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Things You Like About... Path of Heaven


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#26
Kelborn

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"Beware the off topic. Its corruption is subtle, barely noticeable. Yet, it is one of the Great Four powers of the web, whose names are forbidden in the sacred halls of knowledge.

It deludes us. It entertains us. But most notably, it distracts us. Save your souls, my brothers.

 

Beware."

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private notes of Magus Revresbo, declared Suntus Amissica by the Ordo Hereticus


Edited by Kelborn, 10 July 2019 - 04:57 PM.

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#27
Fedor

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I didn't really think McNeill actually did portray the main Emperor's Children characters as dandies or with lots of effeminate stereotypes. He's certainly not a subtle writer and definitely did embrace that angle with Fulgrim himself, but the captains were different and for the most part as well developed/distinct as Cario was imo.

 

Marius was a very by the book "chain of command is everything" and true believer in the crusade Loken sort of miltary character archetype that gets drawn into Biles experiments because he feels he's let the Primarch down. It's more of a look at how that kind of miltary yes man sort can be utterly corrupted than anything to do with upper-class viscious fops and feckless dandies duelling each other over any perceived slight and wallowing in decadence.

 

Demeter is another miltary archetype, the sort that loves that life and the "rush of battle", he's set up initially as the one that might be most expected to fall and then McNeill tries to subvert that.

 

Kaesoron is the closest to that kind of criticism but i found him to really be more about how further exposure to potentially subversive/extreme philosophy and politics can corrupt or be misinterepreted disastrously by those already on an ideological path/following a code they have built up for themselves or are of an unsuitable mindset to take it all in the first place. It was a surface level take on a supporting character and not some masterfully executed deep dive character study, but i got more out of it than Beau Brummel in purple armour.

 

Of Emperor's Children depictions i'd say Abnett's Horus Rising supporting character stuff was the worst of all the takes imo, though tbf he was doing the book least focused on them, and Lucius is the character that would most suit working from the arrogant duelling noble template. I just wish he had made him a bit more 3d and less obviously signposted full of hubris villain. Eidolon is presented as just your typical incompetent upper-class callous officer military fiction archetype and only there to be taken down a peg or two by the heroes.


Edited by Fedor, 10 July 2019 - 07:19 PM.


#28
JH79

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I'm no fan of Eidolon, Fulgrim or the 3rd Legion, however I have enjoyed most of McNeils Heresy entries covering them... that said, there really is no comparison in terms of his & Wraights presentation of the 3rd, and by that i also mean Eidolon in particular. McNeils take on the character, when viewed post POH is almost childish and poses as much threat & menace as a watered down PG13 bad guy at the movies... in POH you really get the sense of danger and near insane levels of fearlessness... just look at when he thought he was facing the Khan during the opening moments of the novel, pure class!!


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#29
mc warhammer

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what's great about the EC in path... is that wraight makes the whole pursuit of perfection work. it's both a virtue and a weapon in this book, whereas before it was just kinda lip service and odd mantra. this was the book that finally made the EC feel like they had their own distinct culture, in the same way the rout or ultramarines did.

I didn't really think McNeill actually did portray the main Emperor's Children characters as dandies or with lots of effeminate stereotypes. He's certainly not a subtle writer and definitely did embrace that angle with Fulgrim himself, but the captains were different and for the most part as well developed/distinct as Cario was imo.


i think the issue was more that once the dandification occurs (and that fall to chaos = dandies), alot of that distinction falls by the wayside.

looking back on that book after reading path, the captains of fulgrim seemed a bit vanilla. almost like luna wolves but they banged on about perfection instead of speartips.


Of Emperor's Children depictions i'd say Abnett's Horus Rising supporting character stuff was the worst of all the takes imo, though tbf he was doing the book least focused on them, and Lucius is the character that would most suit working from the arrogant duelling noble template. I just wish he had made him a bit more 3d and less obviously signposted full of hubris villain. Eidolon is presented as just your typical incompetent upper-class callous officer military fiction archetype and only there to be taken down a peg or two by the heroes.


i thought abnett did the best 3d lucius i'd read in the series so far:


Lucius was younger than Tarvitz, though they were both old enough to have seen many wonders in their lives. They were friends, except that the balance of their friendship was steeply and invisibly weighted in one direction. Saul and Lucius represented the bipolar aspect of their Legion... It was all about purity, not superiority. That’s what the other Legions always failed to understand.


and


Tarvitz frowned. Lucius was right. Primarch Fulgrim taught that only by imperfection could they fail the Emperor, and onlyby recognising those failures could they eradicate them. Tarvitz wished someone would remind Eidolon of that key tenet of their Legion’s philosophy.

‘I made a mistake,’ Lucius admitted. ‘I used that blade thing. I relished it. It was xenos. Lord Eidolon was right to reprimand me.’

‘I told you it was xenos. Twice.’

‘Yes, you did. I owe you an apology for that. You were right, Saul. I’m sorry.’

‘Never mind.’

Lucius put his hand on Tarvitz’s plated arm and stopped him. ‘No, it’s not. I’m a fine one to talk. You are always so grounded, Saul. I know I mock you for that. I’m sorry. I hope we’re still friends.’

‘Of course.

‘Your steadfast manner is a true virtue,’ Lucius said. ‘I become obsessive sometimes, in the heat of things. It is an imperfection of

my character. Perhaps you can help me overcome it. Perhaps I can learn from you.’ His voice had that childlike tone in it that had made Tarvitz like him in the first place.

Edited by mc warhammer, 11 July 2019 - 05:03 AM.

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#30
bluntblade

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There were definitely lulls with several Legions in between a good introduction and an author really fleshing them out.

I like how there are also variances within the Legion too - the Konenos and Von Kalda scene is really interesting in that regard.
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#31
Xisor

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A friend once described his former love of "Fulgrim" as a case of mistaken identity.

It was restrained enough that you could infer things about it that might or might not have been present in the text, evocative enough but without being precise enough to break the idea.

Then you get "The Reflection Crack'd", "Angel Exterminatus", "Vengeful Spirit", "The Crimson King" and you could see that all those wonderful things in "Fulgrim" weren't subtle allusions, they were crude structures haphazardly, 'provocatively' placed that just managed to gel well with unintended tricks of the light at that time of day you read the thing.

If McNeill intend them to be there, and to give the effect it seemed to give, it's difficult to think he just decided not to bother with that sort of nice detail in the later books on not dissimilar explorations of such topics. (Contrast Mechanicus with his Nouns of Mars Trilogy. The former good but patchy, the latter a genuinely deeper and more intriguing exploration of similar, related and other ideas through other characters and other stories. They're genuinely grand books, in my esteem.)

Instead, for the Heresy and the ECs it was more delving into caricatures a la Fututama's Hedonismbot, but with less wryly self-aware commentary. (And there's not that much of it with Hedonismbot.)

---

And that's what I love about 'Path of Heaven', aside from the entire bloody novel and every related detail.

With Wraight's work, it's not an accident that he's alluding to themes, to dealing with complicated ideas in simple sketches, but without simplifying the ideas. He manages to breath credibility into the Emperor's Children as both being true to themselves, and true to the meta-concept of themselves, yet *ALSO* being poetic and beautiful and tragic and funny and whimsical and boundary-breaking.

And competent.

Jesus.

Seeing a character be astonishingly arrogant and overconfident, but also *actually competeny* as well. (Not necessarily in pace with their ego, but enough to not just be "arrogance = incompetent".)

Yeah, that's a hell of a thing to enjoy.

Edited by Xisor, 11 July 2019 - 05:19 PM.


#32
b1soul

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"upper-class viscious fops and feckless dandies duelling each other over any perceived slight and wallowing in decadence"

This is what I get from McNeill's work

"Lucius was younger than Tarvitz, though they were both old enough to have seen many wonders in their lives. They were friends, except that the balance of their friendship was steeply and invisibly weighted in one direction. Saul and Lucius represented the bipolar aspect of their Legion... It was all about purity, not superiority. That’s what the other Legions always failed to understand.

and

Tarvitz frowned. Lucius was right. Primarch Fulgrim taught that only by imperfection could they fail the Emperor, and onlyby recognising those failures could they eradicate them. Tarvitz wished someone would remind Eidolon of that key tenet of their Legion’s philosophy.
‘I made a mistake,’ Lucius admitted. ‘I used that blade thing. I relished it. It was xenos. Lord Eidolon was right to reprimand me.’
‘I told you it was xenos. Twice.’
‘Yes, you did. I owe you an apology for that. You were right, Saul. I’m sorry.’
‘Never mind.’
Lucius put his hand on Tarvitz’s plated arm and stopped him. ‘No, it’s not. I’m a fine one to talk. You are always so grounded, Saul. I know I mock you for that. I’m sorry. I hope we’re still friends.’
‘Of course.
‘Your steadfast manner is a true virtue,’ Lucius said. ‘I become obsessive sometimes, in the heat of things. It is an imperfection of
my character. Perhaps you can help me overcome it. Perhaps I can learn from you.’ His voice had that childlike tone in it that had made Tarvitz like him in the first place."

This is great. Lucius is showing some maturity here and trying to overcome his trademark petulance and egotism. Ultimately he was unable to do so, but it's great to see him reflect upon his flaws.

#33
mc warhammer

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@b1soul, i’d have liked to have seen that swing between maturity and petulance be a bigger part of lucius’ struggle in the opening trilogy, but this is the only time we glimpse it afaik
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