The First Heretic (long text)

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Re: The First Heretic (long text)

Postby Xisor » Fri Sep 30, 2011 12:11 am

There's a very powerful argument, IMO, on the Adepta Sororitas that, unlike the Space Marines being 'dehumanised' and 'programmed', the Sororitas are being...ultra-humanised, distilled.

The Sororitas have their humanity focussed and honed. They've got hate, they've got understanding and comprehension. Where the Iron Hands hate humanity for being weak, the Sororitas would do so because they're ultimately the same as the thing they hate. Their faith, devotion, hope, hatred, aspiration and ambition is all cultivated and pushed towards their near-military (or just military, in the case of Battle Sistsers) discipline.

It's something that's been slightly weakly done, IMO, with the renditions of the Hospitallers. Or perhaps isn't done so well for the 'fiction Sororitas' as opposed to the 'concept Sororitas'. They're certainly similar to the Space Marines, but they're remarkably different too. They're a different breed of dehumanised human. Well, one's a dehumanised human, the other's a dehumanised post-human.

That said, as 'character studies' go, I think they certainly fulfil a similar role and potential in the background, though there's also some lovely nuance to them that distinguishes them from being 'merely' (not that anyone's saying that) female versions of the male role held by Space Marine.
"When my housemate puts his bike in the middle of the living room floor, I find that inordinately jarring, annoying and rude, but for me to refer to it as "genocide" would be incorrect." -Ath
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Re: The First Heretic (long text)

Postby revelation » Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:31 am

Xisor, very nice way of putting it and I totally agree that the Sisters are nuanced in a way as to distinguish themselves from Space Marines, though they serve generally speaking a similar purpose, its not a straight one to one correspondence, thus my use of the term "counterpoint" to describe the loose similarity.

As for the quality of writing about the Sisters, I haven't gotten a chance to read anything about them. James Swallow's novels about the Sisters come out in December? Hopefully they'll be good.
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Re: The First Heretic (long text)

Postby Xisor » Fri Sep 30, 2011 5:42 am

revelation wrote:As for the quality of writing about the Sisters, I haven't gotten a chance to read anything about them. James Swallow's novels about the Sisters come out in December? Hopefully they'll be good.


It's a re-release for one of the novels, Faith and Fire. It's been a long time since I read it, but it wasn't an amazing one, for me. That said, it was interesting enough that I'd be keen to read the sequel! (And the first was decent enough on its own too, but not quite the character-study I feel that the Sisters of Battle deserve. E.g. a Sisters' version of Helsreach or Purging of Kadillus/Angels of Darkness.)

(Also, apologies, I realise my last post was somewhat a spontaneous ramble rather than a coherent response to/contradiction of anything in particular!)
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Re: The First Heretic (long text)

Postby revelation » Fri Sep 30, 2011 8:09 am

Xisor wrote:
revelation wrote:As for the quality of writing about the Sisters, I haven't gotten a chance to read anything about them. James Swallow's novels about the Sisters come out in December? Hopefully they'll be good.


It's a re-release for one of the novels, Faith and Fire. It's been a long time since I read it, but it wasn't an amazing one, for me. That said, it was interesting enough that I'd be keen to read the sequel! (And the first was decent enough on its own too, but not quite the character-study I feel that the Sisters of Battle deserve. E.g. a Sisters' version of Helsreach or Purging of Kadillus/Angels of Darkness.)

(Also, apologies, I realise my last post was somewhat a spontaneous ramble rather than a coherent response to/contradiction of anything in particular!)


I didnt realize Faith and Fire was a re-release. Shows you how much I keep up with Sister's of Battle related literature. :(
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Re: The First Heretic (long text)

Postby Therion » Fri Nov 25, 2016 5:22 am

I finished reading The First Heretic yesterday. I loved it!

Lorgar was one of more sympathetic primarchs so far. One of most humane and idealist certainly. The beginning of the book really drives a point that the Emperor and the Imperium are a really shady bunch and that normal folk mean nothing to them. Let's remember that the Emperor has created Curze and Night Lords and has unleashed them on worlds to destroy and terrorize civilians. Pre-fall Horus would also use Curze for campaigns of mass murder.

There's an interesting duality in Lorgar and Word Bearers. Like they are subhuman monsters like the rest of Primarchs/Astartes but with an overlay of hopefulness, humaneness, purity and idealism put on them.
Note how they move between creating their utopias and massacring worlds even before their ascension but still feel need to consider themselves to be nice good guys.
Like Argel Tal wasn't even aware of his anger at the Emperor before Cyrene pointed it out to him.

Regarding the feminist stuff. In Catholic church, confessors are traditionally male. Also, Cyrene's character reaches pretty deep into the Catholic history as initially, confessors were saints who were persecuted but not killed for faith who would later accept confessions of Catholics that hidden their faith during persecutions instead of getting martyred.
When it comes to female characters that are strong-powerful, let's remember that the daemon that introduces Lorgar and Gol Varbak to Chaos is a female warlord.


Anyway, the book begins with introduction of Cyrene who quickly becomes a victim of subhuman Imperialist violence. She's driven away from her home with a complete disregard for her well-being and then is mutilated and left to die by subhuman Imperialist beasts.
We're show that all that cruelty unleashed against poor Cyrene was just to show some other person (Lorgar) how wrong their methods are. That's obscene bestiality typical for the subhumans in power in the Imperium.

I think that the theme of the Imperialists being subhuman monsters was built up since the beginning and it gets worse and worse as the history progresses. We have worlds exterminated by the Imperium for lack of loyalty of their leaders, whole worlds destroyed, genocide conducted against billions upon billions of people.

The introduction of a point of view of Cyrene - a victim of the Imperium, creates a curious theme of moral ambiguity. So, the Imperium is supposedly a better alternative, but seeing the perspective of the people it murders and mutilates and makes homeless, makes debatable.

So, Lorgar decides that the Emperor isn't worth worshipping because he's violently denying his divinity. He loses purpose in life. Also, note how Lorgar mentions that Emperor has decided to tell him how wrong he is, but only did it now after so much time. It's a significant blow that shatters the base of his worldview - faith in the Emperor.
Let's remember that faith of Lorgar is such a powerful force that it exists outside of his will in form of the Lectitio Divinatus cult. During Heresy we have Lectitio Divinatus people performing actual miracles. And the news of Horus turning against the Emperor reaches the Imperium only thanks to that cult. Furthermore, the Imperium after the Heresy is based on worship of the Emperor and endures for 10k years.

So, his faith is a very powerful thing and he loses it, which shatters what he was basing his actions ever since he started having visions of the Emperor coming to Colchis. Then he gets introduced to the idea that old beliefs are actually true and that the Emperor lies not only about his divinity but also about other gods.

There's no particular reason why Lorgar should be following the Imperium. It's not like the Imperium is pure and virtuous anyway. The Imperium is monstrous. In a way, what happened on Monarchia made the Imperium morally irrelevant.

I liked the journey towards truth about the nature of the universe and about Gods a lot.

Xisor wrote:And, of course, note that in Lorgar's 'absence' (lets call it his holiday to Magalu--- The Eye of Terror) the Word Bearers go from being the slowest most agonisingly crawling legion to 'absolutely fine, nothing to see here', better perhaps (I don't quite remember if that's explicit or made-up-by-my-imagination).

It's not with Lorgar's absence. It's a part of the new direction of the legion that starts on 47-16 under Lorgar's command. The Emperor wanted quick conquests, preferring even extermination of planetary populations over slow progress and that's exactly what he got.

Liliedhe wrote:It's probably time for a tinfoil hat for me, but to me the end of Nemesis seemed to imply that

Spoiler: The Emperor himself had warned Horus. They are both making clear it has to end with them facing each other, and both seem to have taken efforts to ensure this...


Spoiler: Err... have you people missed countless failed attempts of assassinating Horus mentioned in the beginning of the Nemesis?



When it comes to whenever the vision was true or false... The Emperor used Chaos runes in his rituals, so it's obvious he was consorting with Chaos daemons or gods themselves.
"There can be no bystanders in the battle for survival. Anyone who will not fight by your side is an enemy you must crush" -Scriptorus Munificantus
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