Fire Emblem Blog

Ranulf & The Black Knight

Posted on: August 5, 2008

It’s been awhile since I posted a real article, but I have been busy so I kind of have an excuse. I have promised to wrote 2 articles…one about the winner of the Most Mysterious Character” poll, and one about one of Radiant Dawn’s biggest flaws. Of the two, I decided to go with the later.

A lot of people will tell you that they don’t like Radiant Dawn. When GameSpot says it’s only for hardcore fans you know there’s a problem somewhere…and its not in the rating system. There are several reasons why Radiant Dawn is considered inferior to the other games of the series…but I believe the biggest reason is because of two characters: Ranulf and The Black Knight.

If you recall in Path of Radiance, the prequel to Radiant Dawn, The Black Knight was almost like the main antagonist. Covered head-to-toe in black armor, he was like a question with no answer. Upon killing Ikes father, Greil, he is revealed to have once studied under Greil long ago. This is a clever way of giving answers without giving away who he really is.

After the death of his father, Ike swears to get stronger and kill The Black Knight. If THAT doesn’t make him the main antagonist I don’t know what will. Through the entire game The Black Knight makes several appearances…most of which you are allowed to commit suic-I mean engage him in battle. In time you learn that his armor is blessed by the goddess, and that only weapons also blessed can so much as scratch him.

When you finally obtain the blessed sword Ragnel, Ikes chance to defeat The Black Knight finally arrives. However, The Black Knights is the only battle you are allowed to 1.) Fight , 2.) Flee , or 3.) Wait out. To add to this, Mist will always come in this would be one-on-one battle, giving you a healer should Ike get squished by Luna. So there you go; a foe so powerful you are given 3 different options to get past and a healer. Only one of them is the right way to do it, which is to battle him, but your odds of actually defeating him on time are very slim. Regardless of what you do, The Black Knight eventually falls, and the story moves on.

Fast forward a year or 3, and we are taken to the time of Radiant Dawn. Now….despite  what the case, book, and first 10 chapters tell you, this isn’t a game about Micaiah and her quest to free Daein. Its about Ike again, duuuuh! One thing of note though about those first 10 tutorial chapters is who helps Micaiah save Daein…Mr. Black Knight! [Sarcasm]And here we thought he was dead [/Sarcasm] . He hints at a few things about himself in these chapters…namely how Micaiah reminds him of “her” .

Alright, now lets introduce Ranulf. Hes a cat, hes blue, he used to be peppy and sarcastic, but now he mostly grovels at Ike’s feet. He has a high status in the Beast Laguz army, and usually leads large missions. In Path of Radiance he actually meets The Black Knight on several occasions, even battling him once. In Radiant Dawn he leads a group of Laguz in the war against Begnion, directly challenging its military’s leader, Zelgius. Bad idea however, since Zelgius is just as much the challenge as The Black Knight, and Ranulf gets whooped by yet another large clunky general.

He later gets the chance to challenge The Black Knight again , but atleast this time he’s not rigged to lose. Upon starting the battle he says he can recognise The Black Knights fighting style, as well as his scent (gross x-x ). So he knowswho The Black Knight is! That’s something no one else has been able to do! Now, hes probably not going to say anything until Ikes next chance to defeat The Black Knight comes up, right? After all, that’s some big information hes got…that kinda stuff only leaks out AFTER its useful…otherwise the plot just kinda dies…..

A few chapters later and one ginormous mistake later.

Ranulf: Hey Ike! The Black Knight is really Zelgius! Be careful around him! Well I gotta go now! *leaves* .

Hit and run…THAT is what we call a spoiler! IN its own game! Now every time “The Black Knight” makes a big dramatic appearance…your laughing inside because its like hes wearing a transparent mask. Hes still hiding his identity…but you know who he is, Ike knows who he is, and obviously…so does Ranulf. So from this point on, The Black Knight is virtually pointless. When he hints about his “master” and such, there is hardly any room for the imagination to work. If they had just waited until HE chose to reveal his identity, so in other words, waited until the third from last chapter, he could have remained as one of the main plot points, given the player something to think about, and kept the plot moving smoothly until it was about to come to an end anyways.

So of the many reasons I dislike Radiant Dawn, I believe that mistake to be the biggest one.

–Saint of Swords


34 Responses to "Ranulf & The Black Knight"

And before anyone brings it up, im not saying fixing this flaw would fix them all 😛 . This is just what I think is the biggest one.

Yeah, that was pretty pathetic. And I agree how much the changed Ranulf. I can’t really think of him the same anymore. Why with his obsession to be Ike’s slave. And the fact that he became more irritating and all. I think Radiant Dawn made me dislike allot of characters. That game most certainly wasn’t a good experience for Fire Emblem Fan’s.

The Black Knight used to be interesting, in fact, I looked up to him because he was so cool. But that stupid Blue Cat had to interrupt out of the clear blue that he was Zelgius. I remember when the Black Knight used to be fun to challenge, but now it feels awfully pointless.

I totally agree. When I first saw that, all I could do was gape at the screen and wonder why Nintendo even bothered.

I was disappointed by the fact the 1 the game WASN’T about Miciah the whole way through, 2 half the battles you fight are pointless becasue they don’t further the plot and you just ened up retreat anyway, EVEN THOUGH you WON EVRY BATTLE and were on the high road to winning THE WHOLE DANG WAR!! and 3 the game was too hard with Miciah and too easy with Ike making it inconsistent and too much like a chore. Among other reasons.

There are a lot of reasons I dislike RD, but like I said I think this is the biggest reason.

yeah.. that made the game feel pointless.. and i hated zelgeous so much.. which made me not like the black knight..

i bet the black knight was originaly a mystery character that the makers didnt even know who it was. but needed a quick ‘plot’ and made zelgious be him

I think so too. I had origenally thought he was going to be Ikes secret older brother based on the “im the one who made him like that” comment from Sir dies-a-lot.

yeah.. (even thought ide be afraid to see what ikes older brother would look like since ike looks like a ape in RD)

but just griel training his is borring and too realistic for my tastes

Actually just Greil traiing the Black Knight is decidedly unrealistic. Most people learning a martial art have several instructors and aren’t trained individualy. That only happens in movies and games.

i liked the blackknight in PoR hence my name but in RD he had no point in actually being in the game they should have just let him die

It would have been more mysterious if they had him come back as a ??? guy in some dialogue where you don’t get to see his face, then have him be revealed as a boss on one level then later reveal him as Zelgius once you defeat him for good.

o_O’ That’s just sad. Zelgeous was NOT a person I would have suspected (well okay, he is) but, The Black Knight? That just ruined the whole thing. I’d have much rather preferred to lop his head off and find out that way. And pardon me if that’s rude, but it’s true. Would have made the whole thing better.

And on a related note, have you noticed that ESRB is going to pot?? Look at the details–

Legend of Zelda is the main clue. Ocarina of Time was rated E for Everyone, and blood was consistent in that game (everyone remembers when Ganondorf throws up blood near the final battle). Then, Twilight Princess was rated T for Teen, because of violence and “blood”. Yet when I played TP, there wasn’t a single drop of blood in the whole dang thing! When you killed your foe, sparks came out! And the same thing is happening to FE.

You can see for yourself.

Take alook at Halo. Mild bloodshed, gets an M. Especially Halo 1 and 3. in 1 the only blood is the blue and purple of the aliens. In 3 it didn’t even stain the ground. You had to look close just to see it anyway. But yeah, TP has “Animated blod” Thats the green ooze from the Boko babas.

i hated that about halo it made the game almos impossible to get because my mom is overprotective

Lets please stay on topic. Include something that pertains to the article. The ESRB has nothing to do with Ranulf or the Black Knight.

aww man the black knight was such a cheater (this is just personal)

How was he a cheater?

cause he staels all of michaihs groups exp ide guess.. it makes me feel all gross using him not that i know who he is

i thought it was kool to use him for the jarod chapter but then he just turned into a jeigan

By the way, I’m going to be playing Radiant Dawn soon enough!

And yeah, I was mad at The Black Knight because I couldn’t remove his wonderous skills. -_-

I was mad because he turned out to be such a lame guy.

That too—is correct. I also hate why the Black Knight (Zelgius) has to have some nerdy little Sentinel following him around. I also don’t know why he got killed. It was like, they made it out to be he was a new unit to recruit. But it turns out you can actually just kill him. I think they gave up on the concept—rather the whole thought of it. -__-”

Yeah, RD did suck. I agree that it was lame that Michaia or whatever her name is taking a backseat to Ike was crappy. The reveal with the Black Knight was handled in the lamest way possible. To me, the crappiest thing about the game was Ike’s endings. Ike wanders never to be seen again (…) or he and Soren travel together to never be seen again (…)

I didn’t know the surname for this game was Brokeback Emblem. Why was Soren the only character Ike had a special ending with? Would it have killed the writers or whomever to give him a special ending with Lethe, especially since they became great friends if you got their “A” Support in PoR?

It did bother me. I really wanted to see a Lethe and Ike pairing.

What ’bout Titania and Ike ending. 😉 I’m getting them support in my game. =P

EWWWWW!!!! Titania’s old enough to be his mother!! She’s already practically his aunt.

Well Titania just SO happens to like Ike in my game. 😉

Actually, Ike and Ranulf have an ending in RD… admittedly, it is similar to Soren’s and Ike’s, but… theirs isn’t the only one.

Also, my only true complaint about RD is how they seemed to realise – probably right when they were about done programming the finishing touches – ‘oh, crap, we forgot to put dark magic in PoR, so let’s try to integrate it into RD before it’s too late’. They did a poor job of that – in all respects to the entirety of dark magic.

Also, (and forgive my double-posting), I do certainly agree that they should have put a Lethe-and-Ike ending. They could’ve had a cute, viscious Branded child, which would have been epic. (Not to mention possibly leaving a door open for yet another FE).

Thanks to all who said so. ^_^’ But it isn’t related, that’s true… so… The thing with the Black Knight was similar to Zant in Twilight Princess (Boko Baba blood? I forgot about that, but still, that’s dumb.). Everybody, and don’t tell me you didn’t think so yourself, thought that Zant was an incredible evil mastermind behind the operation. And then, what happens? Zant throws the equivalent of a three year-olds fit. It’s just… Some of these bad guys don’t strike me as immature or who they are supposed to be. Zelgeous didn’t fit the Black Knights profile, just as Zant didn’t fit the three year-old he so selfishly was.

I wish Ranulf wouldn’t have spoiled Ike so quickly. I really liked him till that point of game came. O_O I still like him now though.

I dont like RD, the part 1 and 2 are ok but the 3 is lame because the ennemies are too solids.

I think Part III was fine. Though part IV was kind of annoying.

I agree with the whole article….the thing I think is even worse is how Ike was happy to face the black knight and considered him his “final teacher.” Ike in path of radiance would NEVER have said such things.

I also don’t think they developed sephiran as an antagonist enough.

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