I’m not sure I know of a character in any book, movie or game who has had their personality and history thrown to the wayside and trampled into the dust as much as Garrosh has this expansion. I mean, in Cataclysm he certainly wasn’t perfect, but he had distinct good points to accompany his flaws, was a good character foil for his mirror image, Varian, and was showing definite signs of growth from his hotheaded, annoying days of being a mad dog yipping at Thrall during Wrath. He wasn’t perfect, but hey, who is? He was a believable character, given his history.

But then it was announced that he was going to be the end villain in Mists, and I guess Blizzard wanted to make EXTRA SURE that we knew he was bad? They’ve made it pretty clear that, oh hey, just in case you haven’t noticed, HE’S EVIL NOW. First there’s Malkorok playing the role of enforcer Gestapo, who literally came from nowhere and STILL feels bizarrely forced and jarring. And of course, the bombing of Theramore, which only goes against every aspect of Garrosh’s honor-driven personality we saw so carefully constructed during Cataclysm and the excellent Shattering novel.

I’m still not really sure how “I would never use a bomb to kill innocents, Krom’gar!” turns into “I’m totes gonna use this bomb to destroy innocents, Malkorok!” I guess that’s character growth, or something?

So that’s been bad enough, and that was even before Mists launched! And it’s only gotten worse. Garrosh in pursuit of evil artifacts. Garrosh sending assassins after his own allies, or abusing them so bad they start thinking of switching sides to the Alliance. Garrosh trying to control the Sha, even as Pandaria is torn apart by their re-emergence and even as his strongest warriors are twisted and slain by the negative energies he’s trying to wield.

Because oh, it’s not like HELLSCREAMS have any important history of being corrupted by evil forces that would make Garrosh think twice about such an act. Nope, not at all.

Anyway, throughout all this I’ve held my tongue, wondering if there was going to be something that made the eventual Siege of Orgrimmar at least semi-palatable to people who actually care about Garrosh’s history. Something that would explain his actions or at least explain why he seems like a completely different person now. But instead, it’s basically just been the complete opposite. I’ll avoid spoilers here (and please refrain from spoilers in comments) but anyone who’s looked at the datamined 5.4 info knows what I’m talking about.

And then, as the final nail in the coffin, someone digs up a bit of 5.4 dialogue between Baine and Vol’jin where Baine says “I should have killed [Garrosh] long ago, when he betrayed my father.” AND NO, THAT’S IT, I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE. It’s bad enough to throw Garrosh’s personality away. It’s bad enough to make him do things he would never do, and not even explain why he’s doing them. It’s bad enough to turn him into a moustache-swirling tyrant. But now you’re seriously going to ruin OTHER characters, too, just to drive home your point about how ***EVIL*** Garrosh is? This is getting stupid.

Baine isn’t an idiot. Or at least, he wasn’t, but I guess he’s also being re-written now. He knows Garrosh’s axe felled Cairne, but guess what? HE KNOWS GARROSH WASN’T TO BLAME. He, more than anyone else, is well aware that it was Magatha who caused Cairne’s death, not Garrosh. I mean, Baine literally says to Garrosh in the Shattering that the true killer was Magatha. So what the hell?

This sudden “misremembering” of events leaves an incredibly sour taste in my mouth, because a) it’s WRONG, but b) now it just makes Baine look like a moron, or a coward who’s changing his story to fit whatever political side he’s on. Like Baine, buddy, hate Garrosh for what he did to Theramore, hate him for what he’s made your people do, hate him for all sorts of reasons! But not this. Not when you know better, and not when you don’t even truly believe this! Who are you trying to fool?

(This also isn’t helped by the fact that Vol’jin’s speech to players during the Darkspear Rebellion reeks of the same political doublespeak, where someone is presenting a very biased, sketchy account of things just to garner support.)

Then again, maybe history is just being changed! I guess that would explain it. Let’s just blame Garrosh for everything now, yay! Garrosh created the Scourge! Garrosh caused the Sundering! Garrosh crashed the Exodar! Soon everyone will blame Garrosh for everything, and then we can all have good reasons to go merrily cut off his head and live happily ever after.

This all feels like some bizarre bad dream. Garrosh throwing away everything he cares about most (his honor, and the memory of his father), doing a complete 180 and committing the exact acts of mass murder he executed Krom’gar for, and even things like Baine suddenly “forgetting” who was really behind Cairne’s death…it all reads like a bad fanfic.

Or, the vengeful, bitter fantasies of the exiled Magatha Grimtotem, hanging out in some miserable cave and plotting vengeance on the two people who put her there, Garrosh and Baine. And oh hey look, a comic.