|“||A king must be greedier than any other. He must laugh more loudly and rage for much longer and embody the very extreme of all things, good and evil! That is why his retainers envy his very existence and adore him as well and why the flames of aspiration to be just as the king is can burn within his people!||„|
Rider is a supporting protagonist in the light novel and anime series Fate/Zero. He is the servant of Waver Velvet during the fourth Holy Grail War. Rider is noble and physically overbearing, who prefers to conquer his enemies by winning without killing and controlling without humiliating them. He is not pragmatic, but is a person who lets history run its course and acts according to his impulses. While he is wild and somewhat inconsiderate to others, his greed ultimately resulted in the happiness of the people he ruled over.
Rider's true identity is that of Iskandar, also known as Alexander the Great, Al-Iskandar, The Lord of War, the Maharaorajah. The King of Conquerors who almost ruled the world. Usurping the throne of Macedonia in the far west part of Greece, the young king had since then subdued the neighbouring countries in the blink of an eye. His ambition crossed over the Straits, and he had wanted to extend his insolent neck into this great empire of Persia.
The King spoke of his reasons. His goal was the end of the world. His destination the furthest border of the East. He wanted to behold Oceanus with his own two eyes. He wanted to leave his footprints at the beach beside that endless sea. No one believed him, but this man brought his army away with him continuing towards the East. The defeated generals finally understood... the tyrant wasn't lying.
Even looking pitiful and deplorable, the soldiers suddenly thought. What would they see behind that mountain –? What would they see at the other side of the sky –? And they went after the back of the great king traveling to the east. The army of the King increased endlessly with his victories on his road of progress, towards the east, towards Oceanus, the endless sea. Until, together with the king, they behold the legendary beach. Across boiling deserts, over chilling snow-capped mountains, fording billowing rivers, chasing away ferocious beasts, and fighting for their lives for times out of count with those alien tribes never seen before and the unknown weapons and strategies they deployed, they continued towards Oceanus.
Even when they died in battle after giving all they had, their faces still held a proud smile until the end. They’d be able to return to the image in their dreams, the evening-mist-covered seashore that they had once seen. A scene that they continued to long for in their hearts during their heroic crusading lives.
Their bodies may return to ash but they are loyal followers, they are true companions, one flawless cooperation with their king. The king had stronger desires than anyone else, was more magnificent than anyone else, was more easily angered than anyone else, pure and chaotic, a man who was more real than any other man.
At his death, Alexander's kingdom became four separate warring factions that quickly disappeared into the sands of history. He can grieve for it, he can shed tears... but he will never regret.
Rider is a tall, muscular man with tan skin, red hair, and red irises. He has short hair with a chinstrap beard. He wears Romanian-style leather armor with a large, red cape. When he not in battle he wears a white shirt with a picture of the state that reads "conquest" with a red wristband, dark jeans, and brown shoes.
Rider is noble and physically overbearing. He is not pragmatic, but is a person who lets history run its course and acts according to his impulses. While he is wild and somewhat inconsiderate to others, his greed inspired his subjects and ultimately resulted in their happiness. He is always jovial, values friendship highly, and he regards the bond with all of his followers in Ionioi Hetairoi as his greatest treasure. They all, being inspired by such a magnificent king, in turn gives him their undivided loyalty and adoration. He also admires people who treat friendship with sincerity, such when he meets Taiga Fujimura. He is compassionate to those with whom he bonds, such as telling Waver that it is natural to be sickened by Caster's atrocities and that he would strike anyone who would feel nothing from the sight. Rider also takes a great interest in the modern world, often spending his free time eating crackers and watching videos to learn about the new world around him. He is also especially eager to go outside and experience things as a human. He especially takes a great liking to the video game called, Admirable Tactics.
He was adventurous and had the goal of reaching the edge of the world during his life, and he looks forward to conquering the world now that he has found out it is a sphere, and how small his empire that he spent his life conquering was compared to the size of the world. He desires to conquer the world as a human, so that is his only wish for the Holy Grail. He is not overly cruel as would be expected from a tyrant, but tries instead to keep bloodshed to a minimum despite his love for battles and destruction. He is fine with not actually winning the battle outright, and even attempts to recruit the other Servants as his followers after witnessing their prowess for himself. He prefers to conquer his enemies by winning without killing and controlling without humiliating them. He admires Saber's abilities as an individual and believes that she would be an amazing asset to his army. He is seen as a unique individual with strange ideas unbefitting of his legacy, but Waver is able to understand the meaning behind his conquest. He sees Rider as deserving of title of "King of Conquerors" because that which he strives to conquer most is not lands or material wealth, but the hearts of people, the toughest conquest that can be undertaken by anyone.
Rider's way of kingship is his greatest pride and as such, he despises Saber's way of kingship, the direct antithesis. He calls her naive for considering sacrificing herself to save her kingdom, and goes so far as to denounce her as a king. He insists that a king should be setting vivid examples to be followed, bond with his subjects at personal level, and his way of living should be something inspiring to and envied by all under his rule, not a distant ideal or martyr whose deeds would be praised yet whose path is so full of sorrow and pain that it would only inspire a sense of dread. To him, a selfless king who isolates himself from his people to die for ideals is nothing but a fool, which is worse than a tyrant. He is also in opinion that a king should be vibrant, a figure who is inspiring and leading his people, instead of being a distant loner who concerns himself only with protecting and saving his people. Ultimately, he would grieve and weep over his losses and mistakes, but he would stay true to himself and never regrets the decisions he made as a king. He also believes that undoing it would be an insult to all those who died in his name, which is why his wish focuses on the present rather than the past.
Despite being a self-admitted tyrant, Rider is overall one of the kinder Servants summoned; he is the only Servant who considers resolving the Grail Wars without violence, first by offering the others place in his army and later suggesting they merely discuss the issue until they can agree on who is most worthy. He also spends most of the War nurturing Waver's growth and considers him a worthy friend even after Waver uses up his command seals. Even his harsh criticism of how Saber ruled her kingdom is ultimately well-intentioned (i.e. he wishes for her to let go of her past), and despite no longer acknowledging her as a king, he still refers to her by her title the "King of Knights", for seemingly no reason other than to be respectful.
Rider has a mutual rivalry with Gilgamesh, and offers for a joint conquest to take over the world. Despite all Servants who have first seen him thought him to be stupid and preposterous for a conqueror of his reputation, he eventually earns their respect, even Gilgamesh who rarely shows any respect to anyone, but he claims that he will only ever have one friend. The respect Iskandar inspired in Gilgamesh is great enough that the King of Heroes deems him worthy enough to be faced with Ea and Enkidu in their final fight, even though Gilgamesh can easily win without using them.
Despite his Master's shortcomings and their vast differences in goals and personalities, Rider is very quick to start bonding with Waver on a personal level like he would with anyone during his reign, admiring his wit and determination despite Waver having the lowest of opinions of himself. During their first encounter with the other Servants, Kayneth Archibald El-Melloi, who was originally planning to summon Rider, begins to berate and torment Waver by calling him incompetent and weak. Rider instantly defends Waver's dignity by rebuffing Kayneth for only speaking to them while in hiding. Despite being timid, at least Waver would ride with him and Rider notes that only someone who will ride onto the battlefield with him is worthy of being his Master, so a coward who only hides in the shadows is a true shame to their battle.
Rider was summoned by Waver Velvet with an artifact; a mantle once worn by Iskander. This artifact was originally Lord El-Melloi's and was stolen by Waver, who intends to prove that his teacher is wrong.
Iskander, the King of Conquerors, is noble and physically overbearing. He is an enormous man who has little interest in the Holy Grail and cares more about conquering the world again, especially now that he realizes the world is much bigger than he was aware of during his life. He is especially fascinated by ordinary aspects of modern life and intends to inform the world of his return, much to Waver's chagrin.
He arranged a King's Meeting at Einzbern castle to discuss with the other Heroric spirit Kings about their desire for the Holy Grail. In the Kings Meeting, he expressed his desire for the Holy Grail isn't for conquering the world but his true incarnation so that he can become a human again and not bound as a servant. However after learning from Saber wish to change the past to save her country, Rider was disappointed and does not acknowledge Saber as a King.
In a battle with Saber prior to his final engagement with Gilgamesh, Rider gambled using Gordius Wheel against Saber but his chariot was destroyed by Excalibur. Rider would not manifest Ionioi Hetairoi as he saving it for Gilgamesh.
Before the final fight, Rider asked Gilgamesh whether he can join forces together as Rider has his armies and Gilgamesh has his weapons and they can conquer the world easily but Gilgamesh declined, stating that there was only one comrade he would ever have and there could be only one king.
He fought against Gilgamesh on a bridge, Rider used Ionioi Hetairoi: Army of the King as a final move. However, Gilgamesh wipes out half of the army with his Enuma Elish, causing the bounded field to dissipate. As a result of the instability, the rest of the army fades, leaving Rider with no choice but to charge him head on. Rider rushes bathing in the curtain fire of Gate of Babylon. Upon nearing him, Rider is captured by Enkidu, and slain by Ea. Gilgamesh appears to have had great amounts of respect for Iskander, stating that he would be ready to accept his opponent's challenge at any given moment.
In combat, Rider mostly uses his Noble Phantasm Gordius Wheel: Wheel of Heaven's Authority to trample the enemies; the chariot is surrounded by lightning: this factor and its high speed are what make its charge a powerful attack, which takes the name of Via Expugnatio: Distant Trampling Domination. It is strong enough to almost knock out Berserker after one strike, forcing him to retreat. To summon the chariot, Iskandar slashes the air apart with his sword.
The sword that Rider wields is a spatha referred to as the Sword of the Kupriotes, gifted to him in life by the King of the Cypriots; its hilt was decorated with the likeness of a lion. Strong and light-weight, the blade can be wielded with great dexterity, and in the course of the story, it was able to deflect the Assassins' dirks with demonstrable ease. Though it is not noted to be a Noble Phantasm itself, it is utilized in the invocation of both of Iskander's known Noble Phantasms. Incidentally, the historical Iskander is said to have used a kopis instead.
Iskandar's trump card and ultimate Noble Phantasm is Ionioi Hetairoi: Army of the King. Rider summons a Reality Marble that consists in a vast desert under a cloudless sky; in this place makes its entrance an immense army: every soldier is a Servant that, after dying and becoming a Heroic Spirit, still follows Iskander's lead. Exploiting the plain and shelterless battleground, the King of Conquerors rides his horse Bucephalus and charges forward, followed by his army, in order to crush the enemies. The Reality Marble is maintained by Rider's and his soldiers' mana: if a large quantity of them is killed, the desert fades away and both the user and the target are transported back to the real world.