Last week, we focused on the history of the Tauren, the largest of the Horde’s races, and speculated on their possibly titanic origins. This week we’re going to look at the smallest of the Alliance races – the Gnomes – and speculate on their titantic origins, and what those origins mean for the race. Gnomes are the oft-misaligned hated race of the alliance, endless streams of short jokes and threats of gnome punting littering the net. Nobody likes the gnomes, it seems – unless of course you are a gnome player, and if you’re a gnome player, then you’re weird. At the original release of World of Warcraft very little was known about this odd, tiny, frenetic little race of tinkers and mechanics, but the release of Wrath of the Lich King cleared up a lot of the mystery of where the gnomes came from, and why they are here.
Not all of it, but a lot of it. This week, expect small amounts of speculation that are clearly labeled, and a whole lot of Warcraft history. Please be patient with me, as the timeline involving the Titans arrival, the Old Gods arrival, and everything that happened in between is currently in flux – game lore is contradicting existing lore, and it makes everything…iffy.
WARNING – THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE FOLLOWING: Wrath of the Lich King, and events that take place in the raid zone of Ulduar. If you don’t wish to be spoiled on any of the above material, I would not recommend clicking to read further!
If, however, you’re interested in the little frenetic tinkering gnomes, READ ON!
Begin At The Beginning
Once upon a time, as these things begin, there was absolutely nothing. To this nothing came the Titans, a group of extremely powerful magic creatures otherwise known as The Makers, The Travelers, or the Great Ones, and possibly more names lost to time. These creatures were akin to gods; metallic giants that traveled across the cosmos to bring order to worlds that had none. A creator race, they seemed to exist for nothing more than finding a planet, quietly putting life on it, throwing a few checks and balances in to keep things neat and tidy, and moving on to find yet another planet. The group of titans responsible for the creation of life, worlds and order was known as the Pantheon, the high council of titans. Several different titans ruled on the council:
Aman’Thul, Highfather of the Pantheon – Ruler of the Pantheon and consort to Eonar, Aman’Thul is the oldest and wisest of his race. As leader of the titans, Aman’Thul is responsible for the creation of all worlds, including Azeroth.
Eonar, Patron of All Life, or Life-Bringer – Eonar was consort to Aman’Thul and represents the embodiment of all life. Her specialties are nature, healing, and life.
Norgannon, Lore-Keeper and Master-Magician – As his name implies, Norgannon was the master of the arcane magic, knowledge, mysteries and secrets.
Golganneth, The Thunderer – Golganneth is the son of Aman’Thul and Eonar. His specialties are the skies and the seas.
Khaz’goroth, Shaper and Forger of the World – Khaz’goroth is a shaper of mountains and canyons, his specialty being the earth.
Sargeras (Sargeras) – Oh yes. This guy? He was a titan. Actually he was the greatest warrior the titans had. At the time of Azeroth’s discovery however, he uh…wasn’t. Sargeras was primarily responsible for getting rid of the nasty demons and bad things that were native to the Twisting Nether, so that the evil would not contaminate the careful order the Titans had put into place. Needless to say, this Did Not Go According To Plan. His name is crossed out for a reason.
Aggramar – Well, you win some and you lose some. Aggramar was Sargeras’s lieutenant, so when Sargeras went all ‘Say Burning Legion sounds like an amazing idea I should probably trademark that’, Aggramar stepped up to take his place. Now HE is the warrior, and HE is the one fighting against the demons and things that are now led joyfully by his former commander. …fun job, huh?
The Seed Races of Azeroth
Right. So the Titans came together and decided to make a new planet full of life and order and all things pleasant, and they created Azeroth, the world your little level three gnome is currently poking rabbits with a stick on. Makes the whole thing seem a little small, doesn’t it? The Pantheon worked carefully, placing several races on the planet to help with the protection of order on the world – according to some statues scattered around Uldaman the original five races of the world were trolls, earthen, tauren, mountain giants, and sea giants.
If one is to look closely at the races, one can probably guess who created what, with the assistance of Eonar to bring them to life. Golganneth was more than likely responsible for the sea giants, Khaz’goroth for the earthen and possibly the mountain giants as well. As I theorized in tauren history last week, I believe that Eonar was directly responsible for their creation. As for the trolls…well, it still hasn’t been established just who made the trolls. Just due to his name, I would pin it on Aman’Thul himself, as the prefix or postfix of ‘aman’ is often used in troll lore, legends, and naming, suggesting a link between the two. Norgannon infused the world with magic, pulling directly from the Great Dark Beyond and possibly creating the Well of Eternity, though this is unconfirmed and just my speculation.
There is really a lot more to be said about the Titans and what happened, but this is a history of the Gnomes, so we’re going to skip the details and stick to what is applicable to them.
So the Titans of the Pantheon created Azeroth and planted among it the ‘seed races’ – the originators of life on Azeroth, and in a Titan fashion were generally pretty pleased with the way things were going, and took off to go make a new planet.
The Old Gods and the Elemental Lords
Unfortunately, Azeroth wasn’t about to be left alone to its own devices. Perhaps drawn by the power of the Well of Eternity, perhaps drawn by the general niftyness of the new races of the planet (Tauren are pretty cool, after all), beings known as the Old Gods came to Azeroth. The Old Gods were as much creatures of chaos and destruction as the Titans were of order and creation – and they slowly worked their way across Azeroth, their deeds carried out by armies of elementals that were led by four lieutenants:
Ragnaros the Firelord – Lieutenant of the Fire Elementals
Therazane the Stonemother – Lieutenant of the Earth Elementals
Al’Akir the Windlord – Lieutenant of the Air Elementals
Neptulon the Tidehunter – Lieutenant of the Water Elementals
It should be noted that the Elemental Lords were not originally corrupt – the Old Gods spoke to them and warped them to their will. Players may note that at least ONE Elemental Lord could be considered ‘evil’ – Ragnaros – but it’s really not that he’s evil. Elemental lords naturally progress towards disorder, moving readily to a state of chaos if left on their own and warring with each other. It’s a natural thing. The Old Gods played upon this tendency towards chaos to use the Elemental Lords in their path towards wreaking absolute havoc on Azeroth.
Lore speaks of the Old Gods being on a mission to ‘facilitate assimilation’, and of the Old Gods presence as being an infection. It’s almost as if the Old Gods were seeping into the world and permeating it like a disease – and the two instances of Old Gods that we’ve seen show them as great beasts, with giant tentacles that stretch far further below the earth than just the small parts that they show players in battle.
To summarize – the Old Gods came to Azeroth to claim it for their own as a world where chaos and disorder would reign, with the Elemental Lords wreaking havoc across the world at the Old Gods bidding.
The Curse Of The Flesh
During this time, the Old Gods tampered with titanic creations in several different ways. Obviously the Elemental Lords were a very direct force with which to sow chaos – but the Old Gods had other tactics as well. The Curse of the Flesh, mentioned for the first time in Wrath of the Lich King, was an infection, a plague of sorts that was cast on the metal and stone creations of the titans. This curse or disease caused the metal and stone to soften, the logical mechanics of gears and calculations to loosen, and the creation itself to weaken considerably, making them immediately susceptible to the Old Gods influence. One cannot influence a mind of stone, of metal – but of flesh, it is almost too easy. Oh it’d take time, lots of time for the Curse to fully take effect, but eventually the immortality granted of being rock or metal would be stripped away, and the only thing left behind a squishy pink flesh bag that would be way, way too easy to kill.
Alternatively, to coerce into working for your cause.
Among the titans creations affected were the earthen, creatures of rock and stone, and the mechagnomes – the super smart little inventor assistants of Mimir. These creatures, instead of remaining unchanged throughout the course of history, evolved into something new, something…fleshy.
ANYWAY! The Titans sensed something was up with their little Azeroth, and came back to find the place in utter chaos – Old Gods and Elemental Lords and curses and all kinds of unpleasantness going on. The Titans were to say the least not terribly pleased with what happened, and there was a great, huge, gigantic, horrific battle in which the Titans sought to slay the Old Gods.
But upon closer examination, they realized that this curse that the Old Gods had cast on their creations, the effects of the Old Gods themselves, tied the things too far into Azeroth. If the Titans destroyed the Old Gods, they’d be destroying Azeroth as well. And the Titans really, really didn’t want to do that. So as an alternative, they simply imprisoned the Old Gods deep beneath the earth for all eternity. Way, way deep down. Nope, nobody is ever going to find these guys under that rug we swept them under, no sir.
Ulduar and the Titanic Watchers
More than a little annoyed at the failure of the seed races to defend and maintain the order they’d put in place, they took measures to re-create those seed races that had lost too many members to the Curse, and to keep an eye on the little planet, as they wouldn’t really tolerate a second mistake from it. The Pantheon also stuck a few minor titans on Azeroth to keep an eye on things, generally speaking. These minor titans were the Watchers that were scattered all over Azeroth. Some ruins known to house Watchers are Uldaman and Ulduar – Uldum is also a suspected titanic stronghold. There are others to be sure, spread across Azeroth and as yet undiscovered. Ulduar, located in the Storm Peaks of Northrend, is a massive complex spanning a huge chunk of the zone. The Watchers associated with Ulduar are as follows:
Freya – A daughter of the titans and a protector of all living things on Azeroth.
Hodir – Hodir lent his guidance to the frost giants of the storm peaks. It is speculated that he was the creator of the frost giants, as the Sons of Hodir reference him as a father.
Thorim – Thorim was the guardian of Ulduar and the Terrace of the Makers, the areas immediately surrounding the stronghold. He was both warrior and negotiator, and lived primarily IN THE MOUNTAINS.
Loken – Loken was named the supreme protector of Azeroth by the Pantheon. Basically he was a warrior much like his brother, Thorim, and led the storm and earth giants.
Tyr – Little to nothing is known of Tyr, simply that he was there. His current status and location is a mystery, although there has been some speculation that he may have left to another titan base, possibly Uldum. There’s no real answer though, so Tyr remains an interesting puzzle yet to be figured out.
Mimir – Mimir resided at the Temple of Invention in the Terrace of the Makers. Mimir is probably the Watcher called Mimiron in the raid instance Ulduar, but that hasn’t been confirmed – however, the fact that Mimir was in the Temple of Invention, and the way that Mimiron goes on and on about his marvelous creations leads me to believe that they are one and the same. Mimir was responsible for creation of a different kind – not the seeds of life that Freya cultivated, but the development of technology and ideas. It’s never directly stated in official lore, but the assumption that I leap to is that Mimir needed assistants to help with all the inventing and keeping track of what gadget went where, so he created miniature versions of himself to help himself out. These were the mechagnomes that still wander the Terrace of the Maker today.
Mimir is really our focus here in regards to gnomes.
The Pantheon also set up a planetary fail-safe protection that would send them a message in the event that Azeroth was under distress again.
And then they left again, fairly certain that THIS time the world would be okay.
So Azeroth was safe once more, the seed races merrily doing their own thing, the titanic creations working at keeping everything neat, tidy, and most importantly in order.
But the Curse of the Flesh remained upon the world, unable to be removed, and worked its way through the creatures of Azeroth, affecting each in a different fashion.
More to come tomorrow as we continue with the History of the Gnomes!