When I first picked up Gav Thorpe’s Lorgar – Bearer of the Word primarch novel, I initially chuckled because it’s the fattest book thus far in the primarch series. I mean, he’s the primarch of the Word Bearers, it has “Bearer of the Word” in the title, and it appears to have the most words of the books. Fitting. So fitting.
Despite how many words/pages the book contained, I didn’t think it would take me very long to read. These primarch novels are often fast reads, and it’s Gav Thorpe, so I know it will be written well. It took me forever (or felt like forever) to get through it. The reason why had nothing to do with the writing quality, because it was excellent. Lorgar’s primarch novel took me so long to read, because I hated every character in it.
Kor Phaeron is just THE WORST.
While Lorgar’s name and face are on the cover of this book, this is truly about Kor Phaeron and what a masterful piece of shit he is. I always hated Erebus the most, but now I’ve found someone truly worthy of WH40k hatred. Kor Phaeron has absolutely zero redeeming qualities. After the Covenant on Colchis excommunicated him, Kor Phaeron has done nothing but try to find a way to get back on top and kill everyone who “wronged” him. He found a way to do that with a child.
Kor Phaeron met Lorgar while he was preaching the Word in the deserts of Colchis. A tribe of Declined had found Lorgar as an infant alone in the hot sands, and they brought him into their family. He grew exceptionally quickly for a baby, and they couldn’t help but notice his thirst for knowledge and overall calm about him. They knew he was something special, although they weren’t sure what. When they presented him to Kor Phaeron, he immediately knew that the Powers were working through this child, and he needed him. First he talked this adoptive family into giving him their new child, and then he killed the entire tribe. Because that how Kor Phaeron do.
He’s a ****ing Child Abuser
After that, I had a very hard time reading the book, because KP beat Lorgar almost daily. When Lorgar memorized some of the books of the Powers after hearing them once, KP had him lashed. When Lorgar helped the slaves get their work done, KP ordered his guards to lash him. None of the guards wanted to lash him, because again, Lorgar had this infectious personality that everyone gravitated toward. But they did to avoid the wrath of the Powers. When KP realized that Lorgar healed so quickly he never kept scars or bruises, he ordered his guards to beat him with clubs and cudgels.
When the slaves finally rebelled, I thought for half a second that Lorgar would let it happen. But no, he begged them not to kill his father. If this isn’t Stockholm Syndrome, I don’t know what is.
Snake in the Grass
Everything KP does is to better his own agenda. He doesn’t surrender his Bearer of the Word title to Lorgar because he knows Lorgar is a true prophet; he does it to save face (and his own skin) for his band of Powers worshippers. KP coaches Lorgar about the Powers not to develop another believer, but to goad him to eventually overthrow the Covenant one day.
Even when Lorgar has his vision about the One in gold with the one-eyed magister and begins preaching about the Coming of the One to save them all, KP only pretends to support him. In the meantime, he constantly makes the sign of the Powers behind his back while making his promises. It was like he was a five-year-old, crossing his fingers behind his back. As Lorgar travels Colchis to bring the Word of the One, KP sends his own bands of warriors out to cause unrest and bend the planet to his own will.
In The First Heretic, KP admits to continuing to do that work while they brought planets into Compliance. It’s all for his own glory, because there is no way HE could be wrong about worshipping the Powers all this time.
I know I said I hated every character in this book, but that isn’t entirely true. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Lorgar. Everyone in that caravan was out to use him, including the man who was Lorgar’s only true friend—the slave Nairo. While I believe Nairo truly loved Lorgar as a person and believed in Lorgar’s vision of the One, Nairo couldn’t help but try to manipulate him. Nairo did see exactly what KP was doing with Lorgar, but his constant tattling did him no favors. In the end, when Nairo attacked KP, Lorgar made the same choice he did with the rebellion, and it broke my heart when he killed his friend.
For a child that was as smart as Lorgar and as hungry for knowledge, he was too easily manipulated. While it was super frustrating reading his fall in The First Heretic, it was hardly surprising when it happened. Lorgar never had a chance with KP as a father figure.
Why? Because Kor Phaeron is the ****ing WORST. Jen joked about writing an article defending him as a way to see his point of view. After reading this book, I told her there is no defending him. He makes Big E look like Father of the Year.