Know Your Lore: Magni Bronzebeard
This week we’re taking a break from Sargeras (I promise we’ll get back there) to talk about a timely subject. With Hearthstone putting a Magni skin out for the Warrior deck, quite a few players who only started playing WoW after Cataclysm launched are asking asking who that is. So just who is Magni Bronzebeard, and why is he important enough to be the Warrior deck alternate?
Well, for starters, he forged the Ashbringer.
Magni Bronzebeard is the eldest of the three Bronzebeard brothers, and as such, he was born the heir to the throne of Ironforge and the Bronzebeard clan, which had ruled in Ironforge since the War of the Three Hammers saw the Dark Irons and Wildhammer clans driven out and the Anvilmar family deposed from their traditional position as High Kings of all dwarves. Magni grew up feeling the weight of every dwarf in Ironforge’s expectations for himself and the Bronzebeard clan — he didn’t particularly want to become king, but saw it as his duty. As a result, he went so far as to hope that his father and brothers would outlive him, so convinced he was that he would be a terrible ruler who would bring Ironforge to ruin.
Nevertheless, the day came when the crown was placed on Magni’s head, and he mounted the throne of Ironforge. Strangely, many of the things we think of today as quintessentially dwarven are actually due to Magni. It’s Magni who moved the dwarven people away from strictly mining towards an archaeological bent — the Explorer’s League, for example, was his creation (his brother Brann was also heavily involved). Similarly, it was Magni who brought the dwarves of Khaz Modan into the Alliance during the Second War, when the mountains were under siege by the orcish Horde. Magni even took part in the Third War, not only forging the Ashbringer for Alexandros Mograine after hearing the news that his brother Muradin was assumed dead at the hands of the traitorous Prince Arthas, now a servant of the Lich King, but also apparently meeting and fighting alongside Chen Stormstout at some point.
After the Third War, Magni allowed the refugee gnomes exiled from Gnomeregan to find shelter in Ironforge, and remained loyal to the Alliance even after the destruction of the kingdom of Lordaeron and the murder of King Terenas Menethil by his son Arthas. However, despite his many admirable qualities and loyalty to his brothers, Magni proved to be less adroit at raising a daughter. Magni did not conceal his disappointment at having a daughter as his heir rather than a son, and his belief that a woman couldn’t rule as well as a man poisoned his relationship with Moira, his only child and sole heir. When Moira disappeared and rumor indicated she’d been kidnapped by the Dark Iron Emperor Dagan Thaurissan, Magni assembled a team to find and rescue his daughter and put an end to Thaurissan.
It was true that Dagran Thaurissan had Moira kidnapped initially. However, Moira was no helpless victim being held hostage by a cruel tyrant. Whatever his personal failings were (and they were many — Dagran Thaurissan ruled a kingdom that existed under the oppressive dominion of the Firelord Ragnaros, and he was no stranger to vile magics, having made alliances with the Twilight’s Hammer), Dagran Thaurissan treated Moira with the respect due her position as Princess of Ironforge and heir to the Bronzebeards, and saw no reason a woman couldn’t rule as well as a man. Thus, by the time Magni’s agents arrived in the Blackrock Depths, Moira had willingly married the Dark Iron Emperor and was pregnant with his child. The death of Dagran Thaurissan at Magni’s order would turn their estrangement into something far more serious, and Moira refused to return to Ironforge, declaring that her son would rule in Blackrock Depths, and in time, perhaps in Ironforge as well.
Shocked and unable to believe that his daughter would choose to marry a Dark Iron (and unable to truly face his own role in these events), Magni was forced to deal with events throughout the world. His brother Brann was lost in Silithus exploring the horrific ruins of Ahn’Qiraj, only to be discovered (and lost) several more times. Eventually the Lich King returned and attacked Azeroth, and Magni pledged his people to the defeat of the man he believed murdered his brother — only to discover to his joy that Muradin yet lived, an amnesiac among the Frostborn named Yorg Stormheart.
During this time Brann explored Ulduar, an ancient site used by the Titans themselves during the shaping of Azeroth and the creation of the ancient earthen ancestors of the dwarves. It was this exploration that would ultimately end Magni’s reign, and his life, in a manner of speaking.
During the coming of Deathwing, before the Shattering itself, the elements were in an uproar, and elemental spirits began to wreak havoc across Azeroth. An earthquake struck in Khaz Modan, killing a member of his elite guard who was protecting Prince Anduin Wrynn during his stay in Ironforge. Troubled by this and other events, King Magni turned to the wisdom of the Titans, and a set of tablets discovered in Ulduar that had been brought to Ironforge. These tablets apparently promised to help a dwarf who performed a ritual ‘become one with the Mountain’, and so Magni chose to undergo the ritual. And become one with the Mountain he did — at the end of the ritual he was transformed into diamond and fused with the heart of Ironforge itself.
In the wake of his ‘death’ (although at least some would argue he’s not dead at all — during the end of the Cataclysm, Thrall senses a powerful spirit in the mountains of Khaz Modan chanting the same ritual as Magni used) his estranged daughter Moira has returned to Ironforge. The events of that homecoming deserve their own entry — for now, let us just say that after Varian Wrynn nearly took her life, Moira found herself on the Council of Three Hammers, the first time that Bronzebeard, Dark Iron, and Wildhammer dwarves have sat together in Ironforge in centuries. And Magni remains, a diamond statue, in the very heart of Old Ironforge to this day.
For now, this is the end of Magni’s tale. A good king, a loyal brother, a flawed father who failed his daughter and learned too late that he was wrong. Now he is truly the King under the Mountain.
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