The Halo series has one of the most fascinating in-game universes in gaming. The universe of Xbox’s main franchise even has several books and comics to expand upon what unfortunately cannot be shown in the games. This includes expanding upon many of the alien races found in the series, one of those being the Sangheili, better known as the Elites.
Arguably the biggest threat of the Covenant onslaught, the Elites have been around since the beginning in Combat Evolved. They are one of the few enemies that can easily stand toe-to-toe with the Spartans and live to tell the tale. But there is a lot more to them than initially meets the eye. Here are some things about Elites that most might not know about them.
10 They Were A Founding Member Of The Covenant
Millennia ago, the elites were encountered by the San’shyuum, the race of prophets they would later end up in a war with. Though the Elites were the better fighters, the prophets were the more technologically advanced due to having technology from the Forerunners.
Eventually, the two sides would come to a peace arrangement and embrace the idea of the Covenant philosophy of the great journey and thus would kickstart what we know now as the Covenant.
9 They Are A Militaristic Society
The Elites are a warrior race. They value strength and prowess in battle above all else which plays a role in an Elite’s upbringing. Military might is such a focus in their society that science is pushed to the side a bit.
They typically leave that stuff to the other races of the Covenant. While there is some focus on science in Elite society, they are mainly seen as hobbies rather than respectable fields.
8 They Regressed After The War
After the end of the Human-Covenant war, the Elites were left to rebuild after having discovered the truth of the great journey and being turned on by the Covenant. However, since they mainly left they relied on the Covenant for non-militaristic needs, this caused them to regress a bit.
They had ships, but with no means of repairing them and they had to act on their own for the first time in a long time. This would lead to many, such as the Arbiter, trying to attain leadership.
7 They Have Spartan And Samurai Societal Influences
The militaristic society of the Elites bears a lot of similarities to that of Ancient Greek Spartans and Samurai. Much like the children of Spartan society, Elite children are trained to become warriors capable of surviving anything before them.
Elite society also bears a lot of similarities to that of feudal Japan and the samurai. Things like honor are ingrained into an Elite’s mind and they seem to consider dying in battle an honorable way to go out, which bears a lot of similarities to the Japanese code of Bushido.
6 Some Elites Respected Humanity
While the Elites are typically shown as merciless alien invaders who kill humans without hesitation, there are some that respected them. This is perhaps most evident with how they perceive Master Chief.
It is well known that Master Chief is referred to as “Demon” by the Covenant. But it was not until Halo 2 Anniversary’s intro did we find out what that callsign meant. Arbiter tells Spartan Locke that the demon moniker was both an insult and a sign of respect, meaning that though Master Chief was hated, even he managed to gain the Elite’s respect.
5 The Role Of Arbiter Wasn’t Always A Shameful One
By the time Thel ‘Vadam, Arbiter’s real name, is given his role as the Arbiter, the role was met with great shame by his people. But that was not always the case.
An arbiter was once seen as a respectable role that all Elites aspired to be like since it meant being a vanguard of sorts for the prophets and the Covenant. It was not until one arbiter at one point dared to challenge the word of the prophets and lost when it became a shameful role. It was not until when Thel led his people through the Great Schism and its aftermath did the role become respectable once more.
4 A Civil War And Rebellion Broke Out After The War
Some Elites had issue with Arbiter’s Sword of Sanghelios government after they became the leaders of Sanghelios, the Elite homeworld. A rebellion, staged by a religious sect known as the Servants of the Abiding Truth, caused a civil war. There was also the issue of Jul ‘Mdama’s Covenant, who still stuck to the core Covenant beliefs, who waged a civil war against them.
Arbiter nearly lost this war and had to begrudgingly accept aid from Admiral Hood and The Infinity. Though Arbiter would defeat the rebellion and remain in power, it would be in a weakened state.
3 ONI Tried To Keep It Going
While the general UNSC wanted to maintain peace with the Elites and help, ONI had different plans. ONI did not want the Elites to become as advanced as they were during the Human-Covenant war since they viewed their advancement as a threat.
As such they actually helped supply the rebels and land a team on Forerunner ruins with Arbiter’s permission, stoking the flames of war on both sides. Who knew ONI could be so shady?
2 Some Elites Sought Political Asylum On Earth
During the Civil War, heavy casualties were commonplace on both sides. This caused some to seek political asylum on Earth. A planet that at one point they were attacking and killing humans left and right.
Earth accepted them, but there were some terrorists among them. At least one Elite tried to ignite a nuke in Rio de Janeiro but thankfully failed.
1 There Are In Fact Female Elites
It has always been odd that all the Elites seen in the games so far have been men. While it might seem like a weird fan creation, there are in fact female Elites. They have mainly been seen in the novels so far.
Their overall appearance, at least going off of Raia ‘Mdamaa, Jul’s wife, is described as being shorter than their male counterparts by only a bit and having a paler skin complexion. Here’s hoping we see a female Elite in the games at some point down the line.
Next: 10 Behind-The-Scenes Facts You Never Knew About The Halo Franchise
Joseph “Joe” Metz has been a lifelong gamer and lover of video games for his whole life and wants to share that love with others. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Rowan University in New Jersey. Has had Asperger’s syndrome since he was a kid and considers it a part of himself.
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