- This article is about Arthas' life as a human. For his existence after he was transformed, see Lich King.
- "Arthas" redirects here. For the novel with the same name, see Arthas: Rise of the Lich King.
|Title|| Champion of Ner'zhul, King of Lordaeron, Lich King
|Character class||Death Knight, Paladin (formerly)|
|Former affiliation(s)||Alliance of Lordaeron, Kingdom of Lordaeron, Silver Hand, Burning Legion|
|Occupation||Prince of Lordaeron (formerly), The Lich King (formerly)|
|Relative(s)||(father), (mother), (sister), (adoptive uncle)|
|Companion(s)||(steed), (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 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 had a romantic relationship with the kind sorceress Jaina Proudmoore.
Despite his promising beginnings, Arthas became one of the most powerful and evil beings Azeroth would ever know. Taking up the cursed runeblade Frostmourne, he became a death knight of the Scourge and led the undead in destroying Lordaeron, Quel'Thalas and Dalaran. Arthas eventually made his way to the Frozen Throne of Icecrown and merged with the Lich King.
Ruling as the Lich King for years afterwards, Arthas 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: Rise of the Lich King
Prince Arthas Menethil was born to King Terenas Menethil II and Queen Lianne Menethil, four years before the start of the First War. 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, he became friends with Varian Wrynn and watched as his future steed, Invincible, grow up. Terenas arranged a wedding for Calia with lord Daval Prestor. Calia was saddened by the decision and when Arthas tried to calm her, she wished that Arthas would chose his wife and the future queen of Lordaeron.
As a youth, Arthas was trained in combat by Muradin Bronzebeard, the brother of the dwarven king Magni Bronzebeard, and became an adept swordsman. Under the tutelage of Uther the Lightbringer, 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 it was then that Arthas was given the holy mace called . While in Stormwind, Arthas visited the recently-born Anduin Wrynn who gripped his finger. Arthas once visited Durnholde Keep where he 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 had only a talk with her and he noticed that Taretha remind him of Jaina Proudmoore. Later on, he rode on Invincible only to have an accident which caused Invincible a great pain. Arthas had no other option than to kill him in order to stop the suffering.
Arthas had met the youngest daughter of Daelin Proudmoore, the sorceress Jaina during his youth but their relationship grew close as friends, and then romantically years later. They were very much in love with one another. Arthas once stayed in Dalaran only to be with Jaina. At that moment, Antonidas organized a banquet for Arthas and Kael'thas who also happened to be there at the same time as Arthas. During the banquet, Arthas and Antonidas spoke about the situation of orcs, Terenas, and about Stormwind and young Anduin. Kael was also fond of Jaina and once, the elven prince caught Arthas and Jaina together what angered him.
Later on, Arthas invited Jaina to Lordaeron to celebrate two festivals and during this time Arthas revealed that he is dating Jaina to 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. Shortly after, they would agree to rekindle their romance, but this was during the beginning of the Scourge invasion that would change both of their lives forever.
Pre-Corruption, Knight of the Silver Hand
The Plague of Undeath
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. 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 kill the Blackrock Clan's blademaster leading the raids.
However, a more vile threat arose in the form of the plague of undeath. Jaina and Captain Falric were sent to join Arthas, now 24 years old, in order to investigate the strange plague. They fought an undead army at a plague-infested granary. They encountered the necromancer Kel'Thuzad in the town of Brill and pursued him to Andorhal.
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. Jaina and Arthas travelled 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.
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. 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.
Culling of Stratholme
When he arrived, Arthas found that the grain had already been distributed, and knew that the villagers would soon become undead. He ordered Uther and his knights to purge the entire town. Horrified, Uther rebuked him by saying that he would not follow such an order even if Arthas were already king. Proclaiming that Uther had committed treason, Arthas disbanded the Knights of the Silver Hand. Several of his soldiers left with Uther — as did Jaina — while those that remained loyal to Arthas joined him in slaughtering the corrupted townsfolk.
As Arthas began to slay the citizens of Stratholme, he was met by Mal'Ganis himself, who was working to claim the souls of the townsfolk. Arthas worked to destroy them before Mal'Ganis could reach them. Finally, Arthas demanded a final showdown with the dreadlord. Mal'Ganis slipped away, however, vowing to meet him in Northrend. Arthas then set fire to Stratholme. Something snapped in Arthas that day, his inability to stop the plague sent him down the cold lonely road he would soon follow. The fires burn to this day.
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's men came under gunfire before being recognized by the dwarven explorers guild. Arthas was shocked to have come upon his good friend and former mentor, Muradin Bronzebeard. At first, Muradin thought that 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. Arthas admitted it was mere coincidence. Together they destroyed the nearby undead camp, but there was still no sign of Mal'Ganis.
As Muradin and Arthas went to 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 boats. Arthas had no intention of leaving before Mal'Ganis was destroyed. With the help of some indigenous Ice Troll mercenaries, he managed to reach and burn his boats before his men got to them. When his men arrived, Arthas betrayed his mercenaries, accusing them of destroying the ships, and the Captain had them killed, much to the disgust of Muradin. Arthas told his men that they had no means of going home, and the only way they were leaving Northrend was through victory.
The Runeblade Frostmourne
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 travelled 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 and pleaded "Oh, leave it be, Arthas! Forget this business and lead your 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 you will let me save my people." When the weapon broke free, Muradin was struck by a rogue shard of ice. Arthas moved to help Muradin, but was dissuaded by the call of Frostmourne in his mind. Arthas discarded his holy warhammer, , then picked Frostmourne up and returned to his base, leaving Muradin for dead. With Frostmourne in hand, Arthas defeated Mal'Ganis' minions and finally confronted the demon.
Mal'Ganis told him that the voice he was now hearing was that of the Lich King. However, 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.
Corruption, Champion of the Lich King
In Northrend, Arthas became the first of the Lich King's death knights and slew many of his own men. Some among them (like Falric and Thassarian) were raised as death knights in Arthas's service.
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 him through with Frostmourne. The king's bloodied, broken crown remains lost to this day.
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.
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.
Weeks later, Arthas reappeared 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. Tichondrius explained that the sword was designed to steal souls, and that Arthas' own soul was the first one it had claimed.
Arthas assembled the members of the vile Cult of the Damned that were hiding in Vandermar, and was aided by their magical abilities as he travelled to Andorhal where he was to recover Kel'Thuzad's corpse. Arthas killed the paladin guarding the crypt, Gavinrad the Dire, and 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. Tichondrius sent Arthas to recover a mystical urn, which could be used to transport Kel'Thuzad's remains. However, the urn was in the keeping of 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. Arthas murdered his life-long mentor and seized the urn. Abandoning his father's remains, he replaced them with those of Kel'Thuzad, then began the long journey to Quel'Thalas.
Fall of Quel'Thalas
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. 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, along with the marching armies of the Scourge annihilated Silvermoon, leaving it in ruins. On the road to the Sunwell, he 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 to life, reborn as an undead lich.
Destruction of Dalaran
As the pair travelled to Alterac, Kel'Thuzad explained the full extent of the "Second Invasion" and the plans of the Lich King and the Scourge. Kel'Thuzad was in Alterac to destroy a camp of Blackrock Clan orcs who had taken control of a demon gate, which the lich would use to speak to the demon lord Archimonde. The Scourge destroyed the orcs, and after Kel'Thuzad received orders from Archimonde, they set out for the powerful seat of the world's mages, the city of Dalaran. Archimonde instructed them to acquire the spellbook of Medivh, which would allow Kel'Thuzad to summon Archimonde into Azeroth.
Arthas and his troops repelled the mages' vast counterattack as Kel'Thuzad began the lengthy summoning of the demon lord. 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. The pair disappeared as Archimonde took his revenge on the city, destroying Dalaran with a single powerful ritual.
Arthas was next seen several months later in Kalimdor, where Tichondrius was employing the arcane power of the Skull of Gul'dan. Kel'Thuzad told Arthas the final part of Lich King´s plan and teleported Arthas to Kalimdor, near Illidan. Arthas told the recently freed demon hunter Illidan how to claim the skull's powers as his own, whereupon he could destroy Tichondrius. Illidan agreed to his plan, and Arthas disappeared again.
Return to Lordaeron
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. Together they crushed the remaining human refugees in the area, who were led by the paladins Dagren the Orcslayer, Halahk the Lifebringer and Magroth the Defender. 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 remaining humans were killed.
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.
Arthas was ambushed in the capital city, 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. 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. Kel'Thuzad stepped in and chased her off at the last moment.
But 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
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 he may be right, and that they would never reach Icecrown Citadel before Illidan, but Anub'arak thought differently. He suggested that they delve into the shattered kingdom of Azjol-Nerub, using the underground passageways to beat Illidan to the Glacier. Seeing little other choice, Arthas agreed.
Anub'arak suggested raiding the hoard of Sapphiron, an ancient blue dragon and servant of Malygos, and equipping themselves with the dragon's treasures. Not only did they slay the dragon, but Arthas used what power he had left to raise Sapphiron into a powerful frost wyrm.
Race to the Frozen Throne
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 appeared to die. Now, they were led by Muradin's underling, 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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
The Lich King triumphant
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.
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 Frozen Throne exploded, and shards of the crystal scattered on the ground. With Ner'zhul's thorny 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."
Lich King of the Scourge
- Main article: Lich King
For years, Arthas dreamed and reflected on his past. Eventually he banished the last vestiges of his humanity, and consumed Ner'zhul's spirit, allowing him to become the dominant personality of the Lich King.
As the Lich King, Arthas instigated another Scourge invasion of Azeroth, provoking a counteroffensive in Northrend by the Horde, Alliance, Argent Crusade, and Knights of the Ebon Blade. In 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.
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. 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.
Edge of Night
After the Lich King's defeat, Sylvanas went to see the Frozen Throne. She found Arthas's 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.
"She sensed a familiar presence. Recognized it. The taunting voice that had once held her in its grasp. Arthas? Arthas Menethil? Here? His essence rushed to her, desperate, then shrank away in horrified recognition. The boy who would be Lich King. Just a scared little blond child, reaping the aftermath of a lifetime of mistakes. If any part of Sylvanas's soul were not at that moment torn and tormented, she might have even felt—for the first time—the slightest glimmer of pity for him."
Tides of War
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 his atrocity, but that he had been acting out of misguided compassion rather than hatred.
In World of Warcraft
This section concerns content exclusive to World of Warcraft.
As you stand in the throne room of Lordaeron [and turn your ambient volume up], you can hear the voices of Terenas Menethil II arguing with his council. You can also hear him confused by what Arthas was about to do...
Wrath of the Lich King
This section concerns content exclusive to Wrath of the Lich King.
- Main article: Arthas (Stratholme)
The (as yet) uncorrupted Prince Arthas appears in World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King within the Culling of Stratholme wing of the Caverns of Time. The player accompanies him through the town as he kills its plagued population (and agents of the infinite dragonflight attempting to kill him).
The player can also see him in flashbacks on the Forgotten Shore, when the Alliance Emissary arrives to order the troops home (in the quest  ) and in Frostmourne Cavern, where he claims the cursed runeblade Frostmourne. The flashback itself is essentially the cutscene from Warcraft III where he claims Frostmourne — with an ending revealing that after Arthas left the cavern with Muradin supposedly dead, Muradin awakened with amnesia and wandered outside the cavern.
In a quest chain given by Matthias Lehner (an anagram of "Arthas Menethil") in Icecrown, the player can actually take on the role of Arthas in two critical moments in his history: When he turned on his own men and raised them as the undead (  ) and his epic duel with Illidan (  ).
This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.
Arthas appears in  , a Felwood quest in which the player relives his first encounter with Illidan.
Mists of Pandaria
This section concerns content exclusive to Mists of Pandaria.
Arthas and Terenas briefly appear in  , a story told by Lorewalker Cho.
Arthas was a man of action - brave, impulsive and straightforward. He was an inspiring leader, leading his men by example. In conversations with other characters, he appeared witty and easy-going, yet able to hold true to his decisions and make others accept them.
On the other hand, Arthas was vindictive and occasionally lost control (as described in the letter below). 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.
After the death of his father, Arthas claims he no longer feels remorse, shame, or pity, which is explained by him losing his soul to Frostmourne. He became a ruthless and cynical person with a grim sense of humor. As a death knight, Arthas was not above mocking his enemies and gloating over their defeats.
Even as a death knight, Arthas felt as though the last remnants of his humanity were holding him back. 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. He may have regained a measure of humanity in his final moments, but only after Frostmourne was shattered and its stolen souls were released.
Arthas was friends with Jarim Balnir, despite their differences in station. Arthas met Varian when the Prince of Stormwind came to Lordaeron in the company of Lothar and Khadgar, 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.
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", 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. With his mind twisted by Frostmourne's curse, Arthas comes to look upon the undead soldiers of the Scourge with affection, 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.
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. That the loyal subjects he'd "made" would betray him came as a shock. Even so, the Lich King Arthas still seemed proud of his ability to "stir the hearts" of his "people."
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,
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
- Main article: Quotes of Warcraft III/Human Alliance#Arthas Menethil
- Main article: Quotes of Warcraft III/Undead Scourge#Arthas
- Faith alone is not enough to stop the enemies of the Light. (Wrath of Turalyon flavor text)
Reign of Chaos
- "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 met to simply kill my people. It was meant to turn them... into the undead! Defend yourselves!"
- "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 sovereignty of my crown, I hereby relieve you from 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
- "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."
- 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.
Fall of the Lich King Outro
- Arthas lies supine, the shattered remnants of Frostmourne beside him. He starts as the ghost of Terenas Menethil materializes over him, and the characteristic blue glow dissipates from his eyes. As Terenas kneels next to him, Arthas places a hand on his father's chest.
- Arthas Menethil: Father! Is it... over?
- Terenas lays a comforting hand on Arthas' gauntlet.
- Terenas Menethil II: At long last. No king rules forever, my son.
- Arthas Menethil: I see... only darkness... before... me...
- Arthas' eyes roll back into his head and he dies, his hand falling to the ground. Terenas closes his son's eyes and gently lays him on the ground as Tirion walks in.
- Terenas Menethil II: Without its master's command, the restless Scourge will become an even greater threat to this world.
- Terenas stands, facing Tirion.
- Terenas Menethil II: Control must be maintained. There must always be a Lich King.
- Terenas' ghost disappears.
- The Prince and the Prophet (Arthas and Medivh)
- Arthas' Betrayal (Arthas and Terenas)
- The Revelation (Arthas and Kel'Thuzad)
- Sylvanas' Farewell (Arthas and Sylvanas)
- Boiling Point (Arthas and Ner'zhul)
- A Long Time Coming (Arthas and Illidan)
- The Ascension
- Fall of the Lich King
The official Arthas action figure.
Arthas in the Lament of the Highborne machinima.
Arthas at the First Legion Forward Camp.
Arthas on the cover of Arthas: Rise of the Lich King.
Arthas on the Frozen Throne.
Arthas in Icecrown.
Arthas outside Icecrown Citadel.
Arthas in the Frozen Halls.
Arthas in Blizzard All-Stars.
The Lich King Arthas action figure by DC Direct.
- Arthas has blue eyes in his Warcraft III model, but green eyes both in Warcraft III art and in WotLK. In Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, he is described as having blue-green eyes.
- While Arthas is very tall for a human, he is still much shorter than most of his non-human minions, which is evident in his encounters with Drakuru and Ymiron.
- In a PC World article, Arthas was voted #19 of the top 47 "most diabolical game villains of all time".
- Former Member of L80ETC.
- Although Arthas is marked as undead in various sources, it has been confimed by Chris Metzen and Alex Afrasiabi that actually he never died (at least prior to becoming the Lich King and removing his heart). His undead state in Warcraft III may have instead referred to the fact that Frostmourne had stolen his soul.
- In an alternate timeline where Thrall died as an infant and Aedelas Blackmoore conquered Lordaeron, Arthas fled to Stormwind and his old friend Varian. He married Jaina and they had a sole son, Uther Menethil.
- Arthas was voiced by Justin Gross in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and The Frozen Throne, and Patrick Seitz in World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. As the Lich King, he was voiced by Michael McConnohie.
- can be fished from the Dalaran Fountain.
In other media
- There is a reference to Arthas in Adventurequest, where there is an enemy named Lord Arrgthas, who wears armor resembling an ice knight and has, "He's not a lich king just yet" in his description, referencing his time as a death knight.
- 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.
- Arthas (as the Lich King) will be a playable character in Blizzard All-Stars, an upcoming custom map for StarCraft II.
Arthas' personal kill count contains several characters in Warcraft's lore, including the kings of three powerful nations. This list include:
- Slave Master (killed in Strahnbrad, Warcraft III)
- Searinox (killed near Strahnbrad, Warcraft III)
- Blademaster of the Blackrock Clan (killed near Strahnbrad, Warcraft III)
- Kel'Thuzad (killed in Andorhal, Warcraft III; resurrected as a lich)
- Venim Iceblade (killed near Hearthglen, Warcraft III)
- Calis Wraithson (killed near Hearthglen, Warcraft III)
- Mal'Ganis (killed in Northrend, Warcraft III; returns in Wrath of the Lich King)
- Captain Falric (killed in Northrend, Arthas: Rise of the Lich King; resurrected as a death knight)
- Captain Marwyn (killed in Northrend, Arthas: Rise of the Lich King; resurrected as a death knight)
- King Terenas Menethil II (killed in the Imperial chamber of Capital City, Warcraft III)
- Gavinrad the Dire (killed near Andorhal, Warcraft III)
- Ballador the Bright (killed near Andorhal, Warcraft III)
- Sage Truthbearer (killed near Andorhal, Warcraft III)
- Uther the Lightbringer (killed near Andorhal, Warcraft III)
- Sylvanas Windrunner (killed in Quel'Thalas, Warcraft III; resurrected as a banshee)
- King Anasterian Sunstrider (killed on the Isle of Quel'Danas, Arthas: Rise of the Lich King)
- Dar'Khan Drathir (killed on the Isle of Quel'Danas, Arthas: Rise of the Lich King; resurrected later)
- Genjuros (killed in Alterac Mountains, Warcraft III)
- Haomarush (killed in Alterac Mountains, Warcraft III)
- Khanzo (killed in Alterac Mountains, Warcraft III)
- Mazrigos (killed in Alterac Mountains, Warcraft III)
- Throk'Feroth (killed in Alterac Mountains, Warcraft III)
- Jubei'Thos (killed in Alterac Mountains, Warcraft III)
- Landazar (killed in Dalaran, Warcraft III)
- Conjurus Rex (killed in Dalaran, Warcraft III)
- Antonidas (killed in Dalaran, Warcraft III)
- Dagren the Orcslayer (killed in Lordaeron palace gardens, Warcraft III)
- Halahk the Lifebringer (killed in Lordaeron palace gardens, Warcraft III)
- Magroth the Defender (killed in Lordaeron palace gardens, Warcraft III)
- Jennalla Deemspring (killed in Lordaeron palace gardens, Warcraft III)
- Bloodfeast (killed in Lordaeron palace gardens, Warcraft III)
- Sapphiron (killed in Northrend, Warcraft III; resurrected as a frost wyrm)
- Forgotten one (killed in Inner Kingdom, Warcraft III)
- (killed in Northrend, Wrath of the Lich King; resurrected as blood-queen of the San'layn)
- Overlord Drakuru (killed atop Voltarus, Wrath of the Lich King)
- Dranosh Saurfang (killed in Northrend, Wrath of the Lich King; resurrected later)
Arthas could be seen as a "reverse" version of King Arthur, up to the name similarity. Like Arthur, Arthas' fate as the king began with pulling a sword out of the stone - 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, while Uther, Arthas' trainer, shares his name with King Arthur's father. In contrast to Arthur, Arthas destroys a Camelot-styled kingdom and builds its opposite.
Arthas also offers many similarities with Michael Moorcock's "Elric of Melniboné" character and his rune sword Stormbringer. Both are rulers who betray their own land, and both are cursed by their runic blades.
Hernan Cortes, a Spanish conquistador, made a very similar decision to Arthas in Warcraft III. When Uther had convinced King Terenas II to send Arthas and his expedition back to Lordaeron, Arthas decided to burn the ships to achieve victory against Mal'Ganis. 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 so he could claim their land. That manner of decision was also believed to have been made, before Cortes, by Umayyad Berber Islamic commander Tariq bin Ziyad in order to conquer Hispania (modern-day Spain) and make it Al-Andalus. Cortes is believed to have been inspired by Tariq bin Ziyad's strategic movement of conquering Cortes's own hometown.
- ^ Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne manual, pg.6 Quote: "And Arthas, the newly crowned king of Lordaeron..."
- ^ The Defense of Strahnbrad
- ^ Blackrock & Roll
- ^ Ravages of the Plague
- ^ The Cult of the Damned
- ^ March of the Scourge
- ^ The Prince and the Prophet
- ^ The Culling
- ^ The Shores of Northrend
- ^ Dissension
- ^ Frostmourne (Warcraft III)
- ^ 
- ^ a b Death Knight (manga)
- ^ Arthas' Betrayal
- ^ Trudging through the Ashes
- ^ Digging up the Dead
- ^ The Fall of Silvermoon
- ^ The Revelation
- ^ Blackrock & Roll, Too!
- ^ Under the Burning Sky
- ^ The Destruction of Dalaran
- ^ A Destiny of Flame and Sorrow
- ^ King Arthas (Warcraft III)
- ^ A Kingdom Divided
- ^ The Flight from Lordaeron
- ^ Sylvanas' Farewell
- ^ The Return to Northrend
- ^ Into the Shadow Web Caverns
- ^ The Forgotten Ones
- ^ Ascent to the Upper Kingdom
- ^ Boiling Point
- ^ A Symphony of Frost and Flame
- ^ A Long Time Coming
- ^ The Ascension
- ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, page 306
- ^ Warcraft Legends: Fate
- ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, page 307
- ^ Lich King (tactics)#Quotes
- ^ http://www.1up.com/do/previewPage?pager.offset=0&cId=3163178
- ^ Edge of Night
- ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, page 93
- ^ Reign of Chaos: Trudging through the Ashes
- ^ The Hunter and the Prince
- ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, page 306
- ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, page 1
- ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, page 18
- ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, page 97
- ^ The Frozen Throne: Sylvanas' Farewell
- ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, page 204
- ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pages 223, 236
- ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, page 237
- ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, page 270
- ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, page 269
- ^ Wrath of the Lich King: Opening Cinematic
- ^ Lands of Conflict, 75
- ^ http://www.wowinsider.com/2007/08/04/blizzcon-day-2-wow-lore-and-quests-panel-liveblog/
- ^ Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects
- ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hu4rpMEfvqw
- ^ http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/game/maps-and-mods/mods/dota
|Prince Arthas (Dragonblight)||Arthas (Caverns of Time: Stratholme)|
Terenas Menethil II
Ruler of Lordaeron
Lich King of the Scourge (conjoined spirits with Ner'zhul)
Arthas Menethil (alone)
Arthas Menethil and Ner'zhul (conjoined spirits)
Lich King of the Scourge (alone)