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Film / 300: Rise of an Empire

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300: Rise of an Empire is the film sequel to 300, directed by Noam Murro and written by Zack Snyder and Kurt Johnstad. It was released on March 7, 2014 after lingering seven years in Development Hell. It is based on Xerxes, the then-unpublished sequel to the 300 graphic novel (which would eventually be published in 2018), both written by Frank Miller for Dark Horse Comics. Junkie XL composed the soundtrack.

It covers the Second Greco-Persian War in the aftermath of the battle of Thermopylae, with particular focus on Xerxes, his ally Queen Artemisia (Eva Green), the female commander of the humongous Persian fleet, and the naval battle of Salamis. It also introduces the Athenians, led by Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton), who, despite being outnumbered by the Persian fleet, employ various crafty tactics to stop it.

Rodrigo Santoro, Lena Headey and David Wenham all reprise their roles from the first film.

The trailer can be found here.

300: Rise of an Empire provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Achilles in His Tent: Queen Gorgo, and the rest of the Spartans.
  • Action Girl: Queen Gorgo shows she's able to kill multiple Persian warriors armed with her husband's sword, and wearing a gown to boot. Artemisia too, as she's the best fighter in Persia with a sword.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Pretty much everyone, but most notably Artemisia.
  • Adaptational Badass: The Persian Emissary personally trained Artemisia in combat, something that was never hinted in the comics.
  • Age Cut: In the flashback of his transformation, Xerxes comes from being a young bearded man to his older god-king persona. It is a subversion, however, abecause while there is presumably a substantial age difference between both scenes, the cut is used to underline Xerxes's mental growth rather than physical (although he does seem to be taller after the transformation).
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: Artemisia spends much of the film searching for "someone to stand at my side". She offers this to Themistocles, but he denies her.
  • All Just a Dream: After Themistocles falls deep under water after his ship was destroyed, he sees large, monstrous sea creatures killing and devouring several Athenians (with one then lunging towards him). Thankfully, it was only a dream.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Both Gorgo and Artemisia, though aloof is a pretty tame word to describe the latter.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The film shows flashbacks of Xerxes being subject to mystic rituals and Crossing the Desert before becoming the god-king. Whether these scenes are meant to be taken as a mere religious ceremony to inculcate him a new mindset or as a sign that he has really become a supernatural being (essentially a Goa'uld) remains unknown. Naturally, he seems to be convinced of the latter.
  • Anachronism Stew: Among other things, almost every Persian foot soldier in the film seems to be armed with a Khopesh, a Canaanite and Egyptian design that had been retired from service for about 1000 years by that point.
  • Arc Words: "Avenge him" not only for Queen Gorgo, but for both Xerxes and Artemisia as well.
  • Armor Is Useless: Zig-zagged. The relatively fully-armored Persian troops' gear is largely ineffective, which is justified, because they all wear light armor due to the style of warfare in Asia being different than the Greek style. On the other hand, while the Greeks go into battle with only helmets and bracers, both of these are actually used many times to deflect blows and arrows.
  • Artistic License History: So much that it comes with its own article.
  • Art Evolution:
    • The Immortals get modified masks and heavier armors in this film in contrast to the first one. Also, the film shows a maskless kind of Immortals which look like regular Persian humans and not disfigurated ninjas. In fact, the Persian forces contain no monsters of any kind.
    • The Persians themselves actually look like they might be from Persia this time around, as opposed to the Africans and Indians of the first film.
  • Ascended Extra: The Persian messenger from the first movie was no more than a named extra, but in this one he's revealed to have been a Parental Substitute of sorts to our resident Dragon-in-Chief, Artemisia. He still appears very little in the movie, but this time around he has a lot more impact in the narrative.
  • The Atoner: Ephialtes' guilt over his betrayal is making him slowly slip into this. He says outright that Themistocles would be justified in killing him.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: If someone is leading people, expect that someone to be a total badass in combat. Themistocles is the leader of the Athenian soldiers and their best warrior. Artemisia is the finest warrior in all of Persia. Even one of Artemisia's commanders is shown felling multiple Greeks by himself when his back's to the wall.
  • Automaton Horses: No matter how well-trained for battle Themistocles's steed may have been, having it charge straight towards colliding ships, sprays of splintering wood, and massive fires, then clamber unhindered onto another vessel immediately after a plunge overboard, is really, really pushing this trope to its limits.
  • Ax-Crazy: Artemisia is nuts.
  • Badass Boast: This movie is full of these.
    Xerxes: Nothing will stop the march of my empire!

    Artemisia: Today we will dance across the backs of dead Greeks!
  • Badass Bookworm: The Athenians, as in Real Life, may be not as superstrong and bloodthirsty as the Spartans (Themistocles even admitted that the Athenian army was composed of civilians), and are more known for their cultural contributions such as Democracy, but when it comes to naval combat, even historians will admit that they had one of the most powerful fleets in the Ancient World. Themistocles compared to Leonidas may not be as hammy but he makes up for it by being a master strategist who can also kill dozens of Persians and humiliate the notorious Artemisia herself. See also Genius Bruiser below.
  • Bad Boss: If Artemesia is your commanding officer, you will learn that failure is not an option the hard way.
  • Balcony Speech: Xerxes gives one after he becomes king.
    Xerxes: For glory's sake, for vengeance's sake...War!
  • Battle Epic: Much like the film it followed, but this time with the naval battles of the Greco-Persian War as reference.
  • Battle in the Rain: The opening battle of Marathon.
  • Beard of Evil:
    • Inverted. Xerxes initially has a beard, but it's gone when he becomes a God-King. His transition to God-King is however when Bald of Evil shows up.
    • Xerxes's father King Darius combines this with the Bald of Evil, though.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Artemesia, though in her case, it's being Made a Slave and raped makes you evil in addition to witnessing her family get murdered.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: The tension between Themistocles and Artemesia is very, very evident.
  • Berserk Button: Themistocles refusing Artemisia's offer (twice) sets hers off.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Artemisia and Xerxes.
  • Big Good: Leonidas is a posthumous example, as his Heroic Sacrifice is what convinced the Greeks to go to all-out war against the Persians.
  • Blood Is Squicker in Water
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The first film was already extremely bloody, but the violence in this film is much more disturbing and graphic than that of its predecessor, the deaths are far more detailed, and the battles are a lot more brutal than ever before.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: So... did the Greeks won after all? Or did Xerxes and his giant army defeat those last remaining warriors and complete their victory? The movie is not clear, we saw the warriors charging into battle, and then closing credits. If we're looking to history, then the Greeks did win the battle of Salamis.
  • Break the Cutie: Poor little Artemesia...
  • Camera Abuse: More than bloody ever. Every swing of the sword causes blood from the victim to rain upon it.
  • The Cavalry: During the film's climax, the Spartan Navy and that of the other Greek states arrives just in time to save the day.
  • Chainmail Bikini: In a rare inversion of the trope it is the male combatants who partake in this. The females wear gowns that, while not providing much more in the protection department, show a lot less skin.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Themistocles returns Leonidas' sword, which had been given to him by Ephialtes, to Gorgo, in a last-ditch effort to bring Sparta into the war in full. While she quickly orders him out of the city, she later changes her mind and wields the same sword against the Persians in the end.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Athenians wear blue capes, Spartans wear red ones, and the Persians have dark armor (as a matter of fact, every single person in Persia seems to wear nothing but black with at most details of gold).
  • Color Motif: The first movie had a very red/orange atmosphere, and the Spartans wore red capes, while in this one everything looks varying shades of blue/black, and the Athenians wear blue capes.
  • Composite Character: Artemisia as portrayed in the movie is a fusion between the historical Artemisia and the historical (male) Mardonius. It was Mardonius who acted as Darius' proud chief enforcer (and not Artemisia), Mardonius was the childhood friend and advisor of Xerxes (and not Artemisia), it was Mardonius who convinced Xerxes to invade Greece (though using less machievellian methods than Artemisia does in the movie), and Mardonius died while Artemisia did not in real life, while in the movie Artemisia dies..
  • Continuity Nod: The "Leonidas kick" returns.
    • Themistocles gives much the same speech Leonidas did to the Thebians, noting that his forces weren't soldiers, but merchants and potters.
    • Artemisia notes the emissary sent to the Spartans never returned. That same emissary is the one who first brought her to Darius.
    • Themistocles' visit of Sparta is filled with small nods, which makes sense as the infamous "This Is Sparta" scene had just happened.
    • Artemisia curses the Greek weather as the navy approaches the shore. In 300, this same weather sunk a good portion of the ships approaching the Hot Gates.
    • Artemisia presents the severed heads of several kings to Darius, the same heads which would be used to threaten the Spartans.
    • At one point, an Athenian calls the Spartans "muscle-bound boy-lovers".
  • The Corrupter: Artemisia to Xerxes.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: The body of Leonidas.
  • Dark Action Girl: Artemisia was trained by Persia's finest warriors until she surpassed them. Themistocles believes if he is dead, not a single man amongst the Greeks will be able to match her skill. It's proven when she cuts down multiple Greeks without breaking a sweat.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Artemesia's backstory.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The first third of the movie focus on the Persian side of affairs. One could also consider this movie a A Day in the Limelight for the Athenians themselves.
  • Death by Adaptation: See Artistic License History.
  • Deity of Human Origin: King Xerxes' claims of being a God-Emperor are shown in this film, with him originally having been an ordinary-looking Persian prince before he went on a pilgrimage before reemerging as something apparently superhuman. Whether this is meant to be taken literally or not is left ambiguous.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: We briefly see Spartans doing all of those things that were celebrated as The Spartan Way in the first film without the filter of a Spartan perspective when Themistocles visits. It's rapidly obvious that most of it is just pointless brutality and that in fact these people are insane.
  • Destructo-Nookie: There is a prominent one between the hero and the main villain nonetheless. The fact is that Artemisia is looking for a man to be at her side, and as her Generals prove to be totally incompetent, she summons Themistokles to her ship, gives him a We Can Rule Together speech and tries to kiss him. He falls for the temptation and they proceed to have sex so violent that it's more like a "Who's raping who" contest. After she shows her satisfaction for finally finding a real man up to her status, he simply replies "no".
  • The Determinator: Themistokles and the Athenians, in place of Leonidas and the Spartans from the previous film.
  • Dirty Old Man: The old guy who raped the then 8-year-old Artemesia.
  • Discreet Drink Disposal: Averted. Artemisia pours Themistocles some wine during their parley; he gives it a sniff then places it on the tabletop in front of her.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Artemisia eliminated every other person who could have influenced Xerxes and fancies herself the power behind his throne.
  • Dual Wielding: Artemisia uses a pair of swords.
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: The Spartans, led by Queen Gorgo.
  • Elite Mooks: The Persian Immortals that serve as Artemisia's guards. Unlike when they fought the Spartans, they're able to cut their way through dozens of Greeks at Artemisia's side.
  • Evil Wears Black: Just to remind the audience that the Persians are supposed to be The Evil Empire, every soldier and general in their navy is wearing a black uniform.
  • Femme Fatale: Artemesia planned to seduce Themistocles into joining her side. While the method proves effective, things still didn't go as planned.
  • Fly-at-the-Camera Ending: The film closes as Themistocles lunges toward a Persian, who happens to be in the POV of the camera.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Anyone with knowledge of the Greco-Persian wars will know that the Greeks will win the Battle of Salamis and that Themistocles, Artemisia, Xerses and Gorgo will survive the events of the film. Ultimately subverted in Artemisia's case who dies on Themistocles's sword.
  • For the Evulz: According to the film, Darius wanted to invade Greece because he hated the Greek freedom. Apparently, the Greek support to the Ionian revolt against Persian rule had nothing to do with it, though it's possible the Greeks didn't see that as them doing anything wrong.
  • Freudian Excuse: The movie gives Xerxes one, having witnessed the death of his father at the hands of the Greek. (This is an invention of the movie. The real Darius died of disease.)
  • General Failure: As far as Artemisia is concerned, all of her generals are this. She herself may count as one.
  • Genius Bruiser: Themistocles is a brilliant strategist and a formidable fighter. In real-life history, he was also quite the politician, and was the main reason Athens even had a fleet at the time.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Artemisia wanted a God-King out of Xerxes for her to influence. And she got one... though the influence bit waned.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: In Artemisia's case, she's this for the first film - she convinced Xerxes to reshape himself into a God and declare war on the Greeks after Darius told his son to stop fighting against them.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Subverted. Themistocles takes several blows to the head at Marathon and is saved by his helmet.
  • Historical Badass Upgrade: Themistocles fought in the Battle of Marathon, but he did not devise the strategy or lead the charge (he was but one of many captains involved in the struggle) and did not kill King Darios (who, as mentioned above in Artistic License History, died in entirely different circumstances). He didn't kill Artemisia either.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: The Persian empire is on the receiving end of this again. Also It's doubtful that Queen Artemisia was this psychotic in real life where she just happened to be the queen of one of Xerxes's satraps who took his side in the Greco-Persian wars. Another mention must be made of King Darius I, who invades because of his hatred of Athenian freedoms, not because he was getting a mite sick of Athenian-sponsored revolts in his home town as per reality. Also, the Greeks themselves, who supposedly killed Darius when in reality they had nothing to do with his death of disease.
  • Hollywood Costuming: Like the first movie.
  • Hollywood Tactics: Riding a horse in a naval battle. Though he may have been counting on the absurdity to help it work.
  • Honey Trap: The normally heavily clad Artemesia dresses in a Stripperific attire when she tries to talk Themistocles into joining her.
  • Hunter of His Own Kind: Artemesia is revealed to be Greek.
  • Hypocrite: Artemisia is one. After the Persians destroy Athens she acts like she knows more than Xerxes because she "helped" him become king. Xerxes ends up doing a lot more than she does and is proven correct in the end when her impulsiveness leads her to defeat at Salamis.
  • Interquel: Technically one, since the Battle of Salamis took place before the battle of Plataea, which 300 ends with. The film also features Xerxes's backstory, including the Battle of Marathon and his ascension to the throne.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: Artemisia and Themistocles feature a scene in the former's ship which it's hard to tell whether it is a brawl, a nookie or both.
    Artemisia: Die with me every night and rise with me every morning.
  • I Owe You My Life: Part of Artemisia's loyalty to Persia (or at least to King Darius).
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Artemisia may be annoyed at his insolence, but Xerxes is actually right in everything he tells her before the movie's final battle.
  • Karma Houdini: In one of the few bits of historical accuracy of the movie, King Xerxes survives the events of the movie unscathed (unlike the previous movie where he was wounded by Leonidas).
  • Keystone Army: According to Themistocles, Artemesia is the only reason the Persian Navy is a threat at all. Without her, the rest of the Persian forces should be easily defeated. How much this is actually true is left unclear because of the Bolivian Army Ending.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Artemisia has shades of this. It would take a special kind of idiot to not succeed with the sheer number of ships she has, yet she acts like everything is all a result of her own intellect. This costs her big time at Salamis.
  • Lady of War: Artemisia and Gorgo, both of whom actually fight at Salamis and get a sizable body count.
  • Large Ham:
    • Xerxes at full force! Extra points for the over the top throne that helps in emphasizing him in this way.
    • Non malevolent and lesser example goes to Themistocles who is full of Rousing Speeches.
  • Last Villain Stand: Artemisia is outnumbered and outgunned, and is aware that she's going to die. Themistocles gives her one last chance of redemption, but she metaphorically spits at his face and charges one last time to battle, before being struck down by Themistocles once and for all.
  • Like Brother and Sister: For the film, Artemisia was a half-Persian orphan raised by King Darius, Xerxes's father.
  • A Love to Dismember: Artemisia has the best Greek warrior from a scouting party brought before her. When he insults her, she decapitates him and makes out with the disembodied head. Even her generals appear disturbed by this.
  • Man Behind the Man: Or woman, in this case. Artemisia plays Xerxes like a fiddle throughout his life. Until he finally puts her in her place just before the battle at Salamis.
  • Married to the Job: Both Themistocles and Artemesia are too devoted to their duties to find time for romance, which probably adds more to their sexual tension.
  • Match Cut: In the flashback of his transformation, an emaciated Xerxes enters a ritual pool in a cave of hermits in the desert before emerging triumphally from his palace's bath turned into the god-king and surrounded by prostrated slaves.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The films shows a trippy sequence in which Xerxes becomes a god by passing a ritual on a strange cave in the desert. While it is outrigthly stated by the Unreliable Narrator to be an hallucination, we are never told whether it really was or not.
  • Meaningful Name: Why is "300" on the movies title even though its not focusing on the 300 Spartans? Because it's on the number of Greek ships, which were over 300. Also, it is a sequel, and just calling it "Rise of an Empire" would prevent most people from realizing that, or what it was a sequel to.
  • Mexican Standoff: Between Themistocles and Artemisia at the end. Broken when Artemesia sees the Spartan navy show up.
  • Mook Chivalry: Subverted. Artemisia's guards team up on a number of Greeks, though Themistocles is able to kill them all regardless.
  • Mook Promotion: Artemisia needs a second in command. She keeps selecting random mooks for that, and kills them when they fail.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Like the Spartans in the first film, the Athenians are an army of ripped and well built (if slightly less body builder-ish, and wearing hoplite skirts) men.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Ephialtes' betrayal has resulted in extreme guilt for him instead of glory.
  • My Greatest Failure: Themistocles launched an arrow that mortally wounded King Darius at the Battle of Marathon. He now knows he should have felled Xerxes instead, and many, many men have died due to his failure then.
  • Mystical Cave: Xerxes' transformation into God-Emperor occurred in a hermit's cave deep in the desert, where he immersed himself in a natural pool and surrendered himself to the powers of darkness.
  • Nave Newcomer: Scyllas's son Callisto. An inexperienced young man, he manages to survive to the end of the film.
  • Nothing but Skulls: King Darius decorated his throne room with thousands of skulls of dead kings.
  • Obviously Evil: The Persian Empire. Their soldiers are all wearing black, their ship insignias are red and black, King Darius and Xerxes display various mixes of bald heads and evil beards, admiral Artemisia is completely psychotic to the point that her own forces cower in dread of her, and the Persian throne room is adorned with thousands of skulls.
  • Off with His Head!: Xerxes beheads the corpse of Leonidas. Artemisia also beheads a captured Greek near the beginning of the film.
  • Oh, Crap!: Themistocles has this moment when he realized it was a highly flammable oil that the Persian vessel was spewing into the ocean during the third naval battle. He has another one after seeing one of the Persian swimmers (i.e. suicide bombers) climb aboard his vessel and immediately orders everyone to abandon ship.
  • The Oner: Themistocles riding through the battle on his horse at the end of the movie is done from the time that he jumps onto it to when the horse's legs are cut out from under it, leaving Themistocles to hit the deck.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: "I'm not here to be a witness!"
  • The Purge: While Xerxes is away during his journey to the desert, Artemisia kills off all of Xerxes's former allies and councilmen to remove anyone else who could influence him besides her.
  • Ramming Always Works: The film features naval battles in Ancient Greece so it's a given.
  • Rape as Backstory: Artemisia after being Made a Slave.
  • Recruited from the Gutter: Xerxes' ambassador found Artemisia in the streets where she was dumped after being enslaved and raped, and made her a living weapon. And she grew to practically control the Persian empire.
  • Recycled In Space: 300 set in the ocean.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Spartans wear red capes, Athenians wear blue capes. This can apply specifically to Themistocles and Leonidas, complete with being Color-Coded for Your Convenience.
  • Revenge: One of the main themes of the movie. Artemisia wants Greece to burn in revenge for her family's brutal murder and then being sold off as a child sex slave for several years until she was left for dead. Xerxes wants revenge on the Athenians for the death of his father Darius and the Persian defeat at Marathon. Gorgo and the majority of the Greek City States want to avenge the 300 Spartans for their sacrifice.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Artemisia becomes so obsessed with killing Themistocles that she walks right into a trap.
  • Rock Me, Amadeus!: The movie ends with a remixed version of "War Pigs" by Black Sabbath. Generals gathered in their masses, Just like witches at black masses. Evil minds that plot destruction, Sorcerers of death's construction. In the fields the bodies burning, As the war machine keeps turning. Death and hatred to mankind, Poisoning their brainwashed minds. Oh lord yeah!
  • Rousing Speech:
    Themistocles: Let it be shown, that we chose to die on our feet, rather than live on our knees!

    Themistocles: Steady your hearts! Look deep into your souls! SEIZE YOUR GLORY!
  • Sadistic Choice: He may have not realized it, but Themistocles' offer to Artemisia (escape or die) was this. What would happen to her if she escaped? Xerxes would kill her, and of course she may not hope to be welcomed among the Greeks. So, her actual choices were "die in some hours or days, or die right here and now", and she preferred the latter.
  • Scenery Porn
  • Shadow Archetype: Themistocles and his Athenian squad shows many parallelism to Leonidas and the brave 300. For instance, Scyllias and Calisto are respectively Foils to Artemis and Astinos.
  • Slave Galley: Averted with the Greeks; though they don't seem to fare well in such conditions, it is historical fact that Greeks especially Athenians preferred Free Men to row the triremes because of their greater loyalty and lesser chances of causing mutiny. In contrast, the Persian rowers are slaves, chained to their posts and whipped to continue. (A Historical Villain Upgrade as the Persians also used free men to row their ships.)
  • Smug Snake: Artemisia is not nearly as clever as she thinks she is. Despite her manipulating Xerxes into becoming king and declaring war on Greece he actually is proven right at the end. If Artemisia had taken his advice and sent a probing force to make sure that Salamis wasn't a trap, the Persian navy wouldn't have been destroyed.
  • The Strategist: Themistocles is an exceptional one.
  • Symbolic Baptism: Xerxes sealed his Deal with the Devil by immersing himself in a ritual pool in a Mystical Cave, emerging physically and mentally transformed into the God-Emperor.
  • Talk to the Fist: Xerxes backhands Artemisia after she mouths off to him a bit too much.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: The Spartans as a whole. In the first film they were portrayed as unbelievably heroic and noble. In the second film they're portrayed as excellent warriors, but on the downside they're stubborn and shortsighted.
  • Tragic Villain: Artemesia after her backstory is revealed.
  • Transformation Sequence: Xerxes after his dip at the temple.
  • Try Not to Die: Themistocles tells his soldiers, "Don't get killed on the first day."
  • Unfit for Greatness: Played With. Artemisia is a fantastic warrior, but she is a lousy commander.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Most of the story is as told by Gorgo, including events in Persia she has no way of knowing and things happening out of her sight as she tells it.
  • Villainesses Want Heroes: After Artemisia's Persian generals fail to live up to her demands, she takes an interest in her Athenian opposite Themistocles. She summons Themistocles to her command ship (temporarily shored in neutral waters) to seduce him, prompting a very violent sex scene. He refuses with a simple "no" afterwards.
  • Was Once a Man: According to Queen Gorgo, Xerxes literally discarded every human part of him to become a God-King by making a deal with evil forces in a desert cave.
  • War Is Hell: A change from the first movie. For the Spartans, War Is Glorious. For the Athenians it is not. They fight just because it is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.
  • Weather Saves the Day: In the climactic fight between Themistocles and Artemisia, the two are tied with swords at each others' throats. Then Themistocles feels the wind on his skin and turns to see the Greek fleet arriving, spelling the doom of the Persians. This gives Themistocles the morale advantage that allows him to win the duel.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Australian Sullivan Stapleton portrays Themistocles with an accent that's all over the place, standing in some sort of bizarre limbo between Scottish, Irish, Australian and Queen's English.
  • Woman Scorned: Artemisia does not take kindly to Themistocles refusing to join her.
    Themistocles: The next time that we face her, she's going to bring all of hell with her.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds:
    • Artemisia watched as her family was violently killed along with the rest of her city, and is then captured by Greek soldiers that rape and beat her until they leave her on the side of the streets to die.
    • Xerxes, surprisingly, also gets thrown into this territory when we see how broken he was by the death of his father as a young man.
  • World of Badass: Even non-Spartans are capable of delivering massive asskickings.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Artemesia always gets the receiving end of this. First the Greeks who killed and raped her family gave her a big boot before being sold to slavery. Then in the Final Battle, Themistocles gives her a solid hook, again, to the face.
    (to Themistocles) Artemesia: "You fight harder than you fuck!"
  • Would Hurt a Child: As written above, Artemesia went through shit because of the bastards who killed and raped her family, to the point that she was left to die on the streets.
  • You Cannot Kill An Idea: The Persians may conquer all of Greece and burn Athens to the ground, but the ideas of freedom and democracy will live on.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: When Artemisia and Themistocles have their climactic sword duel, she tells him, "You fight harder than you fuck". Depending on how you interpret it, it may be a backhanded compliment about his sexual performance earlier in the film or an admission that he is bad at it but impressive in the battle.
  • You Have Failed Me: Artemisia has the first general to fail at defeating Themistocles clapped in big, heavy manacles and thrown into the sea. At least he knew this would happen before hand.
  • You Killed My Father: The main motivation of Xerxes.
  • Your Size May Vary: Xerxes' height varies quite a bit in the series. In the original 300 he was unusually tall, but his height was still reasonable for, say, a Harlem Globetrotter. In Rise of an Empire, he sometimes seems to be a good 10-12 feet tall, which is much taller than humanly possible and seems to be a hint that he really is a god-like being.