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"Then allow me to tell you what will happen if you don't kill me. I will disappear and let you live your life. You will follow the path of light. Grow into a fine man. Become a husband. A father. There may be a day when you forget I ever existed. But then I will return. And I will kill everyone you love. Just as you watched your parents die, just as you watched me slice your friend's throat, I will slaughter your wife and children before your very eyes, and there will be nothing you can do about it."
—Ra's al Ghul threatening Bruce Wayne[src]

Ra's al Ghul (Arabic: رأس الغول‎ Raʾs al-Ġūl; Demon's Head) was a mysterious individual who foresaw Bruce Wayne's destiny to be the protector of the new Gotham City and turning him into his heir. He was the leader of League of Shadows, a mysterious assassin organization which Sensei was a member of.

Biography

Past

In Arabia, 125 A.D. Ra's was an ancient Kurdish Saracen warrior who was killed in battle. Upon being disced by a mysterious stranger, the stranger brought Ra's to his lair and resurrected him via the Lazarus Pit. He gave Ra's the life purpose to find his true heir before handing him a Kurdish Dagger. For 2000 years, Ra's was given time to build his secret global organisation, he founded the mysterious Order of trained warriors and assassins called the League of Shadows. Throughout human history the League has been responsible for forming & shaping the very foundations of modern day beliefs.

At an unknown point Ra's learned of a prophecy which stated a young man would rise to become the protector and dark hero of Gotham city who was destined to become his true heir. Ra's is also the Sensei's master and thus responsible for the actions of the Court of Owls. Using the Court as pawns, Ra's has prepared Gotham for it's destruction. Having manufactured a weapon from the toxic blood of Alice Tetch, Ra's has tasked his disciples at the Court with deploying the bomb into the heart of Gotham City so that its inhabitants will be affected by the virus. The people of Gotham will be driven mad by the virus and rip themselves and the city apart.

In addition to the manufacturing of the weapon, Sensei is also indoctrinating a young Bruce Wayne. He seems to believe of the opinion that Bruce will emerge from the chaos in Gotham as the dark hero mentioned in the prophecy. Bruce is successfully brainwashed and is loyal to the Sensei. After the Court has served its purpose, Sensei kills the members of the Court ruling council and detonates the Tetch virus bomb. Although the bomb is successfully activated, fulfilling Ra's' plans, Sensei is killed. While he lies dying, he tells Bruce to head to the Yuyan Building and seek out the "Demon's head" in order to fulfil his destiny.[1]

Revealing himself to Bruce

During the chaos wrought in Gotham due to the virus, Bruce decides to listen to Sensei's dying words and heads to the Yuyan building. He opens a mysterious door and arrives in an underground temple. Unbeknownst to him, he is followed by Alfred Pennyworth.

In the building, Bruce is confronted by a group of Ra's' hooded followers who direct him to a room at the end of the corridor. Inside this room, Bruce finds a basin with a shining, green liquid. As he moves to touch it, a voice from the shadows advises him not to touch it. Bruce is surprised that the voice knows his name but Ra's reveals that he was the one who told the Sensei to send Bruce to him. Bruce reveals that Sensei is dead but Ra's replies that he died after fulfilling his mission - the Court of Owls is destroyed, Gotham burns and Bruce has come. Bruce states that the Sensei told him to find the Demon's head. Ra's replies that he is the Demon's head, introducing himself as Ra's al Ghul.'[2]

Ra's asks Bruce why he has come and Bruce states that the Sensei told him that Ra's would complete his training. Ra's asks whether he also told Bruce who Ra's is and what his intentions are and Bruce admits that he didn't. Bruce states that he is ready and Ra's questions it as Bruce was not the one to press the trigger to unleash the virus onto the city. Bruce claims that he would have pressed the trigger but that Alfred distracted him. Ra's feigns understanding and claims that Bruce will have another chance to prove himself. At that moment, two of his followers drag a captured Alfred into the room. When Alfred insults him, Ra's strikes him across the face. He then orders his followers to leave the room. He draws a sword and hands it to Bruce. Claiming that Alfred is his past and urging him to embrace his future, Ra's tells Bruce to kill Alfred. Bruce takes the sword from Ra's but Alfred appeals to Bruce's memories and the love he received from Alfred and his parents. Despite Alfred's best efforts, Bruce runs him through with the sword.

However, Bruce immediately realizes what he has done; Alfred's attempts managed to help him break his conditioning. Realizing this, Ra's laughs and states it is impressive that Bruce managed to break the conditioning. Bruce furiously screams that Ra's does not control him anymore and that he will never be his heir. Ra's states that on the contrary, Bruce has proven that he is strong enough to become Ra's heir, as the prophecy has foretold and that Bruce would serve as his "knight in the darkness". He advises Bruce to "use the waters" and then leaves without a trace. By using the waters of the Lazarus Pit, Bruce manages to revive Alfred.[3] Ra’s recovered The dead Barbara Keans body and resurrected her using the Lazarus Pit. The newly resurrected Barbara was trained by Ra’s and became his Ally, she was sent back to Gotham to retrieve the Kurdish dagger.

Three Months Later

Three months later, Ra's observed Bruce after he had successfully taken down a group of muggers attempting to rob a couple.[4]

Ra’s later visits Barbara and tests her training before asking her if she was successful in retrieving the dagger for him. Barbara surprises Ra’s when she informs him that Bruce Wayne bought the blade at auction and they start kissing.[5]

Hunting Alex Winthrop

Ra's al Ghul later confronts Niles Winthrop over the embalming knife information and later kills him. In order to find Alex Winthrop, Ra's al Ghul introduces Barbara Kean to Anubis and The Hunter who will track Alex down. During Jim Gordon's search for information on Ra's al Ghul, he and Detective Harper are approached by Ra's al Ghul who introduced himself as the minster of Nanda Parbat. They make use of the captain's office while Harvey Bullock is away as Ra's al Ghul states that the embalming knife is Nanda Parbat's property. Alfred Pennyworth arrives looking for Bruce where he punches Ra's al Ghul causing Gordon to restrain him. When Harper states that an alarm went off at the museum, Gordon finds that Ra's al Ghul left under their noses. Upon Gordon and Bruce defeating Anubis and The Hunter, Ra's al Ghul had come up from behind Alex as he demands that they hand over the embalming knife. Bruce hesitates causing Ra's al Ghul to kill Alex and demands that Gordon arrests him. As Ra's al Ghul is being escorted into Blackgate Penitentiary, he has a strange look on his face.[6]

Stay at Blackgate

Gordon is told by Harper that Judge Bam Bam's clerk called stating that Ra's al Ghul's trial has been delayed while Bullock mentions that the Nanda Parbat embassy wants Ra's al Ghul extradited. Barbara Kean later visited Ra's al Ghul in Blackgate Penitentiary's maximum security prison where she tells him of a plan to break him out. Ra's al Ghul tells her that it won't be necessary. He then transfers some energy into her which she is to use at a later date. Bruce Wayne infiltrates Blackgate Penitentiary to confront Ra's al Ghul only to be subdued by his men who had replaced some of the prison guards. In Blackgate's sub-basement, Ra's al Ghul plans to have Bruce Wayne use the embalming knife on him in order to end his curse. Meanwhile, James Gordon and Alfred Pennyworth enter Blackgate Penitentiary where they fight the imposter prison guards.

Death

Ra's True Form

Ra's reveals his true form to Bruce

When Ra's al Ghul makes a threat to target his future family, Bruce Wayne uses the embalming knife on Ra's al Ghul as he turns into a skeleton by the time Jim Gordon and Alfred Pennyworth arrive. As Blackgate Penitentiary goes under lockdown, Alfred talks to the police while Jim Gordon tells Bruce that they are covering up what happened by stating that Ra's al Ghul's men infiltrated Blackgate Penitentiary and made off with him.[7]

Powers and Abilities

Powers

  • Immortality: Ra's al Ghul has stated to Bruce Wayne during their conversation at the Yuyan Building that he has been alive for an inhumanly long time and was a member of the Kurdish Saracen Army and thus has been alive since before the year 125 A.D. It is revealed that he cannot be killed, unless his true heir slays him with the Kurdish Dagger. When Bruce Wayne saw his reflection on a puddle of water, he saw his reflection to be that of a walking corpse.
  • Enhanced Strength: Ra's al Ghul has shown inhuman levels of physical strength, being able to toss an adolescent armored Bruce Wayne across a room and easily restrain him.
  • Vision Casting: By interlocking hands with Barbara Kean, he was able to show her a vision.

Abilities

  • Escape Artist: He was able to quickly escape by blending in the Shadows, making him appear to be invisible, as even Bruce Wayne's heightened senses cannot track him.
  • Hand-to-Hand Combat: It would appear that Ra's al Ghul is a skilled combatant having fought as part of the Kurdish Saracen Army.
  • Diplomatic Immunity: Bruce stated that Ra's has Diplomatic Immunity.

Equipment

  • Lazarus Pits: Ra's al Ghul has access tot he Lazarus Pits which can resurrect him and any else from the dead with all of their ailments, mutilations and other wounds healed.
  • Vast Resources: As a leader of an international secretive organization, he has access to a vast set of resources, finances and manpower.

Appearances

Season 3

Season 4

Notes

  • Ra's al Ghul (translated from Arabic as the Head of the Demon) is an enemy of Batman in the comics, who was created by Julius Schwartz, Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams, and made his first appearance in Batman #232 (June 1971). He is the leader of the League of Assassins (also called League of Shadows in specific media appearances) where he is the son of Sensei and the father of Talia al Ghul, Nyssa Raatko, and Dusan al Ghul.
  • The second live-action version of Ra's al Ghul to appear on television and the third live-action version overall, with the first being in the series Arrow played by Matt Nable and the third being in the 2005 live-action movie Batman Begins played by Liam Neeson. Interestingly enough, Alexander Siddig is the first time an Arab actor portrays the character.

References

  1. Woodruff, Ken (writer) & Behring, John (director) (May, 22, 2017) "Heroes Rise: All Will Be Judged" Gotham. Season 3. Episode 19. FOX.
  2. Cannon, Danny (writer) & Hope, Nathan (director) (June 5, 2017) "Heroes Rise: Destiny Calling" Gotham. Season 3. Episode 21. FOX.
  3. Hull, Robert (writer) & Bailey, Rob (director) (June 5, 2017) "Heroes Rise: Heavydirtysoul" Gotham. Season 3. Episode 22. FOX.
  4. Stephens, John (writer) & Cannon, Danny (director) (September 21, 2017). "A Dark Knight: Pax Penguina". Gotham. Season 4. Episode 1. FOX.
  5. Lilien, Steven & Wynbrandt, Bryan (writer) & Tonderai, Mark (director) (October 5, 2017). "A Dark Knight: Those Who Hide Behind Masks". Gotham. Season 4. Episode 3. FOX.
  6. McKenzie, Ben (writer) & Fink, Kenneth (director) (October 13, 2017). "A Dark Knight: The Demon's Head". Gotham. Season 4. Episode 4. FOX.

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