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This article is about Arthas' life as a human. For his existence after he was transformed, see Lich King. For other uses, see Arthas (disambiguation).
NeutralArthas Menethil
Image of Arthas Menethil

IconSmall ArthasDK Champion of Ner'zhul,
Blessed Lord,[1]
King of Lordaeron,[2]
Lich King

IconSmall Arthas Crown Prince of Lordaeron,
Paladin of the Silver Hand[3]
Paladin defender of Lordaeron,[4] Lord[5]
Gender Male
Race Human (Undead)
Class Death knight, formerly paladin
Affiliation(s) Scourge
Former affiliation(s) 1st Legion, Knights of the Silver Hand, Kingdom of Lordaeron, Alliance of Lordaeron
Occupation The Lich King
Former occupation(s) First death knight and Champion of Ner'zhul, Revered champion of the Silver Hand,[6] Prince of Lordaeron
Location Various
Status Deceased (lore)[3][7]
Killable Wrath-Logo-Small
Relative(s) Terenas (father),
Lianne (mother),
Calia (sister),
Unnamed niece,
Unnamed brother-in-law,
Jaina Proudmoore (former lover)
Uther ("uncle")[8]
Mentor(s) Uther the Lightbringer, Muradin Bronzebeard
Companion(s) Trueheart & Invincible (steeds), Ner'zhul (formerly conjoined spirit)

“Nothing shall prevent me from having my revenge, old friend. Not even you. Now, I call out to the spirits of this place. I will give anything, or pay any price, if only you will help me save my people.”

— Arthas, just prior to claiming Frostmourne

Arthas Menethil, Crown Prince of Lordaeron and Knight of the Silver Hand, was the son of King Terenas Menethil II and heir to the throne. He was trained as a paladin by Uther the Lightbringer and was inducted into the Order of the Silver Hand. Arthas also had a romantic relationship with the kind sorceress Jaina Proudmoore. Committed to the protection of his people, Arthas was determined to stop the plague spreading throughout Lordaeron.

Despite his promising beginnings, Arthas became one of the most powerful and evil beings Azeroth would ever know. Although he killed the necromancer Kel'Thuzad, Arthas was unable to stop the spread of the plague and resorted to increasingly desperate methods, such as purging the city of Stratholme. Taking up the cursed runeblade Frostmourne, Arthas was able to defeat the demon Mal'Ganis, but he lost his soul in the process. Becoming a death knight of the Scourge, he led the undead in destroying Lordaeron, Quel'Thalas, and Dalaran. Arthas later made his way to the Frozen Throne of Icecrown and merged with the Lich King.[9]

Ruling as the Lich King for years afterward, Arthas had the last remnants of his humanity destroyed and was ultimately defeated in combat by Highlord Tirion Fordring and his champions of the Light. Cradled by the spirit of his father, Arthas Menethil died, leaving the mantle of the Lich King to be taken by a noble soul who would contain the power of the Scourge. Arthas' soul found no rest in the afterlife, instead being forged into a weapon in the schemes of the Jailer that was spent until nothing was left.

Arthas first appeared as one of the main protagonists of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. He also serves as the main antagonist in Wrath of the Lich King.


Arthas: Rise of the Lich King[]

WoW-novel-logo-16x62 This section concerns content related to the Warcraft novels, novellas, or short stories.
Arthas Jaina Chronicle

Arthas and Jaina in Lordaeron.

Warcraft III Box - Arthas

Prince Arthas Menethil, Knight of the Silver Hand.

Arthas HS cropped

Arthas, Crown Prince of Lordaeron.

Prince Arthas Menethil was born to King Terenas Menethil II and Queen Lianne Menethil, four years before the start of the First War.[10] The young prince grew up in a time when the lands of Azeroth were ravaged by war, the Alliance was crumbling, and darker clouds still loomed on the horizon.

As a young child, Arthas became best friends with Varian Wrynn and often sparred with him, though Arthas was less experienced. He also watched as his future steed, Invincible, grew up. As a youth, Arthas was trained in combat by Muradin Bronzebeard, the brother of the dwarven king Magni Bronzebeard, and became an adept swordsman. At the same time he learned the ways of the Light under the tutelage of Uther the Lightbringer. He also developed an interest in Jaina Proudmoore when she was staying in Lordaeron while on her way to Dalaran, where she would be studying. Some time later, Terenas arranged a political marriage for Arthas' sister Calia with Daval Prestor. Calia was distraught by the decision and hoped Arthas would marry for love rather than politics.

Arthas was inducted into the Knights of the Silver Hand at the young age of 19. The ceremony was held in the Cathedral of Light in Stormwind City, and was attended by prominent figures such as Genn Greymane, Thoras Trollbane, Daelin Proudmoore, and Jaina Proudmoore, whom Arthas had not seen since childhood. Archbishop Alonsus Faol led the initiation process, which included four of the five original paladins: Uther, Tirion Fordring, Saidan Dathrohan, and Gavinrad the Dire. Arthas was presented with the holy warhammer called Inv hammer 04 [Light's Vengeance] by Gavinrad and had the ceremonial silver plates placed upon his shoulders by Uther. While in Stormwind, Arthas visited the newly crowned king, Varian Wrynn, and sparred with him while recounting old memories. He also met the recently born prince, Anduin Wrynn, who gripped his finger.

Arthas once visited Durnholde Keep and saw the famous orc gladiator Thrall. He stayed in the keep during the night and Aedelas sent Taretha to Arthas' chamber to please him. However, Arthas only talked with her and he noticed that Taretha reminded him of Jaina Proudmoore, whom he had begun to fall in love with. Later on, he rode on Invincible only to have an accident which caused Invincible to suffer a mortal wound. Arthas had no other option than to kill his beloved steed in order to stop its suffering, an act which would haunt him for the rest of his life.

Arthas once stayed in Dalaran so he could spend time with Jaina. During his visit, Antonidas organized a banquet for Arthas and Kael'thas, who happened to be there at the same time. At the banquet, Arthas and Antonidas spoke of the orcs' strange lethargy, Terenas's health, Stormwind, the young Anduin Wrynn, and Arthas' relationship status. Kael'thas, who was also fond of Jaina, was upset when he saw Arthas kissing her.

Having grown into a strong, confident young man, Arthas was headstrong and somewhat arrogant, though none could dispute his bravery and tenacity. Arthas came to be considered one of the finest swordsmen in Lordaeron, and was famed for counterattacking and defeating the forest troll warbands of Zul'Aman when they began raiding the settlements along the border of Quel'Thalas.[11]

Later on, Arthas invited Jaina to Lordaeron to celebrate the festivals of Noblegarden and Hallow's End. During that time Arthas revealed that he was courting Jaina to the public. Eventually, however, Arthas began to question whether the two of them were ready to be together. Arthas abruptly ended the relationship so Jaina could focus on her magical studies in Dalaran and Arthas could focus on his commitments to Lordaeron.[12]

During the trial of Tirion Fordring in Stratholme, Arthas served as one of the four jurors. Like the other judges, he was shocked when Tirion admitted his guilt, which led the paladin to his excommunication and his exile.[13][14]

Knight of the Silver Hand[]

WC3RoC-logo This section concerns content related to Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos or its expansion The Frozen Throne.

Arthas, as a paladin, in Warcraft III: Reforged.


Arthas, as a paladin, in Warcraft III.

Troubles began to stir in Lordaeron. Orcs broke free of their internment camps, and there was distressing news of a plague that had gripped the northlands. Arthas and Uther were sent to Strahnbrad to defend the town from orcish raids.[15] The young prince defeated the black drake Searinox to retrieve its heart for the dwarf Feranor Steeltoe to forge into an Orb of Fire. Arthas used this magical item to help defeat the orcs and kill the Blackrock clan blademaster leading the raids.[16]

Plague of Undeath[]

Lore in Short - Confronting Kel'Thuzad

Arthas and Jaina encountering Kel'Thuzad.

Weeks later a more vile threat arose in the form of the Plague of Undeath. Jaina and Captain Falric were sent to help Arthas, now 24 years old, investigate the strange disease. They fought against the undead at an infested granary, then encountered the necromancer Kel'Thuzad in the town of Brill and pursued him to Andorhal.[17]

Kel'Thuzad had already infected the stored grain in Andorhal and shipped it out to outlying villages. Before Arthas killed him, Kel'Thuzad spoke of Mal'Ganis, a nathrezim demon who led the Scourge.[18] Jaina and Arthas traveled north to confront him in Stratholme.

Along the way, Arthas and Jaina stopped at Hearthglen where they hoped to rest. Instead, they were warned of an approaching army of undead. Arthas ordered Jaina to find Uther and seek his aid while he remained behind to defend the town. To his horror, Arthas discovered that the plague was not merely a means of mass murder, but rather the means of turning innocent townsfolk into undead creatures. Arthas' forces barely held out and were on the verge of defeat when Uther arrived with reinforcements and saved the village.[19]

While traveling to Stratholme, Arthas was met by the enigmatic prophet Medivh. He gave him the same advice he gave Terenas — to travel west to Kalimdor, as fighting the undead would speed up the delivery of Lordaeron to them. Arthas argued that his place was with his people, and vowed that he would not abandon them. Jaina suggested that the prophet might be right, but Arthas paid her no heed and continued to Stratholme.[20]

Culling of Stratholme[]

Chronicle3 Arthas in Stratholme

Arthas during the Culling of Stratholme.

When he arrived at Stratholme, Arthas found that the grain had already been distributed. He knew the people of Stratholme would soon become undead, and ordered Uther and his knights to purge the entire city. Horrified, Uther rebuked him by saying he would not follow such an order even if Arthas were already king. Proclaiming that Uther had committed treason, Arthas relieved him of his command and suspended his paladins from service. Several soldiers, such as Sir Thomas Thomson, left with Uther — as did Jaina — while those who remained loyal to Arthas joined him in slaughtering the infected citizens.

As Arthas began to slay the citizens of Stratholme, he was met by Mal'Ganis himself, who was working to claim their souls. Arthas sought to destroy them before Mal'Ganis could reach them, and eventually demanded a final showdown with the dreadlord. Mal'Ganis slipped away, however, vowing to meet him in Northrend. Arthas then set fire to Stratholme, and those fires burn to this day.[21]


Arthas treachery Reforged

Arthas frames his mercenaries.

Arthas followed Mal'Ganis with a detachment of his troops. They arrived a month later in Daggercap Bay. As they searched for a proper place to set up camp, Arthas' men came under gunfire before being recognized by the dwarven explorers' guild. Arthas was shocked to come upon his good friend and former mentor Muradin Bronzebeard. At first, Muradin thought Arthas was leading a rescue party sent to save his men, who had been besieged by the undead as they searched for the runeblade Frostmourne, but Arthas admitted it was mere coincidence. Together they destroyed the nearby undead camp, but there was still no sign of Mal'Ganis.[22]

As Muradin and Arthas continued their search for Frostmourne, an emissary from Lordaeron arrived in a zeppelin and spoke to Captain Luc Valonforth. He bore orders from Uther and Terenas, instructing Arthas and his men to return home. When Arthas returned to his base, the men had abandoned their posts and were making their way through the forest towards their ships. Arthas had no intention of leaving before Mal'Ganis was destroyed. With the help of some indigenous mercenaries, he managed to reach and burn his ships before his men got to them. When his men arrived, Arthas betrayed the mercenaries by accusing them of destroying the ships. To Muradin's disgust, they were promptly killed. Arthas told his men they had no means of going home, and the only way they were leaving Northrend was through victory.[23]


Warcraft III Reforged - Arthas taking Frostmourne

Arthas holding the cursed blade Frostmourne.


Arthas "kills" Mal'Ganis in Reforged.

Arthas and his troops continued to press on to Draktharon Keep in search of Frostmourne. As he arrived, Mal'Ganis appeared to him, and foretold his death. Arthas went to search for Frostmourne with Muradin, leaving his captain to defend the camp.

Using an ancient waygate Arthas, Muradin, and a small group of men traveled to the vicinity of the fabled runeblade. Arthas was soon confronted by the Guardian, who tried to keep him from Frostmourne, apparently for his own protection. The Guardian fell, and Arthas and Muradin claimed their prize. Muradin, reading an inscription, reported that the blade was cursed. He pleaded with Arthas to forget his desire for vengeance and lead his men home, but Arthas was adamant. Arthas asked the spirits of the cavern for the sword to be released from its icy prison, proclaiming that he would "give anything or pay any price, if only they will help him save his people". When the weapon broke free, Muradin was struck by a rogue shard of ice, rendering him unconscious.[24] Arthas moved to help Muradin, but was dissuaded by the call of Frostmourne in his mind. Arthas discarded his holy warhammer, Inv hammer 04 [Light's Vengeance], then picked Frostmourne up and returned to his base, leaving Muradin for dead. With Frostmourne in hand, Arthas defeated Mal'Ganis's army, destroyed his base, and finally confronted the demon.

Mal'Ganis told him that the voice he was now hearing was that of the Lich King and asked what he was telling him. Arthas replied that voice was instructing him to destroy Mal'Ganis, much to the dreadlord's surprise. After slaying the dreadlord, Arthas fled into the frozen north, leaving his troops to fend for themselves. Arthas soon lost the last remnants of his sanity.[25] Arthas was unaware that Mal'Ganis had survived their encounter.

Champion of the Lich King[]


Arthas, as a death knight, in Warcraft III: Reforged.

In Northrend, Arthas became the first of the Lich King's death knights. He was given a suit of saronite armor,[26] and slew nearly all of his own men before raising them as undead.[27] Some among them, notably Falric, Marwyn and Thassarian, were raised as death knights in Arthas' service.[28]


Arthas returned to Lordaeron months later, and the kingdom rejoiced at the return of its champion. Flanked by Falric and Marwyn, Arthas entered the imperial chamber and knelt before the throne. After telling his father that he no longer needed to bear the weight of his crown, Arthas walked up to Terenas and ran Frostmourne through his heart.[29] The king's bloodied, broken crown remains lost to this day. As he drew Frostmourne, Arthas remembered the words of his old friend Varian describing his own father and king Llane being stabbed in the heart.[30]

Arthas then unleashed the Scourge upon the Capital City. He soon found Vivian, wife of the fallen hero Killoren. Sensing a conflict within Thassarian, Arthas ordered Thassarian to kill Vivian - his mother - in order to prove his loyalty.[28]


Arthas, as a death knight, in Warcraft III.

Leaving Falric and Marwyn to oversee his forces in the city, Arthas ran to the Balnir Farmstead. There he used his necromantic powers to raise his faithful steed Invincible into undeath, allowing it to serve as his mount once again.

A few days later, Arthas appeared in Vandermar Village at the bidding of his new master, the Lich King. There he met Tichondrius the Darkener, a dreadlord like Mal'Ganis. Thinking that the dreadlord was Mal'Ganis out for revenge, Arthas immediately threatened him, only to discover that this dreadlord had come to congratulate Arthas for his efforts. When spoken to Arthas said he no longer felt remorse for any of his actions, though deep in his heart he knew this was a lie.[31] Tichondrius explained that the sword was designed to steal souls, and that Arthas' own soul was the first one it had claimed.[32]

Tichondrius tasked Arthas with gathering the members of the vile Cult of the Damned that were hiding in Vandermar, learning that Kel'Thuzad had expected him, much to his surprise. They aided him with their magical abilities as he traveled to Andorhal where he was to recover Kel'Thuzad's corpse. Arthas initially asked as to why they couldn't reanimate him on the spot, only to be informed by a cultist that a being like Kel'Thuzad required a powerful energy source. He confronted the paladin guarding the crypt, Gavinrad the Dire, who had given Arthas his holy warhammer at his induction ceremony into the Silver Hand. After killing Gavinrad, he recovered the remains of the necromancer. This brought Kel'Thuzad's ghost into being, and he secretly instructed Arthas not to trust the dreadlords. Arthas quietly contemplated this.

Kel'Thuzad's remains were badly decomposed and needed to be taken to the mystical Sunwell in Quel'Thalas to be revived. To ensure that the remains would survive the trip, Arthas was tasked with taking a special urn that was being held by the Knights of the Silver Hand. Arthas killed two paladins, Ballador the Bright and Sage Truthbearer, who both condemned Arthas' betrayal. He then faced Uther the Lightbringer, who explained that the urn held the ashes of his father, King Terenas. The two engaged in a duel with Uther initially having the upper hand, knocking Arthas down and sending Frostmourne flying from his hands. As Arthas awaited the killing blow, the sword seemed to find its own way into his hands and he was granted more power by the Lich King. The battle began to turn in Arthas' favor. Eventually, Uther, covered in blood from his wounds, fell to his knees and told Arthas he hoped there was a special place in hell waiting for him. Arthas replied that they would never know because he intended to live forever, then delivered the killing blow. He seized the urn and blasphemed his father's remains by throwing them, which suddenly swarmed on him with the wind, choking him and burning his eyes. Arthas had the remains of Kel'Thuzad placed within the urn, and then began the long journey to Quel'Thalas.[33]

Fall of Quel'Thalas[]

Sylvanas Warbringers5

Arthas leading the undead Scourge against the kingdom of Quel'Thalas in Warbringers.

Arthas met heavy resistance from the elves, rallied by Ranger-General Sylvanas Windrunner. Driving their forces before his undead army, he steadily pushed her people back in a swath of destruction towards Silvermoon, breaching the kingdom's two elfgates with ease. Sylvanas tried to warn the vast elven capital of the coming of the Scourge, but Arthas destroyed her camps and killed the Ranger-General. To make her pay for her perceived insolence towards him, Arthas corrupted her elven spirit, transforming it into a horrendous twisted form (a banshee) and enslaving her to the will of the Lich King, forcing her to slay her own people.

Arthas and the marching armies of the Scourge annihilated Silvermoon, leaving it in ruins. On the road to the Sunwell, he fought Grand Magister Belo'vir and left him critically injured after severing his right arm. Arthas also faced Anasterian Sunstrider, the aged High King of Quel'Thalas, and killed him with minimal struggle. Arthas then used the Sunwell to bring Kel'Thuzad back as an undead lich.[34]

Destruction of Dalaran[]

Warcraft III Reforged - Arthas and Archimonde - Arthas

Arthas battling the forces of Dalaran while Kel'Thuzad summons Archimonde.

As the pair traveled to Alterac, Kel'Thuzad explained the full extent of the "second invasion" and the Lich King's plan.[35] Arthas and Kel'Thuzad went to the Alterac Mountains to destroy encampments of Blackrock clan orcs who possessed a functional demon gate, which the lich would use to speak to the demon lord Archimonde. The Scourge destroyed the orcs to secure the portal for themselves. Archimonde instructed them to march to Dalaran and acquire the spellbook of Medivh so he could be summoned into Azeroth.[36]

Despite the Kirin Tor's valiant efforts to repel the invasion, the Scourge fought through their magical defenses and fortifications, killed the Archmage Antonidas and claimed the Book of Medivh.

Arthas and his troops repelled the mages' vast counterattack as Kel'Thuzad began the lengthy summoning of the demon lord, reinforced by the Burning Legion's forces as the ritual progressed. Once Archimonde arrived, he proclaimed that the Lich King was of no further use to the Legion, and Tichondrius was placed in command of the Scourge. Arthas was left to wonder what would become of him and Kel'Thuzad, but the lich replied that all was going as the Lich King foresaw.[37] The pair disappeared as Archimonde took his revenge on the city, destroying Dalaran with a single powerful ritual.[38]

Invasion of Kalimdor[]

Illidan meets Arthas Reforged

Arthas informed Illidan about the Skull of Gul'dan.

Arthas was next seen in Kalimdor on the Lich King's orders, joining the Legion's invasion not to aid them but to secretly undermine their efforts. From the shadows he influenced the Scourge, causing them to disobey their demon masters. This slowed the Legion's progress towards Hyjal Summit and sometimes even allowed the Legion's enemies to escape. When Arthas considered another way to more severely damage the Legion, he noticed Tichondrius and the Skull of Gul'dan which the dreadlord had used to create Felwood and corrupt the surrounding forests. The death knight was aware that he could not destroy Tichondrius directly without attracting Archimonde's attention. When he discovered Illidan Stormrage, Arthas realized that he could manipulate someone else to kill the dreadlord instead.[39]

Arthas sensed Illidan's yearning for power and approached him in Felwood. He told the recently freed demon hunter how to claim the skull's powers as his own, whereupon he could destroy Tichondrius. Illidan agreed to his plan, and Arthas disappeared again,[40] awaiting to be teleported by Kel'Thuzad.[41]

Arthas remained on Kalimdor until after the Battle of Mount Hyjal, which resulted in the obliteration of the Legion forces. Following Archimonde's death, the allied forces launched a counterattack on the demonic remnants. Arthas only narrowly escaped the attack. He rallied as many of the Scourge as he could before retreating back home.[42]

Return to Lordaeron[]

Warcraft III TFT box artwork

King Arthas Menethil, Death Knight of the Scourge.


Arthas confronts the dreadlords.

Archimonde left a trio of dreadlords behind in the ruined palace gardens of Lordaeron to ensure that the nation remained under control, and to watch over the cunning servitors of Ner'zhul. When the demon lord was defeated, however, they were not originally aware of it. This changed several months later, when Arthas returned to reclaim his throne. He threatened the dreadlords, who immediately fled, and then called Sylvanas and Kel'Thuzad to his side to stop a large group of human refugees, who were led by the paladins Halahk the Lifebringer, Magroth the Defender, and Dagren the Orcslayer as they tried to stall the Scourge so they could escape into the canyons, where the undead would have difficulty hunting them. However, during the climax of the battle, Arthas had a painful seizure, and felt the Lich King calling out to him. Despite his diminished powers, Arthas fought on until all the humans in the area were killed.[43]

Little did Arthas know that the Lich King's power had dwindled to the point that Sylvanas was no longer under his control. In secret, she attended a meeting with the three dreadlords, who told her that the Lich King's power was waning, and so the time had come to claim her vengeance.[44]

As Arthas returned to the capital city with Kel'Thuzad to discuss the threat, he was separated from Kel'Thuzad by the dreadlords, who attempted to kill him with several ghouls. Arthas killed the rogue undead and was forced to collect what loyalists he could find and fight his way through the dreadlords' forces, which included the powerful abomination Bloodfeast. As he arrived on the city's limits, he was saved by a cadre of banshees, who told him that Sylvanas had sent them to see him safely away.[45] However, as they neared an empty spot in the forest, Arthas received another vision from the Lich King, who told him he'd been betrayed. Sylvanas then appeared and shot him with a paralyzing arrow, promising to torture him like he had done to her. Before she could start, Kel'Thuzad stepped in and chased her off with his forces.[46]

The Lich King's mental cries pierced Arthas' mind - he was told to return to Northrend, for demonic forces (later revealed to be Illidan and the naga) were working to destroy the Frozen Throne and end the self-proclaimed king's reign. Immediately, Arthas prepared his fleet and set sail for Northrend, leaving Kel'Thuzad behind to watch over Lordaeron.

Escape to Northrend[]

Warcraft III Reforged Scourge Undead Campaign

Arthas in Northrend.

Three weeks later, Arthas landed upon the familiar coast of Northrend, and unexpectedly found himself being attacked by blood elves led by Kael'thas, hungry for vengeance at their kingdom's destruction. Arthas was unexpectedly saved by a large crypt lord who introduced himself as Anub'arak, the former king of Azjol-Nerub. Kael'thas warned that though the preliminary scouting force may have fallen, their main army would not be so easily defeated, before teleporting away to safety.

Arthas worried that Kael'thas was right and that they would never reach the Citadel before Illidan could. However, Anub'arak revealed that they could use the ancient tunnels of Azjol-Nerub as a shortcut. With little choice, Arthas accepted the crypt lord's suggestion. While setting up a camp to fight to the passageway, Anub'arak suggested raiding the hoard of Sapphiron, an ancient blue dragon and servant of Malygos and using whatever treasures the dragon had to strengthen themselves. Not only did they slay the dragon, but Arthas used what power he had left to raise Sapphiron into a powerful frost wyrm.[47]

Race to the Frozen Throne[]

Illidan v Arthas

Arthas and Illidan's fight, as seen in World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3.

When he came to the doors of Azjol-Nerub, Arthas found himself being fired upon by dwarves, who revealed themselves to be followers of Muradin who had remained there when their leader was apparently killed. Now, they were led by Muradin's second in command, Baelgun Flamebeard. Leaving Sapphiron outside, Arthas battled through not only Baelgun's dwarves, but also the nerubian survivors, as he delved into the broken Spider Kingdom. Anub'arak's aid was invaluable, as he circumvented many traps which would have cut Arthas' stay fatally short.

When Arthas faced off against Baelgun, the dwarf warned that the shifting earth had released an ancient evil from below the kingdom.[48] As Arthas and Anub'arak delved deeper into the kingdom, that evil became apparent - the faceless ones, a powerful, vicious race thought only to exist in legend. Arthas and Anub'arak even managed to defeat the incredibly powerful forgotten one.[49]

As they made their way to the Upper Kingdom, an earthquake collapsed part of the passage they were in, separating Anub'arak from Arthas. The young king had to rely upon his wits to see himself through several daunting booby traps before Anub'arak dug his way to Arthas. Once reunited, the crypt lord complimented the young death knight, saying he now understood why Ner'zhul had chosen him as his champion.[50] As they climbed out of Azjol-Nerub, the Lich King contacted Arthas once again, and explained that he was losing his power because the Frozen Throne had been cracked and his energy was seeping from it. Ner'zhul replenished Arthas' powers, knowing he would need them in the coming battle.[51]

When they finally reached the surface, they immediately had to contend with Illidan's forces. Vashj's naga and Kael's blood elves were there to contest Arthas' minions at every turn. With Anub'arak's help, Arthas fought his way through their forces and magically activated the four Icecrown Obelisks around the glacier, opening the doors to the Frozen Throne. However, Illidan was waiting for him. Arthas warned him to leave Azeroth and never return.[52]

In order to enter Icecrown Citadel and take the Frozen Throne, Arthas fought Illidan Stormrage in single combat at the Court of Bones.[53][54]

The Lich King triumphant[]

Chronicle3 Arthas and the Frozen Throne

Arthas approaching the Frozen Throne.

After a short but intense battle, Illidan inadvertently left himself open and Arthas took advantage of it, slicing open the demon hunter's chest with Frostmourne. Illidan collapsed in the snow, as Arthas turned towards the doors of Icecrown.[55] According to Matthias Lehner, the duel with Illidan was the only battle in which Arthas came close to dying,[56] although Arthas was at the mercy of a killing blow during his battle with Uther.[57] After his victory, Arthas took from Illidan the dagger Inv weapon shortblade 105 [Stormfury, Black Blade of the Betrayer] as a trophy.[58]

Arthas entered the hollow glacier and beheld a winding pinnacle chained to the ice. As he strode up the stairs towards his destiny, the voices of those he had forsaken flooded through his mind. He heard Muradin Bronzebeard, Uther, and Jaina calling out to him, yet he ignored them, continuing his ascent. Finally, he reached the pinnacle and before him he saw an icy cask. Inside was a suit of armour, arranged as if seated on a massive throne. Now only one voice spoke to him - the rasping whisper of Ner'zhul:

"Return the blade... complete the circle... release me from this prison!"

With a great cry of strength, Arthas brought Frostmourne to bear against the Lich King's icy prison and with a haunting scream, the ice that encased the Frozen Throne and the armour exploded, and shards of the ice scattered on the ground. With Ner'zhul's helm at his feet, Arthas leaned forward, picked it up, and placed the unimaginably powerful artifact on his head.

"Now," they spoke together, "we are one."[59]

Lich King of the Scourge[]

Main article: Lich King
Lich King

Arthas, now the Lich King, on the Frozen Throne.

For years, Arthas dreamed and reflected on his past. Eventually he banished the last vestiges of his humanity,[60] and consumed Ner'zhul's spirit to become the sole personality of the Lich King.[61][62][63]

As the Lich King, Arthas instigated another Scourge invasion of Azeroth, provoking a counteroffensive in Northrend by the Alliance, the Horde, the Argent Crusade, and the Knights of the Ebon Blade. By doing so, he lured powerful heroes to Northrend and placed many challenges before them, seeking to weed out the weak and make the strong question their own morality. He planned to raise the world's greatest fighters as his new champions, and use them to spearhead attacks on their homelands, in a reflection of his own journey.[64][65]

World of Warcraft[]

WoW Icon update This section concerns content related to the original World of Warcraft.

A purple flowering plant, Inv misc herb 13 [Arthas' Tears], was named after the dark prince. An alchemical elixir, the Inv potion 28 [Gift of Arthas], was also named after him.

An adventurer who stands in the throne room of Lordaeron (and turns the ambient volume up) can hear an echo of Terenas's voice, confused by what Arthas was about to do.

Wrath of the Lich King[]

Wrath-Logo-Small This section concerns content related to Wrath of the Lich King.
Wotlk Classic key art

The awakened Lich King and his undead armies in Icecrown.

At the time of the war against the Lich King, Prince Arthas was present within the Culling of Stratholme wing of the Caverns of Time, where adventurers accompanied him through the town as he killed its plagued population. They also had to protect the future Lich King from the agents of the infinite dragonflight who attempted to kill him and change the course of history.[66][67]

Later, adventurers could also see him in flashbacks on the Forgotten Shore, when the Alliance Emissary arrived to order the troops of the 1st Legion to return to Lordaeron,[68] and in Frostmourne Cavern, where he claimed the cursed runeblade Frostmourne.[69]

In Icecrown, with the help of Matthias Lehner (an anagram of "Arthas Menethil"), the adventurer could take on the role of Arthas in two critical moments of his history: When he turned on his own men and raised them as the undead,[70] and his epic duel with Illidan Stormrage.[71]


Afterlives - Arthas dying

Arthas Menethil's last moments before his soul is claimed by the kyrian Devos and Uther.

“I see... only darkness... before me.”

— Arthas' final words.

Arthas' plan nearly succeeded when a group of adventurers, led by Tirion Fordring, assaulted Icecrown Citadel and ascended to the Frozen Throne. The Lich King froze Tirion in a block of ice, and once he was satisfied that the adventurers opposing him were "the greatest fighting force" on Azeroth, he killed them with a single mighty blow. Just as he was about to raise them into undeath, Tirion freed himself and destroyed Frostmourne with the Ashbringer. This released the souls inside, which attacked and immobilized the Lich King. The spirit of Terenas then resurrected the fallen heroes, who helped Tirion mortally wound Arthas. With Frostmourne destroyed and the Helm of Domination out of reach, the Lich King returns to who he once was: Arthas Menethil. As he lay dying, comforted by the spirit of his father, Arthas asked if it was over, to which Terenas replied, "At long last. No king rules forever, my son." Arthas said that he saw only darkness before him, with his eyes rolling back and his hand falling lifelessly to the ground.

In his last moments, Arthas saw the kyrian Devos arriving alongside his old teacher Uther to claim his soul. On Devos' urging, and in defiance of the laws of the Shadowlands, Uther subsequently cast Arthas' spirit into the Maw—the realm of eternal suffering.[72]

Edge of Night[]

WoW-novel-logo-16x62 This section concerns content related to the Warcraft novels, novellas, or short stories.

After the Lich King's defeat, Sylvanas went to see the Frozen Throne. She found Arthas' discarded armor, but his body and the remnants of Frostmourne had already been removed. After committing suicide, Sylvanas's soul was sent to a realm of darkness where she encountered the tormented spirit of Arthas, who appeared in the form of a frightened child and ran to her for help, but then retreated in horror upon recognizing her. Sylvanas noted that if it wasn't for the fact that her own soul was being tortured at the same time, she might have felt the slightest amount of pity for him.[73]


Shadowlands This section concerns content related to Shadowlands.

“I hated you, hunted you, and with each selfish act... became you. That is my burden to bear. But your legacy... is at an end. Begone then, Arthas Menethil. May the last whisper of your name fade... and be forgotten.”

— Sylvanas Windrunner to Arthas' fading soul
Arthas' soul

Arthas' soul in the hand of the Jailer.

The Maw's ruler, the Jailer, eventually stored away what was left of Arthas' soul in the form of a soul crystal[74] (identical in appearance to the shattered soul fragments of the people Arthas himself had killed with Frostmourne).[75] In order to Dominate Anduin Wrynn and turn him into his servant, the Jailer had the crystal infused into Kingsmourne, a mourneblade created from Anduin's sword Shalamayne.[74] Arthas' presence in the sword served as the source of Anduin's Domination, binding the young king to the Jailer's will.[76] During a confrontation with the Dominated Anduin in Zereth Mortis, Jaina sensed a "familiar presence" within Kingsmourne.[77]

Arthas Last Remnant

Anduin and Jaina watching the last, dwindling piece of Arthas.

Anduin was forced to follow the Jailer to the Sepulcher of the First Ones and try to waylay the heroes of Azeroth, including Jaina, Uther, and Sylvanas. During the battle, the adventurers helped restore Anduin's willpower, allowing him to periodically manifest the Remnant of a Fallen King from the sword. Ultimately, however, Anduin was able to free himself from the Jailer's control and shatter Kingsmourne back into Shalamayne, freeing the remnant of Arthas: a faintly glowing flicker, consumed in the forges of the Jailer, with not even enough of a soul left to receive a proper judgment. Sylvanas stated that despite her hatred, she had become no better than her nemesis in her pursuit of vengeance and that she would have to answer for this, but that Arthas' own legacy was now at an end. She told the remnant "May the last whisper of your name fade and be forgotten", and the heroes looked on in silence as this last part of Arthas Menethil faded away forever.[78]




Arthas in a quest in Cataclysm.

Cataclysm This section concerns content related to Cataclysm.

Arthas appears in N [15-30] A Destiny of Flame and Sorrow, a flashback quest in Felwood that allows the player to relive the first encounter between Arthas and Illidan.

Mists of Pandaria[]

Gods and Monsters - Terenas and Arthas

Arthas and Terenas in Cho's story.

Mists of Pandaria This section concerns content related to Mists of Pandaria.

Arthas and Terenas briefly appear in N [30-35] Gods and Monsters, a story told by Lorewalker Cho.

Tides of War[]

WoW-novel-logo-16x62 This section concerns content related to the Warcraft novels, novellas, or short stories.

When Jaina and Thrall met at Tidefury Cove, she remembered Arthas as an example of one of her failed love interests. Later on, Kalec was able to persuade Jaina not to go through with her plan to kill the citizens of Orgrimmar by pointing out that not only had Arthas used the same logic to justify the Culling of Stratholme but that he had been acting out of misguided compassion rather than hatred, which made what Jaina was planning to do even worse.[79]


Legion This section concerns content related to Legion.
Echo of Arthas Menethil

The Echo of Arthas Menethil inside the Blades of the Fallen Prince.

Main articles: Echo of Arthas Menethil, Memory of Arthas

When one of the Knights of the Ebon Blade enters the Blades of the Fallen Prince, reforged from the shards of Frostmourne, echoes of Ner'zhul and Arthas can be found within. When Arthas is defeated he says he sees only darkness, while Ner'zhul exclaims that his plans have been ruined.

Throughout the Broken Isles, frost death knights wielding the Blades of the Fallen Prince will occasionally encounter Memories of Arthas that give them cryptic messages. While the memories don't refer to any one being by name, they imply that the darkness never dies and that while the death knights may believe they are free, they exist only by "his" will and do as "he" commands.

Battle for Azeroth[]

Battle for Azeroth This section concerns content related to Battle for Azeroth.

When Katherine Proudmoore goes to Fate's End to rescue her daughter Jaina from Gorak Tul, she is pulled into visions of Jaina's past. One of these visions is Jaina witnessing Arthas declare his intent to purge the city of Stratholme before its population can turn into the undead. Jaina then laments not stopping him, believing that if she had he never would have become the Lich King and that he'd still be alive.

When Varok Saurfang expressed his belief to Anduin Wrynn that the Horde was forever shackled to the past, Anduin cited Arthas as an example of the Alliance's regrets.[80]


Shadowlands This section concerns content related to Shadowlands.

The Jailer revealed that the Lich King was meant to herald his coming and thus considered Arthas, along with his predecessor and successor, a failure due to his defiance of him.[81] Upon learning this, Calia Menethil, his older sister, stated that while Arthas had made his own choices, his fate was "shaped in part" by the Jailer.[82]

Arthas is encountered in Uther's memories first in the Culling of Stratholme as a paladin and also as a death knight when he kills Uther in Andorhal. Upon viewing these memories, Uther regrets the many things he said to Arthas, such as not listening to his doubts and anxieties when he first became a paladin and how he faced him at Andorhal not as a friend but as a foe. Uther realized in those moments that he failed Arthas, having not upheld the virtue of compassion.[83][84] Upon learning of what Uther and Devos had done to Arthas, the kyrian Pelagos realized that the former Lich King could've had a chance at redemption if he'd been brought to the Arbiter.[85]

When Uther was reunited with Jaina Proudmoore, the two shared their memories of Arthas, whom both had loved in their own ways, and Uther advised Jaina that she could choose to leave her painful memories of Arthas behind and instead carry her love forward with her so that it could lend her strength.[86] After Arthas' soul faded away, Jaina told adventurers that she felt conflicted about him, as he always thought he acted in the name of justice even when committing atrocities, and that she was one of the few who could still remember the prince he'd been and not just the monster he became.[87]


Notable appearances
Location Level range Health range
Culling of Stratholme (instance) 80
Dragonblight ?? 8,982
N [25-30] The Hunter and the Prince ?? 188,734
Felwood ?? 19,900
Echo of Arthas Menethil 98 - 110 1,346,093
Memory of Arthas 100 - 110 614,430
H IconSmall BloodElf MaleIconSmall BloodElf Female [50-70] The Setting Sun 120 274,259
H IconSmall BloodElf MaleIconSmall BloodElf Female [50-70] The Fall of the Sunwell 120 270,009


Culling of Stratholme[]

Main article: Arthas (Stratholme)#Abilities


N [25-30] Army of the Damned
  • Spell shadow sacrificialshield Consume Minions — Consume up to 5 nearby Ghoulish Minions to restore 10% health and mana per minion consumed.
  • Spell shadow demoniccirclesummon Deathstorm — Strikes an enemy with a deathbolt that arcs to another nearby enemy. The spell affects up to 12 targets, causing Shadow damage to each.
  • Spell shadow raisedead Gift of the Lich King — Raise ghouls from dead Lordaeron Footmen in the target area.
  • Inv sword 62 Soul Cleave — Inflicts weapon damage to an enemy and its nearest allies, affecting up to 3 targets and restoring 5% of your mana.
N [25-30] The Hunter and the Prince
  • Ability warrior improveddisciplines Annihilate — Leap at Illidan dealing weapon damage +520000 and stunning him for 6 seconds.
  • Ability warrior punishingblow Deathstrike — Deals weapon damage +26000.
  • Ability parry Parry — Parry Illidan's next attack and regenerate 25% of your mana if successful.
  • Ability kick Stomp — Knock Illidan back.
N [15-30] A Destiny of Flame and Sorrow
  • Spell shadow deathcoil Death Coil — Deals 133 to 161 Shadow damage to a nearby random target.


As a human, Arthas was a man of action - brave, impulsive and straightforward. He was an inspiring leader, leading his men by example and more than once leading charges in his campaigns against the Plague.[88] In conversations with others, he appeared witty and easy-going, yet able to hold true to his decisions and convince others to accept them. At the same time, Arthas was vindictive, quick to anger, and exceptionally arrogant, often being reprimanded by Uther for his hastiness (as at Stratholme) and even naming his horse "Invincible" as (it is implied) a symptom of his self-aggrandizement.[89] He never took well to losing and had difficulty admitting his mistakes. He always sought the approval of others (such as his father) and often felt underappreciated. He could not stand the thought of others betraying his trust, going as far as making Jaina promise never to deny him anything.[90]

After he murdered his father, Arthas claimed he no longer felt remorse, shame, or pity, which may be explained by him losing his soul to Frostmourne.[91] He became a ruthless and cynical person with a grim sense of humor, regularly mocking his enemies and gloating over their defeats or deaths (e.g. as he did with his former mentor Uther). This is perhaps most notable in his resurrection, control and torture of Sylvanas Windrunner—specifically raising her as a banshee for him to toy with and force her to murder her own kind.[92] Even as a death knight, though, Arthas felt as though the last remnants of his humanity were holding him back, and he still regularly thought of Jaina and his past life. He also still showed a degree of attachment to things he valued in life that echoed his humanity, most notably Invincible.[93]

Before he awoke as the Lich King, Arthas extinguished the final spark of goodness that remained within him, and thereby gave Frostmourne the final piece of his soul.[60] He also removed his heart and threw it into the forgotten depths beneath Icecrown.[56] As the Lich King, he was cruel, merciless, and utterly lacking in any kind of humanity—even when seeing his former love, Jaina, in the Halls of Reflection, he remained unmoved by her attempts to bring him back to the Light. He also retained his sense of arrogance, which more than once almost caused his demise (e.g. at the Wrathgate, where revealing himself exposed him to Putress's plague attacks), until it finally did, at the hands of the very adventurers he had brought to Northrend in the hopes of inevitably forcing them to serve him. Arthas may have regained a measure of humanity in his final moments, but only after Frostmourne was shattered and the souls it had stolen were released.


As a paladin, Arthas was a tall, athletic handsome man with tanned skin, emerald green eyes, and long golden blonde hair. He mainly wore golden paladin armor with a blue cape and a lion symbol on his chest.

After losing his soul and becoming a death knight his appearance changed dramatically, his face became deathly pale and skull-like, his previously green eyes were now a bright icy blue and his hair turned completely white.


Arthas was friends with Jarim Balnir, despite their differences in station. He was also close with his royal guards particularly Captain Falric.[94] Arthas met Varian when the Prince of Stormwind came to Lordaeron in the company of Lothar and Khadgar,[95] and the pair would occasionally spar together. Arthas also became good friends with his mentors, Uther and Muradin. Jaina and Arthas were close friends for many years and eventually became lovers. Though Arthas abruptly ended their relationship when he decided he wasn't ready to marry yet, he was determined to remain friends with the sorceress.[96] Arthas and Jaina would reignite their romance,[97] but the events of the Third War got in the way, and it would change both of their lives forever, starting with the Culling of Stratholme.

As a death knight, Arthas seemed to enjoy conversations with his new allies, Kel'Thuzad and Anub'arak. He was not above expressing gratitude to Kel'Thuzad, and one of his final phrases before departing to Northrend was "You have been a loyal friend",[98] something rarely heard from a dark lord addressing his minion.


Arthas cared deeply for his people and sought their approval in return. He rarely let his title stand in the way and often treated commoners as near-equals. It was Arthas' empathy that would ultimately lead to his downfall, as he was driven to the edge by the sight of his people falling before the Scourge. Once Arthas was convinced the only way to save his homeland was to destroy Mal'Ganis, he became determined to accomplish that at any cost.

After learning Frostmourne had stolen his soul, one of the first things Arthas reflects on is whether he truly saved his people by taking it up.[99] With his mind twisted by Frostmourne's curse, Arthas comes to look upon the undead soldiers of the Scourge with affection,[100] viewing them as his new subjects. He is described as feeling a form of sadness as he releases some badly damaged minions from his grip during the battles of Quel'Thalas, and he was outraged when Anasterian damaged his steed, Invincible.[101]

When Balnazzar, Detheroc and Varimathras managed to usurp control over most of his warriors, Arthas realized that the undead were more like weapons or tools than subjects.[102] That the loyal subjects he'd "made" would betray him came as a shock.[103] Even so, the Lich King Arthas still seemed proud of his ability to "stir the hearts" of his "people."[104] At one point, the Lich King referred to his Scourge minions as his "children".[105]

Memorable quotes[]

  • Faith alone is not enough to stop the enemies of the Light. (Wrath of Turalyon flavor text)

Reign of Chaos[]

WC3RoC-logo This section concerns content related to Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos or its expansion The Frozen Throne.

Arthas, as a paladin, in Warcraft III.

For unit quotes, see Quotes of Warcraft III/Human Alliance#Arthas.
For unit quotes, see Quotes of Warcraft III/Undead Scourge#Arthas.
  • "Can the formalities, Uther. I'm not king yet. It's good to see you."
  • "Gentlemen, meet Miss Jaina Proudmoore, special agent to the Kirin Tor, and one of the most talented sorceresses in the land."
  • "The plague was never meant to simply kill my people. It was meant to turn them... into the undead! Defend yourselves!"
  • "Then we should strike at their leader! I'll go to Stratholme and kill Mal'Ganis myself if I have to!"
  • "Nothing he can say will make me abandon my homeland, Jaina. I don't care if that madman has seen the future. Let's go."
  • "This entire city must be purged."
  • "Damn it, Uther! As your future king, I order you to purge this city!"
  • "Then I must consider this an act of treason."
  • "Lord Uther, by my right of succession and the sovereignty of my crown, I hereby relieve you of your command and suspend your paladins from service."
  • "I'll hunt you to the ends of the earth if I have to! Do you hear me? To the ends of the earth!"
  • "Uther had my troops recalled? Damn it! If my warriors abandon me, I'll never defeat Mal'Ganis. The ships must be burned before the men reach the shore!"
  • "I would gladly bear any curse to save my homeland."
  • "Damn the men! Nothing shall prevent me from having my revenge, old friend. Not even you."
  • "Now, I call out to the spirits of this place. I will give anything or pay any price, if only you will help me save my people."
  • "You waste your breath, Mal'Ganis. I heed only the voice of Frostmourne now."
  • "He tells me the time for my vengeance has come."
  • "You no longer need to sacrifice for your people. You no longer need to bear the weight of your crown. I've taken care of everything."
  • "This kingdom shall fall, and from the ashes shall arise a new order that will shake the very foundations of the world."
  • "I've damned everyone and everything I've ever loved in his name, and I still feel no remorse. No shame. No pity."
  • "We may never know, Uther. I intend to live forever."
  • "After all you've put me through, woman, the last thing I'll give you is the peace of death."
  • "Citizens of Silvermoon! I have given you ample opportunities to surrender, but you have stubbornly refused! Know that today, your entire race and your ancient heritage will end! Death itself has come to claim the high home of the elves!"
  • "Wizards of the Kirin Tor! I am Arthas, first of the Lich King's death knights! I demand that you open your gates and surrender to the might of the Scourge!"
  • "My master sees all, demon hunter. He knows that you've sought power your whole life. Now it lies within your grasp! Seize it, and your enemies will be undone."

The Frozen Throne[]

WC3RoC-logo This section concerns content related to Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos or its expansion The Frozen Throne.

Arthas, as a death knight, in Warcraft III.

  • "Greetings, dreadlords. I should thank you for looking after my kingdom during my absence. However, I won't be requiring your services any longer."
  • "I have returned, lich, but you will now address me as King. This is, after all, my land. Now we must secure the kingdom by scouring the last remnants of humanity from it!"
  • "Take me back to the capital. I have a long journey ahead of me."
  • "You have been a loyal friend, Kel'Thuzad. I don't know what the future holds, or if I'll even return, but I want you to watch over this land. See to it that my legacy endures."
  • "Sorry we don't have time to chat, great wyrm. We've come to murder you and steal whatever artifacts you've been hoarding over the centuries."
  • "Muradin's dwarves? Doesn't anyone stay dead anymore?"
  • "I saw another vision of the Lich King. He has restored my powers! I know now what I must do. It's time to end the game... once and for all."
  • "Illidan has mocked the Scourge long enough! It's time we put the fear of death back in him."
  • "The Frozen Throne is mine, demon. Step aside. Leave this world and never return. If you do, I'll be waiting."

Arthas: Rise of the Lich King[]

WoW-novel-logo-16x62 This section concerns content related to Arthas: Rise of the Lich King.
No we. No one tells me what to do. I've got everything I need from you—now the power is mine and mine alone. Now there is only I. I am the Lich King. And I am ready.

World of Warcraft[]

Wrath of the Lich King[]

Wrath-Logo-Small This section concerns content related to Wrath of the Lich King.
Main article: The Truth Shall Set Us Free#Notes
Main article: Frostmourne Cavern (quest)#Notes
Main article: Lich King (tactics)#Quotes


Legion This section concerns content related to Legion.
Main article: The Call of Icecrown#Notes
Main article: Blades of the Fallen Prince#Quotes

Battle for Azeroth[]

Battle for Azeroth This section concerns content related to Battle for Azeroth.
Main article: Defense of Quel'Danas#Notes
Main article: The Setting Sun#Notes
Main article: The Fall of the Sunwell#Notes

Kill count[]

“Men, women and children... None were spared the master's wrath.”


Arthas' personal kill count contains several characters in Warcraft's lore, including the kings of three powerful nations. This list includes:

Alternate timelines[]

In an alternate timeline visited by Thrall, Arthas never became the Lich King. Instead, he married Jaina and became a father.[106]

In the RPG[]

The Lich King

The Lich King as he appears in Manual of Monsters.

Icon-RPG This section contains information from the Warcraft RPG which is considered non-canon.

Arthas wielded the Plate of the Damned.[107]

Letters concerning Arthas[]

Uther Lightbringer to Mimblis Evermorne

Mimblis Evermorne was a fellow paladin of Uther Lightbringer. This letter was sent in the year 24.

Mimblis, Greetings, my friend. I hope the Light finds you well.

The young Arthas fills me with hope. He recently became a full paladin, and is nearly all I could hope for in a Knight of the Silver Hand. He is strong and powerful, with a devotion to his people that borders on zealousness. He's a fine paladin and will make a fine king when our beloved Terenas leaves us. Arthas has some growing to do, so I hope King Terenas will remain here for some time.

The only thing that bothers me about Arthas is that he has a disturbing quality in him. Sometimes, in training, I have seen him go a little far while sparring. He is so dedicating to winning the match that he forgets that it is only for training. He lacks control; I suppose it's a sense of ruthlessness that lies under his honorable exterior. I have full confidence that he will use this dedication to battle for his people, and I look forward to testing him. Once he really wets his sword, I can begin to teach him control. I don't want to rein his power just yet, until I can see what he's capable of.

Arthas loves his people very much. We recently visited some of the poorer villages outside of Lordaeron, giving healing to those in need. I wanted to test his healing powers, as well as see how he interacted with his people beyond the wealthy nobles in the city. He was full of pity for these people, weeping for a woman who had lost her leg in a wolf attack. After healing her pain, he set out on horseback, searching for the wolf. He slew three, bringing the pelts back to the woman to serve as her blankets. I was touched, but again, a little alarmed at his single-mindedness. She was grateful, and as we were there to serve the wounded and sick, our work was completed.

His relationship with Jaina Proudmoore is one I must watch. Lordaeron has never had a mage as a queen, but if she and Arthas wed, that's what we will be faced with. Perhaps it will be a good union of magic and politics, or at least bring the mages and paladins closer together. I will watch them carefully. A good thing about Jaina is that she will soften his hard edges. While she attacks her obstacles with a firm and unyielding mind, she is more diplomatic and cerebral in her approach, while Arthas may simply hammer on something until it disintegrates. They will make a strong union: he is the naked steel of a sword, and she is a fist in a velvet glove. I have confidence that they will receive public support, and I will lend them my support as well. I watch Arthas training on the field, and feel he can take on anything. He attacks with a single-mindedness that I know he will apply toward anything in life, be it physical confrontations or political. King Terenas has a good son. I have total confidence in Arthas. Yes, he has more to learn, but don't we all? He'll overcome his weaknesses and become a wise king, in time.

Looking forward to our trip to Stratholme,

— Uther

Arthas to Magni Bronzebeard

To King Magni Bronzebeard, Lord of Ironforge,

It is my sad duty to bring you very grim news. I am certain you know of Muradin's mission here in Northrend to strike at the Scourge and discover useful artifacts. We fought together against the Scourge, and although I survived, Muradin fell to the undead and demons. I grieve for my brave friend and your valiant brother. Yet know that his heroic death was not in vain, for his life ensured my victory against the Lich King's minions — and my recovery of the ancient sword known as Frostmourne. I shall be returning to Lordaeron soon. With Frostmourne in hand, I come to reestablish order and bring forth a shining new age. Muradin's remaining clansmen here will take his body back to Ironforge. You cannot know how deep are my sympathies. I know that this letter offers small consolation, but I felt you should learn of Muradin's death as soon as possible. You have lost a brother, and I have lost a valued friend.

May the Light preserve our peoples,

— Prince Arthas Menethil[108]

In other media[]

  • An enemy named Lord Arrgthas appears in AdventureQuest. His description says he is "not a lich king just yet".
  • In Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, both Arthas (as the Lich King) and Frostmourne (his guitar) are unlockable after earning 1600 stars and reaching level 71.[109]
  • Arthas appears in Snow Fight, a children's book written by Chris Metzen and illustrated by Wei Wang.
  • Arthas is a playable character in Heroes of the Storm.[110]
    • One of his skins, "Frost Wyrm Arthas", depicts an alternate reality in which the Ashen Verdict failed to defeat the Lich King. The description reads, "After the death of the Ashen Verdict's champions none could halt the Lich King's advance. As a reminder of his victory, he grafted the bones of his fallen servants onto his armor."
  • Prince Arthas is an unlockable, alternate hero for the paladin class in Hearthstone, and the eighth alternate hero to be revealed. He is rewarded when a player completes the extremely difficult task of defeating the final Lich King encounter in the Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion with all nine classes.[111]
    • In the League of Explorers adventure, Arthas' signet ring can be found in the Hall of Explorers wing.
    • On July 31, Hearthstone Game Director Ben Brode released the rap video "Ben Brode- ARTHAS", showcasing the prince's fall to evil.
    • His flavor text reads: "The boy who would be King... LICH King. Obtained by defeating the Lich King with every class."
    • Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion's promotion included a live action Lich King in costume with dubed voice over visiting Blizzard.[112][113][114][115][116]

Notes and trivia[]

A Prince's Ring HS

A Prince's Ring in Hearthstone.

  • Arthas died at the age of 31.
  • The spot where the Lich King raised Ras Frostwhisper as a lich in Stratholme is considered holy ground by the Scourge.
  • In the Matthias Lehner questline, Matthias said that the fight between Arthas and Illidan was the only battle where Arthas came close to being killed.[117] However, this was contradicted by Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, as Uther also almost killed Arthas, and was about to land the killing blow until Frostmourne magically flew into Arthas' hands saving his life at the last second.
  • Before World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, after the Legion left to invade Kalimdor, Kel'Thuzad told Arthas about Illidan Stormrage. He teleported Arthas directly to Illidan's location in Felwood in Kalimdor.[118]
  • Prince Arthas is one of the four possibilities for a Time Anomaly summoned by mages wearing the Raiment of the Arcanic Conclave.[119]
  • In Warcraft III, Arthas is voiced by Justin Gross. In subsequent appearances, he is voiced by Patrick Seitz[120] (paladin/death knight Arthas) and Michael McConnohie (Lich King Arthas).
  • Arthas appeared in nearly every campaign in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, with Exodus of the Horde and The Invasion of Kalimdor being the exceptions.
  • Arthas' first line ("Can the formalities, Uther") caused a big argument among the game developers as to whether or not canning existed in Lordaeron.[121]
  • Arthas wields Frostmourne with his left hand during the undead campaigns in Warcraft III, but with his right hand in most other depictions, including the Warcraft III cinematics.
  • Arthas' Warcraft III model has blue eyes, but he has green eyes in Warcraft III artwork and in World of Warcraft. In Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, he is described as having sea-green eyes. In Jaina's memory prior to the Culling of Stratholme in Battle for Azeroth, he has blue eyes.
  • Before leaving for Northrend to aid the Lich King, Arthas intended to use the Undercity as the Scourge's seat of power.[122]
  • Alex Afrasiabi originally said that Arthas "never died"[123] and the Matthias Lehner questline involved Arthas removing his heart because the "incessant drumming" of living hearts disgusted him,[124] but this was later contradicted by Arthas being described as an undead in Rise of the Lich King,[125][126] and as having felt the Lich King's power pierce his heart, stop his breath, and freeze his veins when he donned the Helm of Domination.[127] It added that his hair and skin grew pale, plants died at his touch, living animals feared him, and he did not tire.[128] Chronicle also described him as an undead[129] and the game categorized him as an Undead creature.
  • Arthas was described as a black rider.[6]
  • As the Crown Prince of Lordaeron, Arthas wore a large ring on one of his fingers, which the stone had the design of the seal of Lordaeron.[130]
  • Chief Archaeologist Letoll once claimed to have heard that Arthas' "cousin's" skeleton was frozen beneath a glacier in Winterspring.[131]
  • Arthas appeared in the nightmares of both Jaina Proudmoore and Sylvanas Windrunner.[132][133]
  • Inv misc coin 17 [Arthas' Gold Coin] can be fished from the Dalaran Fountain.
  • Players can transform into Arthas using Expansionicon wrathofthelichking [Exquisite Costume Set: "The Lich King"].
  • One of the battleships used during the naval missions on the alternate Draenor bears the name "Arthas's Downfall".
  • Garrosh Hellscream compared Anduin Wrynn to Arthas by mentioning a golden-haired, beloved human prince who turned his back on the Light.[134] Alonsus Faol later stated that Anduin reminded him of Arthas when the latter was younger and still followed the Light. Unlike Garrosh, Faol meant the comparison as a compliment.[135]
  • In a PC World article, Arthas was voted #19 of the top 47 "most diabolical game villains of all time".
  • A 14-foot statue of Arthas can be seen at the Calligraphy Greenway in Taichung, Taiwan.[136]
  • In the end credits for Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, Arthas was the lead guitarist for Tenth Level Tauren Chieftain.


Arthas could be seen as a "reverse" version of King Arthur. Frostmourne is comparable to the Sword in the Stone/Excalibur, Ner'zhul (or Kel'Thuzad) could be seen as roughly equivalent to Merlin (the wizard figure behind the king), and Uther shares his name with King Arthur's father. In contrast to Arthur, Arthas destroyed a Camelot-styled kingdom and built its opposite. In addition, Jaina is to Arthas what Guinevere was to Arthur and both have an older sister (Morgana for Arthur and Calia for Arthas) who can wield supernatural power.

Arthas also has many similarities with Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melniboné character and his sword Stormbringer. Both are rulers who betray their own lands, and both are cursed by their runeblades.

One of Arthas' major decisions in Warcraft III was very similar to one by Hernan Cortes, a Spanish conquistador, and before Cortes Tariq bin Ziyad, a Umayyad Caliphate commander. When Uther convinced King Terenas II to send ships to Arthas' expedition in Northrend as a way to tell them to go back home to Lordaeron, Arthas decided to burn the ships to continue his campaign against Mal'Ganis. In real-life, due to half of his men protesting and wanting to go back to the mainland, Cortes decided to burn his ships until victory was achieved against the Aztecs. In turn, Cortes himself likely got the idea from Ziyad, who did it to deter cowardice among his forces while warring to conquer Cortes's own homeland Hispania (modern-day Spain) and make it Al-Andalus. However, unlike Cortes and Ziyad, Arthas hired mercenaries to assist him, framed them as doing it against his will and joined his men to kill them for it.

Arthas also draws parallels with Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. Anakin is another prominent example of the "fallen hero" archetype in modern fiction. Like Anakin, Arthas began his career as a promising knight sworn to altruism and justice, under the tutelage of an experienced warrior who attempted to instill these values in his pupil. Both men were eventually seduced by dark powers, and aided in the destruction of their orders and the killing of their mentors. Both began their descent to villainy with massacres (Arthas' Culling of Stratholme and Anakin either when he wiped out the Tusken Raider tribe that killed his mother or purged the Jedi Temple after becoming Darth Vader). Both ended their lives not as Darth Vader or the Lich King, but as Anakin Skywalker and Arthas Menethil, respectively. One key difference though was at the end of their lives; where as Vader redeemed himself and became Anakin by destroying his master to save his son Luke, Arthas had no such redemption given to him.



Death knight[]

Lich King[]

Trading Card Game[]


Heroes of the Storm[]

Physical figurines[]


Fan art[]


Patch changes[]

See also[]


  1. ^ The Sunwell Trilogy
  2. ^ Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne manual, pg. 6, quote: "And Arthas, the newly crowned king of Lordaeron..."
  3. ^ a b Ultimate Visual Guide
  4. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, chapter 5
  5. ^ Inv letter 01 [A Careworn Note]
  6. ^ a b Blood of the Highborne
  7. ^ Chris Metzen on Twitter (2012-10-22).​ “@VonHerngren: @ChrisMetzen But arthas death is still a bit unresolved, whats up?? Unresolved? Dead as a doornail. :)”
  8. ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual#Prince Arthas
  9. ^ March Badness
  10. ^ Sean Copeland on Twitter
  11. ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual, Human History (since the end of the second war)
  12. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King
  13. ^ Of Blood and Honor
  14. ^ Of Blood and Honor
  15. ^ The Defense of Strahnbrad
  16. ^ Blackrock & Roll
  17. ^ Ravages of the Plague
  18. ^ The Cult of the Damned
  19. ^ March of the Scourge
  20. ^ The Prince and the Prophet
  21. ^ The Culling (WC3 Human)
  22. ^ The Shores of Northrend
  23. ^ Dissension
  24. ^ Exploring Azeroth: Northrend, pg. 91
  25. ^ Frostmourne (Warcraft III)
  26. ^ The Cinematic Art of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King (2009), pg. 30
  27. ^ N [25-30] Army of the Damned
  28. ^ a b Death Knight
  29. ^ Arthas' Betrayal
  30. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, chapter 16
  31. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 21, 35, 133-134
  32. ^ Trudging through the Ashes
  33. ^ Digging up the Dead
  34. ^ The Fall of Silvermoon
  35. ^ The Revelation
  36. ^ Blackrock & Roll, Too!
  37. ^ Under the Burning Sky
  38. ^ The Destruction of Dalaran
  39. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 77 - 78
  40. ^ A Destiny of Flame and Sorrow
  41. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, chapter 21
  42. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 80
  43. ^ King Arthas (Warcraft III)
  44. ^ A Kingdom Divided
  45. ^ The Flight from Lordaeron
  46. ^ Sylvanas' Farewell
  47. ^ The Return to Northrend
  48. ^ Into the Shadow Web Caverns
  49. ^ The Forgotten Ones (WC3 Undead)
  50. ^ Ascent to the Upper Kingdom
  51. ^ Boiling Point
  52. ^ A Symphony of Frost and Flame
  53. ^ A Long Time Coming
  54. ^ Exploring Azeroth: Northrend, pg. 135
  55. ^ A Long Time Coming
  56. ^ a b N [25-30] The Hunter and the Prince
  57. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, chapter 17
  58. ^ Exploring Azeroth: Northrend, pg. 141
  59. ^ The Ascension
  60. ^ a b Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 306
  61. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, epilogue. "Arthas, the Lich King, alone in his glory and power, slowly opened his eyes."
  62. ^ Warcraft: Legends Volume 4 Fate. "Ner'zhul is no more. He is consumed. There is only Arthas now... Arthas, whom you shall serve for all eternity."
  63. ^ BlizzCon 2010 Lore Q&A Panel. "Yeah, Ner'zhul is done. He served us well in that capacity, but really the Lich King idea... really has the ultimate expression, you know, as Arthas or whatever. Ner'zhul's done."
  64. ^ Lich King (tactics)#Quotes
  65. ^ 1up - WotLK preview
  66. ^ N [25-30D] Dispelling Illusions
  67. ^ N [25-30D] A Royal Escort
  68. ^ A [15-30] The Truth Shall Set Us Free
  69. ^ A [15-30] Frostmourne Cavern
  70. ^ N [25-30] Army of the Damned
  71. ^ N [25-30] The Hunter and the Prince
  72. ^ Afterlives: Bastion
  73. ^ Edge of Night
  74. ^ a b N [60] The Highlord's Vision
  75. ^ N [60] A Paladin's Soul
  76. ^ Anduin Wrynn (tactics)#Overview: Throughout the encounter, Anduin temporarily manifests the source of his domination. This manifestation is linked to him by Domination's Grasp.
  77. ^ N [60] Seeking Haven
  78. ^ Anduin Raid Finale
  79. ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War
  80. ^ B [60] The Eve of Battle
  81. ^ N [60] The Jailer's Grasp
  82. ^ Taelia, Jaina, and Calia dialogue in Oribos
  83. ^ N [60] Step Into the Light
  84. ^ N [60] I Intend to Live Forever
  85. ^ N [60] New Sigil of the Kyrian
  86. ^ Uther and Jaina dialogue in Keeper's Respite
  87. ^ N [60] Hello, Darkness
  88. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 84
  89. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 21, 35, 133-134
  90. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 93
  91. ^ Reign of Chaos: Trudging through the Ashes
  92. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 158 - 162
  93. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 161
  94. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 1
  95. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 18
  96. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 97
  97. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, chapter 11
  98. ^ The Frozen Throne: Sylvanas' Farewell
  99. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 204
  100. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 223, 236
  101. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 237
  102. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 270
  103. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 269
  104. ^ Wrath of the Lich King: Opening Cinematic
  105. ^ N [25-30] The Battle For Crusaders' Pinnacle
  106. ^ Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, chapter 10
  107. ^ Manual of Monsters
  108. ^ Lands of Conflict, pg. 75
  109. ^ The Four Lich Kings Bohemian Rhapsody Performance Mode!
  110. ^ Heroes of the Storm Official Game Site
  111. ^ Hearthside Chat with Dave Kosak: Knights of the Frozen Throne Missions (2017-07-27). Retrieved on 2017-07-28.
  112. ^ Hearthstone: The Lich King Interviews for a Job at Blizzard
  113. ^ Hearthstone: The Lich King at Blizzard, Part 1
  114. ^ Hearthstone: The Lich King at Blizzard, Part 2
  115. ^ Hearthstone: The Lich King Responds to Comments
  116. ^ Hearthstone: Join Forces Against the Lich King!
  117. ^ N [25-30] The Hunter and the Prince
  118. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, chapter 21
  119. ^ Spell
  120. ^ Video Games (Selected): World of Warcraft
  121. ^ Warcraft III - Design Insights Highlights 01: Human Campaign
  122. ^ World of Warcraft Official Strategy Guide
  123. ^ BlizzCon Day 2 WoW Lore and Quests panel liveblog
  124. ^ Shadow's Edge#Whispers
  125. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 203 - "stradding the worlds of life and death"
  126. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 191 - "alive after a fashion"
  127. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 301
  128. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 193
  129. ^ Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 53
  130. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, chapter 6
  131. ^ N [15-30] Digging Through Bones
  132. ^ Legends: Nightmares
  133. ^ Stormrage
  134. ^ War Crimes
  135. ^ Before the Storm, chapter 9, pg. 74
  136. ^ A King is Born in Taiwan – Unveiling the Arthas Statue

External links[]

Preceded by:
Terenas Menethil II
Ruler of Lordaeron
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Ner'zhul (alone)
Lich King of the Scourge (conjoined spirits with Ner'zhul)
Succeeded by:
Arthas Menethil (alone)
Preceded by:
Arthas Menethil and Ner'zhul (conjoined spirits)
Lich King of the Scourge (alone)
Succeeded by:
Bolvar Fordragon