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For the encounter in Ahn'Qiraj, see C'Thun (tactics).
Image of C'Thun
Race Old God (Aberration)
Affiliation(s) Old Gods' forces, Ahn'Qiraj, Black Empire
Occupation God of the qiraji,
Hearthstone Old God of madness and chaos[1]
Location Temple of Ahn'Qiraj
Status Defeatable WoW Icon update
Defeated (lore)[2][3][4][5][6]
Relative(s) N'raqi and aqir (spawn),[7] qiraji (avatars),[8] Old Gods
Student(s) Cho'gall

C'Thun (sometimes spelled C'thun[9][10] and pronounced "Kuh-THOON")[11] is the Old God of madness and chaos,[1] one of the four ancient and powerful creatures who ruled the world of Azeroth long ago before being defeated and imprisoned by servants of the titans. C'Thun created the qiraji and resides within the city of Ahn'Qiraj in Silithus.

It is an unfathomably evil entity whose pervasive power has suffused Azeroth since time immemorial. In recent years, C'Thun freed itself. Champions of the Alliance and Horde chose not to wait for the Old God to build up its strength. They invaded the city-kingdom of Ahn'Qiraj, fighting countless qiraji and silithid before finally confronting and defeating the malevolent god. Even so, it is unknown whether Azeroth has truly seen the last of C'Thun.[5]

It appears in World of Warcraft as the final encounter in the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj, implemented in patch 1.9.

C'Thun served as one of the main antagonists of classic World of Warcraft.


Before the ordering of Azeroth[]

Black Empire Kalimdor

C'Thun in the southwest of ancient Kalimdor during the reign of the Black Empire.


The Black Empire on the young Azeroth. Likely showing C'Thun.

Countless millennia ago, the Old Gods, C'Thun among them, arrived on Azeroth. There, with the help of their n'raqi and aqiri spawn, they established their mighty Black Empire and enslaved the chaotic elementals, who had previously been the world's only inhabitants.

One day, the godlike titans happened upon Azeroth. Vowing to cleanse the planet of the Old Gods and saving its world-soul from the eldritch beings' malign influence, the titans crafted the titan-forged from the planet's crust to destroy the Black Empire. The titan-forged succeeded in imprisoning the Elemental Lords and defeating most of the aqir, but after the titans saw the catastrophic effect that the Old God Y'Shaarj's death had on the planet, they ordered their creations to imprison the remaining Old Gods rather than killing them. After containing N'Zoth, the titan-forged launched their campaign upon the temple-city of C'Thun, purging swams of n'raqi before successfully imprisoning the Old God itself.[12]

After the defeat of the Old Gods, the titan-forged set to work ordering Azeroth. After installing the Forge of Origination, the titan-forged Ra and his anubisath servants marched northwest towards C'Thun's prison, laboring to expand the prison into the fortress of Ahn'Qiraj.[12]

The War of the Shifting Sands[]

Main article: War of the Shifting Sands
C'Thun Chronicle

C'Thun in Ahn'Qiraj.

For millennia, C'Thun lay dormant within its prison. Roughly 16,000 years BDP, the race known as the trolls accidentally reawakened the insectoid aqir, who had escaped underground during the destruction of the Black Empire. Led by the C'Thrax Kith'ix, the aqir launched a great war against the trolls, but the trolls were able to drive the insectoids back to the far corners of the continent. One group of aqir fled southwest and overran Ahn'Qiraj, enslaving its anubisath guardians with the intention of using the giants against their foes, but nevertheless, the Gurubashi trolls were sucessful in containing the insectoids within the fortress for the rest of the war. The aqir would remain inside the prison complex's walls for millennia afterwards, and over time, the influence of C'Thun transformed them into a new race: the qiraji.[13]

Thousands of years later, the night elves accidentally awakened the dormant qiraji upon entering Ahn'Qiraj. C'Thun stirred within its prison and became aware of the insectoids that had gathered around it. The Old God drove the qiraji and their silithid minions into a murderous frenzy, and shortly thereafter the insectoids swarmed out across Silithus.[14] So began the War of the Shifting Sands. The whole of Silithus was soon engulfed by the silithid and their qiraji hosts. The night elf army, led by the pompous Fandral Staghelm, was pushed back through Un'Goro Crater, to the borders of the Tanaris desert. Fandral sought the aid of the bronze dragonflight who resided in the Caverns of Time, and who at the time were led by Anachronos. Anachronos initially hesitated to bring the bronze dragons into the war, but when the qiraji attacked the Caverns of Time itself, Anachronos agreed to ally with the kaldorei forces. Realizing that even the combined forces of the night elves and the bronze flight couldn't stop the onslaught of the qiraji, Anachronos called out to the green, red and blue dragonflights. Arygos of the blue flight was the first to notice the strange emanations radiating from the monolothic temple in the southern quadrant of Ahn'Qiraj, a strange power completely different from anything radiated by the qiraji. Seeing the endless numbers of the silithid and qiraji constantly growing within the walls of Ahn'Qiraj and sensing the presence of the qiraji's master, the dragons knew that they had to react quickly. The Scarab Wall was erected to create an impenetrable magical barrier and contain the insectoid threat. The war ended, and C'Thun's plans had failed.[15]


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

Centuries later, the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj reopened, and the qiraji once again threatened all of Kalimdor. Rumors circulated that C'Thun was present with its great, horrifying lidless eye, surrounded by a sea of tentacles, and would vaporize every ignorant mortal who thought of daring to challenge its supreme power and right to the world of Azeroth.[citation needed]  Since the Old God has foreseen the arrival of the dragons, it cast a spell that would place them firmly under his control should they come any closer to him. While it expected dragons at his doorstep, it was not prepared for mortal adventurers.[16] The mortal champions managed to fight their way through Ahn'Qiraj, and finally reached C'Thun's chamber. There, the adventurers did what was thought to be impossible and defeated the Old God itself. After C'Thun's defeat, its eye was brought to the red dragon Caelestrasz.[17]

Attempted return[]


The body of C'Thun, with Med'an and Valeera.

Comics title This section concerns content related to the Warcraft manga or comics.

Years later, while the Lich King launched massive attacks on Stormwind City and Orgrimmar — distracting King Varian Wrynn and Warchief ThrallCho'gall attempted to free his new master, the Old God C'Thun, from its prison beneath the earth. C'Thun empowered the ogre, deforming his body which became monstrous. However, Med'an used the power of the New Council of Tirisfal to collapse the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj on top of Cho'gall, stopping the ritual.

Even so, it is unknown whether Azeroth has truly seen the last of C'Thun.[5] Following the defeat of N'Zoth, Magni Bronzebeard declared that Azeroth was made free of the grasp of the Old Gods,[18] suggesting that a future return of C'Thun is unlikely.


The C'Thun encounter is actually a composition of different NPCs:


See also: Old Gods#WhispersC'Thun (tactics)#Quotes

Throughout the Ruins and Temple of Ahn'Qiraj, players can periodically hear the whisperings of C'Thun:

  • Death is close...
  • You are already dead.
  • Your courage will fail.
  • Your friends will abandon you.
  • You will betray your friends.
  • You will die.
  • You are weak.
  • Your heart will explode.

In Hearthstone[]

Hearthstone This section contains information exclusive to Hearthstone and is considered non-canon.

C'Thun appears as a legendary card in the Whispers of the Old Gods expansion for Hearthstone. C'Thun could be considered the expansion's "main character"; the card is rather unique in that it is accompanied by a total of 16 other cards that synergize with the Old God in various ways. C'Thun's flavor text reads: "C'Thun's least favorite Hearthstone card: Eye for an Eye."

  • A mechanical version of C'Thun, known as Mecha'thun, appears as a legendary card in the The Boomsday Project set. Its flavor text reads: "Your software will fail. Your users will abandon you. You are already obsolete."
  • Additionally, the Eyes of C'Thun card back was rewarded for pre-ordering the aforementioned expansion. The flavor text reads: "For an Old God who's stuck in the lightless depths of an ancient temple, C'Thun sure has a lot of eyeballs."
  • It reappeared in Madness at the Darkmoon Faire as C'Thun, the Shattered. Its flavor text reads "My grandfather's deck has no useless cards!".

Notes and trivia[]


  • The Old Gods in general draw heavy inspiration from the writings of H. P. Lovecraft and C'Thun is a clear example of this. C'Thun's name is an obvious reference to Cthulhu, one of the most well-known beings in Lovecraft's shared Cthulhu Mythos. The name also bears a resemblance to the Chthonians, one of Brian Lumley's additions to the mythos.
  • Vethsera's chest item quests in the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj (e.g. N Rogue [30R] Deathdealer's Vest and N Hunter [30R] Striker's Hauberk) all feature the phrase "At his dwelling in Ahn'Qiraj, dread C'Thun awaits in slumber". This is a clear reference to a phrase frequently chanted by Cthulhu's worshipers in the Mythos: "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn", which translates to "In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming". The quests also mention that C'Thun will lash out against all living beings with terrible wrath when the stars are favorable, which alludes to the idea that Cthulhu and the sunken city of R'lyeh in which he dwells will rise again "when the stars are right".
  • Also pointing towards a reference to Cthulhu is the idea of insanity, such as the Inv axe 24 [Dark Edge of Insanity] item drop, as well as several of C'Thun's quotes, such as "Your friends will abandon you", and "You will betray your friends." Cthulhu in H.P. Lovecraft's stories deals very heavily with insanity as well, with both his followers often being described as mad, as well as those who find themselves in the events surrounding him often losing their sanity.
  • It is likely that the words C'Thun, Cthulhu, Cthonia, and C'Tan (from the Warhammer 40000 universe) are all derived in some form from the Greek word "Chthonios (Xθωνιος)", which means "under the earth or "inside the earth". Although there was no specific god named Chthon in Greek mythology, the word "chthonic" (sometimes spelled "cthonic") is still used in mythological studies as an adjective to describe earth-related deities. It seems that Blizzard, Lovecraft and Games Workshop adapted the word for their own uses.
  • While C'Thun bears no striking physical resemblance to artists' renderings of Cthulhu, its eye greatly resembles the Eye of Sauron from the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien. The eye of C'Thun also looks very much like the Dungeons & Dragons god Gruumsh, the chief god of the orcs. C'Thun's physical form bears at least some resemblance to the Zerg Overmind from Blizzard's StarCraft franchise.
  • C'Thun, and the Old Gods in general, are also similar to the aforementioned C'tan from the Warhammer 4000 universe. Besides having similar names, other similarities include that the Old Gods fought the titans and that the godlike C'tan fought the Old Ones. C'Thun's uplifting of the silithid into the qiraji is also similar to how the C'tan transformed the Necrontyr race into the robotic necrons.
  • The name "Cthun" is also used in the Stephen King short story N. featured in Just After Sunset. In the story, Cthun is a hidden world of eldritch abominations that is kept at bay by a shifting circle of stones in an abandoned field, where a caretaker must stand watch and, through his perception, constantly "fix" the circle by making sure there are eight stones instead of seven. The rite induces severe OCD-like symptoms in its practitioners, resulting in a string of identical suicides. One of the beings that frequently attempts to pass through the circle is described as an inhuman, three-lobed eye, and a strange leathery helmet.


Fan art


Patch changes[]

  • Mists of Pandaria Hotfix (2012-11-29): Players now have 5 minutes to escape C'thun's stomach and resume the battle before it resets.
  • WoW Icon update Patch 1.10.0 (2006-03-28):
    • Removed the stacking acid from the Flesh Tentacles in the C'thun encounter.
    • Digestive Acid now increases its effect over time during the C'thun encounter.
    • Fixed a bug that could allow for the Digestive Acid debuff to be removed.
    • Lowered the amount of knockback dealt by Giant Tentacles.
    • Tentacles should no longer spawn on players who have just been knocked back by a previous tentacle.
  • WoW Icon update Patch 1.9.0 (2006-01-03): Added.
  • WoW Icon update Hotfix (2020-08-04): Fixed an issue that caused C'Thun within Temple of Ahn'Qiraj to incorrectly delay casting Eye Beam when engaging in combat.


  1. ^ a b Whispers of the Old Gods. Retrieved on 2016-03-12.​ “Having slept for aeons, the Old God of madness and chaos cannot wait to be in your deck now that he is finally awake.
  2. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3
  3. ^ Faces of Cataclysm - Cho'gall - "Cho'gall's obsession with these malefic deities led him to the ruined city of Ahn'Qiraj, where he began efforts to awaken an Old God by harnessing the immense powers of Med'an, the new Guardian of Tirisfal."
  4. ^ N [30R] C'Thun's Legacy "Even in death you can feel the legacy of C'Thun's evil around you."
  5. ^ a b c Blizzard Entertainment Kaivax 2017-03-07. March Badness. Retrieved on 2018-01-25.
  6. ^ BlizzCon 2018 Interview with Alex Afrasiabi and Patrick Dawson "I would say that we should consider them dead. But! As with all things in World of Warcraft and in general in the Warcraft universe, death is not always final. Therefore, if there is the coming of the Old Gods, or some precursor of the Old Gods appear from the eternal darkness, from the Void, for example, if there is any way or opportunity to return them, I imagine that this may well happen."
  7. ^ Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 29-30
  8. ^ The Prophecy of C'Thun: "The Old God would create avatars from the Silithid in its own image. These avatars were to be known as Qiraji."
  9. ^ Trade archaeology sceptor of azaqir [Scepter of Azj'Aqir]
  10. ^ N [30-35] Graduation Speech
  11. ^ Blizzard Entertainment Daxxarri 2016-03-16. Whispers of the Old Gods – Say C’Thun Three Times Fast. Retrieved on 2016-03-16.​ “In addition to having a name that is pronounced incorrectly in many different ways (hint: Kuh-THOON), C’Thun may be the most famous of the Old Gods.
  12. ^ a b Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 36-38
  13. ^ Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 73-74
  14. ^ Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 145-146
  15. ^ Inv misc book 06 [The War of the Shifting Sands]
  16. ^ N [30R] Mortal Champions
  17. ^ N [30R] C'Thun's Legacy
  18. ^ Ny'alotha, the Waking City: The Corruptor's End#Notes
  19. ^ WoW PTR : C'thun says Hi!
  20. ^ The Prophecy of C'Thun

External links[]

The Master's Eye Eye of C'Thun C'Thun
Preceded by:
Ruler of Ahn'Qiraj
Succeeded by: