The Purge of Stratholme

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Now I've known the lore behind this for a while but just got to really thinking about it.

Does anyone else think that killing off the citizens before becoming mindless undead was actually more humane? I feel like Arthas had the right idea here.

Upon further thought it had me thinking that this was still the point in the timeline where his descent started, but it wasn't because he thought the Purge was necessary. It was because his mentor and the love of his life turned their backs on him.

I think this was the emotional breaking point for Arthas. This was where his true obsession with the Scourge manifested. He wanted to show these people that he was doing the right thing.

The obsession with the Scourge was actually an obsession of acceptance and love.

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On a slightly unrelated topic, does anyone have any speculation regarding Yogg-Saron's influence on Arthas, its a topic I'm looking to get into and would like to know peoples' current position on it.
I agree. I don't think it was the scourge itself that made Arthas go crazy (well it was, but not directly), I think it was more the fact that everyone he thought was an ally turned against him.

- Uther and Jaina ran off because apparently a city full of the walking corpses is better than a city full of stationary corpses.
- Arthas' father decided to recall Arthas when Arthas believed that he was a stone's throw away from defeating the Scourge once and for all.
- His men were so quick to abandon his cause rather than sticking it out with him.
- Muradin continually him not to do what he thought was necessary to finally win the war.

Even if what Arthas was doing was completely wrong, it sure didn't help that everyone he loved decided that he was just screwing up.
I absolutely believe that the culling was necessary. And I agree that Arthas' breaking point was when Uther and Jaina turned away from him. He was utterly alone at that point. Sure, he had some of his men with him, but the two who were the most important -- that he loved and looked up to -- walked away.

He had no choice. He was running against time and Mal'Ganis running around inside the city turning people. He did what he did to keep a massive Scourge army from cropping up in the middle of Lordaeron.

That said, he should have taken an extra moment to fully explain everything he knew about the plague to Uther instead of just ordering the culling.

Arthas' biggest mistake that day was not taking the time to get Uther's support, of accusing him of treason, and disbanding the Knights.

After that, he personalized it all, and chased Mal'Ganis to Northrend not because it was the right thing to do but because he wanted the dreadlord to pay for forcing him to demolish Stratholme.

What Arthas should have done after Strat was return home, face his father, explain his actions, and take whatever consequences that came. I'd like to think Terenas would have ultimately made the same decision. But Arthas acted so brashly, without explaining everything, expecting Uther to just blindly follow without any sort of facts. In the end, they would have probably agreed that the culling was the only thing to do. And Arthas probably wouldn't have felt completely alone in facing this great evil.

I mean, think of this: after all of that, when he came home from Northrend, he did so to a hero's welcome. Parade, cheering crowds, and rose petals. So, obviously no one considered him a great evil at that point. They probably understood the military necessity of the culling.
No. Why? You're fighting a demon raising the DEAD. He could easially bring them back before they have a chance to burn the corpses.
In hindsight, it was a good idea. That being said at the time you cant realy blame uther and jaina for leaving arthas, which by the way if you uppose something someone is doing that much then shouldnt you try to stop it yourself, when he decided to purge a city based on the hunch, at the time, that the grain was plagued and every civilian in the city would be a mindless zombie.
... Seriously, all Arthas did was what the Scourge planned to do. Kill them. After that, all they have to do is raise the giant mounds of corpses and suddenly they have an undead army.
04/11/2012 07:51 AMPosted by Cártian
... Seriously, all Arthas did was what the Scourge planned to do. Kill them. After that, all they have to do is raise the giant mounds of corpses and suddenly they have an undead army.


Well, it would probably take aaaaages to manually raise every single corpse, but the plague was pretty much an instant-army. And that's if he knew there were methods other than the plague to raise the dead (was that known at that point?).
04/11/2012 08:00 AMPosted by Gandred
... Seriously, all Arthas did was what the Scourge planned to do. Kill them. After that, all they have to do is raise the giant mounds of corpses and suddenly they have an undead army.


Well, it would probably take aaaaages to manually raise every single corpse, but the plague was pretty much an instant-army. And that's if he knew there were methods other than the plague to raise the dead (was that known at that point?).
I don't think Arthas or any of the others really grasped the whole undeath concept at all. I realize the Plague is a faster method, but Wrath showed us large groups of undead can be raised at once.
Of course he was doing what was necessary.

Then both Jaina and Uther betrayed him because they couldn't take it and buckled at the knees.

The Lich King is the result of hippies being too weak to show loyalty to a friend in a serious situation. If your best friend/student/love interest starts massacring civilians, you help, not run away crying like he's some stranger who you don't even know or trust.
Of course he was doing what was necessary.

Then both Jaina and Uther betrayed him because they couldn't take it and buckled at the knees.

The Lich King is the result of hippies being too weak to show loyalty to a friend in a serious situation. If your best friend/student/love interest starts massacring civilians, you help, not run away crying like he's some stranger who you don't even know or trust.
^^Hell, if you think it's totally horrible and wrong, then you freakin TIE HIM DOWN! If I was Jaina, I would have either grown a spine and helped him OR I would have thrown myself at his legs to stop him from going in. They turned their backs on him when he needed them -- SOMEONE -- the most. They are partly to blame for his downfall, in my opinion. You don't turn your back on someone you love, especially when they are looking into the face of hell. Also, don't forget, Arthas truly believed he was doing the right thing. He believed that it was better his people died while they were still "good" than be killed while feeding on the brains of their loved ones. His act might have saved their souls. He had no way of knowing what would happen afterwards, and he didn't have the knowledge that we did. By everything he actually knew of Mal'Ganis and the plague, he thought he was saving his people.

It doesn't matter whether undead can be raised in bulk or not. He wouldn't have known any of that except what he'd seen with his own eyes, and that was that the plague acted fast, it killed, and it raised you within minutes. And it was in the grain, and the grain had been baked into bread, and bread was a staple food that was consumed daily and usually fresh.

Edit: The spacing is still messed up. I tried to fix it but it's still coming out a wall of text so apologies but I can't get it any better than this.
The story of Arthas is probably the most thoroughly developed of all the Warcraft stories. The character has been there in a central role from Warcraft III, and perhaps earlier. I don’t know all of the history or the story, except it’s a classic tale of a fallen hero.

Arthas’ character was described in a couple of letters I ran across at some point. One was written by Uther. He was expressing concern about Arthas’ hot-headedness and lack of self-control, but had high hopes that maturity would bring self discipline and wisdom. Uther commented on Arthas’ strong passion for justice, his compassion for the unfortunate, and his love for the people.

There was an anecdote about an old woman who had been attacked by a wolf. Arthas, unable to help the woman and make her life right again, hunted and killed the wolf and brought its pelt to the woman for a blanket. Pretty much the pattern he followed at Stratholme later.

The trip to investigate the strange plague was probably not expected to be dangerous. Why would they send the crown prince into great danger, particularly a danger like serious disease. Arthas saw enough to realise this thing was a terrible threat to his people. If I remember correctly, Uther and Jaina didn’t arrive until most of it was over, and didn’t quite realise that the undead army they had faced were their own people. (I don’t recall the name of the first town they visited.)

I think, at Stratholme, Arthas was terrified and angry, and probably not thinking or speaking very coherently. In his typical headlong fashion, he took the only right action, but didn’t understand that the others had not seen everything he had seen, and may not have reached the same conclusions. He was, after all, still young, and apparently thought of as such by both Jaina and Uther.

Their actions in leaving him were unconscionable; they betrayed both Arthas and the people of Stratholme (as Mahalia pointed out). Perhaps they believed he wouldn’t, or couldn’t, actually do it. It actually showed great strength of mind that he did go through with such a terrible and necessary action.

Later . . . ? It follows logically enough, I guess. When he took up Frostmourne, it may have been a great relief to him that he could no longer feel the horrors of what had happened, and what he had done.

It's a pretty good story, isn't it!
The point of Stratholme was manipulation. The people there were essentially already dead and were going to be raised as undead, the only real difference was whether the plague was going to kill them, or whether Arthas was going to kill them first, and Mal'ganis comes in after they left and raise up bodies.

The only real difference is that Arthas murdering everyone in Stratholme turned everyone against him, and pretty much forced him down the road to become the Lich King.

Arthas: 100% sucker.
I always saw it as doing the wrong thing for all the right reasons.

Option 1 is to kill everyone in Stratholme, assuming they've been infected.

Option 2 is to wait and kill them when they die and get back up again.

Neither one is particularly wonderful, but the second one keeps you from murdering innocent people. As WoW stories go it's actually a fairly deep moral dilemma.
If Jaina's dream in Warcraft: Legends is to be believed, if she had assisted Arthas at Stratholme it would've ultimately been her to become leader of the Scourge.
I always saw it as doing the wrong thing for all the right reasons.

Option 1 is to kill everyone in Stratholme, assuming they've been infected.

Option 2 is to wait and kill them when they die and get back up again.

Neither one is particularly wonderful, but the second one keeps you from murdering innocent people. As WoW stories go it's actually a fairly deep moral dilemma.


But don't forget... he wanted to give those people a clean death. He wanted to save their souls before the evil of undeath consumed them. Given that, he couldn't have just waited around until they started turning and then killed them. That was part of the point.
04/11/2012 09:39 PMPosted by Vyrin
If Jaina's dream in Warcraft: Legends is to be believed, if she had assisted Arthas at Stratholme it would've ultimately been her to become leader of the Scourge.


Yeah, I wondered about that. Part of me thinks it was just sort of "made up" later to be an interesting twist. Even if Jaina did the deed so that Arthas wouldn't have to (I can't remember exactly what happened in "Legends"), I don't think she would have turned. She was a lot more level-headed than he was. He was ripe for corruption, whereas she wasn't.
I think that story was more of an afterthought. If anything, they should have (like I said in one of my other posts up there ^^) tied his butt to a tree until they could figure out another option.

Although, to be honest, I really don't see that there was another option.

04/11/2012 09:17 PMPosted by Yablik
The only real difference is that Arthas murdering everyone in Stratholme turned everyone against him, and pretty much forced him down the road to become the Lich King.


Not totally true. He got the hero's welcome and even Uther said (in WC 3 or the Arthas novel) that he had hoped Arthas would see the light after Stratholme. Had Arthas repented or whatever, they would have all thrown their arms around him. His father was pleased to see him return home... of course this was moments before Arthas killed him but still. The welcome home celebration proves that they did see him as a hero at that point in time.
I do think Arthas was in the right..

IMO: What makes the entire event such a great development was the conflicting ideal's even among fans on what should of happened. Arthas was a well-established character.
The point of Stratholme was manipulation. The people there were essentially already dead and were going to be raised as undead, the only real difference was whether the plague was going to kill them, or whether Arthas was going to kill them first, and Mal'ganis comes in after they left and raise up bodies.

The only real difference is that Arthas murdering everyone in Stratholme turned everyone against him, and pretty much forced him down the road to become the Lich King.

Arthas: 100% sucker.


Except that the infested villagers would literally become zombies and start rampaging across the lands. There is no contextual evidence that suggest that Malganis/anyone else was capable of raising the entire dead city in the manner suggested. The point of the plague was that it would literally zombify folks into the scourge's recruitment program. Why would they even go through with the plague to begin with if they could just murder everyone in sight and then raise them?
04/11/2012 10:12 PMPosted by Martiggan
Except that the infested villagers would literally become zombies and start rampaging across the lands. There is no contextual evidence that suggest that Malganis/anyone else was capable of raising the entire dead city in the manner suggested. The point of the plague was that it would literally zombify folks into the scourge's recruitment program. Why would they even go through with the plague to begin with if they could just murder everyone in sight and then raise them?


I tend to think that Mal'Ganis could have, even if it's a bit draining for dreadlords to do so. Probably not quite as quickly or subversively as the plague, but we've seen what Balnazzar did to the Scarlet Crusade in Stratholme. The dreadlords are master necromancers.

The Scourge might not have yet had enough troops to take Stratholme in an outright attack, hence the need for the plague. They didn't have their large armies yet.

Weighing in on the main question, I'm not sure that Arthas did what was necessary, but he certainly believed it would be. A better solution likely would've been to quarantine the city, enlisting Uther and his paladins to watch for those who might turn undead. Sure, a lot of the city was infected, but everyone? Jaina could then go to Dalaran and see if the mages could research a cure like she wanted to do. Likely wouldn't have helped, but eh. I do think it was those two turning on him that made it a point of no return in his mind--he had to prove to them what he did was the right decision.

Wonder what would happen if they could research a cure for undeath. It seems impossible, but maybe Khadgar and his naaru friends in Outland could devote some time to it. If anyone could, it'd probably be the Magnus's former pupil.
Arthas did everything right. Personally Arthas is my fav NPC of all time and he didnt have a downfall to become Lich King he became better :)
04/11/2012 11:38 PMPosted by Àrthás
Arthas did everything right. Personally Arthas is my fav NPC of all time and he didnt have a downfall to become Lich King he became better :)


he did everything pragmaticly, he probobly could have set up some kind of camp that seperated the potentialy infected and slowly distiled the pure vs. infected saveing lives. it would have taken longer but would have worked. just like how the quarentine would have worked but was never implemented.
Arthas did what he though was right. But bear in mind there's only one major entrance and exit into stratholme that the mindless undead could use Arthas could have waited for them to raised and killed them on the way out with support instead of risking himself and falling for Mal'ganis's plan and that was the whole point of stratholme for Arthas to go to Northrend and get the frostmourne and the events that followed.
Arthas was young at the time though and he was under pressure and he was hot-headed so he though it was the best thing to do. Bear in mind also that Uther was the first paladin and his belifed said to not kill the innocent and Arthas was saying kill everyone before they turn and at that point they were innocent and saveable. Jaina's personality said that she never achually wanted to kill anything and killing innocent people like that although it might be the best option did not agree with Jaina and would make her sick.

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