|“||What? The dregs of Archanea have come to challenge my kingdom? Ha ha ha... Really, do they think people have not tried before?||„|
|“||Heh heh heh... You dare challenge me, fool? You must not value your life. Cower before the might of the dark magic Imhullu!||„|
|~ Gharnef in the battle of Thabes.|
|“||Heh heh heh... I've allowed them the honor of being sacrifices for the Shadow Dragon's resurrection. You will never see them again. Emperor Medeus will soon be reborn in his true and darkest form. And they will usher in a new era. 'Tis a pity. Their souls couldn't bear the suffering and shattered into pieces... Even I am powerless to help them. Shame, really. I have them to thank for the Shadow Dragon's awakening. Not even the Binding Shield can stop him now. I applaud you for coming this far. But... little prince... you will go no further. I will kill you here, and you will die knowing that you are nothing!!||„|
|~ Gharnef taunting Marth at The Dragon's Table.|
Gharnef is the central antagonist of Fire Emblem franchise, who served as an archetype and inspiration for many main villains who emerged later in the series.
Most notably, he is the overall secondary antagonist in the Archanea Series, serving as the secondary antagonist in Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light and its remake Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, and the main antagonist in Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem and its remake Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem.
In addition to his role in the main series, Gharnef is also a playable character in Fire Emblem Heroes and a major antagonist in Fire Emblem Warriors. Another incarnation is the main antagonist of the Fire Emblem/Megami Tensei crossover Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE.
In Japanese, Gharnef is voiced by Ken Narita in video games and Takeshi Ono in the Fire Emblem OVA. In English, Gharnef is voiced by DC Douglas in video games and Charles C. Campbell in the OVA.
Gharnef is an old man with thin brown hair shrouded in a green cloak. When his feet are visible, he is shown to be wearing brown shoes. As a Mirage, Gharnef is a gray bald head with red eyes protected by a gold sphere. This mechanism also generates a humanoid body made of blue energy.
Originally, Gharnef possessed a strong sense of justice, and studied under the White Sage Gotoh with good intentions. However while proving to be a stellar magician, he lacked compassion and the ability to love, qualities Gotoh considered vital in his successor. This led to a series of events that corrupted Gharnef to evil.
Post corruption, Gharnef's prime motivation was vengeance upon humanity. In spite of his powerful magic, he preferred to work in the shadows and have others publicly do his bidding, whether through brainwashing or more natural manipulation.
Gharnef was formerly the star pupil of the White Sage Gotoh in the magic city of Khadein. However, Gotoh was wary of Gharnef's lack of compassion, and chose another student, Miloh, as his successor. Mad with jealousy, Gharnef stole Gotoh's Darksphere and fled Khadein. Using the Darksphere, he created the sinister tome Imhullu. However, the process sealed his soul inside the Darksphere, driving him to madness.
War of Shadows
To avenge himself upon the continent of Archanea, Gharnef resurrected the Shadow Dragon Medeus and became his Dark Pontifex. After reestablishing the Dolhr Empire, Gharnef and Medeus conquered the Holy Kingdom of Archanea. Shortly afterwords, Gharnef killed Miloah and seized control of Khadein. In addition, he captured and brainwashed the Manakete Princess Tiki, who he ordered to defend the Fane of Raman.
At the dawn of the War of Shadows, Gharnef convinced King Jiol of Gra to betray the Kingdom of Altea and blackmailed King Ludwik of Grust into allying with Dolhr by abducting his children, Prince Jubello and Princess Juliya. Following Altea's betrayal and defeat, along with the death of its king, Cornelius, Gharnef took possession of the only weapon that could kill Medeus, the sword Falchion, and abducted Cornelius' daughter Princess Elice, imprisoning her in Thabes.
Four years later, the tides turned against Gharnef and Medeus with the return of Cornelius' son, Prince Marth, and his new army, the Archanean League. After conquering Grust, Marth traveled to Khadein to search for Falchion, believing that it was taken there. At the city, Gharnef briefly fought Marth and his army. With Imhullu, he was invincible, but ultimately decided to retreat. Afterwards, Gotoh tasked Marth with forging Starlight, the only tome that could kill Gharnef.
Near the end of the war, after the defeat of Macedon, Marth's army teleported to Thabes to defeat Gharnef, retrieve Falchion, and rescue Elice. With Marth's army now bearing the power of Starlight, the dark protection granted to Gharnef by Imhullu was pierced and he was killed.
War of Heroes
Despite the death of his corporeal body, Gharnef's soul remained in the Darksphere. Still determined to cause the end of the world, he sought to engineer Medeus' second revival, this time by sacrificing four noble-born Clerics. During this time, he met Eremiya, a bishop in charge of an orphanage that had lost many of her orphans to war, and brainwashed her into serving him. Under Gharnef's orders, Eremiya trained her orphans into become assassins to kill anyone he deems a threat. Gharnef oversaw a mission led by Eremiya against the Soothsire bandits, whose numbers were decimated by Marth's army during the War of Shadows. As members Reese, Clarisse, and Legion successfully routed the enemy, Gharnef congratulates Eremiya on their success.
In addition, Gharnef decided to use one of Marth's allies, Prince Hardin of Aurelis, now the emperor of Archanea, as one of his pawns. Having fallen into a deep depression over his unrequited love for his wife Nyna, Hardin was approached by Gharnef disguised as a merchant, who gave him the Darksphere. Hardin's heart was instantly twisted by the Darksphere, turning him into a malevolent tyrant, and he willingly handed Nyna over to Gharnef to use as one of the sacrifices. While Hardin began conquering the rest of the continent, Gharnef stole Falchion from Altea Castle during its downfall and had Eremiya's assassins capture three more clerics: Elice, Princess Maria, and cleric Lena of Macedon. He also took possession of the Starlight tome, only for it to be later back from him by Maria's brother, Michalis.
After Marth killed Hardin, Gharnef and three of his followers appeared before him disguised as the four clerics. However, the light of the newly-restored Binding Shield destroyed the illusion and revealed their true forms, after which he retreated to the Dragon's Table, but not before warning Marth of Medeus' revival. Shortly after, Marth's army confronted and defeated Eremiya, after which Gharnef released her from his spell, delighting in her anguished screams as she died.
Following Gotoh's advice, Marth and his army went to the Dragon's Table. Deep inside, Gharnef told Marth him that Medeus is now unstoppable before his army in battle. However, having earlier received the Starlight tome from Michalis, Marth's army is able to kill him again and reclaim Falchion.
Fire Emblem Awakening
An Einherjar of Gharnef is available as a bonus unit through SpotPass. In addition, a Gharnef Einherjar opposes the Shepherds with other Archanean Einherjar in the second and thirds Lost Bloodlines DLC xenologues. In addition, a Gharnef Einherjar, along other villain Einherjar, battles the Shepherds in the first and third Rogues & Redeemers DLC xenologues, but allies with them in the second Rogues & Redeemers chapter, as the villainous army believes that the summoned the Shepherds to help them fight heroic Einherjar.
Fire Emblem Warriors
After being transported to another world Gharnef, along with Validar and Iago, joins forces with King Oskar of Gristonne and the Chaos Dragon Velezark, and aid them in their ongoing invasion of Aytolis. He eventually makes his way to the World Tree and blocks the road to the top, intending to stop Prince Rowan and Princess Lianna of Aytolis, who have joined forces with Marth, from claiming the two swords that can defeat Velezark. After being defeated, he is forced to retreat. Once Velezark is defeated, Gharnef is sent back to Archanea.
Fire Emblem Heroes
Gharnef was made available to players on November 23, 2018, as a Grand Hero Battle. His design is based on his Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem incarnation.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE
At least five years before the events of Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE, Gharnef's spirit ends up on Earth, becoming a Mirage in the process. In Tokyo, he meets Yatsufusa Hatanaka, with whom he shares a common interest in reviving Medeus. During this time, Mirage Gharnef causes what would become known as the Mass Disappearance and erases the memories of Chrom and his fellow Mirages before enslaving them.
Gharnef's ultimate goal is to perform the Opera of Shadows, a ritual to resurrect a Mirage version of Medeus that requires a massive amount of Performa. When Itsuki Aoi and his fellow Mirage Masters at Fortuna Entertainment learn of this, they decide to complete the trials necessary to perform the Opera of Light, a ritual that can counter the Opera of Shadows. Before they can reach the final trial chamber, where the spirit of the Hero-King Marth is, Gharnef and Hatanaka arrive and steal Marth's spirit. Hatanaka, who still sees Fortuna's Mirage Masters as a threat to their plans, offers Gharnef all of his Performa so that Gharnef can destroy them. Even though he is eventually defeated by Itsuki and his friends, he still manages to send Marth's spirit to Mirage Medeus to prevent the Opera of Light from succeeding.
Super Smash Bros.
In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Gharnef appears as a novice support-type spirit using artwork from Shadow Dragon. When equipped to a fighter, Gharnef increases the player's fire and explosive attacks at the cost of one spirit slot. To obtain Gharnef, he must be defeated in a timed spirit battle against Robin on the Battlefield form of Unova Pokémon League with a sleep-inducing floor. This Robin favors using Nosferatu when attacking.
Fire Emblem OVA
Gharnef only appears in a flashback in the first episode. Following Gra's betrayal of Altea and the decimation of its army by both Gra and Grust, Gharnef appears before King Cornelius and asks him to surrender, telling him that if he does, his people will be allowed to live as slaves. Cornelius refuses and attempted to attack Gharnef with the Falchion, but is killed by Imhullu.
|“||So long as I possess this Imhullu magic, they cannot snuff my life out. No one can. As for the White Sage... He will trouble me no longer. With the dragon-goddess right where I want her, in the Fane of Raman, there is no way for Gotoh’s Starlight to disperse the shadows that guard me.||„|
|~ Gharnef after brainwashing Princess Tiki.|
|“||You dare oppose me, fool? You must not value your life. Cower before the might of the magic Imhullu: once forbidden, now unleashed!||„|
|~ Gharnef in the battle of Khadein.|
|“||Agh! What... Where did you get...Starlight...? Still, you are a fool ...Your power is not enough to defeat Medeus...I shall be waiting in the pits of the inferno...for when he sends you to join me... Heh heh, ha ha ha!||„|
|~ Gharnef's defeat in the War of Shadows.|
|“||Heh heh heh... Let me teach you the meaning of despair!||„|
|~ Gharnef in battle against Soothsire bandits|
|“||Heh heh heh... Perhaps... a taste of Imhullu's might is necessary.||„|
|~ Gharnef in the final onslaught at The Dragon's Table.|
|“||Your blade is blunt before me, Marth... I'll smash you and the Binding Shield into pieces!!||„|
|~ Gharnef if he fights Marth at The Dragon's Table.|
|“||Heh heh heh... Allow me to demonstrate Imhullu's might...||„|
|~ Gharnef if he fights Kris at The Dragon's Table.|
|“||Heh heh... You're too late... The end is nigh...||„|
|~ Gharnef's last words.|
- In addition to voicing Gharnef, DC Douglas also provides the English voices of Fire Emblem heroes Wrys, Barst, and Gunter.
- In addition to dubbing Gharnef in the Fire Emblem OVA, Charles C. Campbell also provides the English voice of Barst in the same OVA.