For those who have played Warcraft 3, the real time strategy game released decades ago, you may recall a black raven that transformed into a human prophet at will speaking to both the Horde and Alliance. It was the prophet’s plan to bring both sides’ attention to the looming danger of the demonic invasion – The Burning Legion. The game ends with the glorious battle of all races of Azeroth against the demons’ final assault to the World Tree.
Perhaps the name Medivh means something to you. The Last Guardian tells the story of Medivh, the most powerful mage known in Azeroth, before he has become the raven that some of us are familiar with in Warcraft 3.
To my best knowledge, The Last Guardian is the only Warcraft novel written by Jeff Grubb. I do not know why he no longer writes for the Warcraft series. I happen to enjoy his writing style – slower pace no doubt, but with a certain mysterious underlying to the overarching story. The Last Guardian almost reads like a detective story. Magic is explained in the finest technical detail. The entire book is written in such finest detail. I feel as though I am living inside the tower of Karazhan, together with the visions within and all.
Medivh is an enigmatic character. His tower of Karazhan holds many secrets of the past and the future. To tell the story, Jeff Grubb relies on the young Khadgar – a human mage highly recommended by Kirim Tor (an organization of mages residing in Dalaran) to be the apprentice of Medivh. Khadgar has an inquisition mind and his undying curiosity makes him a perfect spy to learn the secret of the tower. Medivh knows of Kirim Tor’s intend but is confident that by building trust, Khadgar may one day stand by his side.
The stories told within Karazhan are epic. It goes all the way when Medivh’s 800 years old mother Aegwynn battled the evil Titan Sargeras. Throughout my interaction with the Warcraft franchise – be it as in-game or the bits and pieces of lore scattered in books and at Blizzard’s website – it is the closest moment I have read about the Titans. There are plenty of visions that explain what the past was, and what the future is to be. The stories further explain Medivh’s background and why the most powerful mage in Azerorth is going insane.
After reading The Last Guardian, there are still many questions in my mind. If Medivh is the Guardian of Order of Tirisfal, how does he relate to the Aspects of the five dragon flights – who are also named as the Guardians of Azeroth? If the Aspects are empowered by Titans, what empowered the Guardian of Order of Tirisfal? Sargeras appears to be one tough Titan to defeat – though it does not seem impossible – would this Titan be the ultimate villain in the online game World of Warcraft? If so, when would that be?
The Last Guardian is the third book coming from the Warcraft Archive series. It reads differently from others. A worthwhile read nonetheless.