Arthur Penhaligon is the main character of the fantasy series Keys to the Kingdom by Garth Nix.
Arthur is a normal human boy destined to die of an asthma attack. However, due to his machinations of the first part of the Will of the Architect, a living length of text detailing the last Will of the original creator of the universe, he receives half of the 1st Key to the Kingdom, a magical tool granting him incredible magical power, saving his life, and becomes the Rightful Heir of the Architect.
Although reluctant due to his desire to just live a normal life, Arthur goes on to travel through the strange world of the House, the Epicentre of All Creation, reclaiming the Keys from the Morrow Days, seven rulers of Creation who have become corrupted by the seven deadly sins. Eventually, he claims all the Keys, whereupon the Will of the Architect reveals its true nature - the complete destruction of the House, and with it the rest of the universe, all as part of one grand suicide plan for the Architect, who could not die so long as the House existed. Controlled by the Will into destroying all of creation, Arthur finds himself in a void of primordial Nothing. He merges with the Keys and becomes the New Architect, recreates the multiverse, then splits off a portion of himself to return to his world and live the normal life he always wanted.
Powers and Stats
Tier: 10-B, at least 4-B, possibly far higher with Keys | 8-C, at least 4-B, possibly far higher with Keys | 2-A
Name: Arthur Penhaligon
Origin: Keys to the Kingdom
Powers and Abilities:
Limited Acrobatics (decent at climbing), quite intelligent, Weapon Mastery (is a competent fighter with several different swords and guns thanks to his training as a soldier in the Great Maze), Magic (thanks to wielding the Keys, he possesses some residual power from them in his body and can verbally direct this power to achieve several magical feats), Healing (can heal himself and presumably others from cuts and severe broken bones, though when healing larger wounds he may accidentally heal them wrong, such as making a broken leg shorter), Extrasensory Perception (thanks to his use of the Keys, Arthur is able to see Denizens of the House and Nithlings, which are naturally invisible to normal humans), Power Nullification (with the Mariner's assistance, he was able to negate the magical bindings holding Grim Tuesday's register in place), Light Manipulation (can make his hand glow), can grant himself Resistance to airborne hazards (up to and including airborn particles of Nothing via a spell), Resistance to Fate Manipulation (gaining the Minute Hand allowed him to change his record, the physical manifestation of one's fate, and thus his destiny to die of an asthma attack. Additionally, it is stated that once Arthur obtained even a single Key, even the powers of Superior Saturday could not have changed or destroyed his record) and Air Manipulation or Magic (broke free of Feverfew's "yellow wind" which held him in place and paralyzed him), possibly Immunity to Soul Manipulation (it is implied that souls do not exist in the verse)
All prior, Superhuman Physical Characteristics, Immortality (Types 1 and 2. Does not age, can survive lethal wounds including impalement and destruction of parts of his brain), Aura, Disease Manipulation and likely more (Beings of a certain level of magical power cause "inimical" effects to the world through their presence alone, such as passively causing the spontaneous generation of magical plagues that cannot be cured without magic), Summoning (can summon the Keys he has claimed Mastery of to himself), Regeneration (likely Mid-High over time, should scale to Denizens who can eventually regenerate from being reduced to just a head), limited Time Manipulation (as a being of extreme precedence within the House, Arthur's presence manipulates the time-stream, such as slowing down the passage of time in worlds he is not within), Life Manipulation (can transform inanimate objects into living beings), likely Void Manipulation and Creation (heavily implied to be capable of manipulating Nothing, a substance of pure nothingness, and creating objects out of it via sheer willpower), likely some form of Durability Negation (as one with extremely high authority in the House, Arthur should scale to Part Six of the Will, who was able to knock a Denizen unconscious, something noted to not able to be achieved by physical force, but by the "authority" with which the blow was delivered), Enhanced Senses (can see in the dark), Resistance to Mind Manipulation (Resisted Lord Sunday trying to twist his mind into giving up the Keys), Extreme Cold (was only slightly chilly in a place where his breath instantly froze on leaving his mouth and was stated that no human could have survived in for even a moment), Poison Manipulation (was unaffected by breathing in toxic fumes), and Pain Manipulation (feels far less pain from injuries than normal)
Magic (Keys can "shortcut" the normal steps of sorcery, skipping directly to the end result at their master's command. As a result, they should be capable of achieving the effects of any other magic in the series), Instinctive Reaction (all Keys are capable of protecting their wielder independent of his own thoughts, such as the Minute Hand deflecting a crossbow bolt that he didn't know had been fired at him, the Second Keys catching and impaling Saturday's Dusk with his own sword, and the Fifth Key incinerating an attacking Newnith without Arthur's conscious thought), Statistics Amplification (can increase his strength and durability with the keys), Sound Manipulation (can use the Keys to silence his footsteps, increase the sound of his voice and make it sound from everywhere, and similar things), Fire Manipulation (can summon massive pillars of flame that stretch across the horizon and incinerate everything within to ashes), Ice Manipulation (can freeze others in thick layers of ice), Light Manipulation (can create light, can concentrate light into intense beams of energy), Status Effect Inducement and removal (can paralyze others, freeze objects in place, weaken others, increase their strength, and similar things), Power Nullification (can prevent magic from working and negate existing magic. The Fourth Key broke the Piper's obedience spell, the residual power of the First Key was able to overpower the magical bindings holding Grim Tuesday's register in place, the Seventh Key was able to suppress the powers of the Fifth and Sixth Keys), Technological Manipulation (can prevent technology from working, force it to work, repair it, etc), Time Travel and Dimensional Travel (Keys give access to the Improbable Stair, a magical staircase that winds throughout all of time and space that Arthur can access to travel to the past, future, and other worlds), Portal Creation (via the Fifth Key, which can open portals to any reflective surface Arthur has been to before), Sleep Manipulation (the Fifth Key was able to make thousands of people fall asleep), Text Manipulation (Keys possess the power to translate or "befuddle" text. Additionally, the seven keys together were able to break apart the Will of the Architect, which is a living line of text), Petrification (Keys can petrify others), Life Manipulation (Keys possess the power to animate inanimate objects), Transformation (use of Keys steadily contaminates mortals with magical energy, transforming them into immortal beings. Keys can be used to transform the bodies of others, such as give wings, can cause others to shrink or grow taller, or transform them into animals or inanimate objects), Water Manipulation (scaling to the Third Key, which was able to manipulate water, including the liquids within enemies bodies, instantly desiccating them), Density Manipulation (scaling to Lady Wednesday, who used the Key to reduce her weight), Death Manipulation (Keys will kill and disintegrate anyone who touches them except their master), Flight (via wings, the Keys are also capable of flying independently), Teleportation (Keys can teleport themselves to Arthur in response to his need of it), Healing (at least Low-Mid, Arthur instantly healed from an impaled heart upon claiming the First Key. Likely up to Mid-High via accelerating the natural healing of Denizens), can grant the ability to stand on water or breathe under it, limited Fate Manipulation (Keys can be used to change an object, person or event's record, which is essentially the physical manifestation of their past, present and future. Changing a record causes equivalent changes to whatever the record is recording, even allowing changes to the person's past. However, the physical record must actually be obtained first before it can be changed), Electricity Manipulation (shown by the Sixth and Seventh Keys, which were used to create, absorb and channel thousands of lightning bolts), Time Manipulation (Keys can be used to stop, slow, loop, and to a limited degree reverse time), Spatial Manipulation (the Third Key is able to manipulate the boundaries of Border Sea, which can spatially merge with any body of water in any world. The first four keys together were used to seal a breach in space-time into the Void of Nothing, and the fourth key likely can manipulate the tiles of the Great Maze, which spatially dismember anything standing too close to the border between them when they move), Self-Sustenance (Type 2 and 3 - with the Keys or in the House, Arthur does not need to eat, drink or sleep), Summoning and Telekinesis (Keys can be used to pull objects and people to their wielder from great distances), Creation (Keys allow the user to shape Nothing into matter, or literally create objects ex nihilo, such as Immaterial Walls capable of resisting Nothing), Biological Manipulation (can be invert beings' bodies), Forcefield Creation (Keys can create forcefields around their user to protect them and disintegrate anything that gets close), Void Manipulation (Keys give their wielder the ability to manipulate Nothing, summoning, shaping and banishing it), Reality Warping (scaling to the Grotesque's machine which was able to warp reality to spontaneously increase oil prices on Earth, reduce the value of stocks, force the spontaneous closure of Michaeli's university, etc), Illusion Creation (the Sixth Key was able to create an illusory bush around Arthur. Should be able to perform the same feat as Dr Scamadros's illusion spell), Clairvoyance (Lord Sunday was able to use the Seventh Key to watch over the entire Incomparable Gardens. Arthur planned on using the Fourth Key to create a spell that would search out for Part Five of the Will), Immortality and Regeneration Negation (Keys are capable of bypassing Denizen's immortality and regeneration to kill them. Additionally, Dr Scamadros noted that none of his healing magic was able to heal Arthur's leg once it was magically broken by a Key), Matter Manipulation (Keys are capable of controlling the fabric of the House and freely reshaping the world around them in accordance with the user's commands), Existence Erasure (can erase entities via verbal command), BFR (can banish entities to the Void of Nothing where they are instantly erased), Body Puppetry (can force others to move as he wants them to), Mind Manipulation (Keys can force others to obey their wielder's commands. Removed the will to fight from tens of thousands of beings at once with the Seventh Key. With the Fifth Key, Friday was able to extract and consume the memories and experiences of thousands of humans), Resistance to Mind Manipulation (Keys defend their wielder from psychic harm. The Minute Hand allowed Arthur to resist Monday's Noon's mind manipulation and impart his resistance to another), Fear Manipulation (scaling to the Fourth Key which protected Arthur from a magical scream that drove all who heard it into mindless unthinking panic), Disease Manipulation (scaling to the Minute Hand protected Arthur from disease, even magical diseases such as the Sleepy Plague), Perception Manipulation and Illusion Creation (the wielder of the Keys should be superior to Feverfew, who's own magical power allowed him to see through Dr Scamadros's Rat Disguise which made anyone who looked at the user only see a rat), Sleep Manipulation and Biological Manipulation (scaling to the the Minute Hand's protection of Arthur from the Sleepy Plague, which causes its victims to fall unconscious and prevents their bodies from absorbing nutrients intravenously), Void Manipulation (the Keys gave Arthur resistance to dissolution by Nothing), Smoke Manipulation(scaling to the Minute Hand which allowed Arthur to breathe normally in heavy smoke), likely Resistance to Gravity Manipulation or Black Hole Creation or Reality Warping (Keys should give Arthur a superior level of protection to a low ranking Inspector's Immaterial Boots and Signed Seal, which protected him from the "warping effects" of the dark matter surface of a dead star), Paralysis (scaling to the Fourth Key, which allowed Arthur to continue moving while within the Architect's Press, which paralyses anything inside it when it is turned on), likely Power Nullification and Power Modification (higher order effects such as those caused by Keys heavily resist being nullified or changed by weaker effects, such as the magical breaking of Arthur's leg which could only be undone or healed by magic of the highest order, or Grim Tuesday's Register which was bound in place by the powers of the Second Key and initially resisted Arthur's attempts to unbind it), likely far more (Keys can protect the wielder from most threats and serious harm, which should include threats such as dismemberment via the Spatial Manipulation of the Great Maze and Death Manipulation of various sorceries)
Attack Potency: Human Level (Arthur is a 12-year-old boy), At least Solar System level with Keys (Scaling to Grim Tuesday, who was able to create pocket worlds containing multiple stars and solar systems), possibly far higher (the Seven Keys together gave Arthur the power to become the New Architect, so each one may possess a much higher level of power. Additionally, each Key is stated to give the wielder power over a particular section of time across all of the Secondary Realms, e.g. the First Key holds power over all Mondays in the Secondary Realms, the Second Key holds power over all Tuesdays, etc.) | Building level (far superior to Monday's Noon and Dusk, who crashed into the ground with enough force to shake an almost 200m wide veranda and can easily kill Nithlings which can survive exploding helicopter crashes and thousand-mile falls), at least Solar System level with Keys, possibly far higher | Multiverse level+ (recreated the Universe, including the infinite worlds - which includes alternate universes - of the Secondary Realms and their space-time)
Speed: Normal Human (is a 12-year-old boy), possibly Subsonic+ (managed to just barely dodge an attack from Monday's Noon, though he caught the man by surprise), higher via Keys (can increase his speed with the Keys) | Unknown movement speed, Sub-relativistic+ reaction speeds (raised his arm to deflect a lightning bolt from 100 yards (91m) away after it had already been fired), higher via Keys (can increase his speed with the Keys) | Immeasurable (capable of moving and acting in the Void of Nothing, after all of time and space had been erased)
Lifting Strength: Likely Below Average Human to Regular Human | Superhuman (strong enough to easily lift people of comparable body weight to himself with only one hand) | Unknown, likely Immeasurable with magic
Striking Strength: Below Average Class to Human Class, likely up to Solar System Class with Keys | Building Class, likely up to Solar System Class with Keys | Likely Multiversal+
Durability: Human Level (Arthur is a 12-year-old boy), likely up to Solar System level via Keys (can boost his durability with the Keys, possibly to this level) | Building level (far superior to Monday's Noon and Dusk, who crashed into the ground with enough force to shake an almost 200m wide veranda without injury, and to Nithlings, who can survive thousand-mile falls), likely up to Solar System level with Keys | Multiverse level+ (superior to the Complete Will of the Architect, which was unable to be destroyed even by the combined powers of all Seven Keys, which are what made Arthur the New Architect in the first place)
Stamina: Below average due to asthma, though increased to above average while within the House or wielding a Key, as he is able to conduct physically strenuous activities for hours on end with minimal rest, and does not require food, water or sleep | Extremely high | Likely limitless
Range: Standard melee range physically, Interplanetary with Keys | Standard melee range physically, up to hundreds of meters with life manipulation (brought life to his toy Elephant even while it was several dozen yards away), Interplanetary with Keys | Multiversal+
Standard Equipment: The Compleat Atlas of the House, a small book that records the entirety of the House and Secondary Realms. The Keys, to a degree. Over the course of the series, Arthur claims new Keys and temporarily relinquishes others several times. Battles involving Arthur should specify which Keys he is currently the master of. As the New Architect, Arthur does not wield the Keys.
- The First Key: The First Key takes the shape of a sword made up of two connected hands of a clock. It can be split into separate hands, the Minute Hand (which is weaker but can be used more frequently) and the Hour Hand (which is stronger but can be used less frequently). The First Key appears to specialize in the manipulation of time, though like any Key it is capable of far more. They are at their strongest in the Lower House and Secondary Realms.
- The Second Key: The Second Key takes the shape of two metal gauntlets. They appear to specialize in acts of crafting and creation. They are at their strongest in the Far Reaches and Secondary Realms.
- The Third Key: The Third Key typically takes the shape of a trident of varying size depending on its wielder's mood and intentions. It specializes in control over water, most particularly the Border Sea, and any space that water occupies. They are at their strongest in the Border Sea and Secondary Realms.
- Fourth Key: The Fourth Key takes the shape of various weapons depending on its wielder and their intentions, such as a longsword, rapier, and baton. The specialties of this weapon are unknown, though they are most likely combat-related. The Fourth Key is at its strongest in the Great Maze and Secondary Realms.
- The Fifth Key: The Fifth Key takes the shape of a mirror. It appears to specialize in the manipulation of light, though it also has the unique power to open portals to any reflective surface that the user has seen in person before. It is at its strongest in the Middle House and the Secondary Realms.
- The Sixth Key: The Sixth Key takes the shape of a quill pen. Its specialty is unknown, though it has been shown to be capable of forcing objects to perform or take on the qualities of the words it writes on them. It is at its strongest in the Upper House and Secondary Realms.
- The Seventh Key: The Seventh Key takes the form of a tiny golden key. It is the most powerful Key, being at its strongest at all times and requires the full power of all six other Keys to match its power. Its specialty is unknown if it even has one.
Intelligence: Above average | Above average | Likely Supergenius (has a cosmic understanding of how to shape Nothing into any substance in existence), Nigh-Omniscient via the Atlas (by touching it, he gains access to the complete record of everything in existence)
Weaknesses: If he is not holding a Key or within the House, he is at risk of severe life-threatening asthma attacks after even short periods of exertion. Arthur is extremely reluctant to use the magical powers of the Keys, as they will steadily make him less human and cause him to bring calamities to Earth if he returns there | None notable | None notable
Key: Human | Immortal | The New Architect
Note: Keys are generally capable of similar abilities to each other. As such, unless an ability is specifically stated to be unique to the Key, such as Lady Friday's teleporting mirror, powers shown by one Key should be usable by others.