Blizzard made a lot of changes to World of Warcraft with Cataclysm, and has been exploring some of the bigger changes through its "Then and Now" series. Previously, Blizzard discussed how Garrosh has changed from The Burning Crusade through Cataclysm, as well as how Thrall changed since his debut in Warcraft III. Now, their eyes are on Stormwind and the boy prince, Anduin Wrynn.
Anduin's biggest changes actually happened outside of the game world, most notably in the World of Warcraft comic series and in Christie Golden's companion novel to Cataclysm, The Shattering. In The Shattering, Anduin comes into his own through a series of adventures with Jaina Proudmoore, and by participating in the burgeoning dwarven civil war between the clans at Ironforge. The prince finds his path with the Light, determined to become a priest instead of becoming a warrior like his father. His character has grown considerably since his inception, with Blizzard making a concerted effort to move his story forward against the backdrop of the cataclysm.
I was a fan of Anduin in The Shattering because he was written to be a spiritual opposite of his father. While Anduin retained his father's caution when dealing with the Horde, he seemed more open-minded, forgiving, and willing to compromise on things above and beyond him. There is definitely groundwork being laid for a strong, compassionate leader, something the humans have not truly had since Varian's kidnapping and King Terenas Menethil of Lordaeron.
Events just prior to the Cataclysm signaled a new chapter in Anduin's life. While undergoing martial training in the dwarven bastion of Ironforge, Anduin witnessed as Moira Thaurissan-the estranged daughter of the late King Magni Bronzebeard-held the city hostage with a contingent of Dark Iron dwarves. Despite being the legal heir to Ironforge, she drew the ire of Varian for her heavy-handed tactics. Before long, the king and a team of SI:7 agents infiltrated the city, intent on killing the brash dwarf heiress. Only through Anduin's wise and resolute intervention did Varian stay his hand and spare Moira's life, thus averting a political disaster that might have ignited a dwarven civil war.
During his time in Ironforge, Anduin also discovered his true calling in life: to be a priest devoted to the tenets of the Holy Light. For those who know Anduin well, this discipline is a perfect fit for the prince, who has consistently proven himself to be compassionate and thoughtful. No longer the child-prince of Stormwind from years past, Anduin is fast becoming his own man with the courage to speak up for what he believes in. He does not share Varian's outright hatred and mistrust of the Horde. On one occasion, he even imparted sage advice to the tauren chieftain Baine Bloodhoof after the death of his father, Cairne. Yet in Azeroth's current state of turmoil, it is unknown whether Anduin's destiny with the Light will proceed on its current course, or whether his path will take a different turn.
We'll be examining other key characters' transformations-including those of Magni Bronzebeard-in the months ahead, so come back soon.
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