|“||There can be no forgiveness for my hand in these evil deeds. Salvation is denied me and my stained soul. My torment will be eternal.||„|
|~ Duke Hetzel|
Hetzel (ヘッツェル, Hettseru), also known by his noble title Duke Hetzel, is a supporting antagonist in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. He is the least evil, but also the most cowardly and weak-willed, member of the Begnion Senate who slavishly follows the Senate's cruel Vice-Minister Lekain.
Hetzel is seemingly the oldest member of the Senate, but also the least willful, and is easily controlled and bullied by Vice-Minister Lekain, whom he is often seen with and never disagrees with. His lands are the Duchy of Asmin. Despite being the most remorseful Senator, Hetzel is far from an innocent and profited from many of the Senate's evil deeds such as the murder of Empress Misaha and the framing and massacre of the Serenes Herons for that crime. Hetzel bought the wounded Crown Prince of Serenes, Rafiel, as a slave, and though he was a kind master and Rafiel was grateful to him, he eventually escaped to the hidden Kingdom of Hatary. Hetzel has a tendency to blame the influence of Lekain and the other Senators for his own misdeeds, something other characters generally do not believe.
It is also retroactively revealed that Hetzel saved the life of Oliver, Duke of Tanas, a boss character from Path of Radiance, as he was deemed necessary for Lekain's plan in Radiant Dawn.
Hetzel is first seen in Radiant Dawn in the Prologue of Part 4, where it is revealed that he, the other Senators, and an army of devotees had been spared from Ashera's Judgment of the condition that they fight for her. Unlike the other Senators, who use their religion as a political tool, Hetzel appears to be a sincere believer in the Goddess, and questions why she would choose war criminals such as himself as her champions.
Hetzel next appears in Duke Tanas's mason, where he reminds Oliver of his debt to him and orders his army to attack the heroes'; this encounter would prove disastrous for the Goddess's warriors, with Oliver's army being killed to the man and Oliver himself actually defecting upon noticing his men attacking Rafiel, Oliver having a disturbing, but genuine, love for the Herons.
Hetzel's last appearance is at the Tower of Guidance, the Goddess's base, where he appears alongside Lekain as the latter reveals his master plan to the heroes, then attacks them. Hetzel assists Lekain in this battle by using his masterful staff magic to sow sleep and silence (inability to use magic) amongst the heroes. Refusing redemption numerous times, Hetzel ultimately falls in the battle, alongside Lekain.
- Hetzel is considered Radiant Dawn's "Camus" character, an enemy boss who is not really a villain, but who cannot be redeemed due to unshaking loyalty to a country or individual. Hetzel is usually considered one of the less sympathetic characters of this archetype, as despite his regrets he never takes responsibility for his own mistakes.
- The mission in which Hetzel and Lekain are fought requires all enemies, including Hetzel, to be defeated to proceed. However, an unused piece of dialogue was found in the game's code which indicates it was, at one point in development, possible to spare him through unknown means. Should this have occurred, Empress Sanaki would order his arrest for treason.
- Hetzel has a large amount of unique conversations he can have with player units. Many of them entail the player unit making an offer to Hetzel to defect as his comrade Oliver had, to which Hetzel will refuse, as he feels all humans should serve the Goddess.
- Unused battle dialogue data suggests that Hetzel could be spared. For whatever reason, this was not included in the final version of the game.