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My name is Arthur. Bow down before your king. With the greatest of knights at my command and with the power of this scabbard, I shall rule these lands.


— King Arthur, Sonic and the Black Knight

King Arthur (アーサー王 Āsā-ō?), also known as the Black Knight (黒の騎士 Kuro no kishi?), is a character that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. He is a being from the world of Camelot and was a magical illusion created by Merlin for the purpose of becoming a benevolent ruler over England. Under the guiding hand of his creator, Arthur achieved his purpose and became a legend. When he obtained the scabbard of Excalibur however, Arthur was corrupted by its power and became an evil tyrant who enslaved his kingdom. His reign came to an end when Sonic the Hedgehog was called into the world of Camelot and slew Arthur.

History

Past

Merlin with the infant Arthur, from Sonic and the Black Knight.

Long ago, King Arthur was created by the wizard Merlin as a illusionary Knight of the Underworld, for the purpose of bringing peace and a just rule to the kingdom as its monarch. Apparently using King Uther Pendragon, and Lady Igraine as surrogate parents, Merlin used his trickery to have this couple conceive Arthur. Against the King's wishes, the newborn Arthur was taken away by Merlin and given to Sir Ector to be raised.[2]

While as a young boy, Arthur came across the sacred sword Caliburn which was embedded in a stone and could only be pulled out by, as Merlin had claimed, the true King of England. Where all others failed, Arthur successfully pulled out Caliburn, making him the ruler of all of England.[3] Over time, Arthur proved himself to be a wise and just king, making him praised by all, and he gathered a powerful group of noble knights under his service, named the Knights of the Round Table. For some time, King Arthur led his kingdom into an era of peace and prosperity.

Arthur receiving Excalibur from Nimue, from Sonic and the Black Knight.

During his youth, Arthur broke his own sword. Guided by Merlin, Arthur went to a lake in the Deep Woods where he found the legendary sword Excalibur. Using a boat, Arthur sailed out into the lake where Nimue bestowed Excalibur and its scabbard to Arthur as he had proven himself worthy to wield them. Using Excalibur, Arthur was able to save his kingdom countless times.[4]

With the scabbard of Excalibur's magic, Arthur became an immortal being. However, the mystical forces of the scabbard and power bewitched and corrupted King Arthur,[5] turning him into a power-hungry tyrant and was renamed the Black Knight. At some point Arthur lost Excalibur when it was corrupted by his evil, but gained a new sword called Deathcalibur. Using his dark magic, Arthur began summoning the Knights of the Underworld to do his bidding and began plunging his kingdom into turbulence and chaos. He nevertheless proved to still have strong relations with the Knights of the Round Table despite his change and they still chose to serve him as well.

Sonic and the Black Knight

At the beginning of Sonic and the Black Knight, Arthur was chasing after the granddaughter of his creator and Royal Wizard, Merlina the Wizard, for unknown reasons. Using Deathcalibur, Arthur summoned the Knights of the Underworld to trap her, but as Arthur approached her, Merlina used her own magic to summon Sonic the Hedgehog to their world. After Sonic dispatched Arthur's minions, Arthur prepared to battle the hedgehog, but Merlina teleported them both away before the battle could begin. Not distraught by his enemies' escape, Arthur met up with Sir Lancelot, Sir Gawain, and Sir Percival and ordered them to seek out Sonic and Merlina and slay them on sight, while he chased after them himself.

After Sonic obtained Caliburn, Arthur finally caught up with Sonic and Merlina and fought Sonic but as Sonic lacked both resources and skills, and as the scabbard of Excalibur had made Arthur immortal, Arthur decided to leave after deeming Sonic "a fool of a knight" who is not worth slaying. Much later, the two of them met a second time at Avalon, when Sonic sought out Arthur to stop him once and for all. Arthur dryly remarked that Sonic had only somewhat improved his impersonation of a knight, but this time he was determined to kill Sonic in a duel.

After a more heated duel, Arthur was knocked off his horse, but told Sonic that he could not win because of his immortality. However, as Arthur called upon the scabbard's power, Sonic used the sacred swords he gained from the Knights of the Round Table to nullify the scabbard's power. Arthur stood up in disbelief of what was happening, and was defeated when Sonic attacked him one last time.

After being bested by Sonic, Arthur faded away, leaving nothing but the scabbard. When Sonic brought the scabbard to Merlina, she revealed that King Arthur was never there, just an illusion created by Merlin, and it was merely part of her plan to acquire the scabbard of Excalibur for her own ends.

After the battle with the Dark Queen, Caliburn revealed that as his status as a legendary sacred sword, his duty is to decide who was fit for the crown, thus making Sonic the one worthy to be King Arthur.

Personality

Prior to his corruption, King Arthur was noted to be a wise, loyal, and just ruler, as well as an honorable knight of great virtues. He also cared greatly for his kingdom and its inhabitants, having willingly saved it on countless occasions.

When he was bewitched by the scabbard of Excalibur, Arthur's personality underwent a drastic change. Corrupted by power, Arthur became an evil and cruel tyrant, perfectly willing to enslave, terrorize, and murder his own people, plunging his kingdom into horror and chaos without showing a hint of remorse.

As the Black Knight, King Arthur was incredibly arrogant. Confident in his own superiority, Arthur viewed those beneath him as weaklings and not worth his time. As a result, Arthur took a very limited interest in the subject he was presented with to the point where he considered whether or not he should participate, and could even withdraw from a battle with opponents he deemed unworthy on a whim.

In other media

Books and comics

Archie Comics

Main article: King Arthur (Archie)

King Arthur, from Sonic the Hedgehog #197.

In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics, King Arthur appeared in the comics' adaptation of Sonic and the Black Knight. In this media, he is a being from another Zone connected to the In Another Time, In Another Place reality.

Like in the game, Arthur cornered Merlina who summoned Sonic to help her. After the duo escaped, Arthur had his knights go look for them.

Quotes

"I shall give chase. Spread out and go after them. Slay them on sight."
—King Arthur, Sonic and the Black Knight
"Now, let us see the power of your so-called sacred sword."
—King Arthur, Sonic and the Black Knight
"Pursue me at your own peril, weakling."
—King Arthur, Sonic and the Black Knight
"Bah! A fool of a knight not even worth slaying."
—King Arthur, Sonic and the Black Knight
"It seems your impersonation of a knight has improved somewhat."
—King Arthur, Sonic and the Black Knight
"Then let us have a another look at that unsightly swordsmanship."
—King Arthur, Sonic and the Black Knight
"You shall regret the day you ever raised your sword against me!"
—King Arthur, Sonic and the Black Knight
"It appears you are good at only one thing: running away."
—King Arthur, Sonic and the Black Knight
"I shall blast you into dust!"
—King Arthur, Sonic and the Black Knight
"You blue pest! Roar Deathcalibur!"
—King Arthur charging his Soul Surge, Sonic and the Black Knight
"Heh heh heh... I am immortal. You cannot defeat me!"
—King Arthur, Sonic and the Black Knight
"How can this be?!"
—King Arthur shocked by the power of the Sacred Swords, Sonic and the Black Knight
"Noooooo!"
—King Arthur upon being defeated by Sonic and Caliburn, Sonic and the Black Knight
"Very well."
—King Arthur when selected in Battle Mode, Sonic and the Black Knight
"I accept."
—King Arthur when selected in Battle Mode, Sonic and the Black Knight
"Must I even join this?"
—King Arthur when selected in Battle Mode, Sonic and the Black Knight
"Those bring their swords to bear against me will regret it."
—King Arthur when selected in Battle Mode, Sonic and the Black Knight
"I will show you my true power!"
—King Arthur when selected in Battle Mode, Sonic and the Black Knight
"Time for battle!"
—King Arthur after accepted as the character being played as in Battle Mode, Sonic and the Black Knight
"You shall regret, challenging me."
—King Arthur before battle in Battle Mode, Sonic and the Black Knight
"I shall take you with me to the underworld!"
—King Arthur in Battle Mode after the player lands multiple combo attacks but has not defeated him yet, Sonic and the Black Knight
"Your very presence offends the eye."
—King Arthur after Sonic fails a counter attack, Sonic and the Black Knight

Trivia

  • A black knight is a stock literary character, typically a villain. It is a knight who has no liege-lord or does not want to be identified and so does not bear any heraldic standards. Several black knights appeared in the tales of King Arthur.
  • Dragons are a key symbol of King Arthur.[6]
  • While he is the titular Black Knight, Arthur's armor is actually gold, albeit a very dark gold.
  • King Arthur's theme song is "Fight the Knight by Crush 40, which is used for the two boss fights Sonic has with him. In the first boss battle against him, the song is instrumental. The song in the second battle has lyrics.
  • King Arthur is unlockable in battle mode by collecting the five books detailing the story of King Arthur during regular gameplay.
  • King Arthur is the only multiplayer character in Sonic and the Black Knight that is not a recurring Sonic character or at least a character who is portrayed as one. He is also the only one who is incapable of jumping as well as the slowest (even though all characters don't run in multiplayer mode).
  • Sonic's battle with King Arthur at Avalon may have referenced Arthur's end in the Arthurian legends where Arthur is taken after being mortally wounded by his son Mordred.
  • In the second battle against King Arthur, he never faces Sonic in battle face-to-face since he is always dashing away. He even hypocritically taunts: "It appears you are good at only one thing: running away."

References

  1. Sonic Team (13 March 2009). Sonic and the Black Knight. Wii. Sega. Area/Level: Gallery, Vault 5. "Knights of the Round Table: Lancelot is known as the strongest and Arthur's nephew Gawain as the greatest knight. Though brothers-in-arm, the two are rivals. And Sir Percival's quest is a legend in its own right."
  2. Sonic Team (13 March 2009). Sonic and the Black Knight. Wii. Sega. Area/Level: Gallery, Vault 5. "Birth of Arthur: Born to King Uther Pendragon and Lady Igraine, an enemy country's queen, with the help of Merlin's trickery. Against the King's wishes, Merlin took the newborn Arthur away and gave him to Sir Ector to raise."
  3. Sonic Team (13 March 2009). Sonic and the Black Knight. Wii. Sega. Area/Level: Gallery, Vault 5. "Legendary Sword: Merlin placed the sword in the stone claiming that none but the true King could pull it out. None were able to pull the sword free except Arthur. That act made him the King of all England."
  4. Sonic Team (13 March 2009). Sonic and the Black Knight. Wii. Sega. Area/Level: Gallery, Vault 5. "Excalibur: When Arthur broke his sword, Merlin guided him to the lake where he found a sword held aloft by fairy magic. Arthur went out in a small boat and claimed the sword. That sword was the legendary Excalibur, which Arthur used to save the kingdom countless times."
  5. Sonic and the Black Knight (Flash). Sega. Archived from the original on 30 April 2009. "The legendary king and ruler of Camelot, King Arthur has been corrupted by mysterious forces and now rules as a tyrant over the tainted land. His enchanted sword has been transformed by this evil, becoming Deathcalibur. With his army of minions, he appears unstoppable until a certain blue hedgehog arrives."
  6. Sonic Team (13 March 2009). Sonic and the Black Knight. Wii. Sega. Area/Level: Gallery, Vault 1. "Dragon: Mist Dragon and Earth Dragon. The dragon is a key symbol of King Arthur."
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