“Make no mistake, Lord Marth. I consider myself an exceptionally good judge of character. If I thought you acted out of selfishness or ambition, I would not extend the offer I have. You have my trust.”
—Hardin to Marth, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon
Hardin (ハーディン Hādin) is both a playable character and major antagonist from the Akaneia Series of Fire Emblem. Also known under the alias Coyote (草原の狼 Sougen no ōkami, lit. Wolf of the Plains), Hardin is a descendant of Marlon and the younger brother of the King of Aurelis. He originally appears as the regent of Aurelis in Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Tsurugi and its remake, commanding the loyalty of a group of knights that comprises of Roshea, Vyland, Wolf and Sedgar. After wedding Princess Nyna following the end of the War of Darkness, he is coronated as the twenty-fourth emperor of Akaneia in Book 2 of Mystery of the Emblem and its remake. Due to the reign of terror that he exerts on the continent of Akaneia as the Emperor, Hardin later comes to be known by the common citizenry as the Dark Emperor (暗黒皇帝 Ankoku kōtei).
After Hardin's older brother, the King of Aurelis, took ill, Hardin was ceded the helm of Aurelis, whereupon he swiftly reformed the nation's laws. During this time, Hardin seized the opportunity to banish the Aurelian nobles who were responsible for keeping the people of the plains, including the likes of Roshea, Vyland, Wolf and Sedgar, as slaves. The slaves were thereafter liberated, and the higher-ranking ones amongst them were inaugurated as the new lords of Aurelis.
Although the ex-nobles later attempted a coup with support from Akaneia, their attempt was quickly quelled by the joint cooperation of Hardin and the plains people.
Shortly after the Dolunian Empire began spreading its influence over the continent of Akaneia, Aurelis is, after being besieged by a troop of Dracoknights led by Princess Minerva of Medon, forced to cede much of her territory to the Empire.
Upon learning that a cluster of villages in an unnamed district of Aurelis is under harassment from bandits in Episode 2, Hardin leads Wolf and Roshea to the vicinity in a bid to restore order to the region. While speaking to the villagers in order to gain insight into the situation at hand, Hardin encounters Minerva and the Whitewings squad, who have also landed in the region in order to conduct investigations on the rumour that several deserters of the Medonian army are in cahoots with the bandits. Aware of her identity as the famed Crimson Dragoon, Hardin deliberately chooses to withhold the truth of his identity from her, carefully questioning her in order to solidify his understanding of the situation. He then departs to charge a nearby fortress that is said to be functioning as the stronghold of the bandits, and is later backed up by Minerva and her subordinates. With their combined might, Ruben, the main orchestrator of the bandit attacks, is felled. After briefly ceding praise on Minerva for her combat prowess, Hardin hastily leaves with Wolf and Roshea in tow.
Later, after some time has come to pass following the collapse of the palace of Akaneia in Episode 1, Medeus issues the order for Bulzark to kidnap Princess Nyna and bring her to the realm of Doluna. Alarmed upon receiving these dire news, General Camus of Grust hurriedly corresponds with Hardin, beseeching him to assume custody of Nyna. Nyna is later successfully escorted to the rendezvous point in the outskirts of Aurelis by Camus and the Sable Order in Episode 4, whereupon she collapses into the arms of Hardin out of sheer exhaustion. After furnishing her with some water and medical treatment, Hardin takes her under his wing in Aurelis.
By the time the events of Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Tsurugi come around, much of Aurelis has been dominated by the Doluna Empire. Hardin, leading the rebellion army opposing the Doluna Empire, refuses to bow down to the enemy, gallantly executing his duties without falter. The onset of Chapter 5 sees him and Nyna having sought refuge in the Northern Fortress of Aurelis, and upon sighting the imminent arrival of Marth's army, Hardin eagerly assembles his men, comprising of Roshea, Vyland, Wolf and Sedgar, thereafter heading out to rendezvous with it. Having been reinforced by the might of Marth's army, Hardin is able to successfully rid the land of Aurelis of Doluna's presence, and he thereafter aids Marth in bringing the War of Darkness to a conclusion. Following this, as a result of Akaneia requiring a new emperor and Hardin being the most suitable candidate to ascend the throne, Hardin is thence wed to Nyna and coronated as the twenty fourth emperor of House Akaneia.
Prior to the proceedings of Book 2 of Mystery of the Emblem, Hardin, upon ascending the throne, aggressively restored the might of the Holy Empire of Akaneia and assembled a powerful army almost effortlessly, heralding an era that promised prosperity to all its inhabitants.
However, this was not to be, as Hardin's marriage with Nyna was far from ideal, and was, in truth, one that was marked with grief and unhappiness; while Hardin genuinely loved Nyna, this love of his went unrequited, for her heart was bound to another. When he later learnt that Nyna had married him out of the need for her to fulfil her responsibility as the direct descendant of the Akaneian royal family, Hardin was struck with heartbreak and anguish, thereafter avoiding contact with anyone. Gharnef, delighting in Hardin's outpouring of moroseness, posed as a merchant in order to gain access into the palace before offering him the Darksphere. The Darksphere, fuelled by Hardin's emotions of acrimony, sorrow and envy, quickly corrupted his soul, and he was transformed into a twisted, unscrupulous man who was devoid of any morals. Within a short frame of time, Hardin undid the prosperity that he had previously ceded upon Akaneia, choosing instead to rule it with an iron-fisted tyranny, and thereafter expanded and spread his reign of terror throughout the rest of the continent. Later, when Gharnef requested him to hand Nyna over for the purpose of resurrecting Medeus, Hardin, his love for Nyna perverted by the Darkspere's corruption, willingly complied.
During the events of Book 2 of Mystery of the Emblem, as Marth and Shiida are about to tie the knot, Hardin interrupts their engagement by issuing an order for Marth to embark on a mission to quell a rebellion that has arisen in Grust. When Marth later speaks to Lorenz in a Grustian fortress in Chapter 1, it is revealed that Hardin had, prior to Marth's arrival, called for the destruction of Grust and thereafter make it a territory of the Akaneian Empire, instructing General Lang to fulfil this mission.
Later in Chapter 3, a conversation Michalis shares with Rucke, the leader of the rebellion taking place within Medon, reveals that Rucke's actions are entirely instigated by Hardin, forming yet another hint towards the surfacing of Hardin's tyranny.
As Marth's army succeeds in stifling the invasion of the Medonian Vikings in Chapter 4, Shiida enters the scene, delivering the grim news that Hardin had, in Marth's absence from his country, invaded Altea with Gra and Aurelis. At this point, Jagen draws the conclusion that the fall of Altea is one that was planned in advance; the sheer magnitude of the invasion necessitated a great number of preparations to be made, and the Grustian campaign was thence staged as a ploy to draw Marth away from his country with his elite knights in tow.
When Marth's army next approaches the Fane of Raman in hopes of recovering some of the missing Starsphere Shards in Chapter 7, Hardin assembles a mercenary troop to ambush them, although it fails in its mission to halt the army in its advance.
After reclaiming the Fane of Raman, Marth's army quickly vacates its premises, with the main force of the Akaneian army hot on their heels. Upon crossing the first half of Chiasmir Bridge and reaching the central islet, however, Hardin emerges with a battalion of Generals from the north, intending to seal off their escape and personally end Marth's life. As Marth's army crosses the second half of the bridge, Hardin, in response to Marth's helpless pleas, coldly commands his General battalion to advance and eradicate Marth's army. Marth's army manages to evade the assault, however, as they succeed in reaching the northwestern fortress and board a number of boats that were prepared beforehand to ferry them to the Khadein desert.
Hardin does not cease his pursuit of Marth's army, however, as he commands an elite force led by Astram to continue chasing after them through the Khadein desert in Chapter 9. Khadein has also evidently pledged allegiance to Hardin's rule, as its elite mage corps, under the command of Ellerean, is deployed to ambush Marth's army. Marth's army manages to fight their way through the assault, however, thereafter entering the city of Khadein.
After Marth's army succeeds in ending Ellerean's rage-infused assault on Merric in Chapter 10, the apparition of Gotoh appears before Marth, who reveals that Hardin's soul had been consumed by the Darksphere, and can only be liberated with the Lightsphere, the natural foe of the Darksphere. Marth is then urged to lead his army through Anri's Way in the next few chapters, before arriving in the Ice Dragon Temple in Chapter 14 and receiving the Lightsphere from Gotoh.
Marth's army then returns to Altea and liberates it in Chapters 15 and 16. As they depart from Altea and heads towards the capital of Akaneia to confront Hardin, they pass through the kingdom of Gra in Chapter 17. Here, they learn that the ruler of Gra, Sheema, had been manipulated by Hardin to revolt against Altea, who deceived her into believing that her compliance would be rewarded with aid to restore her country. Although her troops already lack the morale to battle Marth's army, according to the local villagers, they have no other choice but to do so, as Hardin has deployed several troops from the Akaneian army to keep vigil over them. Marth's army will then carefully defeat the Akaneia army while avoiding confronting the demoralised Gra soldiers, thereafter enlisting the loyalty of Sheema and her subordinate Samson.
After Marth's army passes through Adria Pass in Chapter 18, a coup d'etat is said to have broken out in the palace of Akaneia, where the knights and citizens opposing Hardin have taken up arms to directly rebel against him. Marth's army then charges towards the palace of Akaneia to reinforce the rebels, and after defeating the main force of the Akaneia army in Chapter 19, they storm the palace itself in Chapter 20. As Marth advances closer to Hardin, he bears witness to the full extent of the Darksphere's amplification of Hardin's darkest emotions, as Hardin blathers a series of hate-infused abuse at him, expressing jealousy towards him for having been entrusted the Fire Emblem during the War of Darkness. Shortly after a battle that Marth engages with Hardin with the Lightsphere on hand, Hardin is felled, and is finally granted reprieve from the influence of the Darksphere. As he breathes his last, Hardin expresses gratitude towards Marth for freeing him from the shackles of the Darksphere and seeks his forgiveness for the misdeeds that he had wrought upon Akaneia. He then emotionally begs Marth to inform Nyna that he loves her till the end, and hopes that she will be able to forgive him for not being able to resist the Darksphere's corruption.
After Hardin departs from the world, the lineage of Aurelis's founder, Marlon, is effectively terminated, as neither Hardin nor his brother had sired any children. As a result, Marth will come to preside over Aurelis, on top of ruling the rest of Akaneia itself.
Before coming under the tainting influence of the Darksphere, Hardin is portrayed as an individual who is valorous and honourable, fighting for the sake of maintaining justice in order to ensure that the common citizenry is able to lead peaceful lives that are free from the dangers of vice. This is evidenced through his involvement in the bandit uprising in Episode 2 of Akaneia Saga, where he personally leads Roshea and Wolf in an attempt to subdue it and thereafter restore peace to the region. Through his interactions with Minerva in the same episode, Hardin is observed to be quite a scrupulous strategist in achieving his aims. Aware of the fact that she is an enemy of Aurelis, Hardin deliberately conceals his identity while carefully manipulating her into aiding him in quelling the bandit uprising; by revealing the direction he intends to take in locating the bandit stronghold before hastily departing from her side, he effectively silently urges her to follow his lead and aid him in his self-imposed mission.
This scrupulousness of Hardin's extends towards his role as a ruler; after being ceded control of Aurelis by his brother, for one, he brooked no delay in purging the land of its more unsavoury laws, alongside putting an end to slavery. His reign as the twenty-fourth emperor of Akaneia also proves as much, as, immediately following his succession to the throne, he is known to have, in a very short period of time, restore the might of the country and assemble a formidable army to defend its sovereignty.
While Hardin's prowess on the battlefield is renowned, he is not egoistic in the slightest; he is, on the contrary, rather humble in his regard of his capabilities. His conversation with Marth in Chapter 5 of Shadow Dragon reveals as much, as, in response to Marth attempting to establish that he is far more qualified to lead the liberation of Aurelis, he impatiently brushes off the praise, insisting that Marth assumes the helm in his stead. This very same interaction also reveals Hardin to be one who is a meticulous judge of character, as he accurately perceives Marth to be an individual who neither acts out of selfishness nor ambition.
Away from the battlefield, Hardin is observed to be a passionate, devoted lover, surrendering his affections to Nyna. Despite this, however, Nyna is unable to reciprocate his feelings due to being in love with Camus. This unrequited love of Hardin's proves to be his tragic flaw, as the pain that he derives from it causes him to slump into a state of acute depression, in which he chooses to isolate himself from the rest of the world.
Following the complete destruction of Hardin's original personality under the direction of the Darksphere in Book 2 of Mystery of the Emblem, Hardin is transformed into a cruel, unfeeling tyrant, one who sadistically delights in fanning the flames of chaos and bearing witness to the suffering of others. It is through this phase that some of the darker aspects of Hardin's personality are explored; from his speech and actions, it is very evident that he has bottled up much bitterness, jealousy and hatred in immense quantities, the result of various factors that encompass his unrequited love for Nyna and the fact that Marth was favoured over him as the wielder of the Fire Emblem during the War of Darkness.
|Hardin||Cavalier||5||Aurelis||Automatically from the start.|
|Item Required||Promoted Class|
- Book 1
|Hardin||Cavalier||4||Aurelis||Automatically from the start.|
| Iron Lance|
|Item Required||Promoted Class|
|Hardin||Cavalier||2||Aurelis||Automatically from the start.|
| Silver Lance|
|Hardin||Cavalier||5||Aurelis||Automatically from the start.|
| Sword - D|
Lance - B
|Item Required||Promoted Class|
|Base Classes||Promoted Classes|
- Reclassing Options
|Character||Initial points||Total points for|
- Supported by
|Character||Initial points||Total points for|
- To increase support levels, characters must participate in chapters together
- One support point is gained for each chapter they both participate in
- Support levels that require 35 chapters cannot be reached normally
- Characters must be within a three tile radius of each other to receive support bonuses
Bonuses per level:
| Sword - B|
Lance - B
| Silver Lance|
|Lance - A|| Gradivus2|
Note: These growth rates are only applicable for the second episode of Akaneia Saga.
In all four games, Hardin is thought of to be one of the best paladins in the game along with Cain and Abel. He is skilled in most classes available to him in Shadow Dragon's reclass system. Hardin also starts out with a very high Weapon Rank in Lances, and can use Jagen's Silver Lance straight off the bat, making him very useful on the harder modes.
| Defense +2|
| Lance - A|
Axe - B
*Enemy only; joins unequipped.
“I'm sorry... Princess Nyna...”
—Hardin's death quote, Mystery of the Emblem Book 1
—Hardin's death quote, Shadow Dragon
“Marth... Your highness... I have finally awakened... From my deep dream... Your highness... I am deeply sorry... I fought with my inner demon. However I was too weak... I resisted with all my might... But I still lost... I hoped for your highness' hand to end my life... That way I could be saved... Your highness... Nyna... Please take care of Nyna... She... I hope you... can tell her... In the... end... I still... loved her... I hope... She can... forgive me...”
—Hardin's death quote as a boss of Mystery of the Emblem, Book 2
“Prince... Marth... I feel as though... I've finally awoken... from a long, long nightmare... Marth... Forgive me... I tried to fight the demon inside me. ...But I wasn't strong enough. I fought so hard, but... I just couldn't beat it... I wanted to die by your hand... And now I'm finally saved... Marth... Please... Nyna... Save Nyna... Please... ...Tell her... Tell her for me... Till... till the very end... I ...loved her... always... Tell her... to please...forgive me...”
—Hardin's death quote in Shin Monshō no Nazo
As an enemyEdit
“Rebels... Did you come here to get yourselves killed? I’ll show you to fear my Gradivus!!”
—Hardin's battle quote as a boss of Mystery of the Emblem, Book 2
“The rebel army... Have you come to die?! Taste the might of the Gradivus!!”
—Hardin's battle quote in Chapter 20 of Shin Monshō no Nazo
“So you've come, Marth!! I'll run you through, just as you wish!”
—Hardin's battle quote against Marth in Shin Monshō no Nazo
Event Recap (Shadow Dragon)Edit
From the ElderEdit
“Prince Marth, you have our thanks for liberating the south castle. You'll find Captain Hardin protecting the king and the lady Nyna at the Northern Fortress, located in Aurelis. When you find him, please be sure to give him this silver sword.”
—Elder to Marth about Hardin, Chapter 4
Altea Has ComeEdit
Hardin: Princess Nyna, I've spotted them! The Altean army is on the far side of the river.
Nyna: They're here? At last! Prince Marth has come for us!
Hardin: So it seems. Now, what say you we turn this battle around? I'm going to take my men east to join our might with Marth's. Together we will retake the castle. Stay here, my lady, and wait for the good news.
Marth: Lord Hardin, I am Marth of Altea. I've come to offer what help I can.
Hardin: And I very gratefully accept it. Stories of your exploits travel fast, young prince. I feel as though I’ve gained a thousand allies in one.
Marth: I've heard a few stories of you as well, Coyote. It will be an honor to fight alongside such a courageous man.
Hardin: I've left Princess Nyna someplace safe for now. We need to decide who will command here. I was hoping it would be you.
Marth: Me? But, Sir Hardin, you are far more qualified-
Hardin: Tsk, Princess Nyna would not be pleased to hear us nitpicking over who will be listed in the history books. Take command, so we can oust this Medonian scum and be done with it.
Marth: You are sure?
Hardin: Make no mistake, Lord Marth. I consider myself an exceptionally good judge of character. If I thought you acted out of selfishness or ambition, I would not extend the offer I have. You have my trust.
Marth: Lord Hardin, thank you. That is an honor. If you don't mind me saying so… I feel as though I've made a good friend. We share the same ideals, I think.
Hardin: That we do. May our friendship be a long one.
"He married Princess Nyna, and became the 24th King of Akaneia."
"Nyna offered Hardin her hand in marriage, and so he was crowned the twenty-fourth king of House Akaneia."
- Hardin appears to share many similarities with Zephiel from Rekka no Ken and Binding Blade. Both (chronologically) start out as benevolent princes who merely wish for peace, both personal and worldwide, but are twisted later in life; partly by personal grief (in Hardin's case it was caused due to unrequited love, while Zephiel was never acknowledged by his own father as a son) and becoming a huge threat to their respective continents. However, there are differences: Hardin was twisted but did not become evil until brainwashed by the Darksphere and is eventually freed from its grip, while the madness that surfaces in Zephiel's case is the result of an innate corruption of his once-pure heart, and he thus never repents. As if the developers wanted to further solidify the connection, Hardin's design in Shin Monshō no Nazo is extremely similar in appearance to that of Zephiel's.
- Hardin is one of the recurring characters in the Akaneia Series, appearing more times than even Marth and Shiida, with three major roles and appearances in several remakes. The only characters who have had more appearances than him are Camus and the Whitewings.
- According to the novel adaptation by Takayashiki Hideo, he is 31 in Book 1 and 34 in Book 2 of Mystery of the Emblem.
- Hardin appears to be unaware of Camus' relation to Nyna: He is completely oblivious to the identity of Nyna's lover in Mystery of the Emblem, making no mention of Camus in his corrupted state. When Camus takes Nyna to Hardin for safety in Akaneia Saga, Camus remains behind to stall Doluna before she reaches him, leading Hardin to wonder how Nyna managed to make the arduous to Aurelis by herself.
- At the end of Chapter 4 of Shadow Dragon, an Elder awards Marth with a Silver Sword, intending for it to be passed to Hardin. However, Hardin's weapon levels only permit him him to wield up to a Silver Lance, and not a Silver Sword. In the NES version, this was not a problem due to the sword and lance weapon levels being classified under one one stat, meaning that Hardin could wield both the Silver Sword and Silver Lance simultaneously.
- In Hardin's SpotPass team, four of the units that join him represent the Wolfguard: