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Jiralhanae: Past and Present


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#1 Howling_Darkness

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 04:10 PM

After playing through Halo 2, watching the trailers, reading the books, etc., I was soon left wondering about those big, burly, pachyderm-simian hybrid, space biker, the lovable Brute. It seems that before the release of the game, they looked far more formidable and intelligent than they do in the final product. When they had a much thicker mane, and when it wasn't so transparent, it looked better. As much as I enjoy messing around with them, they do seem like big, goofy imbeciles.

That said, when I saw the "Et Tu Brute" Vidoc, I was pleased to see how they had changed, though it did leave some inconsistencies in my mind. We know that Tartarus was a Chieftain, perhaps the most high ranking, and that the Brutes that followed him were almost certainly of his Tribe. In terms of garb, of course, they wore those bandoliers, sometimes helmets, arm bands, etc., but were of course, essentially naked. I suppose that particular tribe viewed things such as extensive and elaborate clothing, armor, etc. was silly, and even cowardly: on the Great Journey, I have heard Tartarus say something like "That fancy armor of yours does nothing". Another line like this is that some Brutes might say "A true hunter shows his flesh", or something like that. That to me suggests that is why they dressed so differently from their Halo 3 counterparts; they are well aware of the need to provide some protection, but they are more interested in showing their natural abilities instead. In other words, they are minimalists when it comes to protection.

Now for the Halo 3 Brutes, I noticed some armor variations, even in the Vidoc. Amongst the regulars, I noticed that the most common ones had an almost turquoise armor color, and no shoulder pads. There were also Brutes of that type that had blue armor, but more importantly, they had shoulder pads, and they seemed to be rarer than the turquoise type. I also remember in Halo 2, the ones who were either unarmored or only had a helmet, but no shoulder pads were Brute Minors, and those that had a helmet and shoulder pads were majors. That got me thinking, though they said that their were basically regulars, captains, and chieftains, the apparent variation in color and numbers amongst these regular brutes suggests that perhaps the bluer ones are majors, while the more turquoise ones are minors. The overall placement of leg belts and so on on the regulars and captains reminds me of the armor variations in Halo 1.

Anyway, now that Tartarus is gone, and many of his Brutes are dead, I wonder where that tribe stands in comparison to the other tribes, especially the other Alpha Tribes, which were mentioned by the Sangheili Imperial Admiral in Ghosts of Onyx. Tartarus's tribe seemed to have been one the top Alpha Tribes, and perhaps his seeming might and so on allowed him to be the confidant of the Hierarchs. Now that the Great Journey has not started, I wonder if Tartarus's tribe has been penalized in some manner, since that seemed to have been their duty, and I wonder if they will make an appearance in Halo 3, albeit more refined of course. On the other hand, the concept art in the Vidoc suggests that their will be more than just those three classes, such as that backpack, beam rifle toting brute, perhaps a sniper and/or scout, a masked brute, perhaps a space combat brute, etc. The Chieftains also appear to have different levels and so on, and I suspect that the golden fellows are lesser chieftains, and the red fellows are higher chieftains. Also, there seems to be an "Alpha" brute rank, which had Gargantum in Ghosts of Onyx as an example. Maybe the Alphas, if they are in Halo 3, are above captains but beneath the varying grades of chieftains? Maybe they are the equivalent of the Elite Ultras/Spec-Ops commanders, while the chieftains, are of course, at the top. I also suspect that the chieftains that we have seen so far are not the only kinds, perhaps Bungie will have more than two varieties?

#2 Va1or

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 07:08 PM

I doubt that Bungie will explain at all why Brutes in Halo 3 are covered in much more gear and armor than their Halo 2 counterparts. I don't think it has to do with a story element, such as your theory of Halo 2 Brutes being of Tartarus' tribe. I think it's simply an art redesign of the entire race. Bungie wanted the Brutes to look more cool, mean and serious. New armor variations also provides the player with a clear visual distinction as to Brute rank. Just as Elites and Grunts changed from Halo 1 to Halo 2, so the look of the Brutes will change from Halo 2 to Halo 3.

#3 Howling_Darkness

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 07:28 PM

Now that I think about it, it seems that you are probably right, for they did say in the Vidoc that they just redesigned them, period. However, I do think that there is a good chance that there will be some distinction in terms of tribe in some way, since they did say that they would reveal more about the Brutes and their culture, hence the Brute theme. Given the Brute's redesign, it would probably be best to refer to them as the "True" Jiralhanae, for their armor etc. is probably as much Covenant as it is their own culture. I just remembered that in an article a few months ago, in Computer and Video game magazine (?), they described the Brutes as an advanced, space-faring culture, and mentioned that the Brute Spiker is a plasma battery powered weapon. When I read this, I wondered if it meant that they were space faring as a result of joining the Covenant, or perhaps they were beforehand, like the Kig-Yar. All the more, the Brutes are finally being given the respect they deserve.

Edited by Howling_Darkness, 17 January 2007 - 07:41 PM.


#4 Syracuse022

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 07:44 PM

I wouldn't rule out his explanation. Bungie's games are very good at allowing for depth, at least, even if it wasn't originally intended. Look at all of the story stuff people jump all over, some put there, some quite possibly incidental. A while back, a guy at HBO posted a piece about Halo's story arc (returning to all of the levels you previously played, now destroyed and overrun by Flood) as an intentional device. We know that the decision was largely made because of the time crunch surrounding Halo's release, but that doesn't mean it wasn't also an intentional artistic decision. Even if it wasn't explicitly intended, does that make the device and its illumination of the character of the Flood any less powerful?

#5 vociferous

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 09:23 PM

I laughed the first time I discovered that the Kig-Yar were hired mercenaries that really didn't even believe in the Covenant's religious impetus. Although I would like to hear more about the Brute's history and possible explanations of the differences between the primitive Brutes of Halo 2 and Halo 3's more diverse set. I think ultimately that Staten won't have time to even grant that subject matter lip service during the campaign (because of the sheer volume of story being conveyed) and it's going to have to be something discussed within the "expanded universe" as it were...

#6 Howling_Darkness

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 11:30 PM

As an after thought, I do think that my initial argument did make some sense. Why? The Brutes are a "Tribal" society, though that may be semantics. But anyway, in real life, across time and space, tribes have had wildly different tastes when it comes to customs, culture, dress, etc., and the same would apply to the Brutes, and any other race in the Halo universe, as it were. The redesign of the Brutes also suggests that they were talking more in terms of AI and whatnot, not so much artistically speaking, for H2 Brutes with superb, distinctive AI would definitely be worthy opponents. In the HGN, Isaac Hannaford had done a piece in the gallery showing a marine or ODST facing this towering, lean, muscular and hairy Brute, roaring at him, holding a Brute Shot. Given that that Brute was closer to the original artwork, models, and renders, it implies that these particular fellows may be a special class of Brutes, maybe a tribe that specializes in heavy hitting, perhaps? They were meant to be much like Uruk-hai, and the Halo 3 brutes are like the Uruk-hai under Saruman, while the early H2 Brutes are like the Berserker type Uruk in the Movies. Besides, in Ghosts of Onyx, the Brutes that Fred and company ran into did not sound like the Halo 3 Brutes at all, for the one that Fred ran almost head-long into was described as a towering, steel-gray skinned creature covered in thick slabs of muscle, plainly visible, and no armor or anything was described; this does not sound like a Halo 3 Brute. Maybe they will be Brute Berserkers or shock troopers, if they are included at all. I hope Bungie does this, for refined Brutes of that type would definitely be really cool. :smile:

Edited by Howling_Darkness, 23 January 2007 - 11:30 PM.


#7 vociferous

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Posted 24 January 2007 - 05:13 AM

Besides, in Ghosts of Onyx, the Brutes that Fred and company ran into did not sound like the Halo 3 Brutes at all, for the one that Fred ran almost head-long into was described as a towering, steel-gray skinned creature covered in thick slabs of muscle, plainly visible, and no armor or anything was described; this does not sound like a Halo 3 Brute.

It could have been talking about a species like Tartarus'...or as Mark MacDonald calls him: TAR-TAIR-RUS. I'm not opposed to several different types of Brutes and I think that the three basic types presented in the Vidoc only represent the surface of the Brute hierarchy.

#8 Howling_Darkness

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 10:13 PM

Indeed, that is probably the case, Mr.Vociferous. As for Tartarus and his followers, I now think that they are/were the "Barbarians" of the Jiralhanae race. They remind me of the generic barbarians of Hollywood medieval movies, and I wouldn't be surprised that that was one of the inspirations for the initial character of the Jiralhanae.

In fact, they actually explain the difference between the H2 and H3 Brutes; the former were basically barbarians, while the latter are the result of being taken into the fold of the Covenant, with the inevitable cultural mixing. So the answer was probably in front of me the whole time.:wallbash:

The real question now is, how long have they been in the Covenant? Their hatred and rivalry with the Sangheili is ancient, so relative to the age of the Covenant, suggests that they have been there for a while. They would really need an extensive period of time to integrate and to have worked their way up to their current level. Also, maybe their ascension was decades or centuries in the making, and perhaps that plan had only really taken off recently, as one Unggoy said in the Conversations of the Universe, that the Prophets had been showing them favor in recent months, prior to the current state of events. Maybe the Prophets had always intended to not only have them join, but also usurp the Sangheil? :ninja:

#9 SharpeWolfe

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 12:08 AM

that might make sense since the Sangheil and the Prophets were ancient enemies. The truce was due to the discovery of Forerunner tech. So perhaps for the Prophets it was an alliance of convenience with no real trust involved, and the Brutes provided a better alternative with no past enmity with the Prophets as far as we know.
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#10 vociferous

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 05:44 PM

Brutes are also not free thinkers - they don't think for themselves. Elites, on the other hand...they're clearly a different story.

#11 Howling_Darkness

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 02:28 PM

Brutes are also not free thinkers - they don't think for themselves. Elites, on the other hand...they're clearly a different story.


You're right about them not thinking for themselves. How Tartarus reacted to the truth is a good example. He hesitated, as though completely dumbfounded and unsure of what to do, and then acted like any religious fanatic would do, clinging to their beliefs, and doing what they were set on doing. Why they are that way is very clear, given an irrational desire, like all the loyalist Covenant, for salvation, and their jealousy of the Elite's position, but why they joined is a mystery. It seems that all the races, except for maybe the Jackals, joined the Covenant out of some desperate situation, be it the Hunter's subjugation, or perhaps being conquered.

Maybe it will be disclosed in the game, or some other means.

#12 Nightshade

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 07:02 PM

Well when the Prophets and Elites started the Covenant, they basicly either wiped out the race, or the race joined the Covenant. They talk about this in Halo 2 before the Arbiter gets his armor. This is brought up as the "taming" of the hunters. So basicly any races besides the Elites joined for this reason.

Edited by Nightshade, 29 January 2007 - 07:04 PM.


#13 Howling_Darkness

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 09:38 PM

Well when the Prophets and Elites started the Covenant, they basicly either wiped out the race, or the race joined the Covenant. They talk about this in Halo 2 before the Arbiter gets his armor. This is brought up as the "taming" of the hunters. So basicly any races besides the Elites joined for this reason.


Not entirely. The part about the taming of the Hunters was regarding the historical and societal role of the Arbiter, not a generalized summary of the Covenant's absorption of other species. That came in one of Regret's sermons, and the deleted scenes on the LE H2 disk. It was stated that most races encountered by the early Covenant were readily compelled to join, but some were not willing, and were either wiped out, or subjugated, as the Hunters were specifically.

This means some underwent a cultural conversion and recruitment, some enslaved, and others simply exterminated.

Besides, I was talking about the Brutes, not the overall Covenant, despite the mentions of the other races I made. I should have been clearer with my question: 'How and when did the Brutes enter the Covenant?'

I was speculating that they specifically were recruited via cultural conversion, as their favoritism in the eyes of the Prophets would probably not be present if they were simply a primitive species that was enslaved via conquest.


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