Historical events that brought Arthas to Northrend

The history of Azeroth stretches back long before the MMORPG even existed, to a time when Warcraft III was a standalone game and making games for mobile was unthinkable. That Classic side of World of Warcraft takes players back to that earlier time when the lore of the old 1990s games evolved into the backstory of the modern multiplayer universe.



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With the Wrath of the Lich King slated for a late September release, there is renewed interest in this part of the story. This timeline includes the fall of the kingdom of Lordaeron and the journey of Arthas Menethil from the home of his ancestors to the wastes of Northrend.

To put the timeline in perspective, most of the following events take place in the era of Warcraft III, and many are playable campaigns within the old game and locations that players can see in the new one. That World of Warcraft began some three years after Arthas donned the helm of dominion and ascended the Frozen Throne.


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7 Ner’zhul, the first Lich King

Ner’zhul held an honored place as chief and elder of the Shadowmoon clan, pitying the wandering Gul’dan that became his undoing. The orc Gul’dan was an agent of Kil’jadeen, and the demon used his apprentice to seduce the Shadowmoon clan and their leader for evil purposes. He appears as one of the main antagonists in the Warcraft II Extension, Beyond the Dark Portal and reappears in the next game as part of the malevolent forces.

Ner’zhul played a crucial role in the Legion’s forces during the Second War, opening several portals to other worlds before his mortal form was destroyed and made the first Lich King. Later, during the Third War, he forced Arthas to travel north to become his right-hand man and eventually take his place.


6 Kel’Thuzad and the Scourge

It wasn’t just Arthas Menethil that was drawn to Icecrown Citadel by a weak but compelling voice. Kel’Thuzad, a wandering Kirin Tor mage banished to the Frozen Wastes for his interest in necromancy, also answered the Lich King’s call.

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He was there years before Arthas, helping pave his way north through the kingdom of Lordaeron before becoming a close ally. His achievements included founding the Cult of the Damned and holding the forces of the Argent Dawn and Scarlet Crusade. After Arthas became the Lich King, Kel’Thuzad was left in the tattered remains of the kingdom of Lordaeron in the Eastern and Western Plaguelands to reign as the final boss in the floating ziggurat Naxxramus.


5 The cult of the damned

Arthas thought he spent most of his time fighting the Cult of the Damned and it took at least one campaign run to discover that much darker and more powerful forces were at work. This was not just a random group of scattered fanatics, but an organized group working for the Lich King, and the tasks they carried out were the beginning of the Prince’s campaigns.

Her most successful project was the distribution of infected grain across the kingdom, and although this largely stopped after Stratholme was culled, in her view the price was worth it. Prince Arthas had given his soul to evil, and his path would lead further into cruelty and madness.


4 The Culling of Stratholme

Players and Loremasters alike mark this event as the beginning of the end for Arthas. It was a desperate and ultimately successful act to end the undead plague triggered by infected crops and spread and shipped by the Cult of the Damned, but it meant the Prince’s ruthless nature and potential for evil.

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This was one of the events that started the Third War and set the Menethil family heir on a solitary path. The leaders of the other factions, including Jaina Proudmoore’s, refused to support this venture or anything else he did afterward.


3 The King of Lordaeron

The wide courts of Lordaeron are silent now, and not even the current denizens of Undercity dare to disturb the voices that whisper here far below. For those who want to hear them, go into the sound settings and turn the ambient sound all the way up and the music all the way down and stand in the throne room.​​​​​​​

The voices you hear are those of Arthas and his father at this crucial moment, still echoing with the horror of his son’s betrayal of the old king. Arthas briefly reigned as king of Lordaeron, but only as a puppet of the Scourge and Legion, allowing them to take over the kingdom.


2 Called to Northrend

Arthas had already visited Northrend and received Frostmourne when he returned to Lordaeron to take his place as king. When he was recalled, this time without returning, most of the survivors of both the kingdom and the city of Lordaeron had fled as refugees to Stormwind, Alterac, Kalimdor, or various outposts of the Argent Dawn or Scarlet Crusade.

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In Arthas’ absence, Sylvanas Windrunner conquered the city on behalf of the Forsaken, and his way home was permanently blocked. He had been summoned to defend the Lich King from attacks by Illidan Stormrage and his naga minions, and it was only with Ner’zhul’s help that he was able to defeat Sylvanus and escape to Northrend.


1 The Defeat of Illidan

Illidan Stormrage, also known as the Traitor, has a habit of “pretending” to be a villain, only to claim he was just faking it all along. In this case, he only agreed to destroy the Lich King for Kil’jaeden in order to join the Demon Lord’s good side and learn the deepest secrets of the Burning Legion.

The battle between two of the most notorious NPCs was one of the closest in the history of Azeroth and ended in Arthas’ victory. After this battle, he ascended the tallest tower of Icecrown Citadel and donned the Helm of Command, merging with the spirit of Ner’Zhul and becoming the Lich King.

World of Warcraft is currently available on PC.

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https://gamerant.com/classic-wow-lore-of-the-lich-king-arthas-northrend-historic-events/ Historical events that brought Arthas to Northrend

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