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View Full Version : Was the Emperor responsible for the Horus Heresy?



Archaon
07-04-2008, 22:47
Something i've been mulling over while reading the HH books.

Depending on which variation of background you lean closer to it was either Greater Demons breaking into the primarch chambers and scattering the Primarchs or something else happened (up to the Emperor himself scattering them so they can grow up on their own).

Everything was dandy as long as he lead the Great Crusade with the Primarchs as his generals but after Ullanor the Primarchs and the SM felt abandoned by their father which slowly bred resentment.

This sentiment grew until it burst out with the Heresy which was fueled by ambition, arrogance, lust for power.

Now the Emperor apparently got multiple warnings.. Magnus using sorcery to warn him and as a thanks got his world devastated by the Space Wolves (one guess how Magnus would take that), the Word Bearers getting an official reprimand for being a little "overzealous" in praising the Emperor, the World Eaters under investigation for their "inhumane" style of warfare and so on.

I was always wondering how someone the scale of the Emperor with all his millenia of experience, psychic power and intelligence could so completely ignore all the warning signs that something was not going so well until it was all too late.

Was the road to the HH inevitable no matter what the Emperor did or could it have been prevented by him rejoining his "kids" from time to time to lead from the front and show presence?
And once they started to slip.. could he have stopped it back then by either believing Magnus for example and investigating himself (i doubt Horus could have hid his true feelings from his father)?

The_Outsider
07-04-2008, 22:55
The Emperor was blinded by the one thing he wanted to prove didn't exist - faith.

Whether they scattered the primarchs or not doesn't matter - they however made sure that the second there was a weakness in the Emperor or his plan they would exploit it.

The heresy was inevitable the second the primarchs left Terra - humans are not perfect being and when someone as mighty as a primarch is raised by (or not in some cases) inperfect people their own humanity became a weapon against them.

The galaxy is a harsh place - a place where morals can literally decide the outcome of entire speciies (things like Angron's wanting to stay with his people to die and the Emperor thinking otherwise).

Its also worth noting that the chaos gods had nothing to lose - they only needed to make sure the heresy happened - the outcome was most unimportant to them (the only people who had anything to lose lost it all).

RCgothic
07-04-2008, 23:08
I think that so long as the Emperor kept demonstrating that he was better than the primarchs there wouldn't be any trouble.

The problems started when they started to think they could do a better job. I think that if the Emperor had explained himself, or returned to the front on occasion, things could have been avoided.

starlight
07-04-2008, 23:11
Its also worth noting that Horus changed the Space Wolves' orders regarding Magnus...

The Emperor was arrogant and, regarding his *sons*, he was also blinded like many parents.

Responsible? No. Could he have prevented it? Yes. Would that totally change the entire background of 40K? No duh!:p

The Heresy happened the way it did and that's the way GW wants it, thus that's the way it will be.

RCgothic
07-04-2008, 23:15
Of course, the fact that something could have been done only makes it more tragic, and I feel enriches the background.

DantesInferno
08-04-2008, 01:02
OK, instead of throwing ourselves like lemmings at the topic, it's probably a good idea to get some sense of what we need to show in order to say that the Emperor was "responsible" or not for the Heresy.

It's fairly clear from the outset that if the Emperor did cause the Heresy, he did not intentionally do so. So if the Emperor was responsible for the Heresy, his responsibility lies in the areas of recklessness or negligence.

Next, to look at recklessness: it would be very difficult to show that the Emperor could be responsible for the Heresy due to recklessness on his part. That would entail demonstrating that the Emperor consciously flew in the face of a substantial, unjustified risk, or wittingly created such a risk. From what we know of the Heresy, the Emperor simply didn't see it coming at all.

So if the Emperor was responsible for the Heresy, since he didn't intend the harm, and he probably didn't appreciate the risk, his responsibility lies in the realm of negligence. The questions, therefore, are whether the Emperor's conduct caused the harm and whether the Emperor's conduct was culpable because it fell short of what a reasonable person in the position of the Emperor would have done to prevent the harm.

And this is where the interpretation of the background should kick in. I think there's ample justification for the view that there were cases where the Emperor simply failed to take reasonable precautions (from the view of an aspiring galactic military dictator), and I've expressed that view several times in the <past> (http://warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=967).

Hellebore
08-04-2008, 01:57
Well, the Emperor created Horus...

Hellebore

jhon
08-04-2008, 02:50
i would say he ask for it , but he did not the one to blame...

@ horus ... well you can bring the cow to the water but you cant force it to drink...
@ emperor .... arrogant is the key of weakness ..
@ other Primarchs ..... problem children ....
@ choas big four .... one way or an other humenilty will fell to choas ..

BaronGustav
08-04-2008, 05:54
OK here is my whacky theory. We know the players in the game. Chaos, CTan, Cabal, Eldar and the Emperor. At this stage humanity has spread throughout the galaxy. It is rightfully seen as a key. To the necrons it offers eventual victory. Humanity represents the next short lived race that can offer it total domination and a ready food source for ages to come. It’s the key to defeat the legacy of the old ones. The Dragon has set in motion through the mechanicus its plan. The Cabal (limit spoilers here) have a very singular and boorishly simple approach to the problem (read other Legion threads for this). The chaos gods see humanity as a never ending supply of erratic emotions that will fuel their desires for a very long time. The Eldar see humanity grudgingly as the heirs of the galaxy even if they are monkeighs. They must be steered towards their xeno goal. All of these players wish to control the most desired path for themselves and humanity is simply used as a key to achieve their ends. Each are culminating together into one big possible conflict that will destroy everything.

The Emperor is a forseen force that is a threat to all of these parties. He cannot be controlled and he has adopted the mantle as humanity’s Sheppard. Initially he attempts to forge a path for the evolving psychic race that humanity is heading towards. This is his Imperium. A secular society that is unmatched militarily in the galaxy. To protect this maturing species he attempts to conquer the material galaxy and the webway. The conquest of the webway will signal the ultimate ascendancy of mankind, as he also wants to claim the black library and stop the elder/cable from controlling this source. However somewhere along the line he realises his vision is clouded. His plan already is unravelling. All of the mentioned forces are conspiring to remove him and his threat to them. As long as he is a viable threat humanity is doomed, as he hasn’t had the time to nurture his race into the weapon required to defeat them all. What would happen if he removed himself from the picture. What would happen if he laid himself low so that the other forces think they can control humanity. However underneath the construction of this new dark religious Imperium are the seeds for his eventual rebirth and victory.

A theory I’m beginning to suspect.

Chaplain of Chaos
08-04-2008, 07:43
I think the Emperor had the perfect right to put that faith in his sons though, I think we seem to forget that the Primarchs while fallible where still extremely powerful and intelligant. The Emperor was gone for how long? In the span of their lives the time that the Emperor was absent was a mere snap of the fingers.

Yet a few of them got all whiney about how their daddy abandoned them.

I always found Horus to be extremely pathetic in that regard, I mean for goodness sake grow up. The Emperor shouldn't need to hold the hands of the primarchs so that they feel good about the crusade. What the Emperor commanded should have been obeyed, for example Magnus failed when he refused to listen and definatly deserved his rebuke.

I don't see the Emperor as arrogant in the slightest (beyond that whole manical human supremacy thing) he put faith in his commanders just as any good leader would. He was betrayed by the weakness in his son Horus. Overall the HH books have just further reinforced how shockingly juvenile, weak and deeply deeply flawed the Primarchs where.

This does speak something to what the Emperor put in them... but jeez If YOUR dad asks you to do something, he shouldn't need to look over your shoulder to make sure it's done.

The Emperor was a good leader, he inspired great loyalty in his subjects but the primarchs (those who where most like him) resented him in some cases because in their weakness and lack of forsight they where unable to see the larger plan.

They thought of things in terms of decades, the Emperor was thinking in terms of thousands and thousands of years.

jhon
08-04-2008, 08:53
humm... lets put it this way , i can blame the lion eat my baby if i put them togather in the same cage . and over half of them didnt had feel the emperor as their dad . one cant be a good leader if he fail to see the weakness of his/her commander . the emperor is blind by his arrogant , but the heresy is not his frult

demiourgos
08-04-2008, 12:47
What does not kill the Imperium makes it stronger. The Emperor tested the forces of Mankind against the most potent forces of Mankind (his own and first son) while purging the traitorous elements in the Imperium and setting himself in the Golden Throne to constantly lessen the hold of Chaos on humans by consuming the most potent and exploitable Chaos threat, human rogue psykers.

Of course he was responsible...he wanted it to happen and made it for...ugh, the greater good (cringing).

junglesnake
08-04-2008, 14:00
I think the point missing here is not that the Primarchs thought that they were better than the Emperor - more that each one wanted to be the favourite Son.

When I say each one - there are exceptions! If you look at each of the Characters you can see this to certain degrees. Guilleman wanted to prove himself the best - not through great acts but through following the Emperors rules down to the cross of the t's and dots of the i's.

Some are slightly different - Johnson (DA) for example is almost the Black Sheep of the family, whilst the Heresy was raging on at least for the initial part he didn't get involved. Where do his loyalties lie?

Space Wolves although supposedly brave an honourable crave war in an animal sense although they do not fight inhumanely as the World Eaters etc. They are incredibly unpredictable in some ways - they find it hard to resist battle which is not always a good thing.

You can look at all of the primarchs like this. Horus was the son that went to far. In trying to prove himself the best son and win the approval of his father he threw out the rulebook altogether. He sought help and power, and not from the right people. In the end he not only thought himself better than his brothers but also as good if not better than his father - did his father have Gods backing him?

I love the Heresy and am yet to read any of the books - a heresy in its own right?!!! But I love the mystery behind it all. Why certain chapters did what they did and the results of their actions. How some Chapters are reviled for their mutations so badly that they are discomunicated and yet others such as the Space Wolves are accepted and encouraged. Its the "darkness" that we all love.

Chaplain of Chaos
08-04-2008, 15:04
From the books, and from a little bit of the previous fluff we see that Horus resented his father in a large degree because he felt "abandoned" by the Emperor. Which I think is just ridiculous, how weak is the warmaster if he feels abandoned after only a few years?

The Primarchs and the Emperor measure their lifetimes in terms of thousands of years...

It was certaintly partly the Emperors fault for not forseeing these events, but perhaps he did foresee it all but let it come to pass anyway.

Binabik15
08-04-2008, 15:53
Well, several people have posted long and even thought-provoking theories, so IŽll keep it short:

WeŽll never know for certain as long as two of the Legions are left out completly.
And the chance for getting info on those two "lost" Legions seems to be minimal ;)

Son of Sanguinius
08-04-2008, 16:38
How's this for a crack pot theory?

The Emperor, as Erebus suggested in False Gods, sought to attain "godhood". Perhaps he sought the final destruction of Chaos through his own sacrifice, in a manner not too dissimilar to Slaanesh (sacrifice thousands upon millions of psykers and ascend into the warp, proceeding to Chuck Norris-roundhouse Chaos in the face).

Horus or Sanguinius would be left in charge, as of all the Primarchs they are they only ones probably equal to the task. Magnus would be left to oversee the development of humanity of a psychic race. Perhaps Roboute or Dorn would be left as "warmaster" to defend against the myriad threats still out there.

The Emperor becomes the new God of humanity. Yes, he did claim that their were no gods, but how many religions say that their God(s) is the only God(s)?

Of course the Cabal/Chaos/C'tan would not want this, so the heresy is created to stop it. This is when the Emperor's plan goes to hell in a handbasket. Or does it?! The Emperor, if released from the golden throne and with the sacrifice of many psykers could produce the same effect he originally intended for himself.

The biggest issue I see with this weird, weird idea of mine is that if this was the intention of the Emperor, why the hell would he try to conquer the webway? But I could explain this as a way to try and eliminate the machinations of the Eldar, because if you control the webway, you eliminate the only real form of interstellar movement that the Eldar are willing to use.

Anyway, there you go. My contribution.

Archaon
08-04-2008, 17:24
Nice theory

If we go at it from the conspiracy nut angle one could say that the Emperor foresaw the entire HH thing down to the Empire becoming a fascist theocracy.

If he were a really cruel bastard he knew that after the Crusade the Empire has enough disposable "human material" to employ meatgrinder strategy and wear its opponents down.

All the while he gathers the power to ascend at which point he could challenge the Chaos Gods directly and hopefully defeat them which ultimately would save humanity.

This could be a long term plan devised as a last ditch effort because otherwise Chaos would beat the Empire at attrition.

Chaplain of Chaos
08-04-2008, 17:42
It sounds almost exactly like the Golden Path... but only if the end result was to free humanity from the Emperor as well as Chaos thus creating a vast galactic society based around secular justice and enlightenment.

junglesnake
08-04-2008, 17:50
How's this for a crack pot theory?

The Emperor, as Erebus suggested in False Gods, sought to attain "godhood". Perhaps he sought the final destruction of Chaos through his own sacrifice, in a manner not too dissimilar to Slaanesh (sacrifice thousands upon millions of psykers and ascend into the warp, proceeding to Chuck Norris-roundhouse Chaos in the face).

Horus or Sanguinius would be left in charge, as of all the Primarchs they are they only ones probably equal to the task. Magnus would be left to oversee the development of humanity of a psychic race. Perhaps Roboute or Dorn would be left as "warmaster" to defend against the myriad threats still out there.

The Emperor becomes the new God of humanity. Yes, he did claim that their were no gods, but how many religions say that their God(s) is the only God(s)?

Of course the Cabal/Chaos/C'tan would not want this, so the heresy is created to stop it. This is when the Emperor's plan goes to hell in a handbasket. Or does it?! The Emperor, if released from the golden throne and with the sacrifice of many psykers could produce the same effect he originally intended for himself.

The biggest issue I see with this weird, weird idea of mine is that if this was the intention of the Emperor, why the hell would he try to conquer the webway? But I could explain this as a way to try and eliminate the machinations of the Eldar, because if you control the webway, you eliminate the only real form of interstellar movement that the Eldar are willing to use.

Anyway, there you go. My contribution.

The funny thing is my reaction to this post was what Guilleman or Dorn? Then I realised that's how I am meant to feel. I am a Dark Angels player!

However many different fluff sources have good old Johnson as the greatest tacticians and campaign strategists amongst the primearchs. Dorn with the Imperial Fists was great at sieges (unless that has been changed).

The other thing I find cool is the amount of Primearchs that have left their Chapters to their own fate.

RCgothic
08-04-2008, 18:05
However many different fluff sources have good old Johnson as the greatest tacticians and campaign strategists amongst the primearchs.

*Cough* Alpharius *Cough*

I find it funny that the Emperor and Guilleman are more or less in exactly the same situation as each other. Both with Mortal injuries sustained only by a stasis machine.

junglesnake
08-04-2008, 18:37
*Cough* Alpharius *Cough*

I find it funny that the Emperor and Guilleman are more or less in exactly the same situation as each other. Both with Mortal injuries sustained only by a stasis machine.

Hmmm - Guilleman this is for sure and is well documented but for the Emperor it is not. He is in the Golden Throne although if I am right no exact reason was given as to why he is there. Some rumours have it of a mortal wound caused by Horus in their final battle but that is only one theory.

Say what you like but everyone knows that Johnson is the best. He didn't play by his parents rules and do his homework like a good boy (Guilleman) should. Then again he didn't make a big fuss about it and over-react and claim his siblings all inferior. Instead he minded his own business until some mutant-marine brother of his tried to beat him in battle only to get slapped to the ground. Rather than gloat about this or go off into the eye of Terror in a sulk he just went on about his every day duties. He obviously wins the Mr Primarch of the Universe award.

Oh and on top of that Johnson is also in stasis.

Foulacy
08-04-2008, 20:32
Not sure if this has already been said, but im pretty sure it wasnt Greater Daemons that scattered the Primarchs, it was just a Chaos Warp Storm caused by the birth of Slaanesh.

If it was Daemons? why didnt they just eat them....

Chaplain of Chaos
08-04-2008, 23:29
I don't see how Slaanesh's birth could have caused the Warp Storm, considering the Fall of the Eldar happened millenia before the Emperor created the Primarchs.

I believe it was the Emperors design that led to their scattering, he wanted his Sons to grow up independant of his power and forsight. He wanted them to grow up on their own in the harshest of conditions. It was a hard but neccesary test.

Archaon
09-04-2008, 00:17
I don't see how Slaanesh's birth could have caused the Warp Storm, considering the Fall of the Eldar happened millenia before the Emperor created the Primarchs.


If i remember my 40K background well enough the "creation" of Slaanesh actually calmed the Warp somewhat so the millenia old Warpstorm that made Warp travel impossible all but vanished with the regulating influence by Slaanesh.

As soon as the Warp Storms abated the Emperor set out on the Great Crusade to re-connect Terra with all its colonies.

Hellebore
09-04-2008, 00:22
No the warp calmed because Slannesh was the DESTABILISING influence. All those decadent souls swirling around was screwing with the warp and it wasn't until Slannesh was finally born that they coalesced together and calmed the warp.

That whole event was effectively the labour pains of 'birthing' Slannesh.

Hellebore

junglesnake
09-04-2008, 08:51
Well so far as I know (from previous rules etc) the Primarchs were spread by a warp storm.

It is possible to theorise other possibilities but why would the Emperor make up a cover story? As others have mentioned you could understand him doing so after the heresy but then that would be very late considering all of the Primarchs would then know.

What we have to remember is that the warp storms were the embodiment of Chaos at the time, they were not as strong as they are now. The heresy merely acted as a conductor to which more followers flocked to them.

Gromdal
09-04-2008, 09:02
he was jst another pawn in the hands of the true kings of 40k.

GW : )

junglesnake
09-04-2008, 09:36
he was jst another pawn in the hands of the true kings of 40k.

GW : )

This is the beauty of it though. There are no true kings.

People can plausibly argue their own race - and you would find it difficult to completely rule them out.

By your comment I would imagine you mean Chaos. As others have mentioned Chaos are effectively supporters of the Imperium if only because it gives them the material of which to manipulate in their weaker more desperate citizens.

Chaos thrive on the emotions and insanity of war and death, their reasons for war is not for domination as such but to increase their strength and material ability by calling more supporters to their banner. The more who worship the stronger their ability is outside of the warp. In some ways not so unlike Sauron whose strength is in those that believe and worship in him.

To this end if Chaos as a whole was to destroy the Imperium they would destroy their only real supply of energy. Thus they sent Horus. Had Horus killed the Emperor he would have been able to control the energy for the Gods of Chaos, their supply un-challenged and their strength permanently growing.

Where the other races fit in is interesting. Orks are for the most part too unreliable and irratic for Chaos to really draw support and energy from them not to mention their crude but incredible faith in Gork and Mork. Eldar are ofcourse split with Dark Eldar and the mobile homeworlds of the various factions. Tyranids are well, their own force - they don't negotiate and they sure as titanium don't worship any God the rest of the universe does. Necrons are machines, and Tau again are essentially too pure when you consider the Etherials etc. Humanity is the weakness of the universe but at the same time it is the only race big enough, numerous enough and sustainable enough to resist against all of the "evil" races.

Son of Sanguinius
09-04-2008, 21:49
The funny thing is my reaction to this post was what Guilleman or Dorn? Then I realised that's how I am meant to feel. I am a Dark Angels player!

However many different fluff sources have good old Johnson as the greatest tacticians and campaign strategists amongst the primearchs. Dorn with the Imperial Fists was great at sieges (unless that has been changed).

The other thing I find cool is the amount of Primearchs that have left their Chapters to their own fate.

As far as I know, Horus Rising claims that Dorn is just as good a general as Horus, only sans the charisma. The tactics of Guilleman or Jonson, the flair of Khan or Russ, the siege skills of Pertuabo, etc.

sabreu
10-04-2008, 04:53
I don't like disbunking theories and I won't. I find them intriguing occassionally. :D However, talking about presience and omnipotence versus negligence and recklessness on the Emperor's behalf is a pretty redundant arguement. Just put a few things into perspective and issues like this become pretty irralevant: 1 man. An empire of a million worlds (or more). Humanity is without numbers. There was no way he could ever fully predict every possible outcome for every scheme hatched. Despite being the supposedly uber psyker he was, free will does tend to throw a wrench in any well formulated plan.

My 2 cents,

- Sabreu

Son of Sanguinius
10-04-2008, 05:39
My theory on "farsight" is that no one can actually see the events of the future. The warp isn't a drive-in movie theater (for those of you who actually remember what those are).

But the warp contains, for lack of a better description, the "strands of fate" which are made through free will and choices. It takes an incredibly determined and powerful intellect to comprehend the vast amount of possibilities and variables that can affect what is to come, hence why Eldar and Demons are good at it, and humans tend to rely on what their gods tell them the future possibly holds.

So yeah, like sabreu said, free will throws a lot of wrenches, but the really good predictors can dodge wrenches well. Brings back fond memories of the movie Dodgeball. ;)

Gromdal
10-04-2008, 08:34
This is the beauty of it though. There are no true kings.

People can plausibly argue their own race - and you would find it difficult to completely rule them out.

By your comment I would imagine you mean Chaos. As others have mentioned Chaos are effectively supporters of the Imperium if only because it gives them the material of which to manipulate in their weaker more desperate citizens.

Chaos thrive on the emotions and insanity of war and death, their reasons for war is not for domination as such but to increase their strength and material ability by calling more supporters to their banner. The more who worship the stronger their ability is outside of the warp. In some ways not so unlike Sauron whose strength is in those that believe and worship in him.

To this end if Chaos as a whole was to destroy the Imperium they would destroy their only real supply of energy. Thus they sent Horus. Had Horus killed the Emperor he would have been able to control the energy for the Gods of Chaos, their supply un-challenged and their strength permanently growing.

Where the other races fit in is interesting. Orks are for the most part too unreliable and irratic for Chaos to really draw support and energy from them not to mention their crude but incredible faith in Gork and Mork. Eldar are ofcourse split with Dark Eldar and the mobile homeworlds of the various factions. Tyranids are well, their own force - they don't negotiate and they sure as titanium don't worship any God the rest of the universe does. Necrons are machines, and Tau again are essentially too pure when you consider the Etherials etc. Humanity is the weakness of the universe but at the same time it is the only race big enough, numerous enough and sustainable enough to resist against all of the "evil" races.

GW=games workshop, the founders of 40k and the fantasy stories about the imperium.

they are the true kings of the emperor

i didnt mean chaos : )