Arthas Menethil
Paladin, Death Knight, Lich King- and all around badass.
Vital statistics
Title The Lich King
Origin Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos
Voice Actors Justin Gross (Warcraft III)

Patrick Seitz (World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King)

Activities Leading the Swarm as the Lich King
Weapons and Powers Frostmourne, Necromancer powers, Death Knight powers, Paladin powers.
The Light is my strength.
— Arthas (Paladin)
I was a fool to trust in the Light. The Lich King has given me true power.
— Arthas (Death Knight)

Arthas Menethil, also known as the Lich King, is one of the most important characters in the entire Warcraft franchise. He was the central character of two campaigns in Warcraft III and was one of the three main protagonists of its expansion pack, the Frozen Throne. He is also the central antagonist of the World of Warcraft expansion pack, Wrath of the Lich King. Arthas was once a heroic paladin, but when he discovered Frostmourne, he became a cruel force for destruction.


Warcraft III: The Scourge of LordaeronEdit

Now, I call out to the spirits of this place! I will give anything or pay any cost if only you will help me save my people.
— Arthas frees Frostmourne.

Arthas Menethil, during his time as a Paladin.

Arthas Menethil was the son of King Terenas and thus the Prince of Lordaeron, but in addition to this, Arthas was a proud member of the Silver Hand order of paladins. While the lords and wizards of Lordaeron argued about the potential danger of a rising plague and a coming prophecy, King Terenas sent his son to engage the Orc Horde that threatened the town of Strahnbrad, where he met with his old friend and fellow paladin, Uther the Lightbringer. Uther and Arthas exchanged joking banter, before Arthas set out to prepare the defenses of Strahnbrad while Uther began the attack on the main Orc forces. When Arthas arrived at strahnbrad, however, the city was already under siege and the orcs were taking prisoners as slaves. Arthas' counter attack was swift, and he killed nearly all of the orcs within the city, alongside their leader, but he was unable to rescue all of the villagers before they were taken. Arthas and his knights rode out to reunite with Uther, and together they launched an attack on the Orc base. Along the way, Arthas aided the Dwarfs in killing the dragon Searinox, and in payment the leader of these dwarves, Feranor Steeltoe, forged him a special stone from Searinox's heart which allowed him to deal additional flame-based damage with his mighty hammer. Finally catching up with the Orc Blademaster in charge of the clan, Arthas witnessed his claim that the Orcs needed the slaves as a human sacrifice, and his prompt murder of them- claiming that the Demons were returning, and that they needed to appease their old masters. Together with Uther, Arthas struck down the Blademaster.

Shortly afterwards, he was sent to escort his childhood friend Jaina Proudmoore, a powerful mage and agent of the Kirin Tor. He was also joined by the Alliance Captain who would become his right-hand man through the war, Falric. They sought to investigate the reports of a plague in Lordaeron, and after a brief period of time they discovered an army of skeleton warriors fighting the local guard on blighted land. Arthas and Jaina quickly aided the men in battle, and rallied them to find the source of the infection. After fighting through more undead warriors, Arthas and Jania found that the granary itself was infected. With infected grain traveling throughout Loraeron, it was impossible to predict where the undead infection may arise- though Arthas quickly burned down the granary to prevent it from doing any more local damage. As they continued down the road, the team encountered the Necromancer Kel'Thuzad, who was furthering the infection. They swiftly gave chase, and hunted him all the way to Andorhal, where Arthas fought with the Necromancer. Kel'Thuzad had already infected the grain of Andorhal, and it was too late to prevent the infection from being shipped across Lordaeron. Kel'Thuzad also spoke of the demon Mal'Ganis, who was in charge of this scourge, shortly before Arthas struck him down. With Jaina, Arthas set out to confront Mal'Ganis at Stratholme.

On their journey to Stratholme, Arthas and Jaina decided to rest at Hearthglen Village, but they were only greeted by the warnings of an incoming undead army. Arthas sent Jaina to find Uther and bring him to them, as they could use his aid, while Menethil himself stayed behind to defend the village. At first things went well for the Paladin, but he soon realized that the infection was far worse than merely capable of killing the people- it raised them back from the grave to fight as soldiers in the undead army. Vastly outnumbered, and barely able to hold out, Arthas, Falric and his men were barely able to survive the battle by the timely intervention of Uther and his reinforcements. As the group advanced to Stratholme once more, the prophet Medivh attempted to warn Arthas in the same manor he had warned his father and the orc warchief Thrall- that the Demons were returning and that Arthas needed to travel west, to Kalimdor, but the prince paid no heed to the old prophet's words and carried on his way, claiming that his place was by the side of his people.

When they arrived at Stratholme, Arthas was horrified to discover that the infected grain had already been distributed to the people of the city. Arthas decided there was only one solution- to prevent Stratholme from falling to the undead and infecting even more people, he ordered that Uther and his forces burn the city to the ground and murder the people of the village to contain the infection. Uther, disgusted by the order, abandoned along with Jaina and a number of Arthas' knights- an act which caused the prince to disband the Silver Hand and accuse Uther of treason. He saw to the Culling of Stratholme personally, during which the Dreadlord Mal'Ganis appeared in the flesh to claim the souls of the villagers. Arthas quickly worked to slay the villagers to prevent him from taking their souls, and demanded a fight with Mal'Ganis. The Dreadlord escaped, and vowed that they would meet again in the frozen northern nation of Northrend. Defeated and unable to stop the plague, Arthas set fire to Stratholme- a flame that would burn for decades.

320px-Arthas claims frostmourne

Arthas claims Frostmourne as his own.

After a month of pursuing Mal'Ganis, Arthas, Falric and his men arrived at Northrend where they came under fire before the Dwarf forces recognized him as the Prince of Lordaeron. The leader of the dwarves reveals himself as Arthas' old friend, Muradin Bronzebeard. Bronzebeard believed that Arthas was leading an expedition to rescue his men, who were under siege by the undead- while Arthas admitted this was not the case, he still joined forces with his one-time mentor to overcome the undead together. Bronzebeard revealed that they had come to Northrend to find an ancient runic blade, Frostmourne. While Muradin and Arthas planned to stop Mal'Ganis, an Alliance Zeppelin arrived, informing Arthas that King Terenas and Uther was issuing the order for his return to Lordaeron, causing Arthas' men to abandon their posts. Enraged, Arthas assembled a group of local mercenaries and quickly made their way to the boats before his men could. The rest of the army arrived just in time to see the mercenaries burning down the boats. Taking advantage of the situation, Arthas claimed that the monsters were solely responsible, and lead his men to slaughter them. Despite this action disgusting Muradin, Arthas claimed that the only way they could go home is if they killed Mal'Ganis first. The final battle with Mal'Ganis immanent, Arthas set out with Muradin and a band of allies, leaving Falric in charge of the camp, so he could claim Frostmourne. Using an ancient waygate, the team discovered the blade's resting place, where they were attacked by The Guardian, who sought to prevent Arthas from taking the blade for his own protection. Arthas and Muradin cut down the Guardian, but when the inscription made it clear that the blade was cursed, Muradin begged Arthas to simply give up on his mad hunt and take his men back to Lordaeron. Menethil ignored Muradin's pleas and shattered the icy prison that Frostmourne was contained within, claiming that he would give anything to protect his people. A shard of ice flew from the prison and impaled Bronzebeard, but the sword called out to the young prince, causing him to take Frostmourne and leave his friend for dead.

Arthas returned to confront Mal'Ganis' forces with Frostmourne in hand, an advantage which allowed him to easily overpower his undead foes. Confronting Mal'Ganis personally, the Dreadlord tried to tell him that the voice that came from the sword was the ancient being called the Lich King, but Arthas revealed that the voice was commanding him to kill Mal'Gains, much to the Dreadlord's surprise. Arthas slew the demon, and fled into the northern snow, leaving his men to fend for themselves. He lost the rest of his sanity here, and returned to Lordaeron months later. The people cheered and celebrated for the return of their prince and hero, but Arthas simply marched into the palace. Falric subdued King Terenas' guards while Menethil turned Frostmourne on his father, stabbing him through the stomach, claiming that he would burn Lordaeron to the ground so that a new order could rise from the ashes.

Warcraft III: Path of the DamnedEdit


Arthas as a Death Knight.

With the death of his father leading to the people of Lordaeron rising up in rage against Arthas, the former Prince is forced to retreat to the countryside outside the city. Tichondrius, a Dreadlord, arrives and while Arthas first believes him to be Mal'Ganis and prepares to attack him, Tichondrius explains that he has delivered Lordaeron to The Scourge for The Lich King, and that the Runeblade Frostmourne has stolen his soul. Using his Necromancer powers, Arthas raised his once-dead horse, Invincible, and transformed from Paladin to Death Knight. Tichondrius tells him that the Lich King's will is to see the Necromancers of The Cult of the Damned rallied, and Arthas sets out at once, raising the recently deceased to serve him as soldiers and fight off the Alliance guards that tried to stop him. With Lordaeron finally left a smoking shell of it's former self and the Cult assembled, Arthas is told that he must recover the remains of the Cult's leader, Kel'Thuzad, back in Andorhal.

Arriving in Andorhal, Arthas is greeted by the Cultists who provide him with several Meat Wagons that he may preserve and transport Kel'Thuzad's body. When Arthas asks why he can't simply use his powers to bring the leader back to life on the spot like he has for so many, they explain that his resurrection would require a powerful Nexus of Magic. As the Scourge forces made their way to Kel'Thuzad's grave, they encountered resistance from local Alliance forces and Paladins of the Silver Hand, who were camped nearby. The Paladin Gavinrad the Dire arrived and begged for Arthas to stop his madness, but was killed for his troubles, alongside his Paladin brother Sage Truthbearer and Ballador the Bright. With the Paladins dead, nothing was left to stand in Arthas' way as he claimed the fallen Necromancer's remains, loading them into the Meat Wagon, but Tichondrius arrived and warned Arthas that the body would need to be revived at Quel'Thalas, city of the Blood Elves, and that the current state of the body would not allow it to survive the journey, and they would need to recover a special chalice from the nearby Silver Hand in order to preserve them.

At the Silver Hand Camp, Arthas was confronted by his former mentor, Uther. Uther was horrified that Menethil had betrayed him and killed his father, and was enraged at Arthas' arrival. When Arthas demanded the Urn Uther was guarding, his mentor was disgusting, shouting that the Urn held the ashes of the fallen King, but Arthas was unfazed and the two clashed. Uther was a powerful foe, and their battle was long and dangerous, but in the end Arthas overpowered Uther and ran him through with Frostmourne, leaving him to die as he took the Urn for himself. As Menethil left, Uther shouted that he hoped there was a special place in Hell waiting for Arthas, amusing the Death Knight who claimed that he intended to live forever, dumping the remains of his father unceremoniously into the dirt below before leaving. Tichondrius arrived to congratulate Arthas for his progress and point him in the direction of Quel'Thalas. Alongside him, Kel'Thuzad's ghost appeared, though only Arthas could see and hear him. Kel'Thuzad revealed that Tichondrius was conning Arthas, and that the Dreadlords were actually The Lich King's jailers, but that he couldn't reveal everything until Arthas revived him at the Blood Elves' Sunwell.

Arthas vs. Sylvanas

Arthas and Sylvanas face off outside Quel'Thalas.

At Quel'Thalas, the Blood Elves arrogantly claimed that a "Fallen Prince" would have no hope of breaching the walls of their cities, claiming that the very trees were enchanted to protect them, as well as their powerful Elfgates. Arthas was unfazed, and rolled out a legion of Meat Wagons used as long range siege weaponry to tear down the trees and clear out the Elves' defenses. Leading his Undead Army to lay waste to the outside defenders, Arthas killed any Elf who dared try to fight them, destroying towns and corrupting resources along the way. After felling their first town, they were attacked by the high ranking Blood Elf Sylvanas Windrunner, who threatened Menethil. Arthas was unfazed and the two fought, alongside Sylvanas' numerous elite, specially trained archers. Sylvanas was quick and crafty, but when the battle appeared to be going Menethil's way, she called for a tactical retreat and escaped.

Building an even bigger Undead army to overcome the first Elfgate, Arthas establishes a base on top of the ruins of the fallen town. When he was finally satisfied by the size of siege army, they began to move out, where they were confronted by Sylvanas and her Ranger Corps again, who continued with their hit and run tactics. Likewise, the animals of the forest began to attack the Undead, forcing Arthas to order their deaths just like the Elves. In the end, Arthas was able to destroy the outer Elfgate. Sylvanas admitted defeat at the gate and fell back to the second Inner Elfgate, where she was confident Arthas would meet his end.

Discovering that this inner gate within Silvermoon could only be opened with the special Key of the Three Moons, which Sylvanas took and ran off with. Arthas, while furious, knew that the Elves were only delaying the inevitable, and sent his troops to wipe out another nearby town of unarmed civilians. To combat the Elves air forces, Arthas used the dangerous Crypt Fiends, special units that used webbing to pull the Dragonhawk Riders to the ground to be destroyed by the other undead units. Recruiting Zeppelins from the local Goblin merchants, Arthas and his troops ferried over the river recovering parts of the Key from the towns they destroyed along the way. Despite Sylvanas and her Rangers best efforts, the Elves were unable to stop the Undead and Arthas from claiming the Key of the Three Moons, allowing the Undead to advance on the Second Elfgate, where they easily slaughtered the defenders while the Death Knight used the Key to blast through. Sylvanas, clearly desperate, ordered a retreat to the outskirts of the city, to Arthas' chagrin.

As the Scourge established a base, word reached Arthas that Sylvanas would be sending runners to alert Silvermoon to bring reinforcements to challenge the undead horde. Acting quickly, Menethil was able to move Gargoyles into defensive positions and slay each Runner, preventing the Reinforcements from ever being assembled. The Scourge attacked the weary forces of Sylvanas once again, and quickly gained the upper hand, slaying and reviving the Elves in droves. Attacking Sylvanas' base personally, Arthas approached the Elf General, attacking her before she could even load her bow. Defeating her, Arthas decided not to simply kill her- instead he would torture her out of pure spite before using his Necromancy to transform her into a Banshee, binding her to the Lich King's will. Launching a final attack on Silvermoon, Arthas' forces were able to tear through all the final defenses and surprise and wipe out the armies of the Blood Elves, reaching and corrupting the Sunwell, bringing back Kel'Thuzad as a powerful Lich. With Silvermoon fallen and the Sunwell defiled, Quel'Thalas ceased to exist as a nation. While Arthas ordered the defender remnants hunted down and murdered by The Scourge, though a few lead by Kael'Thalas were able to escape.

Arthas and the lich Kel'Thuzad walked and talked together along the ruins of Silvermoon. The Lich revealed that he had known all along how their first encounter was going to end and that Arthas had long been chosen to be the King's Champion, as the Lich King had told him in advance, much to Arthas' surprise. Menethil demanded to know how the Dreadlords were able to keep the power of the Lich King imprisoned. Kel'Thuzad explained that the Dreadlords are servants to the powerful force that created the Lich King to begin with- the Burning Legion, a vast demonic army that had destroyed countless worlds before Azaroth, and that all that had transpired thus far was only paving the way for the Legion to invade. Kel'Thuzad revealed that he needed to access a Demon Gate to communicate with the Demon Lord Archimonde, and that the nearest Gate was guarded by the Blackrock Orc Clan. The warlocks and clan leaders believe that the Blackrock Orcs were the true servants of the Legion and that the Undead were impure and only sent to test them. Kel'Thuzad coldly informed the Orcs that they had no respect from the Legion as they failed to conquer Azaroth long ago, before Arthas mercilessly slaughtered them and their leader Jubei'Thos. With the Orcs slaughtered, Kel'Thuzad and Arthas could finally make contact with Archimonde, who informed them that they needed to steal the Book of Medivh from the Violet Citadel of Dalaran. At twilight, three days from now, they were to summon Archimonde into the world of Azeroth.

Riding to Dalaran, Arthas prepares to lay siege to the City, but the leader of Kirin Tor, Antonidas, appeared before Arthas. When Arthas demanded passage, the mage snidely asked the Prince how his father was doing, and claimed that a siege against Dalaran would be fruitless- mages were generating a magic force field that would destroy any undead passing through it. Kel'Thuzad was able to detect these mages, and Arthas hunted down and killed all three of them, ending the magical barricade. As the Scourge laid siege to Dalaran, Arthas confronted Antonidas, who painfully told Arthas that simply looking at what the Prince had become filled him with sorrow. Offering to ease his pain, Arthas ran him through with Frostmourne before destroying the Kirin Tor base, stealing the Book of Medivh for the Scourge from within. Returning to their base, Arthas, Kel'Thuzad and Tichondrius began to ceremony to summon Archimonde to the world. Kel'Thuzad began the ritual while Tichondrius returned, leaving Arthas in charge of defending the camp until the summoning could be completed. The Dalaran forces and a massive army of Alliance allies from across Azeroth assembled, desperate to stop Arthas and Kel'Thuzad, but Arthas' careful planning and strategies kept them at bay. As the ritual continued, the barriers between Azeroth and the Twisting Nether weakened, allowing the Burning Legion to send their demonic Felhounds and Infernals to assist the undead. The forces of the Scourge and the Legion held the wizards and their knights at bay long enough for Kel'Thuzad to finish the Summoning, bringing Archimonde himself to the world. The Wizards and Knights remaining, horrified by the appearance of The Defiler, immediately retreated.

Archimonde congratulated Kel'Thuzad on a job well done. Tichondrius appeared again and welcomed his master. Archimonde's first act was to relieve the Lich King of command and turn the Scourge over to the Dreadlords. Tichondrius was quite pleased by this order. Archimonde declared that before he launched the Legion's invasion, he would make an example of the wizards by obliterating the city of Dalaran. The demons then headed off, leaving Arthas and Kel'Thuzad behind. While Arthas was enraged, demanding to know what now would become of them, Kel'Thuzad informed him that the Lich King had plans for Arthas yet, and that they were far from finished.

Warcraft III: The Frozen ThroneEdit

— Arthas and the Lich King become one.

With Archimonde dead at the hands of the combined forces of The Orc Horde, the Human Alliance and the Night Elves, Arthas was able to take advantage of the vacuum of power the demon left by returning to the Scourge, claiming it as his own and taking the mantle of King. The Dreadlords left to guard Lordaeron and command The Scourge, much to Sylvanas (now known as The Banshee Queen) and Kel'Thuzad's chagrin, were quickly dismissed by Menethil, who immediately turned his attention towards the local humans whom Arthas decides to slaughter in order to usher in his new kingdom. During this purge, Arthas is momentarily crippled with seering pain as the voice of the Lich King calls out, claiming that it's time is running out. Recovering quickly, Arthas turns his attention to murdering the three Paladins commanding the human resistance in Lordaeron- Halahk the Lifebringer, Magroth the Defender and Dagren the Orcslayer.

In secret, Sylvanas met with the Dreadlords to begin a conspiracy to wrest control of the Undead from Arthas' hands. As his seizures worsened, the Lich King revealed to Arthas that all would be lost if he couldn't reach Northrend in time. The ever loyal Kel'Thuzad quickly prepared a fleet of ships to ferry his King to the frozen North, but just as he made his way out of Lordaeron, the Dreadlords made their strike. In his weakened state, Arthas was unable to command the majority of the Scourge forces, allowing his demonic foes to take his own troops out from under him. Acting quickly, Kel'Thuzad defended the weakened Arthas, telling him to flee as their numbers were too great and Lordaeron could be retaken later once his powers were restored. As Arthas made his escape, he was able to discover a surprisingly large number of still loyal troops to help defend him and ensure his safe travel. Bloodfeast, a unique and extremely powerful Abomination, cornered Arthas at the end of his escape, but the flight had restored him enough that Menethil was able to slay the massive creature, rendezvousing with a group of Banshees who claimed their Queen had sent them to escort him to safety. Unbeknownst to Arthas however, this is a trap laid by Sylvanas, who quickly paralyses the King with a special arrow, leaving him vulnerable. Windrunner intended to take the time to slowly torture Arthas to death in retribution for her own torturous transformation, but before she could begin, Kel'Thuzad arrived with a horde of Skeleton Magi, forcing the Banshees back and rescuing Menethil. With Lordaeron retaken in the flight and Sylvanas in retreat, Arthas is able to board his fleet destined for Northrend- leaving the Lich in charge of his lands beforehand, as Arthas was humbled by Kel'Thuzad's undying loyalty to him. Meanwhile, Sylvanas began assembling her own army of Undead, effectively splitting the Scourge down two diverging factions, naming her force "The Forsaken".


Arthas and Illidan duel at the Icecrown.

Arriving in Northrend to save the Lich King from whatever is wounding it, Arthas discovers that he is not the first faction to arrive on the frozen continent, being beaten by Illidan's forces. Discovering that Stormrage's plans were to destroy the Frozen Throne and end the Lich King under the orders of the demon Kil'Jaeden, Menethil was left no choice but to begin open war against any of Illidan's Naga and Blood Elves he encountered. To reinforce his servant's forces, the Lich King sends Arthas a powerful Crypt Lord, Anub'arak. The Crypt Lord helps Arthas establish a base and fend off Illidan's forces under the command of the Naga Lady Vashj, before revealing a shortcut to reach the Lich King's Icecrown through the underground kingdom of Azjol-Nerub. Azjol-Nerub was once home of the Nerubians, the race that the Lich King had personally wiped out and transformed into the Crypt Fiends, and Anub'arak was once a mighty leader of theirs, before his fall- now the halls of Azjol-Nerub were left mostly empty. Along the way, Arthas killed and resurrected a creature who would be instrumental to his later campaigns- Sapphiron, a massive Frost Wyrm. Traveling through Azjol-Nerub, Arthas and Anub'arak were surprised by the amount of resistance they faced- including the few remnants of the Nerubians who raged at the sight of their "traitor king" and Baelgun Flamebeard, a dwarf warrior leading a pack of warriors who were left there after the death of King Muradin. Arthas and his undead forces quickly cut through their foes and entered the inner sanctums, where they encountered The Forgotten One- an actual Old God who provided an incredible challenge to overcome. With the Old God and its followers dead, Arthas and Anub'arak were able to exit the underground civilization and reach the Icecrown.

Arthas becomes the Lich King

The Lich King takes his throne.

Finding that Illidan and the forces of Kil'Jaeden were already assembled for battle, Arthas ushered all of his might and forces and clashed one final time at the foot of the Icecrown to stop the Night Elf from reaching and destroying his master. His forces put up a pitched battle, but Illidan was unable to stop Arthas from overwhelming and routing his Naga and Blood Elf forces, allowing Menethil to begin his climb to reach the Frozen Throne of the Lich King. Desperate to stop Arthas, Illidan attacked him alone and the two dueled in single combat. Stormrage's speed and skill allowed him to match Arthas' raw power for a time, but even Illidan was unable to stand against Menethil for long, and the Death Knight brutally slashed him across the torso with Frostmourne, leaving him for dead at the base of the Icecrown. With total victory for the Scourge inevitable, Illidan could only watch as Arthas climbed the Icecrown. As he climbed, Arthas was overwhelmed by the memories of all the betrayals and murders he had to commit in the Lich King's name- the murder of his father, Uther, Muradin and countless soldiers and mercenaries. At last reaching the Frozen Throne, Arthas was meet with the visage of the Lich King's frozen helmet, calling for freedom. Raising Frostmourne high, Menethil shattered the Throne, taking his master's helmet from it's remnants. Placing the helmet upon his head, Arthas and the Lich King became a single entity- simply known as The Lich King, beginning a new reign over the Scourge from atop the Icecrown in Northrend.

World of Warcraft: The Wrath of the Lich KingEdit

You speak of justice? Of cowardice? I will show you the justice of the grave, and the true meaning of fear!
— The Lich King
Arthas Cinematic

The Lich King awakens.

After the battle for The Frozen Throne, the Lich King entered a many year slumber, during which the world of Azeroth was greatly changed. The Horde, barely a shadow of it's former self when he was still known as Arthas, had become a major force under the leadership of Thrall, and among their numbers were the Undead faction known as The Forsaken, lead by Sylvanas from Lordaeron. Likewise, the Blood Elves, forever weakened by the damage Arthas had dealt to them, had pledged allegiance to the Horde, while their former leader Illidan Stormrage had met his death. Upon his reawakening, the Lich King removed his heart in belief that anything that made him mortal made him weak, before turning his attention to the mainland and the bickering factions there. Utilizing a tactic first used effectively against his own forces during the first Scourge War, the Lich King ordered infected shipments of grain sent to Azeroth in massive numbers, infecting people in droves and driving all the major capitals on the mainland into chaos, kickstarting a second Scourge War. Outraged by his attack, Thrall met with the Alliance's acting leader and King of the human city of Stormwind, Varian Wrynn, and began preparations of a siege on Northrend to confront and defeat the Lich King once and for all.

As they planned, the Lich King finally crossed the line by launching massive simultaneous sieges of Orgrimmar and Stormwind, with numerous undead Frost Wyrms and multiple powerful Abominations. While the forces of the Horde and Alliance were able to defend their respective cities- the factions leadership decided that the time for planning was past, and that they would have to bring the battle to the Lich King's doorsteps at the Icecrown itself. Secretly, however, this was all part of the Lich King's plans, as he intended to bait numerous powerful heroes to Northrend to corrupt them and transform them into his Death Knights in a reflection of his own journey as Arthas. As the forces of the Alliance and Horde sailed on towards his home, the Lich King commanded a force to wipe out the anti-Scourge movement in the Plaugelands that were once his home Lordaeron, known as the Scarlet Crusade. The campaign was successful, but the remnants of the Crusade quickly reformed under the name The Scarlet Onslaught- under the leadership of a disguised Mal'Ganis, a presence that the Lich King could feel, but was unable to afford the time to investigate further with the immanent war on his doorsteps.

Empowered by the defeat of the Crusade, the Scourge pushed forward against the Argent Dawn forces, who were only able to stand against the undead thanks to the arrival of Tyrion Fordring. The Lich King took the field in Azeroth himself when the spirit of Alexandros Mograine, one of the deceased leaders of the Silver Hand, appeared. Sealing the spirit away, the Lich King was attacked by Alexandros' son, Darion Mograine, one of his own Death Knights, though Darion was easily defeated without effort by Arthas. The Argent Dawn's leader, Maxwell Tyrosus, ordered an all out attack on the Lich King, but the former Menethil defeated all that stood against him without pause. Betrayed by the Lich King, Darion throws Tyrion his blade- a corrupted version of the Silver Hand's legendary undead slaying blade, Ashbringer, allowing Fordring to purify it. With his purified blade and his presence on holy ground, Tyrion is able to strike a deadly blow to the Lich King, forcing the fallen king to retreat, claiming that the next time he and Fordring crossed blades, it would not be on holy ground.

Arthas at the Wrathgate

The Lich King confronts the combined Alliance-Horde army alone at the Wrathgate.

Meanwhile, in Northrend, the Alliance and Horde forces struck a temporary alliance to defeat their foes at the Wrathgate. Confident in their skills, the Alliance forces lead by Bolvar Fordragon and reinforced by the Horde lead by Saurfang the Younger launched an attack on the Wrathgate itself. Quickly cutting through the defenders, the combined forces took control of the outside of the gate, taunting the Lich King in the process. Rather than sending his forces to deal with them, the Lich King arrived personally to fight them, quickly killing Saurfang in a single blow. Before the King could strike down Fordragon however, the Scourge betrayed the Horde- launching crates of Plague into the battle below, devastating the combatants and forcing the Lich King to re-enter the Wrathgate, killing nearly all the living trapped in the fighting, including Fordragon himself. This betrayal lead to the Orcs occupying the Forsaken's Undercity, and the breaking of the Horde and Alliance's cold war, leading to open conflict between the two forces for the first time in seven years. Discovering that the Lich King had left his runeblade Frostmourne unattended in the Halls of Reflection, Jaina Proudmoore and Sylvanas Windrunner lead separate campaigns to reach it and communicate with the spirits trapped within the blade. They were met by the spirit of Uther the Lightbringer, who told them that anything left of Arthas was only a fading piece of the Lich King's mind, and that the only way he could be destroyed is to defeat him at the place he was "born" when Arthas and the Lich merged- the top of the Icecrown at the Frozen Throne. Uther also revealed that after the Lich King's death, someone else would have to take Arthas' place, as there must always be a Lich King, lest the forces of the Scourge run rampant across all of Azeroth. Arriving to reseal Uther in the Runeblade, Arthas battled with Jaina and Sylvanas, and they nearly sacrificed themselves before a gunship arrived to rescue them from the Lich King's blade.
Arthas dies

Arthas dies in the arms of his father.

Tirion Fordring's forces, after having defeated many of the Lich King's most powerful servants including Anub'arak and Kel'Thuzad, reached the peak of the Icecrown to battle the Scourge's leader himself. Quickly freezing Fordring in a block of ice, the Lich King forced him to watch as he slaughtered his men with a single attack, before revealing that he knew that Tirion would bring him Azeroth's most powerful heroes, and he began to resurrect them one-by-one. Horrified, Fordring used Ashbringer to break free of the ice and shatter Frostmourne, releasing all the souls it had consumed and reviving the heroes, allowing them to team up and defeat the Lich King once and for all. Defeated and dying, the Lich King reverts back to Arthas Menethil, who begins to pass in the arms of his Father's spirit. Arthas asked if it was finally over, leading to King Terenass to wisely tell him that "No King rules forever, my son". With this, Arthas finally dies in the arms of his father. Knowing that a new Lich King would be needed to keep the Scourge under control, the turned Bolvar Fordragon volunteered for the role- becoming the Jailer of the Damned and sealing himself and the Scourge away in the ice, telling Tirion that he must be forgotten, and that they should tell the world that both the Lich King and Bolver Fordragon died at the Icecrown.

Non-Canon HistoryEdit

Blizzard All-StarsEdit

Arthas Menethil is a playable hero in Blizzard All-Stars, based on his appearance as the Lich King as seen in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne and World of Warcraft. He serves a Tank role, and has a number of abilities designed around his Death Knight powers, allowing him to summon undead minions and heal while damaging foes at the same time. He also has numerous Area-of-Effect attacks. He was one of the first characters revealed as a fully playable character, when the game was first announced as a Starcraft II arcade game named Blizzard DOTA. 

Guitar Hero: Warriors of RockEdit

Arthas, in the form of the Lich King, is an unlockable playable character in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock once the player has reached level 71 by collecting at least 1600 stars on various songs. Unlocking him also unlocks Frostmourne, a custom guitar fashioned after the legendary Runeblade of the Lich King.


Arthas is considered one of the most iconic and prolific characters in the Warcraft universe, especially as the Lich King and he was named the 19th greatest video game villain of all-time by PC World. Action figures depicting the Death Knight Arthas were created for Warcraft III's release, and a statue depicting Arthas as the Lich King was created by DC Unlimited as part of their World of Warcraft line.


  • Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos
  • Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne
  • World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
  • Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock
  • Blizzard All-Stars