Unpopular Opinion: Varian was Delusional
Well, not all the times obviously. And not *literally*. But in a few moments that counted, he said things that people took very literal, when he wasn’t being realistic.
Let me start by saying I’m no Varian hater (funny thing to say about a digital character huh?) As a Horde player, I enjoyed their quarrels with Garrosh and after reading the books and seeing his development, I came to “respect” the character. He’s good, he’s honorable, he’s brave. And sometimes, quite the oaf.
Case 1: “ If your Horde fails to uphold honor, we will end you.” — Mists of Pandaria
After dropping a mana bomb (pretty much a nuke) on the Alliance city of Theramore, Garrosh grew more and more arrogant, alienated other Horde leaders, stole powers beyond his capacity and ended up picking a fight with the whole world, barricaded in the Horde capital of Orgrimmar. Remaining (and majority) of the Horde and the Alliance powers lay siege on Orgrimmar and took Garrosh down. Right after the fight, the troll leader Vol’jin was made the Horde Warchief. Whispered for peace by his son and for violence by Jaina, Varian walked up to Vol’jin, and threatened him with these words.
WOW! Right? Right? So cool! Yeah! We will end you! Whoaa!
Except, not really. The only reason Varian and the Alliance made it there was because the rest of the Horde was also against Garrosh. You can’t end Horde easily. I mean, troggs and leper gnomes took Gnomeregan from the Alliance, can they take on the whole… alliance? Of course they can’t. Varian couldn’t have “ended” the Horde then. Not at that moment, not a day later, not a month later. Alliance didn’t topple the Horde, they toppled an isolated fool who was way over his head, who was weakened and attacked by the Horde as well.
Case 2: “Mekkatorque, we finish this now! Call in the gunship!” — Legion
The Legion forces are in Broken Islands. The Alliance and the Horde work together to push through the forces of demons. Gul’dan crushes one of the most powerful mortals, Tirion Fordring, easily before the factions’ very eyes. Both factions realize there is something different and somehow the demon corruption was spreading way faster. It turns out Gul’dan is empowered through the Tomb of Sargeras and has summoned an endless… legion… of demons. The Horde is defending the flanks while the Alliance is pushing toward the main gate. Gul’dan summons almost all of the most powerful demons (other than the 3 archdemons) with seemingly at the flick of a finger. As they fight, Varian confidently shouts the words, but at the time the Horde forces retreat, forcing the Alliance to do the same. Varian bravely sacrifices himself for the rest of the Alliance forces to escape.
WOW! Right? Man, if it wasn’t for the TREACHERY of the Horde, Legion was defeated right then!
Except, not really. Seriously. Gul’dan is summoning every boss from every dungeon, raid and major quest. We are talking Nathrezim, pit lords, infernals and all sorts of other demons and what? A hit from the gunship is going to defeat all of them? What was he thinking?
It’s revealed later (during Rogue class hall quest line) that the Stormwind Intelligence leader was replaced by a dreadlord and the whole thing was a trap. Now, both factions were lead there anyway.
But The Alliance should’ve been the ones to blow the retreat horns the moment they saw the hoard of POWERFUL demons, not press on! Varian not only endangered his people, but ended up getting himself killed. If the retreat was done earlier, he might have survived. Maybe not, but we’ll never know, will we?
In the end, there was no way the factions would get there alive. Varian just made people think they could, which made Horde look even worse. In fact the Horde was bombarded by demon space ship things and their most powerful had fallen, a destiny that awaited Alliance too, if they lingered. The retreat of Horde actually saved the Alliance as well. If Sylvanas was as daft as Varian, they would have all died.
Varian was cool but he was the textbook warrior in many sense. Proud and confident, but not always literal or well-thought. Players don’t seem to make this distinction, especially the Alliance. Then again, he was the perfect leader for the Alliance, as their races are almost all very self-righteous and very self-convinced.
The truth though? He can’t end the Horde and it was Sylvanas’ decision that saved people and it would’ve been Varian’s decision that would’ve condemned them all to death, playing right into Gul’dan’s hand.
While researching for another article, I came across another point. I’m sure there are more, but wanted to add this as well.
After Wrathgate, Varian leads a group into Undercity and eventually, they meet the Horde force. Just as Varian was about to attack, Jaina teleports them away. Here is what Varian says:
King Varian Wrynn says: “You were at my side in the Undercity. We had them cornered! Justice was within my grasp!
I could have ended them all! Sylvanas… Thrall… Think what our world could have been without them and their twisted Horde!”
No, Varian. No. As great a warrior as you are, you couldn’t have ended those two. You would’ve had a chance only because of others that were with you.