Know Your Lore: King Anduin Wrynn
Anduin Llane Wrynn is no stranger to the throne. At age ten, he served as Stormwind’s King in his father’s absence, with his father’s friend Bolvar serving as Regent-Lord. In years following his father’s return, Anduin’s had experience with conflict after conflict. Not just wars and matters of grave importance, but family matters as well.
Varian tried his hardest to mold his son into what he thought a king should be. He tried to keep Anduin out of harm’s way, all the while teaching him the ways of being a proper warrior. Ever fearful that Anduin would meet the fate of his mother or his grandfather, Varian’s protective instincts had the best of intentions behind them. But his well-meaning sheltering quickly grew to the point of suffocation, and Anduin eventually rebelled, choosing his own path.
Varian and Anduin reconciled, of course. But Varian’s gone now — and Anduin’s taken his place as Stormwind’s ruler. But is he the right choice for Stormwind’s throne? Is he capable of being the kind of ruler the Alliance needs?
Despite the fact that Anduin was the temporary King of Stormwind at just ten years of age, he never really had the chance to lead. In fact, the main reason he was appointed ruler was because of Lady Katrana Prestor. Prestor cleverly pointed out that Anduin should be made King in his father’s absence, to keep the appearance of order in the kingdom. In reality, the black dragon Onyxia merely wanted the kingdom under her control.
This didn’t stop Anduin from speaking his mind — especially not when his father returned and began to act strangely. It was Anduin’s clever perception that helped reveal Prestor’s deception. He continued to use his wits to avoid capture after being carried off to Onyxia’s lair. When all the dust had settled and Varian was once again whole, Anduin was left with a father who seemed healed and healthy, yet exhibited wild swings in behavior that suggested he was anything but.
Varian loved his son — and he was also intensely concerned with Anduin’s safety. And who could blame him, really? He watched his father die right before his eyes, he watched his beloved wife do the same, years later, when Anduin was just a baby. In Varian’s eyes, he was only trying to protect his son. He was trying to prepare his son for a world that was harsh, unkind, and full of danger.
Anduin didn’t believe the same — which made him far more like his mother than his father. Where Varian showed a somewhat justified mistrust of the world at large, Anduin only saw the best of the world, and the people in it.
Including the Horde.
That idealistic perception of the world continued to cling to Anduin throughout his childhood and into his formative years. And Varian continued to try to shape his son’s future the way he saw fit. It led to a litany of clashes between the two of them, spurred onward by Varian’s curious mood swings. Where Varian saw enemies, Anduin saw alliances that could be made. Where Varian saw a world fraught with conflict, Anduin saw a world simple waiting for peace to find it.
Anduin’s diplomatic ideals were echoed by Jaina Proudmoore, a quasi-aunt to the boy. No stranger to diplomacy herself, Jaina had been quietly dealing with the Horde for years, and pushing for peace between the factions with Warchief Thrall. Jaina’s view of the world was much more similar to Anduin’s than his father’s. Eventually, Anduin was allowed to spend more time with Jaina — she even gave him a hearthstone so he could travel to Theramore instantly, if he wished.
Meanwhile, Varian continued to push Anduin down a path he didn’t want to follow. Kings needed to be able to protect themselves and their people — Anduin needed to be a warrior. Anduin’s idealistic views made him soft in Varian’s eyes — Varian sent him to Ironforge to toughen him up. In Ironforge, Anduin discovered the path that was calling to him…but it wasn’t the one his father demanded.
The Light called to Anduin in a profound way, and he intended to answer that call. But how would his warrior father respond to the thought of his only son following the path of the priesthood?
Not well. Varian’s volatile mood swings only increased as time went on, and his son — and his son’s safety — were a constant concern. When Anduin expressed an interest in studying with the Prophet Velen, Varian was furious. The two clashed violently enough for Anduin to view, for the first time, his father with fear in his eyes — and it was finally enough to drive him away.
Anduin’s studies in the Exodar were enlightening. At the same time, he was dealing with the knowledge that his father didn’t approve of what he was doing. He would never live up to his father’s ideals. Velen assured him that he would be a powerful priest and a wise king, but the news was bittersweet at most. Yes, he’d be a powerful priest. But he still lacked his father’s approval.
Upon returning home to Stormwind, he finally got that approval after saving Varian’s life. All seemed well — but Varian’s stranglehold on his son’s welfare didn’t really ease. And it seemed as though his father had good reason when Theramore was destroyed, along with Jaina’s diplomatic ideals. Where once had been a beloved mentor, there was now a near-stranger filled with hatred the likes of which he scarcely understood.
Jaina lost Theramore — and in turn, Anduin lost the one person who seemed to understand him better than any other.
In the years that followed, Anduin continued to pursue his own path. Pandaria tested his views of the world again, and his blossoming skills as diplomat and leader. While Varian wanted Anduin to return to Stormwind, Anduin insisted on staying — an act that nearly cost him his life. While bravely trying to prevent Garrosh Hellscream from using the Divine Bell, he was nearly crushed to death in Hellscream’s counterattack. Although wounded, he insisted on staying — and made the acquaintance of one peculiarly precocious black dragon in the process.
Despite Wrathion’s sometimes prickly disposition, he and Anduin eventually became friends — although it was clear Wrathion’s motives were beyond Anduin’s understanding. That didn’t stop him from trying. In fact, a lot of Anduin’s time in Pandaria was spent trying to understand — not just Wrathion, but everyone and everything he encountered. Pandaria, its citizens, the Alliance, the Horde…and Garrosh Hellscream.
During his trial in Pandaria, Garrosh asked to speak with Anduin. Anduin could have refused — but he didn’t. In fact, he returned, time and again, to try to understand Garrosh’s reasoning. And when a plot to poison Hellscream came to his attention, he stopped it from happening. He could have let Hellscream die, and yet he intervened.
Anduin didn’t have Jaina to rely on during these years. He had only himself. And maybe that’s why he was so focused on trying to understand the world from all sides — and all the people in it. No longer a child, Anduin had to stand on his own two feet, and make his own decisions…whether his father recognized them or not.
That’s what makes one question what kind of ruler Anduin will be. He’s been trained to fight, to run a kingdom. He’s studied the ways of the Light from one of the most ancient, renowned priests on Azeroth. But he’s also been thrust into being a king far too quickly through death’s cruel hand, his father ripped away just as the two finally began to understand each other.
At the same time, Anduin hasn’t lost himself in grief. In fact, he immediately assumed the responsibilities of the kingdom — and rightfully ignores Jaina’s pleas to fight with the Horde in favor of focusing on the larger Legion threat at hand. It isn’t until his father’s compass is returned to him that Anduin finally allows himself a little time to mourn his father — and to observe the people of Stormwind and see what they think of him.
The truth was painful to witness. The people of Stormwind like him, they respect him, but they don’t necessarily believe in him. Anduin’s spent most of his life trying to prove himself to his father — and in the process, he hasn’t really proven himself to the rest of the kingdom. Velen believes in him, but Velen’s seen a future in which Anduin’s become a great leader — he hasn’t seen how Anduin traverses that road.
And yet…Anduin isn’t haunted by old hatreds and fears like his father. Yes, he’s seen moments of despair — but he’s also seen moments of hope. It’s the latter he chooses to embrace — that hope for peace in the future. And with it, his father’s final lesson as well.
From you, I have learned patience, tolerance, and faith. Anduin, I now believe as you do, that peace is the noblest aspiration. But to preserve it, you must be willing to fight.
Please consider supporting our Patreon!
Join the Discussion
Blizzard Watch is a safe space for all readers. By leaving comments on this site you agree to follow our commenting and community guidelines.