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"Know that I have been alive more years than you can imagine, that I have seen and done things that would shake the core of everything you believe. That I'm thought to be a demon, a saint, a ghost, but for all my years, all my travels, there is one thing that i have never found - a true heir."
—Ra's al Ghul reveals himself to Bruce Wayne

Ra's al Ghul (Arabic: رأس الغول‎ Raʾs al-Ġūl; Demon's Head) is 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 is the leader of League of Shadows, a mysterious assassin organization which Sensei was a member of.

Biography

Past

Ra's has lived beyond the life span of any mortal human, as he is able to be resurrected by the mysterious Lazarus Pit. At some point Ra's created the mysterious assassin organisation the League of Shadows. Throughout human history the League has been responsible for the shaping and forming the foundations of modern beliefs.

Although he is not seen in person for most of the time, his influence can be felt all over the third season. 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 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 be 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]

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.

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.

Appearances

Season 3

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, with the first being in the series Arrow played by Matt Nable. The character also appeared in the 2005 live-action movie Batman Begins and played by Liam Neeson. Interestingly enough, Alexander Siddig is the first Arabic actor to portray 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.

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