Hammer and Bolter 5

A Question of Faith

settings scifi warhammer

I've been watching the Hammer and Bolter animated series on Warhammer+, and I'm reviewing each episode as I watch it. There may be very minor spoilers, but ideally no more than you'd get from the episode description.

A Question of Faith

Warhammer is an impossibly complex world, but nobody really cares about that. The reason we care about Warhammer 40k is because the stories told in its universe are also impossibly complex. This episode is pretty straight-forward. Two Adepta Sororitas are standing guard in their fallen fortress. They've clearly been under seige by cultists of Khorne, and they're the last two battle sisters left standing.

One of the sisters relates the story of Saint Josephine, who did some brave stuff in battle or something. Who knows, doesn't matter. It's saint stuff.

The Khorne raiders reappear, the sisters fight to the last, and when everything looks hopeless, one of them says a prayer to Saint Josephine.

Questions of actual faith

The reason this is a great episode has less to do with its plot than the questions and reflections it might inspire in the viewer. Basically this is a Christmas episode. Bad things happen, and then through faith, something magical happens. It's maybe a little too neat and tidy, and it's also absolutely effective.

Whether you decide to start saying nightly oblations to Saint Josephine (I recommend against it, for the record), this episode is likely to make you think about your own method of generating hope in your life. What are the myths you hold onto? What kind of miracles are you waiting for? What impossible thing do you actually, maybe secretly or maybe proudly, believe to be possible?

Good sci fi

This is good sci fi. The story is simple, the action is routine, but the way it makes you think about belief and faith is pure confrontational science fiction.

You don't have to see it that way, of course. Warhammer 40k isn't hard sci fi, so any amounts of faith or magic in this story is easy to accept as actual magic. Maybe there's no provocation here. Maybe the Emperor really is a god. But then again, maybe not. Maybe blind faith is, or force of will, or some aspect of the warp.

A lot of people love when sci fi makes you question your assumptions, and I think there's real potential that this episode is designed to do just that.

Good Warhammer

This is great Warhammer 40,000. I'm as fascinated by the Adepta Sororitas as the next guy, but I know nothing about them. I haven't read any book about them, I don't own any miniatures of them. I'd never heard of Saint Josephine, and I'm not sure anyone had until this episode because I couldn't find any information about her after a minute of searching online. But by the end of this episode, you believe in the power of Saint Josephine.

All images in this post copyright Games Workshop.

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