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For the title itself, visit Ra's al Ghul (title).

"If there's one immutable truth about life... it's often more cruel than it is fair, and rarely provides an opportunity for any of us to find closure."
—Ra's al Ghul to Felicity Smoak[src]

"Ra's al Ghul" (Arabic: رأس الغول Raʾs al-Ġūl; for Demon's Head) (before 1854[1]—May 13, 2015)[2] was the title of an otherwise unnamed man who was the leader of the League of Assassins. He had inherited the title from his predecessor. He was also the widower of a late unnamed woman, the father of a late unnamed boy, a late unnamed girl, Nyssa al Ghul, and Talia al Ghul. Ra's was the former mentor of Oliver Queen, the former best friend-turned nemesis of Damien Darhk, and a recurring enemy of Batman.


Early life

At the age of 11, the boy who would become Ra's al Ghul killed a man for the first time because the man intended to harm his family. He felt ashamed that he had taken the life of a person, but also proud because he stood up to someone with ill intent who threatened his family. The boy justified what he had done as necessary by claiming he had "replaced evil with death".[3]

At some point, he was approached by the leader of the League of Assassins to become the next Ra's al Ghul, a request he initially declined.

The man went on to live a blissful life, having two children with his wife. One day, Ra's al Ghul came to his home and offered the man a choice: either leave his family without a goodbye, or watch them tortured and killed. The man chose the former, a decision he greatly regretted.[4]

Becoming Ra's al Ghul

This man was conscripted to the League and underwent a brutal training process to cleanse his mind of his past life until he believed himself to have been reborn into something else, and was to eventually ascend to the mantle of Ra's al Ghul himself. He was conscripted with a man named Damien Darhk who underwent a similar training process with this man, and both became best friends and the horsemen of Ra's al Ghul. However Damien believed himself to be the better warrior and true heir to Ra's mantle, but this man was chosen instead. In order to eliminate any threats to his reign, this man was instructed by Ra's to kill Damien, but this man hesitated because of their friendship. With this distraction, Damien was able to flee with his followers, taking samples of the Lazarus Pit with him.

Damien would go on to continue the League's ways but through his own agenda in an organization called H.I.V.E.. However, their motives dishonored the League's ways and resulted in many unnecessary civilian deaths, which left a heavy burden on this man's consciousness and since his hesitation led to those deaths.

Eventually, this man was obligated by Ra's to initiate the final act of ascension, which called for the destruction of his homeland, the cleansing, and end of his former life entirely. This resulted in the deaths of everyone he ever knew including, presumably, his family. Following this, he ascended to Ra's al Ghul himself and took the name, following the death of his predecessor.[5]

In 1854, Ra's happened upon an illusionist in Vienna and was mystified with his tricks. Nearly half a century later, he came across the man again, but the man was withered and old.[1] Around 1947, someone challenged Ra's to a trial by combat, to the death, with Ra's coming out victorious.[3]

20th century

At some point prior to 1960, Ra's had a daughter, Talia al Ghul.

Talia al Ghul as a child

Ra's and his daughter Talia in 1958.

In 1958, Ra's initiated Sara Lance into the League and found her to be exceptional in skill as if she had already completed her training before. Two years later in 1960, Ra's captured Rip Hunter and his team when they tried to infiltrate Nanda Parbat and ordered them to be killed, but Rip requested a trial by combat. Ra's selected Sara as his champion while Rip selected Kendra Saunders. Moments into the duel, Sara began hesitate after Kendra reached out to her. Suddenly, Chronos arrived to kill Rip and his team. Ra's was forced to release the team to fight Chronos. After Chronos' defeat, Ra's realized that Sara is from the future, and released her from the League, telling her that Nanda Parbat is not a place for people with conflicted feelings and identities. Before Sara left, she advised Ra's to send his daughter to an island called Lian Yu around 2009. Ra's was puzzled as to why he would send Talia there. However, Sara elaborated that it was not Talia who would be sent, but another daughter he had yet to conceive, whom he would name Nyssa.[6]

At some point when Ra's was seeing to matters of importance in the desert, he encountered a woman named Amina Raatko, a woman with an appearance and personality that he was captivated by and was unable to live without. Ra's allowed Amina to become his concubine[7] and eventually on May 10, 1985,[8] they had a daughter who Ra's, acting on Sara's advice,[6] named Nyssa. Nyssa was conscripted from birth to ascend to Ra's mantle herself, provided the if the prophecy of a man who doesn't die at Ra's blade will ascend to Ra's himself failed to come true.

Ra's al Ghul in 1985

Ra's in 1985.

At some point, Ra's and Talia became at odds. Because of that, Talia left to follow her own path by forming her own cult of warriors.[9]

In 1985, Ra's forced an assassin to take full responsibility for losing The Hidden by drinking a fatal green liquid. Following this, another came to alert him to the discovery of the Ashkiri marker. He told the assassin to prepare to ride at dawn, allowing him to front the attack.[10]


Ra's has history with the Batman.

In 1994, Malcolm Merlyn joined the League of Assassins. Two years later, he was released from his vows by Ra's.[8]

At some point, Ra's and Talia faced Batman, an encounter which involved Ra's' resurrection. Although the specifics remain unclear, this incident led to Ra's making a frequent enemy out of The Dark Knight.[11]

Around 2009, Ra's sent Nyssa to Lian Yu to retrieve the younger Sara Lance as per the prior instructions given to him in 1958.[6][8]

Retrieval of Sara Lance

"You think you can stop me? Even the vigilante couldn't kill me."
"No, he couldn't. But I know someone who can. Ra's al Ghul.
Malcolm Merlyn and Moira Queen[src]

After Malcolm Merlyn's Undertaking in 2013, Ra's sent a messenger to Sara, ordering her return, though she refused and killed the messenger when he declined to report to Ra's that he had not found her, as she wanted.[12] Around a week later, Ra's sent Al-Owal and a team of assassins to bring Sara back by force, only to lose his team to both Sara and Oliver Queen.[13]

Ra's was later contacted by Moira Queen after Malcolm mentioned that he went to Nanda Parbat. Upon learning Malcolm was still alive, it was revealed that Ra's had marked him for death over breaking the League's code by initiating The Undertaking, having realized his mistake in releasing Malcolm.[14]

Ra's sent Nyssa and another League member to once again try to bring Sara back to Nanda Parbat. However, Nyssa ultimately released Sara from the League.[8]

Meeting Mesi Natifah

Several months later, Sara returned to the League in exchange for their help to defeat Slade Wilson's army.[15]

After Ra's heard of Khem-Adam and his extremist sect Onslaught, he wished to speak with Khem-Adam. Ra's sent Nyssa and Sara Lance to retrieve the man from his base in the Amon-Shu Caves of Kahndaq.[16] They arrived back, with Khem-Adam and a girl named Mesi Natifah. Wishing to give Mesi her vengeance, Ra's gave her his sword to use on Khem-Adam.[17]

The hunt for an heir

Trial by combat

Ra's al Ghul tells Nyssa Oliver courts war

Ra's talking to Nyssa in Nanda Parbat.

"You should take pride. You survived longer than most. Don't be afraid, my son. Death comes for us all. We can only evade it so long. Consider this an honorable exit."
—Ra's al Ghul to Oliver Queen[src]

Following her discovery of Sara Lance's death, Nyssa arrived back at Nanda Parbat from a visit to Starling City, she confirmed Malcolm Merlyn was still alive. Ra's informed his daughter that Malcolm would face consequences for crimes against the League's code. Ra's asked about Oliver Queen, and he learned of Oliver's oath to protect Malcolm at any cost. Ra's took this to mean that Oliver was courting war with the League as well.[18]

Ra's al Ghul meets Oliver Queen for the first time

Ra's meets Oliver Queen for the first.

With Sara Lance's death unavenged, Ra's sent a squad of assassins, led by Nyssa and Sarab, to capture Oliver. They informed Oliver that he would be given 48 hours to find Sara's killer or the League would begin killing innocent civilians until the killer was caught. After the time was up, Ra's and various League members traveled to Starling City in preparation. However, Oliver met with them, falsely claiming to have killed Sara upon her request, which Ra's did not fall for. By League law, he was entitled to a trial by combat, and so Ra's accepted the duel, allowing Sarab to tell Oliver of the neutral meeting place.

Oliver and Ra's stare down prior to their duel

Oliver and Ra's stare down prior to their duel.

The two met atop a mountain sometime later. Following tradition, they both removed their shirts, and Oliver picked up two swords against Ra's who was bare-handed. The latter discussed his first kill at age 11, feeling proud that he had replaced evil with death, which was what the League strived to do. They began fighting, with Ra's swiftly proving his skill greatly exceeded Oliver's by easily dodging each attack with his hands behind his back and swiftly retaliating, soon disarming Oliver of one of his swords.

Ra's stabs Oliver in the chest

Ra's stabs Oliver in the chest.

Ra's then masterfully dominated Oliver as they fought with both blades and pressure point attacks, easily parrying all of Oliver's strikes while simultaneously countering Oliver's jabs and hitting his pressure points before he cut him. As Ra's continued to easily overwhelm Oliver, he soon held him at sword point in the neck and led him back to the edge of the mountain, commenting on how impressed he was that he had lasted longer than most. Although Oliver was given a chance to steal back the blade, Ra's quickly caught the blade as Oliver stabbed at him, disarming him once again. He promptly stabbed Oliver in the chest, saying a quick prayer before pushing the dying Oliver over the edge, and tossing the sword to the ground as a grave for Oliver.[3]

The offer

"You tasted death, and you wanted more, but the truth is everyone and everything must come to an end, even for one such as me."
—Ra's al Ghul to Oliver Queen[src]

Ra's was confronted by his daughter, Nyssa who had just discovered Oliver survived and demanded he be killed. Ra's revealed that he knew that Oliver did not kill Sara and commented he had always knew and was correct that loving Sara would only cause her pain and heartbreak. He watched as his daughter stormed off. After the League captured Malcolm and brought him to Nanda Parbat, Ra's mused to Malcolm that he had met a dazzling magician in Vienna whose power was magnificent but only half a century later, the magician was broken and dying of old age. Just like that magician, Malcolm may be able to cheat many things but he cannot cheat death. Malcolm begged Ra's' mercy, promising to work for him once more, to which Ra's ordered Malcolm to face his death with honor or at least dignity and ignoring Malcolm's continued pleas, stated that his crimes can only be paid by agony and blood, but stated he took no joy in killing him. Ra's would then torture Malcolm to the point he was barely conscious but left his cell unguarded to lure Oliver, who he knew would come.

Ra's al Ghul asks Oliver Queen to be his heir

Ra's al Ghul asks Oliver to be the next Ra's al Ghul.

When Oliver made an attempt to rescue Malcolm, Ra's locked Oliver in, along with Diggle. Later, Ra's had Oliver brought to him and commented on how he had once nearly lost his life to Ra's and still came straight to him to challenge him as if he wanted to actually die and stated that even he would die in the end. As Oliver begged Ra's only to spare Diggle's life, Ra's, only further impressed, commented on how tremendous Oliver's strength, fortitude and power is, revealed he had no intentions to kill him and asked if Oliver was willing to be his successor as Ra's al Ghul.[1]

Ra's convinces Oliver to accept the title of Ra's al Ghul

Ra's convinces Oliver to accept the title of Ra's al Ghul.

As Ra's continued to explain why Oliver should take his place, Oliver denied the request, and Ra's allowed Oliver to leave with Diggle and Malcolm. Sometime after their departure, Nyssa returned to the palace only to berate on why Malcolm was still alive. Ra's explained that Nyssa had only wanted Malcolm dead in revenge of Sara's death and that he had let them go as a sign of good faith to Oliver who will become his heir. Nyssa got enraged by his decision to make Oliver his heir and tried to kill him after which he easily disarmed her. Ra's puts Nyssa off, saying that Oliver surviving a fair duel with him merits the vigilante the right to take her father's place; and he never did approve and will never approve of the feelings of his daughter.[19]

Ra's heals himself in his pool

Ra's heals himself in the Lazarus Pit.

Sometime after Murmur's arrest, Ra's arrives in Starling City dressed as the Arrow, and quickly killed Murmur's remaining men leaving only one alive to spread the word.[19] To force Oliver to take his offer he made Maseo and other assassins dress up as The Arrow and kill criminals.[20]

After Maseo killed Celia Castle and failed to kill Felicity Smoak, he met with Oliver and told him to accept the title of heir to the demon or he would spend the rest of his life in a cage, claiming he wasn't going to capture Oliver when he challenged it but a police helicopter soon arrived. He later sent Maseo to intercept and capture Captain Lance and brought him to Ra's where he revealed The Arrow's identity as Oliver Queen.[21]

Thea Queen's loft

Ra's fights Thea Queen in her loft.

Oliver was arrested but freed when Roy Harper turned himself in as The Arrow to clear Oliver's name. After Roy faked his death, Ra's targeted Thea. He appeared in her loft and asked her if she knew who he was. After Thea vowed Oliver would kill him, Ra's simply retorted Oliver would beg him to become the next Demon's Head. He caught the knife Thea threw at him and the two got into a fight. Ra's effortlessly dodged her strikes, after which he slammed Thea through a table. Drawing his sword, he then impaled Thea through her chest and said a quick prayer, after which he left her to bleed out.[22]

Ra's greeted Oliver with his entire League as a desperate Oliver arrived at Nanda Parbat holding a dying Thea. After Thea's resurrection in the Lazarus Pit, Ra's expected Oliver to hold his end of the deal. Later, an upset Felicity approached Ra's and told him she doesn't care about the prophecy. Felicity told Ra's he didn't know what love was, though Ra's told Felicity about his past life. Ra's told Felicity he is offering a chance for Oliver to have a proper goodbye, one that he never had a chance to do.

Ra's al Ghul initiates Oliver into the League of Assassins

Ra's al Ghul initiates Oliver into the League.

After a failed escape attempt by Felicity, Malcolm, and Diggle, Ra's asked Oliver who assisted them, though Sarab quickly came clean and revealed he killed three of the League's members. Ra's told Sarab he won't punish him for Maseo's actions and spared him for his loyalty. Ra's went on to mark Oliver with a mark and started to cleanse Oliver of his personality so all that remained was Al Sah-him.[4]

The next weeks Ra's personally trained Oliver and helped him improve his swordsmanship and combat skills. He used isolation and brainwashing techniques to make Oliver forget about his past and he began to accept his new identity and name. Exposing him to a herb Oliver started to hallucinate and believed a captured intruder was, in fact, his friend John Diggle. Ra's ordered him to kill him and Oliver quickly overpowered the intruder in a sword fight and killed him after which he realized the intruder was not John.

Impressed with the loyalty of Oliver Ra's showed him a few ruins as he told him he and Damien Darhk were like brothers and both candidates to become the new head of the demon. After Ra's was chosen he was ordered to kill Damien, however, he hesitated and Damien escaped and started his own organization called the H.I.V.E. Ra's explained to Oliver how Damien had attempted to buy the earthquake device and was responsible for multiple crimes. This was a direct result of Ra's having doubted in killing him. Ra's then told Oliver he does not want this for Oliver so he ordered Oliver to take out his rival for the title Heir of the Demon.

After Oliver captured Nyssa and brought her to Ra's, he complimented Oliver. He recalled how Nyssa used to steal food when she was young, but that she had never been able to hide things from her. He searched Nyssa her weapons and found the Omega virus. Ra's told her he would remember her as the warrior she once was, Nyssa replied that she was not afraid of him. Ra's ordered Oliver to kill her but stopped him at the last second. He mentioned Nyssa had been defeated by Oliver and was no longer a threat. He told both of them they would marry and Nyssa would become the bride of the demon.

Ra's orders Oliver to wipe out Starling City

Ra's orders Oliver to wipe out Starling City.

Ra's explained to Oliver that the ruined village he had shown him was his former home. He mentioned that to become the new head of the demon one had to wipe out his former home. Just like he had did and the former Ra's before him had whipped out Alexandria. Ra's explained that he would unleash the Omega Virus on Starling City. Ra's recalled how Maseo had come to him and offered him the Alpha-Omega Virus when he wanted to join him. Maseo reported a plane had been readied to spread the virus.

Ra's visited Nyssa and explained to her how he had met his concubine Amina Raatko. He gave Nyssa a necklace he had given to her, and she then gave it to him to give it to Nyssa for her wedding day. Nyssa refused and Ra's told her she would marry Oliver or she would suffer the pain of a thousand deaths.

Al Sah-him and Nyssa's wedding

Al Sah-him and Nyssa's wedding.

When John Diggle, Malcolm Merlyn, Laurel, Felicity, and Ray Palmer blew up his plane, a huge fight started in which Maseo and many assassins got killed. Ra's confronted them and made his men capture them. He explained to them the plane was just a distraction to see if there were any traitors reporting to them. Team Arrow made it appear like Maseo had been the traitor.

Ra's talked to Malcolm, who told him Oliver had been the one betraying him. Ra's called Oliver who told him that was not the case and he was devoted to the League. Ra's went to Team Arrow and threw in the Omega Virus as they screamed for Oliver to help. He and Oliver walked away as they left them to die.[7]


Ra's, Oliver, Nyssa and a squad of assassins departed on a plane. Oliver woke up and Ra's told him there are dreams of desire, temptation, and truth. Oliver explained that he dreamed of rebirth as Head of the Demon. Ra's told him they would destroy Starling and then he would get the ring that would allow him to command the League. The plane started to shake and the pilot told them the plane had been sabotaged. Enraged Ra's blamed Nyssa. Oliver told him it was his doing. Oliver handed Nyssa a sword and she started to fight the assassins. Ra's mentioned to Oliver he had given him his holy mission. Oliver told him he had one already. The two fought and Ra's managed to knock down Oliver. Nyssa killed his assassins but Ra's subdued her and Oliver and promised them he would destroy the city and then hunt them forever. He then escaped from the crashing plane by parachute.

Ra's tracked down his rival Damien Darhk to a hotel in Starling. However, he had already escaped, and Ra's noticed Oliver and his team closing in on his assistant. Ra's called the assistant and then shot him. He taunted Oliver and told him he would spread the virus and destroy the city.

Ra's al Ghul League of Assassins suit

Ra's minutes before his death.

Ra's then send a messenger to Oliver to tell him he would meet him so they could have a duel to finish this. Ra's met Oliver and mentioned how he would win either way. If Oliver would kill him he would become the Head of the Demon and if he would win his city would die. Ra's saw that Oliver used the sword he had been impaled with. Ra's and Oliver engaged each other in a sword fight. In spite of Oliver's considerable improvement from his training, Ra's kept the upper hand the entire fight and ended up taking Oliver down and destroying his sword in one strike. Ra's mentioned that thousands of men would mourn his death if he would die. He then attempted to strike down Oliver. Oliver disarmed him with the same move Ra's had used in their first battle and ended up impaling his chest, while refuting Ra's earlier claim, stating that his men would simply kneel before the next Ra's al Ghul. Oliver then recited the same prayer Ra's did after he had stabbed him. Proud of his student's success, Ra's handed him the ring before collapsing to the ground, dead.[2]


Original multiverse

"Ra's al Ghul", this unnamed man, chose Oliver Queen to be the next Demon's Head. In doing so, he had assassins go on a killing spree in Starling City while disguised as the Arrow to frame Oliver, providing the incentive for Roy Harper to take the fall for Oliver and fake his death, irrevocably altering the Arrow identity. This provided Oliver the necessity of eventually changing his codename to "Green Arrow".[23]

Ra's deal with Oliver to save Thea Queen's life with the Lazarus Pit in exchange for accepting his "offer" pushed Thea into becoming the vigilante "Speedy".

After Ra's death, Oliver passed on the mantle of "Ra's al Ghul" to Malcolm Merlyn as part of their deal when working together to take Ra's down. However, Nyssa swore to Malcolm she would kill him to reclaim her birthright and avenge Sara Lance's death.[2]

On the chance that the Lazarus Pit would fall into the wrong hands, Ra's devised a concoction to destroy it. Nyssa used the potion in October 2015 after Malcolm resurrected an insane, dehumanized Sara from the Pit.[24] She was subsequently imprisoned and secretly began gathering loyalists to gain control of the League,[25] succeeding months later in early 2016 with the help of Oliver and Team Arrow. However, Nyssa realized she was becoming just like Ra's in her methods to claim his title (essentially blackmailing Team Arrow into helping her by withholding the Lotus elixir from a dying Thea and threatening to attack Star City with devastating consequences if a civil war broke out). She ultimately chose to destroy the Demon's Head ring and disband the League of Assassins, ending her father's legacy.[26]

A year and a half after Ra's' death, his elder daughter, Talia al Ghul, desired to avenge her father by training Adrian Chase and joining him in his efforts to destroy Oliver. Despite all the pain Ra's caused Oliver and his loved ones, Oliver still holds his former mentor in high regard, even calling him an honorable man who would be ashamed of his daughter throwing in with a psychopath like Chase.[9]

When Thea was initially doubtful of Quentin Lance's attempts to reform Earth-2 Laurel Lance, she pointed out that while Ra's had some honorable qualities, he was ultimately still an immoral individual.[27]

When Oliver was against Thea becoming involved with Malcolm's legacy on the account that he was an evil man, Nyssa argued that Ra's was also an evil man and she has chosen to dedicate her life to righting her father's wrongs.[28]

When being imprisoned together in Slabside's Level Two, Oliver genuinely apologized to Talia for killing her father, as he was only thinking about his own family at the time and not those who cared for him. The two eventually resolved their issues and became good allies.[29]


"I was 11 years old when I killed my first man. I remember the look in his face when the light went out behind his eyes. Such a sudden change, almost imperceptible, between life and death. And I felt ashamed. I had stolen from that man the most precious gift of all - life. But I also felt something else - pride, because I had taken up arms against someone who sought to do ill against my family. And 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. And I have killed several thousand more men since then. And the world is better for it."
—Ra’s al Ghul[src]

In 1960, Ra's' displayed some humanity in him, releasing Sara Lance because he knew she was conflicted between being an assassin and her humanity. After realizing Sara had joined the League of Assassins in the future, he seemingly followed Sara's instructions to send his daughter, Nyssa al Ghul, there and trained Sara even though he knew full well Sara would not be able to follow through with her oath to the League. As a result, he never truly considered Sara as one of them.

In Ra's' later years, he had a cold and stoic demeanor, he was ruthless, as he would not hesitate to kill his enemies, he was also known to be relentless, unflappable, impatient refusing to impose his will after he speaks once and undeterred, allowing nothing (the lives of multiple innocents, anyone) to stand in the way of his goals of ensuring the purpose of the League of Assassins lives on, as a result of being the Demon's Head and having access to the Lazarus Pit for years. Astute and calculating, Ra's was an effective leader, having commanded the League for at least a century and a half, and lead, inspired and fashioned some of the greatest killers in all of history. Ra's himself said, that he feels pride for the thousands of people he had killed by his hand, genuinely believing he created a better world with these men dead. Nyssa mentioned the Lazarus Pit twisted Ra's mind, turning him into a ruthless monster.

Despite Ra's' ruthlessness and zealotry, he had a sense of honor, somewhat of a soft side and (if twisted) a sense of humanity. He was capable of respecting his opponents and even holding them in honor, as seen in his commending Oliver Queen's combat skills and praying for him after stabbing him. As noted by Malcolm Merlyn, Ra's' custom after killing an opponent in a death duel was to leave his weapon in the arena of combat, as a marker to honor the opponent. He also let Oliver pretend to be the one who killed Sara despite knowing full well he did not and that Oliver was simply trying to keep the people in his city from dying. He displayed respect and humility towards Felicity, commending her courage and love for Oliver when she spoke up and out against him when he made the "offer" towards Oliver to become his heir, encouraging her to confess her feelings to him and say goodbye to him. Even despite all that he had done to him and his loved ones, Oliver still acknowledged and respected Ra's honorable side enough that he noted that Ra's would have been ashamed of his daughter, Talia, working for the profoundly psychopathic Adrian Chase. Even Thea, who had personally been killed by Ra's, had to acknowledge Ra's had honorable qualities even if he was ultimately unredeemable.

Ra's had some love and care towards his daughter, particularly her relationship with Sara Lance. After Nyssa told Ra's that Sara was (apparently) killed by Malcolm, he paid no heed and only focused on punishing him for his role in the Undertaking, saying he never saw Sara as a true member of the League of Assassins. Despite this, he seemed to have had some respect for their love, Ra's stated his reason for not seeing Sara as a true member of the League was because he knew she wasn't suited to kill people with her life and did not approve her relationship with Nyssa because he (correctly) believed it would end in Nyssa's heartbreak, his ruthless punishment of Malcolm was only out of obligation to the League's code, claiming he'd take no pleasure in making Malcolm suffer. He also released Malcolm from his obligations from the League under unknown circumstances on the condition Malcolm would honor the League's code of honor. He also spared Maseo for betraying him momentarily, respecting Maseo's past connection to Oliver.

Despite Ra's' generally calm, composed, dark and stoic demeanor, he was capable of being surprised; as when he first looked upon Oliver's youthfulness, the only thing he could say at the moment was "you're just a boy", he was also prone to fits of rage and fury if someone were to betray him or display defiance towards him. He disinherited, exiled Nyssa over her outburst towards his selecting Oliver in being his heir instead of her and upon her attempt to slay him in petty vengeance. He lost his temper when Oliver revealed his duplicity in pretending to be his heir in an to attempt to dismantle the League from within.

Ra's was intelligent, calculating, strategic and empathic towards others having led the League effectively for over a hundred years, Ra's knew the moment he had captured Malcolm, that Oliver would come and try to rescue his sister's father, actually planning to use this to request Oliver to succeed him, he let Oliver, Malcolm and Diggle go while predicting coming events for Oliver to make him overthink his offer, in Malcolm's words, Ra's doesn't make requests for people to do things he wishes, but rather he orders. This was shown when he started killing people in Starling City with the Arrow's tools to frame him to make the "request" to be Ra's al Ghul more appealing.

After Oliver "accepted" the offer to succeed him, Ra's focused solely on grooming Oliver to become the next Ra's al Ghul. He cared little for his own daughter at that point, even forcing her to marry and bare the child of a man she does not love and even threatened to torture her if she refused, only seeing her as a means to extend his and his son-in-law's bloodline.

In Ra's' final moments, before succumbing to his fatal injuries inflicted on him by Oliver, he displayed no guilt, morals nor remorse for his actions, being only pleased that he made the right choice, by choosing Oliver to become his successor, and he died somber with honor and dignity.

Powers and abilities


"It was Herodotus who first wrote of these waters. And Ponce de León traveled the earth in search of them. And their discovery by Al-Khidr is chronicled in the Qu'ran. And they have permitted me to live way beyond my time."
—Ra's al Ghul to Oliver Queen[src]
  • Longevity: Due to his unrestricted access to the Lazarus Pit, Ra's was able to live for centuries while retaining his peak health, vitality, as well as the physical appearance of a middle-aged man. However, he mentioned the waters had started to lose their potency on him, meaning that in time, the Pit would be unable to stop his aging and extend his lifespan. Still, the Pit was potent enough to heal a deep cut on his hand in mere seconds, without leaving a trace of it being there in the first place.
  • Enhanced physical conditioning: Due to the effects of the Lazarus Pit, Ra's gained increased feats of physical prowess such as strength, speed, and reflexes; with a single hand, he was capable of overpowering Thea Queen and pinning her to the ground,[22] crushing Oliver Queen's windpipe,[3] and managed to shatter Oliver's sword with a single blow from his own in their final battle.[2] Ra's feats also included easily catching a knife thrown at him by Thea with one hand[22] and effortlessly reacting to both Nyssa's,[19] and Oliver's sword strike, something which bewildered the latter,[3] showing no signs of pain in both times he caught the blade with his bare hands. Ra's speed was great enough that he was able to land the first hit on Oliver before he could react during their final duel[2] and managed to intercept Thea from running out the door, seemingly teleporting in front of her.[22]


"This is a duel... Oliver, with one of the most dangerous men that has ever walked the earth."
Felicity Smoak to Oliver Queen[src]
  • Peak of human physical condition: With the longevity has given to him by the Lazarus Pit, combined with countless years of training and experience, Ra's was in such exceptional physical form. He proved capable of easily overpowering the likes of Oliver Queen (who he still beat to submission even after the latter had been trained by Ra's himself), Nyssa al Ghul, and Thea Queen, in terms of strength. Ra's even crushed Oliver's windpipe with a single blow and then casually kicked him off a cliff before leaving a sword deeply impaled in the rocky terrain after having defeated Oliver.[3] Ra's later on managed to outpace Oliver to the Alpha and Omega despite Oliver being closer to the two viruses and stun him with only two blows, along with later on knocking down Nyssa with a similar amount of effort. Additionally, Ra's did not immediately die after being repeatedly fatally stabbed by Oliver, still having enough strength to declare Oliver as his successor and pass on the Demon's Head ring before ultimately succumbing to his wounds.[2]
"I think four days ago, Oliver challenged the world's greatest assassin to a duel."
John Diggle to Felicity Smoak[src]
  • Master hand-to-hand combatant/Martial artist: As the leader of the League of Assassins and with centuries worth of fighting knowledge, Ra's was an unarmed combatant and martial artist of incredibly tremendous, almost unrivaled skill, having killed hundreds of men within his lifespan. Ra's had undergone the same training like most League members do, but since he was chosen as the successor to the Demon's Head, his combat skills far surpassed that of most other assassins of the League since he had received the highest level of training any member could. His fighting style seems to be comprised of Kali, Krav Maga, Taekwondo, Karate, Kung Fu, Jeet Kun Do, Hapkido, Judo, Jujitsu, Panantukan, Muay Thai, Aikido, and Silat. During his leadership tenure, Ra's al Ghul's combat abilities were unmatched by anyone in or out of the League, save for Damien Darhk (who received the same level of training as he had), and possibly Vandal Savage and Dante. Even Malcolm Merlyn stated he would rather flee than face Ra's. In their first duel, Ra's managed to overpower and disarm Oliver while the latter had two swords and the former had none while holding both hands behind his back with ease. Ra's easily countered any bare-handed moves Oliver made and repeatedly hit and knocked his opponent down when they dueled with swords. Even after Oliver surprised and disarmed him, Ra's regained a sword with his bare hands, easily catching Oliver's sword strike before landing a blow to the latter's windpipe that stunned him. Ra's also effortlessly blocked each and every single one of Thea's attacks with a single hand, swiftly overpowering and restraining her. Even after Oliver had greatly improved his skills after being trained by Ra's himself, Ra's still proved to be superior to him in skill, as he was able to defeat Oliver in their final encounters, knocking him out in their altercation on a plane and nearly killing him in their final duel on the bridge, with Oliver only winning through surprise attacks. Since Ra's would've won either way, it is unknown if he let Oliver kill him, to force the latter to become his successor. He also displayed superb improvisation skills, able to use the Alpha and Omega container to easily overpower Nyssa wielding a sword. At one point in Ra's life, he seemingly got into a direct confrontation with Batman, but he was ultimately bested by the Dark Knight.[11] Ra's was one of the most deadliest combatants in the entire multiverse.
    • Master swordsman: Ra's preferred weapon was a sword and with his long lifespan, his swordsmanship skills are nearly unrivaled, he was able to effortlessly defeat a group of assassins in a sword fight in mere seconds. Ra's also quickly outmatched Oliver in their first duel without much effort, with Oliver barely able to block any of Ra's attacks. Ra's once managed to slice Oliver's hand, only being disarmed after being surprised, and quickly stabbed Oliver in the mid-section after regaining a sword. Even after Oliver had improved his sword skills greatly due to having received training personally from Ra's himself, Ra's proved capable of going toe-to-toe with Oliver and ultimately managed to destroy his sword.
  • Master archer: Ra's proved to be a master archer, as seen when he took out several thugs while posing as the Arrow.[20] It can be assumed that Ra's skills in archery are at least equal to that of Oliver's, if not completely superior.
"Ra's predicted this. He said that the city would turn against me and I would die alone. And we come back, and the first thing that happens is Lance is shutting me out, and... I see Felicity with Palmer. It's like he looked into my future."
Oliver Queen to John Diggle[src]
  • Genius-level intellect/Master tactician/Leader: Ra's al Ghul was a great leader, as he had led the League of Assassins for more than a century with success since he accepted the offer of becoming its next leader. His extended lifespan enabled him to gain the wisdom of the ages and he is able to recognize and predict the actions of others, including their mindsets; Ra's was able to predict the future adversities (which he later helped to orchestrate) of Oliver and used this while attempting to convince the latter to succeed him. Ra's later performed killings dressed as the Arrow to frame Oliver and make Starling City turn against him. Throughout his years of raising Nyssa, Ra's would always find the sweets she stole and hid.[5]
    • Bilingualism: Ra's was capable of fluently speaking English and Arabic.
    • Master scientist: Ra's possessed considerable abilities in science, having been able to come up with a concoction capable of destroying the Lazarus Pit if it fell into the wrong hands.[24]
    • Master torturer: Ra's was an extremely feared torturer, to the point where Nyssa believed that he could torture Malcolm to the point where "Hell would be paradise". Malcolm likewise expressed deep fear of this to the point of begging to serve him once more. Ra's indeed was able to successfully torture Malcolm to the point where he was barely conscious and severely bleeding without killing him.[1] Ra's also knew how to kill a man slowly over a matter of days, which he taught Sara Lance.[30]
    • Occult knowledge: Ra's possessed some knowledge of magic and mysticism, as he fully understood how the Lazarus Pit functioned, including how to permanently destroy it.
  • Stealth/Infiltration: Ra's was able to silently break into Thea's loft and suddenly appear behind her, catching Thea completely off-guard.[22]
"Ra's al Ghul preys upon the fears of his enemies."
Malcolm Merlyn[src]
  • Intimidation: As the Demon's Head, Ra's al Ghul had a fearsome reputation. He has been referred to as "one of the most dangerous men that has ever walked the earth,"[3] "the world's greatest assassin,"[31] and "one of the most dangerous men on the planet."[32] It has been said that he was not known for his patience or for being merciful,[3] and that he did not take prisoners.[31] Similarly, his daughter Nyssa warned Merlyn that Hell would be a "paradise" compared to what he had in store for him, predicting his last hours would be spent in agony and begging for death; she also mentioned that a demonstration of his power had inspired terror in all who bore witness.[1] Nyssa also admitted that she lived in hear of her father all her life, with Laurel not even thinking it was possible for her to be terrified.[5]


  • Lazarus Pit: Ra's used the Lazarus Pit's waters to live well beyond his lifetime and run the League of Assassins.
  • League of Assassins suit: Ra's wore a protective suit while on a mission in Starling City. The suit is identical to other League members with differences. It is unknown what materials it's made out of, with the exception of Kevlar.
  • Sword: Ra's carried a double-edged sword as his main weapon.
"It's Ra's' custom to leave behind the instrument of death as a memorial to honor the fallen."
Malcolm Merlyn[src]
  • Straight Kris: Ra's carried a straight kris sword during both his duels with Oliver and during his Omega virus attack on Starling City.

Former equipment



Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4

Season 5

Season 6

Season 7

Season 8

DC's Legends of Tomorrow

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 7


Season 1


Arrow: Season 2.5

Arrow: The Dark Archer


Concept artwork

Promotional images


Season 3


  • Ra's al Ghul is the only main antagonist in the Arrowverse whose real name was never revealed.
  • Ra's al Ghul is the first main antagonist of Arrow to die.
    • Furthermore, he is also the first Arrowverse main antagonist to die, as technically Eobard Thawne, the main antagonist of the first season of The Flash, didn't die but was erased from existence.
  • Ra's al Ghul is one of the few individuals to ever defeat Oliver Queen in combat. Out of them all, Ra's is the most successful, as he not only nearly killed Oliver in their first fight but even with all of Oliver's improvements from their training, Ra's proved to be superior combatant in the end; while nearly every opponent who had bested Oliver was ultimately defeated, Ra's almost won their final battle and was only killed due to being caught off-guard at the last minute.
  • Ra's seems familiar with pressure point manipulation, as shown in his first duel with Oliver.[3]
  • Ra's was Oliver's eighth mentor, after his daughter, Talia al Ghul.
    • Ra's is also the only Oliver's only mentor to start off as his enemy, as opposed to the other way around with most of Oliver's other mentors-turned-enemies.
  • Ra's is inadvertently partly responsible for the events of Arrow, from prior to the "Pilot" to Season 5.
    • He trained Malcolm Merlyn to become the Dark Archer, which led to Malcolm planning The Undertaking, leading Oliver and Sara Lance to be stranded on Lian Yu.
      • Oliver's time on Lian Yu led to Slade Wilson becoming Deathstroke and Sara becoming the Canary (later White Canary).
    • He spared his ex-friend Damien Darhk's life prior to the series, inadvertently allowing Darhk to form H.I.V.E. and initiate Genesis in 2016.
    • His daughter, Talia, trained Yao Fei Gulong, who was Oliver's first mentor, before Talia eventually trained Oliver herself.
      • Talia then trained Adrian Chase to become Prometheus in order avenge Ra's al Ghul's death, leading to the events of Season 5.
    • It is unknown why his two daughters have Al Ghul in their last name; because Ra's al Ghul is a title, not a proper name.

Behind the scenes

  • Ra's al Ghul, along with his daughter, Nyssa, are normally portrayed as enemies of Batman and his associates. However, his organization, the League of Assassins, has a history with Green Arrow and Black Canary. In the DC comics Ra's' other daughter, Talia, generally has a higher profile, having been (briefly) married to Bruce Wayne and giving birth to a son, Damian.
  • Matt Nable's casting as Ra's was met with notable controversy from fans. In light of Liam Neeson suggesting he would be happy to reprise the role (and the follow-up reveal that Neeson was indeed offered the role but had to turn it down due to scheduling with other projects being given little attention), many criticized the actions of the casting department when Stephen Amell announced it. Nable's debut in "The Magician" went largely unnoticed by critics due to only a very small amount of screentime, though fans were critical. Despite all of this, following the airing of "The Climb", Nable was heavily praised by fans and critics alike, with many suggesting he held up to Neeson's portrayal of the character.
  • After Damien Darhk, Ra's al Ghul is the second antagonist on Arrow who returned in DC's Legends of Tomorrow after his death on Arrow.
  • Similar to his DC comics version, Ra's al Ghul is not his birth name. However, the DC comics version actually assumes the identity of Ra's al Ghul whereas the show depicts the name as a title given to whoever is the current leader of the League of Assassins. Also, unlike the DC comics, there has been more than one Ra's al Ghul.
  • In the DC comics, Ra's has two daughters, Talia al Ghul and Nyssa Raatko. In the DC comics, Ra's arranged exactly the sort of alliance he proposed to Al Sah-him between Batman and his eldest daughter, Talia. Talia later becomes a recurring character on Season 5.
    • Similarly, the hero that fights Ra's in both stories, Oliver in Arrow and Batman in the comics, believe Ra's to be one of their more honorable foes despite their conflicts.