Where? Valley of Bones, Desolace
I have a bone to pick with Cataclysm. It’s a punch to the rib cage with all the changes it’s making to the Old World and I’m rattling my skull trying to think of all of the weird ones I need to cover before the big patch comes and leaves me picking what’s left off the bones of these ideas. That being said, I’ve always been captivated with the large skeletons embedded in the walls of southern Desolace. I mean, there are a lot of stray bones in Azeroth, mostly of creatures you’ll never be able to figure out who or what they were. Heck, just take a trot further south to Silithus. It’s bone central! But these two skeletons are interesting because they seem to help tie an idea together that is deeply embedded in WoW lore, and kind have gotten concistently swept underneath the rug in favor of less subtle lore, like the God of Death hanging out in a Titan basement and Arthas’ not shutting the hell up about his crappy plan that is doomed to fail. So today we explore the mystery that is… The Dead Goliaths.
The Dead Goliaths, sometimes called the Twin Goliath (Not to be confused with the slightly less mysterious, more natural phenomon known as the Twin Colossus, which is further south in Feralas) have actually been a subject of some discussion. The general idea is that they were giant naga that fell in battle, either to each other or to dozens of centaur soldiers (as demonstrated by the arrows in their armor). Though it could be that the large targets proved to be useful as target practice for the Centaur and they had nothing to do with the destruction of the Dead Goliaths. But that’s the exact problem here, we know NOTHING about these things. We have nothing to go off of except for the remains. There’s no text that references them directly, in fact the only time they are mentioned in a quest is as a visual landmark, a simple sign for players to tell them “KILL TEH SKELETONS HERE GUYZ LOL!” However, they are mentioned in the Warcraft RPG books as an entry made by one Brann Bronzebeard in his explorations of Kalimdor, where he notes that they are: “bones of Old Gods.” There’s that name again – Old Gods. It seems to turn up as often as Twisting Nether only it carries much more weight because it tends to refer to a very specific thing, instead of an easy deus ex machina.
As I said before, most people have assumed that these two creatures are massive naga. While the connection between the Old Gods and the naga is well known, as well as the naga’s presence across the ocean shore of Desolace, I’m not entirely convinced that they are the same creature. My case for this stems mostly from the most overused plot device in any crime mystery: forensics. More importantly, the teeth on these things. Naga do not have fangs like these two goliaths do. They tend to have rows of sharp teeth of approximately the same size in their mouths, similar to that of a moray eel, where these creatures clearly have the teeth similar to that of a snake, with two large fangs. Not only that, but we’ve never seen a naga this big. Ever. Not even hints of one. Surely if naga grew this big, they would have used them before this point somewhere ( …Okay, there is Naj’entus. He’s pretty big. Maybe. MAYBE. But then there’s the whole teeth thing.)
However, there is another creature with teeth like that and while it’s a little smaller, it’s size does not extend beyond the possibilities of slightly larger variations. Another creature that Brann Bronzebeard had also described once as an ‘Old God.’ An ancient and powerful creature of unknown origin and unknown species. Oh come on, you must have thought of it by now. Heck I know half of you thought of it as soon as you saw the picture for these things. Hakkar! Hakkar the Soulflayer from Zul’Gurub. You can’t tell me the dead goliaths aren’t a dead ringer for the blood god. Which raises so many fun questions about Hakkar. Was he truly an Old God, or a servant of the Old Gods similar to that of the Faceless Ones or the Qiraji? If there were more than one, are there even more out there? Is that whats sitting underneath the basement of Gundrak?! So many questions! But I’m only going to discuss one today. How these two things got here.
Regardless of how they died, be it centaur, boredom or chilling in a valley having a cup of joe the moment the Sundering occurred, I want to know exactly what two giant snake people wanted in Desolace. It sure as hell wasn’t to take in the scenery. When you boil it down, there are the only 3 major features in Desolace: The Burning Legion area, the centaur area, and the satyr area. All of which are scattered with a combination of Highbourne and Titan ruins. So which of these things would two giant snake monsters want? Well, they could want to sign on with the Burning Legion. It’s a futile pointless effort, since Burning Legion is not an equal opportunity employer and they probably don’t provide dental since I don’t think any of their forces actually have teeth (Felhunters have beaks… Maybe? I don’t know) and that’s a huge downside for giant snake people.
If the giant snake people do turn out to be naga, it would give them a reason to talk to the satyr. They have similar origins, both being corrupted people. Maybe they were on their way to a weekly meeting of Corrupted Elves Anonymous. “Hi, I’m a gigantic horrible snake beast, and I’m a corrupted elf.” “Hi gigantic horrible snake beast.” While I’m not sure how canonical that is, but it does create some awesome mental images of a bunch of monsters sitting around a fire and one crying as it has a ‘moment’. The only other group is the centaur and the only thing I could possibly think that the snake people would want with the centaur is food. Seriously. There really isn’t a lot of advantages to dealing with those things. They’re a bunch of cannibalistic half-elemental fruit loops that have nothing better to do than to run around and fight anything they run into, even each other. Is there anything to be gained here for a giant snake monster? I mean, besides a quick snack. By which I mean eat them. Hey, it would explain why they would shoot arrows at you at least.
4 thoughts on “Go Goliaths! Go Go Goliaths!”
Interesting! I never noticed those skeletons before!
They’re easy to miss. If you skip the one quest that sends you into that valley, you’d never see them. 😀
Best guess: servants of the Old Gods. Big evil thing = old god related, big good thing = titan related as a general rule.
The tritons that each hold is a bit reminiscent of Naga, but as you point out, Naga don’t get *that* big. They’re corrupted Elves after all, they’re not giants! Maybe something else nautical? Corrupted sea giants?
However, wouldn’t it be nice if they were not related to any of the standard Old God/Titan/Demon tropes and were some kind of unique creatures with their own story? Maybe these guys are all that is left of some ancient race that evolved naturally millenia ago?
Brann Bronzebeard had a tendency to use the word ‘old god’ a lot even when it wasn’t clearly connected with the ‘Old Gods’. So I don’t know. Personally, I’d love to find out that there was an entire race of powerful snake creatures like Hakkar that were wiped out ages ago. Maybe during the Troll/Aqir wars (Since trolls worshipped giant snakes, like Hakkar or Ula-Tek).