Flavor Text and Lore: Jaina, the Original Mage Hero

After exploring the history of the Paladin Hero and his cards, let's mix things up a little, and get to know more about another all-around favorite, The Mage.

After dealing with both the History and Future of the Paladin Hero, and Notable Paladin Cards in my previous articles, I felt it was time to mix things up a little, and get to know a bit more about another all-around favorite, The Mage.

Lover, ruler, advisor and Archmage – Jaina Proudmoore has worn many hats over her tenure as one of Warcraft’s most enduring characters.

Despite only having been introduced in Warcraft III, Jaina has met legends, loved princes and dragons, and fought beside war-chiefs and kings. She is arguably the main component connecting all the strands of Warcraft’s political narrative, and a lens through which the players can understand the personalities and motivations of the most important characters of the world.

Jaina was born into nobility, of sorts, and while a child was even considered by Deathwing as a potential bride, at a time when the dragon lived disguised in human form.

But she grew up enamored with tales of the Guardian Aegwynn (mother of the alternate Mage Hero, the Guardian Medivh ) and when she was sent to the Magocracy of Dalaran to study the arts, she persistently worked to become apprenticed to archmage-antonidas.

The Reign of Chaos

Many years later, Jaina would come to have an on-and-off love affair with Prince Arthas of Lordaeron, but eventually sided with Uther when the prince started his descent into madness.

In the meantime,  the leaders of the Alliance, archmage-antonidas included, were being contacted by a disguised Medivh, who warned them of the coming of the Legion. They didn’t listen, more interested in stemming the resurgence of the Horde, liberated from their internment camps by the young war-chief Thrall, and more concerned about the plague of undeath that had started assailing the northern settlements.

Faced with the undead Scourge, Jaina helped Arthas chase and eventually kill kelthuzad. But he came back. He always comes back.

But Jaina, while not suspecting the “Prophet” being Medivh in disguise, sensed power in him and paid heed to his words. Her convictions further strengthened from witnessing the undead menace firsthand, she gathered as much of her people as she could, and departed for the western continent of Kalimdor, leaving the falling human kingdoms behind.

There, her forces initially clashed with the Horde, also fleeing thanks to Medivh’s guidance. The Guardian convinced them – and later, the Night Elves – that banding together was their only hope for survival against the invading armies of the demons from the Burning Legion, and so an uneasy truce was struck. Eventually, Jaina and Thrall grew fond of each other and came to respect each other as leaders, but the tensions between their people never vanished.

The Rise and Fall of the Lich King

Over the years, Jaina worked hard as the Lady of Theramore, the city she helped found after the final battle with the Legion. Her chief concern was keeping the peace between her people and the neighboring Horde. At one time, she even met, and enlisted the services of, her old childhood hero: the long-thought-dead ex-Guardian Aegwynn.

But she would only play a truly pivotal role in World of Warcraft’s second expansion, where she would temper King varian-wrynn’s wrath at the death of his dear friend bolvar-fordragon, preventing all-out war from breaking out between the Alliance and the Horde, and keeping them focused on the fight against the undead menace.

She would later help the players breach the Lich King’s inner sanctum, hoping to find a way to reach whatever piece remained of her former lover’s soul, within the undead lord’s dark heart.

Instead, she what she found was the spirit of Uther, imprisoned with hundreds of others by the dread runeblade Frostmourne, and there the old paladin warned her that while a spark of Arthas’ former spirit was probably all that held the Lich King from overrunning the world with his minions, he was beyond redemption. Something that Jaina would soon learn for herself, nearly dying at the Lich King’s hands.

If you fish long enough at the fountain in Dalaran, you will eventually fish out a coin with Jaina’s name. “Arthas, my love, please come back to me.” is engraved on it.

Theramore’s Fall and the Jaina of Today

After surviving deathwing’s near-destruction of the world, Theramore was unceremoniously leveled by a mana-bomb as an act of aggression from Garrosh Hellscream, newly-minted war-chief of the Horde.

Jaina survived the attack, but suffered deep mental scars from the destruction of her city and the death of her people and close friends – the mage Rhonin among them.

The once peace-loving mage became the enraged character we see portrayed as the Hearthstone Hero – in fact, that image is more commonly associated with Jaina right after the attack, weeping and harnessing a magical tidal wave with which to destroy the Horde Capital of Orgrimmar in retaliation – an act that was only prevented due to the interference of Kalecgos, Malygos’s successor.

The blue dragon eventually won Jaina’s hearth, and is currently her paramour, as she has come full circle, assuming the leadership of Dalaran’s Kirim Tor mages, under the mantle of Archmage, just like archmage-antonidas and rhonin before her.

The blizzard card portraits Jaina at the height of her power, and has been with her since her debut in Warcraft III, where it was the Mage’s trademark spell – then, just as today, a powerful AoE spell.

Jaina’s perspective on the Horde, however, remains unchanged after the destruction of Theramore – while she once pleaded with varian-wrynn to sue for peace, she now urges him to confront and destroy the Horde. Fortunately, the Alliance’s leader warlike disposition has since been quelled by the diplomatic work of his son Anduin Wrynn, the Priest Hero – but that is a tale for another time…

While Jaina herself would no doubt choose Freeze Mage as her deck of choice, there is a lot to be said for striking relentlessly at your opponents with Tempo Mage, or using your spells to compliment high-value allies as Mech Mage – both are approaches that the Mage Hero would certainly approve. What is your pick?