- "... false stories of glory, conduct of so-called valor that were really deeds of shame, tales of so-called honor that were in truth histories of disgrace, codes of loyalty that were in fact schemes of hatred and vengeance. Yes, that is what Nyra taught me."
- ―Coryn, The Outcast, page 56
|Species:||Barn Owl (Tyto alba)|
Blythe, Sebastiana and Bell
|Appears in:||The Siege, The Shattering, The Burning, The Hatchling, The Outcast, The Golden Tree, The River of Wind, Exile, The War of the Ember|
|Appears in:||Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole|
|Mate of Kludd in the books; mate of Metal Beak in the movie; queen of the Pure Ones, killed in molten lava|
Nyra was a female Barn Owl (Tyto alba) and a Pure One general. She was the mate of Kludd/Metal Beak. Nyra is the secondary antagonist of the first half of the series (books 4-6) and the main antagonist of the entire second half (books 7-15). She is the secondary antagonist of the film. In the books, she commands the Pure Ones after Kludd dies, and insists on being called General Mam.
Before the Books
Little is known about Nyra's past, except that she hatched in the Northern Kingdoms on the night of a lunar eclipse, making her part of an ancient lineage of Nyrolian owls.
She was also said to have been named after a Nyra of ancient times who was also born on the night of an eclipse. Legend says that night the moon fell from the sky and rose in the face of a hatchling. The significance of this event was that owls born on that night were bestowed with an enchantment of great power that was either meant for great spirit or pure evil. In Nyra's case, it turned out to be for pure evil.
Eventually she came to the Southern Kingdoms and joined the Pure Ones alongside the former High Tyto. It was during this time that she would by chance meet Kludd while she was out on a recruiting mission. She could tell, even as a nestling, that he would be the perfect candidate for invitation to the ceremonies of the Pure Ones. She had spoken to the High Tyto before concerning Kludd and they agreed to wait until he had learned how to fly. Kludd performed beyond both Nyra and the High Tyto's expectations. Kludd was quite pleased he was required to kill a family member. He chose Soren, his least favorite sibling and only brother.
A year before the events of The Siege, Nyra and Kludd planned the murder of the old High Tyto. Despite half of Kludd's face being torn off, Nyra still held a deep passion for him and became his mate after he ascended to become the new High Tyto, leader of the Pure Ones.
Nyra was present at Kludd's side at Cape Glaux during the Great Massing that was the prelude to the siege of the Great Ga'Hoole Tree. She and Kludd had by this time begun to plan out Soren's death should they find him in the battle. If they managed to achieve victory over the Guardians, Nyra's plan was have a nest full of eggs ready to hatch by spring. She appeared in a dream Soren had in which he imagined himself being caught in one of the air traps. The primary offensive attack of the Pure Ones was scattered and the rest caught in Ga'Hoolian air traps but Kludd and Nyra attacked the far side of the island where the defenses were few because of Nyra's expertise of the winds of the Northern Kingdoms. Despite this invasive force, the Guardians were able to retaliate after a few weeks by digging their way out behind enemy lines and executing a pincer movement. During this time, Nyra managed to kill Strix Struma but not without being scarred by Otulissa; a scar she would be recognized by for the rest of her life. Eventually she found Soren and Martin and engaged them in combat alongside Kludd and Wortmore. She was told by Kludd to flee when Slynella, a flying snake from Ambala entered the fray. By this time, the Pure Ones had retreated and the siege of the Great Ga'Hoole Tree had failed for them.
After the siege, Nyra took part in a plot to infiltrate the Great Ga'Hoole Tree and discover its secrets of higher magnetics. She already had a spy inside the tree named Ginger who had supposedly reformed and joined the Guardians of Ga'Hoole. Through Ginger, she managed to shatter Eglantine by having flecks placed in her nest. Eglantine also began making trips to the Beaks with the belief that mother Marella and father Noctus were still alive through dreams that she had had. She also began to tear information on higher magnetics out of books in the library and brought them to Nyra. However, Nyra's disguise as Marella began to weaken when Eglantine noticed key features that she remembered-her mother not having such as a scar on her face, calling her "darling" and her mentioning Noctus, Kludd, and Soren out hunting together. She was eventually imprisoned with her best friend Primrose who had been captured earlier when she followed Eglantine on one of her visits. It was revealed to the two Ga'Hoolian owls that Nyra was in the possession of an egg of her own known as the Sacred Orb. Eglantine thought to use the egg as a hostage and, along with Primrose, stole the egg which made Nyra go yeep. Immediately after this occurrence, Nyra and the Pure Ones flew in pursuit of the hostage egg. Her forces, the Nyra Annihilators, were then confused by a force of Guardians sent to rescue Eglantine and Primrose. The Guardians performed a peg-out in Krakish and Hoolian that misled the Pure Ones into thinking that the Guardians had divisions of owls at their command. Eventually, only a minor scuffle took place and Eglantine was ordered by Boron to drop the egg. Nyra and her forces eventually retreated to Beyond the Beyond to await Kludd's news concerning the takeover of St. Aggie's.
Despite the loss of the Sacred Orb, Nyra managed to produce another egg. She was already eager to produce a chick with her own blessing, that the chick would become a powerful force for good or evil, the blessing or curse of the Nyrolian owls. To do so she pecked at the egg, causing it hatch early, upon an eclipse, the condition for creating a Nyrolian owl. It was unknown whether she participated in the battle that came to be known as the Burning but afterwards she mourned for the loss of Kludd and watched as her fatherless chick hatch from its egg. She named the chick Nyroc: the traditional male name for a Nyrolian chick.
After Kludd's death, Nyra became the leader of the remnants of the Pure Ones in the canyons of St. Aegolius. There, she raised her son Nyroc to prepare him to become the next leader of the Pure Ones. She filled Nyroc's head with false stories concerning his father's death at the talons of Soren in the hopes that it would fuel his hatred and rage. Despite all her evil intentions, Nyroc had no intention of being like his father after he learned the truth from reading the flames over his father's bones at his Marking. This is attributed to the fact that he received great power for good instead of evil like his mother. He tried to run away with Phillip, but Nyra hired Doc Finebeak to track down her son and was eventually successful at capturing him. Because Nyroc wouldn't kill his friend Phillip, Nyra killed him herself, prompting Nyroc to turn his back on the Pure Ones and his mother forever.
After Nyroc's departure from the Pure Ones, Nyra herself set out to find him. Nyroc, who had renamed himself Coryn, went to save an egg for a family of Burrowing Owls, pretending to be Nyra's hagsfiend to scare away the Pure Ones egg guards. This sparked many rumors amongst the owls of the Southern Kingdoms that Nyra had died and that her scroom was flying around. These all were proven false. Nyra heard that Coryn had been sighted in the Beyond the Beyond. When she heard this news, she decided to disguise herself as a rogue smith. To do this, she would murder the rogue smith of Silverveil. In the past, she had refused to make battle claws for the Pure Ones during The Siege on the Great Ga'Hoole Tree. After a quick scuffle, Nyra brutally shoved the rogue smith of Silverveil into her own fire, sneering that the Guardians preferred their meat roasted and that it would be a surprise for Madame Plonk, her sister. The next phase of her plan was to acquire green eyes from paintings of the Others so she could present them as a gift to the dire wolf clan known as the MacHeaths. Using some of the metal artwork the rogue smith had made and some ashes to disguise herself, she went to where Trader Mags set up shop and bartered with Trader Mags' apprentice, Bubbles. Bubbles gave Nyra the entire collection of green eyes and later was berated by Trader Mags who suspected that something terrible must have happened to the rogue smith of Silverveil. Nyra eventually made her way to Beyond the Beyond and presented the green eyes to Dunleavy MacHeath. She then proceeded to fabricate a story involving King Hoole choosing the MacHeaths and not the MacDuncans to guard the Sacred Ring. With this knowledge, Lord MacHeath offered his allegiance to Nyra and vice versa through the blood oath to kill Coryn, obtain the ember and restore the "honor" of the MacHeaths. Nyra then found Coryn attempting to retrieve the ember and laid in wait until the moment was right to strike. Fortunately she was noticed by Doc Fineback and Uglamore who both had had enough to do with the Pure Ones. Nyra eventually revealed herself and Coryn fled towards a passing wolf inflicted with rabies, intending to lure Nyra into its jaws. Eventually others joined in the effort, forcing Nyra to flee, her plans in ruins.
After reading the legends of Ga'Hoole, the young king Coryn decided to fly around the owl kingdoms searching for any traces of nachtmagen that could have emerged with the return of the Ember of Hoole. It was during this time that Coryn stumbled upon the Book of Kreeth among some of Trader Mags' items. When he and the Band visited the chapel of Trader Mags, she told them she had sold the book to an old Barn Owl soldier with a nick out of his beak. Coryn immediately knew that Nyra had got Stryker, one of her top lieutenants, to get the book which confirmed Coryn's suspicions of his mother being associated with nachtmagen. Indeed, Nyra and the remnants of the Pure Ones had allied themselves with Dunleavy MacHeath and set up operations in the Tunnel of Despair. The tunnel was said to be a place where haggish transformations would occur and coincedentally the location in the caves was also the same place where Kludd had died and where his Final Ceremony had taken place. The dire wolves allied with MacHeath would also undergo transformations into vyrrwolves, the wolves' version of hagsfiends. With Kludd's ashes and the Book of Kreeth in her possession, Nyra intended to transform herself and eventually her son into hagsfiends and claim the ember. However, the Band and Coryn deduced their location and sabotaged their operations. However, Nyra was able to severely wound Twilight and she escaped the fray despite being almost overwhelmed by Coryn and his magen (despite not even having the Ember with him).
Nyra waited for the Striga (Orlando) to go hunting for Bell and when the Striga came back, Nyra and Stryker were standing beside him and took them to a sort of prison. Afterwards, Nyra and the rest flew to the River of Wind after the Striga was forced to tell them about an important thing concerning the River of Wind. Then Primrose and Eglantine found out after sneaking into their hideout, and told Bess, who passed it over to Soren and the others. Thereafter, a battle started and Nyra commanded the Pure Ones to attack. She was also wearing Kludd's mask for battle, which surprised the tree. When the battle ended, the Tree won. Three Pure Ones died and the mask of Kludd was left behind, and it was thought that Nyra had died. Soren went closer and found out that Nyra just left Kludd's mask beside the dead owls' bodies, which concerned the Tree that Nyra was still alive, and planning to strike again.
When the Striga was rousted from the great tree, Coryn had a vision in the flames of two owls in an ice cave: Nyra and the Striga.
Nyra, with her face badly mutilated from the Battle of the Middle Kingdoms after the Striga killed three of her soldiers and wounded her, is now becoming more and more ragged with exposure to nachtmagen, met the Striga in the Ice Narrows a year after he was rousted from the Great Ga'Hoole Tree. She offered him a chance to join the Pure Ones and help her to bring back hagsfiends into the contemporary era. She explained that after the attempt on Coryn's life had failed in the Middle Kingdom, she retreated into the cracks of the Panqua Palace. There, Nyra was able to reignite the old flames of the imprisoned dragon owls that had been extinguished by years of heaped-on luxury and flattery. With these Dragon Owls, Nyra began making preparations for a mass hatching of hagsfiends on the night of a lunar eclipse with smuggled eggs from the Panqua Palace. The eggs would then be guarded and tended by the Dragon Owls in the Ice Cliff Palace until they were ready to hatch. Despite these preparations, Nyra was wary of the Striga and suspicious of his motives. From the start, Nyra knew that the Striga, despite claiming they had common ancestry as hagsfiends, could ultimately prove to be an enemy. Nyra also commenced the recruitment of forces of Pure Ones for the upcoming war in the Beyond, where the Ember of Hoole was said to have been taken. Nyra and the Striga met up with the Pure Ones in the Beyond on the second front of the War of the Ember, the first being in the Northern Kingdoms involving the Dire Wolf slink melf whose purpose was to destroy the Dragon Owl broodies and the hagsfiend eggs. Nyra and the Striga attempted to parley with Soren and Coryn but the Guardians refused to surrender. As both armies clashed, Coryn returned the ember to the volcano, H'rathghar, but was followed by Nyra who believed Coryn still had the Ember. Nyra then used the fyngrot against her son triggering her transformation into a hagsfiend. Soren and the Striga immediately came to the aid of their respective leaders and they confronted one another amidst the heat of the volcanoes. Lured by the ember, Nyra became vulnerable and this gave Soren the chance to fling an ice splinter into the hagsfiend's heart. As she died, Nyra blamed Coryn for cheating his own mother, to which Coryn asked why she had the courage to call herself his mother. As Nyra fell, the Striga attempted to save her but Nyra was swallowed up by the rising lava. Nyra, the most tyrannical and haggish owl in Hoolian history, was no more.
In the book and the original illustrations Nyra's appearance is more typical of a normal barn owl. She is not mentioned to have unusually pale feathers, instead the 'moon' part of her is represented in her face, which is said to be larger, whiter and rounder than any other owl's. In her official art her other plumage is of normal colouring. She is mentioned to look quite like Marella by Eglantine, though she was near-Shattered at the time. She has a scar running across her forehead, given to her by Otulissa.
Personality and Traits
Nyra was the typical "stereotype" of villains, and as such, was a cruel owl who dreamed of power. She was proud of her heritage of owls who were born on eclipses. She was also very manipulative and ruthless, though she was not as openly violent as her mate Kludd. Nyra had a special relationship with Kludd; she greatly admired him for his rage and strength, and she seemed to truly love him even after his face was scarred; she thought of him as beautiful to her even after being maimed and she loved him more than his family ever had, and felt that he could do no wrong. When they first met she sensed that he would be perfect for bringing about world she dreamed of, a world ruled by the Pure Ones.
When raising Nyroc, she only saw him as a weapon and heir of the Pure Ones instead of an owlet who needed love and care. She was unfamiliar to the word love and acted uncomfortable when it was used despite her clear love for her mate. She didn't seem to know the difference between right and wrong because, in her beliefs, whatever the Pure Ones were doing was right and all of the Guardians' actions were wrong.
Nyra is an Ancient Greek name, meaning hunter. It could also be of Maori origin.
- Despite leading the Pure Ones, a group consisting of only Tyto Owls, Nyra was part hagsfiend.
- Strangely, in Nyra's artworks in the books, Nyra was shown to have 3 front talons on her left foot, but only two on her right. It can be speculated that she probably lost that one in a battle or an accident or, more likely, that was a drawing error.
- Her personality can be comparable to Zira's from The Lion King II: Simba's Pride and the fact that both were betrayed by their sons.
- In the books, she despises Phillip because he is a Sooty Owl, but in the movie, she's the mate of Metal Beak, who is a Sooty.
- This statement on page 130 in The Siege offers a revealing glimpse into Nyra's convictions: "She had picked him out when he was just a nestling. True, she was older, but what did it matter? She was not that much older. She had been so young when she was with the old High Tyto. She had spotted Kludd on one of their recruiting missions through the Forest Kingdom of Tyto. There was a look in that nestling's eye. She knew he would be perfect. The old High Tyto couldn't last forever. There was no one else except herself who could lead. But they needed more heirs. There must always be always be eggs in a nest. They had to think of the future."
- The phrases "she had been so young when she was with the old High Tyto," "more heirs" as opposed to simply "heirs," and finally, "there must always be eggs in the nest" are perhaps the most important parts of the paragraph. This could indicate that Nyra was conceiving owlets as soon as she was able with the previous High Tyto not because of any emotional attachment, but because it was a fulfillment of her ideological beliefs and also granted her power. She attempted to do so with Kludd as well, though things did not turn out the way she hoped. Being as her ambition was to create and rule a world populated by Tytos, she was quite committed to producing offspring on a regular basis.
"You cheated me... your own mother."
- Nyra's last words to Coryn in The War of the Ember.
- Coryn (Nyroc)
= Gender Unknown