Let’s dig into another crazy 40K theory, this time about the early days of the Primarchs.
The Primarchs are major players in both the past and present of Warhammer 40,000. The seminal event that kicks off the “main” 40K story, the Horus Heresy, is focused on the conflict between the Primarchs and their godly father. Those that survived that turbulent time continue to influence the fate of the galaxy. As figures of great importance much of their history, from their creation at the Emperor’s hands, to their current fates, has been well documented. Still there remains many mysteries around them, and even things we take as fact may not be true. Such is the topic of today’s theory, the truth behind the scattering of the Primarchs.
What We’ve Been Told
You likely know the story. The Emperor in his power and wisdom created 20 Primarchs, his sons, using his genetic material and strange and arcane arts. These beings where meant to be raised by the Emperor and lead His armies. However while they where still “unborn” (seemingly in test tubes or something of the sort) the Emperor’s plans where undone by the Chaos Gods. They somehow breached the imperial laboratory and caused the Primarchs to be scattered across the void, each one landing alone (save for the twins Alpharius Omegon) on a different, often brutal world. The Primarchs where shaped by their worlds and the struggles they faced there. Eventually over the course of the Great Crusade the Emperor found and recovered his lost sons, though it is possible that the powers of Chaos managed to tamper with them when they where scattered and lost.
That then is the history we have been told, that the Forces of Chaos scattered the Primarchs against the Emperor’s will. However a rather persistent theory has gone around that the Primarchs where never in fact lost, and that the Emperor caused, or wanted them to be scattered. There is a fair amount of evidence that supports this. For one, each Primarch landed on a world (one with human civilization no less). None where lost in the void or simply vanished. In addition dispite them seemingly being “lost” the Emperor doesn’t actually have much trouble finding them, certainly it took time, but it’s not clear he made finding them a huge priority.
If you look at a map of the world’s the Primarchs landed on you can see they are scattered across the Galaxy, yet within a span of time well under 200 years the traveled to each world and found them, though in no logical order. Baal for instance, where Sanguinius was the 10th Primarch to be found is much future from Terra than Nuceria, yet Angron was the the 17th Primarch to be found. On top of this the Emperor normally seemed to arrive at some pivotal moment in the Primarchs life, for Angron it was right as he was perparing to die with his rebel followers, for the Khan it was shortly after the Khan unified his world, for Mortarion it was right as he prepared for the final battle with his adopted father. This represents either incredible luck or active planning on the Emperor’s part.
What The Primarchs Think
Then of course there is the fact the worlds the Primarchs are sent to seem to fit them and their nature well, and that the humans from each corresponding world are a good genetic match. This is brought home to the Primarch Leman Russ in the novel Wolfsbane. As part of a Wyrd journey, almost certainly to the Warp, he is confronted with a being, almost certainly a deamon of some sort, though not necessarily hostile. The deamon takes the form of a Leman Russ born and raised on Terra, rather than Fenris, the following conversation ensues:
“‘you are as I should have been,’ said Russ.
The false Russ displayed his human teeth in a perfect smile, as if lecturing a student who had, in their naivety, said something foolish but amusing.
‘I did not say that. I appear to you as you supposed you should have been, not necessarily as wyrd demanded. Has it never occurred to you that you are as you were intended to be?’
‘I was stolen away,’ said Leman Russ. ‘I was taken from my father’s laboratories along with my brothers.’
‘Were you?’ The false Russ smiled. ‘The primarch-executioner arriving here on this harsh world of wolves? A being whose genetic gift meshes perfectly with the strain of mankind found here? This playground world of sagas and ancient stories made real, welcoming a hero to rule it?’ He laughed softly, a guttural purr that remembered sharp teeth and claws and diets of hot, raw meat. ‘Do you not think any of that is odd, or, dare I say it, convenient?'”
So there we have, if not confirmation, another very strong hint that the Primarchs were never lost. Indeed several Primarchs, including Guilliman and Sanguinius also believed their scattering had been part of the Emperor’s plan. Of course this would imply that the Emperor knew of the world his Primarchs went to beforehand, so he could pick good matches. Wolfsbane implies just this as well, with the Emperor telling Horus that Fenris is in fact a manufactured world from the Dark Age of Technology- designed to emulated Norse myths. Could it be that the Emperor Himself actually designed and built Fenris and the other Primarch home worlds for his sons?
I think it’s pretty clear that the Primarchs were not scattered at random, the locations they landed were chosen, though whether by the Chaos Gods, as we were lead to think, or by the Emperor is a matter of debate. This does leave the question of why the Emperor would want his Sons scattered, rather than raised with him. There are three main possibilities here:
- The scattering was part of the deal the Emperor made with Chaos to gain the knowledge to make the Primarchs. He didn’t want it to happen, but allowed it and maybe twisted odds in his favor.
- He did it to throw off Chaos, hiding the Primarchs and making the Chaos gods think he wasn’t a big threat.
- He did it as part of his plan to raise the Primarchs. Each Primarch was sent to a world that fit their nature and would shape them how the Emperor wanted. It allowed Him a subtle level of control while giving the Primrachs experience and confidence and shaping them to His vision without their knowing, By doing this he was able to control the manner of their meeting, and create a narrative of the “father” finding his “sons” which would endear most Primarchs to him (as opposed to the cold creator placing them in danger to suit his own ends).
Now personally I think #3 is true. I find this theory overall pretty likely, at least in some form, as it fits with a lot of factors. This kind of subtle control is how the Emperor likes to operate. We’ll have to wait to see if the truth every really comes out, but this is my bet for now.
Let us know what you think of this theory, down in the comments.