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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Graham McNeill had a bit to say today on the Ultramari... sorry...GW website.

Graham: I've written six novels (with more to come!) about the Ultramarines, and a question I've been asked a few times is, 'Why the Ultramarines? Why not pick an interesting Chapter?' That's a question that astounds me every time I hear it, as I look at the Ultramarines and think, why wouldn't I want to write about these guys? I've long had a bee in my bonnet about people thinking the Ultramarines are uninteresting, an irrational prejudice I think probably stems from the fact that the sons of Guilliman don't have any special abilities that allow them to bend the basic rules of the game. But fie upon you for such foolishness! If there's any one Chapter that best encapsulates what the Space Marines are, it's the Ultramarines.

The Space Marines were created to conquer the galaxy, to drive away hostile aliens and reunite the disparate strands of Mankind in one grand unification. A noble aim that, thanks to the treachery of one of the Emperor's sons, was snatched away just as it was within reach. In the slow stagnation that followed, the Adeptus Astartes (as they were now known) each fought on with their own interpretation of the Emperor's will to guide them. To my mind, the only Chapter to stay true to the Emperor's original plan was the Ultramarines. They're one of the few Chapters that recognise that they were created to serve Mankind. Their entire existence is predicated on the understanding that mortal humans are the true inheritors of the galaxy, not the Space Marines. It was for the ordinary men and women of the species that the Emperor began his Great Crusade, and the Space Marines were his instrument to achieve it.

In a galaxy of grim darkness, the Ultramarines are true heroes, warriors who fight to keep the Emperor's dream of unity alive. They are physically superior to mortals in almost every way, but where some Chapters keep an aloof distance between themselves and humans to the point where they can barely relate to them, the Ultramarines are part of the very fabric of the worlds they protect. Ultramar is, in microcosm, what the Imperium should be, and telling stories with proper Heroes is what really fires me up. I love to tell stories about a good anti-hero or villain as much as the next man, but that seems almost too easy. I prefer to tell stories that are the spots of illumination against the darkness, the tales where you can see the flickering, distant flame that is the light at the end of the tunnel. It's guttering and almost dead, but there's still hope it might not go out. And that's why I love writing about the Ultramarines; they're the Chapter that best embody that fragile hope's protectors. Without them to admire and inspire those around them, the Imperium is just a hellish nightmare from which you can't awaken. With them, it's a struggle that might, just might, be won someday.
The fact that he had to create a character who doesn't think or act like your normal Smurf to make them interesting kinda shoots his own argument in the foot, but there you have it...
 

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Except of course in Courage and Honour where Ventris does, and ends up being just as kick-ass as when he went rogue. Uriel Ventris still had the Ultramarine ideals as a central part of his character, the Sons of Guilliman do not begin and end within the Codex Astartes- it's a tome that they follow to make war, not how they interact with the world around them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Except of course in Courage and Honour where Ventris does, and ends up being just as kick-ass as when he went rogue.
I'll reserve judgement, as this is on my shelf waiting to be read.

As to the smurfs being boring, I don't think so. What I do think is that people are bored of looking at them. There are so many other chapters just as interesting if not more so, but are blatantly ignored by GW, and I think people resent that. Thus the smurf hate.
 

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I think Khorne's Fist nailed it. You see Ultramarines everywhere, which from a positive viewpoint makes the other chapters far more interesting by default. It's a 'grass is greener' situation.

I think the Ultramarines really embody the whole concept of what it is to be a Space Marine, though.

See me run from them.

I'm running.
 

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I heartily agree with what McNeill said about who the Ultramarines are. Sadly, I wish that was how he actually wrote them in his novels.

"the Ultramarines are true heroes, warriors who fight to keep the Emperor's dream of unity alive" may be what he wanted to convey, but every novel (including Courage & Honor) reads more like "the Ultramarines are true heroes who play Choose Your Own Adventure with the Codex Astartes"

Khorne Bezerker - swings a gore coated chain axe
Black Templar - parries with a Power Sword chained to his arm
Ultramarine - busily searches through his copy of the Codex to find out if he should fire his bolter, swing his chainsword, throw a grenade, drop his ceramite undies and moon the Mek Boyz, etc..

I don't have a beef with McNeill or his writing, but I certainly understand why so many people have ill feelings towards the smurfs.
 

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He does show in one of the novels though (killing ground maybe?) that they can be bested...


(not a big spoiler but just in case)

then again though, the grey knights are uber elite...
 

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Bah, both Uriel and Pasanius were dead tired and I think Pasanius was missing an arm.
 

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Bah, both Uriel and Pasanius were dead tired and I think Pasanius was missing an arm.
Who needs TWO arms, anyways?

That was kind of inspiring. I mean, not like "I'm gonna join the Adeptus Astartes and be an Ultramarine!", but "That made me feel a little warm and fuzzy inside". I especially like how he used a sputtering flame as his light at the end of the tunnel, not the headlight of a rapidly approaching train. Much better imagery.
 

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I heartily agree with what McNeill said about who the Ultramarines are. Sadly, I wish that was how he actually wrote them in his novels.

"the Ultramarines are true heroes, warriors who fight to keep the Emperor's dream of unity alive" may be what he wanted to convey, but every novel (including Courage & Honor) reads more like "the Ultramarines are true heroes who play Choose Your Own Adventure with the Codex Astartes"

Khorne Bezerker - swings a gore coated chain axe
Black Templar - parries with a Power Sword chained to his arm
Ultramarine - busily searches through his copy of the Codex to find out if he should fire his bolter, swing his chainsword, throw a grenade, drop his ceramite undies and moon the Mek Boyz, etc..

I don't have a beef with McNeill or his writing, but I certainly understand why so many people have ill feelings towards the smurfs.
Very well put! I don't have anything against the writing per say, since like in everything in life, there has to be something neutral. In our case, its the ultrasmurfs. However, I do get annoyed when they get the Superman syndrome as it were and defy all odds...that's just wrong...
 

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Commonly, throughout fictional works, the protagonist overcomes improbable odds to carry the day, often times in some unconventional manner. This isn't just 40k works, but all works. Sure you could point out the exceptions, but if you look, more stories than not see the protagonist victorious.

This becomes even more important when dealing with Ultramarines, who are supposed to be the beacons of hope, shining through the grimdark. This means they will win a little more, be a little tougher, a little faster, a little smarter; whatever it takes to carry the day. They suffer losses, of course (First Tyrannic War, Honsou's raid of Ultramar, etc.), but they won't ever completely lose or die off, as they represent the opposite of Chaos.

After all, if we don't have the ultra-good guys to balance out the ultra-bad guys, what is the point of the story? Plus, hating the Ultramarines is just as good to a good author as loving the Ultramarines; ambivalence towards them is what the authors are striving to avoid.
 

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While the Ultramarines are not my favourite chapter I thoroughly enjoyed the Omnibus, The Killing Ground and Courage and Honour because the main character Uriel Ventris works very well for me. I'll pick up The Chapter's Due as soon as it's available as paperback.
 

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I enjouyed the smurf books right up till the crazy monster loving that happens. i mean really....
You mean the Unfleshed? That's a storyline I enjoyed very much. And yes, I shed a few tears at the end of The Killing Ground.
 

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you have to remember though that those mutants did not have a choice whether to become mutants or not and Ventris gave them the benefit of the doubt
 

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I know were your all coming from but to me but from a half assed smurf, chinwagging with a child like death handing out mutant....just leaves a bad taste.
 
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