Is that title an overstatement? I don’t think it is. I’ve been reading the Gathering Storm books with glee and delight and as someone who had previously thought that the setting didn’t need advancing, I am now an absolute convert to the ongoing and developing story lines that have been revealed thus far. And I want more. First though, I want to look back at some of the truly huge, grimdark-sculpting events that we have been privy to thanks to this trilogy. If you’ve been living under a rock in the unchartered deserts of Gorkamorka for the last few months, there will be some spoilers here, so be warned.
Here’s a look at just how huge The Gathering Storm has been.
Cadia Is Gone
I’ve said it before, but this is still hugely huge news. THE planet that everyone thinks of when they hear
Imperial Guard Astra Militarum, is gone. A cracked orb now engulfed in the wastes of the tortured space within the Eye of Terror. I don’t think you can call Abaddon ‘Failaddon’ with such ease anymore because this is a huge blow for the Imperium and one hell of a big event. What’s more, within the first Gathering Storm book, we got some truly special gifts. Trazyn throwing his vaults around, a new Celestine, Belasarius Cawl and one of the most memorable deaths in 40k history. RIP Sgt Kell. Gone but never to be forgotten.
A God Born, A God Renewed
In the second book, we witnessed the birth of Ynnead, which was another massively massive (you see how my words have failed me) event. This has been part of 40k gossip for years and years – maybe even decades, and we now have a new avatar floating around. The Eldar are starting to band together and we’re bound to see some unique Ynnari units at some point in the future. But this was really a tale of two Gods. With many saying that Slaanesh wouldn’t survive this book, what we actually got was a renewal of Slaanesh (albeit without new miniatures – grumble, grumble…) that we thought we’d never see. Throughout the books, from Sorcerers to the Masque, from Keepers of Secrets to Fulgrim, Slaanesh got more press than they have had in donkeys years. Even with 4 of the 5 crone swords found, I don’t think Slaanesh is going away any time too soon.
A Primarch Returns
Even when the images were leaked of the new ‘Girlyman’ miniature, it was almost impossible to believe that a loyalist Primarch was actually returning. It cannot be stressed how amazingly amazing (again, words fail me) this is. And it opens the doors for the Lion, Corax, the Khan, and others to come back too. And with Daemon Primarchs for them to square up to, we’re going to see some mighty match ups in the near future, I’m sure. Which brings me neatly on to…
The First Primarch Fight In Thousands Of Years
Did you ever think you’d see the day when, in a game of Warhammer 40,000, you would see a loyal Primarch and a Chaos Primarch duke it out? I certainly didn’t. Not only were we treated to Guilliman going Hulk on Magnus in the third book, but now we can reenact this on the table top with actual Citadel miniatures. I genuinely did not think we would ever see the day. And now, with gossip of Mortarion and Fulgrim being in the works up at Nottingham, I cannot wait to see which pair of big booties get filled next.
When I was about 11, I made a version of Cypher. I’d picked up the original Chaos Codex and he was obviously the coolest character in the book. He has been one of the coolest characters for a long time too, and his original miniature was ok – it got across the gunslinger monk look, and that’s what it needed to do. But now, we have a stunning new Cypher model to drool over, and even more intrigue about the sword on his back. If it is the Lion Sword (like we always suspected it to be), why does Guilliman not want it anywhere near the Emperor? What’s wrong with it? Will it be used to wake The Lion? Only Cypher could bring this sort of mysteriousness into 40k, and I am so happy that he did.
The Universe In Turmoil
We’ve been told for so long that in the 41st Millennium humanity is ‘beset on all sides’ and that ‘it’s mankind’s darkest hour’ and I don’t think any of us didn’t get that but it was always a bit… I don’t know. It was just something you glossed over a bit. Yeah, yeah, I know, ‘darkness’, ‘turmoil’, ‘beset’, yeah sure. But these books, through the main plots and the side plots featured on so many pages, have really driven home the fact that humanity really is monumentally screwed and that we really are a few seconds from midnight on the Imperium’s Doomsday clock. And what’s great about that is not only the urgency that it brings to our favourite heroes and villains, but also the plot and campaign ideas provided by GW that they may flesh out even more in the future. The Orks hammering into Catachan, Baal about to be swallowed by the Great Devourer, Ultramar laid low by Nurgle’s plague, and so, so much more. But the biggest part of this is the fact that the galaxy is approaching similar conditions to Old Night – Chaos is tearing down the walls of reality and it’s all getting a bit tense. Exciting times!
An Open Ending
Before The Gathering Storm was released, on this very blog, I started taking bets on who was going to die. What’s great is that no-one really did (sorry, Sgt Kell) and while some may feel robbed because they haven’t seen some monumental downfall, it gets us into a great situation, with so many loose ends and possibilities. What’s Guilliman going to do next? There’s already chatter about Super Space Marines, and increasing chapter sizes, but that could be the tip of the iceberg. Are the Eldar going to band together as a whole again, now that the Ynnari are spreading their message from Commoragh to Ulthwe and everywhere in between? Did anyone else notice that the Grey Knights turned up and didn’t kill everyone before they left, just to keep their secrets? How will Chaos attempt to lay low the Primarch? What will Guilliman make of the Tau (perhaps a fish supper)? What else could be in the Ad Mech’s vaults? What else does Trazyn have up his sleeves? And again, what the hell is up with Cypher’s sword?
So, reading back over all of this, when I say that The Gathering Storm series has been the most important thing to happen in 40k since, well, Rogue Trader, I really don’t think I’m making an understatement. You get the sense that there’s so much more to come, and that there are both new hopes and new horrors waiting for us in future release windows. Change has come, and more is coming. I just can’t wait to see what happens next – and I don’t think I’ve ever said that about the 40k timeline before!
What are you hoping to see next? And what were your thoughts on The Gathering Storm books? Leave a comment below.
My interest in the fluff is piqued more than it has been in years, and these are certainly important books, but I think Slaves to Darkness and The Lost and the Damned both have more import. After all, none of this would be a thing if not for them. And that is with an assumption that we’re disqualifying Rogue Trader from the equation.
Woah there now! Guilliman did not go hulk on Magnus, he had to be saved by Sisters of Silence and Eldar! Ehm. 😉
But yeah it had been a very interesting few months.