James Ironwood is the headmaster of Atlas Academy, a general in the Atlesian Military, and a holder of two seats on the Atlesian Council. His weapon of choice is a revolver. For unknown reasons, the entire right section of his body has been replaced with robotic prosthesis.
Original (Volumes 2–3)
Ironwood is shown to be well dressed and clean, much like Ozpin. He wears a white overcoat, with a gray undercoat, black sweater, a red necktie and a white glove on his right hand. His suit pants share the same color as his overcoat and are tucked into silver boots accented in gray.
His hair is black, with some silver and gray areas, while his eyebrows are solid black. He has a strip of silver metal above his right eyebrow, a neurotransmitter that helps him operate the robotic parts of his body.
Post-Timeskip (Volume 4–Current)
After the Fall of Beacon, Ironwood's appearance is slightly less pristine. He has grown stubble and his hair is slightly messier. He wears a white, double-breasted tailcoat with dark blue and black accents, most notable at the cuffs and shoulder pieces. The coat is belted at the waist. Underneath, Ironwood has a black collared shirt and a red tie. He also now wears two white gloves, in contrast to wearing only one on his right hand. His pants are no longer tucked inside military boots but instead hang over black boots.
Ironwood is courteous to his allies, as shown by his first onscreen interaction with Ozpin and Glynda Goodwitch. He is also far-thinking and tactical, wondering about the future, as seen when he speaks to Ozpin about Qrow's message. He also has a jovial, friendly, humorous and proud public persona, which he uses as a spokesman for the weapon manufacturers of Atlas.
However, as courteous Ironwood may appear, he can also be incredibly blunt and arrogant, and generally prefers the direct approach. When he feels necessary, Ironwood is not afraid to bring the full might of his military command to bear, which can spark disagreements with both Glynda and Ozpin. Nevertheless, Ironwood is extremely loyal to his comrades, and however questionable his methods may be, he seems to have genuinely good intentions behind them.
Ironwood consistently believes his ideas are justified and the best course of action whether Ozpin or Jacques Schnee opposes him. According to Jacques, Ironwood does not trust anybody but himself, something the general does not deny; instead, he believes that his skepticisms are justified. This leads Ironwood to a more proactive yet headstrong approach to problems, attempting more preemptive measures, as opposed to Ozpin's more subtle, reactive and analytical methods.
Ironwood is known to respect courage, selflessness, and duty above all in people and displays a generous personality. This is evident in his compensating Yang Xiao Long with an Atlas-tech prosthesis before her father, Taiyang Xiao Long, came to ask him for one. Consistent with this is his disdain for people who are apathetic to the problems and safety of the world's populace. He holds contempt for a socialite at a Schnee fundraising event when he comments Weiss is the only person making sense there.
Ironwood's military status results in his oversight of all scientific and research-based endeavors under his jurisdiction. He is culpable for unethical Aura experiments by the Atlesian Military in Aura transference and life supports used to prevent the Fall Maiden's powers from being assimilated by Cinder Fall. James is aware of the ethical gray areas he treads, bitterly swallowing any of his possible discomfort and criticism from others for the sake of global safety and his loyalty to Ozpin's group.
Though a courageous if a somewhat bullheaded man, Ironwood is rather sympathetic toward those who abstain from combat in dire circumstances, as is shown when he gives the students at Amity Colosseum the choice to fight or flee to safety during the Fall of Beacon. This shows that while he values the dutiful and strong of will, he remains mindful that not everyone is suited to a life on the front lines of war.
Powers and Abilities
As a general, Ironwood normally doesn't associate himself with the front lines of combat and usually orders his forces using his tactical know-how and military knowledge. However, when pressed, he is very adept in combat.
As revealed in "Battle of Beacon", Ironwood uses a revolver to fight off Grimm. Ironwood is an impressive marksman, as he effortlessly dispatched multiple Atlesian Knight-200s within the space of several seconds, the heads of the first two cleanly removed by his shots. He shoots using his organic arm; in close combat, he also uses his revolver to pistol-whip opponents, usually switching to his cybernetic arm for added power. He possesses formidable physical strength in close combat, as his cybernetic arm was able to completely stop a fully-armored Beowolf's attack and throw the beast around with little effort.
In "Taking Control", he slams his robotic fist on Jacques' desk with enough force to severely damage the surface.
- Ironwood alludes to the tin man from The Wizard of Oz. For more information on this allusion, as well as other choices the creators made for this character, see James Ironwood/Behind the Scenes.
- "Ironwood" is a common name applied to a number of types of wood known for their hardness. Alternatively, Ironwood (Járnviðr) is also the name of a location in Norse mythology.
- ↑ Volume 3 DVD Directors' Commentary