Heart of the Tiger inapropiate?

Triple-B

Rear Admiral
I was always wondering why the kilrathi gave blair this name. I mean, do the kilrahti know what tigers are?

the title implies that kilrathi actually do know what tigers are. why did they not call blair " heart of the kilrahti" or "heart of the warrior", something like this. but "heart of the tiger" sounds "earth-like"
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Good question!

I think the answer has two levels.

- Literally (if Thrakhath is to be trusted) he was specifically named after the Earth animal. In the Kilrathi Saga manual there's a note from Thrakhath to Blair from just after Firekka where he mentions this (he also says the name comes from 'the weaker warrior-clan').

- In the bigger scheme of things, though, there's just something weird about the whole story. What's the connection between Blair's warrior name and the trigger to activate Hobbes anyway? How would Thrakhath know that Hobbes would have anything to do with Blair in the future, if that was the thought?

(Actually, maybe that was part of the programming. Hobbes certainly put in a lot of effort to befriend Blair in Wing Commanader 2...)
 

Triple-B

Rear Admiral
heart of the tiger could have two meanings at all for thrakath

1.) warrior name of blair

2.) the metaphor, that hobbes is also the heart of the tiger. the inner organ of the tiger (confed). the organ who keeps the tiger (confed) alive, by feeding it infos on the kilrathi, but also the organ, which if ripped apart (treason of hobbes, revealing behemoth plans to thrakath), brings the tiger to collapse.

actually it is a pretty inapropiate warrior name at all for "a pain in the a$$" enemy..
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
I never really thought about that....
Following your first point, Triple-B and also what LOAF posted, I suggest the following possibility:

Apparently the Kilrathi (or at least Thrakhath) know they are similar to some sort of animal on earth.
So maybe "Heart of the Tiger" means:
- not a Kilrathi, but a similar heart (heart meaning soul) *keep that one in mind!
--> a fierce warrior, who has honor.

which would be a good name for an honored enemy of a warrior race in my opinion.

That is strikingly similar to "There shall come a time when one who has the heart of a Kilrathi, but is not Kilrathi born [...]". Which is the ancient prophecy that proved right when Blair destroyed Kilrah,

That are my thoughts at the moment. Some more maybe later....
 

Triple-B

Rear Admiral
That is strikingly similar to "There shall come a time when one who has the heart of a Kilrathi, but is not Kilrathi born [...]". Which is the ancient prophecy that proved right when Blair destroyed Kilrah,

That are my thoughts at the moment. Some more maybe later....

The quote adresses directly the nephs, not blair IIRC. the real "darkness" wasn't the destruction of kilrah, but the arrival of the nephs.

and the nephs are the one, with the kilrathi heart, since they are just like the kilrathi a ruthless warrior race, which are terrans e.g. blair not. blair has morale and mercy, kilrathi and nephs not.
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
I always interpreted the prophecy like this:

- someone with the heart of a kilrathi will come and bring the cleansing fire and so on
- AFTER that the Knthrak will come.

Also it says "when ONE that has..." IMO that doesn't fit well to the Nephilem.

Hmm.....
 

Evan

Rear Admiral
actually it is a pretty inapropiate warrior name at all for "a pain in the a$$" enemy..

Actually, I think, it is an appropriate name, because after all the fighting and merciless, it characterises the Kilrathi as a culture with honor. I always felt as if the Kilrathi were a little bit like the Klingons in ST. They are mean, but they fight with honor. And if someone is just plain stronger, they accept and honor it. That's the same here. They hate humans and they are thinking, that they are weak. But this particular human being is a real pain in the ass. And that's something they respect.

- In the bigger scheme of things, though, there's just something weird about the whole story. What's the connection between Blair's warrior name and the trigger to activate Hobbes anyway? How would Thrakhath know that Hobbes would have anything to do with Blair in the future, if that was the thought?

Perhaps because of the Prophecy? Now we know, that these things were introduced much later in the series, but nevertheless they knew, that someone with the heart of a Kilrathi will come. So they "programmed" Hobbes to trigger at that moment, when the one will come. Actually a really clever plan to prevent this prophecy to come true, I think.

But back to the question: Why Heart of the Tiger? (Awesome question btw) I got two ideas:

  1. The human race and Earth itself are a huge enemy for the Kilrathi. So they studied them. It's safe to say, that the Kilrathi are aware of tigers. So perhaps they chose the term tiger to let the humans understand the title in a proper way. "Heart of the Kilrathi" could be an insult to the humans, because they don't like Kilrathi. But as we know: Mankind LOVES kittens ;).
  2. I like to believe this one: They wanted to stress the "Heart of the Kilrathi, but is not Kilrathi born"-point. And the closest thing to a Kilrathi is a tiger.
 

-danr-

Vice Admiral
Also it says "when ONE that has..." IMO that doesn't fit well to the Nephilem.

The very first time I played WCP, I thought that the Kilrathi quote at the outset was referring to Blair, but I think it soon became apparant (after Zero's talk of K'nathrak and the Nephilim) that this was a specific prophecy about an entire race rather than just the one hero.

Bit O/T, but before buying the game I'd been confused about which character I'd play as - I'd heard before the day I got it that you're supposed to be Iceman's son, which totally threw me - the concept of a Wing Commander title where you don't play Blair seemed odd but exciting.
 

Toast

Space Marshal
Maybe this is me being a little too simple-minded, but I always thought it was because Blair was the finest pilot on the Tiger's Claw, which was central to Kilrah's crushing defeat in the Vega sector.

The trigger phrase would have had to have been presented to Hobbes at least before WC secret missions 2, so "Heart of the Tiger" couldn't have referred to any of Blair's exploits or accomplishments from WC2 or onward. Up to the time Hobbes 'defected', Blair was serving aboard the Claw and may have downed up to 4 of Kilrah's finest aces while fighting the Vega sector campaign, so...
 

Toast

Space Marshal
Oh - I suppose it's possible that Hobbes could have received the trigger phrase in an encoded, encrypted, or subliminal manner while he was with Confed. But I hadn't seen any such suggestion of it anywhere, so I'm assuming all of his mental conditioning and cover identity programming was done prior to his purported defection.
 

CptnEisen

Spaceman
Well, If I remember correctly, Hobbes defected around the time of SM2- By this time, Blair had killed several aces and played an instrumental part in hunting down and leading the attack that destroyed the Sivar, for which Thrakath's father was killed... I think that would be enough to get the attention of the Prince and possibly lead to the name. And let's not forget it was the Tigers Claw that Blair flew off at the time
 

Farbourne

Rear Admiral
Maybe this is me being a little too simple-minded, but I always thought it was because Blair was the finest pilot on the Tiger's Claw, which was central to Kilrah's crushing defeat in the Vega sector.

I think you've nailed it. The Tiger's Claw was apparently well known to the Kilrathi, and seen as the lynchpin of Confed's fleet in the area at the time (reference Thrakhath's boast after the 'Claw was destroyed that "without the Tiger's Claw to protect them, my fleet will sweep through the defenseless human colonies". Obviously an exaggeration, as Confed certainly had other carriers, but telling of how much they respected/feared the 'Claw). The Tiger's Claw also was the ship that brought down the Sivar, and disrupted the Sivar Eshrad in Firekka.

And Blair was the best and most famous pilot on the Tiger's Claw. Hence he was the "heart of the tiger". No reason to think it was any more involved than that.
 

criticalmass

Vice Admiral
We all believe that it is a title of honor. I don't really buy in to that.

Naming Blair "Heart of the Tiger" would be like calling Thrakhath (or rather more fittingly, Melek) "Head of the Ape" (..or-whatever-simian-like-creature-you-guys-have-on-Kilrah). I understood it the same way as Toast, but more as a somewhat cryptic and cumbersome tactical designation for the most dangerous pilot of the Tiger's Claw. The Hobbes-trigger fits well into that, apart from the inconsistencies LOAF mentioned.

But there's more, thinking along that way: "Tiger's Claw" must have made Kilrathi either groan in disbelief or snigger in contempt - the name is so presumptious. It is as weird as if one of the kat ships would have been christened "Tooth of the Gorilla" (..or-whatever-simian.. etc.).
When I was playing the game in my teens, I liked the name, but later it made me squirm each time. It reeks of military pathos and things not really thought through. Why insult an enemy even more by making allusions to an almost-extinct earth animal? Why choose an identity that makes yourself a component of the analog image of your enemy (talk about mixed metaphor here)? Doesn't it sound wussy to call a warship "pincer of a yellow cat", if you were a Kilrathi?

So "Heart of the Tiger" from the mouth of a creature for which a tiger must be an inappropriate and inferior caricature of itself would be at least a well-placed quip, if not an underhanded and deadly insult.
 

Silverain

Rear Admiral
I think you've nailed it. The Tiger's Claw was apparently well known to the Kilrathi, and seen as the lynchpin of Confed's fleet in the area at the time (reference Thrakhath's boast after the 'Claw was destroyed that "without the Tiger's Claw to protect them, my fleet will sweep through the defenseless human colonies". Obviously an exaggeration, as Confed certainly had other carriers, but telling of how much they respected/feared the 'Claw). The Tiger's Claw also was the ship that brought down the Sivar, and disrupted the Sivar Eshrad in Firekka.

And Blair was the best and most famous pilot on the Tiger's Claw. Hence he was the "heart of the tiger". No reason to think it was any more involved than that.


Pretty much sums it up for me, too.
 

J "Phantom" D

2nd Lieutenant
We all believe that it is a title of honor. I don't really buy in to that.

Naming Blair "Heart of the Tiger" would be like calling Thrakhath (or rather more fittingly, Melek) "Head of the Ape" (..or-whatever-simian-like-creature-you-guys-have-on-Kilrah). I understood it the same way as Toast, but more as a somewhat cryptic and cumbersome tactical designation for the most dangerous pilot of the Tiger's Claw. The Hobbes-trigger fits well into that, apart from the inconsistencies LOAF mentioned.

But there's more, thinking along that way: "Tiger's Claw" must have made Kilrathi either groan in disbelief or snigger in contempt - the name is so presumptious. It is as weird as if one of the kat ships would have been christened "Tooth of the Gorilla" (..or-whatever-simian.. etc.).
When I was playing the game in my teens, I liked the name, but later it made me squirm each time. It reeks of military pathos and things not really thought through. Why insult an enemy even more by making allusions to an almost-extinct earth animal? Why choose an identity that makes yourself a component of the analog image of your enemy (talk about mixed metaphor here)? Doesn't it sound wussy to call a warship "pincer of a yellow cat", if you were a Kilrathi?

So "Heart of the Tiger" from the mouth of a creature for which a tiger must be an inappropriate and inferior caricature of itself would be at least a well-placed quip, if not an underhanded and deadly insult.

I actually have to fully disagree here.

"Heart Of The Tiger"is obviously meant as an honouring title. Throughout many of the stories Blair is known by title amoungst the Kilrathi (hence the huge uproar at his mention at the meeting of nobles at the begining of WC3), he is WELL known to the Emperor AND Prince personally (see WC2 intro). And he most certainly is not refered to contemptuously, except when Thrakath is attempting to goad him into a fight (which I was still pissed I had to fly away from!).

Actually, quite the contrary, it is obvious from the speech inflections that this title is not contemptuous at all.

As for why they didn't refer to him as "The Heart of The Kilrathi"? Well, it was obvious that they respected him above his peers, but most certainly not on the same level as themselves. Therefore they would have chosen a title that would reflect his standing above other humans, but still well below their own standards. Presumably they would not have any problems wiping out Tigers once they got to earth, however a tiger can still be a deadly enemy to a human. Therefore the "Heart Of The Tiger" monikor reflects his status as being above other humans, but still below the Kilrathi themselves.

Finally, with regards to "Tiger's Claw", I don't believe that it's supposed to be a backhand swipe at the Kilrathi. You either name your ships after grand human concepts (Independence), famous people who fought for freedom in the past (John F. Kennedy) or deadly things (Tiger's Claw). After all, a Tiger's Claw can be very deadly.
 

Farbourne

Rear Admiral
But there's more, thinking along that way: "Tiger's Claw" must have made Kilrathi either groan in disbelief or snigger in contempt - the name is so presumptious. It is as weird as if one of the kat ships would have been christened "Tooth of the Gorilla" (..or-whatever-simian.. etc.).

I think you're presuming a lot about Kilrathi zoology here. (And not necessarily knowing too much about Terran zoology in the process).

First of all, I don't think a Gorilla's teeth particularly inspire fear in anything, but their STRENGTH does...a gorilla could rip a man (or maybe even a tiger, if it could get past the claws) in half with very little effort. "Fist of the Gorilla" or "Gorilla's Rage" would be slightly better names for a ship.

But that's a digression. Despite their feline appearance and human slang for them, it's incredibly doubtful that Kilrathi are in any way whatsoever genetically related to human cats, or tigers. So calling a ship the Tiger's Claw isn't going to make the Kilrathi think it's named after one of their relatives...tigers are unrelated to them, and far less sophisticated, so they probably don't even think of the 'Claw as being named after anything that resembles them in any way, any more than they would think a human ship named the "Bear" or the "Shark's Tooth" would point to them. The point is that the Tiger's Claw was named after a ferocious earth animal. Maybe to some Terrans, there was a tongue in cheek reference to the fact they were fighting cat-like aliens, but if any Kilrathi noticed this, I'm sure it wasn't a big deal to them. In fact, they might even take it as a compliment, because the Terrans are naming a ship after an animal that is ferocious and resembles a Kilrathi.

However, as to your contention that it would be like the Kilrathi naming a ship after a gorilla...why would they do such a thing? Tiger's Claw was named by humans after a ferocious terran animal. The Kilrathi certainly woudn't name a ship after a terran animal...they might name one after a ferocious animal of Kilrah. However, there is no evidence whatsoever that any ape-like animal on Kilrah ever developed to the point of being as dangerous as a gorilla, or being any kind of animal a Kilrathi considered ferocious. In fact, I remember an offhand reference in one of the manuals or game dialogues that Kilrathi still hunt smal, ape-like prey animals on their world.
 

Chaosbringer

Rear Admiral
I think you've nailed it. The Tiger's Claw was apparently well known to the Kilrathi, and seen as the lynchpin of Confed's fleet in the area at the time (reference Thrakhath's boast after the 'Claw was destroyed that "without the Tiger's Claw to protect them, my fleet will sweep through the defenseless human colonies". Obviously an exaggeration, as Confed certainly had other carriers, but telling of how much they respected/feared the 'Claw). The Tiger's Claw also was the ship that brought down the Sivar, and disrupted the Sivar Eshrad in Firekka.

And Blair was the best and most famous pilot on the Tiger's Claw. Hence he was the "heart of the tiger". No reason to think it was any more involved than that.

Yes, i think this makes more sense.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Well, If I remember correctly, Hobbes defected around the time of SM2- By this time, Blair had killed several aces and played an instrumental part in hunting down and leading the attack that destroyed the Sivar, for which Thrakath's father was killed... I think that would be enough to get the attention of the Prince and possibly lead to the name. And let's not forget it was the Tigers Claw that Blair flew off at the time

...

Well, I feel stupid--the idea that it comes from the Tiger's Claw makes perfect sense... especially with what we know about the origin of the name. Thrakhath sends Blair a message on 2655.200--which is either the day or the day after his father was executed for losing the Sivar--which claims that the lower clans have been using the name. So, it's something that came out of his heroism on the Tiger's Claw and almost certainly came about before he was credited with sinking the Sivar. At the time that would have meant his part in the Vega Campaign... but we've since added a number of other adventures to Blair's early life (stopping the Kilrathi invasion of Earth, distrupting the Sivar ceremony on Dolos, etc.)

Finally, with regards to "Tiger's Claw", I don't believe that it's supposed to be a backhand swipe at the Kilrathi. You either name your ships after grand human concepts (Independence), famous people who fought for freedom in the past (John F. Kennedy) or deadly things (Tiger's Claw). After all, a Tiger's Claw can be very deadly.

Criticalmass was correct that it certainly felt like a strange name from a 'game' perspective. I felt it at the time--it's a great name but there's an odd element of confusion there (like how you can be flying a Galaga for the Galaga Corps to fight the evil Galaga Empire in Galaga).

'In universe' it's harder to say. It honestly doesn't fit with most other ship names... but I suppose the fact that the class of ships was named for a type of tiger, Bengal, some time before the Kilrathi were first encountered probably suggests it wasn't so much a psychological plan on the Confederation's part.

It's interesting to see that many other contributors to the Wing Commander canon have struggled with the oddness of Tiger's Claw. Early on you had attempts to group it into ships named for both Indian/tiger assosciations (Bengal, Kipling) *and* attempts to group it into ships named for 'dangerous animal parts' (Eagle's Talon, Hornet's Nest). The 1995 bible even has a line about how early Bengals were named for Tiger's and that later ones were named for dogs as the war became more serious (which was as much a reaction to the fact that Dr. Forstchen named one 'Wolfhound' in End Run, I suppose).

So "Heart of the Tiger" from the mouth of a creature for which a tiger must be an inappropriate and inferior caricature of itself would be at least a well-placed quip, if not an underhanded and deadly insult.

Mmm, this is an interesting thought, but I don't think it fits with Thrakhath's first use of the term... because he says basically the same thing! He tells Blair that 'lesser' kil have come to respect him and have started using the name... but that *he* thinks that just indicates how pathetic tigers are, since Blair is such a coward.
 
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