VarianMost people are familiar with Varian Wrynn. He's the King of Stormwind and the ruler of the Alliance. After the Third War, Varian was abducted on the way to Theramore by the Defias and held on an island just north of the city. He was able to escape, only to be captured by the Horde and forced into becoming a gladiator. Although he didn't remember anything of his true identity, Varian's skill in the gladiator pits became somewhat legendary and the orcs titled him Lo'Gosh, after the Ancient demi-god Goldrinn.
Eventually, Varian recovered his memories and returned to Stormwind. The plot behind his disappearance was uncovered and dealt with, allowing Varian to reclaim his throne. His experiences in the gladiator pits, as well as the history between the orcs and humans, seeded a deep mistrust toward the Horde. After the events of The Wrath of the Lich King, Varian becomes openly hostile toward relations with the other faction. All chances for peace between the Horde and the Alliance seem all but lost.
The people around him, specifically Anduin, made him see what he had become and he realised he wasn't the man he wanted to be. Gradually, he began to change and the needs of his people became his primary concern, rather than warfare with the Horde. Even the chance for peace becomes renewed once Varian realises that war is not in his people's best interests.
AnduinAnduin, Crown Prince of Stormwind, was but ten years old when we first met him. His mother, Tiffin, lost to the violence of riots when he was but a babe and his father would disappear when he was ten years old. Anduin was forced to rule Stormwind as a boy king in his father's absence, led by the Regent of Stormwind, Bolvar Fordragon.
Upon Varian's reclamation of the throne, Anduin is free from the burden of ruling and -- due to him feeling so in-tune with the Light-- focuses on becoming a priest. His holy powers and keenness towards peace between the Horde and Alliance put him as a stark contrast with his father. As Anduin grows older, he begins to influence his father into seeing that peace between the two factions is paramount.
In Mists of Pandaria, Anduin finds himself falling in love with the land of Pandaria and its peoples. It is here where he truly begins to stand on his own as he confronts Garrosh directly and becomes a major advocate for peace between all. He spends much of his time helping the Pandaren, healing refugees and befriending the last black dragon, Wrathion.
Anduin has grown into a kind, compassionate young Prince who cares for the well-being of everyone, regardless of which faction they side with.
Father and SonStormwind is one of the seven human kingdoms in Azeroth and House Wrynn have been its rulers for many generations. Varian was born to King Llane about ten years prior to the events of the First War and was witness to the first orcish invasion through the Dark Portal. Varian would inherit his father's throne at the mere age of thirteen, when Llane was assassinated by Garona Halforcen. Varian was devastated by the loss of his father and along with the other residents of Stormwind, was spirited away to Lordaeron by Anduin Lothar.
Eventually Stormwind would be reclaimed and with the help of the Stonemasons, would be rebuilt. During this time of renewal, Varian left the House of Nobles in charge of Stormwind so that he may personally travel within the boundaries of his lands to protect his people. Shortly after Stormwind's restoration, Varian returned and married Tiffin Ellerian. Rather than a marriage born out of love, Varian and Tiffin's betrothal was pre-arranged so the Ellerian family could join the House of Nobles. While the two didn't get along at all in the beginning of their marriage, they grew to deeply love one another.
Tiffin would soon reveal to Varian that she was with child. The son born to them would be their only child and was named after Anduin Lothar.
Problems began to arise after Anduin's birth, namely with the House of Nobles refusing to pay the Stonemasons their agreed-upon sum for the restoration of Stormwind. With neither party satisfied with any offer Varian attempted to negotiate with, riots broke out in the streets. It was during one of these riots that a thrown rock struck Tiffin in the head, killing her. The Stonemasons fled the city, leaving Varian to mourn the death of his wife and raise his son alone.
It would turn out that the disparity between the House of Nobles and the Stonemasons were all mechanisms put in place by the Royal Advisor Katrana Prestor in a bid to gain ultimate power in Stormwind. Once Tiffin was dead, Varian was so depressed that he was easily manipulated and influenced. As Varian became more attached to his son, Katrana found it more difficult to keep control over him. When Anduin suggested that Varian attend peace talks with the Horde, Katrana saw this as an opportunity to remove Varian from the throne for good. Varian was abducted under her orders and she put Anduin on the throne in his place, finding it easy to continue her reign when the King was but a boy.
Drifting ApartA rift would begin to form between Varian and Anduin, shortly after Varian returned from his disappearance at the hands of the Defias. Claiming to know nothing about what happened to him, Varian returned to ruling the city but his attention was less about what his people needed and more about his own personal gains. Anduin grew suspicious, as he knew that Varian loved his people and when Varian declined to send aid to the dwarves, Anduin's suspicions were confirmed.
When the imposter was routed and the real Varian returned to the throne, things were not how they used to be. Varian's time in the gladiator pits made him into a temperamental man, prone to violent outbursts that put Anduin on edge. To further the problem, Varian was insistent on Anduin following in his footsteps to become a skilled warrior. Anduin had little love for the battlefield; he wasn't suited to becoming a warrior. This troubled Anduin, as he didn't want to disappoint his father but he was too afraid to speak up in fear of his temper.
Eventually, Varian suggested that Anduin visit Ironforge to train. It wasn't long after that Anduin found his true calling as a priest of the Light and the dwarven king, Magni Bronzebeard, gave him the gift of a beautiful mace called Fearbreaker. Not too long afterwards, Ironforge came under siege by Magni's estranged daughter, Moira, and the Dark Iron dwarves. Anduin was held hostage and Varian's rage was so strong that he led an invasion force into the city to reclaim it for the Bronzebeards. As Varian was about to decide Moira's fate, Anduin intervened and stayed his father's hand. He managed to convince Varian that the dwarves had a right to decide their own fate and a political disaster had been averted.
Varian had listened to Anduin and taken his advice but his temper problems still remained, driving Anduin further away. Varian would become more controlling of Anduin's behaviour and it came to a point that Anduin no longer wished to stay. The two had such a fight that Varian injured his son in an effort to make him stay. This made him realise that he needed to change; if he didn't, he'd lose Anduin for good.
Growing CloserThe rift between father and son only began to close during Anduin's visit to Stormwind on Remembrance Day. They were attacked by Twilight Hammer assassins and combining both of their strengths, Varian and Anduin were able to overcome their assailants. The battle gravely wounded Varian, however. As he lay dying, he told Anduin he was proud of him and loved him. Anduin refused to give up on his father and using the power of the Light, brought him from the brink of death. From then on, Varian began to realise that he needed to start focusing on healing his people and said as much in a speech addressing the citizens of Stormwind, with Anduin proud of his father's change in heart.
Varian's change in attitude was highlighted in Tides of War, when Jaina came to him for help in seeking vengeance against the Horde for the bombing of Theramore. Anduin witnessed Varian telling Jaina that even many in the Horde would have thought the bombing of Theramore was horrific and rushing into war would not be the best for the Alliance. While Jaina was furious with Varian, Anduin was proud to see that his father had moved so far away from the violent man he once was. Their relationship grew considerably as Varian taught Anduin about hatred and what it does to a person, not just with Jaina but with Garrosh as well.
Much later, when the Alliance has built Lion's Landing in Pandaria, Anduin attempts to dissuade his father from bringing more war to such a peaceful land. Varian proves on many occasions to his son that he isn't there to bring hatred and bloodshed, but to prevent it as much as possible. When Anduin demonstrates great courage in standing up to Garrosh, he's nearly killed. Varian is absolutely distraught at seeing Anduin's broken body. Even then, Varian knows that it's Garrosh --not the Horde-- that is responsible for Anduin's pain.
Eventually, Varian leads the Alliance to siege Orgrimmar in an effort to stop Garrosh once and for all. It's here that Varian truly shows just how greatly he has changed in light of his son's influence: rather than occupy the city, he negotiates peace. Rather than allow Thrall to deliver the final killing blow to Garrosh, he spares the orc's life so that the pandaren may decide what to do. Anduin was at his father's side and felt that he did the right thing in the way of forging peace between their people.
During War Crimes, Varian is called as a character witness in the trial for Garrosh. Varian testifies that he was violent, hot-headed and intolerant toward other races. He says that it was his son who made him see the kind of man he was and influenced him into changing into the kind of man he wanted to be. The two appear to be closer than ever.
"I first had to come to the realization that I truly wished to change, and then, it took will and discipline, and reasons that made the struggle worth it. I had people who wished to help me, and I listened to them. They-- well, they were able to get through my thick head how I was really behaving, and it wasn't in line with what I envisioned. I wanted to be the best father I could to a son without a mother. The best ruler of a people who were enduring very hard times. I felt as if I owed it to them to make my time on the throne about what they needed-- to make their lives better -- and not spend it tending to my own petty impulsives."
Varian Wrynn, War Crimes, chapter 30
FarewellIn Legion, Varian departs from Stormwind after learning that the Burning Legion has begun its invasion of Azeroth. He leaves Anduin behind to rule in his stead as he faces the threat directly. In the cinematic trailer for the expansion, we see Varian writing a final letter to his son:
"My son… a terrible darkness has returned to our world. As before, it seeks to annihilate everything that we hold dear. I go to face it, knowing I may not return. All my life I have lived by the sword. I've seen kingdoms burn and watched brave heroes die in vain. It's been... difficult for me to trust after losing so much. But from you, I have learned patience, tolerance and faith. Anduin... I now believe as you do; that peace is the noblest aspiration… but to preserve it, you must be willing to fight."
Varian Wrynn, Legion cinematic trailer
Varian's fleet, along with the Horde fleet under command of Sylvanas Windrunner, soon encounter the demon threat and are forced down onto the Broken Shore. Varian does not survive the encounter. He gives Genn Greymane the letter to deliver to Anduin and then sacrifices himself so that the Alliance fleet can safely escape from the Legion's invasion site.
When the Alliance forces reach Stormwind, Genn sees to it that the player delivers the letter to Anduin, as he cannot bear seeing Varian's funeral or Anduin's anguish. Anduin is on the throne, now the King, surrounded by the other Alliance leaders. He's torn up about his father's death and is at a loss as to what to do; he feels that everything is falling apart.
In Son of the Wolf, we learn that Anduin keeps this final letter from his father close to his heart, all the way through old age. Seeds of doubt are sown in his mind about whether or not true peace could ever be found, what with such unrelenting evil assaulting them time and time again. However, it is his father's final words that encourage him to keep on fighting. It's bittersweet that their roles have been reversed; rather than Anduin encouraging Varian towards peace, it seems that Varian is able to return the favour even in death.
About WolfheartedThis site was created on August 11, 2016, on the spur of the moment for the Dynamic Duos event at Amassment. I was reading War Crimes and loved the scenes between Varian and Anduin so much that I decided that I would create a small fan site for their relationship. Both son and father would be much different characters than they are today without each other and I love how their relationship has grown over the many years of World of Warcraft expansions. Eventually, I'd like to add more to this site and expand it to more than what it currently is.
The artwork used across this site is from the Son of the Wolf comic, illustrated by Nesskain. I'm a huge fan of his work and was happy to see one of the four Legion stories being illustrated by him. Naturally, I had to showcase his gorgeous artwork for this site. <3 World of Warcraft, Varian Wrynn, Anduin Wrynn and all other materials are of course copyright Blizzard Entertainment.