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This article or section contains lore taken from Warcraft novels or short stories.
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Arthas: Rise of the Lich King is the title of a Warcraft novel by Christie Golden. Golden finished work on the novel in July 2008,[1] but the novel itself released on April 21, 2009.[2]

As the title suggests, the novel focuses on Arthas Menethil and his rise to the Lich King.

  • Part One - The Golden Boy
  • Part Two - The Bright Lady
  • Part Three - The Dark Lady



It was caught in a hovering, jagged chunk of ice, the runes that ran the length of its blade glowing a cool blue. Below it was a dais of some sort, standing on a large gently raised mound that was covered in a dusting of snow. A soft light, coming from somewhere high above where the cavern was open to daylight, shone down on the runeblade. The icy prison hid some details of the sword's shape and form, exaggerated others. It was revealed and concealed at the same time, and all the more tempting, like a new lover imperfectly glimpsed through a gauzy curtain. Arthas knew the blade -- it was the selfsame sword he had seen in his dream when he first arrived. The sword that had not killed Invincible, but that had brought him back healed and healthy. He'd thought it a good omen then, but now he knew it was a true sign. This was what he had come to find. This sword would change everything. Arthas stared raptly at it, his hands almost physically aching to grasp it, his fingers to wrap themselves around the hilt, his arms to feel the weapon swinging smoothly in the blow that would end Mal'Ganis, end the torment he had visited upon the people of Lordaeron, end this lust for revenge. Drawn, he stepped forward.

The uncanny elemental spirit drew its icy sword. "Turn away, before it is too late," it intoned.

* * *

His evil is legend. Lord of the undead Scourge, wielder of the runeblade Frostmourne, and enemy of the free peoples of Azeroth. The Lich King is an entity of incalculable power and unparalleled malice -- his icy soul utterly consumed by his plans to destroy all life on the...


But it was not always so. Long before his soul was fused with that of the orc shaman Ner'zhul, the Lich King was Arthas Menethil, crown prince of Lordaeron and faithful paladin of the Silver Hand.

When a plague of undeath threatened all that he loved, Arthas was driven to pursue an ill-fated quest for a runeblade powerful enough to save his homeland. Yet the object of his search would exact a heavy price from its new master, beginning a horrifying descent into damnation. Arthas's path would lead him through the arctic northern wastes toward the Frozen Throne, where he would face, at long last, the darkest of destinies.



The story is set over an extensive period, and has many duplicate scenes from other works, including Tides of Darkness, Beyond the Dark Portal, Day of the Dragon, Reign of Chaos, The Frozen Throne and Wrath of the Lich King. However, while the scenes themselves remain the same, they are experienced from alternate viewpoints.[3]

The story starts off with Arthas at the age of nine,[4] as early as the period between the First and Second Wars, with Anduin Lothar and Varian Wrynn first arriving in Capital City bearing news of the fall of Stormwind. Arthas and Varian play together, though while Varian was trained to fight since childhood, Arthas was shielded from such teachings by his father. However, with Muradin Bronzebeard coming across Arthas fighting imaginary orcs while Alliance forces battle against the Horde on Draenor, Muradin volunteers to train him. Later, Arthas is caught up in Daval Prestor's attempt to marry Calia Menethil.[3]

The love triangle between Arthas, Jaina Proudmoore and Kael'thas Sunstrider is developed through two and a half chapters, Arthas and Jaina partaking in the festivities of Noblegarden, the Midsummer Fire Festival, Hallow's End and the Feast of Winter Veil together. Later, as Arthas starts taking on the responsibilities of a prince, he visits Durnholde Keep, seeing Thrall fight other adversaries in the gladiator arena.[3] Quel'Thalas is visited and high elven culture depicted.[5] Eventually, he is inducted as a Knight of the Silver Hand in the Cathedral of Light.[3]

Eventually, the Third War begins. The story covers Arthas and Jaina meeting Kel'Thuzad, Arthas calling Uther a traitor and dismissing him and the Knights of the Silver Hand from service for their refusal to aid in the Culling of Stratholme. In time, Arthas' search for vengeance leads him to Frostmourne, the (apparent) demise of Mal'Ganis and the moments leading to and after the murder of King Terenas.[3]

The storyline continues beyond this point, to Jaina and Aegwynn in Theramore. Numerous scenes from Wrath of the Lich King are included along with cameos of tuskarr and taunka.[3]


Main characters

Supporting characters

Minor characters

Note: These characters were only mentioned or had little to no role during the story.



  • Originally, the novel was going to be published as a mass market paperback. However, this was changed, and it was instead released as a hardcover first.[6]
  • It appears that the novel could have been released at a later date than the one currently set. As the case was, Golden's attention turned to completing Arthas, pushing back the release date of the StarCraft novel Twilight[2]
  • The novel was originally simply titled Arthas. However, this was changed to Arthas: Rise of the Lich King as the latter subtitle would tie in well with the release of Wrath of the Lich King.[5]


  1. ^ 2008-19-07 When “Horrible” is “Wonderful”. Christie Golden. Accessed on 2008-23-07
  2. ^ a b 2008-12-09, Projects Updates #2: The Dark Templar Trilogy and Arthas. Christie Golden. Accessed on 2008-13-09
  3. ^ a b c d e f 2009-02-22, Review: World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King. Blizzplanet. Accessed on 2009-02-23
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b 2008-16-10, Blizzcon 2008: World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King. Blizzplanet. Accessed on 2008-17-10
  6. ^ 2008-25-08, Project Updates #1: The Dancers Series. Christie Golden. Accessed on 2008-30-08

External links