Why do we love certain video game characters and simply pass over others? What is it about certain personalities or character archetypes which create what we now call fan favorites? Well, I think I can be honest and say that, by this point, we simply do not know how to create a much-loved character for mass consumption; it still seems pretty hit or miss.
However, some key things seem to appeal to a wide audience worldwide. Moments wherein the gamer sees their character experience love, hardship, or strife seem to build a rapport between gamer and character. It is the experience of strife and hardship that players identify the most with, building within them sympathy and a willingness to do whatever they can to right the wrongs made towards said character during their gaming journey.
One such character within Assassin’s Creed wherein these tropes are adopted and implemented beautifully is Connor Kenway, otherwise known as Ratonhnhaké:ton. During the events of Assassin’s Creed 3, we see how Connor confronts these difficulties and ultimately overcomes them, a story arc that certainly placed the young assassin deep within the hearts of Creed players across the world over. So, with all of this being said, let’s take a deeper look into the whole saga that is Connor Kenway.
Connor Kenway is the main protagonist of Assassin’s Creed 3. He is the son of a European Templar and a native American woman. Throughout his life, he joined the Creed whilst helping secure American independence.
As with any Assassin’s Creed character until this point in the series, Connor Kenway is distantly related to Desmond Miles via his paternal bloodline. This, therefore, gives Desmond the ability to use modern-day technology in the form of the Animus. While Connor’s link to Desmond will not be particularly focused on throughout this guide, it is still important to note this fact straightaway.
Two Worlds Collide
It is no secret to anyone who has even a passing knowledge of American history that during the mid to late 18th century, there was great governmental and civil unrest in the new world. This unrest forced the British crown to continually send more and more troops over the Atlantic Ocean in order to hold their new territory.
Of course, this occupation and forced devotion to an absentee crown an entire ocean away did not sit right with many people in the country. Thus creating, alongside many other terrible crimes and atrocities, an environment that could not be tolerated by those European settlers who now considered themselves Americans, not British.
This very unrest and bubbling hatred for the occupying force in the country forced the Templar Order in Europe to send one of their top men, Haytham Kenway, across the sea. Upon landing in this new land, he began setting up the Templar operations in the new world and quickly built an organization large enough to rival and nearly destroy all Creed presence on the continent.
He was soon honored with the rank of Grand Master within the Templar order, his full title giving him complete control over the Templar’s entire operation throughout the ‘Colonial realm .’One would assume that, due to his organization’s continued success and his quick rise through the ranks, Haytham would be a loyal Templar, completely devoid of any emotion or action without direct benefit to the Templar order. However, it would seem that during one of his first expeditions throughout this new land, he fell in love with one of the native peoples, a woman named Kaniehtí:io of the Kanien’kehá:ka tribe, otherwise known as the Mohawk people.
It was not long after Haytham and Kaniehtí:io met that she would fall pregnant with Connor. Haytham would subsequently leave the tribe in order to continue his order’s mission, leaving his lover and unborn child with the Kanien’kehá:ka tribe.
Connor eventually came into this world of confusion and war in 1756. His birth was one of celebration and derision. Due to his mother’s affair with an outsider, a European outsider for that matter, Connor was perceived and treated as though his blood was tainted, an outsider in many aspects.
– It is unknown if Haytham knew Kaniehtí:io was pregnant before he left; however, it is heavily implied that he did.
– Connor’s mixed bloodline resulted in his tribe treating him as something of an outsider.
Connor’s Early Life
As I already mentioned, Connor was seen as an outsider within his tribe; this, therefore, pushed the young boy to explore and learn on his own regardless of whether or not he had any friends. This created many hardships for the young man but gained him much tenacity.
At the age of four, both Connor and the player would find out what originally brought Haytham to this tribe. The Mohawk people and their settlement were built around a First Civilization Temple in order to protect the site from outsiders who would use the location for evil.
Of course, the Templars knew of the location due to Haytham’s prior visit and therefore spent those four years prepping their assault on the Mohawk people. Eventually, a division of Templars, headed up by Charles Lee, stormed into the tribe’s land and destroyed everything around them. In the process, they would also kill many members of the tribe, including Connor’s mother. It is unclear whether she died via Templar combat or through the fires which resulted shortly after the initial invasion. Fires were either set by Templar forces of George Washington’s men, according to Haytham later in the game.
After the death of his mother, a burning hatred began within Connor. He saw the deaths of Templars and their leaders, especially Charles Lee, as his life’s mission.
Joining the Creed
Throughout the years following his mother’s death, the player sees how Connor transforms from a small and scared child into something different, a fully grown man skilled in combat, hunting, and many other art forms such as parkour, the essentials for anyone wishing to become an assassin really.
During this time, Connor was raised by a tribal elder named Oiá:ner. Not only was this woman the leader of the Mohawk tribe, but she was also known as the keeper of the artifacts found within the First Civilization temple, and therefore she had connections with the Creed.
Due to these connections and the love she felt for Connor, she would eventually realize that the hatred her adoptive child held in his heart would simply not vanish overnight. I think she believed that in order for Connor to find happiness or peace in life, he would have to learn how to redirect this hatred into something helpful to her people and those oppressed throughout the new world. So, without many options available to her, she advised that Connor should go out and seek the Creed, an order that would help him protect himself and his tribe’s land and right the wrongs of the past.
After this, Connor went out searching for the Creed in the hopes that he would find someone willing to indoctrinate him into the ancient order; however, this was more difficult a task than he originally perceived. Connor would eventually find that the same Templars who killed his mother and destroyed his village had also made their way through the assassins operating in the colonies, effectively wiping them all out.
Eventually, though, Connor would find one man and Creed member still alive, the Master Assassin Achilles Davenport. After meeting this soon-to-be mentor, Connor would effectively put his old tribal upbringing behind him, changing his name to the more commonplace name Connor instead of Ratonhnhaké:ton.
After a bit of persuading, Connor would eventually persuade the now elderly former leader of the colonial branch of the Creed into mentoring him in the ancient order of assassins. A mentorship that would build a bond between the pair, something akin to a father and son relationship.
– Connor grew up believing that Charles Lee had not only attacked the Mohawk people but also set fire to their land. However, this fire was actually set by General Washington.
– After his mother’s death, Connor was adopted and raised by Oiá:ner, the leader of the Mohawk tribe.
– Oiá:ner directed Connor into joining the Creed once he reached a suitable age. He eventually found a mentor in Achilles Davenport.
Connor within the Creed
Once Connor is accepted as the pupil of Achilles Davenport, his journey into joining the Creed begins. During his time with Achilles, he would learn everything there was to know about operating as a member of the Creed and their values and fighting styles.
The Boston Massacre
During the opening stages of Connor’s training, he and Achilles travel into the nearby city of Boston in order to gather some supplies. There, they witness a brewing riot between the locals and some British soldiers. Eventually, the young assassin spots Haytham Kenway and asks Achilles whether the man is his father. Achilles, of course, confirms this but tasks Connor with monitoring the situation regardless of his father’s presence.
Despite his deep desire to follow Haytham, Connor follows his masters’ orders and uses his Creed training to survey some of the other Templar agents in the area. Eventually, this leads him to find Charles Lee brandishing a pistol atop a nearby rooftop. Eventually, when the mob of locals begins to calm down a little under the British soldiers’ rifles, Lee fires his pistol, intentionally startling the British troops and resulting in a massacre.
Soon after this, Haytham spots Connor and points him out to one of his soldiers as a possible perpetrator, sending hordes of armed men unknowingly towards his own son. The subsequent escape and evasion mission alongside a tutorial to remove your warranty occurs much like in every AC game of this era.
After the escape, Conn0r, helped by Samuel Adams, manages to leave the city safely and return to the Davenport Homestead. Here, Achilles seems to fully acknowledge Conn0r as a brotherhood member by gifting him his own hidden blade.
Building A Community
After returning from Boston, a couple of incidents occur near the Davenport Homestead, which Connor must use his assassin skills to resolve. These missions are little more than advanced tutorials, but they are still fun and interesting.
The first of these missions involves Connor finding Godfrey and Terry in a spot of bother, with one of them floating away down the nearby river due to some unfortunate accident. After saving both men, Connor gives them his approval to settle on Davenport property, eventually building a lumber mill.
Secondly, a man named Lance O’Donnell comes in need of Connor’s services as he is attacked on the road by some bandits. Connor once again uses his training to save the man and his family, resulting in them settling on the Davenport land. Not only do these missions allow the player access to trading partners in the game, but it also displays to Connor how he can use his training to help people and make the world a better place, not just for revenge.
– These missions help to teach the player about some of the core mechanics in the game. These include trading, sailing, treasure hunts, and much more.
– Haytham orders his men to shoot at Connor during the Boston Massacre; he does this without knowing Connor’s true identity.
– Achilles left Connor in Boston during the riots as an intense form of training in order to see if he truly had what it takes to be an assassin.
Connor’s Part in the American Revolution
Connor does not actually stand on one side of the American Revolution for the most part. Instead, he simply operates on the side of good, helping the innocent and punishing the weak, no matter what color of flag they wave. This is possibly due to his dual nature from birth and his lack of belonging to anywhere or nation due to his mixed bloodline. His other status from early childhood, thus giving him a different perspective on his world.
The Boston Tea Party
One of the more fun elements of this game is Connor’s blatant insertion into famous historical events. This allows the player to feel a part of something they have likely heard about their whole life, but it also allows the developers to base their in-game world and lore on real history. One such insertion I particularly enjoy is Connor’s part in the Boston Tea Party.
At first, Connor has no interest in the event, which would later become the Tea Party incident. However, as he moved back towards Boston, hoping to find William Johnson, the most recent man endeavoring to steal Mohawk land from her people, he met with Samuel Adams again. During their brief conversation, Adams told Connor that he would help him find this man, Johnson, in exchange for helping him damage Johnson’s tea extortion racket down at Boston Harbor. Of course, Connor begrudgingly accepts.
During the events of the Tea Party, Connor would not only dump Johnson’s latest shipment of tea in the river, but he would also protect the Sons of Liberty from harm and recruit three apprentice assassins into his ranks.
This experience would deeply change Connor as it opened his eyes to the ongoing Templar oppression in the colonies and influenced the young assassin to help out those in need.
Soon after the Tea Party, Connor would eventually track down Johnson as he tried taking Mohawk land by force. As expected, Connor assassinated Johnson in order to protect his people.
The revolutionary storyline continues nearly a year later as Connor receives word that a man named Paul Revere may need his help. At first, Connor did not want to help, seeing himself as something apart from the revolutionary movement. However, after Achilles pointed out that the letter mentioned a Templar soldier, John Pitcairn, he eventually acquiesced.
Sooner rather than later, Connor would find that Pitcairn was nowhere to be found. However, he did take part in Revere’s famous ride to warn the citizens of Lexington and Concord that the British were indeed coming.
The Battle for Bunker Hill
The developers of this game really seem to enjoy this alternate history angle, don’t they? Yes, once again, Connor is inserted in a famous event from the revolutionary war, this time the battle for Bunker Hill.
During this battle, Connor decides that the best way to win the fight and see his own ends met is to assassinate John Pitcairn. This motivation would see Connor infiltrating Pitcairn’s camp and killing him with his hidden blade, only to hear Pitcairn explain away his evil deeds as something heroic. After this kill, Connor loots his body, finding a letter detailing a plan to kill George Washington.
An Assassin in Chains
Connor’s next mission was now clear; even though he did not, particularly like Washington or his past actions, he accepted that Washington was the only man to bring peace to the colonies. Because of this, he began to move and chase after the man who was designated to kill the General, Thomas Hickey.
Eventually, the assassin would track down Hickey and eventually chase after him as he fled. Not too long into this chase, the pair would be confronted by a set of guards. These guards would not only knock Connor out, but they would also throw him into prison, thinking he was part of the plot against the General.
The Templars would eventually come out of hiding and free Hickey from his cell, framing Connor for the attempt on General Washington in the process. This would, therefore, eventually lead to Connor facing execution via hanging. This hanging, however, was not allowed to take place as when Charles Lee began addressing the public, informing them of Connor’s supposed guilt, the player noticed their assassin apprentices slowly making their way through the crowd.
Becoming aware of their presence, Connor gave the signal to Achilles to cut his rope just as the trap door beneath his feet opened. The sheer chaos ensued, allowing his mentor enough time to hand Connor his tomahawk.
Once Connor gained his freedom of motion, he ran towards Washington as he spotted Hickey making a last-ditch attempt on the General’s life. Of course, Connor saves Washington and is subsequently cleared of all charges against the man.
After this, Connor continues to find himself working for the American Revolution and subsequently helps bring the United States of America into being, even being present for the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
– Connor is inserted into countless key events in the American Civil War. Often acting as the deciding factor in these battles.
– It is actually Connor who throws the last box of tea into the river during the Boston Tea Party.
– Routinely throughout the mid-game portion of AC3, Connor recruits assassin apprentices in the same manner previously seen in AC Brotherhood.
Connor’s Dichotomy and Resolution
Connor and Haytham
As mentioned previously, Connor, throughout this game, is incredibly conflicted about his place in the world as not only a member of the Creed but the son of a Templar master. This conflict within Connor’s personality and bloodline show itself time and time again as he strives for a Templar and Creed alliance via bonding with his father, Haytham.
Throughout the game’s main plotline, we can see how Connor rationalizes his father’s actions whilst still coming to hate the Templars, seemingly blaming Charles Lee for everything he disagrees with and forgetting his father’s role in the whole thing.
Eventually, though, Connor is forced into a situation wherein he can no longer accept his father’s actions. This occurs as the player attempts to finally hunt down and kill Charles Lee, who is hiding out in Fort George at this stage in the plot. Therefore, the player battles or sneaks their way into the fort in order to end the Templar’s plans altogether and finally get revenge for his mother.
Everything seems to go to plan up until Connor makes it to Lee’s room, inside which he is nowhere to be found. Instead, Connor is confronted by his father. During their conversation, Connor realizes that his father is too far gone, and his ideology will only bring about pain and suffering for those who in any way oppose the Templars. Soon after accepting this, Connor is forced to kill Haytham, thus displaying how Connor now values the Creed above all else.
Journey to the End
Soon after this, the game’s arch antagonist, Charles Lee, falls to the hidden blade of Ratonhnhaké:ton. This allows Connor to retrieve the key that Haytham gave him, and this key subsequently opens the door to the First Civilization temple located on the Mohawk reservation.
Connor finds nothing but a glowing sphere (a piece of Eden) upon entering the temple. Soon after picking this sphere up, he is confronted by Juno, who instructs him to hide the sphere and the key to its location. Connor subsequently hid the key in the grave of Connor Davenport, Achilles’ son. Of course, Desmond and his team see all this through the Animus, and thus they are able to find the key as they hoped.
– Connor is eventually forced to kill his own father as his ideology and will to control the colonies were too far gone.
– When Lee is assassinated, Connor finds the key to the First Civilization temple on his body.
– Desmond and his team are able to find the key to the temple centuries later due to the power of the Animus.
Weapons and Skills
As a member of the Creed, Connor carries a multitude of weapons in his arsenal and several fighting styles/techniques that make him unique in the AC universe.
As with all other assassins before and since Connor, he had an amazing ability to use his environment to his advantage, finding it incredibly easy to scale buildings and other structures at will. Connor was, however, the first-ever playable AC character to be able to climb environmental objects such as trees and their branches. This plays well with a character raised in a wilderness environment.
Connor was also the first playable character to allow players to duel-wield certain weapon combinations. This meant that the player was no longer limited in the same way as previous assassins.
It is pretty common for unique and personal weapons to be included in AC games at this point. However, it was pretty groundbreaking by the time AC 3 came out. Once again, in keeping with Connor’s native upbringing, the young assassin in this game not only comes equipped with the famous hidden blade but also with a tomahawk and a bow. Connor also has the ability to string up enemies over the limbs of trees and certain buildings via the use of rope darts. Lastly, Connor can use a flintlock pistol throughout the title.
Alongside all of these changes, Connor essentially fights in the same way as assassins before him, mostly fighting behind blocks and counters as well as guard breaks when necessary. The game also includes harder enemies requiring Connor to either attack or dodge when necessary and stealing their weapons via hand-to-hand counters.
So, there you have it, a complete and detailed guide to Connor Kenway (Ratonhnhaké:ton), the protagonist of Assassin’s Creed 3. Hopefully, throughout this guide, you have gathered a deeper and more complex understanding of Connor and the decisions he makes throughout the game as well as what they represent to him as a character.
He is easily one of my favorite viewpoint characters within the AC universe, and therefore I hope this guide inspires you to take another look at his journey. Have fun out there!
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What does Conner Kenway fight for?
Answer: Conner is shown to ultimately take the revolutionaries’ side during this conflict. However, he is generally known for operating on the side of good against the evil Templar forces within the colonies at this time.
Question: Did Conner Kenway have a child?
Answer: For the bloodline which Desmond now carries to continue, Conner must have had a child. We can gather that he had a daughter named Io:nhiòte.
Question: Is Conner a good assassin?
Answer: Conner seems to be one of the best assassins the Creed has ever seen with his adoption of more modern equipment and mastery over several different fighting styles.
Question: How old was Achilles in AC 3?
Answer: Even though Achilles may seem very old in this game, he can be no older than 60 according to his birth year of 1710.
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