Garrosh Hellscream vs Thrall in mak’gora

Thrall challenged Garrosh Hellscream to mak’gora (a duel of honor) in Nagrand. This article contains spoilers from previous World of Warcraft expansions, along with biased personal opinions from the author.

Thrall has not answered for his acts towards Hellscream during the events of Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor. In the end, Thrall went against the rules of this orcish tradition of trial by combat.

Trial – ‘War Crimes’

Looking back, Thrall fought Garrosh right before the final boss event in Siege of Orgrimmar. Garrosh won, but was defeated soon after by the invading Alliance/Horde forces (player raid). With Hellscream dethroned, Thrall wishes to end Garrosh’s life. Varian Wrynn stops Thrall before delivering the final blow. Why would the Alliance leader Wrynn stop Thrall? A likely scenario is due to the respect for Hellscream’s role in the campaign against the Lich King in Northrend.

A trial commenced for Hellscream. The events of the trial are told in the novel ‘War Crimes‘ by Christie Golden. In the trial, the August Celestials would judge Hellscream’s actions since becoming Warchief of the Horde. Over the course of the trial, the Celestials did not find Hellscream worthy of a death sentence. However, Garrosh escapes to Draenor before the end of the trial. Regardless, Thrall pursues Garrosh to Draenor to pass his own judgement.

Trial of Garrosh Hellscream
Trial of Garrosh Hellscream (cover of War Crimes by Christie Golden).

The August Celestials are ancient, wise, and powerful beings. They were the judges of the trial. Compared to the mortal races, they are likely to have better insight and at least a more neutral view. Their judgement of Hellscream did not seem to hold much value, as Thrall’s opinion did not change leading up to the mak’gora.


Thrall clearly cheats versus Garrosh, similar to how Gul’Dan cheated in mak’gora against Durotan (Thrall’s father) in the Warcraft movie.

Gul'Dan vs Durotan mak'gora
Gul’Dan cheats vs Durotan in mak’gora.

Rules of mak’gora that were breached:

  • Each participant is allowed one weapon. Thrall uses the Doomhammer mace and the Elements.
  • Body armor is forbidden. Thrall is in full-body armor.

Watch the mak’gora cinematic below:

Traditionally, mak’gora is to the death, but under Warchief Thrall’s rule it became a non-lethal combat, similiar to Warsong’s Mak’Rogahn. Participants can choose to forgo this change. However, even when operating under the old rules, the victor can choose to spare the loser’s life. Thrall only got the upper hand by cheating, and ultimately did not spare Hellscream’s life.

Fate of Garrosh Hellscream

Garrosh Hellscream is one of the more (if not the most) interesting characters to be introduced in World of Warcraft. A shame this was the end where Blizzard instead opted to go forward with Thrall’s self-righteousness.

It might be an unpopular statement, but from a Horde perspective, Garrosh Hellscream did nothing wrong. At least not if looked at from a traditional Orc point of view. After ending the Hellscream line, Thrall is not even able to commune with the elements as he once did. Thrall admits to this during the beginning of the Legion expansion (enchancement shaman Doomhammer story campaign). This is due to using the elements against Hellscream in the mak’gora. I hope Thrall can redeem himself, or face the consequences even more harshly.

Thrall wins mak'gora
Thrall defeats Garrosh (Gorehowl in the forefront).

What are your opinions to Garrosh Hellscream’s fate, and how Thrall handled it all? Feel free to comment below.

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