NOTE: For the sake of this wiki, this page is mainly about Hardin's role during the War of Heroes, after the Darksphere corrupts him.
|“||Heh heh heh...Marth, sweet and naive as ever. Why do you think I attacked Altea? Because I utterly despised you. In the last war, just because you were Anri's descendant... Nyna entrusted you with the Fire Emblem, and made you the League's commander. "The Prince of Light"... More like "insolent brat"! Without my help, you would have died long, long ago. So don't act so high and mighty!! I have always despised you since then. I put up with you for Nyna's sake, but I knew we'd have to settle things sooner or later. It has nothing to do with the orb!||„|
|“||Petty jealousy, you say...? Heh heh... Say what you will. This world is rotten to its core. Swarming with insignificant insects that you call humans. What worth is left in it? Perhaps it would be better if it were all destroyed.||„|
|~ Emperor Hardin responding to Midia's accusation that his actions were committed out of petty jealousy.|
|“||Hmph... That's why you're still just a boy. Marth! Come to me. I'll shove this lance through your heart!! There's only enough room in this continent for one hero, and that hero is ME!||„|
|~ Emperor Hardin responding to Marth's shock at his deep loathing.|
Hardin, once known as Coyote (草原の狼, The Wolf of the Grasslands), but later known as the Dark Emperor, is a major character in the Archanea Series of Fire Emblem. The younger Prince of Aurelis, Hardin became a loyal of Prince Marth during the War of Shadows. However, after becoming the first Emperor of Archanea, Hardin was overwhelmed by personal problems, which attracted the Dark Pontifex Gharnef's attention. A disguise Gharnef offered Hardin the powerful but corrupting Darksphere, which twisted him into a tyrant and destroyed his relationship with Marth. The fallen Hardin served as a secondary antagonist and enemy of Marth in Book 2 of Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem and it's remake, Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem.
Emperor Hardin is a slender middle aged man with short brown hair slicked backwards and a skinny mustache. He is clad in crimson armor with gold accents and cloth elements, as well as a matching red cape with white fur trim. Due to the Darksphere's influence, Hardin gained red eyes and pale skin.
At heart, Hardin is an honorable and courageous man with shrewd leadership skills, loyalty to his friends, and a deep love for his wife Nyna. However, on and off the battlefield Hardin deeply suppressed more negative emotions. While he truly believed that Marth was an excellent commander, he secretly resented that Nyna granted Marth the Fire Emblem, which symbolizes it's wielder as the world's champion. Hardin thought that Marth only received such a venerable artifact because he descended from the legendary Anri. More devastatingly for Hardin, his marriage to Nyna was purely political on her part, a fact Hardin was painfully aware of. That his passionate love was unrequited sent Hardin into an acute depression. It was this bottling of jealousy and despair that fueled the Darksphere's corruption.
With the Darksphere in his possession, Hardin's darker emotions were explosively amplified. He became extremely aggressive and determined to crush all dissention. Hardin's resentment of Marth's title warped into a deep hatred for all of Marth's accolades, as well as a belief that his accomplishments were worthless without Hardin's help. He also perceived Nyna's lack of romantic love as a personal betrayal, and projected this onto the world at large, claiming that humanity is inherently corrupt and beyond saving.
By the end of the War of Shadows, the Holy Kingdom of Archanea was left destitute. Boah, the advisor to Archanea's Princess Nyna, demanded she marry, as he believed only a strong king could restore Archanea to it's former glory. Furthermore, Boah requested that she choose either Prince Hardin of Aurelius or Prince Marth of Altea, as the two leaders allied with Nyna during the war and demonstrated great valor and leadership. As Marth was already engaged to Talys' Princess Caeda, Nyna chose Hardin, but though she greatly respected him, she did not love him. The man she truly loved, Camus of the Sable Knights, vanished after the Archanean League stormed Grust and was presumed dead. Hardin, however, adored Nyna, and accepted her proposal with more joy at being her husband than gaining the Archanean Throne. Thus did Hardin become the twenty-fourth king of Archanea.
Under Hardin's guidance, the battered nation experienced a swift recovery, including a rebuilt army. Hardin's years of redevelopment culminated in restyling the Holy Kingdom of Archanea into the Holy Empire of Archanea, with himself and Nyna as its first emperor and Empress. For a time, Hardin's rule promised an age of peace and prosperity for his country and the world. Unfortunately, Hardin quickly learned that Nyna's motivation for marrying him was purely political, and she did not reciprocate his affections. Hardin quickly fell into an acute depression, isolating himself and drinking constantly. The Dark Pontifex Gharnef, who assisted the tyrannical Medeus during the War of Shadows and planned to resurrect the slain Earth Dragon, learned of Hardin's sorrow and saw an opportunity. A disguised Gharnef visited Hardin and offered him the Darksphere. The artifact amplified Hardin's negative emotions, twisting him into a malevolent conqueror. Now viewing Nyna as a traitor, Hardin willingly offered her to Gharnef as the first of four sacrifices to Medeus.
War of Heroes
At first, Hardin's erosion of character was unknown to the world, though atrocities began occurring under the Archanean Empire's watch. At his command, his former ally General Lorenz was deposed as Grust's regent, and the cruel General Lang was instated as its occupying leader. Furthermore, as Hardin's resentment towards aspects of Marth degenerated into hatred for his former friend, he plotted to invade Altea. To give himself a pretext for the attack, he sent Marth a letter requesting the latter's help suppressing the Grustian rebellion. Hardin knew that Marth would bring his strongest soldiers with him on his mission, greatly weakening Altea's defenses, and would also turn against the dishonorable Lang, giving ample reason to declare war. Indeed, Marth eventually defied Lang, and the Archanean army devastated Altea.
After Marth's army stormed Olbern Keep and killed Lang, Hardin organized an army to battle Marth personally. Meeting with him on Chiasmir bridge, Hardin laid bare his desire to kill him and crush what he viewed as a rotten world. With the Darksphere, a magical shield rendered Hardin impervious to any attack. However, his plan was foiled when the army's rearguard, led by Marth's Royal Guard Kris, engaged them while Marth and the vanguard fled to the ocean. The rearguard, too was able to flee, though how they escaped varied based on Kris' luck. Returning to Archanea, faced growing dissention from his people, who became disgusted with his increasing despotism and cruelty. Eventually a band of citizens and soldiers led by the knight Midia launched an insurrection against Hardin. Ultimately, the rebellion failed, its participants arrested and slowly executed.
Marth eventually learned of Gharnef's plans and set his sights on Archanea to save Nyna from Gharnef. When he learned that Hardin gave her to the Dark Pontifex ages ago, Marth began a long campaign through the Holy Empire, confronting Hardin in the Archanea Palace. As Midia still lived, Hardin had her brought to the throne room so that she may witness the destruction of Marth's army firsthand. In his final confrontation against Marth, Hardin threw verbal abuse at him, laying bare the jealousy he felt towards him for having been entrusted the Fire Emblem during the War of Shadows. At this point, Marth discovered the full extent of the Darksphere's hold on him. With Lightsphere in Hand, Marth pierced the Darksphere's protection and struck down his former best friend. The Lightsphere's power also released Hardin from the Darksphere's corruption. With his last breath, Hardin expressed gratitude towards Marth for freeing him from the shackles of the Darksphere. Deeply regretful, Hardin asked Marth's forgiveness for all the suffering that he wrought upon Archanea, and begged Marth to save Nyna from the dark fate his actions had set up for her, before finally passing away.
|“||Rebel soldiers... Come to die, have you? I'll show you the terror of Gradivus!||„|
|~ Emperor Hardin battling Marth's army on the Chiasmir Bridge.|
|“||Prince Marth! I'll bury you with these very hands!||„|
|~ Hardin fighting Marth on the Chiasmir Bridge|
|“||Who are you? Your face is unknown to me.||„|
|~ Hardin to Kris|
|“||You may come, Kris. But no one may even scratch me. You will soon know to fear... the power of the Darksphere...||„|
|~ Hardin fighting male Kris on the Chiasmir Bridge|
|“||Kris, is it...? What does it matter to you? You will die here regardless.||„|
|~ Hardin fighting female Kris on the Chiasmir bridge|
|“||Nyna? That woman betrayed me. All I wanted to do was destroy Grust. That woman had the audacity to give the emblem to that boy... And so I punished her. I will kill all who oppose me. That includes you, Midia!!||„|
|~ Emperor Hardin justifying to Midia why he gave Empress Nyna to Gharnef.|
|“||The rebel army... Have you come to die?! Taste the might of Gradivus!!||„|
|~ Hardin battling Marth's army in the Holy Empire of Archanea|
|“||So you've come, Marth!! I'll run you through, just as you wish!||„|
|~ Emperor Hardin fighting Marth in the Holy Empire of Archanea.|
|“||I've no quarrel with you... Bring Marth to me!!||„|
|~ Hardin fighting Kris in the Holy Empire of Archanea.|
|“||Prince... Marth... I feel as though... I've finally awoken... from a long, long nightmare... Marth... Forgive me... I tried to fight the demon inside me. ...But I wasn't strong enough. I fought so hard, but... I just couldn't beat it... I wanted to die by your hand... And now I'm finally saved... Marth... Please... Nyna... Save Nyna... Please... ...Tell her... Tell her for me... Till... till the very end... I ...loved her... always... Tell her... to please...forgive me...||„|
|~ Hardin's last words.|
- Hardin is one of the most frequently recurring characters in the Archanea Series. With three major roles (excluding their remakes), Hardin appeared in more games than even Marth and Ceada. The only characters who have had more appearances than him are Camus and the Whitewings (Palla, Catria, and Est).
Fire Emblem Gaiden & Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
Fire Emblem Awakening
Fire Emblem Fates
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Fire Emblem Heroes
Fire Emblem Warriors
Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE