For the Movie Universe counterpart, please see The Kurgan (movie)
The Kurgan (Russian: Курган) was a powerful Immortal, and was once a contender to win The Prize. Throughout his life, he caused much destruction and chaos, killing, raping, and thieving. He took the heads of many Immortals throughout his three thousand years of life, until his death at the hands of Connor MacLeod in 1985.
Early Life and First DeathEditThe Kurgan, originally named Vitor, was born in the land that would eventually be called Russia, on the border of the Caspian Sea. When he was a child, Vitor was swept away from his family in a powerful flood. He awoke some time afterward, and was taken into a tribe of the Kurgan people, specifically the family of Grig and his wife Ura. Despite his wife's protests, Grig worked Vitor very hard, and didn't want to accept him into his family, though his wife, Ura, protested his treatment of the boy. Eventually, Grig, sick of Vitor's existence, tossed the child into a pit with a starved dog. Vitor was able to kill the dog and survive. Vitor nearly died in 970 B.C., when Grig smashed his head with a rock. Upon awakening, Vitor put a searing hot stone in Grig's mouth while he was sleeping, killing him. He then told Ura that a bear killed Grig. 
Travels and QuickeningsEdit
At the age of twelve, The Kurgan left home to join bandits preying on caravans crossing the steppes between India and the Mediterranean. As a young man, he experienced his first of "many deaths," becoming an Immortal. Eventually, he encountered another Immortal known as The Bedouin, who explained to him his true nature as an Immortal. The Bedouin became his master and his only friend, teaching him the ways of The Game.
The Kurgan eventually took his mentor's head, and claimed his scimitar as his own, but by doing so inherited The Bedouin's gift for visions. It was then he would begin experiencing visions of a Scotsman who would one day kill him.
In 615 B.C., after taking the head of another Immortal, The Kurgan met Kronos, Silas, and Caspian, known as the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. They offered the Kurgan a position as the new fourth Horseman, after the desertion of their former fourth member. The Kurgan refused, and challenged them to a fight, thinking they would fight him one-on-one. The three, however, attacked him at once, and The Kurgan was defeated. After Kronos lodged a sword in his chest, the Horsemen left, stating that The Kurgan was too pathetic to kill. His defeat simply strengthened his determination to both find a better blade, and to become a better warrior.
In 479 B.C., allying himself with the Persians as part of a special fighting unit, The Kurgan took part in the Battle of Plataea in ancient Greece. During the battle, he faced off with an Immortal Spartan warrior who wielded a one of a kind katana made by the legendary master Japanese swordsmith Masamune. The blade, being technology ahead of its time, was strong enough to shatter The Kurgan's blade. He escaped by falling down a cliff, and was borne away by the flow of the battle. From this experience, The Kurgan learned the value of steel and a well-crafted blade. He later learned the Spartan warrior's name, Tak Ne.
Around A.D. 410, The Kurgan joined the Vandals, Goths, and Visigoths in attacking Rome and other Roman settlements, also fighting with the Goths against the Huns. He would later ally himself with the Huns directly, fighting alongside Attila, around A.D. 453. From the fifth to thirteenth centuries, The Kurgan would spread terror alongside the Tartars of the Gobi and ancient Turkey, as well as with Viking raiders and the Mongol horde of Genghis Khan. While with the Mongol horde, he fought alongside fellow Immortal Kane, with a mutual respect developing between the two powerful Immortals. Eventually, in the year 1226, The Kurgan decided to once again return to The Game, and recommended Kane for command of Genghis Khan's armies, a gesture which honored the other Immortal.
Over the next three centuries, the Kurgan would challenge and take the heads of many Immortal foes. In 1269, The Kurgan had a custom-made broadsword constructed for him while traveling through the British isles. The blade could be disassembled and hidden in a case.
In 1275, he encountered Tak Ne again, in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. By now, the Spartan warrior had taken on the name of Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez. The two fought yet another duel as The Kurgan asked Ramirez about the mysterious Scotsman, only for Ramirez to deny any of it, and quickly jump into a nearby body of water, ending the fight.
From 1453 to 1535, The Kurgan stayed in Moscow. While there in 1472, he took the head of Ivan Trotski. In 1525, The Kurgan encountered the Immortal Stosch Basalok (Osta Vasilek), who barely escaped with his head intact.
First Encounter with Connor MacLeodEdit
In 1536, the Kurgan faced off with The Mongol after a large battle in which they were the only two men still standing. The Kurgan defeated the Mongol and took his head while on horseback. In search of further victims, he traveled to Scotland and became aware of latent Immortal Connor MacLeod. He allied with Clan Fraser, an enemy of the MacLeods, on the condition that no one was to go after Connor, save for him. During a battle between the MacLeods and Frasers, The Kurgan targeted Connor. Before Connor could defend himself, he was run through by The Kurgan's broadsword. However, Connor's cousins Angus and Dougal (along with other members of his clan) beat back The Kurgan, rescuing Connor from certain beheading.
Over the next six years, The Kurgan tried to track down MacLeod. In 1542, The Kurgan was able to trace Connor to Glencoe. After breaking down the door of the Highlander's home, he found Ramirez inside, not realizing that MacLeod was gone for the day. The Kurgan charged at Ramirez, but made a near-fatal miscalculation when he raised his sword for a savage overhead strike. Ramírez responded with a counter-attack that sliced The Kurgan's throat wide open, leaving him scarred, and permanently damaging his voice.
The Kurgan hammered at Ramírez, and within seconds, the entire building began to crumble around them. In the chaos, The Kurgan finally cornered his enemy, forcing Ramírez up a broken flight of stairs. After stabbing him in the back, The Kurgan asked Ramirez if he had any final words. After Ramirez spat in his face, The Kurgan took Ramirez's head and Quickening. MacLeod's mortal wife, Heather, witnessed the Quickening. As a final act of spite, The Kurgan, thinking she was with Ramirez, raped her. The Kurgan would remain in the Scottish Highlands until 1610.
From 1611 to 1619, The Kurgan settled in Milan, Italy. In 1640, he again encountered the Immortal Iman Fasil. In 1663, he beheaded the Immortal Flavio Parrochi. From 1700 to 1755, The Kurgan was in Northern Africa. In 1750, he encountered the Immortal Sunda Kastagir, who was also a friend of Connor MacLeod.
After these events, The Kurgan would return to his native Russia, pillaging alongside the Cossacks near the end of the nineteenth century.[Source Needed]
In 1963, The Kurgan entered into a partnership with the Soviet government in his original homeland of Russia. Under the command of Prime Minister Khruschev, The Kurgan oversaw the military training of Temnotiye, a group of genetically-engineered super-soldiers. He worked with Arman Volkov, the creator of the Temnotiye.
In 1964, Connor MacLeod, along with fellow Immortals Tasya Desny and Paul Furio, secretly entered The Kurgan's base of operations in East Berlin. The Kurgan commanded the Temnotiye, now under his control, to attack the trio. The three Immortals were able to hold their own, until the base was destroyed by Volkov, who took the opportunity to defect and leave The Kurgan and the super-soldiers. The remaining Temnotiye sided with The Kurgan and traveled to Siberia, but not before killing Volkov's daughter and wife. Connor stowed away on the plane to Siberia and challenged The Kurgan. When it seemed as though The Kurgan was about to take MacLeod's head, Connor lunged at him, forcing them out of the plane. The two continued to fight in the air until falling in a factory. They fought evenly, until The Kurgan stabbed Connor in the back. As The Kurgan drew his sword back in order to take MacLeod's head, Volkov fired a laser cannon at The Kurgan, blasting him out a window. The disloyal Temnotiye were quickly stopped by Soviet officials.
In 1985, The Kurgan, now going by the alias of Victor Kruger, went to New Jersey to track down the Immortal Osta Vazilek and take his head. Two days later, he heard the news of Iman Fasil's death in Madison Square Garden over the radio. Suspecting Connor MacLeod of killing Fasil, The Kurgan proceeded immediately to Manhattan. He then fought and took the head of the Korean Immortal Yung Dol Kim. The Kurgan later met up with Connor, who did not have his sword on him, and proceeded to fight him. The battle was interrupted when a police helicopter caught them, forcing The Kurgan to flee. The Kurgan then went after Kastagir, whom he fought and defeated in an alley. As they fought, a vigilante spectator witnessed the fight and the ensuing Quickening. The witness gave a description of The Kurgan to the police. The Kurgan was forced to flee the scene by stealing a nearby car.
As a "disguise," The Kurgan shaved his head except for a warriors' braid and adorned the scar on his neck with crude piercings, making him look like a stereotypical street punk or gang member. He met MacLeod on Holy Ground, taunting the Highlander. When he casually revealed that he had raped Heather, Connor nearly attacked The Kurgan in church. Before leaving, Connor made it clear that the next time they met would be their last.
In an effort to gain an edge and throw Connor's concentration off, The Kurgan kidnapped MacLeod's current girlfriend, forensics expert Brenda Wyatt, and raced to the abandoned Silvercup building. On the way, he drove down the wrong side of the highway, played chicken, and ran over pedestrians, all the while gleefully singing "New York, New York." Connor returned to his loft to find a message left for him by The Kurgan. It was a final challenge, with the added threat that if Connor didn't arrive soon, he would torture Brenda to keep himself amused.
MacLeod followed the Kurgan's trail of destruction, where he and The Kurgan faced each other in deadly combat with Brenda's life at stake. Seemingly wild with excitement, The Kurgan destroyed everything in his path. Then, without warning, the two warriors crashed through a skylight and landed inside the derelict building. The Kurgan was the first to recover, batting MacLeod's sword away and readying his blade for the final strike. Brenda came up from behind, bashing The Kurgan over the head with a pipe. The distraction gave Connor the time needed to recover his sword and gather his composure. MacLeod's calm, maturity, and skill all proved to be superior to The Kurgan's brute strength and rage. After one final strike and seemingly endless silence, The Kurgan's head finally fell from his neck. The Highlander was victorious.
LegacyEditMoments after The Kurgan's death, Connor MacLeod took The Kurgan's energy and Quickening. While undergoing the Quickening, The Kurgan's spirit appeared in Connor's mind. He showed Connor many events in his life, such as his childhood, his First Death, and his encounter with the Horsemen, among many other things. Even after his death, The Kurgan's influence would continue to be felt for some time to come, both externally and internally. In 1986, the Temnotiye resurfaced, forcing Connor, Tasya, Paul Furio, and Volkov to face them once more. With The Kurgan dead, the Temnotiye had planned on eradicating as many Immortals as possible. They were now lead by Tasya herself, who wanted to follow in The Kurgan's footsteps and use the Temnotiye to become the One. While Paul was killed by Tasya, Connor and Volkov successfully destroyed the remaining Temnotiye, with MacLeod taking Tasya's head and Quickening.
In 1987, Connor began to realize the he had experienced a Dark Quickening after taking The Kurgan's head. The Kurgan's spirit began to take over Connor, resulting in the deaths of Immortal Catherine Curtis and another unidentified Immortal. After realizing he was dangerously out of control, Connor asked his kinsman Duncan MacLeod to aid him. Before much could be done, Connor was tranquilized, imprisoned, and tortured by Immortal Gordon Byrne, who wanted to see how strong Connor's Dark Quickening had made him. As he was being tortured, Connor's darkness grew until Byrne released him, intending for Connor to kill Duncan.
Duncan was able to tranquilize Connor and put him in the care of his friend, Hugh Fitzcairn, on Holy Ground. Alone, Connor was forced to face The Kurgan inside his mind. The Kurgan taunted Connor, and told him that he was bound to stay evil. Despite this, Connor was able realize who he was again. With Connor's spirit in control again, he was able to purge The Kurgan finally putting an end to him.In 1993, Watcher Joe Dawson showed a file on The Kurgan to Duncan MacLeod. While much of the information is wrong, notably the date of The Kurgan’s First Death, it did list a few of his other victims, including Ivan Trotski and Flavio Parocchi. According to Dawson, Connor MacLeod did the world "a big favor" by killing The Kurgan.
Resurrection and Final DeathEdit
In 2008, Duncan MacLeod fought Immortal Justino Alberez, and accidentally killed him on Holy Ground. The act caused many deceased Immortals to return to life, including The Kurgan. However, among the revived Immortals was Connor MacLeod, who had died several years earlier. Connor offered The Kurgan his head, and caused The Kurgan to go through a Light Quickening. With The Kurgan in a pure mindset, Duncan was able to take The Kurgan's head, killing him once and for all.
The Kurgan was nothing more or less than an cruel, ruthless, megalomaniacal, brutal, and remorseless savage and psychopath in every sense of the word. Everything, to him, was to be used or destroyed in order to reach his goals. His thuggery was matched only by the sadistic amusement he displayed against his opponents. While Connor was described as being "afraid to live," and resenting the isolation his Immortality has brought him. The Kurgan loved every bit of his Immortality.
He constantly displayed an insatiable passion for life, and was hedonistic. He particularly enjoyed inciting fear and panic, as exhibited in the Quickening he took from Sunda Kastagir. He appeared to somehow suspend the quickening power while attracting a small crowd, then deliberately unleashing the destructive effect around the crowd like a bomb.
While he respected the rules of Holy Ground, he was not above random acts of desecration. He would snuff out remembrance candles, and taunt priests and nuns. He often disregarded the Immortal custom of keeping their battles secret, would attack Immortals and their mortal friends simultaneously. Though determined to kill MacLeod and take the prize for himself, The Kurgan seemed to enjoy the battle rather than the victories. Even when defeated by Connor, he actually smiled moments before losing his head.
The Kurgan fought with an emphasis on strength and brute striking-power, usually attempting to end the fight before it began with a single surprise attack. He would stalk his opponents methodically until he was ready. Then, he would attack without even so much as a challenge. He used a special two-handed broadsword, which he eventually supplemented with a detailed replica that could be disassembled and packed away as needed for practice in situations where the original could not be smuggled in and had to remain hidden, usually in his vehicle.
That the two blades are not seen together does not undermine the logic and resourcefulness of having a practice blade, that while not strong enough to last very long in combat, would give The Kurgan time to get to the original. It also recognizes the cunning and survival instincts of The Kurgan, adapting to the need for discretion in modern times while keeping his skills at their peak.
While assembling his practice sword in New York City, he performed impressive flourishes with the sword, as well as methodical slashes and strikes. This would imply that while The Kurgan was capable of much more skillful and graceful fighting, he intentionally chose a brute-strength approach. He likely did it to draw amusement from the brutality and the fear and anguish of his victims.
There is one called Connor among them. Remember our agreement Murdoc; the boy is mine.
I have something to say...it's better to burn out than to fade away!
Behind the ScenesEditThe Kurgan was originally called "The Knight" in the first draft of the original movie (written by Gregory Widen), and was more of a cold-blooded killer than a savage. Clancy Brown nearly turned down the role of The Kurgan, concerned that his allergy to makeup would prevent him from wearing the prosthetic required late in the film.
The Kurgan in The GameEdit
The Kurgan was one of the most powerful Immortals, killing his opponents like a savage. A partial list of The Kurgan's known Quickenings:
- The Bedouin, Unknown B.C. (Highlander novelization, Highlander Origins: Kurgan)
- Unnamed Male Immortal, 615 B.C. (Highlander Origins: Kurgan)
- Unnamed Female Immortal, ??? (Kurgan Rising)
- Ivan Trotski, A.D. 1472 ("The Watchers")
- The Mongal, 1535 (Highlander novelization)
- Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez, 1542 (Highlander)
- Flavio Parrochi, 1663 ("The Watchers")
- Stosch Basalok, 1985 ("The Watchers")
- Osta Vazilek, 1985 (Highlander)
- Yung Dol Kim, 1985 (Highlander) (Deleted Scene)
- Sunda Kastagir, 1985 (Highlander)
In the German dub of the movie, "The Kurgan" was simply called "Kurgan" only, which was in this case more a name than a designation, contrary to the English original.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Highlander (the Book)
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Highlander
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Highlander Origins: Kurgan #1
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Highlander Origins: Kurgan #2
- ↑ Highlander: Way Of The Sword #3
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 The Watchers
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Highlander #1
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Highlander #2
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Highlander #3
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Highlander #4
- ↑ Highlander (Deleted Scene)
- ↑ Highlander #0
- ↑ Highlander #6
- ↑ Highlander #7
- ↑ Highlander #8
- ↑ Highlander #9
- ↑ Kurgan Rising