It had to eventually happen. was actually surprised how final battle between Iskandar and Gilgamesh began. I was expecting Gilgamesh to start talking down Iskandar the moment appeared. I was expecting Iskandar to charge at Gilgamesh. Noble Phantasm would be all over the place and reality would be distorted multiple times. The reality was quite different. The next thing we see is both of them having a cup of wine celebrating their final fight and even having a normal chat. We rarely see that type of thing in Fate/Zero. The closest thing was Saber and (who could forget) Lancer when they were fighting like knights rather than servant bound by their masters’ orders.
The episode I started to change my mind
There’s no doubt that in my mind that Episode 11 “Holy Grail Dialogue” was the turning point of Iskandar ‘s character for me. Before he was the cool and a hot-headed looking hero but what else? He was a conqueror full of ambitiousness yet his philosophy wasn’t all that expanded on when the story started. Can be back up everything he is about? Episode 11 did it for me. Iskandar was well aware of his actions and knew he was responsible for his consequences. He accepted who he was and the path he had chosen. He wasn’t going to run away or hide behind his duty or position. He was the one that confronted Saber for the first time with so much impact. Personally, I like Saber’s character but there is a one-dimensional side to her that he pointed out and hit the nail on the head. The 11th episode explains that there is so much to this hero than brawn and his ambitiousness. From there he could only go up.
Best Master and Servant Relationship
The only servant who taught his master the most. Most of the master and servant interactions in the story are ‘strictly business’. One gives orders, the other follow it (or not in case of Gilgamesh). One thing I’ve noticed while watching this Fate prequel is that we don’t always get many real character interactions between master and servants. Kariya was too blinded, Kiritsugu would do anything to accomplish his goal, Ryuunosuke was plain crazy. Kayneth only fought for the honor it would bring to his family name, Kirie was Kirie. Not many servants questioned or in some way changed their point of view.
Iskandar was the servant that had the most impact on his master. Caster and his master were basically the same person, Berserk was Kariya ‘s tool, Lancer was unfortunately no more than Kayneth ’s bodyguard sworn by his profound loyalty and personal regrets, Assassin had no say in anything, even Saber and Kiritsugu had limited interactions in the story, enough to think of Irisviel as Saber’s true master. Curiously enough – granted not the same – but I think that Gilgamesh and Kirie had the closest thing that Iskandar and Waver had – helping their masters to choose their own paths. For this pair “master and servant” was never quite right. It was more of teacher and pupil role. Waver so far has been the master who learned the most from his servant. I don’t think that there will be anything like it in Fate/Zero that will top this.
The best way to leave the show
Caster in his last moments saw the image of her Joan of Arc, Lacer’s death was like the opposite of Iskandar’s as Lancer left the show with regrets going as far as cursing the holy grail. So many characters are leaving the show in gorier ways as the story had progressed. Iskandar left the show gracefully. Both Gilgamesh and Iskandar seemed like to old friends that found themselves in opposing armies. They both had to do what they had to do. There was no hate, no animosity, only the real desire to have a final duel. Gilgamesh may have said he only had one friend. Kirie might be Gilgamesh’s partner in crime but in my opinion Iskandar was the closest thing that Gilgamesh had as a friend who he could spar with. More than finding him interesting as he did with Kirie, Gilgamesh actually respected Iskandar and this duel.
Gilgamesh had plenty respect for Iskandar. Gilgamesh spared Waver out of respect for Iskandar. There’s such a contrast between FSN Gilgamesh and Fate Zero Gilgamesh that I didn’t expect to find in this prequel. Even if Gilgamesh was overwhelmingly more powerful than the King of Conquerors and I sure would’ve wished for Iskandar to punch Gilgamesh’s smug face at least once, I think that by Gilgamesh’s standards he ended the fight with enough honor for both. I sure wish the final fight would’ve been a longer and less one sided fight between the two, but Iskandar’s final episode in Fate Zero was more than satisfactory. Iskandar had to eventually leave the holy grail war but he did it rather gracefully. Fate Zero did right by The King of Conquerors.
– See you Space Iskandar