The festivities were in full swing, and inebriation was inevitable. I stood in open space of the grounds outside Ironforge and took in the sights and sounds of Brewfest. The saturation of the scent of hops in the air stung my nostrils. The folksy dwarven music filled my ears with warm tones while the dwarves themselves chattered with vibes of good times. The coldness from the Dun Morogh westerly winds pounded relentlessly on my gnomish skin, shielded by my rise in body temperature thanks to the alcohol in my blood. The aftertaste of Barleybrew’s lager was bitter and biting.
And most of all, in a visual representation of everything this holiday represents, Gelbin Mekkatorque stood high above the crowd in a riveting tapping of the kegs. Rest up. Drink and be merry. Forget about the pangs and pressures of pursuing Arthas in Northrend. Get bloody smashed.
With these messages, he reminds me that there is more to life than petty squabbles with the horde, or the fact that the Lich King is constantly breathing down our necks, or that we have not heard from Deathwing in a LONG while. As a leader by example, Gelbin brushes off the pangs of his defeats in Gnomeregan, and the regret that lingers over his actions of self-imposed genocide (and as a result, self-imposed seclusion in Tinker Town). However, for the next two weeks, all I see is the glimmer of his public persona that suggests nothing of the sort, but rather an alluring call to solidarity with my fellow Alliance.
And that, my dear internether, the mark of a truly great leader. Never mind the brash foolishness of Garrosh and his insatiable bloodlust, for times of unrest in a shaky alliance and a common enemy do not call for aggression. Never mind the vengeance of Varian Wrynn, whose biased agenda against the Horde promises nothing but continued prejudice and misguided ideas. Never mind the old age of Thrall and his declining ability to rally the entirety of his own people and create racial identity based on mistakes made in the past, bound to be repeated in the future.
Instead, look to the gnome who did not step into power by birthright, but by appointment of his peers. Look to the individual who made great strides in technology by connecting the two great powers of the Alliance, Ironforge and Stormwind, with the marvels of high-speed, subterranean travel. Look to the one who had the influence to unite his people against a Trogg threat. Look to the tragic soul who, under duress, had the misfortune of pulling the trigger on what is perhaps the single most devastating loss of life, and having to bear the weight of his decision for years to come.
Instead, look at him as he smiles with hope when he taps the keg at every 6:15, and remind yourself that no matter how hopeless the prospect of defeating the Lich King (or any enemy for that matter), it is truly worth fighting for.
And in this case, worth drinking for.