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So after reading all the books/codexes/fluff I could find, I must say that the Horus Hearsay is one of the poorest written story twists I've ever read in Sci-Fi. Now before objections start flying out, let me try to explain my position. Let me start off by saying that the phase "simple minded idiots" from the movie Hero comes to mind many times during the story. So lets first take the Primarchs. Born from the Emperor's flesh as part of his vision for the next stage in human evolution, they are some of the vainest, petty, simple-minded idiots I've ever seen portrayed. For beings that are supposed to be born of the Emperor's vision, they all act like pre adolescent children. Almost every reason for their turning to chaos is either superficial, or just plain dumb. Lets take the Iron Warriors primarch. In a tale similar to Luther of the Dark Angels, he was left behind to garrison conquered planets. Any person could see that this was because the Emperor and his brother Primarchs could trust him to this very important job. But like a child having a fit, he joined chaos so he would not be "overlooked." Then there is World Bearers primarch. He joined chaos just because the Emperor wouldn't let him worship him instead of fighting, a pretty lame excuse. Then of course there is the man himself, Horus, who supposedly began to think the Emperor was not worthy of the victories won in his name. Again, stupid childish stuff. The Emperor of all mankind revered Horus as his favorite son and gave him all the conquest to thirst any ego. But nay, for a being of supernatural power, he acted like a 13 year old rebelling against his parents, single handedly destroying the all the work he and his fellow Primarchs accomplished.
The of course there is the Emperor. What fluff we do know of him leads most to believe that he was a great uniter, forging alliances with the Tech Priests of mars, and even the Eldar. But low and behold when he is warned by both his son Magnus and the Eldar of the impending hearsay, he becomes a bi-polar idiot sending the space wolfs to destroy one of his sons, and blatnentley ignored the Eldar. So the question of "why?" cannot seem to be answered. For a being of infinite wisdom and knowledge, the Emperor is reduced to a xenophobic egomaniac, which is contrary to his other fluff.
So I guess for me what it comes down is poor story writing. While the authors over at GW tried to tell tales of the Primarchs slowly descending into chaos, their reasoning each traitor is extremely poor. I feel that each primarch could have never fallen to chaos, but would have been shining examples of duty to the Emperor. Hell, in other fluff ordinary humans are more loyal and logical then the Primarchs that were supposed to represent the next stage of evolution for mankind. But what we are left with are â€œsimple minded idiots,â€? so emotionally fragile that they betrayed their race for extremely stupid reason. So, after that long rant I must put forth that the Horus Hearsay really does make no sense in the 40K universe.
I think the Horus Heresy books paint the best story of the Horus Heresy. And it portrayes better reaons for the primarchs turning other than just "they didn't like the emperor". Also read the novel Angels of Darkness. It has a unique theory that lends to more of an explination to the primarchs turning. The theory goes that every primarch starterd out as a completely blank slate personality wise. Although we don't know what the emperor had in mind for them to learn each primarch was sent out into the world with all the superhuman/godlike attributes but personality wise was a blank slate. Once they landed at some point in their up-bringing they learned a trait or emotion that planted the seed for them to turn into what they would become: Traitors. For example Conrad Cruze (of the Night Lords) grew up with no one to teach him, he became a feral beast and came to have is own warped sense of justice and right/wrong. He learned this from his surroundings and that's how he "evolved" into his personality. As for Horus, seriously read the Horus Heresy vol. I and II. He didn't just "up and betray the emperor". The Emperor made him Warmaster, then retreated back to earth. He did not "over-see the Imperium form there" but rather he locked himself away in his workshop. Allowing no contact except for the guy (forget his name) that he put in charge to handle the Imperium. Horus and the Primarchs were out there in space winning more and more worlds for him, yet no further praise came from the emperor. He was too busy. No longer did he fight and council and advise the primarchs. Everything was left to Horus. The council of "mere men" that were put in charge made ridiculous demands of Horus and the primarchs. They were more concerned with records and things. They were not men of war and had drastically different views from Horus. All his appeals to the Emperor went unanswered. And so when he was corrupted in a warrior lodge while beaing healed from a near-fatal wound (those healing him worshipped by chaos) he began to see things in a different light. He thought that he could do a better job than the Emperor, that under him, the imperium could be what he thought it should be. They should destroy all present and future threats to the Imperium not stop and consolidate and argue and sqabble amoung themselves. And so he went about turning the primarchs to his cause by appealing to those who could be turned (from those "flaws" they aquired in their upbringing). I cannot stress enough how much you should read these books. They paint the whole heresy in a different, more understandable light.
Hmm well, you have some points but in my humble opinion you should read the fluff again and think about it again. I'll try and explain the points you mentioned.Imagine you are the finest expert in siege warfare that has ever lived. Imagine you are among the first in an empire of trillions. Imagine there are only 19 others who can challenge you. This knowledge leads to pride. And responsibility. Pertuarbo didn't changed sides because he wanted to be noticed. He did that because he thought that Horus was the better leader, one that respected and cared about his soldiers, unlike the emperor, who sit all day in his shiny palace on Terra, in his eyes. He had far more trust and respect for Horus then for the emperor and Horus knew this and used it to turn Pertuarbo into a traitor. Furthermore, he had a point. There were billions of Soldiers in the Imperium, but only a few hundred thousands marines. The elite of the elite. And so, Pertuarbo thought, why should this elite, his elite, his very sons be wasted for garrison duty which could also been done by normal guard units? Especially since the IW were the battering ram of the crusade, fighting in the bloodiest and hardest battles. Thats why he rebelled.. So lets first take the Primarchs. Born from the Emperor's flesh as part of his vision for the next stage in human evolution, they are some of the vainest, petty, simple-minded idiots I've ever seen portrayed. For beings that are supposed to be born of the Emperor's vision, they all act like pre adolescent children. Almost every reason for their turning to chaos is either superficial, or just plain dumb. Lets take the Iron Warriors primarch. In a tale similar to Luther of the Dark Angels, he was left behind to garrison conquered planets. Any person could see that this was because the Emperor and his brother Primarchs could trust him to this very important job. But like a child having a fit, he joined chaos so he would not be "overlooked."Thats not true either. Lorgar needed guidenance in his life, like many humans do today. He searched this in the emperor, which he saw as a god. But instead of giving him this, the emperor gave him, who conquered thousand worlds with his words alone and provided stable goverments due religious practics, a harsh reply on his achievments. There have been man who turned traitor for lesser reasons.Then there is World Bearers primarch. He joined chaos just because the Emperor wouldn't let him worship him instead of fighting, a pretty lame excuse.He spilled his blood for the Imperium and led his sons into battle after battle and for what? Not he was the great leader, the emperor was. Yes he had fancy titles, but fancy titles aren't enough if you are a superhuman being. Besides, Horus didn't rebelled because of that. A demon possessed him and this was possible because he and his 8 brothers were tainted by chaos from his very birth.. Then of course there is the man himself, Horus, who supposedly began to think the Emperor was not worthy of the victories won in his name. Again, stupid childish stuff. The Emperor of all mankind revered Horus as his favorite son and gave him all the conquest to thirst any ego. But nay, for a being of supernatural power, he acted like a 13 year old rebelling against his parents, single handedly destroying the all the work he and his fellow Primarchs accomplished.
Anyway got to go. Rest later.
I've always figured that it was because the Primarchs where so perfect that they where so susceptable to the flaws in thier character. They where supposed to be the untimate humans. Normal humans deal with things like pride and inflated egos on a small scale beacuse we're normal. Are lives are carried out on a mundane scale and so the little flaws that gnaw of us are relatively minor.Lets's say a normal human does something heroic. This will inflate his ego, maybe even much so that it turns him into an ass. The guy's hard to deal with, but the situation doesn't ever escalate past "He's an ass." These guys where different. These guys where more human than human ( :cool: ) and they lived thier lives on a much grander scale. For these guys conquering entire planetary systems was a mundane occurance. When you have such momumental accomplishments you aslo have momumental boosts to your ego. If it's in the nature of a normal human to be mildly swayed by mild events, it's in the nature of a superhuman to be greatly swayed by great events. It's the whole duality thing. Being human was thier greatest strength and thier greatest weakness..or something deep like that.I dunno..I could be missing something though.
I completely agree w/ Edicus, the Primarchs were only human, maybe super-human, but still essentially human, and so were corruptable. Like the phrase "Absolute power corrupts absolutely" all the Primarchs had tremendous power, all had his own skills, and all that, but, they still had the personalities and thought process of normal men, maybe better, but still essentially the same.
What i'm saying is essentially, Do you think you could have done any better? I dont think many could have. When you have all that power and all those followers, and you've conquered a few thousand planets, you'd start to get a little arrogant too. Who wouldnt?
There have been many heros in the history of mankind that have ended up being branded traitors by history. After reading the Horus Heresy books (which I found extremely enlightening) I see Horus, who is greatly villanized by all the Imperium fluff, almost like Benedict Arnold from American Revolutionary history. Had things ended up differently (i.e. he had died from his wounds, much as Arnold nearly died from a Minnie ball shot at the Battle of Saratoga), history would have remembered him as the Imperium's greatest hero. Instead we know him as the greatest traitor of all time.
At the same time, the idea that some flaw in their upbringing, or even the laws of chance, may have helped to turn some of the primarchs is also a great possibility. Konrad Curze is the greatest example of this, but Mortarion of the Death Guard is another excellent example. They were caught in the warp, and subjected to all variety of plagues by Nurgle, which eventually corrupted the survivors. The Iron Warriors were the greatest siege engineers of all history, mostly because Perterabo was an analytical genius. He joined Horus because he firmly believed Horus had the best chance of winning. Although he was prone to moodiness and such, so were others of the "loyal" primarchs, such as Lion El'Jonson and Leman Russ. Its all circumstance, and I think that this is a fascinating subject. Im really glad GW finally put out some books on it......just sad their in such beautiful books.....I cant read them nearly as much as I would like to!
Last edited by Lord_Wallace; July 14th, 2005 at 22:29. Reason: proofing
This may be construed as slightly off topic, but i have been recomended this many times. It really sounds like my kind of story, all the "fallen, misunderstood hero" stuff, (Episode III, being the ub3rgeek[tm] i am, seen it 5 times!), but just a question to all those that have read it - does it portray the primarchs in a truly heroic role, setting them up for a mighty fall? So when they do actually turn, you think to yourself "I can see your reasoning...but ****, don't do it, it leads to damnation!"
The only difference between tattooed people and non-tattooed people is that tattooed people are awesome and can kick your ass.
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left."
Only damnation from the Imperium's point of view. I've been known to agree with terms like "enlightened" and "on the true side" or even "free".Originally Posted by Lordofchange
After studying the human animal for quite some time, I believe that the story of the Horus Hersy is quite possibly the most well thought out and emotionally moving sci-fi stories ever written. At its very core is the template for the greatest of mythologies, full of the archetypes that cut straight to the cores of our souls. I can understand why some people might not like it... the inter-primarch rivalry is abnormal in christian era mythology. In christian era mythology, heroes are pure and invulnerable, but this is a device used to demonstrate the christian ideal of god. In pre-christian mythology, though, great heroes all have their dark sides, and this is why people still read pre-christian mythology for fun. This ancient mythology doesnt follow abstract ideals about what they think humans should be like, but rather is pretty accurate in portraying what people are actually like.
Lets see.. an old quote that describes what I'm talking about "Evil will always win because good is stupid." :p Or if youre into reading, find the short story "The Underground Man" by Dostoevsky.
The point I'm getting at is that intelligence and "evil" goes hand in hand, precisely because intelligence is damning. The smarter you are, the more you realize how messed up everything is and the more jaded you get. And a jaded and intelligent mind is capable of revolutionizing itself to come to terms with its knowledge. The Primarchs were the most intelligent minds in the galaxy, and therefore they were more susceptible to rebellion against the emperor. This is exactly what the real world is like.
Knowledge is power. Power means responsability. Responsability requires sacrifice. Sacrifice is painful.
Be thankful for that which you do not know, because what you do not know is what lets you fall asleep at night.
Here's a famous poem to illustrate my point. http://www.idiom.com/~wcs/howl.html
I always thought of the story of the Horus Heresy as a myth taught to Imperial children, not some sort of accurate history. It is alot like ancient Greek or Norse myths, with the Primarchs behaving like the Gods in those stories. Thor, Loki and Odin etc were pretty one dimensional and irrational characters if you think about it, being constantly fooled by simple tricks and flying into childish tantrums when they were supposed to be mighty beings.
I think the Heresy is like this, it's a simplistic myth-like story because everyone who was alive at the time is long long dead (except, arguably, the Emperor). I assumed that the real reasons it happened had very little if nothing in common with the story we all know and we are talking about now.