You know, fandom seems to talk about Wrathion’s past mistakes a lot, but I don’t often see anyone discuss his visits to the August Celestials during his legendary questline. Like, sure, people occasionally bring up his attitude towards Tong, but how many current players were there to experience (and still remember) the rest of that quest?
When I think of Wrathion, I think first of the whelp who literally dropped to his knees before the Red Crane of Hope, who poured out his heart about the visions he’d had – how terrified he was that the Legion was coming, about the “rivers of blood and cities in ruin” that would result if he wasn’t able to somehow, some way, stop this from happening, and about how the only thing sustaining him was the tiny sliver of hope that he might actually succeed.
This is a young dragon who foresaw something that absolutely shook him to his core, something he would do anything to try to prevent… and who felt he had almost no support, because it seemed he was the only one taking the threat seriously while everyone around him was busy fighting one another. His fear, his burden, was so great that the Red Crane himself even admitted that Wrathion needed his blessing of Hope “more than any I have ever met”.
We can, of course, debate Wrathion’s methods. It’s fairly obvious that he didn’t fully understand the lessons the Celestials were trying to teach him – at least not at the time. It’s also undeniable that he made some pretty terrible mistakes along the way. And I can certainly understand the argument that his attitude in Dragonflight is just too annoying for some people to stomach.
But the thing that always brings me back to Wrathion as Aspect is the knowledge that he actually cares about Azeroth. From the moment he was hatched – even before – he carried the burden of Earth-Warder, and he took it absolutely seriously. Neltharion took an oath, and he broke it – broke beneath it, I would argue – and Wrathion clearly believes that it’s his own responsibility to bear the immense, crushing weight that his Aspect father/grandfather, and his entire flight, proved unable to bear. All those black dragons betrayed Azeroth, tried to destroy what they were sworn to protect, and here’s Wrathion – first a whelp and now a drake, all alone, without Neltharion’s colossal size, strength, and power, without the support of a dragonflight behind him, without the support and trust of the other flights, without any true home or safe harbor, without the regard of the mortal races that he’s trying to protect – doing his best to fulfill an oath that he personally never actually took, only inherited.
Given that knowledge, I actually think Wrathion has behaved with remarkable restraint in regard to Sabellian’s sudden appearance as a rival. Has Sabellian even given us the slightest indication that he actually cares about the sacred charge of the black dragonflight? He’s certainly older, wiser, and steadier, and maybe he’s done a good job of raising his kin and keeping them safe in Outland… but does he care about Azeroth? Because he certainly hasn’t been there when it needed him… and yet he was perfectly willing to risk reappearing just in time to claim the Obsidian Throne.
I love this Wrathion analysis. It his a bunch of the easily missed points on why he did what he did at the end of MoP, and why he’s a decent candidate for the obsidian throne despite bouncing between different ways of annoying people. My other reason for putting him forward as potential the better candidate – Wrathion, as seen in Bfa, learns from his mistakes (Acknowledges Anduin’s anger as being valid, where MOP Wrathion would have been frustrated at Anduin faling to understand the rightous strategy)- Sabellian meanwhile doesn’t even seem to acknowledge that Deathwing was wrong.
I hope you don’t mind if I expand on the other elephant in the room , and what I see as why Wrathion approached it the way he did?
The Black Dragonflight genocide, and why it makes sense for him to have done even if you find ‘always chaotic evil’ and ‘we were at war’ to be pitiful justification.