The Emperor; Whats His Motivation?

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The Emperor; Whats His Motivation?

Post by MarkOfNotch » Tue Oct 11, 2016 6:35 pm

I've been going through Black Librarys 30k novels series again and there is one character who is fascinating above all the others. That is, of course, the Emperor. I was just about to start re-reading Unremembered Empire by Dan Abnett and this introductory quote caught my eye..
“An ambition to save humanity is almost always a disguise for the desire to rule it.’

– attributed to the Panpacific tyrant Narthan Dume,
in the era of the Unification of Terra [M30]”
It makes you wonder about the Emperor, and how good or bad he really is. He's always described by Imperium characters as the Saviour of Humanity but how true is that really? I have never thought the Emperor or the Loyalist Space Marines are the good guys in this story, by any stretch of the imagination. And I certainly think the Emperor is a selfish, myopic human whose arrogance might have ruined everything and given Chaos more power than it could have dreamed of. All because he wanted power for himself.

He lets Primarchs like Angron, Curze, Perturabo and even Russ brutally massacre entire populations of civilised, peaceful worlds just to bring them to 'compliance' with his vision of what society should be. In forcing societies to become 'compliant' with his beliefs, he is enforcing his views on others much like a fascist dictator- its mentioned that he has killed billions more than Hitler ever did. When he's unhappy with Lorgar he doesn't try and correct things subtly, he instead humiliates Lorgar and his legion in front of Gulliman and the Ultramarines which basically set off the chain of events that resulted in the Horus Heresy. By the way, Lorgars crime was to linger on after compliance to help rebuild as well as spreading his religion- because Lorgar was one of the few Primarchs interested in improving the lives of the people on the worlds he conquered. He doesn't trust his "children" (i.e the Primarchs) enough to tell about the true threat of Chaos leaving them vulnerable to manipulation, and the reason they are vulnerable is because he basically abandons them with no warning and leaves them alone with no guidance- which is terrible "parenting", and quite selfish. John Grammaticus, a perpetual who probably knows more about Chaos than any almost any other human, calls him a "Bloodthirsty B@stard'. And finally, it is heavily implied in Vengeful Spirit that the Emperor received his power from the Chaos Gods themselves..although this could very, very easily be more lies from the Chaos Gods to manipulate Horus- thats actually pretty likely

Essentially, I think the Emperor has caused the current dire and destructive state of the 40k universe through his own selfish and bloodthirsty actions. What do you think? Is there anything redeeming about him as a character? Is he the saviour or messiah he thinks he is? Or is he just another warmongering, authoritarian dictator?
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Re: The Emperor; Whats His Motivation?

Post by Moonlit » Sat Oct 15, 2016 12:42 pm

Sounds like the words of a traitor to me. His plans are beyond our comprehension obviously.
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Re: The Emperor; Whats His Motivation?

Post by MarkOfNotch » Sat Oct 15, 2016 4:35 pm

*BLAM*

Heresy :wink:
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Re: The Emperor; Whats His Motivation?

Post by MarkOfNotch » Sat Oct 15, 2016 4:36 pm

Honestly between my local commissar and my local chaos cult, I don't think I would do very well in the 40k universe. But then... does anyone?
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Re: The Emperor; Whats His Motivation?

Post by Guildenstern » Sun Oct 16, 2016 1:29 pm

He's definitely an interesting character especially considering how long he's been around (within the story time line). Makes you wonder why did he wait so long? Was he waiting for technology to get to the point where it would be worthwhile to try to unify humanity? Did something finally push him into making that decision? Maybe the imminent destruction of the Earth during the actual unification wars (or prior to them really). Might be more books with information about that in them, I've only read a few so I could be missing some stuff.

I tend to look at him like God Emperor of Dune. Did Leto really want to rule all of mankind? No, he tried to avoid it, although not as much as his father Paul did, and yet he took on the burden eventually to try to teach mankind in the only way he could, what it really needed to unify and actually keep it unified for once in its existence. Something apparently only 10000 years of being ruled and deliberately evolved by a God Emperor could do.

Also, unlike the Dune universe, there is a real outside enemy, which may well be why the Emperor in the 40k universe is necessarily so brutal.
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Re: The Emperor; Whats His Motivation?

Post by MarkOfNotch » Tue Oct 18, 2016 1:23 pm

Yeah I definitely agree that 40k is strongly, strongly, strongly influenced by the Dune universe. Not just in the Emperor, but other things like the navigators show some of Dunes DNA.

I love Dune but its about the Atreides family and the eventual rise and fall of the God-Emperor. The 40k Emperor is a much more confusing and opaque character. We see some very strange things in how he relates to the Primarchs. He is very distant to many of them. Just gives them an army and puts them to work. It is said that in some cases he spent days talking with them when he first discovered them but we never see it depicted.

I think that really he either does or doesn't have a grand design, but the tragedy of him is his inability to be a father to these Primarchs. If he had just explained things to them, trusted them, could it have all been avoided?
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Re: The Emperor; Whats His Motivation?

Post by MarkOfNotch » Tue Oct 18, 2016 1:34 pm

Guildenstern wrote:I tend to look at him like God Emperor of Dune. Did Leto really want to rule all of mankind? No, he tried to avoid it, although not as much as his father Paul did, and yet he took on the burden eventually to try to teach mankind in the only way he could, what it really needed to unify and actually keep it unified for once in its existence. Something apparently only 10000 years of being ruled and deliberately evolved by a God Emperor could do.
Well what Leto wanted to do was to put so much strain on humanity that after his downfall it would eventually shatter and scatter across the unknown regions of the galaxy- to be so oppressive and dominate humanity so much that it would evolve to the point where it could never be dominated by anything ever again, and therefore survive the bigger threat. And also to breed the 'Siona gene' into the species which allows humans to be invisible to prescience.

God, I loved Dune, I've got to reread those books. I never read beyond Chapeterhouse: Dune because I heard the books written by his son weren't up to much.
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Re: The Emperor; Whats His Motivation?

Post by Guildenstern » Tue Oct 18, 2016 1:40 pm

Yup I forgot about the gene part - but God yeah they were good.

The latter ones aren't as bad (written by his son) as people make out.

No, they're not "Dune" but really nothing is.

I didn't like all of the new ones, but a lot of the ones about the Machine War (crusade? forget exact name) and the AIs are awesome to read as background, as is ... oh the gal who discovered how to make the engines that fold space with a Navigator (can't think of her name either!)

Anyway, still good reads.
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Re: The Emperor; Whats His Motivation?

Post by MarkOfNotch » Thu Nov 03, 2016 7:37 am

Master of Mankind coming in December! Should be interesting... how much do they want to give away about the big E? And how much should be left to speculation?

I feel we won't get a PoV from the big man. It's Dembski-Bowden, whose Heresy stuff has been very good so far.
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Re: The Emperor; Whats His Motivation?

Post by Arnathos » Thu Nov 03, 2016 9:04 am

I think the whole point of the setting is that the Emperor's true motives are unknown. That's why many people were not too exited when the emperor black library novel was announced. He has some beef with the chaos gods and a basic understanding of the source of their power, hence the 'imperial truth' thing, which was also the main reason for Lorgar being punished, I mean look what his imperial cult did to the Imperium!

There are some theories out there, like the Emperor possibly being a chaos god himself or at least having a strange beef with the chaos gods.

We will have to wait for a 40k endtimes, or the new novel to shed some light on weither he is a good guy or a bad guy. And the road to hell is paved with good intentions after all.

Oh and as for borrowing, 40k has ripped off most major sci-fi IP's.
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Re: The Emperor; Whats His Motivation?

Post by MarkOfNotch » Wed Nov 16, 2016 6:48 pm

Just an FYI; the first chapter for Master of Mankind is available as a preview on the Black Library website. Based on my reading that excerpt, I think it has the potential to be an absolutely cracking novel
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Re: The Emperor; Whats His Motivation?

Post by MarkOfNotch » Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:24 pm

So, many interesting things in Master of Mankind and I'm only halfway through. Would take a long time to parse, and still waiting to see what happens in the rest of the novel but this part was interesting- big spoilers, be warned before clicking...
[+] Expand
Told in flashback, a high-ranking Technoarchaeologist in the Mechanicum, Arkhan Land, is summoned to see the Emperor. The Emperor is operating on Angron, trying to find a way to remove the Butchers Nails but he comes to the conclusion he can't without killing him. He decides without emotion that a 'compromised Primarch is still a Primarch'. Land is shocked.

“Land hesitated. ‘You are more sanguine than I would have imagined in this moment, even knowing of your holy detachment from emotion.’
‘What would the alternative be?’ The Emperor laid the bloodstained gloves on a nearby surgical trolley, where red-marked knives and other instruments lay wet and freshly used. ‘That I might mourn the Twelfth as though it were my injured son, and I its grieving father?’
‘Never that, Divine One.’ Arkhan chose his words with care. ‘Though some might expect that.’
The Emperor unlocked the sealed vambraces of His hazard suit, then removed the surgical mask that had covered His face until now. ‘It is not my son, Arkhan. None of them are. They are warlords, generals, tools bred to serve a purpose. Just as the Legions were bred to serve a purpose.”

Excerpt From: Aaron Dembski-Bowden. “The Master of Mankind.” iBooks.


That seems pretty unequivocal- I feel Lorgar cared much more about Angron than the Emperor even did, about any of them. In fact he just refers them by number in this scene. For instance Angron is 'The Twelfth'.

He's still a cipher, but he's brutal as a character.
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Re: The Emperor; Whats His Motivation?

Post by Guildenstern » Mon Nov 28, 2016 7:33 pm

Aargh I'm really wanting that novel!! But honestly I worry that it'll ruin it. I mean one of the great things about the Emperor is that you can ascribe whatever motivation to him you really want atm, because it's not out in the open, what his endgame is. I don't want to be disappointed :( sometimes mystery is better... Not sure I can resist though!
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Re: The Emperor; Whats His Motivation?

Post by MarkOfNotch » Tue Nov 29, 2016 5:46 am

I've finished it now. And I don't want to give away anything but I'll say... for me Dembski-Bowden does a great job of both showing us much more of the Emperor than we've ever seen before but also keeping him as being a fairly ambiguous and mysterious figure.

It's a good novel, with all sorts of cool lore in it. Recommend it highly.
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