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Musings on Horus


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#1 Lightbringer

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 03:47 AM

I was thinking the other day about Horus.

 

I have formed the view that the Horus portrayed by the 40k canon thus far makes him a far less interesting character than he potentially could be. It strikes me that an alternate, more nuanced view of the Warmaster, would make him far more compelling as both a protagonist and antagonist in the setting.

 

Horus in the canon

 

At the moment, Horus is portrayed in the canon as a dupe. Whilst mortally wounded he is tricked by chaos and the manipulation of Word Bearer advisors, and ostensibly comes to genuinely believe (or is portrayed in the canon as genuinely believing) that he and the other Primarchs are to be cast aside by the Emperor after the end of the Great Crusade.

 

Despite being portrayed as among the noblest and most skilled of the Primarchs, when pushed to his limits by malignant powers seeking to deceive him, he cracks and proves malleable enough to be driven into the arms of the Gods of the Warp.

 

The problem for me with this portrayal is that it makes Horus, effectively, Anakin Skywalker. In the same way that many regarded Anakin’s fall from grace as sudden, clumsy and unconvincing in the Prequel Star Wars movies, I think this attempt to build a modern tragedy out of Horus’ downfall comes across as melodramatic and flawed.

 

The problem with Tragedy

 

I don’t think tragedy plays well for modern audiences. Ideas like fate, or characters who are doomed from the start irrespective of what they do, tend not to resonate with those born in in the 20th & 21st centuries.

 

Those raised to believe in self sufficiency, initiative, freedom, those who haven’t been raised in a heavily religious environment and those who believe in the march of scientific progress in my opinion subconsciously reject many of the concepts and tropes central to classic tragedy.

 

Horus’ fall is portrayed in the canon as a straight tragedy. The fallen angel.  I think this is largely a mistake.

 

In order to make Horus’ downfall seem all the more tragic, he has to be built up as noble and good, “beloved” by all of his Primarch brothers, a pure-as-the-driven-snow paladin brought low by the cunning and devious powers from beyond the galaxy. He has to be tricked. He has to be deceived.

 

Does anyone else find all this a bit…artless?

 

Playing it a different way

 

What if Horus was fundamentally different to how he is portrayed in the canon? What if he was portrayed from the beginning as an antihero?

 

The antihero has a long and inglorious history as a character type. Look at Richard III. Look at Iago. Modern examples would include Frank Underwood from House of Cards (or Francis Urquart from the original British drama.) The “magnificent bastard”, fourth-wall-breaking manipulative genius gleefully engaging in evil for his own purposes is clearly a concept which resonates extremely well with modern audiences.

 

What if Horus was portrayed in this way? Wouldn’t that be fun?

 

Wouldn’t it make more sense if, from the start, Horus had always intended to overthrow the Emperor? If every step he had taken was designed to enable Horus to become humanity’s supreme overlord?

 

What if Horus was-and had always been-wicked?

 

Wicked is an underused word these days. It’s become a cartoon word, applied pretty much only to to witches. However, it defines a particularly powerful and repugnant class of wrongdoing: conscious, knowing evil, evil that is not deceived, evil that knows it is doing wrong but does it anyway, whether for sheer devilry or for advancement.

 

I think the entire Horus Heresy setting would play better if Horus were wicked from the very start.    

 

The wicked Horus

 

Imagine the backstory to such a Horus.

 

From the start, he knew he was better, cleverer than those around him. He exercised his power and found he enjoyed it. He no doubt came to rule in some way (as did most Primarchs) and came to love it. He reasoned from his first conscious moment – in the same way that Perturabo did – that he was different from those around him, and that there must be a reason for this. He would have likely grasped the fact that he was a genetically engineered super warrior, and that one day his creator would come for him.  

 

He wanted to rule all he could survey. All that was survey-able. His ambition was limitless. He was totally amoral: he regarded morality as a tool used by the strong to dictate terms of servitude to the weak. He knew that his creator would one day arrive; even before the Emperor came for him (and remember Horus would have been young when this happened) Horus would have been plotting the Emperor’s downfall.

 

Upon encountering the Emperor, and realising the vast extent of his “father’s” power, Horus resolved to cloak his ambition, to appear endlessly loyal. In time he genuinely came to respect his father, and to learn to outwardly express love that he was, at heart, incapable of genuinely feeling. Maybe there was a kind of fondness here, even a kind of sadness that he knew in his heart of hearts that they one day must clash; but Horus would say to himself that he knew his own nature and his boundless ambition was simply a sign of his being true to the nature his father had created for him.

 

In time, Horus would come to meet other Primarchs. To his delight, he would learn that, despite, their vast powers, they were individuals, as easily manipulated in their own way as anyone else once one truly understood them.

He learned not only to command the Primarchs, but to truly control them, through massaging egos, setting them against each other, encouraging conflict, creating cliques. Those less malleable were sidelined, or moved to theatres of war far removed from the ability to create alliances against him.

 

Horus was clever enough to adapt constantly, to reshape, to improvise on the fly. Adversity is just another stepping stone. Setbacks would be reshaped into opportunities. A military setback rectified by another Primarch (Gulliman, say) can be used as an opportunity to appear humble, thus encouraging Gulliman to appear more bombastic than normal, prejudicing his chances of being declared Warmaster.         

 

Slowly, surely, over the long decades of the Great Crusade, Horus drew his plans against the Emperor. He drew all military power and authority to him, subtly undermining those who could rival him. He forged a cadre of the more deluded and unstable Primarchs, those who he knew could be tipped into rebellion. He placed those prone to depression and paranoia into depressing and vicious conflicts.

 

He came to know of the powers of the warp, (from the Emperor originally, and in more detail through Erebus) and, never truly understanding them, amorally saw them as just another weapon. He had no time for them himself, and would never truly give himself to any higher power (his ambition demanded the overthrow of all “higher” powers) but he intended to use the vanity of these “gods” to bring low the Emperor. He aligned Primarchs in his circle to powers of the warp Erebus advised him would suit their characters, always intending to kill those tainted by Chaos, and indeed chaos itself, when they/it could no longer assist him.

 

The Heresy took place. Events began to spiral beyond the control of even his vast abilities. Hubris turned to anger. Mistakes were made, plans broke down. His “backers” – the chaos powers -  demanded results. Horus gambled – he was ever a gambler – and lost. At the last he regretted his mistakes, felt guilt for the damage done. But he never regretted his ambition, and would if given the chance again have tried again in a different way.

 

Now imagine that character arc portrayed through the voice of a witty, amoral, utterly cynical super-genius. Imagine his asides to the reader, his insights into the setting, his secretly “calling” much of the myth and legend around the Emperor.

 

Wouldn’t the wicked Horus make for a more fun read than “Horus the fallen angel”? Wouldn’t he make a more interesting character?  

 

 

 

 

 


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#2 Lynata

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 08:08 AM

Well, I actually think both approaches work. However, I also don't find any real difference between Horus being an antihero right away and the established version - ultimately, both ideas have a firm track for the character and have the same result. Actually, I think the original fluff comes across more complex and believable than your idea, simply because Horus' character grows and changes, instead of being "wicked from the start", as if people were born evil and with an innate desire to become the next Hitler. To me, this would feel a bit cheap. As far as bad guys are concerned, I'd take an Ashram over a Skeletor on any day.
 
That being said, I feel that for this topic it's also important to remember that there is no canon, or at least not in the sense you seem to suggest. I haven't read any of the Black Library Horus Heresy novels, but I did read GW's own Index Astartes article on Horus, and that one actually sounds a bit like what you wanted to see?
 
"It is said that as well as being a great warrior and strategist, Horus was fiercely intelligent. He was charismatic, persuasive and had an innate understanding of psychology. He could read men in order to use their strengths or exploit their weaknesses. [...] Despite these great honours, there is some suggestion that Horus was less than content. The wording of the Emperor's proclamation clearly claimed the glory of Horus's victories as his own. This was the usual rhetoric for such announcements - after all, the Primarchs were the sworn vassals of him and his Imperium. And yet in the Primarch's eyes, the Emperor now spent his time in safety at his palace on Terra while Horus won his Imperium for him. It seems likely that a deeply-rooted resentment had surfaced."
- WD #268 (online backup here)
 
In short, Horus was not perfect. He had perfectly human flaws. And these were later exploited by the Ruinous Powers. Exactly as it happened with many other Primarchs, and exactly how it still happens with Space Marines and normal humans by M41.
 
I suppose it's true that Horus' development as a character resembles that of Anakin Skywalker, but I would rather have this sort of development than no reason for the bad guy to be bad at all. Even characters such as Frank Underwood are a product of their environment, not the proverbial son of Satan brought into the world with the goal to wreak havoc and misery already in mind. :)

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#3 Lightbringer

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 09:56 AM

Fair points, Lynata. In many ways my thoughts are a reaction to the HH novels rather than the Core 40k "canon" (which is, I accept, a highly debatable and much abused term.)

 

Certainly, I agree that my posited "wicked" Horus could be a perfectly valid interpretation of the original Index Astartes material.

 

My "Horus would be more interesting if he was wicked from the start" interpretation is very different to the HH novels, though. They play a very straight bat with Horus' history: he was great, he was duped, he fell. To me this lacks subtlety and misses an opportunity to create a truly interesting character.

 

Note that with my "wicked" Horus I'm not suggesting that he started the Heresy just for the Lulz. I'm suggesting that he was endlessly ambitious and simply wanted to rule, concealing his ambitions beneath a veneer of nobility, working ceaselessly for two centuries to move into a position where he had a real shot at the throne of the Imperium. I'm suggesting he was a true warmaster: he was never going to be happy with the number 2 position. This doesn't make him a saturday morning cartoon villain: it was genetically coded into his nature and he would be honest with himself about that; nevertheless, he strove to conceal this from everyone else for most of his life.

 

I always thought it was peculiar that Horus' character seemed so out of keeping with that of his legion. The LunarWolves/Sons of Horus/Black Legion are pretty much universally portrayed as aggressive, clannish, murderous, blunt and tough. Look at Abaddon: he's a gifted thug. Horus is, in contrast, invariably portrayed (as in the excerpt you quote) as diplomatic; in other (OK, HH Novel) sources, he's portrayed as intelligent, noble and just. Don't you think this is odd? Every other Legion's marines seemed to exhibit some of their Primarch's personalities. Why not the Lunar Wolves?

 

Wouldn't it be a fun interpretation if Horus was just an immensly sophisticated and clever version of Abaddon? More genteel, more "clubbable", more socially adept...a better liar. Better at concealing his true nature than his Marines.  

 

OK, I've wandered off responding to your points there, and am just developing my theme...sorry! :)   


Edited by Lightbringer, 09 May 2014 - 09:57 AM.


#4 Lightbringer

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 10:07 AM

...and to develop my theme further, what if Horus' real Heresy was not to betray the Emperor...but to attempt to use chaos for his own ends? I seem to recall a character in one of Dan Abnett's books set in 40k as opposed to 30k looking back and using Horus as an example of someone who sought to use Chaos in this way.

 

I'm certain Chaos ultimately corrupted Horus, tainting him and turning him into something monstrous. But I'm suggesting he might be fun and engaging as a protaganist if he was always pretty dark from the start, rather than a paragon.

 

What if before he got corrupted by chaos he was attempting to use chaos as a weapon against the Emperor in any event?

 

I think it's a potentially fun interpretation. At the moment in the HH novels every time two primarchs meet (pre Heresy) it's a backslapping fest, with everyone hugging and respecting each other until you want to vomit. A neat bit of 1st person venom from Horus as he mentally considers how much he wants to strangle everyone in the room would be a nice bit of bile to wash away all the saccharine.     

 

It clashes with the HH Novel series pretty clearly, but Lynata's point about it not clashing so much with the Index Astartes material is one I admit I hadn't thought of.   


Edited by Lightbringer, 09 May 2014 - 10:10 AM.


#5 Chaplain

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 10:40 AM

I believe we have a bit of misunderstanding here.
Neither Horus, nor Emperor were the "good guys" in M31. Great crusade, as it is shown in horus heresy series, is every bit as bloody as any M41-era crusade. Disregard for human lives, xenocidal ideology, gunboat diplomacy, merciless extermination even for human civilisations not quite aligned with imperial truth are all here, it's just technology that haven't degradated to M41 - state and overall public euphoria about "milky way galaxy only for humans to live in" not turned into grim determination more common across M41 people.
Try imagining Emperor and Horus not as future Aristotle teaching young Alexander the Great, but as future Hitler and Hoering and all the pieces of the puzzle that is horus heresy will come into place. The primarchs were not quite "good", honorable warriors. No big surprise not all of them were even loyal, and when powers the Emperor insisted didn't even exist contacted some of them... we know the story.

Edited by Chaplain, 09 May 2014 - 10:45 AM.

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#6 Lynata

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 11:21 AM

Try imagining Emperor and Horus not as future Aristotle teaching young Alexander the Great, but as future Hitler and Hoering and all the pieces of the puzzle that is horus heresy will come into place. The primarchs were not quite "good", honorable warriors. No big surprise not all of them were even loyal, and when powers the Emperor insisted didn't even exist contacted some of them... we know the story.

 

The irony is that Horus was (in the Index Astartes) specificially described as being the most diplomatic of the bunch, going so far as to adapt to local customs when encountering new colonies in order to prevent the need for bloodshed, preferring to incorporate new worlds with words instead of war whenever possible.

Not that I really disagree with the "no good guys" label, of course. The Emperor was the aggressor, after all - but then again, the same could be said of Alexander the Great. ;)

 

Perhaps Horus' character in the novels' interpretation of the Heresy makes more sense when keeping the points you just mentioned in mind, though. I can only rely on what people are telling me about those books.  :ph34r:

 

Note that with my "wicked" Horus I'm not suggesting that he started the Heresy just for the Lulz. I'm suggesting that he was endlessly ambitious and simply wanted to rule, concealing his ambitions beneath a veneer of nobility, working ceaselessly for two centuries to move into a position where he had a real shot at the throne of the Imperium. I'm suggesting he was a true warmaster: he was never going to be happy with the number 2 position. This doesn't make him a saturday morning cartoon villain: it was genetically coded into his nature and he would be honest with himself about that; nevertheless, he strove to conceal this from everyone else for most of his life.

 

I think we are alike in a desire to see a somewhat comprehensible/understandable development for Horus' character! For me, the Index Astartes fulfills this condition by having him become arrogant and twisted out of his own sense of ambition. Horus was a gifted leader and general, who was entrusted with more and more responsibility which further served to fuel his ego - until it grew too large to accomodate the fact that he will always be the Emperor's "right hand guy" when actually he started to perceive himself as the Emperor's equal, his partner, building the Imperium not for but together with him. And this weakness in character was the opening that the forces of Chaos ultimately exploited to turn him against his creators.

 

Basically, the way I see it .. no, Horus wasn't always like this - but the environment he was placed in changed him. This is character development, and (or so I think) a realistic replica of what happens daily in our real world with politicians, corporate managers, and other people with privileges.

 

The lesson here is: power corrupts!


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#7 Lightbringer

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 11:47 AM

Yeah, I think we're on the same page here.

We have two (slightly) conflicting views of Horus in the (ugh, I know) canon:-

1. The Horus of the HH novels, who is pretty narrowly defined as being duped/manipulated into falling for Chaos in quite a short time frame between Davin and Isstvan.

2. The Horus of the Index Astartes and earlier sources who is corrupted to chaos by more ambiguous factors, arguably his own hubris.

The latter version leaves more "wriggle room" as to precisely why he rebelled, but the former is pretty clear.

I'm suggesting a third option might have been more fun:-

3. Horus was always a bastard who was out to take over the Imperium, concealed it for centuries, made a power grab with allies he didn't really understand, overreached and paid the price.

I would love to see a HH book that made Horus COOL. He should be the coolest Primarch: in many ways he comes across (from the relatively narrow glimpses we have of him ) as more humorous, more approachable...more HUMAN than most Primarchs. If written up as rogue, a player, a gambler, a villain one ends up rooting for, he makes the heresy much more interesting.

I agree with Chaplain that the Imperium isn't all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, and that the Emperor was in many ways (most ways) a totalitarian fascist. But making Horus a devious, clever, manipulative, FUNNY bastard among his more lumpen brothers is a story I'd love to see.

#8 Alrik Vas

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 10:22 PM

The comedy part aside (and I love comedy, I just have a rough time of it in 40k because it's so damn dark I can't even see the jokes half the time), I think I would like Horus if he were a bastard.  At current, I don't like him at all.  He seems like a chump who gets played.

 

Now, as i was reading the original post, I reconsructed the events and fit it all together in the way you suggest it, and it is vastly more entertaining...and I'm even one of those storytellers who will use fate and religion in games.

 

That all said, most of the Primarchs are kind of jerks, they're not really good guys, but most of them have sense rather than determination, temperence rather than wrath, courage rather than a lust for destruction.  That's what sets the Wolf, Lion, Guilliman and the rest apart from the Chaos Lackies.  At least in my book.

 

It seemed from his actions during the Crusade that Horus was the best Primarch, and my least favorite.  he just seemed like the golden boy who could do no wrong and then suddenly, blam...did we mention he was a jealous noob as well?

 

Makes me shake my head in the dark.



#9 Kamikazzijoe

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 07:00 PM

Each of the primarchs were embodiments of part of the emperor.  Horus was his leadership and pride personified....which meant he suffered from the emperor's arrogance and hubris.

I admit while reading the books I was a bit disappointed to see [Spoilers alert] "what he's planning to become a God and not make me one?  I'll show him" as the turning point to be a bit weak.



#10 Magnus Grendel

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 04:56 AM

I would draw somewhere between the two - I don't agree either that horus makes sense as being 'always evil' - the Emperor isn't that stupid (well....probably not) - so it had to be a change; besides which, watching horus 'fall' is a big part of his character development. However, my one regret with the early books is that it is that Horus' fall is very much shown as one instantaneous event followed by  "and now I am teh Evilz!" and manaical cackling, whilst - for comparison - Lorgar's fall takes most of First Heretic and Aurelian, and in Angron's case, you can see it coming right from After Desh'Ea all the way through to the end of Betrayer.

 

I've got Vengeful Spirit lined up next on my 'to read' list, and I'm looking forward to it, partly to see more of how Horus develops.


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#11 ranoncles

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 06:16 AM

I would love to see a HH book that made Horus COOL. He should be the coolest Primarch: in many ways he comes across (from the relatively narrow glimpses we have of him ) as more humorous, more approachable...more HUMAN than most Primarchs. If written up as rogue, a player, a gambler, a villain one ends up rooting for, he makes the heresy much more interesting.

I agree with Chaplain that the Imperium isn't all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, and that the Emperor was in many ways (most ways) a totalitarian fascist. But making Horus a devious, clever, manipulative, FUNNY bastard among his more lumpen brothers is a story I'd love to see.

 

Strangely enough, this is exact how Goering compares to the other nazi leaders. While capable of great ruthlessness, Goering was (allegedly) never quite as evil and indoctrinated as the others and thus the most popular German leader, readily recognizable to the people. For him, war, genoicide and looting were just ways to get what he wanted, not ideology-based urges. As a person, he apparently was quite charming, had a sense of humour, was personally brave and even intelligent and dilligent. His fall came about when he succombed to morphine addiction, coupled with loss of influence as his air force declined in power.

 

There is a alternative reich descriped in an RPG (GURPS IIRC) about the third reich under Goering. Based on his personality, it wouldn't have been quite as bad with wholesale genoice. I don't know if GW used him as a template or just picked 'generic fallen hero' but he seems to tick all the boxes. If portrayed properly, a Horus/Goering type would make an awesome villain.

 

 

And just to make it clear, I do not condone nazis or worshipping Goering.....


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#12 Lightbringer

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 06:39 AM

Each of the primarchs were embodiments of part of the emperor.  Horus was his leadership and pride personified....which meant he suffered from the emperor's arrogance and hubris.

I admit while reading the books I was a bit disappointed to see [Spoilers alert] "what he's planning to become a God and not make me one?  I'll show him" as the turning point to be a bit weak.

 

I always saw Horus' Emperor-inherited traits as being his ambition and ruthlessness rather than his hubris...though the two views aren't incompatible. The traits definitely interrelate.  

 

As to your other point, yeah, with a villain, the motivation's the thing. Envy as motivation makes Horus look a bit lame, in my opinion. Raw ambition is a better fit for Horus, I reckon. In my (non canon) "wicked Horus" interpretation, he admired the Emperor, but simply wanted to rule because he would stand for no one to stand above him.



#13 Lightbringer

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 06:53 AM

I would draw somewhere between the two - I don't agree either that horus makes sense as being 'always evil' - the Emperor isn't that stupid (well....probably not) - so it had to be a change; besides which, watching horus 'fall' is a big part of his character development. However, my one regret with the early books is that it is that Horus' fall is very much shown as one instantaneous event followed by  "and now I am teh Evilz!" and manaical cackling, whilst - for comparison - Lorgar's fall takes most of First Heretic and Aurelian, and in Angron's case, you can see it coming right from After Desh'Ea all the way through to the end of Betrayer.

 

I've got Vengeful Spirit lined up next on my 'to read' list, and I'm looking forward to it, partly to see more of how Horus develops.

 

I'm with you on finding Horus' "fall" flawed as presented in the HH novels. This is why I think "why even bother with a fall at all?"

 

And I'm not suggesting that things should be as black and white as Horus being "always evil." I'm suggesting that Horus would have been more fun as an amoral antihero from the start. That's not the same thing as being "evil", especially in the context of the setting. As others have pointed out, the morality in the setting isn't ever that straightforward. Having Horus breaking the fourth wall and casting acerbic asides about the Emperor's ruthless omnicidal campaign would be a fun way to make both him and the setting more morally ambiguous.

 

Which narrative is more interesting:-

 

(A) Horus is a gifted, amoral, witty, cocky and ruthless bastard who serves (but seeks to overthrow) a genocidal utopian ruthless bastard with godlike powers. He works for two centuries to put in place a stunningly audacious plan that will destroy his master;

 

or

 

(B) Horus is the most loyal and able Primarch, a noble and dull paragon. He is corrupted by powers from beyond and becomes (virtually overnight) the Archenemy of Mankind, determined to see the Imperium descend into fire and blood.



#14 Lightbringer

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 07:11 AM

 

 

 

Strangely enough, this is exact how Goering compares to the other nazi leaders. While capable of great ruthlessness, Goering was (allegedly) never quite as evil and indoctrinated as the others and thus the most popular German leader, readily recognizable to the people. For him, war, genoicide and looting were just ways to get what he wanted, not ideology-based urges. As a person, he apparently was quite charming, had a sense of humour, was personally brave and even intelligent and dilligent. His fall came about when he succombed to morphine addiction, coupled with loss of influence as his air force declined in power.

 

There is a alternative reich descriped in an RPG (GURPS IIRC) about the third reich under Goering. Based on his personality, it wouldn't have been quite as bad with wholesale genoice. I don't know if GW used him as a template or just picked 'generic fallen hero' but he seems to tick all the boxes. If portrayed properly, a Horus/Goering type would make an awesome villain.

 

 

And just to make it clear, I do not condone nazis or worshipping Goering.....

 

 

It's interesting you make this comparison: I actually came up with some of my thoughts on Horus after reading Ron Rosenbaum's excellent "Explaining Hitler:The search for the origins of his evil." It's a great book. It tackles the issue of "evil" head on, and tries to understand Hitler in terms of "why the hell was he LIKE this?" In particular it tries to get to grips with his motivations. trying on for size (and rejecting) a series of theories about the causes of Hitler's evil.

 

In the end it concludes that there is no easy, simple, proven explanation in Hitler's personal history, and comes down on the side of wickedness, along the lines I describe above: cynical, uncaring evil, perpetrated simply to advance his vision. He knew what he was doing was wrong, and did it anyway. That's actually a controversial position in many ways: many historians are convinced that Hitler was "convinced of his own rectitude", though Rosenbaum thinks otherwise.  

 

However, my knowledge of the Nazis is pretty sketchy unfortunately, and my knowledge of Goering is very limited. I only know him as a cross dressing drug addict: your comparison of him to Horus is interesting, though.You're suggesting that they were both amoral opportunists if I'm understanding correctly? In many ways it seems an apt comparison, though I doubt they do women's clothing in Horus' size, and he'd need an awful lot of nail varnish to cover his lightning claw...  

 

Though I think we've just proven Godwin's law.... :)


Edited by Lightbringer, 12 May 2014 - 07:20 AM.


#15 ranoncles

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 07:35 AM

:)

 

Not sure if Godwin's Law applies if not used to demonize a fellow poster....

 

 

But yes, based on what I have read about Goering, describing him as an amoral opportunist would cover it. He wasn't even an anti-semite, famously declaring he decided who was a jew in the luftwaffe...to ensure favoured officers were not dismissed/executed by Himmler's henchmen.

 

If you use the nazi leadership as an example, it was very difficult to identify with a Hitler (tee-totaller, vegetarian, insane etc.) or with a Himmler (chicken farmer, mousy with a weird hate/love relationship with gayness), a Goebbels (everyone's typical creepy sociopath lookalike) etc. Goering had the common touch, he had charm etc. and the background as a WWI ace. Whereas all the others would likely creep you out, Goering would be like an overly boisterous uncle....You simply don't expect the depths he will go to to achieve a life of luxury and power. And that makes him such a good villain. Just like Hugo Drax is a good villain in my book unlike Dr. Evil.



#16 Lightbringer

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 07:55 AM

It's almost like a debate on who's more evil: one who knowingly commits evil or one who does it regretfully out of a sense of duty.

 

You could make the whole Horus Heresy into a battle between two different types of evil, couldn't you? The Emperor's teetotal utopian "I'll kill those who disagree with me but be sad about it" and Horus' gleeful "I'll kill because I enjoy it, but kill fewer."



#17 Errant Knight

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 12:18 PM

What if Horus was the good guy and the good guys lost?  What if Horus never spoke to any minions of Chaos at any point of his existence?  What if, in their rage over their betrayal by the Emperor, some of the surviving Primarchs turned to the Chaos Gods for sancuary, revenge, or reinforcements?


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#18 Lynata

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 12:38 PM

Plot Twist: The Emperor is actually a Chaos God, and the current state of the galaxy is exactly what the Ruinous Powers want/need to thrive

 

Everything you have been told is a lie


Edited by Lynata, 12 May 2014 - 12:49 PM.

current 40k RPG character: Aura Vashaan, Astromancer Witch-Priestess
previous characters: Captain Elias (Celestial Lions Chapter -- debriefed), Comrade-Trooper Dasha Malenko (1207th Valhallan Ice Warriors -- KIA), Sister Elana (Order of the Sacred Rose -- assassinated), Leftenant Darion Baylesworth (Rogue Trader Artemisia -- retired), Taleera "Raven" Nephran (Hive Ganger & Inquisitorial Assassin -- mindwiped)

#19 Lightbringer

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 12:40 PM

That's another interpretation: a bit reminiscent of the Dornian Heresy stuff:-

http://www.bolterand...rnianheresy.pdf

#20 Gurkhal

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 01:01 PM

I've got to agree with Lightbringer to some degree and I personally don't find the entire plot regarding Horus either convincing or very interesting.

 

Which narrative is more interesting:-

(A) Horus is a gifted, amoral, witty, cocky and ruthless bastard who serves (but seeks to overthrow) a genocidal utopian ruthless bastard with godlike powers. He works for two centuries to put in place a stunningly audacious plan that will destroy his master;

 

or

 

(B) Horus is the most loyal and able Primarch, a noble and dull paragon. He is corrupted by powers from beyond and becomes (virtually overnight) the Archenemy of Mankind, determined to see the Imperium descend into fire and blood

 

 

Definietly go with A here.

 

One idea I have entertained is that Horus rebelled for fraternal love. In that scenario he was given the information that the Emperor intended to destroy certain Legions and their Primarchs and Horus then lead a rebellion against his beloved father for the sake of his love for his brothers, horrible tormented as he was torn between loyalties, love and duty. In that scenario I would imagine that Horus was either uncorrupted by Chaos or that it crept into him at a fairly late date when the war was in full swing and he needed some form of power to counter the psychic might of the Emperor. 


Edited by Gurkhal, 12 May 2014 - 01:08 PM.





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