Retro Review: Of Blood and Honor:
“Of Blood and Honor” is a novella included in in the “Warcraft Archive,” which was one of my prizes from the Global Writing Contest. (It’s also available as an ebook, if you’re into that sort of thing.) It’s an interesting insight into the background of some of Warcraft’s more memorable characters, and also an insight into the man behind Warcraft’s lore.
It brings us back to the time before the Third War — or Warcraft III, in real world terms — and focuses on Tirion Fordring, now famous for being the guy who shattered Frostmourne. While hunting, Tirion encounters a fugitive Orc squatting on his land. Naturally, they fight, each finding the other to be a worthy foe.
Without giving too much away, some bad luck leaves Tirion indebted to the Orc, despite their violent meeting. He finds the Orc is far from the savage fiend he thought all Orcs to be.
He swears to protect the Orc from from the rest of the Alliance, but this puts him in direct conflict with his fellow Knights of the Silver Hand. Lordaeron’s policy is to execute all free Orcs, and the rise of a new warchief by the name of Thrall has brought their paranoia to a new peak.
The interesting thing about “Of Blood and Honor” is that it is, to the best of my knowledge, the only piece of Warcraft lore written directly by Chris Metzen, the chief brains behind all of Blizzard’s worlds and storylines. I was very curious to see what his writing was like.
The answer is: inconsistent. His prose is fairly crude, and he’s entirely too fond of adjectives and adverbs. Although to be fair, he’s no worse than Richard Knaak in this regard. His perspective is also sloppy, and while some of the characters in “Of Blood and Honor” are well-crafted, others feel very thin.
On the other hand, his writing does embody a lot of the passion and badassery that defines the Warcraft universe. This is clearly a man who enjoys his work.
I also loved the morality play aspect of the story. It harkened back to the slightly deeper, Warcraft III style of storytelling, and it was surprisingly intelligent for a Warcraft story. I especially liked how there was no clear right answer. Where does Tirion’s loyalty lie? With his nation, with his family, or with what he knows to be right in his heart? Which is the right one to stay faithful to?
I can’t answer that. I doubt anyone really can.
On a more personal note, I enjoyed going back to the earlier days of the Warcraft universe, when things were a bit simpler. Not that I dislike how things have evolved, but sometimes, I yearn for the days when it was just about Orcs and humans, before all the underground tentacle monsters, sparkly angelic squidgoatKlingons from OOOUUUTTEEER SPAAAAACE, samophlanges, and the thirty kazillion Dragonflights.
Overall rating: 7.5/10 A very mixed bag of a story, but worth it.