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Assassin’s Creed's 'worst' protagonist doesn't deserve the hate

Imogen Donovan

Published 
| Last updated 

Assassin’s Creed's 'worst' protagonist doesn't deserve the hate

Featured Image Credit: Ubisoft

Today, Assassin’s Creed III is 10 years old. The habitat of Twitter notwithstanding, I’m sure the replies under Ubisoft’s celebratory Tweets will be a mixed bag of nostalgia-tinged praise, insistent questions about Assassin’s Creed Codename Red, and criticisms of III’s protagonist. Oh, God, the protagonist. Right? I don’t even need to say it. Because I know we’re on the same page and all. One of the strongest characters in the whole series.

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Ratonhnhaké:ton, also known as Connor, had some extra-extra-extra-large shoes to fill following the end of the Ezio trilogy. Roguish in his youth, devastating with the ladies, and able to disappear without a trace when in pursuit. All the things that Ezio is, Connor is not.

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Born to a Kanien'kehá:ka woman named Kaniehtí:io, Connor’s early life is innocent and peaceful, in spite of the conflict raging outside of their village. Yet, tragically, he loses his mother to a fire that razes the village to ashes, apparently set by the Templars in their task to locate the Precursor site that is somewhere in the area.

Assassin's Creed III / Credit: Ubisoft
Assassin's Creed III / Credit: Ubisoft

Connor witnessed Kaniehtí:io’s death, and though only four years old at the time, this became his catalyst for his motivation to fight tyranny in any of its forms. All the things that Ezio is, Connor is not, and Assassin’s Creed III is a much more interesting story for that fact.

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Throughout the game, the player is reminded of Connor’s strangeness. Awkward, speaking his second language to those who patronise him, and he cuts an impressive stature.

An ally, but no one’s first choice, not really. Combining such a strong moral alignment with a inadvertent inability to win over whichever crowd he’s with, only the most cold-hearted of players couldn’t sympathise with the man’s lot in life.

Assassin's Creed III / Credit: Ubisoft
Assassin's Creed III / Credit: Ubisoft
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Connor, in spite of his black-and-white way of seeing the world, is often the one to offer assistance to those downtrodden by both the Americans and the British in the Revolutionary War. Indeed, as the story progresses and a fragile alliance is forged between himself and Haytham Kenway, his Templar father, Connor’s resolve starts to splinter. Then comes the realisation that it wasn’t Templars that caused his mother’s death, and the leader of the Patriots George Washington issues a directive to destroy Iroquois settlements irrespective of whether they had sided with the British or not.

Rather than abandon the Revolutionaries, Connor remained with them in order to ensure the eradication of the Templars, and he was also forced to kill his friend who accused him of deserting his home for Washington’s war. It’s a horrendous, horrendous series of events and once again, Connor is alone.

Assassin's Creed III / Credit: Ubisoft
Assassin's Creed III / Credit: Ubisoft
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It would have been tempting to send the character off on a red-hot trail for revenge against the Americans, British, Assassins and Templars. Perhaps, it might have been a more enjoyable section of the game, meting justice on those who used Connor for his skills and for his connections before turning their backs on him. Yet, he doesn’t. The death of Haytham at Connor’s hands is one of the best scenes in the whole series, with the diametrically opposed soldiers finally able to engage in a fight where both are equally formidable.

“I'm proud of you in a way. You have shown great conviction. Strength. Courage. All noble qualities,” choked out Haytham. “I should have killed you long ago.”

Assassin's Creed III / Credit: Ubisoft
Assassin's Creed III / Credit: Ubisoft

I know it’s 10 years old now, but if you’re one of those fans who hasn’t got such positive memories of the game, give it another go now that the series has wandered even further from the Ezio trilogy. Connor shares so much with more of the modern protagonists, like the ethos of Bayek, the levity of Kassandra, and the humbleness of Eivor. He takes these traits, endures one of the most affecting stories of the whole lot, and still stays good. Right, I should probably wrap this up now because I think someone’s cutting onions in here.

Topics: Assassins Creed

Imogen Donovan
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