- This article is about lore appearances of the Lich King. For a list of his in-game appearances, see Lich King (disambiguation).
Kil'jaeden created the Lich King ages ago from the spirit of the orc shaman Ner'zhul to raise an undead army to conquer Azeroth for the Burning Legion. Initially trapped within the Frozen Throne with Frostmourne, the Lich King eventually betrayed Kil'jaeden and merged with the human Arthas Menethil. When Frostmourne was destroyed and Arthas perished, Bolvar Fordragon became the new Lich King, imprisoning the master of the Scourge within the Frozen Throne once more in order to protect the world from future threats.
Following the events of Battle for Azeroth, Sylvannas Windrunner traveled to Icecrown to fight Bolvar, eventually tearing the helm from his head. She then destroyed the crown, and presumably, the lich king along with it.
The Lich King is voiced by Michael McConnohie.
Birth of the Lich King
When Ner'zhul attempted to escape Draenor, he was immediately apprehended by the demon lord Kil'jaeden, who enacted the blood pact that Ner'zhul had sworn many years earlier. Kil'jaeden ravaged and destroyed his body, but kept his spirit alive and encased it in a block of ice from the Twisting Nether. Kil'jaeden granted him increased power, including that over death itself. Ner'zhul ceased to exist, and the Lich King lord of the dead was created.
Formation of the Scourge
The Lich King was sent to Azeroth through the Great Dark Beyond, landing in Northrend where the ice that encased him formed into the shape of a throne, The Frozen Throne. Here, he would begin the formation of the Undead Scourge and in the process weaken the world in preparation for the Burning Legion. This new army would not fall victim to the petty infighting that had caused the orcs to fail in conquering Azeroth earlier. Sent to watch over him were the dreadlords, led by Tichondrius himself. Within the Frozen Throne, the Lich King experimented with his psychic powers and enslaved the local indigenous life forms. The plague of undeath that came from the Frozen Throne transformed each of them into his undead servants. Thus, using his psychic and necromantic powers, he was able to conquer much of Northrend. As he devoured more and more souls, he only grew in power as the individual undead under his control gave him "much needed nourishment". Thus, his powers began growing at an exponential rate; a fact that the dreadlords were well aware of and kept a good eye on him.
The Lich King entered a war with the kingdom of Azjol-Nerub, whose ancient inhabitants were immune to his plague of undeath. The 10-year conflict known as the War of the Spider ultimately ended with the Lich King's first major triumph (while the nerubians were immune to the plague, their corpses could still be reanimated). The Lich King was impressed by his enemy, however, and adopted nerubian architecture for his own, as a testament to the spider lords' tenacity and age.
Having by now established control over most of Northrend, the dreadlords urged Ner'zhul to proceed with the agreed-upon plan to prepare the world for the invasion of the Burning Legion.
The Lich King then used his telepathy to reach out into Azeroth and summon any dark soul that would hear his call. Kel'Thuzad, a mage and a prominent member of Dalaran's Kirin Tor, answered his call. Kel'Thuzad was soon ensnared by the Lich King, faithfully serving him as the first of The "Cult of the Damned"; a cult that would worship the Lich King as a god and be taught necromancy to better aid their undead armies. (For the full story, please see Road to Damnation)
Kel'Thuzad and the dreadlord Mal'Ganis then were instructed to begin paving the way, but Ner'zhul, ever mindful of Kil'jaeden's schemes, secretly sought a way out of his prison.
Scourge of Lordaeron
After preparing for many long months, Kel'Thuzad and his Cult of the Damned finally struck the first blow by releasing the plague upon Lordaeron. Prince Arthas Menethil and Lady Jaina Proudmoore along with Captain Falric began Lordaeron's search for answers on this new threat. Lordaeron's northern most settlements were consumed utterly by the Plague.
As the ranks of the undead swept across Lordaeron, King Terenas's only son, Prince Arthas Menethil, took up the fight against the undead. As was the Lich King's intention all along, Arthas succeeded in killing Kel'Thuzad, but even so, the undead ranks swelled with every soldier that fell defending the land. Frustrated and stymied by the seemingly unstoppable enemy, Arthas took increasingly extreme steps to drive them out - he eventually ordered the slaughter of everyone in Stratholme that had been infected by the plague. This most likely included innocent slaughter to prevent Mal'Ganis from adding the citizens to the army of the dead, and strike at Mal'Ganis himself. Arthas failed to trap Mal'Ganis, who escaped to Northrend. Finally Arthas's comrades warned him that he was losing his hold on his humanity.
Arthas's fear and resolve proved to be his ultimate undoing. He tracked the plague's source to Northrend, intending to end its threat forever by killing its supposed leader Mal'Ganis. He stumbled across his long-time friend, Muradin Bronzebeard, brother to the dwarven King Magni, and the dwarf led him to a legendary weapon they hoped would help them combat the Scourge. Instead, Prince Arthas himself fell prey to the Lich King's tremendous power. Believing that it would help him save his people, Arthas took up the cursed runeblade, Frostmourne. Though the sword did grant him great power, the cost was high: Muradin (or so Arthas believed) lay dead, and Arthas began to lose his soul, transformed into the first and greatest of the Lich King's Death Knights. Arthas finally exacted revenge upon Mal'Ganis, removing one of the Lich King's more dangerous jailers and completing the unholy transformation. With his soul cast aside and his sanity shattered, Arthas led the Scourge against his own kingdom — Lordaeron. Arthas started The Scourging of Lordaeron with the murder of his own father, King Terenas Menethil II, and crushed Lordaeron with his newfound unholy strength.
Path of the Damned
With Arthas as his champion, Ner'zhul spread the Plague throughout Lordaeron. What remained of the Order of the Silver Hand struck back, but even mighty Uther fell to the Death Knight's power. On orders from Tichondrius, Arthas took the Scourge north, to the high elven kingdom of Quel'Thalas, to resurrect the Summoner of Archimonde — Kel'Thuzad. The high elves never stood a chance, and their capital, Silvermoon, was ravaged — their millennia-aged Sunwell was warped and used to resurrect Kel'Thuzad as a lich. Thus, both masters were appeased: the Lich King's most loyal worshiper was returned, and the Summoner was unleashed.
Having progressed too far into the Legion's plan (and guarded too closely by Tichondrius) to back out now, Ner'zhul's minions laid siege to Dalaran, reclaiming a spellbook of Medivh, which contained the incantations needed for Kel'Thuzad to summon Archimonde. Before the Summoning, Kel'Thuzad had been reading through the spellbook and noted to Arthas that Medivh's knowledge of demons alone was staggering and that he was far more powerful than anyone had ever realized.
Finally, Archimonde was summoned outside Dalaran, and he immediately gave control of the Scourge to Tichondrius and the Dreadlords. But the Lich King was not done yet. Archimonde may have removed Ner'zhul's control over the undead, but in his eagerness for vengeance against the night elves, he forgot to return the Frozen Throne to Kil'jaeden. Thus, the Lich King remained at large.
During the Legion's invasion of Ashenvale, Illidan Stormrage was released from his barrow prison after ten thousand years of captivity. Realizing Illidan's addiction to magic, and having utilized the Skull of Gul'dan himself years earlier, the Lich King dispatched Arthas to Kalimdor. There, Arthas covertly told Illidan about the powers of the Skull of Gul'dan. Unable to resist such power, Illidan took up the skull and harnessed its vast energies. By doing so, Illidan developed demonic features and vastly magnified power. Illidan, exactly as the Lich King had planned, then proceeded to kill Tichondrius and liberate Felwood.
Without Tichondrius's support team, Archimonde's overconfident ascent of Mount Hyjal led to the unexpected: his annihilation.
Legacy of the Damned
Bristling with power and free to roam the world once more, Illidan set out to find his own place in the great scheme of things. However, Kil'jaeden confronted Illidan and made him an offer he could not refuse. Kil'jaeden was angered by Archimonde's defeat at Mount Hyjal, but he had greater concerns than vengeance. Sensing that his creation, the Lich King, was out of his control, Kil'jaeden ordered Illidan to destroy Ner'zhul and put an end to the undead Scourge once and for all. In exchange, Illidan would receive untold power and a true place amongst the remaining lords of the Burning Legion.
Illidan agreed and immediately set out to destroy the Frozen Throne, the icy crystal cask in which the Lich King's spirit resided. Illidan knew that he would need a mighty artifact to destroy the Frozen Throne. Using the knowledge he had gained from Gul'dan's memories, Illidan decided to seek out the Tomb of Sargeras and claim the Dark Titan's remains. Using his vast, demonic powers, he lured the serpentine naga from their dark undersea lairs. Led by the cunning witch Lady Vashj the naga helped Illidan reach the Broken Isles, where Sargeras's tomb was rumored to be located.
With the powerful Eye of Sargeras in his possession, Illidan traveled to Dalaran. Strengthened by the city's ley energy lines, Illidan used the Eye to cast a destructive spell against the Lich King's citadel of Icecrown in distant Northrend. Illidan's attack shattered the Lich King's defenses and ruptured the very roof of the world. The Lich King had no defense against this spell, and he would have been forever vanquished that day. But at the final moment, Illidan's destructive spell was stopped when his brother Malfurion intervened, sensing that the spell was causing great damage to the world.
Civil War in the Plaguelands
Now that Ner'zhul had openly defied the will of the Legion, he knew that the wrath of Kil'jaeden and his demonic lackeys would be fierce - and at the worst possible time, Ner'zhul was losing his magical power. When he had pushed Frostmourne from the throne, he had caused a crack within the icy cask. Illidan's spell had caused this crack to worsen and now the Lich King's powers were rapidly seeping out like blood from an open wound. Half-way across Azeroth, residing over the unholy remains of his father's kingdom, Arthas was losing power as well — his powers came directly from the Frozen Throne, through his blade Frostmourne, and his hold over the undead was also slipping.
Ner'zhul knew that his time was short. Imprisoned within the Frozen Throne, he suspected (correctly) that Kil'jaeden would send his agents to destroy him. Desperate to save himself, he called his greatest mortal servant to his side: the death knight Arthas.
Though his powers were drained by the Lich King's weakness, Arthas had been involved in a civil war in Lordaeron. Half of the standing undead forces, led by the banshee Sylvanas Windrunner, had been freed by the Lich King's sudden loss of influence and resented what they had become. Also, another group of undead was still under the control of the Legion's remaining commanders: the three dreadlords Varimathras, Detheroc and Balnazzar. Arthas, called by the Lich King, was forced to leave the Scourge in the hands of his lieutenant, Kel'Thuzad, as the war escalated throughout the Plaguelands.
Ultimately, Sylvanas and her rebel undead (known as the Forsaken) claimed the ruined capital city of Lordaeron as their own. Consuming the old sewers beneath the wrecked Capital City, the Forsaken vowed to defeat the Scourge and drive Kel'Thuzad and his minions from the land. The Lich King was powerless to stop them.
Weakened, but determined to save his master, Arthas reached Northrend only to find Illidan's naga and blood elves waiting for him. He and his nerubian allies (in the form of Crypt Fiends led by the fallen Spider Lord Anub'arak) raced against Illidan's forces to reach the Icecrown Glacier and defend the Frozen Throne.
The Lich King Triumphant
Arthas, with Anub'arak's help, battled his way through their forces until faced with Prince Kael'thas, who challenged him. Kael'thas used the fact that Jaina now hated Arthas to make him hesitate, and fought with his father's reforged runeblade, Felo'melorn (Flamestrike). Flamestrike clashed against Frostmourne but in the end Arthas forced Kael'thas to flee, leaving the path open. He then proceeded to magically activate the four Icecrown obelisks around the glacier, opening the doors to the Frozen Throne.
However, Illidan was waiting for him. An intense battle commenced in which Illidan displayed his newfound demonic powers and nearly defeated Arthas. Until, coming in for the finishing blow, he inadvertently left himself open and Arthas quickly took advantage of it, slicing open the demon hunter's chest. Illidan collapsed, grievously wounded. Arthas then turned towards the open doors of Icecrown, leaving Illidan on the ground instead of finishing him. Rather, before he walked away, Arthas warned Illidan to leave Azeroth and never return.
Arthas entered the hollow glacier and beheld a winding pinnacle chained to the ice. As he strode up the stairs towards his destiny, the voices of those he had forsaken flooded through his mind. First he heard again Uther warning him "If we allow our passions to turn to bloodlust, then we will become as vile as the orcs." Then he heard again more angry remarks from Uther and Muradin, as well as his own responses to them, yet he ignored them, continuing his ascent. Finally, he reached the pinnacle and before him he saw an icy cask, within which was a suit of armour, arranged as if seated on a massive throne. Now only two voices spoke to him: Medivh's previous warning to Jaina and the rasping whisper of Ner’zhul:
With a great cry of strength, Arthas brought the might of Frostmourne to bear against the Lich King's icy prison and with a haunting scream, the Frozen Throne exploded, and shards of the crystal scattered on the ground. With Ner'zhul's thorny helm at his feet, Arthas leaned forward, picked it up and then placed the unimaginably powerful artifact on his head.
"Now," Ner'zhul's voice echoed within his mind and throughout the chamber, "we are one!"
It was at that moment, Ner'zhul and Arthas's spirits fused into a single mighty being, just as the Lich King had always planned. And thus one of the most powerful entities on Azeroth was born.
After the merger, the Lich King sat dormant for several years while storms raged across Northrend and his minions constructed Icecrown Citadel around the Frozen Throne. While the Lich King dreamt, the various personas in his mind - the death knight Arthas Menethil, the orc shaman Ner'zhul, and Matthias Lehner, the personification of the remnants of Arthas's humanity - fought for influence and control over the entity. It is noticeable that if arranged accordingly, Matthias Lehner is an anagram of Arthas Menethil.
Matthias tried to reason with Arthas, but Arthas killed him by running him through with Frostmourne. Ner'zhul was delighted by this, declaring that he and Arthas were now free to merge into a single glorious being. Arthas rejected this offer, stating that only he was worthy of the power of the Lich King, no one would tell him what to do again. He impaled the stunned Ner'zhul with Frostmourne, becoming the dominant personality of the Lich King and ending the dream.
In World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
This section concerns content exclusive to Wrath of the Lich King.
When the Lich King finally awakened after decades, he silenced his own heart, believing that anything that made him at all mortal made him weak.
Afterwards he journeyed to Sindragosa's Fall where he raised the ancient massive dragon Sindragosa, the first consort to Malygos, as a frost wyrm, then watched his massive undead army prepare for war.
Attacking Horde and Alliance
The capitals of Azeroth began receiving mysterious packages with infected grain. As their citizens ate grain from the infected packages, they were turned into bloodthirsty ghouls if not treated by members of the Argent Dawn. With all the major capitals thrown into chaos, necropoleis appeared around the world, triggering a second Scourge war. Adventurers from both the Alliance and the Horde fought back the disease and the advancing Scourge armies. Outraged by this treachery, Warchief Thrall with his fellow Horde leaders, and King Varian Wrynn planned an invasion on Northrend to deal with the Lich King once and for all.
The final straw occurred when the Lich King directly attacked the capitals of the Horde and the Alliance. Orgrimmar and Stormwind were attacked by large Scourge armies consisting of frost wyrms and abominations. The Battles for Stormwind and Orgrimmar were won by the brave adventurers and their leaders once more, thus forming the Horde Expedition and the Alliance Vanguard.
These attacks were intended to lure powerful heroes to Northrend, where the Lich King sought to corrupt them and use them against their own people, in a reflection of Arthas's own journey.
Fall of the Scarlet Enclave
Not content to just lure the Champions of Azeroth into his service, the Lich King decided to remove the anti-Scourge presence within the plaguelands. To this end he created a new order of death knights. This new order was led by Highlord Darion Mograine and successfully forced the Scarlet Crusade from Lordaeron, with the survivors becoming the Scarlet Onslaught and heading to Northrend. During the battle, he sensed an old enemy he destroyed long ago, but he was content to ignore that at the time.
Battle for Light's Hope Chapel
- Main article: Battle for Light's Hope Chapel
Empowered by the destruction of the Scarlet Crusade, the Scourge prepared to attack Light's Hope Chapel and destroy the Argent Dawn. Despite the odds, the Argent Dawn won against the army of damned, largely thanks to the arrival of Tirion Fordring. The spirit of Alexandros Mograine, the original Ashbringer, appeared to speak with his defeated son Darion. The Lich King then took to the field himself, sealing away Alexandros's soul.
Realizing how he had been betrayed, Darion attacks the Lich King, only to be swatted aside. Fordring comes forward in preparation to battle the Lich King. The Lich King incapacitates him, stating that sacrificing a small army of death knights was a small price to pay to draw Tirion out of hiding. Lord Maxwell Tyrosus gives the order to attack, and while the remaining Defenders of the Light charge the Lich King, they are easily blasted away.
Having heard from the Lich King himself of why he would throw away Darion and the death knights under his command, Darion uses Arthas's focus on Tirion against him, and throws the Corrupted Ashbringer to Fordring. The combination of Fordring's own faith and the holy ground of Light's Hope cleanses the Ashbringer, restoring the sword to its original glory. With this new power, Tirion escapes the Lich King's spell and strikes him with the holy sword.
Stunned by this turn of events, the Lich King retreats after promising that the next time he meets Fordring, it will not be on holy ground.
This battle led to the creation of two of the Lich King's greatest enemies: Tirion Fordring's Argent Crusade (a combination of the Argent Dawn and Silver Hand) and Darion Mograine's Knights of the Ebon Blade (an order of death knights who broke free from the Lich King's control).
Angrathar the Wrathgate
- Main article: Battle of Angrathar the Wrathgate
Members of the Horde and the Alliance fighting at the siege for Angrathar the Wrathgate formed a temporary alliance, focusing their attacks on the Scourge instead of each other. With the dragonflights providing aerial support, both factions made a daring attack on the gate, seizing control from the Scourge. There, Bolvar Fordragon and Saurfang the Younger taunted the Lich King to fight his own battles instead of sending his minions. The Lich King entered the battle and quickly slew Saurfang the Younger. Before Bolvar and the Lich King could trade blows, Grand Apothecary Putress, chief of the Forsaken's Royal Apothecary Society and the creator of the New Plague, betrayed the Horde and unleashed his plague on the combatants below. The plague killed most of the Alliance, Horde, and Scourge forces at the Wrath Gate indiscriminately, including Bolvar Fordragon. The Lich King was injured and forced to retreat. This betrayal and the Battle for the Undercity that followed ended upwards of seven years of cold war between the Horde and the Alliance.
Fall of the Lich King
- Main article: Icecrown Citadel (instance)
After the Argent Tournament ended with the death of Anub'arak, the Argent Crusade, led by Highlord Tirion Fordring, struck an alliance with the Knights of the Ebon Blade, led by Highlord Darion Mograine. Thus the Ashen Verdict was born, a combination of opposing orders for a common purpose: the final assault against the Scourge in Icecrown Citadel and the eventual fall of the Lich King.
Icecrown Citadel: The Frozen Halls
- Main article: Halls of Reflection
After intelligence spoke of an opening directly to the Lich King's private chambers, Jaina Proudmoore led adventurers from the Alliance while Sylvanas Windrunner led adventurers from the Horde into the Frozen Halls. While Jaina hoped to find a little trace of Arthas left in the Lich King, Sylvanas planned to simply sneak past all of the Lich King's defenses while he was preoccupied with the Ashen Verdict invasion and claim her revenge. Once inside they discovered that the Lich King had left Frostmourne unattended within the Halls of Reflection. Both Jaina and Sylvanas attempted to speak with the spirits of the blade in an attempt to find the Lich King's weakness, and both were met by the spirit of Uther the Lightbringer. Uther warned that the Lich King could see what Frostmourne saw and was on his way. Uther finally told them that any trace of Arthas was simply a fading presence inside the Lich King's mind, and that to destroy him, he must be slain at the place where Arthas merged with Ner'zhul, at the top of the Frozen Throne. Finally, Uther revealed that after the Lich King is slain, someone must take his place - without a master to keep them in check, the vast armies of the Scourge would indiscriminately swarm across Azeroth.
When the Lich King arrived in the hall, he banished Uther's soul back into Frostmourne and called his loyal captains Falric and Marwyn to deal with the intruders. He returned to his private chambers, followed by Sylvanas and Jaina. Once the adventurers defeated the captains, their respective leaders, unable to do any meaningful harm to the Lich King, ordered them to flee. Seemingly trapped, they made a final stand before their respective gunships, The Skybreaker and Orgrim's Hammer, arrived to carry them to safety.
One King Falls, Another Rises
Champions of the Argent Tournament, led by Tirion Fordring, stormed Icecrown Citadel and defeated the Lich King's mightiest servants. Atop the spire, the Lich King encased Tirion in a block of ice, forcing him to watch helplessly as his champions battled the Lich King and his minions.
Eventually, the Lich King effortlessly killed all the adventurers with a single devastating attack. The Lich King revealed that he had been waiting for Tirion's assault all along, knowing that he would bring with him Azeroth's greatest heroes, who could then be killed and resurrected as powerful masters of the Scourge. Every obstacle he had laid before them was merely part of his test. Now certain Tirion's champions were "the greatest fighting force this world has ever known", the Lich King began to raise the fallen heroes. Before he could finish, Fordring, calling for a final blessing from the Light, managed to break free and shatter Frostmourne with his own sword, Ashbringer, much to the Lich King's shock. The spirits who had been trapped within Frostmourne, including King Terenas Menethil II, attacked their former jailer by suspending him in the air while simultaneously resurrecting Fordring's champions, who were then able to defeat the Lich King.
Terenas's spirit held Arthas in his arms as he took his last breath, then informed Tirion that the Scourge must always have a master to control them, before vanishing in the wind. Tirion picked up the Lich King's crown and prepared to take on the burden of becoming the new Lich King, when he was stopped by the voice of Bolvar Fordragon. The undead paladin sat upon the Frozen Throne, having been horribly burned by dragonfire and tortured by Arthas. Bolvar said that he no longer had any place in the world of the living, while Tirion still had duties to perform. As his final act of service, Bolvar would take the powers of the Lich King himself, in order to keep the damned in check. Tirion reluctantly placed the crown of the Lich King on Bolvar's head. As the ice of the Frozen Throne began to envelop him, Bolvar - now the new Lich King - told Tirion to tell the world that the Lich King is dead, and as his voice changed to one similar of the Lich King, added that Bolvar Fordragon died with him and to leave and never return.
The King and the Legion
The Lich King slumbered until the invasion of Azeroth by the Legion. As the Legion was a threat to Azeroth, it was a threat to the Lich King. He contacts Highlord Darion Mograine and proposes that, in exchange for continuing to contain his Scourge to Northrend, the Death Knights and their chosen Deathlord will act as his hand in the fight against the Legion; the new Deathlord the utter extension of his will. With the entirety of the remaining Death Knights combined into one Order, the new Lich King began to bestow upon them, as well as other classes of heroes like Fire Mages, information on powerful weapons to help combat the emerging threat, including shards of the shattered Frostmourne, a sword that corrupted hundereds of souls, and an axe devised by the legion itself that consumed its very maker.
The next order of business being the reformation of the Four Horsemen, all lost in the defeat of the floating citadel of Naxxramas. Commander Thoras Trollbane of Stormgarde Keep, High Inquisitor Whitemane of the Scarlet Crusade, Nazgrim the orc General, and eventually Highlord Mograine himself join the Four Horsemen as the Lieutenants of the new Deathlord. Before Mograine took up the final set of reins, the Lich King attempts to get Tirion Fordring, who fell at the failed Broken Shore invasion, to be raised into undeath via a feint attack on and quiet entrance of the Deathlord into Lights Hope Chapel itself, but the powers of the Light were overwhelming. Like the Lights Hope Chapel invasion that started the Death Knight campaign, their assault was quickly turned on them, and were handily thrown out of the chapel by the Blood Knight Lady Liadrin.
Speaking to the Lich Amal'thazad, the Lich King convinces him to scrawl a series of runes on top of the Acherus, in order for the Deathlord to more fully commune with their unholy creator. Once completed, the Deathlord is informed of a memory from the previous Lich King Arthas, which showed countless undead scurrying across a sea of ice in search of something of great power, but try as he may, the current Lich King Bolvar Fordragon cannot seem to locate. He promises the full power of whatever awaits from the memory to the Deathlord, but also that if he failed, the Acherus, the reformed Four Horsemen, and all of the forces of the Order would be taken command by the Lich King himself to enact his "other plans." The Deathlord, accepting this offer, follows the vision through a white-out blizzard to a hidden iceberg far to the north of Icecrown. The Lich King watched as his Deathlord travelled through the frozen wasteland, so cold that all the gear the Deathlord carried was frozen solid, only to be confronted by feral scourge, outside of even the Lich King's influence. They had been feeding off this great power, a power now known to be a fallen red dragon. Finally, when cleared of the remaining undead, their essences were used to corrupt and raise the remains of the dragon into undeath itself, its strong red dragon abilities in life, made it able to mimic the powers and appearance of whatever Death Knight calls upon it.
Following the Battle of Azeroth and the defeat of Sargeras, Sylvanas Windrunner, ousted Warchief of the Horde, traveled to icecrown to face Bolvar for unknown reasons. After an intense fight that culminated in Bolvar being chained down by her magic, Sylvanas tore the Helm of Domination off of the Lich King's head. Bolvar, assuming she would don it, claimed that the power of the Lich King was a prison, to which Sylvanas responded that this world was a prison. To Bolvar's surprise and horror, Sylvanas tore the Helm of Domination apart, thus tearing open a rift into the Shadowlands above Icecrown Citadel.
Lich Kings of the Scourge
- Ner'zhul — Alone
- Ner'zhul / Arthas Menethil — Conjoined spirits
- Ner'zhul / Arthas Menethil — Arthas dominant (in the novel)
- Ner'zhul / Bolvar Fordragon — New Lich King
While comprised of Arthas and Ner'zhul, the Lich King was ruthless, cynical and unimaginably cruel. He made no attempt to hide this, even from his own minions, openly regarding them as worthless cannon fodder to be sacrificed in his name. The Lich King also possessed an unending hatred of the living, especially of those who oppose him, and does not hesitate to inflict sadistic punishments upon them. It is unknown what personality the Lich King currently possesses, considering the benevolent intentions of Bolvar Fordragon when he upheld the responsibilities. It can be inferred after Legion's death knight class hall quests that Bolvar is at least somewhat influenced by Ner'zhul's presence within the Helm of Domination. How much influence, however, has yet to be known.
Tirion Fordring was one of the Lich Kings most hated enemies and as the leader of the Argent Crusade, whose sole purpose is to fight the Scourge, Tirion defies everything that the Lich King stands for and thus the Lich King sees Tirion as his arch-nemesis. Tirion has disrupted many of the Lich King's plans and the two have confronted each other multiple times. Tirion views the Lich King as the most evil being Azeroth has had to face and vows to strike him down, while the Lich King intends to make Tirion, and those close to him, suffer more than anything and watch everything he cherishes fall.
Sylvanas Windrunner, the Banshee Queen of the Forsaken, was another of the Lich King’s most hated enemies. After defeating her as a mortal High Elf, and raising her into a mindless slave to his will, Sylvanas was able to break free from his dominion and subsequently founded the Forsaken. With the death of the Lich King on their main agenda, the Forsaken oversaw the production of a master plague capable of bringing the Scourge to it’s knees. Sylvanas herself was not present to see the vengeance of the Forsaken wrought on by the plague, the Lich King whispering Sylvanas's name moments before the deployment. She would later infiltrate Icecrown Citadel with several of her Dark Rangers, and come face to face with the individual -and the blade- that took her life. After a titanic struggle followed by a narrow escape, Sylvanas was forced to face her inability to defeat Arthas, and contemplated whether even an army of her allies could either.
The Lich King had a rather interesting relationship with the adventurers who fought in the Northrend war. Rather than see the adventurers as a complete nuisance, he realized that the adventurers had much potential and intended to draw out that potential. As such, he constantly threw many of his strongest minions against the adventurers, seeking to test their abilities and their resolve. While he knew that the adventurers had much power, he still saw them as a formidable threat to his plans, as the adventurers constantly made advances all through-out Northrend and foiled several of his operations and plans. Also, during their betrayal of Drakuru, the Lich King was amused rather than angered by their defeat of his servant. Finally, during the adventurers raid on his fortress Icecrown Citadel, The Lich King revealed his true intentions: to kill the adventurers and raise them as his undead minions, thus possessing the strongest fighting force in the world. This backfires on him however, since it is the adventurers who manage to defeat him in the end with the help of Tirion Fordring.
There had been debate in some areas of the Warcraft community as to what exactly happened when Arthas and Ner'zhul merged.
When asked, "What's the truth about the new Lich King?", Chris Metzen replied: "Arthas and Ner'zhul have become a perfect fusion of one being - Arthas' personality and body with Ner'zhul's wisdom, experience, power and EVIL."
- | 2007-11-27 23:41 by Bornakk:
- Before Arthas donned the Lich King's armor, it was the spirit of the former Orc Shaman Ner'zhul whose soul was attached to the armor and then imprisoned (physically) inside the Frozen Throne. Now Arthas and Ner'zhul's spirit are one and together they are the Lich King.
In a dream state where Arthas sees past, present, and future, presented by Ner'zhul, Arthas murders the child manifestation of his humanity (e.g. love, compassion, and so forth). Delighted at this decision Ner'zhul states "We are one, Arthas. Together we are the Lich King. No more Ner'zhul, no more Arthas -- only this one glorious being." With that Arthas murders Ner'zhul and tells him "No we. No one tells me what to do. I've got everything I need from you -- now the power is mine and mine alone. Now there is only I. I am the Lich King. And I am ready." Ner'zhul is stunned by the betrayal, then disappears. It is uncertain what effect the events in this dream state actually mean for Ner'zhul's essence, but it would seem to indicate that Arthas's soul lorded over Ner'zhul's.
A recent twitter chat suggests Ner'zhul's story is far from over:
Q. Will Ner'zhul appear at any point in 3.3 or the near future?
- A. Well, he is a chunk of the Lich King now. But if you mean will he appear as an orc, we're not ready to tell his story just yet. We have a lot of stories left to tell, but his is a good one.
CM Crygil also stated, "He didn't actually erase the persona of Ner'zhul. In point of fact, these two beings merged to make up what was collectively known as 'The Lich King'", on the official World of Warcraft forums. However, this response was made against a claim that Arthas had "erased" Ner'zhul upon merging with him - the event at the end of the Frozen Throne, not the one just prior to Wrath of the Lich King. It does not necessarily preclude him from somehow suppressing Ner'zhul's personality later on.
A debate that has arisen among fans is whether the Lich King can be classified as a god. His origins lie with Kil'jaeden, but his power has continued to increase at an exponential rate beyond Kil'jaeden's intentions. Most of the other gods in the Warcraft universe have their origins with the Pantheon. However, most of them have contributed something to the world of Azeroth. Elune gave birth to the night elves (according to their own legends), while the Dragon Aspects guard specific elements of Azeroth depending on their origins in the dragonflights. The Lich King contributed the undead to this world; unlike the contributions of other gods this wasn't a positive change, but it might still elevate the Lich King to the title. Many Blizzard texts (such as the Warcraft III manual) refer to him as the "godlike Lich King".
The Warcraft Encyclopedia provided by Blizzard classifies a "god" in two ways:
- Gods are immortal.
- There are no hard and fast rules to define what it means to be a god in Warcraft, save that all gods are immortal.
- Gods are the object of worship.
- The demigods of Azeroth wield great power and have occasionally played pivotal roles in the planet's history. Nevertheless, unlike gods, most demigods have never been the objects of worship.
Although it is true that the Lich King does not age, it is arguable whether or not he is an object of worship. The members of the Cult of the Damned and the mortals who serve him as acolytes (in Reign of Chaos and The Frozen Throne), as well as the unknown number of intelligent undead he controls (in addition to the countless mindless ones) obviously worship him and provide a strong backing for this criterion. The vrykul revere him as a death god and it is speculated that the tuskarr have identified him with their death-god, Karkut. King Ymiron refers to offering player's hearts as gifts to the death god, as well.
- "Let this be your first lesson. I have no love for you or your people. On the contrary, I intend to scour humanity from this planet, and make no mistake: I have the power to do it."
- "Now...we are one!"
- "You speak of justice? Of cowardice? I will show you the justice of the grave... and the true meaning of fear."
- First words to all death knights:
- All that I am: anger, cruelty, vengeance - I bestow upon you, my chosen knight. I have granted you immortality so that you may herald in a new, dark age for the Scourge.
- Gaze now upon the lands below us. The Scarlet Crusade scurries to undo my work, while Light's Hope stands defiantly against us - a blemish upon these Plaguelands. They must all be shown the price of their defiance.
- You will become my force of retribution. Where you tread, doom will follow. Go now and claim your destiny, death knight.
- "I see through your disguise, Lady Nightswood. You think that you can fool me?!"
- "Your heart... its incessant drumming disgusts me. I will silence it, as I did my own."
- "I will break you as I broke him!" (Said during a vision in the Yogg-Saron encounter)
Wrath of the Lich King trailer
Young heroes...I was once like you. You have come to this place seeking to bring judgement upon the damned. You will venture deep into forgotten lands. You will see wonders beyond imagining. But be warned. The land itself will rise up against you. Long forgotten terrors will smother your courage. Sacrifice everything as the final darkness falls...in the end, all that awaits you is death. Only then will you understand - you've been following in my footsteps all along.
So come then, you heroes! Come in all your power and glory! For in the final hour, all must serve the one... true... king.
Fall of the Lich King trailer
- Spirit of Terenas Menethil : Can you feel it, my son, closing in all around you? The Light's justice has been awakened. The sins of the past have finally caught up to you. You will be called to account for all the atrocities you've committed, the unspeakable horrors you've let loose upon this world, and the dark, ancient powers you've enslaved. Though my soul was one of the first to be devoured by your evil, there are thousands more bound within this blade, and they cry out for release. Look now to your defenses, my son, for the champions of justice gather at your gates!
- The Lich King: Let them come. Frostmourne hungers.
In Icecrown Citadel
- Highlord Tirion Fordring says: Our march upon Icecrown Citadel begins now!
- The Lich King says: You now stand upon the hallowed ground of the Scourge. The Light won't protect you here, paladin. Nothing will protect you...
- Highlord Tirion Fordring says: ARTHAS! I swore that I would see you dead and the Scourge dismantled! I'm going to finish what I started at Light's Hope.
- The Lich King says: You could've been my greatest champion, Fordring. A force of darkness that would wash over this world and deliver it into a new age of strife.
- The Lich King says: But...that honor is no longer yours. Soon, I will have a new champion.
- The Lich King says: The breaking of this one has been taxing. The atrocities that I have committed upon his soul. He has resisted for so long, but he will bow down before his king soon.
- Highlord Bolvar Fordragon says: NEVER! I... I will never... serve... you.
- The Lich King says: In the end, you will all serve me.
The new Lich King
- Tirion retrieves the Helm of Domination and examines it.
- Highlord Tirion Fordring says: The weight, of such a burden, it must be mine, for there is no other.
- Bolvar Fordragon yells: Tirion! You hold a grim destiny in your hands brother, but it is not your own!
- The scorched visage of Bolvar is revealed, sitting atop the Frozen Throne.
- Highlord Tirion Fordring says: Bolvar! By all that is holy...
- Bolvar Fordragon says: The Dragon's flame sealed my fate, the world of the living, can no longer comfort me. Place the crown upon my head Tirion, forever more, I will be the jailer of the damned.
- Highlord Tirion Fordring says: No old friend, I cannot...
- Bolvar Fordragon says: Do it Tirion! You and these brave heroes have your own destinies to fulfil, this last act of service is mine.
- Highlord Tirion Fordring says: You will not be forgotten brother...
- Bolvar Fordragon yells: I must be forgotten Tirion, if the world is to live free from the Tyranny of fear, they must never know what was done here today.
- Tirion nods and accedes to Bolvar's request, sliding the helm onto his head. The chamber begins to shake violently. There is a flash of light and Bolvar's eyes are glowing golden yellow through the eye slits of the helm.
- Bolvar Fordragon says: Tell them only that the Lich King is dead
- Bolvar's voice changes, acquiring the Lich King's characteristic echo.
- Bolvar Fordragon says: and that Bolvar Fordragon, died with him!
- The Frozen Throne freezes over, encasing Bolvar in ice.
- Bolvar Fordragon says: Now go! Leave this place and never return.
- ^ Manual of Monsters, pg. 184.
- ^ a b Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, Epilogue
- ^ http://www.1up.com/do/previewPage?pager.offset=0&cId=3163178
- ^ Medievaldragon 2010-01-15. Twitter Dev Chat # 2: Icecrown Citadel. Blizzplanet.
- ^ http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=23140265258&pageNo=1&sid=1#10
- ^ http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/encyclopedia/417.xml
- ^ http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/encyclopedia/369.xml
- Arthas Menethil
- From Chapters IV an V of the History of Warcraft
- Undead History, from the Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual
- Warcraft relations map
|The Scarlet Enclave||Howling Fjord|
|Acherus: The Ebon Hold||Death's Breach||Light's Hope Chapel||Wyrmskull Village||Gjalerbron|
|Agmar Hammer||Frostmourne Cavern|
|Balargarde Fortress||The Fleshwerks||Cathedral of Darkness||Sindragosa's Fall|
|Scourgeholme||Crusaders' Coliseum||Halls of Reflections||Icecrown Citadel|
- Official lore
- See this subject on the Hearthstone wiki: The Lich King
- World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King – Features