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Warhammer 40K Retcon: The First Ultramarines Chief Librarian Was Insane!

3 Minute Read
Oct 21 2021

We’re strolling down memory lane – but today’s trip takes a sharp turn into the Ultramarines crazy retconned early history.

It’s easy to forget that at its origin, Warhammer 40,000 was a meandering stewpot of fiction – borrowing from here and there – both sci-fi classics like DUNE, and Foundation all the way down to the dreck as well.  Before “The Grimdark” became firmly canon, the game, still in its infancy meandered all over the place, into areas that would be later ret-conned, or best forgotten for their own good.

These days everyone knows all about the Chief Librarian of the Ultramarines, Varro Tigurius. A leader amongst leaders, slayer of all manner of foes and eternal enemy of the Tyranid Hivemind. A bulwark against the night that Marneus Calgar is proud to call upon to lead the Chapter’s Librarius.

We now call him “Prime-Time” Tiggy.

Luckily I have a very old collection… including White Dwarf 97 from January 1988:

Enter the ORIGINAL Ultramarines Chief Librarian

Lets walk down memory lane my friends and look at some of the top ranking officers of that most holy of holies, the goody-two-shoes Ultramarines.  Read on my friends of their Chief-Librarian Illiyan Namaste, who stood side by side with Marneus Calgar before a giant Inquisitorial retcon hook whisked him off the 40k stage and placed the properly Grimdark Tigurius in his stead.

Wait WHAT?!

There’s a lot to like in that biography.  First off his parents – mother from Babab (yes, THAT ONE)! Father an Eldar (may even Dark Eldar)!!!!  Apparently Ultramar is a more enlightened tolerant culture than we had ever been led to believe. Snatched after birth and sent to an Imperial orphanage, then he visits Earth, survives the Soul Binding before the Golden Throne intact and then the plot really thickens.

First off he just stays on as a mamber of the Adeptus Telepathica (presumably on Holy Terra) rising up through their ranks for several years. Then he gets transferred to a Imperial Navy vessel, and THEN… he becomes a Space Marine (whew)!


I’m not sure whether my favorite bit is his two years of service with the Dark Angels before induction into the Ultramarines (I’m bettin’ he’s a spy) – or that he costs 181 and a HALF points!

The 1980s were a strange, strange time…

Oh, and in case you thought this was just a one-off White Dwarf Character guess again:

Hey, who’s pauldron is 3rd row down, 2nd from the right? Why I do believe that’s Illiyan’s personal crest (with the Eldar rune over the chapter logo – HERESY!!!) – in COLOR no less! This conspiracy runs deep friends. Never forget the REAL First Librarian of the Ultramarines!

Who knows, maybe Illiyan decided to ditch stuffy Ultramar and go live among the Drukhari and carry on his dad’s career.



…Now if we could just get rules for him on the tabletop again.

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