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Dungeons & Dragons Character
Jon Irenicus
Homeland Suldanessellar
Gender Male
Race Elf
Age  ?
Class Mage
Alignment Neutral Evil
Universe Forgotten Realms

Jon Irenicus (formerly known as Joneleth) is a villain in Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, a Dungeons & Dragons computer role-playing game set in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. Irenicus is voiced by David Warner.

Character Edit

Irenicus at first appears to be a simple villain with a keen interest in torture. He is seen torturing the player character with powerful magics at the very beginning of Shadows of Amn. However, minutes into the game he reveals that his apparent motive for said torture is to unlock his victim's latent power, thereby benefitting the player character in the long run. His lair seems to confirm the view of him being a strange character: on one hand, grossly harmed creatures that lie deformed in containers emphasize the evil in him; on the other, his obsession with a woman he had previously maintained a relationship with reveals a much more human (or more properly elven) side to him. It becomes apparent later in the game that Irenicus's embarking on his dark path came about partly from love. His overly possessive nature eventually became too much for his partner to bear, and unable to let go; Irenicus then turned to the pursuit of power and revenge, which in turn led to him becoming utterly evil in nature. However, love was not solely responsible for his downfall. Irenicus was already a powerful spellcaster, and the power he sought was the power of the gods themselves as he tried to enter the elven pantheon. For this attempt he was punished for by being stripped of what made him an elf. No longer being able to feel with the same intensity as before, he became bitter and obsessed about his downfall, and he embarked on a mission in which it was hard to tell if his objective was that of gaining power or satisfying his revenge.

At the start of the game, Irenicus appears to be a human, although later dialogue reveals that both he and his sister, Bodhi, are exiled elves. The elves of Suldanessellar refer to him as 'the Exile', and it turns out his lost love is the elven Queen Ellesime. He is a highly arrogant and incredibly powerful wizard. For example, he causes a huge explosion within the city of Athkatla that reduces part of Waukeen's Promenade to rubble, and eliminates several Cowled Wizards who were sent to arrest him thereafter, before eventually surrendering to them voluntarily.

Appearance, name and powers Edit

Irenicus is, at first, not readily identifiable as an elf, due mainly to his lack of that race's pointed ears and unearthly beauty. He is also unusually large for an elf, being as tall as a full-grown human. Additionally, Irenicus is unusually well-muscled for a mage of traditional high fantasy, and his body shows the ravages of time as a result of his being disconnected from the life-force and immortality of the elven people. Irenicus's face is deeply veined and invariably bears a cold, disdainful expression. There has been some contention among players as to whether that is Irenicus' actual face, or some sort of enchanted mask.

Irenicus's magic is, like Irenicus himself, elven in origin. The extent of Irenicus's magical ability is so great that he ranks among the most powerful wizards in all of Faerun, rivaling mages such as Elminster Aumar and Khelben Blackstaff. In combat, Irenicus is decisive and overwhelmingly potent, usually eliminating opponents with only a single spell. Irenicus is clearly able to cast spells of the ninth level or even beyond, and often disintegrates or detonates enemies in an instant - a display of his power is given in Waukeen's Promenade, where he dispatches several assailants with his powerful magics. Throughout the game Irenicus is seen using ritual spells that are not available to the Player Character and his or her party, a notable example being "Rapture of the Father", which instantly kills six victims and draws out a Bhaalspawn's divine soul; another is a cloning spell with which he clones the main character and his friends to keep them occupied while he makes his escape.

Irenicus's elven name was Joneleth, and Jon Irenicus is later revealed to mean "Jon the Shattered One." The name "Irenicus" was born out of Joneleth's hatred, self-pity, and desire for revenge on Queen Ellesime and the people of Suldanessellar for his exile. Irenicus is an ultimately unsympathetic character who seeks to claim divine power. His hubris stands in contrast to the motivations of Bhaalspawn such as Sarevok and the Player Character, who can at least pursue Bhaal's power under the excuse of heredity.

Role in Baldur's Gate II Edit

At the start of Baldur's Gate II, Irenicus serves as the main character's captor. He claims to use torturous experiments for the eventual benefit of the player character and his sister Imoen by "unlocking their power." However, this claim proves to be a foil for his real intention: attaining for himself a great deal of power from them by confiscating their souls, to replace the ones he and his vampire sister Bodhi lost. Upon exiting his dungeon, Irenicus surrenders to the Cowled Wizards on one condition: that Imoen (the player character's sister in the game) accompany him. The Cowled Wizards agree to this, ostensibly because Imoen has used magic openly against Irenicus; Athkatla law prohibits the open use of magic by anyone who is not a member of or registered with the Cowled Wizards. The player's party resolves to track down Irenicus and save Imoen from Irenicus's clutches. Irenicus is teleported to a prison named Spellhold, but proceeds to overrun the entire place, killing all of the wizards with ease and taking control of the premises. Irenicus's true, evil intentions are revealed once the player reaches Spellhold. Irenicus finishes his torturing of the protagonist, and in doing so steals the main character's soul. Bodhi accomplishes the same feat, taking Imoen's soul. Effectively, Imoen and the protagonist have swapped fates with Irenicus and Bodhi.

Trapped in the lower halls of Spellhold, the protagonist suffers delusions, until s/he is able to turn into the Slayer - an avatar of the dead god Bhaal. The party escape Spellhold, following Irenicus into the Underdark and eventually to the Elven city of Suldanessellar. Irenicus's scheme is finally revealed - he planned to seek revenge upon the Elves of Suldanesselar by inciting a war between the Drow and the Elves. During this war, he would drain energy from the Tree of Life, thereby effectively replacing Rillifane Rallathil in the Seldarine and becoming an elven god. The protagonist and his/her party must stop the assault on Suldanessellar, face Irenicus atop the sprawling tree, and slay him.

However, upon Irenicus's death, the soul of the protagonist drags the entire party down into the depths of Hell. Only after participating in the Hell Trials (all but one of which are managed by demons, while the other is managed by the recalled essence of Sarevok, the half-brother of the protagonist and primary antagonist from Baldur's Gate I) does a final showdown between Irenicus (and a horde of demons) against the main character and his party commence. If the main character wins, he eventually reclaims his lost soul and returns to the world of the living, while Irenicus suffers a fate worse than death at the hands of many chittering demons.

Irenicus's motives are left unrevealed until the closing moments of the game. As the game progresses, Irenicus and his past are laid bare piece by piece. It is not until the final chapters when one can finally deduce and interpret his actions and goals.


Fan expansionEdit

Due to Jon Irenicus's popularity among fans, several modifications and game additions have been created in which this enigmatic villain can be fought again, redeemed, etc., during the events of the Throne of Bhaal expansion pack. Most notable among these are the Redemption and The Longer Road expansions created by Dorotea of Spellhold Studios.

ReferencesEdit

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