Warlocks: A brief history

Looking back over my previous posts, it’s actually been far too long since I wrote about something specifically to do with Warlocks, and for a supposedly Warlock-related blog, that’s no good at all. Today then, I’m going to discuss the history of Warlocks. Let’s find out how we got to where we are today…

The word ‘Warlock’ probably originally comes from the Old English word ‘wǣrloga‘, which means ‘oath-breaker’ or ‘deceiver’, which is pretty appropriate I think. It may also come from the Old Norse word  ‘varð-lokkur’ meaning ‘caller of spirits’. Interestingly, another (very archaic) meaning of the word can be ‘a demon’.

In WoW, Warlocks began way back, approximately 25000 years ago, with the Burning Legion, or more accurately Sargeras (the fallen Titan). When he became corrupted and wished to amass an army, he first went to the Eredar, who he was attracted to by their innate magical affinity. In fact, it is believed that they were the first race ever to discover magic, aside from the Titans of course. Regardless, they were a noble race of peaceful beings who lived on the planet Argus, and they were led by three people – Kil’jaeden, Archimonde and Velen.

The Burning Legion in Shadowmoon Valley

The Burning Legion in Shadowmoon Valley

Sargeras offered the friends, who were as close as brothers, immortality and great power. Velen was rather more wary of this than the others and declined, but Archimonde and Kil’jaeden agreed to join Sargeras’ Burning Legion, where they served as his lietenants. The two Eredar slowly became corrupted by the demonic evil both physically and mentally, as did their followers, and before long Velen split from them. Renaming his people Draenei (literally, ‘exiled ones’ in the Eredar language, Eredun) he escaped the planet with the help of the Naaru and fled.

By this time, the Eredar who previously were Mages had turned to using fel magic rather than the arcane, choosing to delve into the evil and shadowy parts of the ether to make themselves more powerful. With time, they found they were powerful enough to be able to summon and control all kinds of twisted and dark creatures, e.g. what we know as demons. These were the first Warlocks, and indeed Eredar Warlocks are some of the most powerful known today.

Kil’jaeden and Archimonde, now fully corrupted and sworn to serve Sargeras, saw Velen’s desertion as a betrayal and began to hunt him down. Every time the Draenei tried to settle on a planet, the Legion would catch up, forcing them to flee again – often, they would recruit the native races from these planets into the Legion too.

Kil'jaeden the Deceiver

Kil'jaeden the Deceiver

Eventually, about 250 years before the present day, the Draenei came to settle on a world inhabited by the peaceful and shamanistic Orcs. The planet did not have a name, and was called ‘Draenor’ by the Draenei (literally, ‘Exile’s Refuge’ in Eredun) and the Orcs began to adopt this too.

Inevitably the Legion discovered the latest hiding place, and began to subvert the Orcs to make them evil and turn them against the Draenei. Kil’jaeden made a pact with a Legion general called Mannoroth, the commander of the Pit Lords – a race of barbaric and bloodthirsty demons – to allow the power hungry Orc chieftains to drink his blood so that they too would become crazed with bloodlust and rage, and then their race would follow.

Chief among these leaders was Gul’dan, a very powerful Shaman and apprentice to Ner’zhul, the Orcish leader. When Ner’zhul realised he had been duped by Kil’jaeden and that he could no longer reach the elements via shamanism, he tried to back out of the deal. However, Gul’dan betrayed him to the Eredar lord in return for becoming a Warlock master, and so the first Orcish Warlock was created. Indeed, Gul’dan is often said to have been the most powerful mortal Warlock ever to have existed.

Gul'dan as drawn by Metzen

Gul'dan as drawn by Metzen

Gul’dan, backed by his Shadow Council of powerful Warlocks (an organization which still exists today), led the Orcs into war against the Draenei to prove their worth. Once the Draenei were nearly extinct, Gul’dan was contacted by Medivh, the Human from Azeroth who had been possessed by Sargeras. Medivh offered the Orc ‘god-like powers’ from the Tomb of Sargeras if he would invade Azeroth, and Gul’dan agreed. Together, with the help of the Shadow Council, they opened the Dark Portal to allow the invasion to begin, thus starting the First War. (This is actually what is taking place in the Caverns of Time: Black Morass instance).

Once Warlocks and their magic had been introduced to Azeroth via the Orcs and their Council, it gradually spread, although it was not originally tolerated whatsoever and many aspiring Warlocks were forced to work in secrecy, much as practising necromancers have to. Medivh himself, while once just a Mage, began to use demonic and necromantic abilities too, and so did others.

A Blood Elf Warlock

A Blood Elf Warlock

Many people today believe that anyone who uses Warlock magic is evil and corrupt, but modern-day Warlocks, especially those of the Alliance and Horde, pride themselves on mastering these arts without losing control and falling into darkness. Society in general will now tolerate Warlocks as being necessary, but often do not trust them, and there are still many underground societies. For example, in Stormwind the Warlocks conceal themselves in the basement of the Slaughtered Lamb, and in Orgrimmar they stick to the Cleft of Shadow. It’s probably due to the fact that we use our own blood to fuel spells and delight in torturing others with curses, flesh-eating afflictions, fear, and other nasties. Oh yes, and we steal souls. That little thing.

Probably coming up tomorrow – famous and notable Warlocks in WoW and its history, and/or Warlocks in the real world.


Thanks to Wikipedia and WoWWiki for some information and the pictures.

‘caller of spirits’

2 Responses to “Warlocks: A brief history”

  1. WoW Warlock Says:

    Some nice info up here, thanks man. The release of Cataclysm is driving me crazy, at one point it was supposed to be out in Feb 2010, now it’s supposedly Nov 2010!

  2. Club Penguin Says:

    Your next post should be a top 10 group with the benefits and cons of each one

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