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06/04/2009 à 16:17
Let's do a quick time travel. Let's travel back to the hot summer and autumn months when Blizzard first started feeding us on Wrath of the Lich King news. News around the Vrykul and the Kvasir were one of the most commented topics, and the general opinion was "I love it, we are finally getting vikings in WoW!". I guess some people never liked it, but I have been a long-time fan of vikings, Norse gods and mythology, and the like. So seeing how much Northrend was influenced by the Nordic cultures and traditions made me one really happy panda. But it wasn't until a little over a month ago that I realize how much Nordic stuff is there actually in WoW.
With the upcoming release of Ulduar, we get even more references to the aforementioned cultures. I think it is about time I share my findings with you. I am not going to cover the different references in a great detail; just enough so you understand what is in the core of the idea. If you know more than what I have written, or if you have something interesting to share - fire at will, I think a lot of us here love learning new cool stuff!
So, shall we dwell in the frozen secrets of
Some of the Northrend sections of the blog will contain (mild) spoilers about the game. I have tried to reduce them to minimum.
- The Aesir were the upper class of Gods, so to speak. They lived and ruled from Asgard, a place more or less equivalent to Heaven. They were (im)mortal enemies with the Vanir.
- The Aesir, also known as
, are a class of Titans. The Vanir (
), the second class of Titans, are not their mortal enemies, but there is a clear distinction between the two (the Aesir are more powerful mentally, while the Vanir are physically tougher). More famous Aesir are Norgannon, the Titan overseer of arcane magic and the one who gave Malygos his powers of an Aspect, and Aman'Thul, often considered the leader of the Pantheon.
- Angerbda was an evil Ice Giantess and mistress of Loki. She gave birth to monsters like Fenrir, Jormungand and Hel.
- Angerboda was the wife and queen of king Ymiron. She is clearly evil, but by no means an Ice Giantess (but Ymir, Ymiron's prototype
an Ice Giant).
Le roi endormi
asks you to slay her and interrupt the ritual she is using to wake Ymiron from his eternal slumber.
- Bor was the grandson of Ymir and Audumbla. Bor's most famous act was fathering Odin, the head of the pantheon.
- A sub-zone in The Storm Peaks is called Bor's Breath, and looks like a canyon of ice/frozen river (connects K3 and Valkyrion).
- Brynhild was the most beautiful of all Valkyries. She was the only one Odin could not have his way with, which is why he put her asleep in a ring of fire on top of a mountain. She was (sort of) rescued by a hero named Sigurd.
- Brunnhildar is a village in the Storm Peaks, inhibited by female frost vrykul known as
. Here they train to become skilled warriors, but in a noble way, unlike the Vrykul and Val'kyr in service of the Lich King. The wage war against the Sons of Hodir, because they believe the Sons are betraying Thorim, to whom the Hyldnir remain loyal. Two of the NPCs there seem to be named after Sigurd -
Sigdis the Trader
- Goddess of Love, Fertility and...Desire. She's also a feisty warrior and Queen of the Valkyries. She liked flowers very much...or at least liked them when she was not busy seducing men, dwarves and Gods alike.
- One of the titanic Watchers, Freya is also known as a Daughter of the Titans. She seems to be overseeing the life on Azeroth, and plants in particular. She was also tasked with watching over the imprisoned Yogg-Saron from her Temple of Life. Currently corrupted by Yogg-Saron, and located in Ulduar's Conservatory of Life.
- The blind god of Darkness and Winter, Hod was son of Odin, twin brother of Baldur god of Peace. Loki tricked Hod into killing Baldur.
- Another one of the titanic Watchers, Hodir used to watch over Yogg-Saron's prison from his Temple of Winter. Currently corrupted by Yogg-Saron, and located in Ulduar's Halls of Winter.
- The World Serpent, child of Loki, a beast of great prowess, fated to fight in Ragnarok, the final battle between Gods and Giants.
- Worm-like creatures native to Northrend. They are said to be children of Loken.
- Jotuns were a class of giants, enemies of the Aesir. Jotunheim was their home, but they were also known to reside in Utgarde.
Jotun, <The Curse Bearer>
is a giant (or perhaps even a cursed titan?) who walks up and down the Path of Titans in the Dragonblight. Jotunheim is a Vrykul city in Icecrown, where the Vrykuls train, so they can fight in Valhalas. The winners from Valhalas are sent to Ymirheim, to become Ymirjar; the losers are transformed into Val'gur, undead Vrykul.
- Son of giants, trickster, shapeshifter, he was one of Thor's closest friends. He is known to be notoriously mischievous.
- Sentinel, Keeper, Prime Designate, Loken was charged with ensuring that Yogg-Saron didn't escape. Recently Loken has been corrupted by the Old God, and has started betraying, capturing and killing his former colleagues, the titanic Watchers. He is a shapeshifter, and sets players on their path of redeeming Thorim, but ultimately bringing him into Loken's hands. He tricked Thorim into believing that the Frost Giants had killed his wife Sif. He was a titanic Watcher at the Temple of Wisdom. Currently located in the Halls of Lightning—killable (and killed) by players.
- Mimir was god of Wisdom and Knowledge. He was very close to Odin, even in his current decapitated state.
- Mimiron is a mechagnome, an inventor, thinker and tinker of great knowledge. He was a titanic Watcher. Currently corrupted by Yogg-Saron, and located in Ulduar's Spark of Imagination.
- Thor's thunder hammer, crafted by dwarves, Mjolnir was a gift from Loki. Thunder fell wherever it struck.
- Krolmir was the hammer of Thorim, which he discarded at Thunderfall in the Storm Peaks, when he threw the hammer to the ground with all of his rage. Artifacts of the hammer's power can still be seen in Thunderfall - giants and runed dwarves, frozen mid-fight.
- The realm of ice, home of the Frost Giants. Origin of Ymir.
- Home of the Sons of Hodir, a faction of Frost Giants.
- The Goddess of Harvest, Thor's wife Sif was known to be very beautiful, and her golden hair was more than remarkable. One night Loki sneaked in her bedroom and stole some of her hair. When Thor heard about that, he beat Loki pretty badly...
- Sif was Thorim's wife, before she was killed by Loken, who blamed the Frost Giants for her death, knowing that Thorim would act hotheadedly. When players start the quest chain to lead them to Thorim, Loki, masked as a female Vrykul, attaches a strand of hair to the player's head.
- Giantess, Goddess of winter, hunting and...skiing.
- Skadi the Ruthless is a male here, and perhaps the only similarity is that he is a Frost Vrykul, and he looks like somebody who would enjoy hunting.
- One of the most famous Norse gods, Thor is the guy with the hammer, son of Odin and Jord, god of Thunder, riding through the storm clouds in the sky, summoning lightnings with his hammer Mjolnir. He was a good friend with Loki, and the Trickster often used the fact that Thor was not especially bright to pull jokes on him. Sif was Thor's wife.
- One of the titanic Watchers, charged with overseeing Yogg-Saron's prison from his Temple of Storms. Long time ago Thor was tricked by Loken, his twin brother, into believing that the Frost/Ice Giants (whose offspring are the Sons of Hodir) murdered his wife Sif, while in reality it was Loken who did it. Thorim, enraged by what he thought the Giants did, broke his promise to watch over the races of Frost, threw his hammer Krolmir away and retired to the top of his Temple, falling prey to depression and haunted visions of Sif. Currently corrupted by Yogg-Saron, and located in Ulduar's Clash of Thunder.
- Valhalla was more or less the Paradise for all slain warriors. After they die, Valkyries would descend to them, and if deemed worthy, would fetch them to the Halls of Valhalla, where warriors could eat, drink, fight (to the death) and make love to their hearts content—In a cycle that would end only at Ragnarok, the End of the World.
- Valhalas is a Vrykul arena in Jotunheim, Icecrown. Vrykuls from all over the continent are trained hard so they can get a chance to fight in Valhalas. The winners from the arena are sent to Ymirheim, where they become the elite Ymirjar warriors; the losers are transformed into Val'gur, undead Vrykul. The battles are overseen by the Val'kyr, female Vrykul transformed into angel-looking creatures, serving the Lich King directly and loyally.
- The Valkyries collected warriors fallen in battle and brought them to Valhalla.
- The Val'kyr observe the Vrykul warriors and judge their worthiness - they play the role of the eyes of the Lich King; kind of like supervisors of the Vrykul.
- The lower class of Gods, the Vanir are known to be physically tougher than the Aesir. They used to be enemies with the Aesir, but later some form of agreement has been reached, and the two factions are no longer in an open war. They live in Vanaheim.
- The Vanir are the second class of Titans, the
. Earth Giants, Stone Giants, Earthen, Dwarves and Troggs are offspring/creations of the Vanir. More famous Vanir are Sargeras and Khaz'Goroth, the Titan who imbued Neltharion (later - Deathwing) with his powers of an Aspect.
- Yggdrasil is the world tree, a huge ash tree that supports the Nine Worlds. Its roots run as deep as the Well of Knowledge. Nidgogg the Dragon parasites on the tree and calls it home.
- The original world tree, Nordrassil was located in Mount Hyjal, its roots going to the Well of Eternity. Vordrassil is a World Tree in Grizzly Hills, corrupted by Yogg-Saron (similarly to Nidgogg's parasitism on Yggdrasil).
- Ymir was the first Frost Giant, born in the icy chaos of Niflheim. His sweat created the first man and woman, and his body was material for the world. His grandson Odin slaughtered him in his eternal sleep and used the body to shape land, sea and sky.
- Ymiron is the king of the Vrykul. A long time ago he felt betrayed by the Titans, and in his anger commanded the weak and deranged offspring of the Vrykul race - the humans - to be exterminated. Some families decided to preserve their children. So in a way, he and Vrykul were creators of all humanity.
Phew! That was quite a list there. And those are only the references that are obvious by name - the whole Pantheon is full of Norse/Greek/Roman allusions, despite the fact that the names are far away from a match.
My personal favorite out of all that just has to be Loken. He mirrors Loki too much. The story about Sif's stolen hair is actually a little longer, and it ties even better in the game Lore. In the Norse mythology the story is a little boring - Loki cuts Sif's hair as a prank, Thor is completely enraged and decides that beating Loki is the most reasonable solution. Loki talks his way out of probable death from the hands of the Thunderer, promising to have a headpiece made of gold made for Sif. As the story unfolds, Loki makes the dwarves craft not only beautiful headpiece for Sif, but the hammer Mjolnir for Thor, and spear Gungnir for Odin, and a few more powerful artifacts.
I find the ingame reference a lot more interesting.
La proposition de la mégère
is offered by
Lok'lira the Crone
, who appears to be an old female Vrykul. According to her own words, she is "
known as a Yrkvinn, a practitioner of illusions
". She leads you for a long quest chain, which eventually ends with you dragging Thorim out of his depression and restoring his warrior's spirit. Thorim, encouraged by what seems to be a smile from fate, decides to take revenge on his brother Loken for killing Sif - and falls into a trap. Apparently Lok'lira was Loken disguised, and has been manipulating you and Thorim all along, making you believe you are progressing, when in reality all you two were doing was to walk towards the trap. The best part?
Cadeau d'adieu de Lok'lira
is the last quest offered by Lok'lira, and in it she gives you a thin strand of hair. It looked like nothing at the time...but to me now it's a scream about the prank Loki pulled on Sif...
So moving from the concrete to the abstract, how are you feeling the Nordic Northrend? Is Wrath of the Lich King as heavily based on Norse mythology as all that, or is it just something I see because I want to see it? Regardless of your answer, help us with an allusion or three - what ingame references to classical symbolism have you seen (Paris Hilton =\= classical)? Tell us a little about those little details that you rarely notice, but they create a unique atmosphere of intimacy between player and game. The intimacy of a shared secret, I believe.
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