This is the theory that the true identity of
the Black Knight is Zelgius- a Begnion general who aids Ike in the
battle against Daein. If you don't know who Zelgius is, his image is here.
Last revised: 24th November 2010
[Since the sequel, Radiant Dawn,
been released, and details have been proven correct
or incorrect, I have added some Radiant
Dawn-related comments that I will put
in squared brackets. Like this.]
(May contain spoilers)
The basis of the
theory, which I doubt the theory would exist without,
is that Zelgius has unused character data within the game. Zelgius and
the Black Knight have identical growths, affinity, class (actually the
Black Knight has his own class, but they are both Generals) and weapon
ranks. Also, Zelgius has similar (but not identical) stats as the Black
Knight. Additionally the Black
Knight's battle theme is labelled as BGM_BTL_ZELGIUS1 internally.
Some argue that the stats are meaningless, simply for being unused.
not appearing in battle, Nealuchi, Caineghis, Greil and Sigrun have
realistic stats, so why not Zelgius? Another thing to think about is
does Zelgius have data in the first place? It's possibly Intelligent
wanted him to make an appearance, but scrapped the idea later
saw his stats, you'd catch on easily...).
Even if the stats don't prove a thing, they did make people aware that
Zelgius was actually a good candidate for the Black Knight. I think the
best way to see is to run through most of the known facts
about the Black Knight.
1) The Black Knight somehow obtained
Goddess-blessed armour for himself and Ashnard.
Since Begnion is the land of the Goddess's followers, it is likely that
the armour originated from there. Zelgius resides in Begnion so perhaps
he would know about the armour or how to get it.
[The armour's origin was not discussed, but it is implied that it
belonged to the army of Goddess Yune. Ashera's soldiers have golden
armour, so perhaps Yune's army had black armour. Since Ashera's army
was successful, perhaps they stole some armour from their enemy (in the
original battle they probably didn't have any Goddess-blessed armour).
The swords Ragnell and Alondite, however, are stated to be of Begnion
origin, and it's likely that were under the possession of Sephiran
(Altina was the swords' owner and she was Sephiran/Lehran's wife).]
2) The Black Knight was taught in the
skills of fighting by Greil.
Greil taught the Black Knight around 15 years ago (an approximate
number), so if the Black Knight was around 15 years ago at that time,
he would be around 30 years of age now. I'm not too good at judging the
ages of people, but Zelgius looks like he is around 30 years old.
[It is discovered that the Black Knight is Branded, so the age
discussion is moot.]
Also, perhaps Zelgius's prowess in battle was due to Greil's training.
It could be said that there are few youthful fighters who could match
3) The Black Knight did not attack
Sephiran at the port town.
Some believe that the Black Knight held back solely because he didn't
want to provoke Begnion into attacking Daein (Sephiran is the prime
minister of Begnion).
However I am inclined to believe that it is also partially because the
Black Knight (assuming it's Zelgius) knows Sephiran deeply. Perhaps he
working for Sephiran, or is an ally. When Sephiran tells the Black
Knight to spare Ranulf, it sounded almost
like an order, and the Black Knight obeyed almost as if he held loyalty
[The Black Knight was indeed working for Sephiran.]
4) The Black Knight despises Laguz.
One consequence of this is that the Black Knight cannot be a Laguz. Any
theories about the Black
Knight being Deghinsea, Giffca or other Laguz characters practically
here. Unless he was lying of course (but his hatred seems real enough).
We know that Begnion has a history of hatred towards Laguz (as can be
seen from the Laguz slavery). Since Zelgius is a citizen of Begnion,
perhaps he picked up their way of thinking? Then again, it seems Daein
is more keen on racism against Laguz.
[As stated, the Black Knight is a Branded and thus dislike his Laguz
5) The Black Knight is a strong
What this means, is that the person under the armour must be strong.
Ranulf mentions that he is amazed by the speed that the Black Knight
attacks. Since Zelgius is a general, he will be used to wearing the
[The amazing strength is also likely due to the Black Knight being
It was stated that the Branded are stronger than ordinary Beorc.]
6) It seems the Black Knight is a
Judging by his voice anyway (well his Japanese one at least), I would
associate the Black
Knight's voice (distorted as it is) with a tall handsome-looking
fellow. I'm not a good judge of appearance, but I think Zelgius fits
that description. This might sound trivial, but I thought it was
important- it means the Black Knight probably isn't some rough or ugly
[Zelgius and the Black Knight also have the same (Japanese) voice
7) The Black Knight and Zelgius never
appear at the same time.
Of course, other people would qualify, but the key point is that so
does Zelgius. Some note that Zelgius appears even after the Black
Knight is defeated or "killed", which they use as evidence against the
theory. I say "killed", because I'm sure he doesn't die. When you
defeat the Black Knight, he fades around from the map. However not all
characters die when they fade away- Shinon is a good example of this.
As for being crushed by the rubble... In real life, if a castle
collapsed on somebody, chances are they're dead. However the Black
Knight has blessed armour that could completely or partially protect
him from danger. Also you have to bear in mind this is a game/RPG,
where it's not uncommon for characters to return from what seems like
certain death. It's a cliché, which Fire Emblem is full of.
[In the Japanese version, the Black Knight survived because of a
malfunction of the warp
powder. He stated that during the battle only his spirit was warped
inside the castle, and not his body. Since his body is elsewhere, that
means it can't be inside the castle to be buried. What a cheap
get-away... The English version doesn't bother to go into any details
other than he survived.]
The biggest hint that the Black Knight survived is that his body was
not found after the incident. Again this is a game, so I doubt they
missed a spot or just went past his body. Either he escaped himself, or
somebody helped him. The Black Knight cannot die, because too many
questions need to be answered (Fire
Emblem is a popular series, so I doubt they
will leave them unanswered). With Radiant
Dawn being confirmed as a sequel (and
the game logo sporting Ragnell and Alondite), it's very likely that the
Black Knight will return in some form.
[Unfortunately (?) the Ragnell and Alondite logo was dropped.]
So assuming the Black Knight/Zelgius didn't die, it would make sense
for Zelgius to make an appearance after the decisive battle to fool the
players. Which he does. Even if he was injured, perhaps there was
enough time between the battle and the finale for him to recover (fully
or partially). That or maybe he had a helping hand in the form of
All in all, I think Zelgius manages to fit into all the facts rather
Another thing is why was Zelgius introduced into the story at all? His
appearances were short and forgettable and he wasn't too important
story-wise. Even if Ike did need a Begnion general to help him, he
didn't have to consult personally with him or it could have been a
generic NPC (admittedly, that would be a bit of a cop-out). I would be
surprised if, when Zelgius offered to help Ike, you didn't expect him
to become a playable unit yourself. The fact that he/the game
doesn't let you use him seems awfully suspicious to me... Again,
perhaps it was to hide his stats or something, or so he wouldn't have
to go suspiciously missing during the battle with the Black Knight.
Despite everything, the theory is not without its faults.
The fact that Zelgius has such a small role might render the whole
Black Knight mystery an anti-climax. Imagine getting near the end of Radiant Dawn, when the Black Knight
reveals his identity as Zelgius. I doubt
even Ike would remember who Zelgius was, let alone the player! Despite
that, I think a small role is better than no role- the theory that the
Black Knight is hollow (so Greil was teaching a suit of armour?) or
somebody not introduced (this would have no difference other than
Zelgius already featured in one game).
[Zelgius had a much larger appearance in Radiant Dawn. Unfortunately, Ranulf
kind of spoils the surprise a little too early...]
My own attack at the theory is that how on earth could somebody
possibly manage a double life of being a famous Begnion general and an
infamous Rider of Daein? Of course, the Black Knight had Warp Powder,
which could explain how he could be at both Begnion and Daein at the
same time. Still I think it would be a tricky stunt to pull off and
Zelgius would have to be a pretty darn good liar. Now that I think
about, his eyes do look a bit sinister, but it's probably my
[The double life is possibly even more wild, seeing as he fights in the
war, in Radiant Dawn, as both
Zelgius and the Black Knight!]
So that's basically most of the "Zelgius theory" summed up. I probably
forgot some minor notes, but I think I got most of the important ones.
Even if you don't believe the theory (I'm not saying you have to), you
have to admit it's one of (if not the) strongest theories out there.
Hopefully when Radiant Dawn
is released, we'll see how accurate this theory
is... I'd bet a lot of money on it : )
[By the way, in case it wasn't obvious by now. Zelgius is indeed the
Black Knight. As if there was any doubt...!]