Back to the video game characters here. Regular readers will know I am a big Assassin’s Creed fan. Now I have finally traded in my XBox 360 and won’t be able to play again as this character, I want to tell you why Ezio is my favourite AC protagonist.
Appeared in: Assassin’s Creed II, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, Assassin’s Creed Revelations (games). The Last Days of Ezio Auditore (web film).
To say that nothing is true is to realise that the foundations of society are fragile and that we must the shepherds of our own civilization. To say that everything is permitted is to understand that we are the architects of our actions and that we must live with our consequences, whether glorious or tragic.
General character: He starts off rather as a bit of a stereotype – a young, handsome Italian man of a rich noble family, living in Renaissance Italy. He gets into all sorts of minor scrapes and sometimes serenades the wrong young lady. That all changes and he is forced to grow up quickly when his family are betrayed by a nobleman that the Auditore family thought they could trust.
He soon finds he is the heir to a rich heritage – the assassins have been silent for centuries and have lost a lot of ground to the Templars and for Ezio, refounding the Brotherhood and leading it in defiance of the corrupt Order will be the making of him. He takes the world on his shoulders, facing off against the Borgias including Rodrigo (Pope Alexander VI) and his son Cesare – both of who were high ranking Templars during their reign of tyranny within the game’s version of history.
Complexities of the Character: We watch him grow threefold and it’s hard to believe that the wannabe Casanova at the start of Assassin’s Creed II becomes the figurehead of the Assassin Brotherhood, much less than dark and haunted figure he has become by Revelations in his determination to uncover the truth, preserve freedom and beat back the constant malevolent threat that the Templars present. Ezio has lost so much – the woman he loves, his family, his friends – so many people have died at the hands of the Templars, yet he forges ever on.
Rodrigo Borgia: You can’t. You can’t! This is my destiny. MINE! I am the prophet!
Ezio Auditore da Firenze: You never were.
Rodrigo Borgia: Get it over with then.
Ezio Auditore da Firenze: No. Killing you won’t bring my family back. I’m done. Nulla è reale, tutto è lecito. Requiescat in pace.
[Nothing is true, everything is permitted. Rest in peace]
And he is determined – despite allowing Rodrigo Borgia to live at the end of ACII and knowing that all hope was nearly lost with the Templar stranglehold on Rome, Ezio follows the Pope there. The city is in the grip of the Templars and at first his mission to find more Pieces of Eden seems hopeless; Rodrigo and Cesare seem unstoppable. Later on, he is looking for keys to the past of the order and to find out about the mysterious Altair with whom he feels such a strong connection – a connection that was presented to him by the Ancients. In this, he sees the far future too and makes a connection with Desmond Miles a descendant who lives in our time.
All this despite knowing that everything he believed about the ancient world and where we came from is wrong. He has seen our past and our future – that sort of knowledge would haunt anyone yet he is driven and never loses the sense of who he is, maintaining himself and not going to pieces over the knowledge he acquires.
Rodrigo Borgia: You know nothing, boy. You take your image of the creators from an ancient book – a book, mind you, written by men.
Ezio Auditore da Firenze: You are the Pope! And yet you dismiss the central text of your Faith?
Rodrigo Borgia: Are you so naïve? I became Pope because it gave me access. It gave me power! Do you think I believe a single god-damned word of that ridiculous book? It’s all lies and superstition. Just like every other religious tract written over the past ten thousand years.
He has a great sense of humour and he never loses that. Despite going from jack the lad to wise sage in one lifetime, he’s always there with a smart comment or a funny lyric. He compiled some of these when posing as a minstrel:
I am a tactless minstrel, I sing off-key for coins. If you spot me in the street, please kick me in the loins.
Young Cesare, I heard him say, could not be killed by man. So I tossed him through the air to see where he might land.
Cesare, Cesare, a man of great depravity. He thought himself immortal ’till he had a date with gravity
There once was a man named Duccio, a rat with legend’s taste. Whenever he would show himself, my fist would find his face
Before Rodrigo was the pope he was a man of vices, and one he gained the holy seed he raised his vices prices.
Fair Lucrezia could not sate her appetite for lovers, but I suspect she would be fine, with two or three more brothers!
He also doesn’t lose his love of women. Though he remains a hopeless flirt in older age, there is nothing creepy about it – it’s quite playful and good to see shadows of the Ezio we knew long before he became Master Assassin of the Italian Brotherhood. For many people, Ezio is what really made Assassin’s Creed. We had a great protagonist in Altair, but his cold nature wasn’t appealing to everyone. Ezio in contrast is always sympathetic, a good man, decent and righteous without being boring – exactly what we want in a hero. And unusually, he had no flaws which can often lead to viewer/reader apathy.
Requiescat in Pace.
Here’s the film The Last Days of Ezio Auditore