The Dragon Aspects (also called Great Aspects, Aspects of Azeroth or simply Aspects) are the leaders of the five dragonflights, empowered by the titans to protect Azeroth. Since the defeat of Deathwing, they have lost their titan-given power, which they sacrificed in order to empower the Dragon Soul. They however remain extremely powerful, ancient and wise beings.
The Dragon Aspects
- Alexstrasza the Life-Binder - the red leviathan chosen by Eonar to safeguard all living creatures on the world.
- Kalecgos the Steward of Magic - former investigator for Malygos and guardian of Anveena, he succeeded Malygos as the new Blue Aspect after his death.
- Nozdormu the Timeless One - the massive bronze dragon chosen by Aman'Thul to guard time itself and police the ever-spinning pathways of fate and destiny.
- Ysera the Awakened, formerly the Dreamer - Alexstrasza's younger sister, chosen by Eonar to watch over the growing wilds of the world from her verdant realm, the Emerald Dream. Ysera fell to the Nightmare and was put to rest by Tyrande Whisperwind. Her spirit was reborn in Ardenweald.
- Malygos the Spell-Weaver - the blue dragon originally chosen by Norgannon as the guardian of magic and hidden arcanum. After declaring war against all mortal spellcasters, he was killed by agents of Alexstrasza.
- Deathwing the Destroyer, formerly known as Neltharion the Earth Warder - the mighty black wyrm chosen by Khaz'goroth and given dominion over the earth and the deep places of the world. He was driven mad by the whispers of the Old Gods and managed to drive the blue dragonflight to near extinction. He was slain by forces of the Alliance, Horde and adventurers, with the help of Thrall and the other Aspects.
- Murozond the Lord of the Infinite - the future self of Nozdormu, fallen to madness. Tricked by the Old Gods into trying to subvert his own mortality, Nozdormu shattered the timeways and created the infinite dragonflight. He was slain by adventurers at the End Time.
Creation of the original Aspects
After the ordering of Azeroth, Keeper Tyr, the greatest titan-forged warrior, stood against Galakrond and with the help of five powerful and intelligent proto-dragons - Alexstrasza, Malygos, Neltharion, Nozdormu, and Ysera - that held dominion over their brethren, they defeated the massive proto-dragon known as Galakrond.
Because of this and their courage, Tyr suggested to the other Keepers to empower them and make them defenders of Azeroth as they proved they were able to stand for the planet. Odyn disagreed, and forbid the other Keepers to proceed with that idea, but they decided to go against him. They reached out to the Pantheon and each of the Titan blessed the proto-dragons with a portion of their vast power, channeled through the Keepers. The dragonflights were thus charged with the task of watching over Azeroth, lest any force should threaten its perfect tranquility. They became majestic beings called dragons and were known as the Aspects. However, mortals are told that the Aspects were created from Galakrond. This is a rumor spread by the Aspects themselves in order to prevent proto-dragons and dragons from doing the same thing as Galakrond and becoming immeasurably powerful and mad.
Aman'Thul, the Highfather of the Pantheon, charged the bronze dragon Nozdormu with guarding over time itself and police the ever-spinning pathways of fate and destiny. Eonar, the Titan patron of all life, blessed both the red dragon Alexstrasza and her younger sister, the green dragon Ysera, so they would safeguard all living creatures and watch over the growing wilds of the world, respectively. Norgannon, the Titan lore keeper and master magician, made the blue dragon Malygos the guardian of magic and hidden arcanum. Khaz'goroth, the Titan shaper and forger of the world, gave the black dragon Neltharion dominion over the earth and the deep places of the world.
Aman'Thul's vision of the Old Gods one day causing the Hour of Twilight, capable of potentially wiping out all life on Azeroth, was one of the reasons the Pantheon empowered Nozdormu and the other Aspects with their powers, to ultimately avert this single catastrophe, although Aman'Thul for all his vast powers was not omniscient and was unaware Neltharion would eventually be corrupted into Deathwing.
According to legends, when the Aspects were first created, the moons had been in a rare conjunction known as the Embrace. A repeat of this same alignment was crucial to the proper working of the magic necessary to turn a normal dragon into an Aspect. It is impossible to select a new Aspect or even try to call a new one, as long as the current one lives.
Powers and duties
Aspects are more than just dragons with different skills and extra powers. When the titans blessed all of them, they gave them insights and other ways of understanding things. Until the creation of Chromatus barring other Aspects, no single dragon was able to defeat one. Although they are parts of a whole and were never meant to be separate, they are also complete unto themselves as well. The titans gift is also a burden. Neltharion felt every rock in Azeroth pressed down on him. His body splintered and cracked. It was beyond physical agony; his spirit was unraveling, suffocated by the unfathomable load. He saw it as a life of eternal torment. However with it came an incredible strength, as the weight of Azeroth was his to command.
When the titans departed, they said to the Aspects: "Unto each of you was given a gift; unto all of you is given the duty." Their one true duty was to preserve the world of Azeroth and prevent the Hour of Twilight at all costs.
The Dragon Soul
Alexstrasza, Ysera, Malygos and Nozdormu fought the demons of the Burning Legion during the War of the Ancients. It was also in that war that the black dragon Neltharion deceived his fellow Aspects, using the Dragon Soul to steal a portion of their power. At the end of the War of the Ancients, the blue, green, bronze, and red Aspects had found and enchanted the weapon so that neither Deathwing nor any other dragon could wield it again. Millennia after that, it had fallen into the hands of the Dragonmaw orcs, who had then used it to enslave the Life-Binder and her brood. Many red dragons had been forced to act as mounts of war during that harrowing time. So Deathwing held the upper hand in every battle with the other, weakened Aspects, until the human mage Rhonin was able to use the scale Deathwing had given him to destroy the Dragon Soul. Cutting the scale across the surface, Rhonin unleashed the power trapped within and returned to the Aspects their essence given at the creation of the Dragon Soul.
The Hour of Twilight
Neltharion's duty to protect Azeroth's earthly expanses meant that he was susceptible to the influences of Old Gods who were imprisoned beneath the planet’s surface.
The trials and tribulations that had afflicted the Dragonflights throughout history, from Deathwing's betrayal to the Emerald Nightmare, from the Infinite Dragonflight to the Madness of Malygos, were to culminate as the Hour of Twilight, the Old Gods' grand scheme to eliminate the Aspects and usher the end of life on Azeroth.
Shortly after the Cataclysm, the orc shaman Thrall agreed to undergo a journey at the request of the Green Aspect, Ysera; a journey that eventually led him to Dragonblight and Wyrmrest Temple; there, Thrall was able to tap into Azeroth’s essence and use it to help bind Kalecgos, Ysera, Nozdormu, and Alexstrasza together, allowing them to combine their power and stave off an attack by the Twilight’s Hammer and the chromatic dragon Chromatus. Although successful in defending Wyrmrest Temple, the Aspects still needed to stop Deathwing. However, the fallen Aspect was so twisted by the dark energies of the Old Gods that not even the combined might of every living being on Azeroth could stop him. No physical assault, however immense, could destroy him; the only hope of stopping him was by unraveling his very essence, a power that only the Dragon Soul possessed.
There were various points in time when the Dragon Soul could be retrieved, but it had been altered throughout history. In order to be used as a weapon against Deathwing, it had to be taken while in its purest form. Nozdormu agreed to send the adventurers back to the Well of Eternity during the War of the Ancients to retrieve it, but found that all timeways were being directed to the same event, the end of time itself. In order to retrieve the Dragon Soul, the Infinite Dragonflight and its leader Murozond had to be slain, so the adventurers were sent to the future where they defeated Murozond. With the timeways reopened, the adventurers were sent to the Well of Eternity during the War of the Ancients. Once secured, the Dragon Soul was brought to present day Dragonblight. There, Thrall, aided by the adventurers, transported it to Wyrmrest Temple, a place of great power housing the Chamber of the Aspects, the very chamber in which the artifact was first imbued with the power of the Dragonflights.
When Deathwing learned of their intent, he and his minions converged on Dragonblight and the temple to waylay them at any cost. Atop Wyrmrest Temple, the Aspects began to infuse the Dragon Soul with their essences once again, making it even more powerful than before. Kalecgos then began work to alter its properties so that it could affect Deathwing because he had never imbued his own essence into the disk. In order for the Dragon Soul to be used as a weapon against him, it had to be empowered with the essence of the Earth-Warder. Thrall possessed a portion of that very essence, and although it was incredibly small, he was able to impart it to the Dragon Soul. After the death of the twilight dragon Ultraxion, Thrall unleashed the freshly infused Dragon Soul upon its creator. Wounded, Deathwing fled toward the Maelstrom, attempting to return to the relative safety of Deepholm. Thrall, the Aspects, and the adventurers boarded the gunship the Skyfire and gave chase, fighting an army of Twilight Drake riders, led by Warmaster Blackhorn, along the way.
Upon catching the Black Aspect, the adventurers leapt from the decks of the Skyfire, parachuted onto Deathwing's back, and began prying away the elementium armor that protected the Aspect, eventually exposing enough of his warped body for Thrall to blast Deathwing with the Dragon Soul. Deathwing, critically wounded, fell from the sky and crashed into the Maelstrom.
Proclaiming victory, the defenders of Azeroth briefly rejoiced at having finally defeated the Destroyer, but the celebration was short-lived. Deathwing rose from the Maelstrom, his body mutated into a mass of molten lava and tentacles. The final battle for Azeroth began in earnest, until one final blast from the Dragon Soul infused with the complete essence of each Aspect completely obliterated the fallen Aspect. With Deathwing truly defeated, the Aspects had fulfilled their duty of protecting Azeroth from the Hour of Twilight and the ancient powers granted to them by the Titans were expended; ushering in the Age of Mortals. As such, they sacrificed their roles as Aspects.
Upon remembering the battle against Galakrond and urging of Kalec, Alexstrasza concluded that even though they are no longer Aspects, they are still dragon beings and that they will remain and help the world eventually.
Battle for Azeroth
The powers of the Aspects coalesced in five scales that could be found in places important to the flights: the Nexus for the blue, Neltharion's Lair for the black, the Emerald Dream for the green, Vermillion Redoubt for the red, and an unknown location for the bronze. The scales were gathered by Alexstrasza, Kalecgos, Ebyssian in place of Deathwing, Merithra in place of Ysera who had died in the third invasion of the Burning Legion, and Chronormu in place of Nozdormu whose absence was not commented on. The essences of the five flights were used to empower the , a relic created to heal the world after she was stabbed by Sargeras.
During an interview lead quest designer Dave Kosak explained that the Dragon Aspects stood in the spotlight because one of their own had gone bad. Now the Dragon Aspects will continue to be important and still be around, but they may not be central characters anymore. For example, Kalecgos has been elected shortly before the Hour of Twilight and, obviously, he is still a dragon and he is still a very powerful mage, even if he is not immortal anymore. And he will still play a role in the world and will advise the Kirin Tor, he is just no longer the Aspect of Magic. The bronze dragons still can travel between time, but they no longer have control over timelines. In the Age of Mortals, mortal organizations need to take over what was once the charge of the Aspects. So all the characters are still important and their story will continue, even if they are not in the spotlight for the next expansion.
Notes and trivia
- The mortals of Azeroth are told that the Aspects were created from Galakrond.
- As of Legion, Alexstrasza is the only Dragon Aspect that has never been fought by players. Kalecgos, Malygos, and Deathwing are all raid bosses (although Kalecgos was not yet an Aspect at the time he was fought); Nozdormu (as Murozond) is a dungeon boss; and Ysera, corrupted by the Emerald Nightmare, is fought in a quest.
- During the events of Dragon Soul, Thrall is called "Earth-Warder" in his Dungeon Journal entry of the Ultraxion encounter. During Thrall's journey to Wyrmrest Temple, a minion of Deathwing says, "You are a fool if you think to take your place as the Aspect of Earth, Shaman!" In Tides of War, Thrall states that he "merely held the space for the Earth-Warder." However, it has been made clear that Thrall cannot become an Aspect, and the Earth-Warder title was just that, a title, a replacement needed to complete the ritual.
- With Malygos' death, Haleh is the first of the Aspects' consorts to outlive their respective Aspect.
- Most of the Dragon Aspects and their dragonflights appear to be at least vaguely associated with the regions of the Broken Isles, as well as the Pillars of Creation, with Ysera being slain in Val'sharah, where the Dreamweavers were located; Kalecgos helping Senegos, oldest of the blue dragons living in Azsuna; the nightborne of Suramar mentioned rivaling Nozdormu's bronze dragonflight in terms of temporal magic prowess and likewise deriving much of their powers from Aman'Thul; and Deathwing having made his home at Neltharion's Lair at Highmountain being before being banished by the . While not directly associated with the red dragonflight, Odyn and his Valarjar in Stormheim also seem to defend Life in their own way, being counterparts of Helya and her followers, and even rewarding noble warriors with a chance to fight beyond Death.
- ^ a b c d Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, chapter 20
- ^ Charge of the Aspects
- ^ Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, chapter 2
- ^ Thrall in the Dragon Soul
- ^ Dawn of the Aspects description
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1
- ^ Dawn of the Aspects
- ^ Tribunal of Ages
- ^ Ask CDev
- ^ Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, chapter 8
- ^ Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, chapter 17
- ^ Charge of the Aspects, pg. 3
- ^ Cataclysm epilogue cinematic
- ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 59
- ^ Dawn of the Aspects, part 1 chapter 1
- ^ Charge of the Aspects
- ^ Dawn of the Aspects, part 5 chapter 5
- ^ a b Gamona Interview
- ^ http://www.battlenet.com.cn/wow/zh/forum/topic/4871928333
- ^ "Thrall: Thrall, now the Earth-Warder of Azeroth, blesses all tanks with the immovable strength of the ancient stones of the world."
- ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, chapter 3