Where the heck has Thrall been?
Spoilers for Patch 8.2 and the ‘Safe Haven’ cinematic in this post.
If you watched the new “Safe Haven” cinematic, you’ve now seen what happened to Thrall after the elements turned their backs on him in Legion — and it seems pretty straightforward at first glance. When we first see Thrall in the cinematic, as Saurfang walks past Oshu’gun in Nagrand, it’s quickly made apparent that the former Warchief of the Horde has retired to the outskirts of the same zone his grandmother Geyah resided in. We also know from Saurfang’s questioning that both Aggra and their children are also living in Nagrand with him, and that Thrall has been present in Nagrand for some time. Long enough to hide a weapon under the anvil of his farmstead — an axe, although not an axe I’ve seen before.
It’s interesting to see Thrall toiling in the soil. We know that the elements were displeased with Thrall for using them to kill Garrosh Hellscream during their Mak’gora, or at least Thrall believed this to be the case. Whether it was his guilt over his role in Garrosh’s elevation to the role of Warchief and eventual death or the Elements themselves, the end was the same — he walked away from his life as a Shaman, and now we see him adopt a simple life as a farmer on the world his parents were born on. This is fascinating for a lot of reasons, but one of the biggest is that it is in many ways an utter retreat from the Orc Thrall once was — the Orc who stepped up to lead his people out of bondage now has no desire to lead, but simply to live out his life. However, the guy’s still jacked as heck — he might even be more ridiculously swole than Garrosh was.
We don’t know what Thrall, Aggra and the kids have been up to. Have they just been farming this whole time? It seems that people knew where to find him, so he didn’t exactly fall off of the map — the Forsaken assassins seemed to know exactly where to go and Saurfang claimed he followed them and not the other way around, so clearly Sylvanas kept track of them as well.
Hey there, Mister Green
Considering that we saw Thrall infrequently in Legion, it’s possible that at least a year has passed while Thrall, Aggra and their children — remember, Thrall indicates that Aggra has remained home to watch their children, not merely Durak but plural, when he speaks to Durotan and Draka in Warlords. We also can note that the farmstead Thrall and Aggra have chosen doesn’t appear to be particularly close to any of the settlements in Nagrand — they’ve chosen to live isolated. Since Aggra is a powerful Shaman in her own right and as far as we know not one in turmoil, it’s possible that they’ve chosen a place to the south to deliberately isolate themselves from the Throne of the Elements. Since we see Oshu’gun in the video, we must ask ourselves — is this part of Thrall blaming himself for Garrosh’s death?
After all, Garrosh died near the Throne of the Elements, albeit one on the alternate Draenor. It is likely that living in Nagrand would have powerful reminders for Thrall, as it is in Nagrand that he first met Garrosh, where he told the other Orc of his father Grom and convinced him that he was a hero. Everything that Thrall did that put Garrosh on the path to being Warchief started in Nagrand, and it was in the other Nagrand where Thrall killed him. All in all, I find the choice of Nagrand to be a telling one for Thrall.
Does this mean Thrall has recovered his connection to the Elements? Is he a Shaman once more? Or has he not yet recovered his connection to the gifts the Elements gave him, still torn internally over the use of that power to strike down someone who was like a brother to him? We don’t know yet, and I’m fascinated by the axe Thrall uses in the cinematic. We barely get to see it and only really at the very end, but it’s a distinctive and very Orcish design and I’d like to know more about it. For now, we know that Thrall has spent at least a year if not two farming in Nagrand, that Aggra and his children also reside there with him, and that Thrall does not possess the Doomhammer, so it clearly did not return to him after the events of Legion. If he can’t command or entreat the Elements — or simply chooses not to — that might explain his rather burly physique. While he was never a small Orc, Thrall may have fallen back on the lessons of his youth when he was being trained to be a gladiator.
There’s a lot yet to be seen but it’s good to see our old buddy and especially to hear that voice again.
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