View Full Version : Question about Emperor Worship in Soul Hunter (possible spoiler?)

Night Bearer
12-11-2010, 15:38

I think my search-fu may be weak, but I didn't see anything on this.

Just recently read Soul Hunter. Had avoided it as I couldn't get past the first few chapters of Lord of the Night, but then reading The First Heretic made me give ADB a shot (and I'm glad I did, loved Soul Hunter).

However, (and here's the possible spoiler for those who haven't read it), at several points Talos seems to claim that the Heresy was, at least in part, caused by the realization or belief that the Emperor was setting up an Imperium that would worship him as a god.

I get why Talos would taunt a "modern" loyalist with "The Emperor was no god!", due to the current Imperial creed, but (and I wish I had the book on me to find the quotes) there's several points where the book seems to indicate that the Night Lords (or at least Talos) believed the Emperor himself was driving this.

As far as I can remember, I don't believe Soul Hunter ever mentions Lorgar or what the Word Bearers had done prior to the Emperor's reprimand of their proto-Imperial Creed - like I said, it seems pretty explicit in Soul Hunter that they're accusing the Emperor himself of fostering this religious view of him.

At least that's how I read it, and I'm wanting to know if a) I'm right, and b) if so, does anyone know of other books that explore this? My understanding of the Imperial Creed is that:

1. One or more Imperial Creed "movements" begin during the early years of the Great Crusade (maybe even before, not sure). Established background and the HH books indicate the Word Bearers were one group, and there is a movement that spreads throughout the Expeditionary fleets. Not sure if they are linked directly or not.

2. The Emperor rebukes the Word Bearers' faith. I know the "fleet-based" movement is underground, can't recall if there's any similar action to rebuke or purge them (need to re-read the first couple HH books).

3. At some point yet to be covered in the HH series (presumably), the Imperial Creed returns. Presumably in the chaos after the Heresy and the Emperor's placement into the Golden Throne, the underground cults are finally able to go public and win over the Imperium.

Ever since the HH unveiled the Emperor as an "atheist" who discouraged his own worship, I haven't seen the kind of claim as in Soul Hunter that the Emperor himself encouraged his worship.

Have I misread the book? Is this a hint that the Emperor's relationship to the Creed changes during the Heresy (before he's put into the Throne)?

I don't object to the portrayal in Soul Hunter at all, it was just an interesting accusation that I hadn't heard given the new/current portrayal of the Emperor's opinions. Just wondering if anyone has some insight into this (or can correct me if I've understood wrong).

12-11-2010, 15:59
Remember, there's always the possibility that the Night Lords were wrong...

The underground worship of the Emperor, ironically enough, were hold-overs or recent, accidental converts to the works Lorgar had written some decades prior, before being censured by the Emperor. Given the nature of their worship, we can ascertain that Lorgar's initial beliefs about the Emperor were not unique to him; and that the worshippers themselves likely had an inkling of the consequences that came with engaging in religious activities.

In neither case, though, do these constitute "evidence" for the Primarchs to believe that the Emperor was seeking divine status. At best, Lorgar could have made the case that the Emperor's suppression of all other religious cults was tantamount to him seeking to eventually secure exclusive rights to religious adoration, courtesy of his expanded lifespan.

12-11-2010, 16:02
Do you have a quote? Not doubting you or anything but I myself don't recall much talk about pre-heresy beliefs or causes in the book.

However if your interpretation is correct than it could simply be the result of a misunderstanding/misinterpretation made by the Night Lords themselves. The Night Lords didn't like the Emperor very much and many of them saw him as being a liar. They claim that he ordered the genocide they engaged in but then pretended like they were the bad-guys. It would be fitting with their interpretation of the Emperor as a two-faced schemer to assume that although publicly decrying the Lecticano Divinicus (sp?) (the cult of the Emperor) and punishing Lorgar for similar acts he was secretly using it to create a stronger power base for himself.

I doubt that this indicates a topic that will appear in future HH novels though if ADB gets to do more (or a Night Lords one which my-god do I hope for) we could see it re-emerging in one of those novels.

12-11-2010, 21:34
If you're referring to my post, all my information is from the Horus Heresy novels. There are several instances that show the worship of the Emperor within the Expeditionary Fleets (most prominently, Horus', even before things go bad) is underground.

Lorgar admits to having written the text the worshippers use. I said ironically, because it's quite obviously a hold-over from about five decades in the past (the time when the Emperor rebuked Lorgar for his worship).

12-11-2010, 21:42
I think back in Horus Rising we're introduced to the idea that the Emperor is suppressing religion with the hypocritical intention of eventually setting himself up as a god. However, this is the vision that Horus gets and isn't necessarily 'true'. It's just part of then propoganda against the Emperor by Chaotic forces - although they probably believe what they are saying.

The Word Bearers seem to think the the Emperor is a god, and that he knows he's a god, but is still being a monumental dick about it - that's their beef with him (boiled down and stripped of all interesting subtexts and character).

So Talos isn't wrong, but he is just reflecting one of the may views of the Emperor from the times of the Heresy.

13-11-2010, 01:21
If you're referring to my post, all my information is from the Horus Heresy novels.

No sorry I was referring to the OP and the Soul Hunter book. The info in the HH novels is fairly definitive.

13-11-2010, 11:02
The Word Bearers seem to think the the Emperor is a god, and that he knows he's a god, but is still being a monumental dick about it - that's their beef with him In TFH Lorgar even goes Monty Python on him: "Only a true god ('messiah') denies his own divinity"

Concerning the initial question, you've got Fulgrim claiming exactly this to Ferrus while waving a copy of the lectatio divinatus (sp?) in front of his face (in 'Fulgrim'), so I presume every primarch that was tempted to turn will have heard this argument at some point, including Kurze.
Guess that could have started this claim in the traitor legions.

Night Bearer
15-11-2010, 02:48
I did a quick scan and found two, but I think there's at least one more passage in Soul Hunter referencing this issue.

One is from the bottom of page 167:

"The Emperor abandoned the Great Crusade, and demanded humanity pave the way for his ascension to godhood. I don't expect to topple him from the Golden Throne, but such hubris, such evil, must always be opposed."

The above is from the book's main character, a Night Lord named Talos. He is talking to Abaddon, who has asked Talos why he still fights despite pessimism at ever achieving victory. The discussion occurs in the "modern" era of 40k (e.g. the 41st millennium).

The other one is from page 271, and is Night Haunter speaking to Talos. This conversation, of course, is from the time of the Heresy itself:

"Our crusade of vengeance against the Imperium, against my father's false ascension to godhood, spins upon a fulcrum."

As I said in my original post, Soul Hunter seems to strongly suggest that the Night Lords have believed since the time of the Heresy that the Emperor had claimed to be a god. As I also said, I don't recall the book ever mentioning Logar, the Word Bearers, or the underground Emperor cults of the Great Crusade. Talos references the charge I think several times, and at one point remembers a conversation with Night Haunter where the Primarch himself levels the charge. In addition, although this is inferring, Abaddon doesn't respond directly to Talos' comment about the Emperor trying to ascend to godhood, but given he doesn't discount or object to it, the scene seems to imply that this is a well-known charge - at least to Abaddon - so perhaps the NL were not alone in believing this.

As I said, I hadn't heard this before - that one or possibly more of the Traitor Legions were under the belief that the Emperor had claimed godhood himself, rather than the more familiar storyline of the Word Bearers attempting to claim it for him and being rebuked for it, and that - at least for the NL - this becomes a motivation for rebelling against the Imperium.