I don't like rambling on about this topic too much because I've already discussed it so many times when it gets brought up, but by this point I'm inclined to make a case about Thrall's Mak'gora because I've just seen
where he propagates the idea that Thrall cheated…
Which the lore doesn't support at all.
Hopefully obvious disclaimer: I'm not hating on Bellular as a person or even hating his work. I watched the video because I like his content, I just think he may have tripped up on this particular point, and that's very much not a good thing when this is one of the most popular misconceptions in Warcraft lore – to the point where it's hard to tell whether people are memeing or not when they say it.
Seriously though guys, it is even explicitly stated on the Mak'gora WoWPedia page. Obviously it's a fan-page and doesn't have authority on dictating the lore by itself, but how many of you who think Thrall definitely cheated actually checked your sources?
I'm not going to say Thrall definitely did not cheat. There is the possibility that he did. However, I am going to explain why there is absolutely no certainty that he did cheat, and give you an alternative (and frankly, much better) explanation as to why Thrall's connection with the elements has deteriorated following his Mak'gora with Garrosh.
Rules of Mak'gora
The only rigid rule in Mak'gora that is always adhered to is the one-on-one element. The literal translation of Mak'gora is "Duel of honour," and it isn't just about power. Of course, the most important Mak'gora have been in regards to challenges for power: Orgrim Doomhammer vs Warchief Blackhand, Garrosh Hellscream vs Warchief Thrall (their first Mak'gora), and Cairne Bloodhoof vs Warchief Garrosh.
Of course, Garrosh Hellscream vs Thrall was not a challenge for power, but rather to settle their dispute.
In the novel The Shattering, Cairne outlines the traditional rules of Mak'gora to Garrosh, to which they would both follow in their Mak'gora. Specifically their Mak'gora. These rules include:
The use of only one weapon: limbs and magic are not specified at all. The weapon is allowed to be blessed by a shaman – it was of course this opportunity that Magatha took to poison Garrosh's blade without his knowledge.
The wearing of only a loincloth. Both followed through on this, which led to
these gratuitous forearms being shown off.
Having at least one witness for each participant. Suffice to say, they had plenty.
And of course the rule that it would be those two against one another.
Garrosh also escalated the Mak'gora to be to the death, which did not have to be the case under Thrall's rule. Cairne accepted to this term as well.
But, here's the thing…
Other Mak'gora show that the only Consistent Rule is Dueling
What other Mak'gora, do you ask?
Well, here's the best and easiest example right off the bat:
Note a few things:
Garrosh Hellscream is dual-wielding axes. Unless two axes is one weapon, this is a clear breakage of the "traditional" rules.
Thrall is using magic, and no one bats an eye.
Both of them are wearing armour.
It should be safe to say from that alone that Thrall would not be cheating in their next Mak'gora: if no one out of the entire large audience of Orgrimmar watching their first Mak'gora raises the point that Thrall used magic or that Garrosh dual-wielded, what would make you think it is significant?
Besides, of course, the misinformation that some people intentionally spread that Thrall definitively cheated, or
Another example is the Mak'gora of Ashra vs Shagara. In it, Ashra is a blood knight using the powers of the Light as well as a sword to challenge Shagara, an orc shaman who used a shield and a one-handed weapon along with elemental powers to defeat Ashra. It was to the death, but Shagara chose to forego killing the blood elf.
Thrall's Connection with the Elements
One thing that does cheese me off at least a little about Bellular's video is that he even provides a valuable source on how Thrall's connection with the Elements was not severed from their end. Go to Part Eleven of the Entry on Doomhammer.
Or just let me quote it to you since I'm already doing a wall of text and, let's be real, links are for losers/s:
Long ago, before Orgrim passed the Doomhammer to Thrall, he confided that although the weapon had once brought him closer to the elements, over time it had become a dead weight in his hands.
Through the years, Thrall wielded the Doomhammer with honor and integrity. However, following his execution of the malign warchief Garrosh Hellscream, Thrall felt conflicted. This internal struggle was reflected in the Doomhammer as well. In Thrall's mind, the weapon that had embodied the ideals of justice and virtue had now come to represent vengeance.
History repeated itself as the Doomhammer had once again become a "dead weight." This has caused many to wonder whether the Doomhammer will reclaim its place as a symbol of righteous wrath.
So, a couple of points to note:
Nowhere does it make a statement suggesting that the elements took offence or looked down upon Thrall's actions in his Mak'gora with Garrosh.
It makes an explicit statement saying that Thrall felt an internal conflict.
It makes an explicit statement saying that this internal struggle was reflected in the Doomhammer.
I don't understand how or why Bellular interpreted this excerpt to suggest that Thrall cheated in Mak'gora. There are, after all, numerous reasons why Thrall would realistically feel internal conflict.
One Explanation vs Another
Consider this explanation. Thrall takes a measure of responsibility for nearly everything that followed within the Horde following his decision to appoint Garrosh Hellscream as warchief of the Horde against the advice of his advisers.
What does this include?
The death of another best friend, Cairne Bloodhoof.
The near-death of yet another best friend, Vol'jin.
The civil war between the Darkspear Rebellion and Garrosh's Horde.
The fracturing of the spirit of the Horde, of nobility and honour.
The extremely wounded relationship between the Alliance and Horde.
The near-death of his friend Jaina on two occasions (both with the bombing of Theramore and with her near-death in War Crimes).
The leading of yet more orcs down a dark path by Garrosh's manipulations (the Iron Horde). For those unawares, Garrosh showed Grommash a shamanic vision of his world where by the end of it, the orcs were imprisoned in internment camps. What he led Grommash to believe was that their weakness had made them slaves; first to the Legion, and second to the Alliance.
Knowing that he was the catalyst that set off this massive chain reaction, and not being able to go back and stop it all before it was too late (since he had to commit to becoming the World Shaman to save the world), Thrall could easily feel an immense measure of guilt for the damage he had indirectly and inadvertently caused, both to his protege Garrosh Hellscream, and the rest of the New Horde that Thrall had built.
Why is this a better explanation? Well, not only does it keep Thrall's consistent honour intact and attribute a more realistic sense of responsibility for his friends and his people, but there are questionable points about the elements caring about if Thrall cheated.
Notably, why would the Azerothian Elements care if Thrall used his shamanic powers of willing Draenor Elements (unless we're seriously assuming that Thrall used dark shamanism, which is completely baseless and frankly nonsensical) to kill the very orc who had encouraged and utilised dark shamanism to literally torture the Azerothian Elements of Durotar for miles around?
Since when have we seen the Elements care so much about orcish tradition that does not pertain directly to them and their mutual relationship?
You can say if you're so inclined to believe that Thrall cheated that Thrall feels the guilt of all the things I had listed in my first explanation, but also cheated in Mak'gora and it was this straw that broke the camel's back.
But there is nothing in the lore that actually says Thrall cheated, so while it is possible, identifying it as part of the canon is incorrect.
I'd like to ask that Bellular be just a teeny bit more responsible next time he comments on this topic. It's bad enough that people obstinately stick to the "Thrall cheated" rhetoric even when they cannot provide any source that says he did. I don't want a (rightfully) respected and knowledgeable figure of the community propagating that headcanon as if it were canon.
Otherwise Bellular, your work is fantastic and I hope you don't take this the wrong way. This definitely isn't a "Wow I'm unsubscribing" issue, just some rustled jimmies on my part.
TL;DR: Nothing in the lore says Thrall cheated in Mak'gora. His lost connection with the elements is better explained by his guilt of making Garrosh warchief of the Horde and all that that led to than the elements arbitrarily taking interest in orcish tradition that has nothing to do with them based on rules that we don't understand well enough to definitively say Thrall cheated on.
If you want to believe Thrall cheated, you do you. Just please don't phrase or present it as canonical.
Source: Original link
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