Thanks to my guild needing a healer and two level 80 characters from Wrath, I haven’t had the opportunity to create my tanking worgen warrior yet. This means that I’ve so far missed out on the Victorian starting area of the wolf-men, which is something I desperately want to experience to see how Blizzard has grown and matured at story telling during the opening minutes of an avatar’s life.
When I was compiling that little list of Blizzard’s extensive Expanded Universe, the company so timely released a new short story to the world, Genn Greymane: Lord of his Pack (PDF sans some art). It’s certainly no novel, but at a healthy 25 printed pages, it’s enough content and lore to fall under The Novel Post’s umbrella.
The first thing I noticed is that writer James Waugh has the reader running around a relatively small portion of the Warcraft timeline. The reader begins with Prince Genn looking for help off the ground from King Archibald Greymane. His father steadfastly refuses, explaining that looking for help is a pride-less endeavor. One beneath the people of Gilneas, and certainly its future king. Lesson learned.
The mechanic is used throughout the tale, triggered by events, words, feelings, even smells. Each time we’re pulled from the current tragedy Waugh repaints the present scenario in great detail. Timeframe, situation, location, participants and immediate details are evoked. He makes certain that the reader is re-immersed in each subplot. And each time Genn learns a lesson, often the hard way. Be it the decision to wall off the city from the Alliance, subsequent arguments with the other nobles, the Scourge attack, the worgen curse or personal family tragedies, Genn learns from his mistakes. He suffers, grows. Always for his people. Always. It’s an interesting way to recap character’s details most lorehounds know, because it enables the writer to recant the story as their own details are spliced in.
The flashbacks are a fantastic backdrop, but the meat and potatoes of the story is the fresh lore sandwiched in there. Waugh was given the reigns to depict Genn at his most helpless, fleeing his homeland with what remains of his people on the boats of night elves. The voyage coincides with Deathwing’s destructive force, causing terror on the seas during the trek to Darnassus. This jaunt possibly depicts the first and only time players have participated in, at least indirectly, the actual Cataclysm. Not the pre-cursor tremors or aftermath, but the actual direct results of Deathwing exploding from the earth.
It’s during this final action-packed hardship that we see Genn begin to accept a new world view. To grow as a wolfman in a positive direction, to trust and accept that his society must change if it hopes to flourish in the challenging new world. Even though there’s little new lore – remove the repeat flashbacks and you’re left with a scant few pages – Waugh crafted an epic character expose.
Genn Greymane: Lord of his Pack (PDF) is short tale that is full of action. A tale that gives readers deep insight into a new leader of the Alliance and what makes him tick. For those that have already been through the Victorian opera, you’ll see a new side of Genn Greymane. And the for the rest of us, it’s a must-read short story (do it, it’s short). It explains the kingdom’s desire, and its former reservations, to join the Alliance.
Completing the tale draws me towards the worgen’s internal strife even more.