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Who I want to see in Warlords of Draenor: Griselda Blackhand

Matthew Rossi

If you don't know who Griselda was, that's not really your fault - she was a character who lived and died during the original Warcraft game. But to my mind Griselda is a perfect example of the way you can make use of the parallel world of Draenor we're going to visit, a character who can highlight the ways that things have changed.

Originally, Griselda was one of the three children of Blackhand the Destroyer, and like her brothers Rend and Maim, she was artificially aged to adulthood via warlock magic and trained to fight. But unlike her brothers, her father denied her the blood of Mannoroth (so, ironically, she was spared the blood curse) and would not give her a position of authority like the ones he'd given Rend and Maim. This was a colossal act of disdain on his part - he'd stolen her childhood from her, turned her into a weapon, and then refused to make use of her. Why he did this is unclear - it's often said it was a punishment for her insolence, but we don't know what that insolence entailed.

Her fate in our timeline (turning against her father, running to the Deadmines alongside an ogre named Turok, assassinated by her father's warriors) isn't what I'm interested in, however. It's how the Griselda of this Draenor could turn out that interests me.

Yes, there are no pictures of Griselda

For starters, she won't have been aged via warlock magic (neither will Rend and Maim, for that matter) which means she'll be a younger orc when we arrive on Draenor. Now, she could still be a teenager by the time we arrive (it's likely that she would be, in fact, based on when Gul'dan aged Blackhand's children in the original timeline) and a teenaged orc is more than likely already a warrior. Blackhand was known for having once said of Draka (Durotan's eventual wife) that she would have been killed in his clan, so we can assume that Griselda did not have any childhood ailments or weakness, and the fact that she was trained as a warrior in our timeline proves she has the aptitude for it. What role would a young, able-bodied warrior orc like her have in the Blackrock clan as they appear in Warlords? Gone is the demonic magic of the warlocks, replaced by smoke belching foundries and technology that, to them, would seem almost miraculous (to us, it's contemporary, much the same as what Garrosh unleashed on us during the siege) - would she embrace it?

It's also curious to note that while Blackhand had three children, only Griselda was singled out for 'insolence' (especially if you know anything about Rend and Maim, two of the most unpleasant orcs imaginable) - was it purely due to her gender? Did she publicly disagree with her father? Will that repeat in the new timeline, or does a Griselda who had time to age and mature naturally have a better grasp of things like inter-clan politics and how to deal with her brutal father? Griselda was quick witted - perhaps a Blackhand who isn't listening to the poisonous whispers of Gul'dan can make use of that. And perhaps she even plots to overthrow her father - perhaps a Griselda who got to experience life at its natural pace instead of having years of her life torn away from her is playing her whole family against one another, because she can see the potential in what the Iron Horde is becoming better than they can. Remember, it was Griselda who allied with an ogre and ran to an industrial base in our timeline.

Griselda Blackhand could definitely be an interesting character to explore in Warlords. In microcosm, she's the potential of the entire expansion - what would the orcs have been like if they'd chosen a different path? What could they have accomplished? One thing we often forget when talking about the Old Horde is that Kil'Jaeden chose them for a reason - the orcs have vast potential that they've barely even begun to tap into. Griselda Blackhand, just by existing, could provide a mirror for us to see that potential reflected.

I'm also interested in Griselda for herself, though. We're told that she was the only child of Blackhand the Destroyer that Orgrim Doomhammer liked. Considering that in our timeline, Doomhammer rarely expressed affection for anyone besides Durotan and Draka, that means something. It says something about Griselda's character before Blackhand let Gul'dan experiment on her. It means that Griselda doesn't have to be another villain for us to knock over - that she represents that part of the Blackrocks that is worth holding onto, the same kind of honorable warrior that Doomhammer aspired (yet ultimately failed) to be. Imagine a Blackrock Clan with Griselda at its head, changing everyone's perception of what Blackrocks are, or can become. What is she like? What would a Griselda who wasn't warped into a weapon and then not even used as one do with herself?

I definitely want to see Griselda Blackhand turn up in Warlords of Draenor, and potentially beyond it. She's exactly the kind of orc we need - one who can redefine what an orc is.

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