Howdy, everyone! Ryan here with yet another insightful and well informed bit of background on everyone’s absolutely most favorite Lord of War and the greatest Primarch ever to breathe the sweet air bestowed upon him by his loving and completely benign father, The Emperor of Conflicted Backstory.
Arnold, I’m talking about Roboute Guilliman.
Without further ado (not adieu, and the confusing of the two constitutes an ‘eggcorn.’ See? Learn something new every day. You’re welcome, Future Writers of America), here is some completely pointless backstory on the Primarch of the XIII Legion.
Anyway, back when the Emperor was cooking up his ultimate third grade science project and being all over-achiever and humiliating all the other kids, especially that smug ass Barry with his stupid billowing smoke Vesuvius that was obviously made by his parents, he went all balls out science and created a batch of the twenty greatest garbage pail kids every to exist. These beyond perfect specimens each exhibited dominant strengths, inhuman capabilities, and thanks to GW finally hiring writers who understood the idea that ‘flawed characters are infinitely more interesting,’ soul crushing yet completely relatable foibles and faults which really solidified each of them as both epic and tragic figures caught in a grimdark comedy written by an uncaring and indifferent father.
Yes, those were two very long run on sentences. You’re welcome, Future Editors of America.
Anyway, one of the most blessed, and most beloved, was none other than the epitome of everything that is Mary Sue, Roboute Guilliman, or as he might be known at your FLGS, Rowboat Girlyman, Bobby G, RubUrbutt Gigglefarts, Ribblesdick Gymblibottoms, or when one is hungry, Robblerobble McRobblerobble. There is also my personal favorite, Rowboaty McRowboatface.
Seriously, GW, his name is the gaming equivalent of Benedict Cumberbatch.
Yes, I have a point. So, The Emperor rolls up on Macragge, which, as you might guess, was just about the most wonderful place to live, because it was awesome and beautiful and fed its citizens tacos not just on Tuesday, but every day, because screw you Lorgar with your ‘tacos are only for Tuesdays’ nonsense.
Here he found one of his lost sons, and found him leading this Utopia as one of the greatest military minds, one of the wisest and most beloved rulers, as someone who instantly reminds me of this every time I see him:
Or, if you’re totally a child of the 80s:
So, Roboute and his merry band of Ultra Marines from the Realm of Ultramar (c wut they did thar) were enjoined and went forth in the name of the Emperor, and the Imperium, and through millennia of war and strife, consistently showed their battle prowess, courage, honor, and military superiority. In short, until more sound writers grabbed hold of the running narrative, complete Mary Sue-ness.
Okay, let’s go all meta for the moment. You see, Roboute, early on in his literary life, was just perfect, actually, beyond perfect. In the fiction, he seemed as without fault, and steamrolled his enemies while not only beating them into the dirt, but making them look completely incompetent in the process. In fact, many like to argue that were it not for some of the writers given task to construct more well-rounded stories, Roboute would read like obnoxious, poorly written fanfiction that just somehow managed to get itself published by the writers most likely engaging in salacious acts with the Nerd Herd over in Nottingham.
It wasn’t until works like Know No Fear started to humanize Roboute in a fashion that readers could begin to relate with, and if not like, at least respect, and understand where Space Caesar was coming from.
Yeah, I ended that sentence with a preposition. You’re welcome, Future Teachers of America.
So, maybe he isn’t all that bad.
And thus, like all of his brethren, Roboute spent his time during the Horus Heresy battling with unresolved daddy issues, and also engaging in one of the galaxy’s greatest grudge matches with taco denier Lorgar and his wayward miscreants, The Word Bearers.
Throw in Angron and his World Eaters, a sound dosage of planetary genocide, and a healthy pinch of classical mythic construction and dramaturgy, and you have a pretty good series of novels that illustrated one of the most interesting, tragic, and epic campaigns in the entire lore. If you’re curious about reading, and you should be, you can start with Betrayal at Calth, which is a wonderful anthology comprising quite a few books, and definitely worth your money, or your illegal download if you’re a shifty criminal who wears dark hoodies. Because all criminals wear hoodies. Fact.
As the heresy continues to shamble on like an Easter weekend telethon for juvenile delinquents, Roboute gets this wonderful idea in his head that his Pops back on Terra has gone all Laura Palmer and everything is obviously ruined. He decided he must fix this, and instates his Imperium Secundus, which is going to basically be The Imperium, only with more Imperium, and better. Like if the Imperium was turned up to eleven.
Word gets round of this little shindig, and upset that he didn’t get an RSVP in the mail, the most anachronistically named Primarch in the Imperium, Lion El’Johnson, decides to crash the party.
Side Note: do you think GW missed a HUGE opportunity by not giving The Lion a very close friend named Os’Car Wylde, Primarch of the House Pomegranates, who falls to the lure of Slaanesh, and when you pit both armies against one another, The Lion has a three point stratagem entitled “A Spiteful Malediciton of Your Agonizing Rebuke” in which the Dark Angels player has to recite a nasty limerick at the top of his (or her) lungs, and then may automatically destroy any House Pomegranate unit on the board. Overpowered AF.
These two bickering Betsies, just go on and on and on, so much so that the First Emo of His Name, Sanguinias, steps in and both Little Caesar’s and Poet McPoetface agree that if anyone is going to run this Muppet Show, it should be That Thing with the Wings.
Somewhere in the middle of this lovefest, they figure out that they were, of course, the victims of subterfuge as that sneaky Bearer of Tacos, Lorgar, was yet again, yanking their strings and subtly manipulating them into heretical actions.
Eventually, The Battling Bros of Literary Inspiration will hustle back to Terra, where they’ll get into huge fights, help repel the forces of Chaos, and play a game of Rock Paper Scissors to figure out who gets the honor of taking on The Emperor’s former Number One Stunner and Primarch with one of the most questionable and nonsensical arcs for falling so quickly and somewhat anticlimactically to the embrace of Chaos, Horus.
Everyone knows how this plays out. That Thing with The Wings gets killed by Horus, Horus gets killed by The Emperor, The Emperor gets a boo-boo just prior and has to go sit down for a bit, and Roboute is now the Boss, and he bosses by turning Space Marines Legions into Chapters, and writes this:
Which, consequently, being nothing more than obnoxious, poorly written fan fiction, no one bought.
Anyway, Roboute traipses across the galaxy with his smurfs, meting justice and imparting wisdom, and in one of the most dramatically appropriate and narratively synergistic decisions made in any of the lore, at one of the most important battles in the history of the Imperium, Roboute engages Lorgar one last time, in a battle of Gods in which the planet thunders beneath their feet with every shattering blow cast between them, and culminates with the decapitation of Roboute, as he tragically falls in battle, as his smurfs flock to his side, to quickly mourn his passing, and then completely annihilate their opponents as they chant his name in victory, bearing the word of Guilliman, forevermore.
Just kidding. He literally almost loses his head by Fulgrim’s blade on some Podunk backwater planet. Completely anticlimactic.
Horus’ Fall, meet Roboute’s Near Decapitation.
But he’s not dead. Just mostly.
Next time, we’ll continue this little chat about everyone’s favorite Primarch in the modern age. If I don’t get fired, first.
Now, that would be a worthy climax.
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