The Halo Trilogy – A Deeper Look

11 October 2007 | Uncategorized | Tags:

Part 2: Who is Master Chief Exactly?

Master Chief or John 117 is a genetically & technologically enhanced super soldier or Spartan II. We know that Dr. Catherine Hasley picked him and all the other kids out when they were young, replaced them with flash clones and then bred them to be Warriors. The Covenant calls him Demon and Monitors such as Guilty Spark call him Reclaimer. Those are the facts, but we can only guess as to what John’s face may look like, because I will divulge this spoiler…Halo 3 does not reveal John’s face or head sans Helmet…the closest you ever get to seeing him is the end of Halo 1.

I am actually very happy that Master Chief’s face is never revealed, because ultimately Master Chief is a symbol and Bungie let that symbol be all inclusive and up to the imagination. Wise choice if you ask me. It’s actually sort of a shame that they imply his race at the end of Halo 1 when his helmet is removed. It’s still very hard to say, but I recall that his head was somewhat fair in complexion. Master Chief since the very first Halo, has symbolized the Hope of Humanity against an overpowering foe. For the Covenant’s religion that meant he was labeled as a demon, but perhaps the more interesting name Master Chief has had since the very first game is “Reclaimer.”

Let’s look at the definition for reclaim:
1. to bring (uncultivated areas or wasteland) into a condition for cultivation or other use.
2. to recover (substances) in a pure or usable form from refuse, discarded articles, etc.
3. to bring back to a preferable manner of living, sound principles, ideas, etc.
4. to tame.

Of all Master Chief’s names, Reclaimer certainly ends up fitting him the best. In fact, Reclaimer was really his only purpose. As a symbol and character, Master Chief had to die. I knew this going into Halo 3 and certainly felt that as a literary device, Master Chief’s purpose was to save humanity. After this purpose is complete, John 117 really had nothing else to live for, so it was even more appropriate that he sacrifice himself for his purpose. While the manner in which Master Chief dies at the end of Halo 3 is incredibly lame (how does he die and Arbiter live?), it certainly had to happen. Spartan 117 brings back a preferable manner of living, sound principles, and ideas. The Covenant’s religious principles are dead, the parasitic flood is eradicated, and earth/humanity are saved. I only wish his death were more sacrificial. My hope was a scene more like the “Believe” ads, than an ironic ending by the hands of Halo. Oh well.

Master Chief is truly a symbol of all the players who enjoy Halo. He is a hero and symbol of hope despite his face, identity, name (John Doe perhaps), race, or even gender. Bungie deliberately leaves John 117 as anonymous as possible and that’s a good thing.

5 Responses to “The Halo Trilogy – A Deeper Look”

  • 1 Anonymous Says:

    You have not played the game have you? Masterchief dosen`t die in Halo 3. He survives but dosen`t make it through the portal and gets stuck whit Cortana. Reaserch before posting so called “facts”

  • 2 Grad Games Says:

    First of all, How is that possible? Arbiter and MC are clearly on the same ship. Furthermore there’s a Spartan 117 memorial. If that’s not enough facts for you, even if they don’t make it through the portal…as you say… the Ark explodes/activates eradicating the flood…and anything left in that dimension.

  • 3 WALASTIKA Says:

    Someone didn’t stick around after the Bungie credits. There’s an extra clip afterwards, and even an extra one if you beat it on Legendary. He does not die. He doesn’t make it back to Earth, yes, but he’s not dead.

    If you remember the Halo was activated prematurely so it’d be destroyed, killing the flood that had landed on it (was trying to replicate/grow on the surface). That is why Guilty Spark got all pissed because MC and Johnson were trying to destroy the newly recreated Halo. So in essence, the ring wasn’t activated therefore it didn’t annihilate all lifeform in that system (and perhaps neighboring ones). The portal was closing, only half of the ship made it (you can find “schematics” of the ship layout via google images, and the bridge is indeed part of the half that makes it back to Earth space); MC was in the hangar.

  • 4 Jeremiah Wade Says:

    Walastika and the anonymous poster is correct…MC does, in fact, survive the explosion of the ring and the ark. Beat it again, and stick around after those credits…you’ll at least see MC and Cortana in the hangar, and both clips if you beat it on legendary.

    Personally, I think the pre-credit clip with the memorial was great…but everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

    Next time, though, just make sure you see all of the ending(s) to a game before posting about it…I’m not EXACTLY trying to be a smart-ass, but it may make you a bit more credible.

  • 5 Mike Says:

    Due to a constant stream of comments…I have edited the post.

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