Thursday, September 3, 2009

Know Your Rogue Lore: Garona Halforcen

Since I spoke about her in the introduction to this series I decided it would be best to start with Garona Halforcen. The average "World of Warcraft" player will have absolutely NO idea who this individual is though her actions have GREATLY effected the entire environment we play in.

For most players whose experience is only "in game" the first time they may see this name would be on a book from Dire Maul called "Garona: A study in Stealth and Treachery". This "Rogue only quest" resulted in a trinket which pre-BC was considered one of the best outside of raiding. Players may also have seen the name from Malyfous Darkhammer, a Dark Iron Dwarf craftsman located in Everlook in Winterspring. In his catalog of gear quests is one Breastplate of Bloodthirst which he claims was originally crafted for "legendary Assassin Garona Halforcen" interestingly enough the stats on the chest piece are more druid focused than Rogue.

In Karazhan, The Curator drops her Signet Ring. For those who have read the book "The Last Guardian" by Jeff Grubb this will make sense as Garona spent much of that book in Karazhan as a guest of Medivh.

Most recently in game Garona has been seen again by those players who have participated in the Yogg-Saron fight in Ulduar. Here players witness the assassination of King Lane by her in a "memory". As a result Yogg drops Kingsbane (the dagger supposedly used to kill Lane) and Garona's Guise, Garona's helmet. In addition to this the Horde armor set for Tier 9 is called Garona's Battlegear.

So who IS this woman that she should be SO influential that an armor set is named after her? That information is contained almost exclusively in the written literature provided by Blizzard. In the Last Guardian Garona is introduced as a half orc/half human who was "bred" at the orders of Gul'dan. She was raised amongst her father's people and had no contact with her mother who we are left to believe died soon after her birth. Reviled for being "ugly and deformed", smaller than the other orc children, Gul'dan also placed many subversive spells on her making her especially vulnerable to mind control.

Garona was smart, she was agile and she used these to survive and eventually become an asset to the Shadow Council. Due to her mixed blood she was accepted by no clan and held no loyalty to one which allowed her to work as an ambassador, spy and messenger with more ease. As a young woman she was forced through the Dark Portal from the broken Draenor, the only world she had ever known on to Azeroth.

Soon after her arrival she encountered Medivh who allowed her to return to Gul'dan with a message. Eventually she became a Emissary between the Orcs and humans staying at Karazhan where she and Medivh's Apprentice Khadgar would spend hours arguing about the merits of both races. Medivh helped Garona to feel "more human" and allowed her to think for her self for the first time in her life this brought her to question her loyalties. It was Garona and Khadgar who first suspected that Medivh may have been responsible for the appearance of the Orcs on Azeroth and took these suspicions to Anduin Lothar, Medivh's and King Lane's long time friend.

During the search to confront Medivh Garona had a vision in which she discovered she would be responsible for the assassination of King Lane. This devastated her as she considered the King one of her few true friends. Khadgar forced her to snap out of it and continue to focus on the task before them but Garona (perhaps in an attempt to have herself killed and then prevent her vision from coming to pass) attacked Medivh, causing him to place all HIS doubts and fears into her mind. By the time Medivh was eventually defeated Garona had disappeared.

Later Garona appeared at Court and became a trusted adviser to King Lane helping him to understand how the Orcs thought, organized and fought. However due to the repeated "games" played with her mind both by Gul'dan and Medivh Garona was never able to completely regain control of herself. When the order came from the Shadow Council to kill Lane, while it upset her greatly she could not prevent herself from following through on the order. King Varian who witnessed the assassination remarked in the comic series that while killing Lane Garona had tears streaming down her face and he couldn't to this day understand why.

After Lane's assassination Garona was captured by Orgrim Doomhammer and tortured almost to death until she revealed the location of the remaining Shadow Council. After this Garona disappeared from Blizzards written works until Volume three of World of Warcraft the Comic. It is this series that has done the most to rework Garona's history as well as give us new insights into what all has been happening to the half orc these past few years. Through the comics we discover that Garona was actually pregnant with Medivh's child at the time of King Lane's assassination.

Garona has spent the years in hiding attempting to protect her son from individuals who are interested in him due to his mixed heritage. (Garona it is discovered is actually half Orc-half Draenai, while Medivh was human giving the boy 1/3 of each this allows him a unique control and interest in three schools of magic, arcane, shamanic and holy.) In the comic it is clear that Garona's vulnerability to mind control is still there which has directly effected the relations of the Horde and Alliance as her appearance at a peace conference caused Varian to believe the Horde were attempting to assassination him as they had his father and lead Garrosh Hellscream to the same conclusion regarding the Alliance.

There is much speculation as to what role if any Garona may play in the up coming Cataclysm expansion. Some of this was brought about by Chris Metzen in 2007 when he stated he would like to introduce her as a love interest for Thrall. This was later heightened with the reintroduction of her in Wrath to players who would not be familiar with her from the written literature.

Over all Garona is a fascinating character well worth all the attention. Like many rogues she has spent the majority of her life alone even when surrounded by others. Her friends, TRUE friends are few but she cares for them deeply. Despite all that she has gone through Garona continues to fight for what she cares about and attempts to over come those things over which she has no control.

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