Well that was quick! Here's the beginning of the quest line to help Mograine create Shadowmourne! It appears that he reforges the base axe by combining Arthas's old paladin hammer, Light's Vengeance, with some super-saronite. Then, it seems clear that parts of Frostmourne are used to complete the weapon. This points pretty strongly to Frostmourne being broken; perhaps we discover in the Halls of Reflection that this is the key to defeating the Lich King. My theory was fun while it lasted, but clearly things are going in another direction. Sadly, sources are pointing to some seriously bad stuff going down in the HoR. Doesn't look good for poor Jaina or Sylvanas. Do they really have to kill (or reduce to "damsel in distress" status) the only famous women in Azeroth? Please be more original than that.
As we all know, I love making predictions. Even though I'm wrong more often than right, I find speculation about the future to be a great joy. Trying to predict it is a riveting puzzle to me. I'm the kind of person who nerds out hardcore for shows like Lost.
So naturally I locked onto yesterday's information about the upcoming Icecrown 5-man dungeons like a Democratic Senator locks onto failure. That is to say, hard.
You can read the dungeon reveal in full here. The part I'm most interest in is:
Halls of ReflectionSo we'll be following Jaina and Sylvanas into the room where Frostmourne is. Before I get into that, let me remind you of a few other things we know from Blizzcon:
With Jaina and Sylvanas leading the way, adventurers who make it as far as these frigid halls will quickly recognize the weapon that lies ahead: Frostmourne, the corruptive, legendary device of the Lich King himself. The Lich King's private chambers are within reach, although they may be the death of anyone who ventures there.
Boss: The Lich King: Sylvanas, thirsty for vengeance against the corrupted prince who sentenced her to an existence as an undead monstrosity, and Jaina, eager to find a flicker of Arthas's soul locked somewhere within the Lich King, have brought their hand-picked allies to this final confrontation. Arthas's true power may only now be discovered. Is there any hope in this mission, or does only death await?
- Arthas will not drop Frostmourne in the Icecrown raid. He instead drops an Axe, heretofore unknown, called Shadowmourne.
- Blizzard has "very special plans for Frostmourne".
- Jaina Proudmoore was not mentioned at all in the lore spoilers revealed for Cataclysm.
- Sylvanas is mentioned in Cataclysm as leading a Forsaken assault on Gilneas, which serves as the basis for the new Battleground.
- He never goes anywhere without Frostmourne. It's one of the key fonts of his power.
- He keeps letting us live because he's got "plans for us".
- He needs a "win". He hasn't done any major damage to us since the Wrath Gate, and he needs something to establish him as a more threatening enemy, and not some comedically mustache-twisting cartoon villain.
- Arthas used to love Jaina. The original Arthas is mostly or completely gone, and even his heart has been destroyed. But perhaps the Lich King still has some remnants of feelings for her.
All of the above, taken together, leads me to believe that, at the end of the Halls of Reflection dungeon, Jaina takes up Frostmourne (for noble reasons, of course). She most likely presumes to use it as a weapon against him in a desperate moment, but it is in fact all part of his plan to corrupt her over to his side. I think it's the Blizzard writers' intent to continue the legacy of the Lich King after Arthas is killed at the end of this expansion, and I think the way to do that is to start Jaina on a path of being corrupted by Frostmourne (where Ner'zhul's spirit desperately survives), and eventually to becoming the Lich Queen, even after the King is dead. His plan is to bring her to stand at his side, but in the end she actually becomes his successor.
But what of Arthas in Icecrown? If Frostmourne is so powerful, how could he risk giving it up when his enemies crowd his doorstep? Simple: he's forged a mothertrucking UPGRADE.
The first two wings of the dungeon are the Forge of Souls, which gathers and forges souls for some unknown purpose, and the Halls of Saron, which is the core of Arthas's saronite mining operation.
Now why would they have us go through a forge and then a mine before assaulting the very location where Frostmourne is stored?
To give us some context for Shadowmourne. The soulforge was already used to empower a rune axe constructed from the mined saronite.
So that's my prediction: that we'll see Jaina take up Frostmourne while Arthas wields Shadowmourne. After we kill Arthas, Jaina will continue to be subtly corrupted by Frostmourne before emerging as the Lich Queen.
I can't wait to see just how completely off the mark I am! But at least I had fun speculating.