Wrath Gate Questions

I just got back from doing the Wrath Gate questline for the first time in years (I’ve been busy with school and I have a few questions.

  1. How did Arthas survive the Blight? Nothing but plot armor? Or is there an actual in-lore reason why he was able to get away from a virus/disease (though Blizzard treats diseases in-game like gas attacks/acid) that was designed to kill undead. It seems to me like whatever way the Blight kills the other scourge should have the same effect on Arthas, he clearly got exposed to it and it clearly got in his “system” judging by how he appeared to be weakened. What mechanism or ability does he have that allowed him to get away when everyone else died? Some magical means maybe?

  2. Why did Saurfang the Younger’s axe just shatter instantly when he went against Arthas? What axe was that? Was it important? It seemed to be pretty important from what Young Saurfang tells you. Was it something to do with Frostmourne being so powerful? Or is it just because Arthas was so powerful? Why would it shatter instantly like that?

  3. Why wasn’t Sylvannas present? Did she not make it her mission in life (idk anything about retail lore, with shadowlords and shadowlands and whatever else) to kill Arthas. I would think that she would be the first person there waiting at Wrath gate and trying to get Arthas to come out. What about the other leaders of the Alliance and the Horde? Why wouldn’t they have been at Wrathgate? Which the mission of their campaigns there, seemed to be to kill Arthas once and for all. Or did their respective leaders not expect Arthas to actually show up there?

  4. What exactly happened to Bolvar? Why did he turn into a Joshua Graham? Some sort of weird combination of the Blight and the Red Dragons mystical fire? Why did that happen to no one else?

Serious answers only please. I’m legitimately wondering if there are real in-universe lore answers to these questions, or if they’re just issues with the writing. I tried looking this stuff up on search engines and I couldn’t really find any good answers

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Pretty much. I mean in fairness killing the final boss of an expansion midway through in a cutscene would be pretty anticlimactic.

I don’t believe so and I think it shattered to demonstrate just how powerful the Lich King really was.

Per the book at about the time all this was happening she was narrowly escaping the coup attempt in the Undercity. Why she keeps trusting blatantly treacherous people like Varimathras, Putress, Godfrey and Zoval on the otherhand is anyone’s guess.

Pretty much. He’s a pretty powerful Paladin so I guess the idea is he was still clinging on to life and the Red Dragon’s fire… did that. Somehow.


Presumably the power imparted by being the Lich King kept Arthas alive against the Blight. While technically undead by that point (he cut out his own heart and kept walking around, after all), since merging with Ner’zhul he was likely being kept “alive” by the Helm’s power as much as or more than by than the more generalized necromancy of the Scourge.

Frostmourne’s known to cut through other, weaker weapons on contact; the same approximate thing happened to Felo’melorn during Arthas’ duel against Anasterian Sunstrider. Extremely powerful magic weapons straight-up smashing apart or slicing through lesser arms is kind of a trope in lots of fantasy.

Sylvanas was in the Undercity at the time, surviving Varimathras’ coup. Arthas personally emerging to confront the joint Alliance/Horde army at that time wasn’t something anyone had counted on; the cinematic makes it out to be just a response to Bolvar’s challenge that even he didn’t necessarily expect to be personally answered in that moment, but Chronice III established than strategically if the Wrathgate had actually been breached and the mortal army gained direct access to ICC from the Dragonblight, there was a very real possibility of the Scourge being militarily defeated then and there. The Alliance and Horde didn’t necessarily realize that, but Arthas did, so he intervened there specifically to prevent that from happening. The implication is that there was sort of a general standing order to use the Blight once it was perfected as soon as Arthas presented himself in a vulnerable position, so Sylvanas didn’t necessarily know that very moment had come while she was in the midst of being ousted from the Undercity.

Bolvar was dying to the Blight, then the red dragonfire’s Life properties preserved him in that form. It’s still unclear if that meant he actually died and it brought him back as some form of “Life undead,” or if the flames’ power managed to save him right before he actually expired from the effects of the Blight, making him still alive, albeit in an altered physical form.


Interesting. I guess that makes sense

Isn’t all of the scourge technically animated by Ner’zhul through the helm? (Is that even canon anymore?)

… I would think she would have been on the first ships heading to Northrend. Did the coup happen right when she was packing up? Lol

So… were they just attacking the gate itself and Arthas showing up wasn’t expected?

Did that not happen to anyone else?

The Scourge is animated independently from the Helm, as the Helm provides the wearer with psychic control over the undead its minions create, but doesn’t do or maintain the actual reanimating. That’s why the Scourge remain animated after Shadowlands with the Helm destroyed, and why the Plague of Undeath was made to remotely reanimate its victims on the spot.

None of the faction leaders seemed to personally go up to Northrend until the Ulduar patch, when Varian and Thrall went to Dalaran to meet with Khadgar and Brann about the threat of Yogg-Saron. It arguably makes sense; the Alliance and Horde top leadership still had kingdoms to run, and at the time things were probably still in upheaval from the aftermath of the ghoul plague and necropolis attacks, so they dispatched their generals to carry out the war while they got things settled at home. To the point that the comics literally portrayed Varian getting home from Theramore right when the first Scourge Necropolis attack on Stormwind occurred, followed by him telling Bolvar to lead the military response.

They were attacking the Wrathgate to get into Icecrown Glacier; getting to the glacier was an overall “theme” of the mortals’ military efforts in Northrend’s zones. Borean Tundra and Howling Fjord were the footholds where they made landfall. Then the Alliance and Horde operations in securing Dragonblight on two fronts were meant to facilitate a unified approach on the Wrathgate by neutralizing Naxxramas and Azjol-Nerub to prevent the Scourge from flanking their vanguard. Then the Argent presence in Zul’drak and the factions’ expeditions into the Grizzly Hills were attempts to find another way around that was less heavily fortified. Storm Peaks and Sholazar Basin were the odd zones out in that “arc,” because neither region offered ready ground access to Icecrown Glacier.

The Argent Crusade only finally got into Icecrown Glacier when they blasted through the mountains at the Argent Vanguard, while the failure at the Wrathgate, followed by the failed assault at the Broken Front meant the Alliance and Horde never actually managed to establish their own entrenched positions there, limiting them to the airships overhead. Had they managed to break in at the Wrathgate, all three mortal armies would have been marching on Icecrown Citadel in force, and far sooner than Arthas wanted them to, so he stepped in personally to prevent that from happening.

As far as has been seen, nobody else at the Wrathgate was revived/preserved by the dragons’ fire. At this point it seems like Bolvar was a fluke, though translating some Draconic dialogue between Alexstrasza and Korialstrasz at the scene implied that they knew what had happened to Bolvar before players found out and that it may have been deliberate. Like they might have foreseen his importance in future events or something and made sure to save him.

That thread never went anywhere, though; that was back in WotLK, when the dragons were still being treated nominally as mysterious and often inscrutable beings who “knew things” that mere mortals didn’t, before Cataclysm grounded them and pretty much made them seem no wiser and no more informed about what’s going on in the world than anyone else.


I mean, if her master plan was to gas the guy then her presence on the battlefield was rather immaterial. It’s as lethal to the Forsaken as it is the Scourge and there was no guarantee of a cliff for her to gloat atop.

She all but signed the blight canisters with her gothy lipstick anyway, given Arthas immediately called her name when the word “Forsaken” escaped Putress’s maw.


Take it for what it is but it is explained later that the Lich King can only be killed at the Frozen Throne. Also it is clearly shown in the cinematic that Arthas was more resistant to the strain of plague (or blight) the Forsaken had developed.

Yes. Frostmourne was that powerful. It is why Arthas was shocked and lost for words when the Ashbringer destroyed Frostmourne at the end of his encounter in ICC. He believed nothing could destroy it. Not even Shadowmourne, a weapon designed to be a counter to frostmourne could do it.

She was about to head over to Northrend when the coup happened. She barely managed to escape the Undercity and upon learning what happened, went straight to Orgrimmar to explain her side to Thrall before things escalated too far.

He died to the plague, the dragon flames burnt his body. Arthas brought him back hoping to convert him into a Death Knight. Bolvar proved to be incorruptible. Probably aided by the Red Dragons flame.

Magni went up to Northrend to look for his brother, Muradin, upon learning that he was in fact still alive. They reunite (along with Brann) at the end of Branns questline in Storm Peaks for alliance players only (the reuniting, not the questline itself. Which does have a horde version). And this happens before patch 3.1


Brann Bronzebeard says: He’s here in Northrend brother, looking for you. A seer in Wintergarde brought word that you were not dead, and he left Ironforge immediately to come find you.

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I don’t think the blight actually hit Arthas. I always interpreted it as Arthas actually escaped and retreated only being exposed to it a little bit.

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Ah yes, forgot that one.

To amend my prior statement, none of the faction leaders had gone to Northrend to actually lead the war effort in person before the Ulduar patch.

The barrels themselves didn’t explode on him, but he was in the midst of the Blight cloud hacking and coughing. It just didn’t affect him as significantly as the Forsaken hoped it would, which stands to reason. As Lich King he was more of an undead demigod than just another undead person.


It’s not possible to kill the Lich King when he isn’t in the presence of the Frozen Throne.

Everyman axe vs one of the most powerful legendary weapons in the setting.

Varimathras and Putress were betraying her. Allegedly.

Died, turned undead.

What’s the source on this? I never heard of this.


Gee thanks. Your answers are really detailed helpful

Uther in the Halls of Reflection.

Saurfang jr’s axe wasn’t anything but steel.
Frostmourne destroys artifacts regularly.

What more do you need? It’s what happened. Uther died. Arthas reanimated him. Dragonfire allowed him to retain his sapience.

Well, it’s really not 100% clear in this case if Bolvar actually died and was brought back, or if the dragons’ fire turned him into some sort of life-animated entity just in time, before he actually perished from the Blight.

Either way his non-dead status came from the life-giving energies of the red dragons’ flames, not from Arthas reanimating him. If Arthas had reanimated him then he’d have been Scourged, which we saw at the Red Dragonshrine (and during the Bridenbrad questline) isn’t something to which the red dragons’ powers are immune or even particularly resistant. Of the five flights, only the green dragons were shown to be uniquely resistant to Scourge corruption and reanimation. Blue, red and black dragons are all shown to be as susceptible to Scourging as anyone else, while the Velithria Dreamwalker raid fight implied that the Scourge was struggling to corrupt green dragons as easily due to their inherent connection to the Emerald Dream. It’s not really known how susceptible bronze dragons would be, since we never saw any direct interaction between them and the Scourge.

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I’m pretty sure he’s not even undead. I’m pretty sure it’s some sort of weird “mutation” from the dragon fire. He may not have even died.

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I’m pretty sure you know nothin’, Jon Snow.
He’s undead in the game files.
He talks about being undead in stories.
He was the Lich King.
He is a walking corpse.

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Uther died at the wrathgate?

I considered editing my post, but decided to shrug and continue watching The Midnight Club instead.

You didn’t see him there? After the plague bombs drop, when Bolvar is backpeddling and Alliance soldiers are falling down all around him, you can briefly see Uther there, shaking his head in shame at Arthas and crying.

It is 100% totally legitimately there in the cinematics, no lie.

Uther shows up in every cinematic in-game if you know where to look. Drinking certain beverages help you spot him.

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