we can online, requests for books, etc. Because we really do not want to have anything more to do with them. And I can tell you true, if we were given the option of firing half of them and dealing with insanely slow response time on library issues, but keep the budget the taxpayers have alloted for new material purchases, I’d be delighted.

    We take Alex to one of the libraries every weekend, and he gets to pick out books and a movie or two, and play for a while among some of the activities while Cassie or I take turns watching him, and the other is browsing the shelves.

    It constantly amazes me how incredibly awesome the technology and organization of the library system is, and how powerful the books and materials and computer services available are… and at the same time, how the librarians on the floor themselves seem to actively hate the users.


  7. Reading the available WoW books out there have made me a newbie lore addict. It inspired this Tauren to dabble on the Alliance side of things just so I can experience their starting zones and the lore associated with them. I’ve rolled a Draenei and I’ve got a Dwarf just waiting for a rainy day!


  8. I was very happy to see you and Cassie used your local library to get the books. I’m a librarian and one of my pet peeves is how people only seem to buy the books they’re reviewing, or after a review tell readers the book is available through Amazon or Borders. I can understand an author wanting to do this, it only makes sense. But it’s refreshing to see someone with a public forum say they used their library to get a book.

    I’m even more impressed you used the interlibrary-loan (or cross-library request or interlibary transfer). Kudos to your library staff for recommending it. Not many people realize that libraries can (and are happy to) borrow titles they don’t own from other libraries across their state or even nationwide.


  9. I wound up getting the Arthas novel via a different site’s giveaway promotion. I read it, and reviewed it on my blog. Long story short, I liked it as a book, but I still don’t like Arthas as a character. It definitely made me more likely to pick up other lore books, though.


  10. Here are some links to the comics that are as official as you can get.

    Ashbringer Hardcover:

    World of Warcraft Hardcover Vol. 1 (Varian Series):

    World of Warcraft Hardcover Vol. 2:

    I’ve been reading these comics as they are released. It’s not the best writing, but it’s still enjoyable and does give some background to the lore of current events. I think the Asbringer mini-series was done with better quality overall, but that was in part due to it’s short and focused production.


  11. I read the War of the Ancients books. They were so frustratingly bad that I have been hesitant to pick up any of the other books (even those by different authors).


  12. You should also read the Well of Eternity series by Richard Knaak. I read those shortly after BC came out, and it was so amazing to suddenly know exactly what was going on with Illidan! It’s a 3 book series, and they’re wonderful. I loved reading them then seeing the characters in the game. Just one more series to add to you list! 🙂


  13. Apologies for posting twice. I would edit my original comment, but I can’t see where to do that. 😦

    I just wanted to clarify that yes, the hardcover series about King Varian is just called World of Warcraft. Here it is on amazon:

    The Ashbringer comic that BBB linked is a separate story line, but a good one none the less. I would still recommend that people read it. I was looking at it on amazon though, and the editorial review says that it’s the continuation of the king storyline, and that’s wrong. If you look at the link above that I posted, you’ll see the exact same wording for the editorial review section.

    Anyway, not to derail the thread, I enjoyed all of the books you mentioned. Rise of the Horde made me want to leave the Alliance and roll an Orc Shaman, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it and rolled a Draenei Shaman to compensate. Knowing the lore really does give you a better appreciation for all of the things you do in the game, and I’m looking forward to reading Arthas and having a much more vested interest in raiding Icecrown when it becomes available.


  14. I have read all the novels, although I dont get the comics, I do want to pick up the graphic novel for the same reason… I LOVE the game lore. When WotLK came out, it made questing through all the zones a much richer experience. It’s in the little things, like finding Eitrigg, Tirion’s orc friend, in Zul’drak with the Argent Crusade while questing there… and he is drawn correctly, as an elderly orc.

    If you dont read it already, BBB, there is a blog called Lorecrafted that specializes in the game lore.


  15. Ok, completely wrong, ashrbringer picks up where the graphic novel “World of Warcraft” left off, I bow to the bear’s knowledge!


  16. The graphic novel of Varian Wrynn has been out for a while and it’s just called “World of Warcraft.” It was a little weak compared to how the novels go, just felt very rushed. I think Ashbringer is more about the Mograine’s, but I could be wrong.

    I’ve actually gotten quite into the books lately and picked up most of them. They aren’t of the highest quality but damn they are fun.


  17. I guess i’ll expand on that, hordeside, esp on rp servers, Thrall is a hero, Jaina and other personalities of the Alliance don’t inspire the way he does. When people are about to turn in the final Hero of the Mag’har quest, and Thrall returns to Nagrand, people would saying in /General “about to turn in the thrall quest” and all the horde from all over the zone would rush back to town to watch it. They’d even walk behind him /cheering him like a parade. Then watch the scene where he and Hellscream finally take down Mannoroth, Hellscream finally redeeming himself, and getting revenge for the enslavement of the orcs. It’s one of the best events ever seen in WoW, and one of the few quests that are moving at all.

    I’d say that, Escape from Durnholde, and Battle for Darrowshire are three of the best events.

    I also found playing through Warcraft I-III gives you a good appreciation for the lore and understanding of what is going on. Otherwise it’s just a bunch of names that meant nothng to me when I started playing.


  18. I currently own a couple of the warcraft novels. They are fantastic, imo. I read Cycle of Hatred first, because I was very new to the game and I knew the books were supposed to follow the story fairly well (I read the Resident Evil books by S. D. Perry when I was playing the console game many moons ago). I was playing my main (a mage) at the time, and I was introduced to Jaina ^_^ And as I continued reading and learned that Thrall wasn’t really that bad of a dude (yes, I’m alliance) it made me look at the horde side in a different light. Then I got sort of out of order on the series and read Day of the Dragon next and fell in love with Rhonin (not literally, just figuratively) and was VERY excited when I found him in Dalaran after the expansion’s release.

    I haven’t had a chance to get any of the other novels yet, due to lack of time to read and money (damn bills) but I do intend to. My boyfriend is quite interested in the books as well, but he prefers when I read to him, so that’s what I do when I find a little bit of free time around the house. 🙂

    As for inspirations? *blush* The books have opened up a whole new avenue for the game: my own story I’ve been working on. 🙂 It’s slowly coming along, but it’s been hella fun to write.


  19. I absolutely love the lore of the game, and I’ve read most of the novels that are out for it. I got into the lore playing Warcraft III, and then went back and caught up on the stuff before then. Golden is by far one of the better authors of the Warcraft universe, in my opinion. I actually haven’t read Arthas yet. It’s in my bag, so I’ll probably start it at lunch today!

    Side note: BBB, the link to the Asbringer comic you have above is the hard cover version of the 4 part miniseries that Wildstorm put out about Alexandros Mograine and his son Darion, and sort of ties in to the Death Knight starting experience in the game. It has nothing to do with the King of Stormwind, although it was put out by the same label.

    The second volume of the hardcover for the King of Stormwind series is due out in September according to amazon.


  20. Lord of the Clans is one of the best warcraft books written. I liked Rise of the Horde as well. Can’t say much for Rise of the Lich King though.

    However ANYTHING is better than the crap written by Knapp. I can’t stand him. Him and his run on sentences with 30 clauses each.

    But after reading Lord of the Clans playing escape from durnhold takes on an whole new meaning. That instance and the returning Thrall to Nagrand quest chain are two of the most awesome events Horde side.


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