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For the episode of the same name, see "League of Assassins".
For the group's successor, see Thanatos Guild.
For the group of superheroes in the future, see The League.
"I realized what I had done was necessary. You see, I had replaced evil with death. And that is what the League exists to do."
Ra's al Ghul to Oliver Queen[src]

The League of Assassins was a secret organization of highly trained assassins led by Ra's al Ghul. They train their members at Nanda Parbat. The leader of the League will always assume the title of "Ra's al Ghul" from their predecessor.[1] After Nyssa took over the League, she disbanded it, believing no one else should be held prisoner.[2]

Overview

The League of Assassins was founded in 1013.[3] Its purpose is to hunt down and kill people deemed a danger to society and the world at large, and has done so for many years, resulting in thousands of deaths. All of its members go through a harsh and bitter course of training that leaves its trainees either dead or at the peak of human physical condition, so much so that they rarely feel pain itself. They are trained in the arts of swordsmanship, archery, stealth and killing in both the quickest and most discreet methods or the most painful and drawn out ways. They are also trained to be able to escape from any prison. All of its members also seem very devoted to Ra's as many of them have been seen killing themselves for the league, allowing Ra's to kill them simply for him to train himself, carrying out his orders without question, and protecting him at the cost of their own lives. A League member once stated that "The will of Ra's al Ghul is our own!".[4]

The League also has a deep code of honor and those who violate the code are hunted down and killed. They appear to send their lower ranked members first before deploying their more skilled fighters if their person of interest is not yet been brought to justice. Members of the League have only one way of being freed from their oath: either by death or by being released. Being released from the League is extremely rare, as only two members have been; Sara Lance and Malcolm Merlyn, indicating the Ra's had a fondness for them. Sara Lance is the only member to have been released twice; once in 2014 by Nyssa al Ghul, and by Ra's al Ghul in 1960. If a League member is killed in cold blood, the League will kill 50 civilians per day until the guilty party admits to their crimes and is brought to justice. However, those who commit crimes against the League or break its principles are allowed a trial by combat in a fight against Ra's himself, though most of them seem to be afraid to fight him and choose death upfront. When the trial does take place it is upon a mountain that can only be reached by a long and rigorous climb that some do not even survive. Furthermore, all members of the league are given a new name of their choosing to be addressed by. Their only known place of establishment is Nanda Parbat.

The League tends to be very old-fashioned in many of its ways, including communication methods, such as invisible ink that is made visible when exposed to a flame and signal messages, smoke to show location, and their sense of justice. They also prefer bows and arrow, staffs, and other weapons from medieval times. Al-Owal is the only known member to use firearms, as other members have referred to guns as "a coward's weapon".[5]

The League's members choose new names in the Arabic language upon their entrance into the League as a way to distance themselves from their past life and be reborn into something new. It appears that learning this language may be a requirement of membership, as many League members (even those whose native language is not Arabic) have been shown speaking it.

Each member has his/her signature weapon. During the course of their training members train to master all kinds of weaponry but eventually specialize in one weapon, and that will be the one they will carry with them at all times during their missions. Malcolm, Nyssa, and Oliver used a bow and arrow, Maseo and Al-Owal used a sword, Sara used a bo staff, and other various members have been seen using tomahawks and truncheons.

Members are also sent out with a vial of cyanide that kills the user quickly for members to use in the event they are captured to prevent interrogation. They are also very efficient in finding information, even something as faint as rumors of Malcolm Merlyn fathering an illegitimate child, something Malcolm himself wasn't aware of until recently, even though they weren't able to confirm the rumors. Malcolm likely used the League's resources to learn that Oliver Queen has an illegitimate son named William Clayton.

They also have very efficient and fast forms of transportation, having gone to and from Star City and Nanda Parbat in relatively short periods of time.

The League is stated to help people struggling with negative emotions such as anger and help them forge it into something new, meaning at least a few of their members came to the League because they couldn't cope with themselves. Most if not all members go through a process of reprogramming by stripping their former identities while embracing their new name. Their former identities became a memory, though some members do have parts of their former selves within, Malcolm's need for vengeance for his wife, Sara's love and concern for her family, and Maseo's friendship and loyalty towards Oliver.

The League has their own traditional weddings in Nanda Parbat. Members are allowed to be married to another though it's rare. This type of wedding is exclusive to Nanda Parbat and not known to other societies. Members who attend the wedding would gather together and raise their swords up and allow the bride to pass through. To seal the union, the priestess would get a hand from the bride and from the groom, she would put them together to complete the union. The most recent wedding is between Oliver and Nyssa, though it has been annulled. League marriages can be annulled with the use of a Horchis Dagger.

According to Ra's al Ghul, the League adheres to the request of the current Ra's al Ghul, even renouncing killing, if he so chooses.

After Oliver and Diggle attempt to rescue Malcolm Merlyn from Nanda Parbat only to get caught by falling into a trap, Ra's al Ghul states that he wishes to make Oliver Queen his successor (new heir) instead of killing him. Malcolm then states that it is a prophecy that will come true; whomever survives the sword of Ra's al Ghul will become Ra's al Ghul. Maseo then confronts Oliver (who declined the offer) and tells him to embrace it. Ra's al Ghul, Maseo, and many other members of the League then travel to Starling City. They were able to perfectly replicate Oliver's Arrow suit and equipment, showing they have vast resources and connections and are able to obtain whatever supplies they need for their missions in a short amount of time.

After impersonating the Arrow, the League members began killing many people, ranging from drug dealers to city officials, showing they will do whatever is necessary to see the will of Ra's al Ghul done. Quentin Lance and the Star City Police Department then attempt to capture Oliver and Team Arrow, but initially fail to do so. Ra's al Ghul later captures Quentin outside of the SCPD Precinct and tells him that Oliver is the Arrow. Quentin then gives this information to the SCPD and the public and puts out warrants for his arrest, just as Ra's had previously told Oliver that Star City would turn against him if he did not accept his offer of becoming Ra's al Ghul.[6]  

Ra's al Ghul's plans go awry, however, as Roy Harper takes the blame for being the Arrow. Ra's then attacks Thea Queen, Oliver's beloved maternal half-sister, by stabbing her through the chest with a sword. Her wounds prove to be fatal, and Oliver decided to join the League in exchange for reviving Thea using the Lazarus Pit. Oliver then took up the mantle of Heir to the Demon (Arabic: وريث الغول). 

Each member is given a quick and painless suicide tool to use in the event they are captured to avoid giving information to the enemy. They are also apparently brainwashed to obey every command from Ra's al Ghul, including committing suicide. Whether this programming was undone when the League disbanded has not been clarified. However, some members of the League are still loyal to Malcolm and serve him despite the League's disbanding, they are members of Thanatos Guild, led by Athena, Malcolm's second-in-command.

According to Oliver, the League were terrified of another group of assassins called the Longbow Hunters.

Known members

Former members

Appearances

Arrow

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4

Season 5

Season 6


The Flash

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

  • "Duet(mentioned)

DC's Legends of Tomorrow

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3


Comics

Arrow: Season 2.5

Arrow: The Dark Archer


Trivia

  • The League of Assassins play a major antagonistic role in each season of Arrow, with the exception of the second season, and in DC's Legends of Tomorrow.
    • Malcolm Merlyn, the main antagonist of the first season of Arrow, was a former member of the League of Assassins and wore his league uniform while fighting Oliver as "Dark Archer".
    • Ra's al Ghul and the league were the main antagonists of the third season of Arrow, while Malcolm played a major antagonistic role instigating the events of the season.
    • Damien Darhk, leader of H.I.V.E. the main antagonist of the fourth season of Arrow, was a former member of the league. The league themselves were also present as recurring antagonists until their disbanding, though Malcolm and the league's remnants continued to aid H.I.V.E. afterward.
    • Adrian Chase, who trained under Talia al Ghul of the league, is the main antagonist of the fifth season of Arrow.
    • Damien Darhk and Malcolm Merlyn also appear as secondary antagonists in the second season of DC's Legends of Tomorrow, as part of the Legion of Doom led by Eobard Thawne.
  • Talia al Ghul was a member of the League long before the events of Arrow. She trained Yao Fei and Oliver, gave them suits based on the traditional assassin attire, meaning the League has had a significant effect on Oliver's life since the beginning of the show.
  • In "Legends of Today", it is seen that the League of Assassins fear Vandal Savage.
  • In "The Thanatos Guild", Nyssa reveals that the League of Assassins was founded in the year 1013.
  • In "Life Sentence", Oliver reveals that the League of Assassins were terrified of another group of assassins called the Longbow Hunters.
  • The league of assassins used invisible ink that is made visible when exposed to a flame.

Behind the scenes

  • This is the second live-action adaptation of the League of Assassins the first being in The Dark Knight Trilogy, though the first time by its DC comic book name rather than the alternative name "League of Shadows".

References

  1. "The Offer"
  2. "Sins of the Father"
  3. "The Thanatos Guild"
  4. "My Name Is Oliver Queen"
  5. "League of Assassins"
  6. "The Climb"