Nyra, a female barn owl (Tyto alba), is the secondary antagonist in the first half of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole book series, the main antagonist in the second half of the series, and the secondary antagonist of the 2010 film Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole. She was mate to Kludd (also known as Metal Beak), though in the film, she is married to Surtr (who serves as Metal Beak as Kludd is a separate character). She is also the mother of Coryn, Noctus and Marella's daughter-in-law and Soren and Eglantine's sister-in-law.
She was voiced by Helen Mirren, who also played Morgana le Fay in Excalibur, The Snow Queen in the movie of the same name, and Mother Ginger in The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.
Nyra was born in the Northern Kingdoms during a lunar eclipse.
When she was slightly older, she joined the Pure Ones. One night, Nyra and a group of fellow Pure Ones travelled through the forest of Tyto and met a nestling Barn Owl named Kludd (whom Nyra saw potential in) who was fascinated by the group's tales of the parts of forests they had concurred and the small rulers they had driven out or killed. Kludd wished to join the Pure Ones, but it was decided by the Pure Ones' then leader The High Tyto that Kludd could join once he could fly.
After joining the Pure Ones, Kludd battled and killed the High Tyto and took over as leader. However during the fight, half of Kludd's face of torn off, resulting in him wearing a mask. Sometime afterwards, Nyra became Kludd's mate.
In the Books
She is first seen in the fourth book "The Siege", where she aspires for her and Kludd to rule the owl kingdoms together.
During the battle of Ga'Hoole Nyra killed a Guardian named Strix Struma, then received a scar on her face from one of Strix Struma's students Otulissa. In the next book, she is preparing to hatch her and Kludd's egg, and also pretends to be Kludd, Soren, and Eglantine's mother Marella, almost succeeding in turning Eglantine to her side. However, Eglantine steals her egg, and than smashes it.
In book six "The Burning", Nyra has another egg that is about to hatch. In the end, after Kludd's death, she is seen with their newly hatched chick, naming him Nyroc (later known as Coryn) because he was born on the eclipse.
In the second half of the series, Nyra and the Pure Ones continue to battle the Guardians and later Coryn (after he joins the Guardians' side).
In the fifteenth book "The War Of The Ember, Nyra is fatally wounded after Soren impales her with an ice splinter. She then plummets into a volcano and is engulfed by lava.
In the Movie
In the film adaption of the novels, Nyra was the Ablah General of St. Aggie's (a position taken by Skench in the books), and was the mate of Metal Beak (whose name is revealed in the video game to be Surtr who is a separate owl from Kludd, who is a lot younger than Nyra in this film). She was responsible for the forcing of young, kidnapped owlets to search for flecks, the magnetic particles she plotted with Metal Beak to use against the Guardians of Ga'Hoole. She believed Tytos, especially Tyto Albas, to be the most pure of all owls, and took a great interest in Kludd (who greatly admires Nyra), believing him to be a valuable soldier for the Pure Ones army. She picked Kludd and several other young Tytos, two presumably being a Sooty Owl and a Grass Owl, and trained them to be ruthless and strong like the Pure Ones. She engaged Grimble in battle while Gylfie and Soren were trying to escape, and was unsuccessful at capturing them once she killed Grimble.
When the Guardians infiltrated the Pure Ones' stronghold, she battled against them with her troops, though she withdrew from most of the fighting. She engaged Ezylryb in battle along with Metal Beak, when he returned to the Pure Ones' castle in search of their leader. When Metal Beak was killed by Soren, Nyra (angered at her husband's death) withdrew with her troops.
In the movie, Nyra had red markings around her eyes and on the crest of her beak and face. She was larger than any other Barn Owl in the movie, and her feathers were nearly pure white, unlike many other Barn Owls, who exhibited reddish or brownish coloring on their chests and wings. This may mark her high status, as it is mentioned that many of the high ranking owls bleached and dyed their feathers certain colors, mostly white, to show their purity. Her eyes were a piercing hazel-blue color, but on several occasions they glowed red during battle, perhaps as an allusion to her haggish roots or her anger.
In the books, Nyra was married to Kludd, though he was younger than her. In the film, Nyra is married to Surtr (who serves as Metal Beak in the film) whilst Kludd is portrayed as a adolescent and much younger than Nyra, but has a crush on her.
Also in the books, she despises Phillip (a character who first appeared in the third book) because he is a Greater Sooty owl due to the species being the lowest in rank; yet in the movie she's the mate of Surtr, who is also a Greater Sooty owl.