All canines go to heaven, however what about horses? World of Warcraft: Shadowlands evokes sophisticated non secular questions like this one due to its setting, which is the place all souls go after they die. Here, not solely are all of Warcraft’s myths and religions true, followers will even get to fulfill previous characters — like Arthas, the Lich King.
Based on present lore, we all know that the Lich King resides in a particular Shadowland that gamers might be visiting through the enlargement. Arthas didn’t turn into evil by his lonesome; he had a useful steed by his aspect whereas he was alive. But what occurs to that very same horse when the Lich King is banished to hell?
From the horse’s mouth
In order to find out the reply to this query, we should first perceive the entire knowledge obtainable. Arthas was a Disney-style prince of the dominion of Lordaeron. When the dominion was attacked by waves of undead zombies, Arthas determined he would do something to avoid wasting his folks. Ironically, that devotion led him to taking over the cursed blade Frostmourne, which devoured his soul. He then grew to become the evil Lich King and led the armies of undead in an try to overcome the world.
Just as a result of Arthas had turn into a soulless monster didn’t imply he was utterly heartless. One of his first acts after changing into the Lich King was to go discover his childhood horse, Invincible, who had died in a using accident. The Lich King then turned Invincible right into a zombie horse.
The ebook Arthas: Rise of the Lich King reveals Invincible recognizing his grasp and displaying immense love and loyalty in the direction of him. That’s not a excessive degree of sentience, nevertheless it’s there. In addition, we all know that mortal creatures like deer and bears go to the Shadowlands; they’ve souls which are become anima and processed by the realm of the Night Fae. If a bear or deer has a soul, a horse ought to have a soul as effectively. That appears to be a check of primary sentience and concept of thoughts that Invincible would certainly cross, even in his reanimated zombie kind.
Players can get hold of Invincible as a mount from the Arthas combat in Icecrown Citadel, which means that the horse stays alive. But how might hundreds of gamers be using the identical horse? That should be a non-canon outcome. Given that, we should always assume that the actual Invincible perished alongside together with his grasp.
So, did that horse’s soul go to hell together with the Lich King?
A trial for the evil horse
There seem like two strategies by which a soul can go to The Maw in World of Warcraft, which is actually the worst potential hell. We know that Arthas Menethil, the Lich King, is presently within the Maw — and we additionally know that the Maw might be an end-game zone in Shadowlands. You get despatched to the Maw through two methods:
- You do actually dangerous issues — be absolutely the worst of the worst, the Mussolini of Azeroth
- There’s an alternate route that appears to be unlocked by being raised by Frostmourne
In the short story Edge of Night, we see the Maw from the angle of Sylvanas Windrunner, the elven common who was killed and become a banshee by Arthas. At the top of the Wrath of the Lich King enlargement, she considers her mission of revenge finished: she killed Arthas. Having accomplished stated mission, she commits suicide, assured that she’ll get her good afterlife. Instead, she briefly goes to mega hell earlier than getting saved and introduced again to life.
In the Maw, she finds Arthas Menethil, who’s within the Maw as a result of he did an entire lot of objectively dangerous issues. But right here’s the factor: when Arthas was nonetheless within the land of the residing, Invincible was additionally there, doing all of that dangerous stuff proper alongside Arthas.
Consider some issues that Arthas did with the implicit assist of Invincible.
- Killed the remaining paladins of the Silver Hand to steal the ashes of a useless king
- Stormed the dominion of Quel’Thalas to commit an entire genocide so Arthas might use their magic juice pool to ressurect a necromancer
- Like, 50 different warfare crimes on the journey right down to Lordaeron after which as much as Northrend over the course of Warcraft 3
Invincible comes up regularly all through the course of Rise of the Lich King. His bond with Arthas stays very shut, and it’s clear that he’s greater than only a automobile. He pushes onwards by rivers, chases down elves, and tramples survivors underneath his hooves.
If Arthas is in Hell as a result of his actions, would Invincible not observe the identical guidelines? Or does the horse want precise company in these acts to be implicated? If Invincible had any concept of what he was doing, he would certainly go straight to hell.
It may be argued that Invincible does these acts purely out of affection for Arthas; at one level, he takes a mortal blow for his rider, and in a while, he gleefully prances round Arthas subsequent to piles of corpses. But does Invincible perceive what he has wrought? How is morality weighed for a horse? Surely bears don’t go to hell for consuming deer, however what a couple of horse who simply helped kill, like, fifty thousand folks? It’s additionally unclear whether or not Invincible might have earned his spot in a sort of horse valhalla for excellent boys based mostly off of his restricted company and intelligence, or if there’s a 3rd choice, like a Horse Limbo.
Another wrinkle: What if we assume that Arthas is an unreliable narrator? Golden writes Arthas as typically feeling responsible and indignant about his actions, at the same time as he commits them. In his adolescence, he unintentionally killed Invincible and likewise broke the center of his fairly ex-girlfriend. Then after turning evil, he stabbed his dad and did an entire lot of warfare crimes. The narration constantly has Arthas brooding on these items, describing his suffocating emotions of guilt, concern, and anger. The solely factor that’s constantly written as a vivid spot in his life is Invincible.
What if Arthas is projecting all of Invincible’s loving, humanizing qualities onto the horse? What if Invincible really is only a shambling automobile of bone and magic, and Arthas is simply studying approach an excessive amount of into these jerky actions? I actually have been able to such illogical folly; I’ve checked out my fats cat Bongo and surmised that he’s feeling complicated human feelings like “jealousy” after he destroyed a novelty bobblehead I loved preserving on my desk.
What if Arthas is doing the identical? What if Invincible is a magic phantasm trapped in a horse, pressured to do horrible issues, with no means to understand their terribleness?
Invincible may simply be in hell regardless. Recall that Sylvanas was within the Maw. When Arthas first killed her, she felt like she had a ticket to elf heaven. When she died a second time, she went straight to hell … regardless that she had by no means finished something that might justify going to the Maw. Even in case you assume she orchestrated the Wrathgate throughout Wrath of the Lich King — which is feasible, based on Blizzard — she’s nonetheless too heroic for mega hell. I imply, Kael’thas acquired to go to one of many higher vampire-themed hells, the one the place you get tortured till you earn redemption. In phrases of whole villainy, Kael’thas was in all probability leagues forward of Sylvanas by way of physique rely and betrayal.
So, that leaves us with one chance, and it’s one which Sylvanas suspects however hasn’t confirmed. You go to the Maw in case you had been raised into undeath by Frostmourne, no matter your prior life. That contains Invincible.
This raises much more questions, and I hope the Shadowlands enlargement solutions them. Is there a particular hell for horses, or do they go to the identical hell as everybody else? Will we see different well-known horses who’ve handed away in World of Warcraft, like Ol’ Blanchy? Is Invincible conscious of the complete weight of his horrific actions? And does he remorse them? I eagerly await the inevitable solutions to those urgent questions.
Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These don’t affect editorial content material, although Vox Media might earn commissions for merchandise bought through affiliate hyperlinks. For extra info, see our ethics coverage.