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How Are Death Knights Created? – World of Warcraft Lore

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What is the creation process behind death knights in WoW lore?
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Death Knights are one of the most iconic classes of World of Warcraft. From Warcraft 3 and the story of Arthas up to Battle for Azeroth and the involvement of Bolvar.

In this video, I focus on their actual history and the actual creation. Talking about first generation ones such as Teron Gorefiend as well as second generation ones such as Arthas Menethil. Then I go over the third generation ones created by the Lich King Arthas in WotLK.

I talk about their resurrection, vetting process, freedom and consequences left upon them. Covering specific death knights such as Thassarian, Koltira Deathweaver, Darion Mograine and Sir Zeliek.

All of the footage used in the video is copyrighted by Blizzard Entertainment unless stated otherwise.

Hello, guys, this is Doronsmovies and today
I will be talking about the Death Knights and how they are created. Focusing on the actual creation process both
in body and spirit. So without further ado, let's get into
the lore. The first ever death knights were quite different
than what we know them as today. During the orcish invasion and the attack
on the kingdom of Stormwind in order to replenish the numbers, Gul'Dan had formed the first
ever order of death knights. Utilizing corpses of slain humans knights
he instilled the essence of the warlocks of the shadow council, turning them into powerful
undead spellcasters. They were in turn put to use as very valuable
soldiers of the Horde with the most notable one being Teron Gorefiend. However unlike the modern death knights, these
were not elite warriors, instead, they were generally physically weak necromancers with
extraordinary intellect inside the body of a knight. So instead of fighting themselves, they favoured
to reanimate their enemies and turn them into mindless undead minions. Almost all of these first generation death
knights were destroyed during the First and the second war or were transformed into Liches
by Kil'Jaeden later on. So how were the death knights we know of today
first created? As the Lich King gained more and more influence
in Northrend he needed vessels that would spread his authority. In turn, he opted for new undead creations
that would serve as Scourge's mightiest generals. The son of Terenas Menethil the king of Lordaeron,
prince Arthas a budding paladin was a perfect target. By manipulating his arrogance and dedication
to his people Ner'Zhul had lured him to Northrend, corrupted his soul with the rune blade Frostmourne
and then turned him into his greatest servant. Following that Arthas would do everything
the Lich King commanded ultimately reaching the Frozen Throne, breaking it and merging
with Ner'Zhul. Arthas was the first of these second generation
of death knights, but he wasn't the only one as many paladins would also be turned into
these dark creations, some willingly and some by force. Now as Arthas took control of the Frozen Throne,
he would create his own champions, the third generation. These death knights were different than the
previous ones, they weren't strictly warlocks or paladins but instead, the Lich King would
pick the strongest warriors of any class and would put them through a strict vetting process. First, when raised they would be examined
to see if they retained emotion, fear or memories and then these unworthy initiates would be
fed alive to ghouls or executed. This seems to depend on whether they wake
up before it is time or not during their development. Once passing this they would go through quite
a dark process. Death knights are inflicted with an addiction
known as the eternal or endless hunger and would feel immense pain if they are not inflicting
suffering and death, essentially very potent sadism. This mechanism works to serve the Lich King
and his mission to defeat the living. After sating this initial hunger they would
duel other death knights to test their strength and are given a powerful rune blade. In most cases, death knights are very similar
to their former selves, aside from pale skin and eye colour. However, that isn't always the case as sometimes
they may resemble forsaken more as in undeath progression or even skeletons as was the case
with a few death knights in the past. Much like the other undead they are capable
of sleeping which is not really necessary and is actually forbidden by the Scourge,
with the case of death knights being executed because of it. In terms of food they are known to eat primarily
humanoid meat, vermin and insects. Despite being the elite warriors of the Lich
King only the select few champions are actually treated with a lot of privilege as there were
cases of the death knights being executed for very minor reasons, turned into feral
ghouls or even stitched into abominations. Generally, the death knights that do very
well are those that are determined and full of vengeance, an example being Darion Mograine
one of the most influential and powerful death knights that fell in the battle against the
Scourge. Eventually, the majority would split apart
from the Lich King and would regain their free will, although their mind would still
be affected. Unlike many other undead with a lot of brain
damage or that just had their bodies destroyed or replaced, generally, the death knights
would be able to mostly act in the same manner as they did before death and on occasion even
feel positive emotions. For example, Thassarian saved his own sister
as a death knight and shared a close friendship with Koltira Deathweaver. On the other hand, there are death knights
that almost completely turned dark. One extreme example of positive emotions was
Sir Zeliek that was incorruptible and even though his body was forced to obey the Scourge
he had managed to retain his sanity in undeath meaning that he was forced to slay against
his own will. He would ask for forgiveness when doing the
bidding of the Lich King and was ultimately defeated in Naxrammas. Death Knights are one of the most elite units
of the Scourge and one of them actually turned into a Lich King. Even though they are not as prominent now
with Bolvar as they were in the past, they are still one of the most interesting entities
in the Warcraft universe. Tragic characters, but powerful. Thank you for watching. Be sure to check out how ghouls are created
and also check out the second channel Doron's Academy as the link is in the description. See you next time!