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For the character with the same first name, see Talia.


"There is a monster inside you, yes, but it is not you. No. You need to create one. You need to give the monster an identity. It’s only when the monster becomes someone else — something else — that you’re free to be Oliver Queen."
—Talia to Oliver[src]


Talia al Ghul (Arabic: تاليا الغول) is the daughter of the late "Ra's al Ghul" and the paternal older half-sister of Nyssa al Ghul. A worldly and cultured elite warrior, Talia is the leader of her own cult of combatants, similar to the League of Assassins, as well as the mentor of Yao Fei GulongOliver Queen[1] and Adrian Chase.[2] After her father's death Talia trained Adrian and joined his team in order to get revenge against Oliver, who killed Ra's.

Her fate was left unknown after the explosions on Lian Yu, until Oliver found her in Slabside Maximum Security Prison, alive. She then revealed to him that she was the mysterious individual known as The Demon, who he'd been searching for, as she had some kind of connection to help him take down Ricardo Diaz. He and Talia later came to terms as Oliver helped her escape while Talia offered to help him expose Level Two of Slabside.[3]

Biography

Early life

Talia al Ghul as a child

Young Talia observes Sara training.

In 1960, Talia and her father, Ra's al Ghul, observed Sara Lance as she was training and announced that she had the best performance. Afterward, Talia's father advised her to learn from Sara's skills.[4] As she grew up, as Talia began to feel that her father would never let her succeed him as the new Demon's Head, her relationship with Ra's became strained, and as a result, she left to forge her own path, abandoning her sister Nyssa,[5] and eventually becoming the leader of her own cult of warriors.[2]

Over the years, Talia maintained her youth due to the use of the Lazarus Pit's waters. At some point in her life, she trained a young member of the People's Liberation Army of China, Yao Fei Gulong, who, years later, became the first mentor of Oliver Queen.[1] She also made an unknown recurring enemy in Gotham.[3]

In 2007, after learning of the death of her disciple, Talia decided to track down Oliver, uncovering evidence about him for the following four years, including the roles he had in stopping General Matthew Shrieve and Baron Reiter.[1]

In Russia

Oliver meets Talia al Ghul

Oliver meets Talia al Ghul.

Years later, in 2012, Talia found her way to Russia, saving Oliver Queen from Bratva Pakhan Ishmael Gregor.[6] She brought Oliver back to her place to recover, where she offered to help him take down Kovar by targeting one of his main suppliers, Misha Yurievich, who was behind human trafficking in Kovar's organization. Oliver accepted Talia's help, and the two raided and killed Yurievich and his men. Afterward, they returned to their hideout, where Talia convinced Oliver to rekindle his determination to complete his father's mission by reminding him that Robert Queen had left him a list of "all the Kovars" of his Starling City. She then gave him a green hood and suit, as well as a bow, before offering to train him and teach him to come to terms with the monster inside him.[1]

Talia tells Oliver to come back to his city to begin his mission

Talia tells Oliver to go back to Starling City and punish the people on The List.

Later, Talia helped Oliver to track down and kill Hideo Yamane, an individual on his father's list and one of the main drug lords of Starling City, while he was in Russia for his business. After this, she encouraged him to talk to Anatoly in hopes that he could leave Bratva and come back to his city to begin his mission.[7]

Connection to Prometheus

After 2012, Adrian Chase, prior to the beginning of his crusade against Oliver Queen as Prometheus, was trained by Talia, instructions which included several specific fighting moves.[8] When Oliver found out about a possible connection between Talia and Prometheus, he tried tracking her down, hoping that by doing so he would discover Prometheus's identity, though he mentioned that Talia never stays in one place for very long.[6]

Talia reveals Prometheus's identity to Oliver

Talia reveals Prometheus's identity to Oliver.

Eventually, Oliver found the location of Talia's monastery and traveled there in order to inquire about any information she had regarding Prometheus' identity. However, he was shocked to find out that Talia knew Prometheus's plan all along and aided him executing it. After Oliver found Talia, she revealed her full name to him, confirming that she is, in fact, a daughter of Ra's al Ghul and that she assisted Prometheus in his plan because she wanted to get her revenge on Oliver for his role in her father's death. She then made it clear that she yearned to make him suffer for what he did before then revealing that Prometheus true identity is Adrian Chase.

Adrian and Talia hold Oliver captive

Adrian and Talia hold Oliver captive.

Following a heated battle between Adrian and Oliver, Talia injected the latter with a tranquilizer arrow and the two kidnapped Oliver, taking him to an unknown location and chaining him in a cell. When Oliver reminded Talia that her father was a man of honor who wouldn't approve of his daughter aligning herself with a "psycho", Talia simply retorted that both she and Oliver have disappointed their fathers. As she was leaving, Talia ordered Adrian to make Oliver suffer, instructions to which he wholeheartedly agreed.[2]

In May, Talia and her associates Evelyn Sharp and Black Siren began going after the members of Team Arrow. After capturing Dinah Drake, Rene Ramirez and Curtis Holt, Talia had Black Siren and Evelyn go after Thea Queen and Quentin Lance while she and her assassins targeted Felicity Smoak and John Diggle, who were trying to leave the city. When the pair noticed Talia in their car's path, they attempted to hit her, but she easily dodged them and slashed her swords across the windshield, momentarily blinding their view. The car swerved and crashed, and Talia and her assassins quickly secured a disoriented Felicity and Diggle. Talia, Evelyn and Black Siren brought all the prisoners to Lian Yu, where they met up with Chase.[9]

Evelyn and Talia

Talia and Evelyn threaten Oliver and his allies.

Talia and Evelyn guarded Thea, Felicity, Curtis and Samantha Clayton, the mother of Oliver's son, who were imprisoned in cages. When Oliver, Slade Wilson and Digger Harkness come to free them, they are ambushed by Talia and Evelyn. Talia forces Oliver to stand down by threatening to kill Samantha and Digger reveals he has been working with them all along. Talia and Evelyn give Slade the opportunity to join them. Slade seemed to accept, but suddenly lashed out at Digger, allowing Oliver to quickly take out Evelyn. Talia fired an arrow at Samantha, only to be intercepted by Oliver's dart. Nyssa and Malcolm Merlyn then arrived to back up Oliver. Realizing they were outnumbered, Talia escaped with Digger using a smoke bomb, leaving Evelyn behind.

Later at the monastery, Talia realized that the hostages are escaping when she heard Dinah's scream, but was intercepted by Nyssa. Talia taunted her sister for giving up the mantle of Ra's al Ghul and stated she left because it became clear that her father would never pass on the title to her. Nyssa pointed out that Talia selfishly abandoned her to suffer at the hands of their father alone.
Nyssa and Talia al Ghul face each other

Talia faces her sister Nyssa before they fight.

When Talia expressed how Nyssa brought shame to their father by aligning with Oliver, Nyssa simply stated that she was fighting alongside her friends and Ra's has always been ashamed of her. Talia warned her cult not to interfere before she dueled with her sister. After an intense battle, Talia was defeated and Nyssa held her sword to her throat. Talia attempted to goad her sister into killing her, stating Ra's would approve, but Nyssa instead knocked her unconscious. Adrian had rigged the island with C4 with the trigger being a dead man's switch. He eventually shot himself in the head, committing suicide, which destroyed the island with Talia still on it.[5]

Slabside Inmate and Escape

Talia somehow survived the explosion on Lian Yu, albeit, only "barely." Sometime after, she was caught after facing her old adversary in Gotham and wound up on "Level Two" in Slabside Maximum Security Prison,[3] where she started use the codname "The Demon" and, under pressure from Diaz, ordered an attack on Oliver in the showers.[10][11]

As Oliver ended up on Level Two and found her, Talia was still resentful of him due to killing her father. However the two made up after Oliver apologized for his misjudgement of Ra's Al Ghul before killing him and offered to help her escape while exposing the private activities in Level Two and the psychiatrist Jarrett Parker, which she gladly accepted. With Oliver's aid, they faked a prison fight so they could infiltrate Dr. Parker's lab, where Oliver copied the archives from Level Two into a USB drive before fighting their way past correctional guards to the morgue. Talia then made her escape through the dump chute, but not before Oliver requested her to pass on the USB to Felicity, deciding to remain here to protect his name and buy her some time to escape.

After successfully breaking out of Slabside, she returns with her equipment and gets her revenge on Jarrett Parker, having exposed for his private, illegal, psychiatric activities, by electrocuting him with a shock bracelet she was chained with, proceeding to kill him with her sword.[3]

Personality

Talia al Ghul is a highly intelligent, calculating, and level-headed individual, who is rarely seen losing her composure. However, due to her upbringing as an assassin, she can be cold and ruthless when the situation calls for it. Like her father, she originally was set on making the world a better place on her own way. As a result, she began training her own set of students and even tracked down students she saw great potential in such as Oliver Queen and encouraged him to return to Starling City to make it a better place by dealing with the List.

Talia apparently had a closer and more affectionate relationship with her father, Ra's al Ghul, than her half-sister Nyssa did. However, her ambition and complacency were greater, as, after years of being denied the right to succeed her father as the Demon's Head, it caused a strain on their relationship. As a result, Talia left the League of Assassins to find her own path in life. This also showed a very self-serving nature, as she left despite knowing that with her absence, it would leave Nyssa to endure the full focus of their father's harsh parenting style.

Despite being estranged from her father, she still loved him and was devastated upon learning of his death. After her father's death, she lost all sense of honor as Talia has aligned herself with Adrian Chase to get revenge, knowing full well that the former is a psychopath, showing that she as well is extremely vengeful like her new ally. In addition to this difference in philosophy, she seems to have a policy of cutting off all associations once she has finished training her students, so much so that her current students will attack any former students that try to have an audience with her. The only known exception to this policy that Talia has been shown to make is her alliance with Adrian, as they had the shared goal of getting revenge on Oliver, who killed Talia's father. This makes Talia indirectly responsible for Justin Claybourne's death because Talia trained and encouraged Oliver to attack those on the List.

Talia is however also shown to be forgiving at certain moments, most notably when she and Oliver make up over their vendetta for one another, with Oliver helping her escape Slabside. Before she left, Talia gave Oliver a smile and gestured him good luck before making her way down the dump chute, but not before giving Oliver one last proud look at what he has become.

Powers and abilities

Powers

  • Longevity: Despite being a child in 1960, Talia still possesses the health, performance, and appearance of her physical prime of life. It is likely that she uses the Lazarus Pit to maintain her youth like her father.

Abilities

  • Peak of human physical condition: As a highly skilled assassin, Talia is in top physical condition with fast reflexes and physical strength that is powerful enough to swiftly incapacitate men much larger than she is, such as Oliver Queen.
    • Honed senses: Talia has both sharp sight and hearing, as well as advanced skills of perception for a normal human, as she has the ability to sense and identify people sneaking behind her back without looking at them.[5]
    • Acrobatics/Free-running: Talia is an accomplished acrobat, capable of scaling buildings, and running from rooftop to rooftop with ease.
  • Master combatant/Martial artist: As a daughter of Ra's al Ghul and a former member of the League of Assassins, Talia has been extensively trained in combat, able to effortlessly subdue Oliver Queen in their first meeting. She had undergone the same training that most League members are required to achieve. Being the daughter of Ra's al Ghul meant that Talia was subjected to a higher level of training than most members, making her skills in combat and weaponry even more advanced. She is also an exceptional teacher as her known students Yao Fei Gulong, Oliver Queen, Adrian Chase and the members of her cult are exceptional fighters. Talia was able to defeat a group of armed agents with relative ease and fight for a while against Oliver Queen, before being subdued.
    • Master stick-fighter: Talia used two police batons while fighting against the Slabside guards and subdued many of them with relative ease.
    • Master archer: Talia has proven herself to be a proficient archer, firing an arrow into Ishmael Gregor's hand, which was holding a firearm, and which forced the man to drop it before his arm was pinned against the wall.
    • Master knife wielder: Talia is a master at using knives, being able to hold her own against Oliver with them disarming each other.
    • Master swordswoman: As a former member of the League of Assassins, Talia is a master swordswoman. Using her sword she was able to overpower and capture John Diggle and Felicity Smoak after having to stop their car while it was running.
  • High-level intellect/Master tactician/Leader: Talia is highly tactical, both in preparation and while in action, able to quickly analyze the situation and how best to handle it. Talia is an exceptional investigator, as she was able to uncover evidence of the last four years of Oliver's life including the list that his father left him. She knows much about the human anatomy, as she's probably the one who taught to Yao Fei about pressure point manipulation. In terms of healing methods, Talia can patch up most injuries on herself or others, as she was able to nurse Oliver back to health after he was tortured for several days first by Konstantin Kovar's and then by Ishmael Gregor's men.[1] She also has some knowledge of magic and mysticism, as she fully understands how the Lazarus Pit functions and is the only known person who has used it aside from her father and Malcolm Merlyn. As the leader of her cult, Talia has a group of loyal students that she trained to be effective combatants and killers.
    • Expert interrogator/Torturer: Talia is a very effective interrogator and torturer, as she taught Oliver how to use a Mongolian skinning technique on men.[12]
    • Multilingual: Talia is capable of fluently speaking English, Russian and Arabic.
  • Stealth/Infiltration/Escape artist: Talia was able to sneak into and retrieve Oliver's belongings from the Bratva, which she implied was the least of her skills. Talia's stealth is further shown against Oliver as she was able to shoot him with an arrow from a close distance without him to notice her.

Equipment

  • Lazarus Pit: Talia has used the Lazarus Pit's waters to live well beyond her lifetime and maintain her youth over decades.
  • Customized hunting arrows: Talia used a number of arrows as her weapon of choice.
  • Customized PSE Chaos AD Compound bow: Talia wields a personal compound bow, similar to that of her half-sister Nyssa al Ghul or Malcolm Merlyn. It is possible that this bow is the signature bow to the League of Assassins.
  • Darts: Talia was shown using a dart to poison Oliver Queen and make him pass out.
  • Talia al Ghul's cult suit: Talia, as well as the rest of her cult, wears a protective suit of black robes, similar to the usual garb worn by League of Assassins but much more loose fitting and close to a burqa for appearance.
  • Talia al Ghul's battle suit: Talia also wears a suit similar to the one she gave Oliver in Russia. It also comes with a black hood.
  • Sword: Talia carried a single-edged sword as her sidearm, and can proficiently wield a pair of katanas.
  • Quiver: Talia wears a quiver to carry her arrows.
  • Throwing knives: Talia carries a few throwing knives in her person, though she is never seen using them.

Appearances

DC's Legends of Tomorrow

Season 1

Arrow

Season 5

Season 6

Season 7


Trivia

  • Talia taking vengeance and blaming Oliver for killing Ra's al Ghul has some similarities to the plot of The Dark Knight Rises. In the film, Talia blames Batman for not choosing to save her father, which in her eyes, means Batman killed him. She swore revenge and attempted to kill him. In both works, Talia also keeps her identity as the daughter of Ra's a secret and works with another male villain who more openly antagonizes the hero while she mostly operates behind the scenes.
  • Talia is indirectly responsible for the creation of Prometheus, as she was the one who encouraged Oliver to target those on the List, which resulted in Justin Claybourne's death, and sent Chase on his journey to destroy Oliver.
  • When Oliver asked how Talia could be Yao Fei's mentor when she was about half his age, she called it "a family secret".[1] This is a nod to the Lazarus Pit before Oliver even met Ra's al Ghul.
  • Talia was Oliver Queen's sixth mentor, after Tatsu Yamashiro.

Behind the scenes

References