The upcoming Halo Wars 2 introduces a terrifying new enemy into the Halo universe: a rogue band of Jiralhanae and Sangheili named The Banished. The Banished have been fighting the Covenant and the UNSC since before the end of the Human-Covenant war, and have now found the UNSC Spirit of Fire at the Lesser Ark and terrorizing its crew.
With the future of the Jiralhanae in the Covenant becoming so bright, why would a large number of them suddenly decide to break away? And after breaking away and fighting the Covenant, why fight the humans too?
The answer could be because the Banished want justice. No, not justice for Maccabeus or bullshit like that. Not justice for the Unggoy Rebellion. No, the Banished want justice for the greatest crime of all—the murder of Harambe the endangered gorilla at Cincinnati Zoo.
There are a number of reasons in which the Banished would be fighting to avenge Harambe. For one, although we are not going to profile Jiralhanae as looking like gorillas, Jiralhanae look an awful lot like gorillas. Hell, even the way they move in the Halo Wars 2 RTX 2016 trailer is jarringly similar to a gorilla lumbering through the jungle. It would only make sense for Atriox and his denizens to fight the Covenant and the UNSC if it meant avenging an iconic member of their kin from the species who murdered him five hundred years before.
Another reason is because of parallels between Harambe and the Banished themselves. The crew of the UNSC Spirit of Fire first encounter the Banished on the Lesser Ark. The Lesser Ark, more commonly referred to as Installation 00 or just “the Ark,” was constructed with the purpose of forging new Halo rings and as a shelter for countless lifeforms when the Halo Array was fired at the end of the Forerunner-Flood War. Essentially, the Ark is a huge freaking zoo. Just like Cincinnati Zoo. Thus, in a symbolic crusade rich with literary value, the Banished avenge Harambe in an environment robustly similar to the zoo in which he was killed.
Now, it can be wondered: if the sole purpose of the Banished is to bring justice to a five century-old (and dead) gorilla, why the fuck are there Elites fighting too? Why should Elites give a flying fuck about avenging a single member of a species they have absolutely no relation with? Well, here’s the thing about the Sangheili: just like how the Jiralhanae resemble gorillas, the Sangheili resemble alligators. Not long after Harambe’s horrible death, an alligator in Disney World, Florida, grabbed and killed a child wading in (off-limits) water. That child was of a similar age to the child Harambe harmlessly grabbed and was savagely killed for, and that child was allowed into water due to parental error. Just like how the child Harambe grabbed had fallen into Harambe’s enclosure under irresponsible parenting. The alligator in Disney World obviously grabbed the child because it knew the circumstances were similar to the incident resulting in Harambe’s death; it wanted to decrease future murders like Harambe’s by laying a grim example to parents who would let their children wander into dangerous areas—whether that’s a gator-infested lake, or an exhibit in a zoo. Because of that, it can be concluded that like how the Jiralhanae fight for the Banished to bring justice for Harambe, the Sangheili fight for the Banished to continue the legacy of the Disney World gator and raise awareness of the consequences of parental error.
All in all, Harambe will never be forgotten. And the Banished will see that the crimes against him do not go unpunished.