Episode 11 of Fate/Zero was the feast of Kings. It is an excellent episode, one of the best I have seen. People forget that leadership is all about philosophies. It is one of the great tests of manliness and personal ability alike. A good king will lead his people to greatness, fight off his enemies and his kingdom will last, at least, as long as the King lives.

Fate Zero is the story of the fourth Summoner War. The combatants are about 14 in number, plus however many Assassin is. The large number of characters is beyond me to properly describe, so I will just talk about my three favorite characters. Rider, Archer and Saber, though not in this order. The three are ancient great kings, Alexander the Great (Iskander), Gilgemesh, King of Uruk and  Arthur (Arturia), The Once and Future King. They each have a different philosophy on Kingship.

They may be each summed up in three terms: The Conqueror King, The Narcissist King and the Paladin King. Each are important styles of kinship that really have had happened in history. Part of the genius of the story is that these characters are all larger than life. Saber (Arturia) has such a sense of honor as to be, as Iskander states that in life, she must have been a ‘saintly king’. Gilgemesh only cares about ‘entertainment’. He is only in the war to ‘keep what is already his’, the Holy Grail, the object of the contest. Iskander is in the Holy Grail war to achieve mortal form without a need for mana. Then, he plans on returning to Greece in triumph.

In episode 11, Iskander calls a ‘banquet’ for the members of the Holy Grail War. He means to figure out who is strongest among them via a discussion of ideals. He feels that because the Holy Grail War is about supremacy, they can figure it out via an exchange of their philosophies on Kingship. This brings me to the first of the Kings, and my favorite, Rider, Iskander.

ISKANDER, The Conqueror King

Iskander is my favorite for a number of reasons. He’s loud, friendly, follows a set of rules that aren’t exactly bound by morals and LEADS. That’s the most important part of his Kingly Rulership style. In Life he led his troops from Greece to Persia to Egypt to India. He was the Third of the great conquerors of the Daniel prophecy, found in the Bible, the Empire of Bronze. He is one of History’s (and I am a man of History, it’s student who breathes in it’s very SOUL) greatest commanders and empire builders. He is there among Cyrus the Great, Nebuchadnezzar, Ramses and Julius Ceaser. Due to his legend, he is one of the more powerful characters in this series, perhaps only overcome by Gilgemesh in terms of ultimate attack.

His style of kingship is summed up best by himself:

A King must must be greedier, laugh louder, and be more furious than everyone else.

He must exemplify all things, both good and evil.

That is why his subjects envy and adore him.

And why the flame of wanting to be like the King can burn in the hearts of every civilian.

There are important truths to be gleaned here. One of the greatest of all Renaissance political writers is Machiavelli. He was a man of History. Perhaps no one else understood the duties of the king as he. Whether or not the author knows, he is currently writing according to some of the markers Machiavelli set down for a ‘Prince who would be loved.’ My ideas on Machiavelli, I think, I will talk about tomorrow.

This is the King who is larger than life. He rides through the city streets in triumph and distributes the wealth of his latest conquest. He is fearless in battle, but with the added bonus in that he is likely successful in his wars. Many of the Roman Ceasers were like this, until their decline.

I have to admit, I want to be Iskander. It’s hard not to. He’s big loud and confident of himself. He’s the KING, and don’t you forget it! His first interaction with the other summoned spirits like himself is to try to recruit them to his forces. They, of course, refused.

Alexander the Great’s ultimate attack is AMAZING. It perfectly sums up his character and his ideals. Unlike the other characters, Saber, Lancer and Caster especially, his isn’t due to legend or his special weapons, it’s to do with his Kingship. It is the ultimate culmination of his beliefs. It is IONIAN HETAROI. His men, each a powerful summoned spirit like he is, but instead of being potential players in the Summoner War, they decided to be part of his ultimate attack.

I believe that, while Arturia’s ‘Paladin King’, the just king, is an excellent way to live as a king, it is not the BEST way. The best way isn’t to do with all Kings. Rather, it’s just the fact that Alexander the Great/Iskander pulled it off in life. That’s what makes the Conqueror King style so great in Fate/Zero.

If I were King, though, I could not pull it off. I am selfish and weak minded. Like Iskander’s summoner, Waver Velvet, I fear what people say, despite my protestations otherwise. Iskander, while summoned as a servant, is still his own man. Am I my own man yet? Do I stand tall and call people to MY empire? No. Such things, even metaphorically, sound silly. I feel like I should endeavor to become like this, though. As in, there are lessons of manliness to be found. But, like Machiavelli, my journey to become a man will be another post.