Master chief is an interesting character for the following that he has generated in his ten years of existing in the gaming consciousness. It’s interesting because of how little depth he actually has as a character, at least that’s spelled out in the game. In many ways, he’s the ultimate power fantasy. Faceless, almost nameless, and completely unstoppable in the lore of the universe. Anyone can see themselves in him, and so he is universally loved by fans of the series.
But what lies beneath the still visage of his gleaming helmet?
We can gather a bit of insight from the companion literature to the game. Many books have been written in the Halo universe, all of which are cannon, in addition so some comics and animated shorts as well. There was also a bit more insight into his character given in Halo 4, as well as some questioning about the nature of the shining knight he was portrayed in in the previous games.
Spartan IIs were ripped from their homes as children. Selected merely for their superior genetics, they were forcibly removed from their families replaced with flawed flash clones, and stuck into a military structure where they lost their names and identities as people, and were forced into the form of the ideal soldier. Heavy mental and physical conditioning rewrote who they were as people, both internally and externally, and built them into something different. They weren’t given the childhood that most children are afforded, and were serving in the military in insanely dangerous and difficult missions at an age when most people would be picking out their dress or suit for senior prom.
Master Chief, John 117, is one of the last of his kind. The closest thing he has to a mother is Dr. Halsey, and arguably poor substitute at best. His brothers and sisters of his unit are all dead, most having died right before his eyes. He has been tasked with protecting the same people that ripped him from his home and family and re-wrote his very being. At the same time, he is superior to these people, and their entire species, in very fundamental, visible ways. Some authors have even played around with the idea that he may see himself as something not human. A different species, if you will.
Chief’s few true bonds are those who have gone through similarly difficult or different circumstances. Sergeant Avery Johnson as one, the two share a bond of mutual respect, with Johnson having actually gone through the top-secret Spartan !(ORION) program. And the other is Cortana, the shipboard AI that is John’s constant companion through the games, who is, in actuality, a clone of Dr. Halsey.
So what drives John 117 through this solitude, what drives him to protect these people that were so eager to clad him in armor and send him to face the Covenant, Flood, and Insurrectionists alone?
It’s hinted at that some believe the Spartans to be inherently mentally unstable. But I think, instead, Chief is driven by a sense of honor and duty to protect those around him that can’t protect themselves. He meets all challenges fearlessly, sometimes wordlessly even. Though he follows orders, he also breaks command when the danger in the orders is great enough(as seen in Halo 4).
Master Chief protects the weak and does his duty regardless of the internal conflict he may be dealing with. He stand, alone, the last of his kind, with his friends still dying around him, but he is indomitable, and continues to bear the brunt of the storm for humanity’s sake. If the world was full of Master Chiefs, I do honestly think it would be a better place. Next time you find yourself feeling alone, and without hope, try putting yourself in his metal boots, and ask yourself what the Master Chief would do.
That’s all for our time with Sierra 117. Tomorrow is our weekly fitness journey update(including pictures that we didn’t get done last week). Monday is something new. Until then, remember, always, to continue to be awesome.
Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace