We are the Knights who Say Ni! We are the keepers of the secret words: Ni, Peng and Nee-Wom!
~ The Leader of the Knights who Say Ni introduces themselves to King Arthur of Britain and Sir Bedevere.

The Knights Who Say Ni! are supporting antagonists from the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. King Arthur and Sir Bedevere encountered them during their quest for the Holy Grail. Their leader is portrayed by Michael Palin, who also portrayed the Smuggler

The Leader of the Knights of Ni

As the name suggests, the Knights who say Ni! are an order of knights notable for frequently saying Ni, which causes extreme fear or pain to everyone who hears it. They are led by a large knight, who is approximately twice as tall as the average man. The rest of the knights are of normal height. They proclaim to be the keepers of the sacred words; Ni, Peng and Nee-Wom.

History

After their conversation with the Old Man from Scene 24 King Arthur and Sir Bedivere are suddenly teleported to a very spooky forest. There they encounter the Knights who say Ni!, who terrify them by repeatedly yelling the word Ni. King Arthur establishes their fearsome reputation, telling Bedivere that people who hear them seldom live to tell the tale. The Head Knight then makes clear that in order to pass through their forest, Arthur must bring them a sacrifice. The king tries to convince the Knights of Ni of being simple travelers who merely want to pass through, but the Knights are having none of it. They viciously and repeatedly yell Ni to Arthur and Bedivere, terrifying them into compliance. The Head Knight then makes clear that in order to pass through the forest, King Arthur must bring them a shrubbery, adding it must look nice, but not too expensive.


A while later, King Arthur and Sir Bedivere return, having brought with them a shrubbery. The Head Knight admits he likes the shrubbery, but that there are some unfortunate circumstances that prevent Arthur from passing through the forest: The Knights who say Ni converted themselves to being the Knights who say Ekke Ekke Ekke Ptang Zoom Boing, essentially declaring any agreement they made as Knights of Ni null and void. To gain passage through the forest, King Arthur and Sir Bedivere must find the Knights who, untill recently, said Ni another shrubbery. And when they have done so, they must cut down the mightiest tree in the forest with a herring. King Arthur bluntly refuses this impossible task, telling the Knights that "It can't be done". It is then revealed that the Knights who say Ni can't stand hearing the word "it", as it causes them excruciating pain, much like saying Ni! causes pain on their victims. King Arthur remains completely oblivious to this weakness, but can't avoid using the word. In response, the Knights of Ni continue to writhe in pain. King Arthur yells at the Knights of Ni to stop making a fuss, after which he beckons his own knights to come with him, leaving the forest.

Personality

Judging from the behavior of the Head Knight, the Knights who say Ni! seem to be cruel, sadistic and power hungry. They are fully aware of the excruciating pains the word Ni causes to their victims and really like to abuse their power to blackmail travellers into buying them Shrubberies. The Knights of Ni are also dishonest; whenever a traveller does comply with their demands, they pretend to have changed their name, using this as a reason to make more demands of their victims.

The Knights of Ni aren't above begging. When Arthur accidentally discovers their weakness, they keep begging him not to use the word "it"


Trivia

  • Michael Palin, who played the main knight who says Ni, also played the Right Head of the Three-Headed Giant, Jack Lint and Luigi Vercoti
  • It's unknown exactly why the Britons are afraid of the word, "Ni". It's possible that it either has a lethal effect (which is implied when King Arthur says that those who hear it seldom live to tell the tale), or that it frightens people, or that it just annoys people to death.
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