- For the character from an alternate universe, see Durotan (alternate universe). For the character from the Warcraft film universe, see Durotan (film universe). For the Warcraft movie prequel novel, see Warcraft: Durotan.
Chieftain of the Frostwolf clan|
Son of Garad
|Affiliation(s)||Frostwolf clan, Independent|
|Former affiliation(s)||Old Horde|
|Occupation||Chieftain of the Frostwolf clan|
|Location||Buried in Alterac Valley|
Garad and Geyah (parents)|
Kelkar and Zuura (parents-in-law)
Ga'nar, Fenris Wolfbrother (brothers)
Draka (mate), Lokra (sister-in-law), Karg Bloodfury
Durak & Rehze (grandchildren)
Orgrim Doomhammer (best friend)
|Companion(s)||Nightstalker & Sharptooth (wolf companions)|
- “He was an immovable mountain. A pillar of strength and honor. He sacrificed himself so that we could survive. So that generations of orcs after him could be born into a world without the blood curse... Without Gul'dan and his Old Horde... Oh Durotan, how I wish you could be here. Your people so desperately need you...”
Rise of the Horde (childhood)
Young Durotan saw Draka after she was born and his mother Geyah told him to bless Draka. He did so but noticed that she was ill.
From the three brothers, Ga'nar and Fenris, Durotan was the one who embraced family and tradition most. Durotan became the heir of the Frostwolf clan, when Fenris vanished and Garad chose Durotan instead of hot-headed Ga'nar, in the years prior to the rise of the Horde.
While racing each other through Terokkar Forest, Durotan and Orgrim were attacked by a rampaging ogre, and would have been killed if not for the timely arrival of a draenei hunting party from Telmor, led by Restalaan. Sending word to their clans, Restalaan took the two orcs to Telmor, and informed them that the draenei leader, Prophet Velen, was in the town and invited the two to dinner. They discussed their people's histories, Durotan even commenting that he and Orgrim had learned more about the draenei in that period than their entire race had in over a century.
Afterwards, he participated his om'riggor. He was also brought to the "sacred mountain" of Oshu'gun by request of Tal'kraa, seeking to test whether he could become a shaman as well as chieftain of his clan; alas, he did not see the ancestors, though he knew they were there somehow.
Some time later, Durotan met Draka once more after she had overcome her illness. Durotan was smitten at first sight, not believing that she could be a member of his clan. Though rebuffed (at first) when asking her to join him on a courtship hunt, the two eventually mated.
Lords of War
Long before the opening of the Dark Portal, the Frostwolf clan would hunt clefthoof and move their location. One time, his mother was bitten by a drift lurker which caused her to enter a coma. While his brother Ga'nar wanted to leave her die a natural death and move the clan out of area, Durotan couldn't do that. After Ga'nar left, he and Geyah's companion, Stormfang remained with her and tended to her. At some point a lone garn attacked them but the two killed the beast. Durotan knew that a whole pack will attack soon so he prepared for the battle. When they attacked he lost control over his anger and fell to bloodlust. While he killed everything that moved, Geyah awoke. After hearing her, he focused once more and found out that he killed Stormfang too. It is said that since that day, he wore Stormfang's fur to the end of his days as a reminder of a loyalty and of a threat of savagery.
Durotan as seen in the Lords of War mini-series.
Rise of the Horde (adulthood)
Some time later, Durotan's father Garad was killed in battle against a group of ogres and a gronn, and Durotan became the chieftain of the Frostwolf Clan by hereditary right. It was not long after this that Ner'zhul, the spiritual leader of the orcs and chieftain of the Shadowmoon Clan, called the clan chieftains and shaman to Oshu'gun. Ner'zhul told them what he believed the ancestors revealed to him - that the draenei were enemies of the orcish people. This was part of an elaborate scheme concocted by the eredar lord Kil'jaeden, one of the lieutenants of the Dark Titan Sargeras. Kil'jaeden had led the Burning Legion in a hunt for the draenei—renegade eredar who fled when Sargeras came - over the eons, but in the past had found only remnants of where they had been.
Durotan was dispatched by Ner'zhul to meet with a party led by Velen himself near Oshu'gun, where the Prophet revealed that what guided the spirits of the ancestors there was in fact a dying naaru named K'ure, who had aided the draenei escape from Argus thousands of years earlier. This was met by suspicion and outright hostility by the orcs—particularly Drek'Thar, the Frostwolf clan shaman, who called Velen a blasphemer. Despite orders to bring the Prophet and his party to Ner'zhul, Durotan decided to release them, reasoning that there was no honor in taking a willing prisoner.
During a battle in which they were defeated by Restalaan's forces, the Frostwolf shaman realized they had been cut off from the spirits. Durotan and Draka took this as a sign that something was seriously wrong, even though Ner'zhul had told them the ancestors had told them that this was a just war. It was at this time that the orcs - under the guidance of the ambitious Gul'dan, Ner'zhul's apprentice - began to take the path of warlock magic. Durotan, not seeking to bring attention to himself by opposing the official stance, allowed Drek'Thar and his shaman to receive the warlock training.
Through Gul'dan's manipulation - empowered by Kil'jaeden - the clans were united into the Old Horde, and several clan chieftains, including Durotan, ran for the position of Warchief. However, the clear favorite (and thus the one who received that title) was the battle-hungry Blackhand, chieftain of the Blackrock Clan. No one knew, of course, that Blackhand was in fact Gul'dan's puppet.
With information given to him by Orgrim (now known as Doomhammer, his father dying around the same time as Durotan's), Blackhand ordered Durotan to assault the city of Telmor, which was close to the Frostwolf clan grounds. While in Restalaan's care as a boy, Durotan had seen the guard captain pull a green crystal from a hidden place in the forest floor - Leafshadow, one of the shards of the ata'mal crystal, which projected an illusion that hid the city from ogres, gronn and other external threats. Orgrim had told Blackhand that Durotan possessed a keen ability of recall (which he did), and could remember the incantation to dispel the illusion. Durotan reluctantly did so, and thus the Horde sacked Telmor and killed everyone they could find, including Restalaan, who was defeated by Durotan himself.
Shortly before the attack on the draenei capital of Shattrath, Gul'dan called the clans to a mountain he named the Throne of Kil'jaeden in what is now Hellfire Peninsula, to partake of Kil'jaeden's "gift" - the blood of Mannoroth. Durotan—having been warned by the now-subservient Ner'zhul - refused to partake, as did his friend Orgrim...causing both to fall under the suspicion of Gul'dan.
After the fall of Shattrath and the disappearance of Kil'jaeden, the Horde turned on itself, with no enemies left to fight. It was at this time that Gul'dan was visited in his dreams by the human sorcerer Medivh, who was possessed by the Dark Titan. Medivh commanded Gul'dan to construct a gateway, and that together they would open a great Portal between Draenor and the world of Medivh. Durotan continued to voice opposition against the Horde leadership during this time, publicly questioning Gul'dan's motives and protesting against the use of fel magic. Despite his disgust with the Horde's leadership, he had brought his people through the Dark Portal for there was no future on Draenor; only on Azeroth could they survive another generation.
The Frostwolves initially fought against the humans alongside the other clans, but their destiny did lie with the Horde. Gul'dan later confronted Durotan in secret. The warlock told him that his clan was no longer part of the Horde and that the Frostwolves had to leave the Black Morass immediately. If they ever returned, if they ever contacted any member of the Horde, Gul'dan promised to destroy every Frostwolf male, female, and child. Durotan was loath to part from his fellow orcs, but he had just learned that his mate, Draka, was pregnant. He did not want to risk her, or their unborn child, by testing Gul'dan. And he knew why Gul'dan was letting them live for if Durotan were killed, it would make him a martyr and give his warning weight among the rest of the Horde.
Apparently accepting their fate, Durotan and the Frostwolf clan settled deep in a hidden valley in the Alterac Mountains, far to the north of the Kingdom of Azeroth. While there, Drek'Thar had forsaken the path of the warlock and was able to regain the favor of the spirits, and return to shamanism. His aid would be invaluable in surviving in the harsh lands which the Frostwolves now called home; in addition to ensuring that the encampment was not flooded in the spring thaw, they also befriended the white wolves that made the valley their home. In the year 1, Draka, Durotan's mate and most stalwart supporter, gave birth to Durotan's son and heir, the orc who would become known as Thrall. Realizing that there was far more at stake now that his legacy would live on, Durotan decided to take action against the evil Gul'dan, and made a meeting with the only other orc who had stood by him: Orgrim Doomhammer.
Durotan explained what he knew - about Gul'dan, the Shadow Council, the demonic bargain and Orgrim decided it was time to stop the evil warlock. He urged Durotan and Draka to take shelter in the north until he sent word to them. Orgrim commanded his guards to accompany the Frostwolves on their journey home and keep them safe. That would be a mistake that Orgrim would regret to his dying day. His guards were not loyal to him, but to the Shadow Council.
The guards had heard every word between Orgrim and his visitors. They decided they didn't need Gul'dan's permission to eliminate the Frostwolves - clearly he would want Durotan, Draka, and their child dead. After traveling north for several days, the guards fell upon Durotan and Draka. The Frostwolves fought bitterly against their attackers, killing one of them. But the remaining guards struck down Durotan and Draka, and Go'el was left to die in the frigid cold.
With his arms sliced off to prevent him from holding his child again, Durotan died slowly as the lifeblood drained out of him, the last thought in his mind being a sense of relief that he would not see his son torn apart by the creatures of the forest.
Durotan is buried in Alterac Valley, under a monument known as the Rock of Durotan. The inscription on the memorial plaque reads:
Here lies Durotan - first Chieftain of the Frostwolf Clan, and father of our honored Warchief, Thrall. He was the bravest of our kind - betrayed by those who would see our people enslaved. Durotan gave his life that our freedom might be gained. We honor him - and the legacy he passed onto us through his son.
-Drek'Thar, Far Seer of the Frostwolves
Thrall survived after Durotan's death, found by the human officer Aedelas Blackmoore and raised as a slave and gladiator. He would eventually escape, be trained as a shaman by Drek'Thar, and lead in the liberation of his people, thus freeing them from the taint of demonic corruption that had plagued them for so long, vowing at the same time that no orc would be cast into slavery - by humans or demons alike - ever again. Thrall would go on to become Warchief of the Horde after Doomhammer fell in battle. Then, after leading the exodus to Kalimdor and fighting in the Battle of Mount Hyjal, Thrall and his people settled in the eastern Barrens, at last taking a land of their own for the first time since the corruption of Draenor. He named the new kingdom Durotar, in honor of his slain father.
Notes and trivia
- Durotan and Draka's meeting with Orgrim was originally stated to have happened in year 0, but the date was retconned in Chronicle Volume 2.
- Durotan is described as having dark brown eyes in Rise of the Horde. In Lords of War, Durotan is shown to have both brown (child) and blue (adult) eyes, as well as red when under the effects of bloodlust.
- The Frostwolf chieftain owned , a legacy item of heavy plate mail passed down through ten previous generations of clan leaders, and notably wore it during the assault on Telmor. The harness would have been passed down to Durotan's son and grandson, but at some point it was lost to time. In World of Warcraft, the harness can drop from Captain Skarloc in Escape from Durnholde Keep.
- Durotan seems particularly fond of axes, as his axe was featured in Warcraft Adventures, and his TCG depiction, his alternate self and his film depiction all have axes as well.
- An unused NPC ID for Durotan exists in the game files for The Burning Crusade.
- Although Draka is featured in the afterlife of Maldraxxus in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, Durotan is not seen in the expansion. Lead narrative designer Steve Danuser has suggested that "If everything went great for [Durotan], he's probably in this endless hunting ground where he has his wolves around him and he [...] doesn't have to worry about any dark forces wrecking his world", and that Draka could potentially reunite with him in the future after she has completed her obligations in Maldraxxus.
Thrall could relive the last moments of Durotan and Draka's life in an alternate history. Thrall and an orc named Grukar were tasked to escort them to the safety. However, Grukar was a traitor who summoned the assassins. The assassins killed everyone, except Thrall. To avoid changing history, Thrall let them escape. In the last seconds of life, Thrall told Durotan that Go'el will be great hero, and that orcs will become proud and powerful. With this knowledge, Durotan dies.
The novel Lord of the Clans by Christie Golden depicted unnamed spies of Gul'dan as the assassins of Durotan and Draka. On the Burning Crusade flash site it is told that Thrall's parents were assassinated by humans, which contradicts all sources. The events depicted in Lord of the Clans were generally accepted as what actually happened. Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects supported this; when Thrall travels through time and space and sees his parents' murder, it is an unnamed band of orcs that kills them.
World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2 again updated and retconned the details of his death. It was originally said that Durotan and Draka met Orgrim Doomhammer in the southlands, while Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects described the place as Hillsbrad Foothills in Lordaeron, in Year 0. Chronicle Volume 2 changed this to have occurred in Year 1.
Lord of the Clans described that one guard accompanied the Frostwolves (named Grukar in Twilight of the Aspects's timeline) who later summoned the assassins, but the Chronicle used plural for guards.
Durotan was originally stated to have killed one assassin by snapping his neck, while the others killed the traitorous guard and ultimately the Frostwolves as well. Now, it is stated that the Frostwolf orcs killed one guard before being defeated, omitting / not mentioning any betrayals between the hostile attackers. It is also interesting to note that while Lord of the Clans described four orcs being killed, the next page says that only three dead orc bodies were found.
In Twilight of the Aspects, Aedelas found the orcling not long after the massacre. Lord of the Clans states that the ambush must have happened "recently". According to the Chronicle, Aedelas and Tammis found the orcling one day after the massacre.
It is also unclear where exactly they were killed. While Twilight of the Aspects said that Durotan and Orgrim met in Hillsbrad Foothills and were killed not long after they left Orgrim's camp, Chronicle stated that they met on the edge of Loch Modan and once the meeting ended, they were traveling north for several days. It described that Durotan's body was left to die in the frigid cold and that Aedelas was from the northern stronghold of Durnholde Keep, but the exact region is unclear. Afterlives: Maldraxxus depicted the area they fell as a forest. Originally, Orgrim wanted them in a chosen safe location, while in the Chronicle's version, Orgrim wanted them to be safe but sent them home to Alterac Mountains.
It could be speculated that the events of Twilight of the Aspects occurred as described in the book as it is a different universe.
Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans
In the canceled Warcraft Adventures, it was mentioned that Durotan, Blackhand and Orgrim Doomhammer were three blood brothers. However, after Gul'dan started manipulating Blackhand, Durotan and the Frostwolf clan were sent north to await orders that were never intended to arrive instead of being straight-up and officially exiled. Rend and Maim, the sons of Blackhand, later assassinated Durotan. He left behind his axe, which would be found by his son Thrall years later after his death.
- ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 117
- ^ Warcraft: Legends Volume 4, pg. 147
- ^ Ultimate Visual Guide
- ^ a b Lords of War
- ^ Micky Neilson on Twitter (2014-09-13)
- ^ Micky Neilson on Twitter (2014-09-13)
- ^ Legends: A Warrior Made--Part 1
- ^ The Characters of Warcraft/Durotan
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 123
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2
- ^ a b Lord of the Clans
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 129
- ^ Loreology on Twitter (dead link)
- ^ Rise of the Horde, chapter 10
- ^ War Crimes, chapter 7
- ^ Ezgi Pajecki 2020-09-26. Maldraxxus, Shadowlands and Beyond - Interview with Steve Danuser. Lorekeeper. Archived from the original on 2020-09-27.
- ^ perculia 2020-07-09. Shadowlands Lore Interview with Lead Narrative Designer Steve Danuser - Elune, Sylvanas, Calia. Wowhead. Archived from the original on 2020-07-09.
- ^ War Crimes
- ^ Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects
- ^ Micky Neilson on Twitter
- ^ Lord of the Clans, pg. 15 - 17
- ^ Loreology on Twitter: “He found Thrall in Year 0, yes. The reason orcs were that far north (First War era) at that time was detailed in a tweet I sent.”
- ^ Bill Roper on Gamespot
Chieftain of the Frostwolf Clan