For the Movie Universe counterpart, please see The Kurgan (movie)
The Kurgan was a powerful immortal and was once a contender to win The Prize. Throughout his life, he had caused much destruction and chaos, killing men and raping women. 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 Death
The Kurgan, born under the name of 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 afterwards and was taken under the care of the Kurgan people, Grig and his wife Ura. Despite his wife's protests, Grig worked Vitor very hard but still didn't accept him into his family. Grig, sick of Vitor's existence, tossed Vitor into a pit filled with a starved dog. Vitor was able to kill the dog and, while he was sleeping, put a searing hot stone in Grig's mouth, killing him. He tells his mother that a bear killed his father. 
Travels and Quickenings
At the age of twelve he left home to join bandits preying on caravans crossing the steppes between India and the Mediterranean. At the age of 25, he died the first of "many deaths", and eventually encountered another Immortal known as The Bedouin, who revealed 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.
In 479 BC, 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 sword-smith Masamune. The blade, being centuries 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 learnt the value of steel and a well-crafted blade. He later learned the Spartan warrior's name, Tak Ne.
Around 410 AD, 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 then later ally himself with the Huns directly, fighting along Attila, around 453 AD. 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. He fought alongside fellow Immortal Kane.
Over the next three centuries, the Kurgan would challenge and take the heads of many Immortal foes. In 615 BC, after the head of another Immortal, the Kurgan met Kronos, Silas, and Caspian, who were known as the Four Horsemen. They offered the Kurgan a position as the new Horsemen, after the dismissal of their former fourth member. The Kurgan refused and challenged them to a fight, thinking they would fight him one-on-one. However, the three attacked him at once and the Kurgan was soon defeated. After Kronos lodged a sword into his chest, the Horsemen left, saying that the Kurgan was too pathetic to kill. His dishonorable defeat strengthened his determination to both find a better blade to suit his needs, and to grow further as warrior. In 1269, the Kurgan had a custom made broadsword constructed for him. The blade could be easily disassembled and hidden in a case.
In 1275, he came into contact once more with Tak Ne, who at this point had taken on the name of Ramirez. The two had a quick duel as the Kurgan asked Ramirez about MacLeod, only for Ramirez to deny any of it and quickly jump into the water.
First Encounter with MacLeod
In 1536, the Kurgan faced off with The Mongal after a battle in which they were the only two men standing. The Kurgan defeated the Mongal and took his head. In search of further victims, he traveled to Scotland and became aware of pre-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 charged towards Connor. Before Connor could even strike, 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 once more. In 1542, the Kurgan was able to track down MacLeod's location in Glencoe. When striking down the door of MacLeod's home, he instead found Ramirez inside, not knowing that MacLeod had been gone that 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 began pummeling Ramírez and within seconds, the entire building began to crumble apart around the two combatants. 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 getting spat in the face, the Kurgan took Ramirez's head. In the ensuing chaos, MacLeod's wife, Heather, watched on. As a final act of spite, the Kurgan, thinking her to be Ramirez's woman, raped her and then departed. The Kurgan would remain in the Scottish Highlands until finally leaving in 1610.
More Travels and Quickenings
From 1611 to 1619, the Kurgan settled in Milan, Italy. In 1640, in an unidentified location, he encountered Immortal Iman Fasil. At the year 1663 he beheaded the Immortal Flavio Parrochi. In 1686, the Kurgan had a custom made broadsword constructed for him. The blade could be easily disassembled and hidden in a case.[Source Needed] From 1700 to 1755 the Kurgan was in Northern Africa. In 1750, he encountered Immortal Sunda Kastagir, who was also a good 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 Soviet Union government in his homeland of Russia. Under command of Prime Minister Khrushchev, the Kurgan oversaw the military training of Temnotiye, a group of genetically-engineered super-soldiers. He became partnered 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. He commanded the Temnotiye, now under his control, to attack the trio. They were able to hold their own, until the base was destroyed by Volkov, who was rebelling. The remaining Temnotiye gathered with the Kurgan to Siberia, but not before killing Volkov's daughter and wife. While on the plane to Siberia, Connor snuck in and challenged the Kurgan. When it seemed as though the Kurgan was about to take Connor's head, Connor lunged at him, forcing the both of them out of the plane. The two continued to fight in the air until landing inside a factory. They fought evenly, until the Kurgan stabbed Connor in the back. As the Kurgan swung his sword back in order to take Connor's head once more, Volkov fired a laser cannon at the Kurgan, forcing him out the window and plummeting him down hundreds of feet below. The 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 Immortal Osta Vazilek and take his head. Two days later, he heard the news of Iman Fasil's death in Madison Square Garden over his car radio. Suspecting it to be the work of MacLeod, the Kurgan proceeded immediately to Manhattan, checking into the first fleabag motel he found. He then fought and took the head of Korean Immortal Yung Dol Kim. The Kurgan then 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 run down. After tracking down Kastagir, he fought him in an alleyway and took his head. As they fought, a vigilante spectator witnessed the fight and the ensuing Quickening. The spectator soon gave a description of the Kurgan to the police. The Kurgan was forced to run away from the scene, stealing a nearby car.
As a "disguise", the Kurgan shaved his head except for a cheap warriors' braid. He then adorned the scar on his neck with crude piercings, making him look like a stereotypical street punk or gang member. He appeared before Connor on Holy Ground, taunting the Highlander mercilessly. When the revelation that he had raped Heather came to light, Connor became outraged and came close to attacking him on the spot. Before leaving, Connor made it clear that the next time they'd meet would be their last.
In and effort to gain an edge and throw Connor's concentration off, the Kurgan kidnapped MacLeod's girlfriend, forensic expert Brenda Wyatt, and raced all the way 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 the theme from "New York, New York." Connor would return to his loft to find a message left for him by the Kurgan. It was effectively a final challenge, with the added threat that if Connor didn't arrive soon, he would torture Brenda to keep himself amused.
MacLeod followed them to the site, 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 in a flurry of sparks and flame. 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 calmness, 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.
Moments after the Kurgan's death, Connor took the Kurgan's quickening. While undergoing the Quickening, the Kurgan's spirit appeared in Connor's mind. He showed Connor many events in his life, such his growing up, his first death, his encounter with the Horsemen, among many other things.
Even after his death, the Kurgan's influence would continue to be felt in the world for some time to come, both externally and internally. In 1986, the Temnotiye resurfaced, forcing Connor, Tasya, Paul, 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 Connor taking Tasya's quickening.
In 1987, Connor soon 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 noticing his loss of control becoming more evident, Connor asked his kinsman Duncan MacLeod to aid him. Before much could be done, Connor was tranquillized, imprisoned, and tortured by Immortal Gordon Byrne, who wanted to see how strong Connor's Dark Quickening had become. As he was being tortured, Connor's darkness grew until he was released and forced to attack Duncan.
After a fight, Duncan was able to tranquilize Connor and put him into 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 out his psyche, finally putting an end to the Kurgan.In 1993, Watcher Joe Dawson showed a file on the Kurgan to Duncan MacLeod. The information showing past quickenings, as well as incorrectly giving his year of birth as 1452. According to Dawson, Connor MacLeod did the world "a big favor" by killing the Kurgan.
Resurrection and Final Death
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 the Kurgan once and for all.
Personality and traits
The Kurgan was a savage in every sense of the word. Everything to him was something to be used or destroyed in order to reach his goals. His thuggery was matched only by the sadistic amusement he employed against his opponents. While Conner is described as being "afraid to live" and resents the isolation his immortality has brought him, the Kurgan loved every bit of his immortality. He constantly showed a insatiable passion for life and was hedonistic. He particularly enjoyed inciting fear and panic, as exhibited in the Quickening he took from 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 completely disregarded the Immortal custom of keeping their battles secret, often attacking Immortals and their mortal friends simultaneously. Though determined to kill MacLeod and take the prize for himself, thr Kurgan seemed to enjoy the battle rather than the victories. Even when defeated by Connor he smiled 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 replaced with a detailed replica that could be disassembled and packed away as needed.
While reassembling his sword in New York, 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.
Behind the scenes
The Kurgan was originally called the Knight in the first draft of the original movie and was a more cold blooded killer than a savage. Clancy Brown nearly turned down the role of Kurgan, concerned that his allergy to makeup would prevent him from wearing the prosthetics required late in the film.
The Kurgan in The Game
The Kurgan was one of the most powerful Immortals on the planet and killed his opponents like a savage. Here's the list of all of The Kurgan's known Quickenings:
- The Bedouin, Unknown B.C. ("Novelization", "Highlander Origins: Kurgan")
- Unnamed Immortal, 615 B.C. ("Kurgan Origins")
- Ivan Trotski, 1472 A.D. ("The Watchers")
- The Mongal, 1535 A.D. ("Novelization")
- Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez, 1542 A.D. ("Highlander")
- Flavio Parrochi, 1663 A.D. ("The Watchers")
- Stosch Basalok, 1985 A.D. ("The Watchers")
- Osta Vazilek, 1985 A.D. ("Highlander")
- Yung Dol Kim, 1985 A.D. ("Highlander") (Deleted Scene)
- Sunda Kastagir, 1985 A.D. ("Highlander")
- ↑ 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
- ↑ Highlander: Way Of The Sword #3
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Highlander Origins: Kurgan #2
- ↑ 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