The trend of assassins over the last half decade has been to make them more flashy than wise, which is a shame as Assassin’s Creed originally started out with the protagonist, Altair, deep in wisdom.
He remains the wisest protagonist in the series, and his legend is such that assassins almost a thousand years after Altair’s death still held him in high regard. Even we can learn a thing or two from Altair, as his sayings were far reaching enough for us to apply in real life too. With that in mind, here are 10 of Altair’s wisest quotes.
10 "You held fire in your hand, old man. It should have been destroyed."
Altair was a rash and arrogant man by 1191, and would take matters into his own hands due to his ego at being a very talented assassin at the age of 26. However, he was never power hungry.
Instead of being allured by the power of the Apple of Eden he saw in Al Mualim’s hands, Altair understood the dangers it possessed to mankind at large. He had the Apple with him till the moment of his death, but Altair never succumbed to its temptations, knowing power needed to be understood, not abused.
9 "I long for the day when men will turn away from invisible monsters and once more embrace a more rational view of the world."
Altair would have found himself at home in the modern day where having atheist beliefs is all the rage, but he wasn’t one to denounce gods. Instead, Altair only wanted people to have a rational mind rather than blaming problems on imaginary things.
Having a logical point of view when viewing a situation would clear up much of the world’s issues. If one were to adopt Altair’s thinking, then there would not have been disputes comprising of “he said/she said” arguments.
8 "You told me all would be made clear when I no longer needed to ask. So I will not ask. I demand you tell me what binds these men!"
Altair was a man who didn’t mess around. Unlike someone like Ezio, who had a good way with words and could talk his way into things, Altair was very direct in his approach. He bitterly went along with Al Mualim’s half-truths due to necessity, but when push came to shove, Altair’s general personality flowed.
It did the job too, as Altair understood that his sedate approach was taking him nowhere, and he would have to put his foot down despite an incoming battle headed his way.
7 "There is no greater glory than fighting to find the truth."
Having no desire for something like a family, it was only a bonus for Altair that he did fall in love with Maria Thorpe and had children. But it was still relatively secondary for Altair, as he dedicated his entire life into studying the Apple of Eden and battling to reclaim Masyaf.
In his final moments, he confessed to his son that he had spent most of his life over a cause that made no difference in the end as the fight between Templars and Assassins was still as brutal as ever. However, Altair had no regrets, as he accepted that the greatest glory lied in fighting for the truth.
6 "Speak sense, Templar, or not at all."
We mentioned how Altair was a straightforward guy who had no time for dilly dallying, and here is a great example to illustrate that point. The Templars are notorious for monologuing, with these guys not missing a beat even when they’re dying. While Altair was respectful of those about to pass away, he wasn’t so open to pointless conversations with the living.
Here, you get the sense that Altair wasn’t sparing any time for idle chatting and wanted to get the business done with. The actuality is that Altair was threatening the Templar that, should he not get to the point, then Altair would be preventing the Templar from ever speaking again.
5 "How could I regret the only life I've ever known?"
Weirdly enough, it was the younger Altair who was wiser than the Altair from a couple years later. At the young age of 24, it was Altair who taught Al Mualim a thing or two by showing him what compassion was about.
Seeing that the assassin was displaying attributes the creed wasn’t particularly known for, Al Mualim inquired upon Altair whether he was having doubts this life was for him. Altair’s response was a simple one: he couldn’t regret how he lived, because it was the only one he knew.
4 "Only Where I Need Begin."
The first Assassin’s Creed is rather poor, with all the potential it had being lost due to awful presentation. One of the saving graces was the dialogue exchanges, and while these also lost their impact due to terrible camera angles, the delivery by the characters was at least great.
We found out all there was to know about Altair’s character in a few simple words, as Al Mualim had a long list of requirements and names Altair had to carry out. Altair's response to whether he had questions was a simple inquiry as to where he had to begin. From Altair’s point of view, he had already won.
3 "Men must be free to do what they believe. It is not our right to punish one for thinking what they do, no matter how much we disagree."
You know what? These words actually apply more today than back then. That’s because the society of today always attacks someone for not conforming with their beliefs, rather than accepting that a person doesn’t have to be like others.
In the context of Assassin’s Creed, this quote proved Altair understood what the Assassin ideology was. Although humans seemed to be destined for failure, it was still nobody’s right to control civilization. Should someone fail, it is their responsibility to deal with the consequences and that this is something the Templars don’t understand.
2 "Only a mind free of impediment is capable of grasping the chaotic beauty of the world. This is our greatest asset."
There’s something fitting, but sad about this quote. It shows that grasping reality isn’t that hard at all, but we just don’t have the capacity of thinking that way. The Templars’ outlook over the world is too negative, as they focus upon the uncertainty that comes with humanity and seek to bring order to it by forcefully controlling people.
Altair realized that this technique only made a person a kind of mindless dummy, as the chaotic nature of reality was one that only a free mind could understand. Still, it was easier said than done, as there’s nobody out there who doesn’t have a hindrance clouding their mind.
1 "...you'll be safe now. Held in the arms of your God."
Altair might not have been religious, but he carried immense respect for those who did have faith. This actually makes him a role model for atheists, as it illustrates that, even though you don’t believe what people of faith believe in, it doesn’t give you the right to think you’re better than him.
After killing his target, Altair encouraged his enemy to embrace the blanket of death, since it was a welcoming embrace from the god the man believed in. He didn’t believe it himself, but had the compassion to let a dying man go in peace with his beliefs rather than Altair’s lack of faith.