Forums / Community / Halo Universe

Are the Covenant Even Scary? - RANT

OP Archodus Vaxal

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Actually kinda gutted I've missed this thread until now and i can see both sides of this one. See your point about getting bogged down in the minutiae though OP and hopefully this can help reset the thread.

OP, yes, the media which we have does not always display the Covenant as a particularly formidable foe

Narratively, as others have pointed out, the reason for this is that the 'episodes' focussed on the media have needed to be human wins in some way or another because that's how longer term character development can happen: hard to develop a character if they're dead. You can make the same argument about the forces of Mordor in Lord of the Rings, or the Empire in Star Wars. You could also make the argument about the Banished in HW2

What we have seen in the media is very much the idea about humanity buying time to close the technological gap and that's quite important: humanity didn't commit to many pitched battles until quite late in the war except where it had to. The examples in your first post about boarding Covenant ships e.g. in OPERATIONS SILENT STORM and FIRST STRIKE require a lot of prior planning and are far from regular occurrences. There must also have been failed attempts which again received little focus in the media.

Another point which is fairly oblique in the media is the size of the Covenant. They were a juggernaut, but... even at the end of the war were 100% of their resources devoted to the war vs humanity? It was only the discovery of the Halos which brought High Charity and its accompanying fleet to anywhere near the frontlines. Without the fall of High Charity, the Great Schism, and the Flood intervention on the Ark humanity would almost certainly have fallen.

I see your point entirely, but I think you're assigning quite a Doylist view rather than a Watsonian one: the Halo timeline of the ever mounting casualties and losses by humanity quite clearly shows that, although not the focus of much in the way of the media, the Covenant was a serious threat
MorseyBaby wrote:
Actually kinda gutted I've missed this thread until now and i can see both sides of this one. See your point about getting bogged down in the minutiae though OP and hopefully this can help reset the thread.

OP, yes, the media which we have does not always display the Covenant as a particularly formidable foe

Narratively, as others have pointed out, the reason for this is that the 'episodes' focussed on the media have needed to be human wins in some way or another because that's how longer term character development can happen: hard to develop a character if they're dead. You can make the same argument about the forces of Mordor in Lord of the Rings, or the Empire in Star Wars. You could also make the argument about the Banished in HW2

What we have seen in the media is very much the idea about humanity buying time to close the technological gap and that's quite important: humanity didn't commit to many pitched battles until quite late in the war except where it had to. The examples in your first post about boarding Covenant ships e.g. in OPERATIONS SILENT STORM and FIRST STRIKE require a lot of prior planning and are far from regular occurrences. There must also have been failed attempts which again received little focus in the media.

Another point which is fairly oblique in the media is the size of the Covenant. They were a juggernaut, but... even at the end of the war were 100% of their resources devoted to the war vs humanity? It was only the discovery of the Halos which brought High Charity and its accompanying fleet to anywhere near the frontlines. Without the fall of High Charity, the Great Schism, and the Flood intervention on the Ark humanity would almost certainly have fallen.

I see your point entirely, but I think you're assigning quite a Doylist view rather than a Watsonian one: the Halo timeline of the ever mounting casualties and losses by humanity quite clearly shows that, although not the focus of much in the way of the media, the Covenant was a serious threat
The issue, though: is all of that okay? Is all of that a good thing for the franchise?
MorseyBaby wrote:
Actually kinda gutted I've missed this thread until now and i can see both sides of this one. See your point about getting bogged down in the minutiae though OP and hopefully this can help reset the thread.

OP, yes, the media which we have does not always display the Covenant as a particularly formidable foe

Narratively, as others have pointed out, the reason for this is that the 'episodes' focussed on the media have needed to be human wins in some way or another because that's how longer term character development can happen: hard to develop a character if they're dead. You can make the same argument about the forces of Mordor in Lord of the Rings, or the Empire in Star Wars. You could also make the argument about the Banished in HW2

What we have seen in the media is very much the idea about humanity buying time to close the technological gap and that's quite important: humanity didn't commit to many pitched battles until quite late in the war except where it had to. The examples in your first post about boarding Covenant ships e.g. in OPERATIONS SILENT STORM and FIRST STRIKE require a lot of prior planning and are far from regular occurrences. There must also have been failed attempts which again received little focus in the media.

Another point which is fairly oblique in the media is the size of the Covenant. They were a juggernaut, but... even at the end of the war were 100% of their resources devoted to the war vs humanity? It was only the discovery of the Halos which brought High Charity and its accompanying fleet to anywhere near the frontlines. Without the fall of High Charity, the Great Schism, and the Flood intervention on the Ark humanity would almost certainly have fallen.

I see your point entirely, but I think you're assigning quite a Doylist view rather than a Watsonian one: the Halo timeline of the ever mounting casualties and losses by humanity quite clearly shows that, although not the focus of much in the way of the media, the Covenant was a serious threat
The issue, though: is all of that okay? Is all of that a good thing for the franchise?
My argument would be yes it's okay. Perhaps moving forwards there will be room for some more examples within the media of more 'lost cause' scenarios which don't end well from during the war to reinforce that.

High on my wishlist for such a thing would be a game (beyond Sins of the Prophets but that is awesome) or book entirely focussed on ship/fleet combat/a navy officer's perspective as that would be the easiest way to redress the balance a little.

The issues you raise are really easy narrative traps to fall into, but I'd argue Halo has done a pretty good job of not falling into them with the Covenant. Worse example off the top of my head: Star Trek Voyager's treatment of the Borg
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