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Ardyn Izunia

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Chancellor of Niflheim. Ardyn rose to power by introducing magitek infantry to the ranks of the imperial army, and has since amassed political power at the emperor's side. An aloof manner shrouds the chancellor in mystery.
—Official description

Chancellor Ardyn Izunia is the main antagonist of Final Fantasy XV. He appears in the feature film Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV and handles the Niflheim Empire's political operations for Emperor Iedolas Aldercapt.

Responsible for the expansion of Verstael Besithia's magitek infantry,[1] Ardyn is a shrewd, humorous man.

ProfileEdit

AppearanceEdit

Ardyn is a middle-aged man with red-violet hair, amber eyes, and strong facial features. He dresses in a long, black jacket that has a white and gray trim, and matching trousers. He wears a red scarf and a hooded, gray and white mantle. Ardyn wears a black fedora and sometimes wears a winglike accessory on his left arm. He is the only notable person representing the Empire to dress in black rather than white.

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. (Skip section)

When his true identity is revealed, Ardyn's face sometimes appears demonic and grotesque. His sclera turn black, his irises and pupils turn gold, his skin becomes paler, and black markings appear across his face.

Spoilers end here.

PersonalityEdit

Ardyn is a man shrouded in mystery. He expresses his eccentric personality through his unique attire, and he is both polite and flamboyant. Ardyn is bold and manipulative; he remains civil, patronizingly so, even in the face of hostility, and perhaps even to attract hostility. Ardyn's behavior is performative, and his expressions and movements are exaggerated.

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. (Skip section)
Ardyn-Izunia-KGFFXV

Concept art shown at The Magic of Kingsglaive and Final Fantasy XV art exhibit in New York from August 19 to September 3, 2016.

Ardyn's ruthlessness grows until his true personality is revealed: he is evil, vicious, calculative, and twisted. He uses his influence over the Empire to accomplish his goals. Behaving unpredictably, Ardyn remains casual and unfazed by the world around him. He taunts others, and is acting out of spite, regret, and a desire for vengeance. Having become the very thing he tried to prevent millennia ago, Ardyn longs for the day on which he will battle the True King. During his final battle with Noctis, he debates staying alive to doom the world, or die and finally seek peace in the afterlife.

Ardyn's actions reflect his conflicting nature: he often helps Noctis and his friends along the way by giving them access to imperial-controlled areas, but also kills Lady Lunafreya, accelerating the Starscourge. Ardyn yet claims to have earned the right to call Noctis "Noct", a nickname only his three closest friends call him. Ardyn's actions after he kills Lunafreya seem personally vindictive, as he continues to torment Noctis in various ways, such as by separating him from his friends, even if at the same time he desires for Noctis to reach his goal: the Crystal. He lures Noctis into a booby trap while at the same time "guiding" Ignis and Gladiolus to Noctis in the nick of time to hit a kill switch. He refuses to kill Noctis until he has become the True King, and during the final battle, repeatedly taunts Noctis, yet when he has Noctis pinned down, he releases him. Ardyn comments on how Noctis has grown from being the helpless prince he was without his friends, borderlining being proud of him.

Ardyn's personality in the present greatly contrasts the one he seemed to have 2,000 years ago. Back then, he was a kind and caring man who healed people to prevent the advancement of Starscourge. He fell from grace when the astrals saw him as unclean and he was demonized by his people.

AbilitiesEdit

FFXV Noctis and Ardyn Clash

Ardyn and Noctis cross swords both wielding the power of kings.

Ardyn has great political influence. A careful strategist, he is good with words and manipulates those in power to advance his own schemes. He drives a red car while in Lucis. Using an ordinary dagger to murder Lunafreya, Ardyn later reveals his superhuman abilities. An immortal, he can control time and survive attacks that would kill an ordinary man. Because Ardyn is part of the Lucian royal family, he can use the same powers Noctis can, such as the Armiger. He can warp and fly at high speeds.

Ardyn claims that pain is something only mortals feel, implying he is immune to it. Ardyn doesn't shiver with cold in Shiva's presence the way Noctis does.

StoryEdit

Two thousand years ago, Ardyn Lucis Caelum was a Lucian king chosen by the Crystal to save Eos from the Starscourge, a malady that transforms people into daemons. He did so by absorbing the Starscourge into his own body. While his actions saved thousands across the world, he was rejected by the Crystal as tainted, and was denounced by the astrals. He was denied entry to the Astral Realm since the daemons he had absorbed rendered him immortal, and became demonized by a jealous future king, one not yet chosen by the Crystal. As the fallen King of Light, Ardyn took the surname of "Izunia" and plotted to one day end the astral-appointed bloodlines of the Lucian kings and Tenebraean Oracles, alongside their divine artifacts.

Ardyn Izunia Kingsglaive

Ardyn insisting on the wedding of Noctis Lucis Caelum and Lunafreya Nox Fleuret.

Ardyn bided his time for millennia before establishing himself as chancellor to Iedolas Aldercapt, the Emperor of Niflheim. In M.E. 722 Ardyn entered Niflheim and proposed the establishment of a magitek army.[2] He provided his knowledge to begin his plan for revenge, and the information on daemons Ardyn imparted upon the Empire allowed Niflheim to build a mighty army. However, it also heralded the spread of Starscourge and the imperial lands were ravaged by a "vanishing disease".

In M.E. 756 Ardyn travels to Lucis to offer Aldercapt's terms of peace to its reigning monarch, Regis Lucis Caelum CXIII. Besides relaying demands for Lucis to surrender all territories save for the Crown City of Insomnia, Ardyn also insists for the king to have his son Noctis wed Lunafreya Nox Fleuret, the Oracle.

Ardyn meets Noctis and his friends at Galdin Quay where he tells them the ferry is not running. Declaring himself an "impatient traveler," Ardyn states the ceasefire between Lucis and Niflheim is "getting us nowhere." He tosses a coin to Noctis and company, telling them to consider it their "allowance." Noctis's companion Gladiolus Amicitia catches the coin and demands Ardyn's identity, who merely states he is "a man of no consequence."

When Niflheim invades the Crown City during the treaty-signing, Ardyn and the Emperor steal the Crystal. The pair watches the Old Wall fight a Diamond Weapon, a daemon the Empire unleashes upon the city, before fleeing, Ardyn lamenting it is a waste to see a city as glorious as Insomnia destroyed.

FFXV TGS Ardyn Izunia meeting the party

Ardyn meets Noctis and his friends.

In Lestallum, Ardyn offers to take Noctis and his friends to the Disc of Cauthess where the astral god Titan rests. He bids them goodbye, but returns soon afterwards in a Niflheim airship to save them from the Archaean's wrath and the Niflheim forces that have surrounded area to kill the astral. In doing so, Ardyn reveals his identity as Niflheim's chancellor, yet continues helping Noctis and company.

When Noctis infiltrates an Imperial base to recover his car, he is accosted by Lunafreya's brother Ravus Nox Fleuret. Ravus begrudges Noctis as the apparent True King who is yet oblivious to the danger his mission puts Luna in. Ardyn stops Ravus from attacking Noctis and lets them leave the base. When Noctis is looking for mythril to repair King Regis's ship so he can get to Lunafreya in Altissia, Ardyn has the roadblocks to Vesperpool opened and has Commodore Aranea Highwind assist him. Ardyn tells Noctis that while he is the chancellor, he is not in charge of the army.

Ardyn and Ravus head for Altissia where Lunafreya wants to rouse the Hydraean, Leviathan, to help Noctis. Ravus, as the high commander of the Niflheim army, is on a task to kill the Leviathan before Noctis can forge his covenant, as he disagrees with Luna sacrificing herself. Ardyn talks with Ravus in front of the cathedral where Luna was to wed Noctis.

After Luna summons Leviathan Ardyn stabs her with a dagger knowing that Noctis would witness it. Without the Oracle holding back the Starscourge, Eos is plunged into further crisis. Ravus is blamed for the incident with the Leviathan going on a rampage in Altissia and is sentenced to death.

Ardyn-Prompto-Train-FFXV

Ardyn threatens Prompto.

Ardyn appears before Noctis on a train ride to Gralea, Niflheim's capital. He torments him and tricks Noctis into pushing his friend Prompto Argentum off the train. He later witnesses the Glacian, Shiva, grant Noctis her power. Shiva in turn freezes Ardyn solid, while Noctis, in a fit of anger, breaks Ardyn's body. Though frozen and shattered, he returns, revealing to Noctis that he is immortal.

In Gralea, Ardyn's disembodied voice taunts Noctis after he is separated from his allies. After Noctis reunites with Ignis and Gladiolus, he has the trio face Emperor Iedolas and Ravus who have been turned into daemons. When Noctis is forced to abandon his friends to seek power from the Crystal, Ardyn confronts him and reveals his true identity. As he watches the Crystal absorb Noctis, Ardyn states he will be waiting for him to return as the True King. As Noctis's friends arrive they attempt to take Ardyn down, but he shrugs off the blows and unveils the deformities sustained from his work as a healer.

Unharmed by the Light. The Chosen King indeed. Allow me to regale you with a tale. In an age long past, an incurable scourge ravaged mankind. A tiny menace that twisted men into monsters, the likes which you've seen. In Lucis lived a savior that could cure the afflicted. His body would come to host myriad daemons. That countless lives be spared. But a jealous king, one not yet chosen by the Crystal, ostracized and demonized this healer of the people. Making a true monster of him. I gave you my name earlier, but you should know that it was not the name given to me at birth. Ardyn Lucis Caelum is my proper name. You'll never guess whose name Izunia was. Noct, killing you as a mortal will bring me scant satisfaction. Claim the Crystal's power. Arise as its champion. Only once the Crystal and King are no more... can I know redemption. Come back soon. I shall keep your friends company until you are ready.
—Ardyn Izunia

With Lunafreya dead and Noctis out of the way, Ardyn allows the Starscourge to spread, thus causing daemons to run amok in Eos for the next decade. Ten years later he is confronted in his new abode, the Citadel in Insomnia, by a reawakened Noctis and his allies. He pits them against the Infernian, Ifrit, but Following the hostile astral's defeat, Noctis challenges Ardyn in the Citadel's throne room. He confronts Noctis with the bodies of Lunafreya, Regis, Iedolas, and Nyx Ulric, which Ardyn had grotesquely displayed for his own amusement.[3]

Ardyn-Defeated-FFXV

Noctis kills Ardyn.

Noctis orders Ardyn to step down from the throne. Ardyn then incapacitates Noctis's allies so he can face the rival king himself alone. During the fight, he taunts Noctis regarding his status as the True King, and rants about how Noctis being sealed away for ten years was nothing compared to Ardyn himself having been in darkness for millennia. Overpowered by Noctis, Ardyn is finally able to rest in peace. His body fades away, and his spirit is destroyed when Noctis—who gave his life to halt the Starscourge and purge the daemons—uses the power of those he cherishes and the Lucian kings of old to land a final blow. This is not a hindrance to Ardyn's overall goals, as his plan to end the line of Lucian kings depended on Noctis's death, which in turn is required to erase Ardyn's immortal existence.

GameplayEdit

Ardyn is fought as the final boss during the Main Quest The Cure for Insomnia. He wields the same powers Noctis does, but with a red glow as opposed to Noctis's blue. He is the first and so far only Final Fantasy main antagonist/final boss to not transform right before the battle.

Spoilers end here.

Creation and developmentEdit

Ardyn was designed by Roberto Ferrari around December 2010. Tweaks to his initial design were made in January, 2011.[4]

In Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, the likeness of Edward Saxby is used to portray Ardyn.[5]

VoiceEdit

The most enjoyable part of playing Ardyn: the writing... He's a wonderfully written character. He's very human because he has so many different sides. He's got that very sincere insincerity, and I adored that about him.
—Darin De Paul, on voicing Ardyn Izunia

Ardyn's Japanese voice actor is Keiji Fujiwara. He shares his Japanese voice actor with Reno from the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, Izana Kunagiri from Final Fantasy Type-0, and both Axel and Lea from the Kingdom Hearts series.

He is voiced by Darin De Paul in the English version.

GalleryEdit

Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV
Final Fantasy XV

Etymology and symbolismEdit

"Izunia" is derived from iizuna, the Japanese name for the least weasel. It is also homophonous with "is near" (イズ ニア, izu nia?).

Ardyn, in juxtaposition with Noctis, alludes to enemies and "devil" figures of major religions. In terms of Christianity, he could be compared to the Anti Christ, one of three major figures said to represent the end times, being that who claims to be Jesus but ultimately represents perversion and the straying of Christian principles. How he is of the Caelum line, but comes to plunge Eos into darkness and despair, is most significant of this allusion.

Ardyn-Izunia-Crucified-FFXV

Artwork of Ardyn.

Some of the imagery around Ardyn alludes to Biblical themes. There's a piece of concept artwork of Ardyn riding a black chocobo into a city to prayers and cheers, alluding to Palm Sunday. Another piece depicts him stripped shirtless being chained up by people in black robes, alluding to crucifixion. He was originally chosen by the Crystal to cure the world of Starscourge, but became corrupted and fell from the gods' favor. He also wears an accessory that resembles a single black wing, a possible reference to Sephiroth, the villain of Final Fantasy VII, whose one-winged angel form in turn alludes to Luciferian imagery.

Ardyn's original role as a healer hearkens to the concept of a sin-eater, a person who magically takes on the sins of a person or household, thus absolving these persons' souls. Consequently, sin-eaters supposedly carried the sins of all people whose souls they had thus saved.

TriviaEdit

Ardyn-Daemon-FFXV

A daemonic Ardyn.

  • When bleeding the blood of daemons, Ardyn's appearance comes to be reminiscent of that of the onstage corpse paint of shock rock metal singer Alice Cooper. In addition, having at that point succeeded in bringing the world to its knees at the wrath of the Starscourge and becoming the world's "king", he has welcomed "all to his nightmare".
  • There is a scene in Final Fantasy XV where Ardyn and Ravus are in front of the Altissian cathedral. It rains and Ardyn holds an umbrella. This appears to be based on a scene revealed in Final Fantasy Versus XIII trailers where Ardyn is outside the Citadel in Insomnia, also holding an umbrella.


External linksEdit

ReferencesEdit

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