Anduin Llane Wrynn
World of Warcraft players have seen or known about Anduin Llane Wrynn since the beginning. We’ve watched time pass as the prince grew and matured from his station in the Stormwind throne room. Anduin has gone from a prince too young to claim the crown, to the righteous king we see today. For players, the big difference Anduin brings to the Warcraft lore is that we’ve personally grown with him over the years. We’ve followed his path from a spirited child who knew little about leadership and real world issues, to the eighteen year old King of Stormwind who rules with a firm, but gentle hand.
From a young age, Anduin was a quick learner and calculated strategist. He forged many powerful friendships over the years with his steadfast altruism, and from these relationships, he has received both rare gifts and battle training from some of the strongest warriors, priests, and leaders that Azeroth can offer. Even when Jaina Proudmoore’s mercy for the horde wavered into hostility after the destruction of Theramore, it’s Anduin’s inspiration, faith, and seemingly infinite belief in hope that keeps her grounded.
Anduin has gone through a gauntlet of physical and emotional diversity since the launch of World of Warcraft. He was kidnapped by Onyxia, trained with the renowned Velen, nearly died during the fall of Pandaria’s Divine Bell, and all of this while supporting a father with two, sometimes destructive, personas.
Anduin’s confidence and diplomatic reasoning belies his age, and it’s easy to forget the young leader isn’t even past his teenage years. A coin in the Dalaran fountain even has an engraved quote from him that says, “I wish I would grow up, it feels like I've been 10 for years!”.
It is easy for one to call his diplomatic tongue and strong connection to the Light weak, but Anduin has shown his fierce desire for peace isn’t something to be underestimated. Many times, simply a speech or patient explanation could bring level-headedness to a tense room. Even while visiting Garrosh Hellscream’s cell during War Crimes, barraged with hateful insults and physical assault, Anduin still fights an inward battle to take the high road and save the brutish orc from poisoning.
The reality of war
It seems easy to stick to a belief and never back down from one’s convictions. However, life and the reality of war has finally caught up to young Anduin. His father, King Varian Wrynn, taught him that king’s need to step up and do what king’s must do for the good of their people. He sees his father as his rock, both of them growing and learning from one another.
Unfortunately, that bond and synergetic growth is tragically broken when Anduin receives word that his father had fallen at The Broken Shore while battling against the Burning Legion. The usually unshakeable Anduin begins to doubt himself. Without his mentor, he feels lost.
The mantle of King falls on Anduin so suddenly that he must devote all of his time to leading, just as his father had done not two days before. It isn’t until we, the fearless adventurer, return a compass that Anduin made for his father long ago that the young King realizes he hadn’t been able to properly mourn.
Without his father to guide him and to rule over the people of Stormwind, it now fell to Anduin to strategize battle plans and lead a people who would be confused and frightened otherwise. It was becoming increasingly clear that ruling a kingdom was much different than friendly sparring lessons or studying with tutors.
A new-found fear of failure
The fear of failure is new to Anduin, and that fear leads to uncertainty about his decisions and how he should go about them. He had remained strong of heart throughout so much, but the loss of his father and becoming King in such an abrupt way is too much for him to confidently handle. The doubt changed Anduin into someone who was now conflicted with his thoughts and goals.
He makes the decision to visit the place where his father fell, and here he finds solace in speaking to an image of Varian, providing him a closure that snaps him out of his haze of misgivings.
Communicating with the new warchief, Sylvanas, was the next step toward his desire for peace. With Azeroth on the brink of destruction after being impaled with Sargeras’ sword, Anduin doesn’t see the logic of continued violence between the factions. Using his gift for diplomatic rationale, he succeeds in getting Sylvanas to agree to a meeting between the undead and humans.
As he’s done with most enemies, he sees the Banshee Queen as someone who can be reasoned with. Someone who has a shred of light still in her heart. When the meeting ends in bloodshed and violence, however, Anduin is forced to concede that peace is out of reach while Sylvanas is warchief.
When Sylvanas attacks Night Elf lands and leaves The World Tree, Teldrassil, burning to ash, she shows Anduin once again that she has no problem crossing the lines of war. With yet another heinous act under the Banshee Queen’s belt, the young King must accept that Sylvanas is beyond redemption and must be targeted and stopped at all costs.
With his loyal troops, Genn Greymane, and the Light at his side, Anduin leads an assault against Lordaeron, the place that Sylvanas calls home. She has forced King Anduin’s hand. He still laments the understanding that Sylvanas is beyond saving, but the young King of Stormwind remains confident of his decision on the battlefield. Blessing his troops with the Light and commanding them as a fearless leader, he pushes toward the ruins of Lordaeron.
From a innocent child-prince who spent his days running around Stormwind Keep, to a proud and noble King who strives to follow the Light’s path, Anduin has survived the many trials it took to get here. Even with death and betrayal still fresh in his mind, Anduin Wrynn’s strength and determination is palpable to anyone around him. He has been thrown into the fire time and time again, and rather than giving up, he has thrived to become one of the most powerful rulers in Azeroth.
We no longer have a ten year old boy who was always asking us about his father and if we are enjoying our stay in Stormwind. Anduin is a stalwart leader now, and we will continue to grow with him as the Battle for Azeroth expansion looms on the horizon.