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League of Assassins

    General Tropes 
  • Above Good and Evil: Goes hand in hand with their Blue-and-Orange Morality.
  • Adaptational Wimp: The League is one of the biggest instances of Conservation of Ninjutsu in fiction. They are supposedly an organization composed of the most skilled assassins in the world, but aside from elite members like Ra's, Nyssa, Malcolm, and Sara, the rest of them seem to have the fighting ability of average mooks, where any of the less powerful heroes (e.g. Laurel and Thea) are able to take them down with ease. Over time, increasingly weaker characters have been shown beating them, where in Legends of Tomorrow even Jax (who has no established combat training) was able to knock one out with a single punch to the face.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: They've been around a while, that's for sure. A while longer than HIVE, in fact.
  • Archer Archetype: To fit with the nature of the show, this incarnation of the League makes heavy use of bows and arrows in addition to swords.
  • Badass Army: This is a given considering they are a secret order of assassins.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality:
    • If a member of the League is killed and that killer can't be brought to "justice," the League has no problem slaughtering innocent blood until the killer is found.
    • Even challenging Ra's Al-Ghul is considered a grievous crime worthy of death at least by Nyssa's standards (although Ra's really doesn't care). That said, that might just be the result of challenging him in the first place.
  • The Chosen One: Those who survive the Demon's blade, are the ones who take the Demon's place as Ra's Al-Ghul.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Played with. When there are more of them they become seemingly easier to deal with, but this is partly due to a lack of ranged weaponry; at close range they become significantly harder to fight. They are also able to successfully ambush and capture Oliver simply by virtue of numbers.
  • The Corruption: Certain members are put through an intense brainwashing process to make them 100% loyal to the League. Candidates to be the next Ra's Al-Ghul also have to destroy their home towns to ensure their past identity is dead and they are only Ra's Al-Ghul.
  • Cult: Definitely has the vibe of one. Members are required to discard all connection to their former lives, to be brainwashed into loyally serving Ra's Al-Ghul, adopt new names, and leaving the group is all but impossible without Ra's' say-so.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In "My Name is Oliver Queen", the Flash storms Nanda Parbat with more or less no effort, breaking out Team Arrow and going an extra mile to humiliate the ninjas he took out.
  • Didn't See That Coming: They probably didn't have reason to expect the Flash storming Nanda Parbat and breaking out Team Arrow.
  • Dirty Coward: As he explains to Maseo, John Diggle sees all of the members of the League of Assasins as some shade of this, in part because they abandoned their previous lives and families to commit murders on Ra's Al-Ghul's behalf rather than confront whatever tragedy drove them into his arms.
  • Doomed Hometown: The candidates to be Ra's Al-Ghul are required to personally destroy their hometown and kill everyone in it to completely sever their ties to their previous lives.
  • Enemy Civil War: Nyssa manages to build enough of a power base against Merlyn.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: The League seems to accept members of all ethnicities, as Caucasian, Middle-Eastern, and Asian characters have all been seen to rise high in the organisation. Women are a rarer sight, but a few have been seen and while Ra's Al-Ghul himself has shown a definite sexist streak, he doesn't seem to have any real problem with women joining the League, even in the 1950's. LGBTQ individuals seem to be accepted as well, with the Heir to the Demon herself being a lesbian.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The League of Assassins, whatever else they might be, have a code of honor, and Ra's al Ghul himself was so disgusted by The Undertaking in Season One that he wants to kill Malcolm personally as of "The Scientist". They also send reinforcements to help against the Mirakuru army in "Unthinkable", albeit in reaction to a deal with Ra's from Sara.
  • Evil Plan: Presumably they have one, but we never find out what their long term goals are. Though Ra's' comments in "Al Sahhim" seem to imply that they're roughly similar to HIVE's - albeit less extreme (for a given definition of less).
  • Evil Versus Evil: The result of Moira siccing Ra's Al-Ghul on Malcolm.
  • Evil Wears Black: Standard League wear is pure black.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Lampshaded by Felicity.
  • The Fellowship Has Ended: Upon her ascension as Ra's Al-Ghul, Nyssa disbands the League.
  • Frame-Up: They've been tainting Oliver's reputation as the Arrow to Starling City after he refuses to be Ra's heir near the end of Season Three.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Named assassins are given codenames in Arabic, and members converse in it regularly, even when neither participant is Arabian. Translations are a hit and miss affair, mostly correct with the occasional gaff of translating a Western phrase into Arabic even though it sounds awkward, or the rather liberal translation of Canary. Delivery is mostly poor, with Ra's himself being unintelligible.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Besides the incarnations of Ra's Al-Ghul, the League paved the way for the likes of Malcolm Merlyn and Damien Darhk.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: For all of their talk of disappearing without a trace, they make some pretty flash-bangy entrances, and in the case of Nyssa, wear extremely flashy, attention-drawing costumes.
    • Possibly justified. They only really do that for high-priority targets – or for people who might notice them anyway (ex. Merlyn). For example, when they capture Oliver to bring him to Ra's, they pretty much come out of nowhere. Notably, Sara and Merlyn, who they trained, don't notice them.
  • Informed Ability: Sara describes them as making the Navy SEALs look like a kindergarten class. While some of their members (Ra's, Nyssa, Merlyn, Sara herself) live up to that boast, most of the League's number prove to be little more than typical mooks.
  • Karma Houdini: Nyssa dissolves the group and the members go their separate ways without being punished for their crimes.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Against H.I.V.E., since they have more standards.
  • McNinja: Despite the strong Ninja motif, the group is a Multinational Team, meaning there are non-Asian ninjas.
  • Monster Threat Expiration: Early in the show, just one member gives both Sara and Ollie combined some serious trouble. Fast forward a few seasons to 3x22 "This Is Your Sword", and the much less experienced Laurel is single-handedly able to take on three at once. After losing to a mugger in the prior episode, then getting a whopping two weeks of training from Nyssa.
  • Multinational Team: The group is quite diverse.
  • Murder, Inc.: The group is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, though they don't get paid for it (so far as we know), but rather abide by their own moral code.
  • My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: Sara describes their combat ability as "making Special Forces look like a kindergarten class."
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: What Ra's al-Ghul says goes, even if that means the dissolution of the League itself. Subverted as the Heirs of Ra's Al-Ghul are brainwashed to be 100% loyal to the League so it'll never happen.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Gee, a "League of Assassins" doesn't sound terrifying at all...
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: This is what they claim but League Law allows numerous exceptions such as when Nyssa attempted to kill Sara's family since Sara went AWOL, when Nyssa threatened to kill half of Starling to coerce Oliver to hand over Sara's killer, and of course the ritual where Heirs of Ra's Al-Ghul must destroy their hometowns in order to break any connection to their old lives and fully become the Demon's Head. Small wonder why Malcolm thought leveling the Glades was a perfectly good way to help Starling.
  • Ninja: Their rank and file.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The League may be pretty badass, a competent threat even for most highly-trained badasses, and even capable of taking on Mirakuru soldiers with relative ease, but when Barry Allen aka the Flash turns up unannounced, it becomes clear that skill with mundane weapons can only do so much against a powerful metahuman. Their "fight" with him is hilariously one-sided.
    • This is further justified by them being a League of Assassins who are primarily trained in subterfuge and stealth, not direct combat.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Mixed with Offstage Villainy. Despite being called the League of Assassins, they never actually assassinate, as in kill for money, anybody during the show. And despite their mantra of "replacing evil with death", they don't get involved with or try to stop any of the corrupt and evil individuals in Starling or Central City. In fact, they only ever get involved in internal affairs related to the conduct of current or former members. Makes you wonder if everybody exclaiming how evil they were was full of it.
  • Put Them All Out of My Misery: Most of the League members have suffered some great personal tragedy in their life that caused them to pass the Despair Event Horizon and join the League. To become Ra's, this is an Invoked Trope by the prior Ra's, forcing the successor to kill his entire people with a biological weapon to erase the successor's history.
  • Resignations Not Accepted: Unless Ra's says so, you don't leave the League. Ever. Malcolm Merlyn technically was allowed leave to do his own thing, but had to swear to follow their code of honour. Violating it put him on their radar.
  • Shrouded in Myth: How the rest of the world sees the "existence" of the group.
  • Stealth Expert: As shown by Sara and Al-Owal.
  • Super-Reflexes: Al-Owal is the most obvious demonstrator, being able to catch an arrow from behind. All the onscreen Assassins demonstrate it, being able to casually dodge bullets and arrows.
  • That Man Is Dead: Everyone who joins the League has to leave their old identity and life behind and embrace a new one. And that includes Ra's Al-Ghul himself.
  • Training from Hell: Required to undergo this to be a member.
  • Two Girls to a Team: So far, only Nyssa and Sara are the only known female members. With Sara's death and resurrection as White Canary, only Nyssa remains.
  • Übermensch: The group has their own code of morality — a very twisted morality.
  • Uniqueness Decay: Malcolm's masked archer costume? Turns out it's fairly standard garb for the whole of the League. A potentially Justified Trope, as, if the connection were found out, Malcolm could use them as a convenient frameup.
  • The Worf Effect: They seem to get less powerful each season, to show how much stronger the heroes have gotten. In Season Two, any individual member was highly feared, but by Season Four, they're treated like average mooks that any member of Team Arrow can handle.




Species: Human (Enhanced via Lazarus Pit)

The founder of the League of Assassins and the very first Ra's al Ghul.

  • Predecessor Villain: He founded the League of Assassins and gained his knowledge by Mar Novu, the Monitor himself.

    Ra's Al-Ghul 

Ra's al Ghul

Species: Human (Enhanced via Lazarus Pit)

Known Aliases: رئيس الغول (Ra's al-Ghul, Arabic for "Head of the Demon")

Played By: Matt Nable

First Appearance: "The Magician" (Arrow 3x4)

Appearances: Arrow | Legends of Tomorrow

The immortal renowned, dreaded, ruthless and mysterious leader of the League, "Ra's Al-Ghul" is Nyssa's father. In Season Three, Ra's wants Oliver Queen to be his successor as leader of the League, to be the next "Ra's Al-Ghul".

see Titans (2018): Villains for the Earth-9 character who bears his name and background
see Batman (1966): Rogues Gallery for the Earth-66 character who bears his name and background

  • Abusive Parents: After Nyssa deserts the League and tries to kill him for choosing Oliver as his heir over her, he acts outright cruel to her; her later comments suggest that he was always a horrible father to her, because she could never measure up to Talia. In Oliver's funeral, Nyssa tells Talia that she could live a normal life after his death.
  • Action Dad: Father to Nyssa and Talia and is both a fear and renowned warrior.
  • Adaptational Heroism: This version of Ra's is somewhat less villainous than his comics counterpart. He doesn't show any of the outright contempt for humanity that the comic version does while at the same time never showing any of the genocidal intentions that version exhibits, barring the end of the third season where it's based not in an active desire for said genocide and in rather disturbing morality. The only reason for his antagonism to begin with was following League protocol that involved Oliver Queen, rather than any personal desire to bring him down.
  • Affably Evil:
    • True to his comic book self, Ra's is never less than polite and even sympathetic to Oliver, and when he's stabbed the latter through the chest, he offers up a sincere prayer for his soul.
    • When he gets a hold of Malcolm Merlyn, who rather pathetically begs for his life, Ra's calmly replies he should accept his death with honor.
    • However, he shows off a Faux Affably Evil nature later in the season, best seen when he's talking to his daughter or Oliver's friends. Ra's sounds like he's seconds away from killing them all.
  • Age Lift: The comics' version of Ra's is around 600 years old. This one, while unnaturally long-lived, isn't even 200.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Damien Darhk, who used to be his friend before they became rivals for the title of Ra's Al-Ghul. While they didn't interact on the show proper, it is implied in the Season Three finale that Ra's plan to destroy Star City was not only to ensure Oliver's ascension as his heir, but to kill Darhk as well.
    • Nyssa, his daughter. Talia as well, though she does still love him.
    • Ironically, subverted in regards to Oliver. Ra's is the sole Big Bad that Oliver doesn't have any strong personal enmity for, which most likely has to do with the fact that, if not for Malcolm, they would've never had come into conflict. Oliver even seems to hold a genuine respect for him long after his death, judging by how he chewed out Talia for aligning with Prometheus, saying that Ra's would never have approved of killing innocent people for revenge (which he wouldn't).
  • Archnemesis Dad: He isn't exactly the best father to Nyssa.
  • Archer Archetype: While he prefers bladed weapons, Ra's displays quite the skill with a bow.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: He is called the Demon's Head for a reason.
  • Badass Boast: And he lives up to it.
    Oliver: You're unarmed.
    Ra's Al-Ghul: I'll take your blades when you're through with them.
  • Badass Teacher: He personally teaches the League members.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Subverted; while Oliver does take his position as the new Ra's after slaying him, it's only long enough in order to obtain his ring and give it to Malcolm to become the new Demon's Head instead.
  • Benevolent Boss: Implied. While he's usually stern, he's never shown mistreating his subordinates...unless they betray him. He was also reasonable enough to release Malcolm from his vow.
  • Big Bad: Of present day Season Three, opposite Malcolm Merlyn. He eventually takes the role completely in "Nanda Parbat".
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Provides the main threat of Season Three, along with Malcolm Merlyn.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: He is not above killing innocents - the motivation behind it matters. If it is for the supposed greater good, then it's okay. If it is out of petty personal reasons, like revenge? Unacceptable.
  • The Bus Came Back: A past version of him appears in Legends of Tomorrow Season One even when his present self had already met his demise in Arrow Season Three.
  • Break Them by Talking: He does this in "The Offer" to Oliver when he is offering him the position as his heir and says that everyone he knows and loves will either die or turn on him and he will wind up dying alone.
    Ra's Al-Ghul: Your city will turn on you. And your closest allies within the police department will call you a criminal. You will be scorned. And hunted. And then killed. Dying as you began your crusade. Alone.
  • Broken Pedestal: Ra's' actions in the latter half of Season Three destroy Nyssa's esteem for and loyalty towards him. By the end of the season, Nyssa's only regret about her father's death was that she didn't kill him herself.
  • Character Tics: Ra's tends to stand with his arms folded behind his back, especially when he's talking to someone.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist:
    • In contrast to the previous Big Bads, Malcolm Merlyn and Slade Wilson, Ra's had no personal connection with Oliver Queen before coming into conflict with the hero, Malcolm was the father of Oliver's childhood best friend while Slade Wilson was his former mentor on his time on Lian Yu. In Ra's case, Oliver's only experience with Ra's before Season Three was hearing some rather unpleasant stories about him, as well as scattered encounters with Ra's' minions.
    • In addition, Ra's shows a level of respect and admiration for Oliver that no other antagonist has ever displayed, considering Oliver to be worthy of being his successor as League of Assassins and wishing for Oliver to take his place. Ra's did not have any other motivation in destroying Starling City (Ra's, in fact, doesn't care at all about either until Merlyn breaks League law and tries to escape Ra's' wrath over it).
    • Furthermore, while Malcolm and Slade were both Bad Bosses who had no qualms for killing their underlings, either due to outliving usefulness or failure, Ra's is a very forgiving Benevolent Boss who was more than happy to give second chances even when directly betrayed by Maseo Yamashiro. On the other hand, Ra's shows little respect to the important females in his life (his daughter Nyssa), while Malcolm and Slade were both very protective towards their women. Malcolm's Start of Darkness was because of the death of his wife Rebecca, and he was also very protective towards Thea Queen upon discovering that she was his daughter, while Slade was driven into a Roaring Rampage of Revenge upon losing his love Shado, as well as heavily valuing his closest follower Isabel, even saving her life. Ra's concern for Nyssa ultimately went no further than her use to him and he would have happily disowned her for disobeying him.
  • The Corrupter:
    • He tries to convince Oliver to become his heir in part by convincing him he could do so much good as the new head of the League.
    • He also turned Malcolm into a selfish monster way beforehand when he was grieving from his wife's death.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: He pretty much kicks Oliver's ass without a second thought.
  • Death by Adaptation: While Ra's Al-Ghul in the comics is no stranger to dying, Word of God confirms this Ra's is permanently dead. And with Nyssa destroying the only known Lazarus Pit, this isn't likely to change.
  • Death by Irony: Oliver ends up killing him with the exact same moves Ra's used on him in their first fight, including taking the latter's sword.
  • Decomposite Character: Since "Ra's Al-Ghul" is only a title for The Leader of the League of Assassins, many characters have assumed its mantle such as Malcolm Merlyn and briefly, Nyssa Raatko.
  • Designated Villain: Invoked. He has absolutely nothing against Oliver, his family, or anything he's ever done. Malcolm set him and Oliver to collide to save his own skin. Ra's remains largely uninterested, with his daughter providing the more active driving force behind his threat. That is until he decides he wants Oliver to be his successor as he believes in the prophecy that he who survives the blade of Ra's will ascend to "Ra's". To this end, Ra's begins killing people disguised as the Arrow so Starling City will turn against Oliver as part of a plan to make him accept his offer to become the next Ra's Al Ghul.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Ra's makes Oliver an "offer" to be his successor with supposedly no strings attached, Oliver refuses, so naturally Ra's reaction is to have his league kill numerous criminals and innocent people and frame the Arrow for it, reveal the Arrow's identity to Captain Lance in order to have the police hunt him down, and then nearly kill Thea, all to force Oliver to accept his offer. In other words, don't snub this guy.
  • The Dreaded: Everyone who has knowledge of him seems afraid of him; even Oliver and Sara, who both lack any fear of death, are terrified of what he could do to the people they hold dear.
  • Duel to the Death: Slain by Oliver in the Season Three finale.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Downplayed Trope as shown in "Nanda Parbat". His reason for disapproving of Nyssa's relationship with Sara was purely out of concern for his daughter's feelings, knowing that Sara would likely leave the League and result in Nyssa's heartbreak. However, according to Oliver, he is unwilling to break League law to save her if the option came up for a hostage trade between her and Malcolm Merlyn. Also once Oliver becomes his heir he disinherits her; he even orders Oliver to kill her since she would be the rival for leadership of the League. But at the last minute he has Oliver stay his hand... and instead decrees she should marry Oliver instead.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He's the head of an organization whose sole purpose is to Pay Evil unto Evil.
    • He puts a death mark on Malcolm Merlyn due to his indiscriminate destruction of the Glades which violated the League's principles.
    • He believes the work of Damien Darkh and HIVE is dangerous and must be stopped.
    • Subverted in that he orders Oliver to use the Alpha/Omega Virus on Starling City, not because the people of Starling City have comitted any crime but because it's Oliver's home town and if he is to become the next Ra's Al-Ghul he must destroy anything that remains of his former identity.
    • After Ra's' death, Oliver expresses the belief that Ra's would not approve of Talia's quest for vengeance, even saying that Ra's would have been ashamed of her. He probably wouldn't — nearly all the death and destruction Ra's is directly and indirectly responsible for were for a higher aim (usually adhering to League traditions and principles), with little to no of his own personal regard in the matter. Even his frame-up of the Arrow and attack on Thea, which could be interpreted as retaliation for Oliver's "slight" of rejecting his offer, had the ultimate goal of forcing Oliver to accept his "destiny". There is no way Ra's would subscribe to taking innocent lives for something as petty as revenge, especially when it involves training a sociopath with no morals or sense of justice to achieve that end, like Talia did with Prometheus.
  • Evil Virtues: He is a Benevolent Boss and values courage. He's disgusted when Malcolm pathetically begs for his life.
  • Evil Mentor: Is one of sorts to Oliver, as he grooms him to be his heir, turning him into Al Sah-him. Of course, Oliver was faking it the whole time. Sara also mentions that during her time with the League, he apparently taught her, among other things, a method for killing a man over a period of days.
  • Evil Versus Evil: His war with both Malcolm Merlyn and Damien Darhk.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Before torturing Malcolm, Ra's insists that his former servant face his impending death with honour, or at least dignity. Ra's later shows that he practices what he preaches; his reaction to his own death is somber and collected, with no hint of resentment or fear.
  • Fountain of Youth: His first appearance is him emerging out of a pool of suspicious-looking water. It's later revealed that this is indeed the infamous Lazarus Pit and the secret of his unnaturally long life.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: While he doesn't get directly involved with anything until Season Three, his influence is constantly present with several Leaguers and ex-Leaguers causing trouble for the Arrow.
  • Heir Club for Men: Even though Nyssa was raised and trained from birth to be his heir, he disinherits her in favor of Oliver. It's unknown if he always planned this, or if Nyssa's obsession with Sara was the deciding factor. It's also implied the reason Nyssa was born at all was to be a Spare to the Throne after he had a falling out with Talia, so that may have also played a part. Later Talia confirms that he would've never let either of them inherit his title.
  • Hero Killer: Every single person who knows him is terrified of him, with the possible exception of his daughter, Nyssa. This is shown to be a completely justified reaction in "The Climb".
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The first time Oliver faces Ra's, Ra's brings him to the brink of death, and he only survives thanks to Maseo and Tatsu. The second time they face each other, Oliver successfully kills Ra's. The difference? In the interim, Ra's had personally trained Oliver. Whoops.
  • Hollywood Old: 42-year-old Matt Nable portrays the father to 30-year-old Katrina Law. Justified: Ra's is at least 160 years old in-universe and uses the Lazarus Pit, and if his backstory of taking his first life at 11 is any indicator, he may have entered fatherhood at a particularly early age.
  • I Lied: Promised Oliver that his city would be spared judgment if he joined them, but when Oliver does he demands that he destroy it himself.
  • Immortals Fear Death: Averted. Unlike other incarnations, this Ra's doesn't seem to fear death. Instead of finding ways to cheat death, he seems more concerned in finding a worthy heir for the title of Ra's Al-Ghul.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Inflicts this fate on Oliver and Thea. Ra's himself dies in the same way at the end of Season Three.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Ra's believes the best way to convince Oliver to become his successor is to destroy all that he loves, these include framing the Arrow for a murder spree so the people turn on him, revealing his alter ego to Lance, killing Thea and lastly ordering Oliver to release a virus to kill everyone in his home city. For some reason Oliver isn't charmed by Ra's offer.
  • Insistent Terminology: When Thea meets him, she calls him the Demon, and he corrects her; he's the Demon's Head. The implication is that the League itself is the Demon.
  • Irony: Ra's' involvement in his daughters' lives turns out to be inversely proportionate to how they feel about him: he raised Nyssa, but she eventually grows to despise him, while Talia forsook him and ends up seeking to avenge his death.
  • I Want Grandkids: He makes an Arranged Marriage between his daughter Nyssa and Oliver so they can create a dynasty.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Ra's is one of the deadliest villains in the series, and all humour flies right out the window when he shows up. Case in point, he came within a hair's breadth of killing Oliver, and would have succeeded if Maseo hadn't helped Oliver survive.
  • Legacy Character: Ra's Al-Ghul is a title, not a name. He wants Oliver to be the next Ra's.
  • Love Is a Weakness: Played with. Personally he doesn't see anything wrong with love, unless it causes League members' judgement to be clouded. It's one of the reasons why he disinherits Nyssa.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He and Maseo killed people while disguised as the Arrow, and Ra's revealed Oliver's identity to Quentin, all for the sake of turning Starling City against Oliver and forcing him to accept Ra's' offer to become his successor.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: Ra's started several of these.
    • Ra's Al-Ghul —> Talia Al-Ghul —> Yao Fei Gulong —> Oliver Queen —> Team Arrow recruits (Helena Bertinelli, Roy Harper, Curtis Holt, Evelyn Sharp, Rene Ramirez, Rory Regan).
    • Ra's Al-Ghul —> Malcolm Merlyn —> Thea Queen.
    • Ra's Al-Ghul —> Oliver Queen —> Team Arrow recruits.
    • Ra's Al-Ghul —> Nyssa al-Ghul —> Sara Lance, Laurel Lance.
    • Ra's Al-Ghul —> Talia al-Ghul —> Oliver Queen, Simon Morrison/Adrian Chase
  • Marital Rape License: It is heavily implied that he believes in this. After he made an Arranged Marriage between Nyssa and Oliver so they can create a dynasty, the former voiced her displeasure saying that she won't bear Oliver's child. Ra's dismisses her saying that she doesn't have a say on the matter, and neither did her mother.
  • Moral Myopia: When Malcolm tried to destroy the Glades, it was an act that went against the League's Code of Honor that was punishable by death. But when Ra's ordered Oliver to destroy all of Starling, it was a necessary part of the ritual to become Ra's Al-Ghul.
  • My Greatest Failure:
    • Letting Malcolm Merlyn leave the League, which is something he has very good reason to regret.
    • His hesitation in killing Damien Darhk is something he instantly regretted as Darhk was able to escape with some followers and Lazarus Pit water and formed Hive, an organization more extensive and dangerous than the League ever was.
  • Mysterious Past: What his life was like before he joined the League is unknown — all we know is that at some point, he was forced to abandon his family.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • His first onscreen appearance is him emerging from a bath, clearly meant to invoke the Lazarus Pit. Then it turns out to be the Pit itself.
    • Actor Matt Nable bears a not-inconsiderable resemblance to Liam Neeson's portrayal.
  • No Name Given: Since Ra's Al Ghul is a title, we have no idea what his real name is, and with his death at the end of Season Three, it's unlikely we ever will, unless Damien Darhk feels like enlightening us.
  • Noble Demon: For all his faults, Ra's al Ghul was an honorable man who always kept his word. Out of all the major villains in the series, he was arguably the least morally bankrupt of them all, which is partly why he is the sole one to have never earned Oliver's personal enmity.
  • Not Good with Rejection: When Oliver refuses his offer to be his successor, he impersonates his superhero identity to go on a killing spree until Oliver accepts his offer.
  • Nothing Personal: At least until he settles on Oliver as his choice for a successor, Ra's has nothing at all against him, and even offers a prayer for Oliver's soul after winning their duel in "The Climb".
  • Older Than They Look: Played by an actor in his 40s, yet his references to his past all imply a considerable greater age. It's eventually confirmed that he does use Lazarus Pits, and true to Batman fashion, their waters are running out on him. As for his actual age, the reference in Al Sah-him to his immediate predecessor becoming Ra’s al Ghul in 1609 implies that each Ra’s rules for approximately 200 years, placing his age somewhere between 220 and 240 years old.
  • Old Master: To the League members, apparently. Put a lot of emphasis on old.
  • Orcus on His Throne: For a good chunk of Season Three he doesn't really do anything against the heroes, nor is he particulary interested in Oliver or Starling City. When he duels Oliver it's only because Oliver challenged him. It's only during the last quarter of Season Three, when he decides he wants Oliver to be his heir, that he takes a more active role in the plot — by going on a killing spree to tarnish the Arrow's reputation and ultimately stabbing Thea, which leaves Oliver determined to destroy the League from within.
  • Papa Wolf: According to Oliver, if Sara were to kill his child, they (presumably at least Team Arrow) would all pay for it.
  • Parental Favoritism: It's strongly implied that he considered Nyssa an Inadequate Inheritor compared to Talia, despite the latter's desertion from the League.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • When Oliver is about to (forcibly) join the League, Ra's tells Felicity that she should have a chance to say goodbye to Oliver, and advises her to tell Oliver whatever she needs to.
    • During The '50s, he releases Sara since he knows she really has no place in the League.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Zig-zagged and played with. Its implied early on that he's homophobic and disapproved of Sara and Nyssa's relationship (and doesn't care that Sara was killed), but then he claims his problem was how Sara's loyalty and devotion to the League, and by extension Nyssa, was unreliable and so would only bring heart-ache to Nyssa (and in spite of it, he still "avenges" Sara's death). However, its then made quickly apparent he doesn't actually care about Nyssa's feelings all that much and disowns her when he has the chance at a male heir, then as a 'mercy', forces Nyssa to marry a man against her will so she can give him grandchildren, consent be damned. So, he might not be homophobic, but he is definitely sexist.
    • Played with. In "The Magician", Malcolm Merlyn claims that Ra's disapproved of his daughter's "degenerate" relationship with another woman, and may even have killed Sara for it. Sure enough, it's all a lie on Malcolm's part; he orchestrated Sara's murder and used Thea as a pawn. Additionally in "Nanda Parbat", Ra's himself explains the reason he never approved of Sara was not because of the nature of their relationship, but the fact that he knew Sara would eventually desert the League and leave his daughter heartbroken.
    • In "Al Sah-him", Ra's orders a marriage between Nyssa and Oliver just for the sole reason of creating a dynasty. When Nyssa objects he point blanks tells her that he's no longer concerned with her happiness after she "betrayed" him. That said, he did this as an alternative to having Oliver kill her as a rival to his position as Heir to the Demon.
    • When Nyssa refuses to bear Oliver's child, Ra's bluntly tells her that her mother didn't have a say in conceiving her, and neither shall she.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: He is indirectly responsible for the events of Season Five, as Talia loved him enough to teach and align herself with Prometheus just to get revenge on Oliver for killing him.
  • Race Lift: Ra's is Arab in the comics, while his actor here is white. Played With, though, since he is not the original Ra's Al Ghul, but one of his successors.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Per the norm, he is centuries old and cheats time via the Lazarus Pit. Judging from his own comments, this version of Ra's is well over 150, while his immediate predecessor was alive in the early 17th century.
  • Related in the Adaptation: He becomes Oliver's father-in-law in this version after his Arranged Marriage to his daughter near the end of Season Three. The only superhero Ra's has relations in the comics is Batman due to being the father of his grandson (to Talia) Damian Wayne.
  • Risking the King: As shown by "The Offer", he's a variation. He goes out to deal with direct slights to his face personally, such as Oliver Queen refusing to be his successor, despite the fact that he already had sent League of Assassins members out to the same city.
  • Rogues' Gallery Transplant: In the comics, Ra's Al-Ghul is a Batman villain. Granted, he and his subordinates have come up against Green Arrow a few times.
  • Secret Test of Character: He provides a few. He orders Oliver to kill Diggle, only to reveal that it was a drug-induced hallucination, and the dead man just some random criminal. He orders his daughter killed for defying him, but stops Oliver before he can actually go through with it.
  • Seen It All: He's only mildly surprised by the Legends being time travelers and their... interesting quirks. Firestorm is pretty much the only thing that provokes a visible reaction from Ra's, and even then, he maintains his composure.
  • The Stoic: Ra's is generally very reserved, calm, and confident. His composure falters at times, but he always returns to stoicism.
  • This Means War!: He declares that because Oliver Queen/the Arrow has sworn to protect Merlyn, he has incurred the wrath of him and the League; although he really doesn't act on this for the most part.
  • The Unfettered: Ra's allows nothing to stand in the way of his goals. The lives of innocent people, his own minions, and even his own daughter mean very little to Ra's if they get in his way.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: While Ra's is true to his word, if you happen to disagree with him, as "The Offer" shows, he will do everything in his power to destroy your life. Oliver declined the offer of being the new Ra's, so Ra's framed him for crimes he didn't commit, turned the entire city against him, and then killed his sister to force Oliver to join him in order to bring her back.
  • Villainous Breakdown: It's subtler than either Malcolm's or Slade's, but Ra's is furious when he discovers that Oliver has been playing him since joining the League.
  • Villainous Legacy: Ra's' influence continues to be felt after his death; a major arc of Season Four involves Merlyn and Nyssa's Enemy Civil War over his title, and in Season Five, Ra's' death forms Talia's motive for seeking revenge against Oliver.
  • Villains Never Lie: He seems like a straight example until we find out what being Ra's Al-Ghul really entails. He tried to entice Oliver by saying that he could disband the League under his leadership if he so chose. In truth, the process of becoming Ra's Al-Ghul involves an intense, torturous brainwashing or conditioning process so the Heir is a loyal agent of the League and its values, thus ensuring the League's continued existence.
  • Warrior Poet: Rip thinks he is quite a poet after hearing from Sara the lessons he taught her.
  • We Can Rule Together: Offers Oliver a place at his side as his Heir.
  • We Used to Be Friends:
    • With Darhk, before Ra's was made the Demon's Head over him.
    • Malcolm Merlyn was once Ra's' loyal horseman. By Season Three, Ra's wants Merlyn dead, and Malcolm is absolutely terrified of his former master.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Quite subtly, but the centuries Ra's has been the Head of the Demon and using the Lazarus Pit have taken a toll on his sanity.
  • Worthy Opponent: During his duel with Oliver in "The Climb", he compliments the latter on lasting longer than most of the warriors Ra's has fought before. He winds up respecting Oliver so much that he wants him to be his heir. By Season Five of Arrow, the feeling appears to be mutual.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Implied that he will shows no signs of restraint on putting Nyssa in her place. He also curb-stomps and fatally wounds Thea to goad Oliver into succeeding him.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • He did not anticipate betrayal of several members despite Arrow being a show with Gambit Pileups.
    • Thanks to Team Legends catching him at a time long before superheroes became a regular thing, he's thrown for something of a loop by the likes of Firestorm, the Atom, and Chronos.
  • You Are the Translated Foreign Word: He is often referred to as "Ra's Al-Ghul, the Demon's Head." Ra's Al-Ghul is Arabic for Demon's Head.
  • You Say Tomato: Both the "RAYSH" and "RAHZ" pronunciations are used by different characters. It could be excused as those characters having only read the name and thus having no idea how it's pronounced, but Nyssa, his daughter, uses "RAYSH", and two of his subordinates Malcolm Merlyn and Sara use "RAHZ", or at least recognize it. Kreisberg explained that it was an intentional decision to use the two different pronunciations because of how it was meant to be said and how Christopher Nolan decided to say it in the Batman film trilogy. It breaks down by allegiance. If you side with him then you say Raysh, while those who oppose him say Rahz.

    Malcolm Merlyn / Al-Sa-Her 

    Nyssa Al-Ghul 

Nyssa Al-Ghul

Species: Human

Known Aliases: The Heir to the Demon, Nyssa Raatko, رئيس الغول (Ra's al-Ghul, Arabic for "Head of the Demon")

Played By: Katrina Law, Taylor Dianne Robinson (young)

First Appearance: "Heir to the Demon" (Arrow 2x13)

Appearances: Arrow | Legends of Tomorrow

Daughter of Ra's Al-Ghul who comes to Starling City seeking to bring back her lover to the League of Assassins.

  • Adaptational Heroism: While by no means a heroic figure, this iteration of Nyssa seems to have her fair share of moral scruples and cares deeply for the woman she loves, likening her more to the comic adaptation of her sister Talia, who often finds herself stuck in the Heel–Face Revolving Door. This is in stark contrast to her publication counterpart Nyssa Raatko - Ra's illegitimate daughter from 19th-century Russia who, while initially disagreeing with Ra's genocidal 'cleanse the earth' mentality, comes into possession of a Lazarus Pit, survives into modern times, deposes her father to take over the League, uses the Lazarus Pits to drive her sister to the point of insanity by killing and reviving her countless times in an attempt to kill two birds with one stone by both punishing Ra's and depleting the Lazarus Pits of their power so that he can never use them again, and turns the League of Assassins from a sect of ideological extremists into a terror-for-profit organization.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: She's a lesbian in this incarnation.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Zig-Zagged. Her comic counterpart goes Nom de Mom, while she occasionally uses her father's surname as an alias. Here, it's the other way around.
  • Affably Evil: She actually seems to be a pretty nice girl, all things considered. About as friendly as ruthless assassins tend to get.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: She's tall thanks to her heels. Has long, well kept raven hair. Is an attractive young lady. And is an Affably Evil person.
  • And Starring: Is given this citation in the Legends of Tomorrow guest stars lineup.
  • Anti-Villain: She doesn't actually want to hurt Sara, Oliver or their families — she just wants her ex-girlfriend Sara back. In the end, Nyssa even releases Sara from the League when she realizes how much Sara cares for her friends and family and how badly Sara does not want to return to killing. Notably, the same can be said of all involvements of the League in Season Two: The only incursions they have are in the purpose of bringing Sara back to the League, and though they do follow orders, they do not aim to harm anybody outside of those parameters unless deemed necessary.
  • Arranged Marriage: Her father puts her into one with Oliver. She doesn't like it one bit. Despite being forced into the marriage, Nyssa seems to consider it valid. This become a Running Gag, as Nyssa constantly refers to Oliver as "husband" even though Ra's is dead and they have each moved on with their lives, with Oliver marrying Felicity in "Crisis on Earth-X", which technically makes him practice polygamy. She formally annuls the marriage in "The Thanatos Guild".
  • Badass Teacher: In "Star City 2040", Felicity called on her to train Mia. The montage shows that she started shortly after Mia learned to walk.
  • Best Served Cold: She's really taking a long time to have her revenge on Malcolm. However, Laurel convinces her that it's not worth it in the end. Of course, Sara's soul being restored probably helped. When they meet in "Missing", she settles on insulting his current state as a lowlife instead.
  • Big Little Sister: Her actress stands 5'8 while the adult actress of Talia stands 5'6.
  • Cain and Abel: She and Talia come to blows in "Lian Yu", as Talia has allied herself with Prometheus and Nyssa continues to harbour resentment for Talia leaving her in Ra's' care.
  • Catchphrase: "I am Nyssa, daughter of Ra's Al-Ghul, Heir to the Demon."
  • Celebrity Paradox: Tommy mentioned The Twilight Saga in the pilot episode. Nyssa's child actress in the flashbacks had a role in Twilight playing the child of that film's Official Couple.
  • Child by Rape: Heavily implied by Ra's in "This is Your Sword", as despite Ra's telling her how much he loved her mother, when Nyssa objects to having Oliver's child, Ra's tells her that she will have no more choice in the matter than her mother did.
  • Closet Key: Before she met Nyssa, there's no indication that Sara was ever involved with women.
  • Composite Character:
    • Even though Talia is also a character in the show, Nyssa shows various traits of the comics' Talia Al-Ghul, including romantic interest in a hero(ine) and loyalty split between said love interest and her father. Her status as a bow-wielding assassin, romantic interest in a hero, and the mouth-covering veil she wears in battle give her more in common with comics Shado than TV Shado holds. Later, Ra's decrees that she should marry Oliver — like comics Ra's wishes for Talia and Batman. Unlike Talia, however, Nyssa is very unwilling.
    • Legends of Tomorrow reveals that Talia does exist in the 'verse, but is much older than Nyssa and her own characterisation if very different from Nyssa's.
  • Crusading Widow: She wants to avenge Sara's death by killing Merlyn; she eventually decides not to after having a heart-to-heart with Laurel.
  • Daddy Issues: Yes! Ra's was a horrible father who emotionally abused all her life. Even after she no longer cares for him, Nyssa makes it clear that the lack of parental love in her life still affects her.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: She works directly for her father, and constantly seeks his approval. In season four, she struggles with wanting to preserve his memory and move out from under his shadow.
  • Dark Action Girl: She is something of a dark twist on Oliver.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Nyssa is mostly humourless, but she gets a good one in at Merlyn's expense in "Lian Yu".
    Malcolm: It's almost like you don't trust me, Nyssa.
    Nyssa: No, it's exactly like I don't trust you.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen:
    • Progressively to Team Arrow, or at least Laurel, in Season Three.
    • Although neither of them have any interest in a romantic relationship, Nyssa increasingly warms up to Oliver as time goes on. She continues to consider him her husband, at least in name, and is willing to come to his aid when necessary.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Sara was, is, and will always be her One True Love, but during their reunion in "River of Time", Nyssa ultimately tells Sara to leave and never meet her again, deciding that she deserves a new life after all the things that happened.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • She seems to genuinely love Sara. In fact, Sara indicates their relationship was the only good part of her time with the League.
    • Despite being strongly against it, once they've married, Nyssa considers Oliver and his family to be as good as her own family.
    • "Loved one" may be too strong a term, but Nyssa develops a strong friendship with Laurel in Season Three, and is clearly distraught over her death, as well as the fact that she destroyed the one thing that could have resurrected her.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: She's against using the Lazarus Pit to try and bring people back from the dead. When Sara is brought back with it, Nyssa destroys the Pit to spite Merlyn and to make sure that when she kills him, he'll stay dead.
  • Evil Brit: She sports a spiffy British accent.
  • Fate Worse than Death: She considers being forcibly married to Oliver Queen to be this. After Ra's is killed, however, she continues to refer to Oliver as "husband" whenever they meet, to the point of becoming a Running Gag.
  • Foil: To Oliver being an archer and martial arts badass with a penchant for pulling off a Stealth Hi/Bye and a romantic connection to Sara. In season four, she becomes this to Malcolm Merlyn: they both want to be Ra's Al-Ghul, but Nyssa is willing to negotiate whereas Merlyn just wants to win. Ultimately, Nyssa sees the error of her ways but Malcolm becomes obsessed with revenge.
  • Friendly Enemy: To Team Arrow, though mostly just to the Queen family. She's definitely their enemy, but is on relatively good terms with the members of the team, at least enough to work together without much protest if Sara wants it. In Season Three, she forms a strong friendship with Laurel as well, and after her forced marriage to Oliver, she seems to consider Team Arrow more ally than enemy, albeit allies that she comes into conflict with in the course of her war against Merlyn.
  • Friend to All Children:
    • Well, we don't know about all children, but she smiles warmly and winks playfully at a little boy while strolling through airport security.
    • In "Star City 2040", it's revealed that Nyssa was the only person who regularly interacted with Mia for years, from when she learned to walk all the way to young adulthood. Judging by how highly Mia speaks of Nyssa, it's implied that she became something of a second mother to her.
  • Gender Flip: In Season Four, she becomes Ra's al Ghul for a very brief time. In the comics, as well as all adaptations including this series, the name has always been attached to a male character.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Acts like this to Sara in her debut episode when she chooses to stay with her family instead of returning to Nanda Parbat with Nyssa. To the point that she almost threatens to murder her family if Sara doesn't come home with her. However after Sara almost commits suicide, Nyssa realizes the mistake she made, releases her from the League, and afterwards is shown as being a lot more reasonable to Sara.
  • Hazy-Feel Turn: She leaves the League not because she lost faith in their mission, but because Ra's chose Oliver to be his heir over her. It later becomes a full Heel–Face Turn when spending time with Laurel makes her realize what kind of man her father really is. Not that it stops her going back to the League after Merlyn takes over, if only so she can take her revenge.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: She has quite the leather assassin getup.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Despite being on A.R.G.U.S.'s most wanted list, she's able to make frequent trips to Starling and walk around town without any trouble.
  • Honorary Aunt: Implied to have been one to Mia growing up.
  • Honorary True Companion: Nyssa never formally joins Team Arrow and tends to stay an Aloof Ally, sometimes being a help or hindrance depending on the situation. However in comparison to Merlyn, Nyssa's Noble Demon qualities make her a lot more personable and she tends to be a lot more willing to help Team Arrow out when they ask her. In the Season Five finale, she even tells Talia that she considers Team Arrow to be her friends and will stand by them against Team Prometheus. The friendship is even more highlighted when it's revealed that Nyssa was the only person whom Felicity contacted after she went into hiding with Mia and was trusted to not only train her, but keep her daughter's existence a secret from her friends as well.
  • Hypocrite: She chews Laurel out for wanting to revive Sara with the Lazarus Pit, saying Laurel's only doing it to relieve her own grief. While that may be true, given that Nyssa was willing to kill all of Star City in retaliation for Sara's death in Season Three, it falls rather flat.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Like Oliver, she's a crack shot with a bow. Special mention must go to her shooting off his quiver and breaking his arrows.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: Unknown to her, Ra's actually prefers Oliver to be his heir since he's become impressed by his strength, determination and willpower.
  • Irony: Despite being in love with Sara, Nyssa ends up married to her beloved's ex-boyfriend.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: She would rather release Sara than risk her beloved trying to kill herself again. When Sara comes to see her before she left on the Waverider, she told Nyssa that she would break her out of the League's prison. However, Nyssa told Sara to live the life she wanted and to move on from her past instead.
  • Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: She tries to blackmail Oliver to kill Merlyn for her by withholding the antidote to Thea's bloodlust. Though she eventually, thanks in large part to Laurel, realizes she has become no better than her father and disbands the league.
  • Karma Houdini: Change of heart or no, she was still a brutal assassin who's wanted by ARGUS. Dissolving the League and being less evil than Ra's or Merlyn doesn't change that. The only thing that can be construed as a punishment for her is that she doesn't end up up with the love of her life.
  • Lady of War: She has an elegant and composed demeanor, and her preferred weapon is a bow and arrow.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Compared to Malcolm; Nyssa might be a ruthless assassin, but she's much more trustworthy and reasonable than Malcolm (himself a largely unrepentant mass-murderer with an endless manipulative streak).
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Somewhat downplayed, as she also has aspects of a Butch Lesbian due to her clothing choice which hides most of her body, and the fact she's a very skilled fighter.
  • Love at First Sight: Nyssa tells the story of how she first met Sara to Laurel in "Nanda Parbat":
    Nyssa: "When Sara was first brought before my father, the moment he weighed her apprenticeship or her execution, she bore witness to a demonstration of his power, one that inspired terror in all who had come before, but Sara…laughed. It was so innocent, so genuine. That was the moment I fell in love with her, I think."
  • Mentor Archetype:
    • She decides to become Laurel's mentor in order to better her quest to take up her sister's legacy.
    • In "Star City 2040", it's revealed that Nyssa was brought in by Felicity to train Mia in self-defense skills, to prepare her for the inevitable hard life she would endure as the daughter of Oliver Queen.
  • Missing Mom: Her mother is never mentioned until late in Season Three.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The look on her face when Quentin comes to see her and begs her to use the Lazarus Pit to revive Laurel shows how regretful she is for destroying it. The fact that she did it just to spite Merlyn probably doesn't help either.
  • Mythology Gag: She uses "Miss Raatko", her official surname in the comics, as an alias.
  • The Nicknamer: She was the one who gave Malcolm his codename — the Magician. Turns out it was because he performed the coin behind the ear trick for her when he met her as a child.
  • Odd Friendship: She and Laurel start bonding more in Season Three.
  • Oh, Crap!: Has this reaction when Ra's announces her "engagement" with Oliver.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Her accent is mostly consistent but occasionally, Katrina Law's real accent slips through.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • It takes a while, but she ultimately lets Sara stay in Starling with her family upon realizing it's what she wants.
    • Even after declaring war on Team Arrow, she doesn't seem to hold it against Laurel. Nyssa even gives her some fighting advice before heading back home.
    • Once Thea tells her the truth as to Sara's death, Nyssa surprisingly doesn't choose to kill her as requested and outright refuses to hold her responsible.
    • Despite strong-arming Oliver into killing Malcolm by holding onto a cure for Thea, she willing accepts him trying to peacefully negotiate a bloodless outcome. She also takes Laurel's advise to heart and moves away from the shadow of her father's legacy by disbanding the League of Assassins.
  • Psycho Lesbian: She might have spared Sara in the end, but she did attempt to kill her family in the process and has no trouble beating up innocent civilians. On the other hand, her love for Sara also serves as a humanizing/redeeming trait.
  • Race Lift: Downplayed. She's still of mixed ancestry, but in the comics' Nyssa is half-Arab, half-Russian, while Katrina Law is half-white, half-Taiwanese.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Her assassin outfit has a snazzy black color scheme with red accents.
  • Related in the Adaptation: She and Oliver are married near the end of Season Three, and legally still are by League law until "The Thanatos Guild". In the comics, Oliver has only been married to Dinah Laurel Lance, while Nyssa has always been single (as far as we know).
  • Revenge: After Sara dies for real, avenging her death by killing Malcolm Merlyn becomes Nyssa's reason for existing. When Ollie confronts her about this, she replies that vengeance is justice. Later when Merlyn becomes the new Ra's Al-Ghul, Nyssa makes it very clear that she will kill him eventually, and she destroys the Lazarus Pit for good measure to make sure her revenge is permanent. However, in light of Malcolm's downfall as a powerful player, she decides to settle on humiliating him when they meet again in the two final episodes of Season 5.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Unknown to her, her obsession with avenging Sara might cost Nyssa her inheritance as her father grows to prefer Oliver instead as a possible successor.
  • Rogues' Gallery Transplant: Nyssa is a Batman villain.
  • Running Gag: Much to Oliver's annoyance, Nyssa can't seem to help but comment on the two of them being married.
    Slade: So, instead of marrying the blonde, you marry Ra's Al-Ghul's daughter?
    Oliver: [clearly annoyed] Nyssa talks too much.
  • Secret-Keeper: Before Mia reveals it herself, Nyssa is the only person who knows that she is Oliver and Felicity's daughter.
  • Sibling Rivalry: With Talia. Talia was their father's favorite, and Nyssa resented the fact that her sister left since it meant she was left alone until meeting Sara.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Unlike Talia, Nyssa stayed loyal to Ra's for most of her life, but grew to hate her father enough that her only regret after his death was that she hadn't killed him herself.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Implied by Katrina's comment: "Sara is the love of Nyssa’s life and Nyssa would do anything for her."
  • The Smurfette Principle: Nyssa is the only known female member of the League after the other known female, Sara Lance, left. Sara rejoins them in the Season Two finale, but is killed at the end of the following season premiere. Near the end of the season, Nyssa herself seemingly leaves, only to return when her father is dead. Season four introduces a female lieutenant for Nyssa, and Season five reveals that Nyssa has an older sister who was the original heir (at least before Nyssa).
  • Spare to the Throne: It's heavily implied the only reason she was born was because Ra's needed an heir when he had his falling out with Talia.
  • Superior Successor: Rather ironically, despite being seen as a Inadequate Inheritor in her father's eyes, Nyssa ultimately proves to be a superior combatant then her sister Talia and, when the two fight one-on-one, Nyssa is able to take Talia down without killing her.
  • The Starscream: Tells Merlyn point-blank that she hasn't forgiven him for murdering Sara and she will have her revenge. That being said, she still kneels before the new Ra's Al Ghul. All the while, building a power base against him.
  • Statuesque Stunner: She stands 5'9. Also counts as Tall, Dark, and Snarky given her blunt demeanor.
  • Tears of Joy: While she doesn't shed them, Nyssa gets very misty-eyed when she sees Sara alive and well, no longer suffering the pit's backlash.
  • Troubling Unchild Like Behavior: Nyssa had no trouble killing people at a very young age.
  • The Unfavorite: The Season Five finale confirms that no matter what Nyssa did, she could never live up to Talia in Ra's' eyes.
    Talia: Father would be ashamed of you.
    Nyssa: [holding back tears] Father was always ashamed of me!
  • Unholy Matrimony: Invoked and Subverted. Ra's demands that she'd be punished by being forced to marry Oliver in order to establish a legacy. However, Nyssa hates this concept for obvious reasons. She does, however, honor their marriage regardless, and sees both Oliver and Thea as friends/family.
  • Tyke-Bomb: Trained for combat at a very young age.
  • Villainous Breakdown: When she figures out that Sara poisoned herself, she goes into a homicidal, grieving rage.
  • Villainous Rescue: Saves Laurel from Murmur and his gang.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: To Sara. Nyssa shot an arrow into a man's neck when he grabbed Sara by the hair. Later, she storms straight into Arrow HQ with an arrow drawn when Sara goes missing after a mission in Season Three.
  • We Used to Be Friends: "Friends" might be an overstatement, but when a young Nyssa first met Malcolm Merlyn, he charmed her with a coin trick, leading the amused child to dub him "the Magician". As an adult, Nyssa despises Malcolm (a feeling he very much returns), and they only barely tolerate each other's presence when forced to team up in Season Five.
  • Yandere: Kidnapped Sara's mother and poisoned her sister in order to get her to come back. However, when Sara made it clear that she would rather die than return to the League and Oliver managed to cure her, Nyssa gave up and released her.

Candidates For Leadership

    Damien Darhk 

    Talia Al-Ghul 

Talia al Ghul

Known Aliases: The Demon

Species: Human (Enhanced via Lazarus Pit)

Played By: Lexa Doig, Milli Wilkinson (young)

First Appearance: "Left Behind" (Legends of Tomorrow 1x9)

Appearances: Legends of Tomorrow | Arrow

The eldest daughter of Ra's Al-Ghul. While she was his original heir, Talia and her father had a falling out which results to her leaving the League. Sometime later, Talia became a mentor to several warriors across the Arrowverse such as Yao Fei Gulong and Oliver Queen.

see Smallville: LuthorCorp for Christina Lamell, the Earth-167 character who bears her physical likeness.

  • Adaptational Badass: Compared to her last live action depiction in The Dark Knight Rises, this Talia is much more capable of combat, having trained Yao Fei, Oliver, and Prometheus herself.
  • Adaptational Modesty: In the comicbooks and most incarnations, Talia is a bonafide Ms. Fanservice who likes to wear very revealing clothes.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection: In the comics Talia had no part in training Green Arrow, especially considering she was the one who led him to become a vigilante to begin with. She also played no relation to Prometheus, who in the comics had a number of unnamed mentors.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Somewhat. Comics Talia has a habit of being in the Heel–Face Revolving Door, sometimes being a hero and sometimes being a villain. This version of Talia is in her more villainous stage, being half of the Big Bad Duumvirate of Season Five and willing to destroy a city for petty revenge. She later gets a Heel–Face Turn, though.
  • Age Lift: Usually depicted in her twenties or early thirties in modern times, here she would be in her sixties in 2016, although she looks no older than her forties. It has then been confirmed that she uses the Lazarus Pit to stall her aging like Ra's and Darhk have.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Displays a very regal aura even at her young age.
  • Ax-Crazy: Just like her father she's not mentally stable in the least.
  • Avenging the Villain: Her motivation for her Face–Heel Turn during Season Five's present day is to avenge the death of her father at Oliver's hands.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: She murders Dr. Parker, the Mad Doctor in charge of Slabside Level 2, after getting out.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Has a few visible burning marks in Season 7, but still looks perfectly attractive.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Talia serves this role in Arrow Season Five with Prometheus. While she is the one who trained Prometheus and is his backer, ultimately Prometheus is the one who came up with the plan to defeat Oliver and he is the one Oliver has the most personal enmity for, whereas Talia mostly serves to provide backup in the form of her recruits and help correlate his plan.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • In Season 7 she shows up in Slabside having ended up there after an encounter with the Bat Family; Diaz saved her from the remains of Lian Yu.
    • In Season 8 too, assisting Thea and Oliver against Athena, and after some backstabbing starting to rebuild the League into something heroic alongside Thea.
  • Cain and Abel: Talia and Nyssa cross blades in "Lian Yu", with Talia expressing disgust that Nyssa would align herself with their father's killer.
  • Celebrity Paradox:
  • Chekhov's Gunman: See Early-Bird Cameo below.
  • Composite Character: Integrates elements of her The Dark Knight Rises incarnation of the character, with her being the hidden villain who sent an associate to take revenge on the hero.
  • Deadpan Snarker: She gets a rather cruel dig in at Oliver when he says that Ra's would have been ashamed of Talia's alliance with Prometheus.
    Talia: Well, when it comes to the disappointment of fathers, I defer to your superior experience.
  • Demoted to Extra: She's Ra's's most prominent child in the comics. Here, she doesn't become important until Season Five.
  • Dramatic Irony: She trained and inspired the man who would ultimately kill her father. To say she doesn't appreciate the irony is a massive understatement.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Appeared as a child in Legends Season One before becoming an important character in Arrow Season Five.
  • Enemy Mine: Works together with Oliver to escape prison in Season 7. In the process, the two get closer to actually reconciling with each other.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Inverted; Season Five of Arrow implies that her lack of standards is why she fell out with her dear old dad. Ra's would certainly not approve of letting innocent people getting killed to settle a personal feud.
  • Evil Brit: Just like her sister, but notably without Nyssa's softer side.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Aligning herself with Prometheus ends with Talia left on Lian Yu as her apprentice triggers an explosion that destroys the island and could have killed her.
  • Evil Mentor:
    • To Prometheus, alias Adrian Chase, as she trains him specifically to destroy Oliver's life.
    • To Oliver himself in the flashbacks as well. She trains him to let out the inner darkness inside him and channel it into a different secret identity, which leads to horrifically nasty results in "Kapiushon" that even a Russian mobster like Anatoly is appalled by.
  • Face–Heel Turn: During Season Five's flashback sequences, she was Oliver's mentor and seemed genuinely interested in giving him a code to live by. Come Season Five's present day, however, she now wishes to destroy her former pupil's life for killing her father.
  • Faux Affably Evil: She demonstrates a cold courtesy to Oliver after being revealed as Prometheus' benefactor and Evil Mentor, and maintains a cool demeanor while blatantly despising Oliver and making it clear that she wants him to suffer.
  • Foil: To Slade Wilson. Both are former mentors to Oliver Queen, before becoming his enemy and the Big Bad of a season, due to blaming him for the death of one of their loved one (Shado for Slade, and Ra's Al-Ghul for Talia). However, while Oliver's actions indirectly led to the death of Shado, meaning Oliver partially blames himself for turning Slade into a villain, Talia is the one who turned Oliver into a vigilante which eventually led him to have a confrontation with Ra's and to kill her father. Furthermore, while Slade menaced Oliver himself, Talia allowed Prometheus to do her dirty work.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: A weird example. She was the one who trained Adrian to become Prometheus, which makes her this for Season Five. After that, however, she more or less acts as his Co-Dragons, alongside Evelyn and Earth-2 Laurel.
  • Heel–Face Turn: In Season 8, eventually. After backstabbing Thea and Oliver and getting humiliated, instead of punishing her, Thea offers her to rebuild the League of Assassins into a League of Heroes, which she accepts.
  • Hypocrite: Though Talia took pity on Adrian Chase after Oliver killed both their fathers, Talia is indirectly responsible for Justin Claybourne's murder as she encouraged Oliver to take down everyone on The List.
  • I Am Very British: She has a ridiculously exaggerated British accent.
  • I Owe You My Life: Becomes Ricardo Diaz's contact in prison due to him providing her with a drug that saved her life.
  • It's All About Me: She left the League behind so as to find her own destiny, leaving Nyssa behind with their terrorist father. When said father is killed before he can destroy Starling City, she plans her revenge on Oliver in a way that leaves scores of innocent people dead. When Nyssa finally finds her and calls her out for abandoning her, Talia responds by attacking her.
  • Long-Lost Relative: For both Ra's and Nyssa.
  • The Man Behind the Man: She backs Prometheus, having mentored him and sent him to exact revenge on Oliver Queen.
  • The Mentor: To Yao Fei, which is why she takes an interest in Oliver during his time in Russia.
  • Moral Myopia: Talia turns on Oliver and enables all of Prometheus' crimes to avenge her estranged father. The same father who was the leader of the League of Assassins, willing to lay waste to Starling City for the sake of finding Sara's killer, securing Oliver as his heir, and/or the chance to kill Damien Darhk, and who was implied to have conceived Talia's sister Nyssa through marital rape.
  • Mysterious Past: We know very little about her — all we know is that somewhere down the line, Nyssa became Ra's heir despite Talia being the eldest.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • It is heavily implied that she had a fallout with the League (or at least her father), though we don't find out until the season five finale; she left because she knew that her father would never let a woman inherit the mantle of Ra's Al-Ghul so she decided to forge her own path.
    • In Season 7, she meets Oliver in prison after an encounter with an old adversary in Gotham.
  • Not Quite Dead: Is revealed to have survived the explosion of Lian Yu in Season 7, due to a drug provided by none other than Ricardo Diaz.
  • Older Than They Look: She'd be in her sixties when she appears in Arrow, but looks no older than her forties. Justified by her use of the Lazarus Pit.
  • Pet the Dog: Delivers information to Felicity on Oliver's behalf after getting out of prison.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Averted, she's the only League member we've seen so far who actively Pays Evil Unto Evil killing human traffickers and drug dealers in the like in Russia. This is in contrast to the other members who don't do much besides sparring at Nanda Parbat and hunt rogue members like Merlyn and Sara.
  • Poor Communication Kills: If she had bothered to mention her full name and the League of Assassins to Oliver in the flashbacks, perhaps Oliver could have made the connection with Nyssa and The Dark Archer/Merlyn.
  • A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: Inverted Trope. She used to be Oliver's mentor, and turned against him completely after he killed her father.
  • Race Lift: Downplayed, like her sister. Talia is half-Arab, half-Chinese in the comics. On the other hand, Lexa Doig has a white father and a Filipino mother.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Per the norm.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Played with. When the League of Assassins first show up in Season Two, Oliver doesn't seem to know about them even though he was trained by Talia, who was a former member. it's later made clear that she never revealed her full name and her connection to them until Season Five's present day.
  • Rogues' Gallery Transplant: Like the rest of her family who are traditionally Batman foes.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Here reason for leaving the League; she'd knew that due to her father's misogynistic ways she'd never inherit leadership of the League, so she decided to forge her path in life.
  • Sexy Mentor: She's a quite an attractive woman and is Oliver's final mentor during his five years away from home. She also displayed a mild attraction to him, though nothing ever comes out of it.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Unlike Nyssa, Talia turned away from Ra's al Ghul's path, but continued to love her father. Enough so that she's willing to train and aid a deranged psychopath for the sake of seeing Ra's' killer suffer.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: She doesn't appear in the present day until Season Five of Arrow, but she's the one who started off the entire Arrowverse by convincing Oliver to use his various experiences in his missing five years to become someone else...something else. She averts the "small" part in Season Five with the revelation she trained Prometheus to get revenge on Oliver for killing Ra's, making her one of the two true villains of that season.
  • Start My Own: After she and Ra's had their falling out, she founded her own Nanda Parbat-esque monastery in the Asian mountains.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: By convincing Oliver to become the Hood as an outlet for his inner darkness, she sent Oliver down a very dark path because contrary to what she taught Oliver, you really can't separate man and monster.
  • Villain of Another Story: Season 7 reveals that Team Arrow are far from the only heroes she's tangled with. She's also fought with the Bat Family.
  • You Killed My Father: She turns against Oliver for killing Ra's, with training Prometheus serving as her revenge.

    Oliver Queen/ Al-Sah-Him 

High Ranking Members



Species: Human

Known Aliases: الأول; (Al-Owal, Arabic for "The First")

Played By: Navid Negahban

First Appearance: "League of Assassins" (Arrow 2x5)

Appearances: Arrow

A high-ranking member of the League of Assassins, he comes to Starling City hunting a rogue member of the League.

  • And Starring: Gets this billing in the guest star lineup.
  • Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: He never uses anything more advanced than a sword.
  • Arrow Catch: Can pull one off from behind. He even has a bored look on his face, suggesting he knew Oliver was in the building the second he walked in.
  • Badass on Paper: He describes himself to Oliver as being the man who trained Malcolm Merlyn, which should be quite a feat considering how much trouble Merlyn was able to give Oliver in the first season. Aside from an impressive Arrow Catch, his actual performance in combat doesn't live up to his own hype and he doesn't give Oliver or Sara much more than mid-level difficulty, if that.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Lost was mentioned in the Pilot Episode of Arrow. His actor plays a backstory antagonist to one of the main characters.
  • The Dragon: To Ra's Al-Ghul.
  • Evil Mentor: To Malcolm Merlyn.
  • Neck Snap: How he goes out, courtesy of Sara.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: His birth name is never stated.
  • Red Baron: He goes by Al-Owal, which means "The First".
  • Smug Smiler: He's always displaying a smirk of overconfidence.
  • With Catlike Tread: His methods of catching Sara seem to be crashing through the nearest window and drawing as much attention to himself as possible. Considering Nyssa likely wants her to return of her own free will, this is likely on purpose to some degree.

    Sara Lance / Ta-er al-Sahfer 

    Maseo Yamashiro / Saraab 

Maseo Yamashiro

Species: Human

Known Aliases: Sarab (شبح, Arabic for "Mirage" or "Phantom")

Played by: Karl Yune

First Appearance: "The Calm" (Arrow 3x1)

Appearances: Arrow

An agent who works for Amanda Waller and is tasked with mentoring Oliver and keeping him from escaping their clutches. In The Present Day, he's a high ranking member of the League of Assassins.

see DCEU: Other Humans for the character on an undesignated Earth who bears his name and background

  • Action Dad: He had a son and is a very badass fighter.
  • Adaptational Badass: His comic counterpart seems to have some decent combat background. Here, he's one of the most skilled members of the League of Assassins.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Not only is he Spared by the Adaptation (more on that below), but the show made him a Big Brother Mentor of sorts role to Oliver during his stay in Hong Kong.
  • Ascended Extra: Much more prominent here than in the comics, even compared to his wife who is a superhero.
  • Badass Normal: In his first scene, he easily overpowers Oliver, who is no slouch in a fight at this point.
    • He killed 3 Members of the League of Assassins with ease.
  • Battle Couple: With Tatsu if the situation calls for it.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Is this to Oliver during the latter's stint in Hong Kong.
  • Consummate Professional: Very serious about his work, not that he necessarily enjoys it.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: If what Tatsu says is any indication, this probably also applies to him. Apparently he, or Tatsu, angered the wrong people and were forced to leave Japan.
  • Death Seeker: After Akio's death, he just lost the will to live. He even thanked Tatsu when she finally killed him.
  • Despair Event Horizon: He joined the League after Akio's death and after that he seems a shallow man. This culminates in making Tatsu kill him during a battle due to getting tired of his life.
  • The Dragon: Has apparently become this to Ra's al Ghul, given how he is almost always seen by the man's side and is responsible for "cleansing" cities and villages, a serious job that would likely not be given to any ordinary assassin.
  • Empty Shell: It's painfully obvious that, after his son's death, he feels dead in the inside.
  • Fate Worse than Death: How he views his life after Akio's death.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: He and Oliver start out as being forced to live together by Waller, but over time, they come to genuinely trust each other. To the point that Saraab betrays Ra's al Ghul several times to save the Arrow.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: He goes back and forth on being a loyal League Assassin and helping Oliver and his friends defy Ra's Al-Ghul. In his last moments he chooses loyalty to the League and Tatsu has to kill him in battle.
  • I Die Free: He thanked Tatsu for freeing him from his proclaimed "prison".
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: How Tatsu killed him.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: He shoots a cell phone out of Oliver's hand from several feet away in a flashback scene.
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: Amanda Waller is threatening the life of Maseo's wife and son in order to keep both him and Oliver in line.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: He's loyal to Ra's Al Ghul to a fault, or nearly a fault. He helped Oliver heal from his duel with Ra's but that's it. He has no problem joining Ra's killing spree to turn Starling against the Arrow.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: It is heavily implied that Akio is dead in the present day scenes. Confirmed in "The Fallen".
  • Punch-Clock Villain: He clearly doesn't enjoy beating Oliver senseless, or committing horrible crimes as part of ARGUS but does it to keep his family safe from Amanda Waller. This trope becomes even more true when he joins the League of Assassins and is the one tasked with "cleansing" (read: killing lots of people in penance) cities and villages that harbour those who have broken League code.
  • Suicide by Cop: He still fights Tatsu so she has to kill him.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: His comic counterpart is a Posthumous Character along with their children, serving as a Death by Origin Story for his surviving wife. In fact, he was killed before his and Tatsu's children were. Here, he only dies in the penultimate episode of Season Three.
  • Split-Personality Takeover: Ra's Al Ghul treats his brief moments of helping Oliver as this, claiming Maseo took over Saraab those times.
  • Tragic Villain: The death of his son is what driven him to join The League of Assassins.
  • That Man Is Dead: Says this word for word when Oliver calls him Maseo, meeting him again five years later after the latter joined the League of Assassins. He only goes by Saraab, his codename in the League after the death of his son Akio.
  • Wild Card: He spent the entire present day of Season Three as a loyal member of the League of Assassins fighting Team Arrow and occasionally helping them.


    Mesi Natifah / Talibah 

Mesi Natifah / Talibah

Species: Human

Known Aliases: طالبه; (Talibah, Arabic for "seeker of knowledge", or "student")

Played By: Natasha Gayle

First Appearance: "The Offer" (Arrow 3x16)

Appearances: Arrow

A member of the League of Assassins, rescued and recruited by Nyssa and Sara from the Cult Onslaught and their cruel leader Khem-Adam.



Species: Human

Played by: Austin Butler

First Appearance: "Draw Back Your Bow" (Arrow 3x7)

Appearances: Arrow

A League member posing as a cocky DJ who applies to Thea to play for the club.

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Gives off an confident bad boy vibe which seems to attract Thea, as well as the fact that he works for the League of Assassins.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: It's practically tangible in every scene that he and Thea are in.
    Chase: You have to admit, I did save your ass.
    Thea: God, your modesty, it's... it's so refreshing.
    Chase: You know, you're really cute when you're sarcastic.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: After being outnumbered by Malcolm, Roy and Thea, he knows he's screwed so he drank poison to off himself.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He's a League of Assassins member and manages to beat Thea, herself no slouch in a fight by this point.
  • Dating Catwoman: Thea is surprisingly the Batman in this situation, seeing as how he's working for the people that are hunting her and her father down.

    Onyx Adams 

The Thanatos Guild

    In General 

The successor to the League of Assassins composed mostly of former members formed by Malcolm Merlyn before his death on Lian Yu

  • Early-Bird Cameo: Malcolm is seen with his former league loyalists during Arrow Season 4, two seasons before their group name is officially revealed.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Thanatos is the personification of death in Greek mythology, so a group named after him is obviously up to no good.
  • Outside-Context Problem: They are officially introduced when Oliver and his Team are busy fighting Diaz, Agent Watson, and themselves.
  • The Remnant: They are composed of Malcolm and his loyalists from the League.
  • Start My Own: They are Malcolm's very own "League of Assassins".
  • Undying Loyalty: They are fanatically devoted to Malcolm even after death. Notably they don't worship him as "Ra's Al-Ghul" but as "Al Sa-Her" — the Magician.



Species: Human

Played by: Kyra Zagorsky

First Appearance: "The Thanatos Guild" (Arrow 6x16)

Appearances: Arrow

The current leader of the Guild and a former member of the League of Assassins.