Regarding the Hagah Masks

Hi, Greg, hope you’ve been well over the past year.

One interesting byproduct of the TTV canon contests has been the unearthing of various quotes and ideas regarding the appearances of characters without sets. The Toa Hagah have been a source of much discussion, to say the least. I quite appreciate the insight you’ve given about their appearances, but there is one quote in particular that has caused some confusion.

Quick Recap on the Hagah Masks

I’m sure you may remember the details on the lore of the Toa Hagah, but here’s a quick recap. The Toa Hagah sets were designed and then eventually declared to be the original forms of the Rahaga Norik and Iruini. However, Norik didn’t have an original mask piece, using instead the one worn by Turaga Dume. Since it didn’t make sense for Norik to be equipped with a Noble Kanohi, it was said that his mask didn’t match the shape of his Kanohi. An interesting solution was set forward in the Appendix of BIONICLE Adventures 9 that the Hagah masks were “forged in the shapes worn by the great heroes of the past.”

As late as 2006, it was established that while Iruini’s Kualsi was shaped like a hero of yore, that hero had worn a Kualsi. Hence, unlike Norik, Iruini’s mask actually shaped correctly. This suggested that although Hagah masks could be shaped like different masks, they didn’t have to be, as suggested by Iruini.

The Question in Question

In 2009, four years after the Hagah storyline was originally produced, a fan approached you with a question to clarify on this subject, asking “Do the rest of the Hagah have a mask of a different shape, like Norik?” to which you said simply “Yes.” This is the only quote on this subject (aside from one that followed up to confirm that you meant “yes” as an affirmative to their scenario), and it is the source of the conflict. Many fans are interested in using the canonical shape of a Mask of Emulation on Pouks, but lore enthusiasts refer to this quote to insist that’s impossible. I sympathize with both sides, but there are a few issues with this question.

  • This is a very leading question (unintentionally, I’m sure). The lore of the Hagah masks is all a rather complicated way to explain why Norik wears what otherwise would be a noble Kanohi. The person asking the question cited Norik and his mask powers not matching his Kanohi, but failed to raise the point about Iruini actually having the same mask powers he’d originally had.
  • The question asks about “the rest of the Hagah.” This is immensely unclear as to what it’s referring to, whether the host of Toa the Brotherhood kept or just the rest of Norik’s team. Even if it’s the latter, though, that’s an issue because, again, Iruini clearly did not have a mask of a different shape. Even if the OP is just referencing the other four Toa, that doesn’t change the fact that the premise of the question is faulty.
  • As mentioned earlier, this question was asked in 2009. Already in 2008 you had responded to a similar question (which asked if Norik’s mask was modeled off of Dume’s Kiril) saying that you “really don’t remember. The Hagah storyline was three years ago, and I am wrapped up in 2010 right now.” By the time 2009 rolled around, I’m guessing that you remembered the details of Norik’s mask when this question was asked, but you may not have remembered those about Iruini’s.

Conclusion

All that said, my question is this: Although many of the Hagah were likely to have masks that didn’t match the shapes of the powers (as per Norik and the 2009 quote), would you say it’s possible that some of their masks did (as per Iruini)? Or would you say that Iruini is the singular exception to the rule and that it’s altogether impossible that anyone else had masks in their standard forms?

In the end, when the Hagah contest rolls around, the question would be moot if a Pouks moc wearing something that clearly isn’t a Mask of Emulation were to win. As for Kualus, Gaaki, and Bomonga, even if they were to win with fan-made masks, there’s no point to say one way or the other if their masks were the actual shape or not given the canon ambiguity that Norik and Iruini set.

But this question is more just meant to clarify your original intention, as well as to settle the conflict as to whether Masks of Emulation could reasonably be allowed. In the end, this is a canon contest, and should abide by what canon has established. But there are nevertheless a large amount of people who are eager to submit mocs with Masks of Emulation, and others who say that it’s impossible given the lore, and I’m eager to settle these affairs one way or the other

EDIT: Added reference links

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Yes, it should.

And canon has established that their shapes don’t match their powers.

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Please review my post again, as it centered on the conflict with that quote.

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Yes, that is the quote I was alluding to with this statement:

Again, please review the post.

EDIT: Also, I want to point out that, as I said originally, I’ll settle with whatever wins the competition–even if it isn’t a canonical Mask of Emulation in the case of Pouks. The point of this post is to see if people would be unlimited by this particular constraint and free to post (and vote for) whatever they want, regardless of this talking point. Unless anyone have a personal vendetta against fan-made Masks of Emulation, I’m not sure why asking Greg for clarification on this is a problem.

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I did.

What possible grey area could there be to overrule the Greg Quote?

EDIT: I see where you’re coming from now.

Still though, Greg doesn’t usually double-confirm answers unless he’s sure.

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I agree. And, if I were in his place, with the facts presented to me in the same way, I would have been sure in that moment as well. It’s worth noting that the fact we even know that Iruini’s mask matches its power is something Greg confirmed once on the Greg discussion a year after the Hagah storyline had concluded. I can’t speak for Greg, but I wouldn’t have remembered this in 2009, unless someone expressly pointed it out in the question. Iruini’s mask is an exception to what the OP is asking, but the OP doesn’t reference it (perhaps because he doesn’t know himself).

If I were in Greg’s place and were only reminded about Norik’s mask, I would also assume that there are no established exceptions, and that there’s no reason not to say that, without a doubt, all the masks are like Norik’s. But again, that quote doesn’t take into account that it’s neglecting the fact Iruini already is an exception.

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This quote sets a rule, while Iruini is an exception. That’s not to say there can’t be more Toa Hagah that are like Iruini that have x mask in the shape of a hero’s who wore the exact same mask, but a lot of people have been wanting to make Iruini the rule by using the canon shape of the Mask of Emulation for Pouks. Not just that, but people have also using masks that are labelled by 3D modelers as the standard shapes of Rahi Control, Clairvoyance, and Growth for the respective Hagah (these shapes are not canon of course, just pointing out the community’s sentiment).

Before I continue, I think all of Greg’s previous answers should be posted in their entirety, not just linked, at least for sake of convenience.

  1. Norik’s Pehkui is shaped like a Noble Kiril. Is it possible that the other Toa Hagah wear masks shaped as other Kanohi as well (i.e. Pouks’ Mask of Emulation may be shaped like, for example, a Great Kakama), in honor of other past heroes?
  1. Yes
    https://greg.thegreatarchives.com/2008-2010/page261#post10414-line4,14

2)Do the rest of the Hagah have a mask of a different shape, like Norik
2a.Is it possible?
2) Yes
https://greg.thegreatarchives.com/2008-2010/page174#post6933-line3,12

1)I asked you if the rest of the Hagah had masks shaped differently than they should be (Norik : Pehkui=/=Kiril, but it was carved that way) and in a #b, i asked you if it was at least possible, and you said yes, did you mean yes, it is possible or yes, they do?
1)Yes, they do
https://greg.thegreatarchives.com/2008-2010/page176#post7034-line2,11

I did a quick search to make sure I didn’t miss any, but if I did, please let me know. The first only says that it’s possible, while the other two confirm that “the rest of the Hagah” follow Norik’s example rather than Iruini’s.

I don’t think this is an assumption you can make. Just because he couldn’t remember whether the hero Norik was honoring was Dume (it wasn’t btw) doesn’t mean he couldn’t remember whether the Hagah in general had masks in different shapes. Also, Greg’s statement that “the Hagah storyline was three years ago” isn’t entirely accurate. Since he said that in 2008, he would’ve just recently finished (or maybe even currently working on still) Dwellers in Darkness, which the Hagah were a key role in. Even with the questions he was asked not mentioning Iruini, I think its a safe bet that Greg would’ve remembered Iruini wearing a Kualsi shaped Kualsi, even at that time.

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These are some good points. For the most part, it’s impossible to say one way or the other without Greg weighing in to say for certain. My interest here is not to confirm one thing or another, but just to see if Greg actually does have a serious inclination one way or the other, or if he doesn’t mind letting fans decide through vote.

I can’t speak for the community, and ultimately we’ll only know once the contest is over, but ultimately I see no reason to verify one way or the other if something is the canon form of a mask or not.

You’ve worked extensively on BS01’s Kanohi and Other Kanohi pages, so you probably know better than most just how many hypothetical masks there are in existence. Of the 78 known Great Masks, there are 23 without canonical forms–and that’s not counting the 65 unseen Noble masks we’ve never seen before. Of course, this isn’t counting any mask we aren’t aware of, or the masks wer’ve only seen mutated, organic, or otherwise transformed. All told, there is a reasonably solid chance that the Hagah masks are ones we’ve never seen before, including their original forms.

I just don’t think there’s any need to confirm one way or the other if the masks the Hagah wear. My inclination is to permit fan Masks of Emulation into the contest. If a moc with one wins, then that’s the canon shape, but if some other mask wins, then Pouks’ mask was reforged. Then leave the other three masks ambiguous.

Thanks for including these–I actually had forgotten about the very first one, but I don’t think it adds anything here. But the second and third quotes are the subject of my original post, and at this point, I’d just be reiterating what I said there.

That’s a great point that I also hadn’t considered. Again, I can’t speak for Greg, and I’m eager to hear his input on the matter. However, just because he was working with the Hagah in a storyline doesn’t mean he was considering the hoops that had been jumped years ago to explain why Norik was wearing Dume’s mask. You don’t need to take the appearance of a mask into consideration when you’re describing them and their powers in story.

Also, Jerminator made an interesting point in another topic that’s worth raising in here as well.

Given what we have, it’s a reasonable solution to solve the contradiction posed by the quotes. The problem is that, as he says, it’s an interpretation. But there’s nothing in the quote to infer that Greg was remembering the details on Iruini when he said this.

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Invariably, all we can do at this point is speculate and guess. Normally I wouldn’t even raise the issue. But people have taken this quote to say that any moc with a fan mask must be disqualified simply because of this singular quote in question.

If this is really what Greg wants, then by all means, let’s have that as a rule. Canon is canon, even if many fans would wish otherwise on this point. I hold strongly to Greg’s quotes, and will frequently cite them when necessary (such as, for example, the Hagah torso).

However, I don’t think it’s fair at this present time to outright disallow submissions simply because one happens to wear a Mask of Emulation. At present, the “evidence” we have is flimsy at best and requires assumptions and interpretations as to what it can mean (as Jerminator alludes to). Perhaps you’re right, Dag, perhaps Greg meant all along that “Iruini is the only possible exception to the rule, and that every other Hagah had masks like Norik.” But until he expressly clarifies that “yes, Iruini is the only possible exception to the rule,” I don’t think it’s fair for people to keep insisting that this is what Greg said, when it isn’t. That’s a fan interpretation of the quotes we have.

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No, it’s the most objective and literal interpretation that we have.

Taking these one at a time:

This first quote only says that it is possible for the other Hagah to have wrong-shaped masks. Since the question started by mentioning Norik, “other”, in this context, means all five of the non-Norik Hagah.

This one starts off by saying “the rest”. Note that, at the time the phrase “the rest” was used, Norik had not yet been singled out. Therefore, “the rest” does not mean “everyone but Norik”, but rather “everyone except the last group of Hagah that was singled out”. Since there was no previous information in this question, we must default to the only other time some of the Hagah were singled out: Norik and Iruini were made into sets.

Therefore, this second quote refers only to the four non-set Toa Hagah.

Then the third quote refers to the same “the rest” as the second question.


Therefore, taking these quotes in the most literal, lawyer-y, way possible, they specify that the four non-set Hagah definitely have wrong-shaped masks, and Iruini might.

Of course, other sources confirm that Iruini’s mask is correctly-shaped, but we all know that.

I feel once again through these pentadic discussion here people often mis-portray connotation and associations of words. Asking somebody a question with a specific mention to it is to namely direct the focus to such. In this case the matter of focus amongst the Hagah has been Norik due to the discrepancies with Dume.

When addressing a question as collective organization you would refer to all under such a branch, with exceptions all usually bearing direct mention. In this case the question was worded in a vague enough fashion focusing on an outlier instead of mentioning each, thus the neglect of a word Iruini. Iruini is a sore point for many fans as many relate the Norik and Iruini sets to be what should have been Toa Dume and Toa Nidhiki, asking a question in a fashion to try and work around the measures applied to Nidhiki’s mask is nothing new in the questions asked back on the message boards then.

Your general associations at best are personal, if not just unfounded in honesty. A person answering around likely 20 questions in a day with the board process rates back then, is not going to rack their brain over the a set procedure and release of sets, they are going to focus on answering the direct lore related question as specified.

The needless discussions on the masks are contrived in honesty; you have the example of Norik with his Pehkui resembling a Nobel Kiril, and then a counter example of Iruini’s Kualsi looking like a normal Kualsi as proven by the bearer Defilak. Therefore as a general rule of thumb based on these quotes, the possibility of any of these masks to not resemble their original forms is possible, but there is nothing that demands they have to be different either, that is all.

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You’re drawing a distinction here that the quotes never make. Neither quote that has been sourced has at any point expressly distinguished “Iruini” from “other Hagah.”

I agree with what you’re saying insofar as this is very likely what the posters probably meant to indicate. However, what remains unclear is whether Greg remembered all the intricate implications and connotations that the poster may have been alluding to, or if he just saw a straightforward question and answered it. As per Tikoro, it’s unlikely Greg would have either remembered the ins and outs of the Hagah masks as he was answering it–he would have just reacted to the one example, forgetting the established outlier.

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And yes, what you present is, in fact, “the most objective and literal interpretation that we have.” The issue is that the premise of the question is flawed and incomplete. Perhaps this was not an issue for Greg when he answered at the time. But perhaps it was. We cannot know what his thoughts are until he expands on them here–until then, we are guessing, speculating, and, yes, interpreting.

The goal of this topic is not to get an interpretation, however logical, but a clear answer. I don’t think getting a better picture of Greg’s true intent hurts anything.

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Just use officially available masks for contect models, make up a backstory why they use the masks in the shape of that mask and you’re done.

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I’d like to present another side of the argument, of why it does make sense that Iruini is the only exception in the team:

It was established in 2005 that their masks were forged in shapes to honor past heroes. This wasn’t done simply for flavoring, but rather (I assume) was done to explain why Norik wears a noble-shaped Kanohi, as that’s what the set designers gave him. Whether it is a stupid reason/solution, that is irrelevant, it is the canon and well-established solution to the problem, and undermining it would leave us at square one: Why does Norik have one in a different shape but not the others? Norik cannot be the exception, he needs to be the rule.
Iruini doesn’t break this rule, he is simply honoring someone who wore a Kualsi as well. Now of course, you may ask, doesn’t this mean the other Hagah could do the same, it wouldn’t undermine anything, right? It would. For one, think of how many mask powers, known and unknown, that there are, and multiply that by at least two (for Greats and Nobles). There’s a one in (that number) chance that the mask of the being they’re honoring would wear a Great version of their same mask. That is very unlikely. For Iruini, this is fine, but for multiple Hagah, I’d simply put it like this: One’s a coincidence, two’s a trend.
Now you may ask, “couldn’t they just choose ones that have matching masks?” and this is where it really starts to undermine things. If you’re choosing to honor these heroes because of what masks they wore, then you’re not honoring them for their heroics. Additionally, it does not seem particularily much like “honoring” them if you’re set on sticking with the same shape you already had, instead you are running away from “changing yourself” in their honor.

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