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October 22, 2006

eMCee ( writes:

William Blake, who is best known in the Haloverse for connections drawn from "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" in the Cortana Letters, also wrote a long and complex fictional mythology that appears to parallel the different factions of the Story.

The essentials of the myth are the four main characters known as Zoas. These four were derived from a primordial man named Albion, who fell and "split" into these four Zoas. Their names are Urizen, Luvah, Urthona, and Tharmas. Right off the bat we can draw a few conclusions. First, each of the names sounds similar to another word: Urizen/Reason, Luvah/Lover, Urthona/Earth, Tharmas/Tharms (Tharms is an archaic word meaning "twisted guts"). From these meanings we can begin to classify some of the factions of Halo as parallel to specific Zoas.

I suppose the most obvious parallel is Tharmas, as "twisted guts" describes The Flood pretty well, but the support for the connection doesn't end there. While poking around on google I found a page at devoted to Blake, and found a few charts that display the different qualities of the Zoas. A chart taken from William Blake: The Complete Poems (ed. Alicia Ostriker) divides the Zoas into qualities such as Eternal Role, Fallen Character, Fallen Form, and Region. Of particular interest is the Fallen Form of Tharmas, which can be described as "Flood" or "Chaos." The Region associated with Tharmas is "circumference," possibly a symbol for Halo.

Urthona threw me for a loop at first because its association with Earth led me to believe it represented humanity, but things didn't add up. A chart by Northrop Frye taken from Fearful Symmetry: A Study of William Blake associated Urthona with things like "Death" (more akin to sleep) and an underground dwelling. The release of the Halo 3 trailer clarified this for me, leading me to believe that Urthona is a symbol for The Forerunner. The possible presence of The Ark under Earth's surface helps to associate Urthona with the Forerunner on Earth.

Humanity is represented by Luvah. Luvah is asscociated with "Passion" and "Rebellion" according to Ostriker's Chart, and also has the Fallen Character of "Orc and the Shadowy Female" (the combination of which can also be called "Demon Red"). I believe this to be symbolic of the Master Chief and Cortana, as they are "rebelling" against The Covenant in a sense, and Cortana is a shadowy female without a doubt.

Urizen is the only one left, and is represenative of The Covenant. Urizen is associated with "God, Priest, or King," and has the virture of Faith and the fallen character of Doubt and Tyranny. Urizen is the antagonist of Blake's Mythology, and is in constant opposition with the other Zoas, just as The Covenant are the antagonistic force in Halo.

These parallels might not add much to our knowledge of the story, but they seem to represent Blake as a much more important influence on the Halo Story than previously thought. Perhaps even more intriguing is the role descendants of William Blake played in shaping Halo's story. Bill Everett, creator of Namor: The Sub Mariner (as slyly mentioned by Frankie in a weekly update) said that the inspiration for Namor came from a poem by Coleridge titled "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." It's divided into Seven parts, the third of which seems to reflect aspects of Halo's story, not to mention some quotes from both Halo and Marathon. That said, the connections are loose and only produce more speculation, so I digress (that doesn't mean you shouldn't check out the poem for yourself, its a good read).

Here are links to the charts used.
And here

It's a bit like English homework, isn't it? No wrong answers, just a lot of the teacher staring at you . . .

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