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Surtr
Surtr isolated.png
Description
Species: Greater Sooty Owl (Tyto tenebricosa)
Gender: Male
Family
Mate: Nyra
Book Appearances
Appears in: None
Movie Appearances
Appears in: Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole
Details
Mate of Nyra and the leader of the Pure Ones in the movie
"Yes, you're right to be afraid in my presence."
―Metal Beak to Kludd, Legend of the Guardians

Surtr, more commonly known as Metal Beak, was a powerful Greater Sooty Owl, or Tyto tenebricosa. He was the leader of the Pure Ones and the mate of Nyra, and he resided in the stone palace. His greatest desire was to create a world ruled by Tyto owls, who he believed to be superior to all other owl species. He is the main antagonist of Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, where he is voiced by Joel Edgerton.

History

Before the Movie/Battle of the Ice Claws

Long before the events of the movie, Surtr gathered an army of Tyto owls that called themselves the Pure Ones and led a crusade against all of the owl kingdoms, enslaving and murdering anyone who crossed their path. The Guardians of Ga'Hoole, led by the warrior Lyze of Kiel, rose to arms and confronted the Pure Ones in what is known as the Battle of the Ice Claws. The Pure Ones, led by Surtr, greatly outnumbered the Guardians. During the fight, Surtr sliced off one of Lyze's talons. Then Lyze flew up and Surtr followed him, but Lyze turned around and cut off a large part of his enemy's upper beak. He later took to wearing a metal mask to hide his scarred face, becoming known as Metal Beak.

Some time before the events of the movie, Surtr and the Pure Ones invaded Grimble's home kingdom. Grimble fought back against the Pure Ones, and Surtr, seeing his strength, held Grimble's family hostage in order to get Grimble to work for them. The kingdom shown in the background of Grimble's flashback appears to be The Beaks.

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole

Metal Beak led the Pure Ones from the fortress of the Beaks as the mastermind of the series of kidnapping that occurred throughout the owl kingdoms in an attempt to muster his forces. At one point, he made a deal with Allomere, a Guardian of Ga'Hoole who had become a turnfeather. He would give Allomere the Great Ga'Hoole Tree and the Western Kingdoms to rule as king if he betrayed the Guardians.

During this time, Metal Beak had been constructing a device using the magnetic properties of flecks that would render any owl helpless and leave them at the mercy of bats, who were immune to the adverse conditions. After Allomere returned from a stealth mission in St. Aggie's with Eglantine, the parliament decided to fight the Pure Ones. However, this was all part of Metal Beak's plan to gain revenge on the Guardians, especially Lyze of Kiel. Allomere led the Guardians right to the place where the fleck trap was kept and Metal Beak's bats unleashed its power upon the unsuspecting Guardians. When Soren and his friends arrived and attacked the bats Metal Beak and Nyra sent out the bats to finish off the Guardians, Metal Beak went back on his deal with Allomere; claiming that there was room for only one king, he ordered him killed. Allomere was then attacked and dragged away by several bats and killed offscreen.  

Surtr's appearance in the movie

After Soren disabled the fleck device, the Pure Ones and the Guardians battled each other, and Ezylryb flew to Metal Beak's fortress and confronted him. Metal Beak declared he would have his revenge, but Ezylryb replied that Metal Beak should thank him, claiming that the latter's scarred face was 'an improvement'. This enraged Metal Beak and he angrily lashed out at Ezylryb, engaging his old enemy in a fierce fight. At first, Metal Beak appeared to have the upper wing, but Ezylryb eventually overpowered the much larger warrior, sending him spinning out of control into the ground and knocking him out cold. Ezylryb then cautiously approached the motionless owl, but suddenly Nyra flew in screeching just as Metal Beak opened his eyes. Metal Beak kicked Ezylryb, throwing him backwards and knocking his helmet off. Nyra then attacked Ezylryb, her mate soon joining in. Ezylryb was no match for both Metal Beak and Nyra and was quickly overpowered and brutally beaten by the two tyrants. 

Soren came to Ezylryb's aid after fending off his brother Kludd, who became a Pure One soldier, in a burning forest. Thinking that Kludd was dead, Soren was filled with anger and grabbed a flaming branch, planning to defeat Metal Beak in order to stop him destroying another owl's life. With the flaming branch, Soren fought the High Tyto, who easily had the upper wing against Soren. As they fought, Metal Break knocked the branch out of Soren's talons, forcing him to fly down after it. Metal Beak soon had Soren trapped on the ground against a rock, and dived, preparing to kill him. Soren struggled to reach the branch, and managed to stab Metal Beak by impaling the swooping owl with the branch. Metal Beak stared at him for a few moments and laughed slightly in amusement of Soren's bravery, but the laugh turned into a gurgle as he fell backwards, dead.

Character Design

"As the villain of the movie, Metal Beak was a lot of fun to work on. He's a Greater Sooty Owl, which are quite distinctive with their spotted markings and large dark eyes. It was decided early on to play up his eyes, as they are so different from most other owls and his injured eye was also made to be a different colour. There was some initial exploration into how old and battered he might look. One of my first passes ended up looking more like road kill, so we knew that was going too far. The main challenge was trying to make him look old and regal, yet also evil and battle-worn. He needed to look like a leader who could easily strike fear into the owls and bats that he commanded. I gave him thicker feathers around his neck and chest (based on some reference of raven feathers) which became almost like a lion's mane and really helped give his character a sense of strength. Patrick Awa did some fantastic concept designs of Metal Beak's helmet, which I developed to integrate the symbol of the Pure Ones."

- Vivienne To, Art of Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'hoole

Etymology

Surtr is the name of a powerful Norse god. This appears to keep with a theme in the books - quite a few of the book characters have names with Norse origins, (i.e. Gylfie, Lyze and Snorri).

Trivia

  • The ending of the film implies that "Metal Beak" might just be a title, with Kludd being the next to bear it.
  • If Metal Beak felt truly betrayed by Allomere or if he just wanted to get him out of the way is unknown.
  • He is blind in his left eye. On the other side of his face, he has no feathers, which is strange, as normally one wouldn't have feathers on his or her blind side. This may have been done, however, to make him appear more battle-worn.
  • Even though it's implied that Surtr lost his whole beak, parts of it are still visible in the movie. Concept art reveals that only a large part of his upper beak is missing.
  • In the books, Sooty Owls are the lowest ranking Pure Ones and are never promoted past soldiers.
  • The Metal Beak in the books is never referred to as "Metal Beak" by his fellow Pure Ones, while in the movie he takes obvious pride in the title.
  • While instructing his soldiers to "crush" the Guardians, Metal Beak appears to make a Nazi salute.
  • Hugh Jackman was originally announced as part of the moive's cast early in development, possibly to voice Metal Beak.

Quotes

"Pure Ones, attack! Crush them! Before they can recover!"

- Metal Beak to the Pure Ones in Legend of the Guardians.


"It would be cruel to make them wait any longer. Finish them."

- Metal Beak to Nyra in Legend of the Guardians.


Metal Beak:"Well, the legendary Lyze of Kiel, once again it's come down to just you and me. Now I can take my vengeance, for this."

Ezylryb:"Hmm? you should thank me. It appears to be an improvement."

- Metal Beak and Ezylryb in Legend of the Guardians.


Soren: "I'm not letting you hurt one more soul!"

Metal Beak: "Oh! You're not letting me! Oh!"

Soren: "He's my teacher! My hero!"

Metal Beak: "Well, your hero can teach you one last lesson about Pure Ones' strength... by letting you watch him die!"

-Soren trying to stop Metal Beak from killing Lyze of Kiel.

Gallery

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