Field Photographer Friday is a weekly look at the lore and history behind locations around World of Warcraft. This week, we're taking a look at Hearthglen!
Hearthglen was constructed sometime before the Third War and served as the "capital city" of the region for many years. Originally ruled by Tirion Fordring and affiliated with the Kingdom of Lordaeron, the city has changed hands many times over the years. Today, it is under the control of the Argent Crusade and functions as their base of operations in the Western Plaguelands area.
Tirion Fordring only initially ruled Hearthglen for a short period before the the Third War, which took place long before World of Warcraft's time. He was exiled from the region for treason after he aided an Orc named Eitrigg. Hearthglen was briefly ruled by the paladin Barthilas before he fell during the assault on Stratholme (Barthilas became an undead wight boss in the Stratholme instance). Hearthglen finally came to be ruled by Tirion's son, Taelan Fordring.
As the Third War began, Hearthglen was an immediate target of the Scourge. The Plague of Undeath arrived in the city through a grain shipment and quickly began infecting its inhabitants. Arthas Menethil, the prince of Lordaeron, had been tracking infected grain shipments and arrived at Hearthglen in time to kill those who were infected. Shortly after, the Scourge armies attacked Hearthglen, but with the help of Arthas' army the town was able to hold off the attacks long enough for Uther to arrive with paladin reinforcements. The town was one of the only ones in the area that didn't fall to the Scourge.
Following the war, the town was used as a refuge by paladins from the Knights of the Silver Hand. Many of these paladins, as well as Taelan Fordring himself, would be revealed as members of the Scarlet Crusade, a vigilante group of paladins bent on destroying all undead. This is the state of Hearthglen as it first appeared in World of Warcraft.
With the assistance of adventurers, Tirion eventually convinced his son that the Scarlet Crusade was corrupt and misguided. While trying to defect from the Crusade, Taelan was killed at the guard tower down the road from Hearthglen. His father was waiting for his arrival nearby and witnessed his death. He was so filled with anger he slayed Grand Inquisitor Isillien on the spot.
The Scarlet Crusade would remain in Hearthglen purely for gameplay purposes up until the Lich King was defeated and the events of the Cataclysm expansion unfolded. Following the Shattering, Tirion returned to Hearthglen to establish it as a base of operations for the Argent Crusade. In tribute to his son, he had the guard tower down the road renamed to Taelan's Tower. This is the state that Hearthglen exists in game now. It is a friendly neutral city, accessible to both Horde and Alliance heroes.
With Tirion's death following the assault on the Broken Shore in the Legion expansion, it's unclear who the new ruler of Hearthglen will be. If you visit Hearthglen today, you can still find Tirion inside Mardenholde Keep. It's unclear why he is still there, but it's likely for gameplay purposes while the story of what comes next is worked out.
Additional Lore Resources for Hearthglen
Recommended Reading for characters related to Hearthglen
Tirion Fordring - +
Eitrigg - +
Barthilas - +
Taelan Fordring - +
Arthas Menethil - +
Uther the Lightbringer - +
Isillien - +
Join me every Friday as I work to expand my lore knowledge while completing the Field Photographer achievement. Read lore summaries for each location and follow up with resources where you can go more indepth! I encourage you to share your own selfies and any additional lore resources you know of in the comments below, or tweet @PrestonDvorak. Bonus points if the selfie is somewhere you shouldn’t be (such as an Alliance player in Orgrimmar)!