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Haytham E. Kenway
Assassin's Creed III
Grand Master of the Templar Order
Powers / Skills
Command skills, Combat skills
Further the goals of the Templars, Find the Grand Temple,unite the Colonies under Templar rule
Type of Villain
Cult Leader, Protagonist Villain
|“||Order. Purpose. Direction. No more than that. It's your lot that means to confound with this nonsense talk of freedom. Time was, the Assassins professed a far more sensible goal: that of peace.||„|
|~ Haytham, after Connor asks him what the Templars seek|
Haytham Kenway (December 4, 1725 - September 16, 1781, age 55 at death) one of the two main antagonists of Assassin's Creed III, Grand Master of the Colonial Templars, and the father of Ratonhnhaké:ton, also known as Connor, the game's protagonist. He is also the main protagonist of the Assassin's Creed III novelization Assassin's Creed: Forsaken and is a deutertagonist in the game Assassin's Creed: Rogue, where you play as the Templar Shay Cormac.
For the first three sequences of Assassin's Creed III, Haytham also serves as the protagonist, but after killing Edward Braddock, both Haytham's true loyalties (The Templar Order), and role as the main antagonist of the story are revealed to the player.
Early life and adventure in Colonial America
Born the son of an Assassin named Edward Kenway and Tessa Kenway, he was taught the necessary skills for an Assassin, where he remained, for a short part of his life. After his father's death in 1735, he was recruited into the Templar Order at a young age by Reginald Birch, who in 1754, ordered him to attend a play at the Theatre Royal in London to kill an Assassin named Miko, who was thought to hold the key to unlocking the treasure of "Those Who Came Before". After completing the task, he was tasked to leave for Boston on the Providence, with a list of Templars who where willing to help him in his new mission. During the trip, he helped avert a mutiny by killing their ringleader, an Assassin named Louis Mills, who was placed on the ship with orders to avenge Miko's death.
Upon reaching Boston, he is greeted by Charles Lee, who proceeds to help him perform acts which aides him to gain the Templars' trust. Gaining the trust of the Mohawk, after helping free them from captivity, and killing a slaver named Silas Thatcher, in the process, he comes upon a woman named Kaniehti:io, or Ziio for short who agrees to help him under the condition that he kills Edward Braddock, a former Templar. After successfully killing him during his expedition, he then travel's to the Temple, but discovers he is locked out. Depressed, he declares his love for Ziio, sleeping with her, leaving shortly before the birth of their son, Ratonhnhaké:ton,, returning to Boston to induct Lee into the Templar Order, revealing to the player that he/she was playing as a Templar.
Seven Years' War
The Box and Manuscript
Sometime after the death of Edward Braddock and bringing Lee into the Templar organization as an official member, he had taken time to study and help with some Templar agents who wanted to use a Precursor box and manuscript, meant to translate ancient languages, but was revealed to display a hologram of the world (like in the end of Assassin's Creed) showing where some special Precursor temples were.
Bringing Shay to the cause
During the duration of a year between the capture of a New York district and the death of Colonel George Monro, Haytham's agent, Monro had spoken highly of the new Templar ally Shay Cormac, and as Haytham put "he was convinced you [Shay] could become the best among us". A while after the death of George Monro and the Assassin Kesegowaase, Haytham shows his sympathies by bringing Shay Cormac into the Colonial Templar Order. William Johnson, Charles Lee and Jack Weeks were present.
Later, Shay and Haytham were standing outside of Shay's home in New York, Fort Arsenal. They discussed the temples displayed on the Precursor map. Haytham asked Shay what they were and Shay says that they're holding chunks of the world together like roots and tampering with them causes earthquakes, more specifically one that leveled Haiti and another example that Shay himself had triggered; the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. Haytham then told Shay of what his deceased partner had told him of Shay and said "I expect...you will not disappoint".
Later on, Shay was led to Captain James Cook and his new man-of-war. Haytham was present and discussed that with the Battle of Louisbourg won by British, the Templars and the British could get more powerful and the Seven Years' War could draw to a close. Later on, Shay would drive the ship into the battle and then see that Adéwalé, the most popular Assassin of the time, had arrived in his ship, the Experto Crede. Instead of pursuing him, the Templars allowed the Assassin to escape to win the Battle of Louisbourg.
Later on, Shay and Haytham decide to track Adéwalé. Around the North American frontier river network (known in-game as the River Valley), they encounter Adéwalé fleeing on the Experto Crede. Shay attacks the ship with his own sloop-of-war, the Morrigan, the Experto Crede was forced to crash to the beach location. Haytham would scout from above while Shay snuck through to find the Assassin. Haytham and Adéwalé finally meet each other, as the Assassin would say that Haytham's father would be ashamed of what his son had become (In Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, the protagonist Edward Kenway joined the Assassins near the end, as did Adéwalé). Just then, Shay arrives and despite Adéwalé's continued attempts to smoke-bomb Shay, he powered on through and kills him.
Tracking Hope Jensen
A while after, Jack Weeks and Shay Cormac had started a plan that Haytham instructed; release gangsters working for the Assassin Hope Jensen so as to make British soldiers attack Hope's home. Haytham was later seen on the night of the plan interrogating a gang member. Shay saw that Haytham had Hidden Blades on him when he stabbed the gang member with it. The two then appear outside the home of the gang leader Hope while British and gang soldiers were battling at the gates. Shay got in and killed Hope when she fled.
The Last Assassins
Finally, only two senior members of the Assassins in America remain alive: Achilles himself, and his second-in-command Liam O'Brien, once Shay's best friend. Shay pursues the two to the Artic with Haytham, where the Assassins have located another Temple. Having dispatched most of the Assassin expedition, Shay and Haytham enter the Temple to find Liam and Achilles, who have realised that the artifact is as Shay said — a means to stablise the world, not a weapon to control it. However, Achilles' attempt to stop Liam taking vengeance cause the artifact to be destroyed, triggering a third earthquake. As the four try to escape, Shay and Liam duel on the ice, and Liam is fatally injured when the two fall. Shay then makes his way back to his ship, and arrives as Haytham overpowers Achilles. Shay persuades Haytham to spare Achilles, out of mercy and to ensure knowledge of the Temples will not be lost, so the Assassins will not try to pursue them again. Haytham then cripples the last American Assassin with his pistol, and the Templars set sail for home.
In the Ottoman Empire
Haytham reunited with Birch, returning the journal to him. However, as their relationship had become strained, he opted to lie that the Templars in America were working on finding the site, and that he had been given a clue to a new precursor location in the Middle East.
For two years, Haytham and Holden tracked Jennifer's location to Topkapı Palace in Constantinople, where she had been a concubine, and then to Qasr al-Azm, the governor's palace in Damascus, where she was an attendant in the harem.
Disguising themselves as eunuchs, Haytham approached Jennifer and got her to leave, but not without tipping off the guards. Holden stayed behind to fend them off, while the Kenways escaped.
Holden was taken to the Abou Gerbe monastery on Mount Ghebel Eter, Egypt, where he forcefully underwent operations to become a eunuch. Haytham found him, and distraught, killed the priests who performed the operation before setting the monastery ablaze.
Avenging his father
While Holden recovered in a cottage, Jennifer revealed to Haytham that Birch had ordered the attack on their home, because she had discovered he was a Templar and informed Edward. She described a journal in Edward's possession, which Haytham realized was the one Vedomir had been decoding, and explained he had unintentionally tipped Birch to its location when he told him where his sword was kept.
Furthermore, Haytham realized Birch had used Braddock's mercenaries to ensure he would not see theTemplar insignia on the attackers' rings, and that he had killed Digweed to silence him.
After Holden's condition improved, the trio traveled to Birch's chateau, attacking at nightfall. Haytham and Holden took out all the guards and Haytham's associates, including John Harrison. As Haytham went into Birch's office to confront him, he forced his sword through the door and the guard waiting behind to pounce him.
While Holden went down to free Lucio and Monica, Jennifer attacked Birch, but he caught her and placed a knife to her throat. She continued to struggle, and eventually pushed him onto the sword in the door, killing him.
Subsequently, Haytham gave Lucio and Monica food supplies, horses to travel, and his own sword for their safety, though Lucio swiftly stabbed Haytham in his chest with the weapon for his previous crimes. This injury kept Haytham in bed for half a year, during which he was taken care of by Jennifer and Holden.
When he finally recovered however, Haytham witnessed that Holden had committed suicide, as he had little reason to continue living with his injury. After Holden's burial, Jennifer returned to live in Queen Anne's Square, while Haytham returned to America. The two continued to write to each other, but very rarely, as they had little in common other than their harrowing experiences which they had little reason to reminisce about.
The American Revolution
Haytham was present in Boston in 1770 with an agent who was watching as the civilians began to revolt against the British soldiers due to the various taxes the Crown had put into motion. As the crowd began to get worse, he sent one of his agents to the rooftops to provoke the troops to open fire. Unaware that his agent was being followed by his own son. When the agent was killed by Connor, Charles Lee shot his pistol into the air, the soldiers began to open fire on the civilians, but Haytham pointed out his son to one of the leading soldiers. As they chased Connor, Haytham and Charles departed.
After both William Johnson and John Pitcairn died at Connor's hand, Haytham instructed Thomas Hickey to murder George Washington after Lee was turned down for Commander and Chief. Hickey's plan was foiled by Connor who exposed him while he was running a counterfeiting ring in New York. Both men were captured and thrown into Bridewell Prison. He accompanied Lee to the prison, where Thomas was released from a cell next to his son, to be moved to a different part of Birdewell. Haytham reprimanded Hickey, and told Charles to handle things from here as he left the prison. During the time of Connor and Thomas' imprisonment, Haytham and Charles managed to convince the judge to execute Connor rather than put him on trial. However, Haytham had a last minute change of heart and decided to save Connor from his execution. When the Assassins failed to cut the rope, Haytham threw a knife that severed the rope and saved Connor.
Tracking Church and meeting Connor
Years later, during his search for Benjamin Church - who had betrayed the Templar order - he encountered his son, Connor, for the first time. Their aligned goals lead to the formation of a temporary and uneasy alliance, but when Haytham attempts to use information of Washington's massacre of the Kanien'keha:ka tribe to sway Connor's opinion, Connor accuses Haytham of being manipulative and they part ways.
The pair meet one final time in New York, during Connor's pursuit of Charles Lee, this time as true enemies. After a lengthy brawl, as Haytham chokes Connor, he ultimately perishes by being stabbed in the neck by his son's hidden blade. In his dying words, he admitted to Connor that he was proud of him, despite their clashing ideologies.
In an alternate reality shown by an Apple of Eden, Haytham had died long before Ratonhnhaké:ton was an adult, and his Hidden Blades were possessed by Kaniehtí:io. She gave them to Ratonhnhaké:ton when Washington, who had crowned himself a king with the Apple, attacked their village.
Later, Ratonhnhaké:ton found a Lucid Memory Fragment depicting Haytham's death, in the primary reality, next to an identical hat and cloak at Fort George.
Personality and characteristics
- "He gave his life as he lived it - in service to a dream we all share."
- ―Charles Lee.
Beginning as a vengeful young man, Haytham was molded by his mentor Birch into a killer with a code. He tried to reconcile his Templar beliefs with his Assassin heritage, and hoped to unite the two Orders.
As he matured, Haytham became a devout believer in the Templar ideology, eventually ascending to the position of Grand Master. Despite this, in contrast with many other Grand Masters such as Laureano de Torres y Ayala, Haytham did not consider himself above actual field work, and was unhesitant to leap into action when the situation called for it.
A man who lived in service to his ideals and in humanity, Haytham was fully convinced that bringing order, purpose and direction was for the benefit of mankind in the long run, and endeavored tirelessly to fulfill the Templar vision.
Calm, collected, rational, charismatic and reasonable, Haytham acted as a member of authority, and was a natural leader. Under his direction, the Colonial Rite flourished, eventually purging North America of most Assassin presence. A reasonable leader, the only time when Haytham had a visible outburst of anger was when he confronted Benjamin Church about his betrayal of the Templar cause.
Even then, his anger was not expressed on his own behalf, but on that of his own beliefs and ideology, which more or less spurred his life and deeds. Slightly conceited in some ways, Haytham's upbringing as an upper-class individual was evident by him ignoring lower class civilians. When in the company of people closer to what he believed to be his level of intelligence or class, he was quite kind and more well-mannered.
In all instances, Haytham was distinguished from both his father and his son by having a natural aristocratic bearing, speaking in an elegant London accent different from that of his compatriots, and from his father and son respectively.
His disregard for those underneath his standards contrasted with his respect towards the Native Americans, who many considered savages, as he engaged in a relationship with Kaniehtí:io.
On some occasions, Haytham would attempt to chime in with some humor, but in most situations he was relatively serious. This came with a courteous manner though, as he showed compassion towards the Native American people, saving them from slavery at the hands of Silas Thatcher, and his admonishment of Charles Lee's negativity towards them was proof of his true concern for the conditions of mankind in general, and marked him distinctly from any power schemer.
Haytham was also reasonably good natured, his work as a Templar notwithstanding. He did not kill Duncan Little at the opera house who witnessed him assassinate Miko and he readily agreed to help Benjamin Franklin find his almanac pages if he saw any.
He also saved the life of James Fairweather on board the Providence during the storm, even when he could have left him to fall. Additionally, Haytham was unflinching in a fight, defending Charles against Connor and acting calmly when captured by Church's men as he tailed the convoy.
After Haytham discovered every word uttered by his mentor had been a lie, he became a significantly more irrational and impulsive individual, forcing people to do the dirty work and jumping into situations he knew he could make another person finish.
Haytham had also become somewhat crueler, unthinkingly killing his prisoners, although he was secretly shocked by his own malice, as he wrote in his journal.
In the company of his son, though, his hardened demeanor softened in some ways, or he made an attempt to be nice without displaying too much emotion, recognizing his young self in Connor's naive beliefs that all could become free, or that the Assassins and Templars could achieve peace together.
He did seem somewhat distraught when Connor cut ties with him after the face off with Washington, and only relented in the face of Connor's adamant wish to break ties with him. Despite his love for his son, his belief in the Templar cause prevailed, and so he ultimately attempted to kill Connor in order to protect it. In this way, he could be seen to sacrifice even those things close to him, all in the ultimate interests of mankind, even if his methods were less than stellar, recalling the Creed of the Assassins who killed because they must.
As an ultimate gesture of love for his son, Haytham left behind his journal for Connor, in an attempt to have his son understand his life's journey, despite their clashing ideologies. After his death, Connor agreed to compromise with his father by acknowledging his beliefs that humanity was flawed, but instead retained hope that it would improve.
Equipment and skills
- "I am an expert swordsman. And I am skilled in the business of death. I take no pleasure in my skill. Simply, I am good at it."
- ―Haytham, describing his lethal prowess.
Haytham was a capable freerunner, able to stealthily climb the inside of an opera house and the buildings of Colonial America with little effort. He was also an avid planner, able to quickly come up with infiltration techniques that would cripple the enemy. As well as that, he was a charismatic speaker and a master of both deception and stealth.
When it came to combat, Haytham claimed to be, and was indeed, a master swordsman, utilizing an elegant fencing style drastically different to his son's feral combat techniques. He also possessed two Hidden Blades as well as the rare ability of Eagle Vision.
Other weapons he was skilled in using included flintlock pistols and muskets. Haytham also had skill in unarmed combat, easily fighting multiple opponents. Following this, he was not afraid to use whatever was available to get the upper hand, such as strangling an executioner's assistant with his feet and throwing him into an enemy during the Siege of Bergen op Zoom.
- "I'm actually curious to know what your mother might have said about me. I always wondered what life might have been like had she and I stayed together."
- ―Haytham speaking to Ratonhnhaké:ton about Kaniehtí:io.
As a child, Haytham attracted a few interests from girls he grew up around in Queen Anne's Square, though his father's prior work as a pirate and privateer caused his family to be alienated by the people.
Over the years traveling with Reginald and working as a Templar, Haytham experienced few romantic encounters, always feeling his dedication to the Order was more important than pursuing a family.
The most serious romantic relationship that Haytham shared with was Kaniehtí:io, a member of the Kanien'kehá:ka nation. They met when Haytham saved her from British slavers working for Silas Thatcher, and after breaking into Southgate, he released her from captivity.
Following Silas' death, she escorted her people who were freed by Haytham out of the fortress, disappearing from Haytham's notice. By winter 1755, Haytham officially met Kaniehtí:io after chasing her around the forest outside of Lexington after he attempted to show her the emblems on the Precursor amulet.
The pair soon worked together on taking down General Edward Braddock who was occupying her people's lands. Originally, she distrusted Haytham, but she soon warmed up to him after a bar fight in Concord, as she applied alcohol on a cloth to a wound he received on his face.
Eight months later, Kaniehtí:io met with Haytham, his associates and allied Native American chieftains in their aim to bring down Braddock. During this encounter, she saved Haytham's life after he was nearly killed by George Washington.
After Braddock was defeated, she took Haytham to the Precursor site where she saw the symbols on the amulet. While Haytham failed to open the door because he lacked another piece, Kaniehtí:io comforted him and the couple kissed. Later on, they shared another moment together which led to the conception of their son, though sometime following this, when she discovered his Templar affiliations, he respected her wishes for him to leave and never come back.
Haytham was surprised when he discovered Connor was his child, and when he finally met up with Connor, he told his son that he had always wondered what life would have been like for the three of them if he and Kaniehtí:io stayed together, adding that he wondered what she might have said about him.
- Haytham's name was connected with an eagle, continuing the eagle motif set by Aquilus, Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, Aveline de Grandpré and Nikolai Orelov.
- "Haytham" is a transliteration of the Arabic name هيثم meaning "young eagle".
- "Kenway" comes from an Old English name, either Cynewig or Cenwig, composed of the words cyne("royal") or cen ("keen, bold") and wig ("war").
- Haytham possessed an eagle symbol on his jacket's left cuff, and what appeared to be a broken, rusted Assassin insignia on his right bracer. His cloak was also adorned by symbols both resembling a Templar cross near the top, and an Assassin insignia, referencing his dual heritage.
- Haytham is the first playable Templar in the Assassin's Creed series' single player mode, and the first chronological playable ancestor who wore a hat instead of the symbolic hood of the Assassins, the second being Aveline de Grandpré.
- In addition, the only mission playable without Haytham's hat was when he entered the Theatre Royal at the start of Assassin's Creed III.
- Haytham is the first known Templar capable of using Eagle Vision, the second being Shay Cormac, and he was the second known ancestor of Desmond to be a Templar, the other being Maria Thorpe.
- Haytham's left Hidden Blade – which he had taken from Miko – was unlike those of previous ancestors, being shorter and closer to his wrist.
- Haytham was the third known Templar to perform a Leap of Faith, with the others being Francesco de' Pazzi, Vali cel Tradat, Shay Cormac, and Daniel Cross.
- Haytham mentioned that he had cut ties with Edward Braddock for the man's ruthlessness and slaughter of innocents, which Haytham himself showed signs of committing towards the latter half of his life, by killing prisoners of war with little hesitation.
- Prior to his meeting with Connor, Haytham appeared to have suffered three scars on his face. He had one across his forehead, a second above his right eyebrow, and a third across his chin.
- Adrian Hough, Haytham's voice actor, received a BAFTA nomination for his performance in Assassin's Creed III.
- Haytham grew up in Queen Anne's Square, nowadays located by Great Ormond Street Hospital. The hospital possesses the copyright to Peter Pan, a play featuring pirates and Native Americans, groups that Haytham's father and son respectively belonged to.