Did Blizzard Out-Tolkien Turbine?

Blizzard announced their latest expansion for the hugely successful, World of Warcraft. This expansion, titled Wraith of the Lich King is set in a new continent called Northrend. At first glance, you may be asking what the hell am I talking about and why does this have anything to do with Turbines, Lord of the Rings Online?

Let’s take a look at a few items in the newly announced expansion.

1a. In Blizzards World of Warcraft, the new expansion is titled Wraith of the Lich King. The Lich King was once an Elder Shaman named Ner’zhul.
1b. In Turbines Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, one of the main characters is called the Witch-king of Angmar, also known as Lord of the Nazgûl. He happens to be the leader of the three Ringwraiths.

Take on it’s own, you may say that it is merely coincidence that they share similar words and that two of the words have very similar phonetics, even rhyming when said back to back. Try it, Ner’zhul – Nazgûl. Let’s take a look at another element, the location.

2a. In Blizzards World of Warcraft, the new lands are “Northrend is a frozen wasteland” (source: http://www.wowwiki.com/Northrend)
2b. According to wikipedia, “In the chapters in The Lord of the Rings describing Frodo and Sam’s journey in Mordor, the valleys in an area called the Morgai, on the land’s “outer marges […] under the westward mountains”, are described as a “dying land [but] not yet dead“.“ (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mordor)

Ok, again we are making a stretch. Both lands are barren wastelands, although one is frozen and the other is ravaged by a volcano. However, it’s this last bit of evidence that really makes me wonder….

3a. Take a look at the webpage Blizzard put up for Wraith of the Lich King: http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/wrath/index.xml
3b. Now take a look at the Witch-king on the left side of Turbines, Lord of the Rings Online Website: http://www.lotro.com/index.php

The thing that strikes me the most is the use of the full face crown wrapping around darkness where the face should be. Even more interesting is the stance that each character poses. In both cases, they are firmly holding the hilt of sword, pointing straight down. And the last interesting coincidence is the use of a flowing black cape, which anyone who has seen the Lord of the Rings movie knows is a major part of the Ringwraiths appearance.

Now please keep in mind, these are merely one mortals observations. I can not say either way whether there is indeed a coincidence or not. The storyline for the Frozen Throne and the opening of the Dark Portal previously set in motion the current story arc announced by Blizzard recently. The whole thing just strikes me as a bit odd.

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