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Remove the shadow from the light, the shadow grows. The legacy of life is death, Raiden. My followers accept this and live on. They fight for me!
~ Words of Lord Shinnok.
"Miserable wretch! Insignificant speck of feculant scum! How DARE you!"
~ Shinnok frustrated after being tackled from behind by Johnny Cage thwarting him from imprisoning Raiden and Fujin within the amulet.
You turned on your fellow Elder Gods. You betrayed your title. You deserved much worse!
~ Raiden to Shinnok in Shinnok's Mortal Kombat 4 ending.
Tremble before me, as I absorb Earthrealm's power.
~ Shinnok before transforming into corrupted.
Shinnok is the central antagonist of the Mortal Kombat series. He is one of Raiden's archenemies, who often comes in conflict with him before being banished him into the dreaded Netherealm.
He is one of the Elder Gods that fell from grace and was banished into the Netherrealm after he attempted to conquer the Earthrealm as well as the rest of the realms and even tried to overthrow his fellow deities. Shinnok is the son of the great Titan Kronika and the brother and direct counterpart of female fellow Elder God Lady Cetrion; He is the Elder God of Death while she is the Elder God of Life. Shinnok is also forever worshiped by an ancient and fanatic cult of demons and evil conjurers known as the Brotherhood of Shadow.
Shinnok himself is considered to be one of the most powerful villains from the Mortal Kombat series of fighting games. He is the known maker of the legendary Amulet of Shinnok, a talisman with powers beyond comprehension and also one of the Elder Gods' sacred relics known as the Kamidogu which helped make reality possible.
Shinnok appears as a very tall, slender built man. Because of his imprisonment in the Netherrealm, his skin is completely white and looks decayed. His eyes are usually seen changing from white to green, which is apparently because of his powers.
Powers and Abilities
Being a (former) Elder God, Shinnok possesses and wields immeasurable powers. His powers seems to mainly revolve around darkness and the Netherrealm, such as summoning a skeletal hand from the ground to grip his opponent and take them into the Netherrealm.
Shinnok can also shapeshift and mimic the powers of other kombatants, however the powers he mimic must be in his jurisdiction. He can also take on a larger demonic form as shown in the final level of Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero when his precious amulet became stolen from him and in his anger, he transforms into a gigantic, unholy monster.
His magic also includes the ability to create demons and wraiths to do his bidding, as well as creating clones and illusions of others and himself.
The fallen Elder God Shinnok, when combined with his Sacred Amulet (Amulet of Shinnok) once more, becomes already more powerful then ever, meaning he is allowed to freely traverse the realms and open up portals as well as instantly destroys anyone and anything that stands in his way. Even the combined powers of Raiden and Fujin could barely slow him down (though one could argue that they were already tired from facing his army beforehand).
In Mortal Kombat X, when absorbing Earthrealm's life force, he turns into a demonic creature with immense power and the ability to manipulate fire, as well as conjuring objects such as stones and bladed pillars. This also increased his strength as he was able to put up a decent fight against Cassie whose powers possibly surpass even that of Johnny. Even then, it took Raiden undoing the damage he caused to Earthrealm's life force to strip this newfound power away.
Shinnok being the god of death and destruction only cared about spreading death and destruction across the realms. He despised the elder gods and Raiden in particular for constantly interfering in his plans of conquering the realms and for imprisoning him in his own amulet. He seems to have some respect for Quan Chi as he managed to release him from his amulet and commented on the fact that he chose his servants well like D'vorah.
He even found it pitiful that he didn't get a chance to see his work complete. Rather than destroy those who have stopped him he instead decided to make them suffer like Johnny Cage and Raiden the latter he was going to imprison him in his amulet. He was short-sighted though by doing this he gave Cassie Cage the motivation to stop Shinnok and afterwards allowed Raiden to purify the jinsei thus putting an end to his plan. In his final moments he found solace on the fact that Raiden became as ruthless as he did in his corrupted form and mocked him for it.
After being tortured and beheaded by Raiden Shinnok became a shell of his former shelf not even able to talk anymore. Ironically a man who delighted in causing the deaths of others suffered a fate worse than death.
Shinnok is loosely based on the demon Yan Wang from the classical story Journey to the West.
In one of Kung Lao's match intro dialogues in MK X, he called Shinnok, "Lord Cockatrice." The name however might be loose reference to the mythical creature.
The figure that looks a lot like Shinnok that died in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon is his clone sent by the real Shinnok who was in the Netherrealm.
Shinnok was mentioned in an episode of Jeopardy.
During an intro dialogue between Raiden and Cetrion, the former questions/suggests that Shinnok's madness and evil were actually the works of his mother Kronika's manipulations. Whether this is true or not is unknown.
The Crown of Shinnok comes with 3 different designs throughout the entire MK franchise.
It was originally a crimson bokgeon-styled headdress. This was its initial design since its first appearance in Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero.
It is a crimson-ruby, ornate and spiky crown that is shaped like a spine or head of a dragon. This is the crown's primary semblance since Mortal Kombat: Armageddon.
In Mortal Kombat X, its front containing the famous spikes, was remade to combine regal and religious elements but with twisted details, representing the corruption of the fallen Elder God himself and giving him such additional boldness fitting for his dark nature, and clearly takes the form of diabolical horns, showing a more menacing and predatory appearance than religious.