Affiliation[edit | edit source]

Atlas[edit | edit source]

Ironwood hails from the region of Atlas, where he is the Headmaster of Atlas Academy. He also serves as a senior officer in the Atlesian military, where he holds the rank of general, and he additionally holds two seats in the ruling council. His military actively cooperates with the Schnee Dust Company to produce robotic soldiers.

In the Volume 2 Opening, he is seen standing alongside members of the Atlesian military, including soldiers and androids, as well as students of the Atlesian academy and a nervous-looking Penny Polendina. He is also seen at the head of a large formation of Atlesian soldiers and androids in the Volume 3 Opening.

Ozpin's Group[edit | edit source]

Although Ironwood is a member of Ozpin's inner circle, he takes many actions that his fellow members do not support, such as bringing his large military airfleet to Vale, a move that Ozpin, Glynda Goodwitch and Qrow Branwen deem indiscreet and likely to cause serious fear and concern amongst the populace.

Nonetheless, he is still a valued and loyal member of Ozpin's cadre, and his links to Atlesian research into Aura capture come in especially useful to the group, despite their moral compunctions. His technology is necessary to enact their plan to transfer Amber's power of the Fall Maiden to Pyrrha Nikos, and it is also Atlesian medical equipment that keeps Amber alive.

His relationship with the group is later strained after he finds out Salem is on her way to Atlas in "Gravity" and orders the arrest of Qrow and Oscar.

Ironwood's Group[edit | edit source]

Following the Battle of Beacon, and without Ozpin to guide him, Ironwood had to trust his own judgement on how to stop Salem, and decided to use a new approach to fight her.

With this in mind, Ironwood created a group consisting of Penny Polendina and Winter Schnee, as well as the Ace-Ops, informing them about Salem and the Relics. The goal of the group is to restore global communications by replacing the CCTS by using Amity Colosseum as a satellite and tell the world about Salem. Additionally, the group decided to make it so that Winter would replace Fria as the next Winter Maiden.

Ozpin's Group[edit | edit source]

Ozpin[edit | edit source]

Ironwood has been shown and stated to be a very good friend of Ozpin, calling him by his nickname "Oz" and taking a familiar mode of speech with him. They speak rather freely to each other, and both can pick up on subtle cues from each other rather easily. However, on their meeting in "Welcome to Beacon", there does appear to be some tension in the air between the two.

Ironwood is not afraid to question Ozpin's judgment, pointedly asking him if his "children", the Huntsmen-in-training at Beacon Academy, would be capable of winning a war. Ironwood also doesn't care about Ozpin's rules which is shown when he creates the Ace-Ops, a five person team that lacks a color theme because he would rather have an efficient team.[1]

In "Field Trip", Ironwood states that he has served Ozpin faithfully for years, showing that they are not on even ground, with Ironwood working under Ozpin's authority within the inner circle.

In the episode "Breach", it is revealed that Ironwood has been sending the Vale Council what they describe as "disturbing" reports about Ozpin's handling of Roman Torchwick's activities with the White Fang. As a consequence, following the Grimm outbreak in Vale, he is made chief of security for the Vytal Festival. Whilst he is conciliatory in conversation with Ozpin, promising to protect their people to the best of his abilities, he later muses to himself that Ozpin brought what might be seen as a humiliation upon himself.

In "It's Brawl in the Family", Ironwood attempts to justify his methods to Ozpin as being necessary to maintain security. However, Ozpin disagrees, stating that these displays of force only breed fear and insecurity in the minds of the people. Ironwood appears to acknowledge, however unwillingly, that Ozpin may be right.

In "PvP", after Cinder Fall's attack, Ironwood attempts to explain Atlas' questionable robotic experiments, but Ozpin ignores this and focuses on the issue at hand, ordering him to employ his army to fend off the Grimm attacking the city.

In "Taking Control", Ironwood is shown to blame the problems Remnant has been suffering since Beacon's fall on Ozpin for 'not listening to him'. Despite the fact that it was the androids that caused a significant amount of damage and Ozpin warned him against bringing them to the Vytal Festival.

In "A New Approach", when he found out Ozpin's recent reincarnation is Oscar, he looks happy to see him, but he felt disheartened when Oscar told him that he's not Ozpin right now and he disappeared.

Despite having betrayed Ozpin after he planned to launch Atlas into the atmosphere, he still desperately wanted him to return so he could give him guidance about what to do.[2]

Glynda Goodwitch[edit | edit source]

Despite initial appearances, Ironwood and Glynda appear to be quite close

Glynda and Ironwood seem to have some past history, as he warmly greets her when they meet in "Welcome to Beacon". However, Glynda does not return this joviality, rather sarcastically saying "Oh, James" before promptly leaving Ozpin's quarters. Glynda also appears to disapprove of Ironwood's display of bringing airships to Beacon.

Ironwood is seen inviting Glynda to dance with him at the Beacon Dance. She reluctantly accepts, rolling her eyes when she takes his hand.

In "Mountain Glenn", Glynda consoles Ironwood when he voices his concerns about Ozpin's perceived lack of action. Glynda shows genuine empathy for Ironwood, agreeing that while Ozpin's methods can be difficult to divine, they should still trust him. Glynda also states that he is a "good person" and calls his actions "admirable".

Later, however, in "It's Brawl in the Family", Glynda agrees with Ozpin and Qrow that bringing the Atlesian fleet to Vale was unwise. In "Fall", Glynda also expresses her distaste over the unethical Atlesian Aura experiments that took place under Ironwood's authority, but in light of the Fall Maiden crisis, she acknowledges they may have been necessary.

Qrow Branwen[edit | edit source]

The General gives Qrow a relieved embrace.

Qrow and Ironwood are both part of Ozpin's inner circle, however, they do not see eye-to-eye. Qrow perceives Ironwood's appointment to head of security as a betrayal of Ozpin, calling him a sell-out. He also views Ironwood's conspicuous and indiscreet security measures for the Vytal Festival as imprudent and doubts the ability of the Atlesian military to protect the people.

Nevertheless, while Ironwood has issues with Qrow as a person, he has none with his skills as a Huntsman. It was in response to Qrow's warning that Ironwood chose to bring his fleet to Vale.

When mistaking Qrow's activation of his scythe during the Fall of Beacon for Qrow believing that Ironwood had caused the cataclysm, Ironwood attempted to placate Qrow by explaining himself, indicating that despite all of his strength and might as a Huntsman, that even Ironwood fears facing Qrow in a one-on-one fight when the latter uses his weapon of choice.

In "A New Approach", he looks happy to see Qrow again in Atlas. After Penny and the others tour around Atlas Academy, he embraced Qrow in relief. Kerry Shawcross finds Qrow's and Ironwood's relationship super interesting and he wishes that they could have explored it more.[3]

Their relationship is later strained when Ironwood turns against Ruby's Group and orders for their arrest in "Gravity". Qrow in turn now views Ironwood as an enemy due to believing his actions led to Clover's death.

Leonardo Lionheart[edit | edit source]

Due to their work in protecting the Maidens, Ironwood and Lionheart are allies, however they are not on the best of terms. Ironwood doubts the Headmaster's ability to handle the current crisis in Mistral. Likewise, Lionheart disapproves of Ironwood's recent actions like his Dust embargo, and how his personality has changed after the Battle of Beacon. Ironwood does not know that Professor Lionheart has been acting as a mole for Salem since before the Fall of Beacon.

Oscar Pine[edit | edit source]

Ironwood tries to speak with Oz after meeting his recent reincarnation, Oscar Pines.

In "New Approach", when Ironwood first meets Oscar, he finds out that the boy is Ozpin's recent reincarnation. Despite his relief to see Oz, Oscar informs Ironwood that he's not Ozpin right now and he disappeared, much to Ironwood's dismay.

Their relationship started forming when Ironwood tried different ways to draw Ozpin out of the young farm boy, such as when he suggested the two of them spar. In "Worst Case Scenario", Ironwood brought Oscar down to the Atlas Vault where the Relic of Creation was stored hoping he could provoke some old memories into Oscar since one of his past incarnations had decided to use it to raise Atlas, and that this plan had inspired the Amity project. When Ironwood wondered what Ozpin would think of this path he is taking, Oscar warned that it won't end well, but Ironwood fears ending up like Lionheart. Oscar suggests Ironwood talk to the people he is afraid of, causing Ironwood to comment he is sounding like Ozpin.

In "As Above, So Below", after Arthur Watts shuts down the heating in Mantle and Grimm start invading the city, Oscar reminds Ironwood of his advice, and convinces him to tell the truth to the Council and Robyn. When Ruby's Group leave for Mantle, Oscar stays and informs Ironwood of the truth, which stuns him. Ironwood nevertheless chose to focus on the present danger, which Oscar compliments him on, though he asks Oscar for no more surprises.

In "The Enemy of Trust", Ironwood is confronted by Oscar in the Atlas Vault after he learns of his new plan of raising Atlas into the sky instead of Amity Tower, which would result in the destruction of Mantle. Despite Oscar's attempts to reason with him that his plan will leave Remnant even more divided, Ironwood insists that he can't see the big picture just like the others. Unable to get through to him, Oscar says he is as dangerous as Salem. Ironwood, in turn, tells Oscar that only his friends call him 'James', but for him, it is 'General'. He then shoots him with his gun, breaking Oscar's Aura and causing him to fall down into a deep pit.

Ironwood's Group[edit | edit source]

Winter Schnee[edit | edit source]

Winter saluting General Ironwood

Ironwood is Winter's superior in the Atlesian military. Winter has a great deal of respect for Ironwood, following his orders virtually without question, and defending him from the criticisms of others. Ironwood has a professional relationship with Winter, whom he refers to primarily by her surname Schnee. As his subordinate, she stands at attention when he appears and also salutes him when given orders. Ironwood appears to have a good deal of respect for Winter, as he tells her father Jacques Schnee that he considers her one of his best.

Ironwood is firm with Winter when he needs to be, as seen after she embarrasses herself by getting into a fight with Qrow in "It's Brawl in the Family".

In "A New Approach", it is reveals that he told her, Penny, and the Ace-Op the whole situations about Salem and the Maidens.

In "Cordially Invited", James and Winter are shown to share a mutual disliking towards Jacques, which they bond over and joke about as they enter the Schnee Manor.

In both "The Enemy of Trust" and "Divide", Ironwood claims to have the upmost faith and trust in Winter, in both cases thanking Winter for her support in him. He claims that he'd be lost without Winter, and is shown to notable soften around her.

Penny Polendina[edit | edit source]

Penny is seen standing uneasily with Ironwood's entourage in the Volume 2 Opening. In "Painting the Town...", it is revealed that Ironwood assisted and sponsored Penny's father in her creation. In "It's Brawl in the Family", Penny is seen following Ironwood around. In "Never Miss a Beat", Penny tells her friend Ruby that Ironwood does not want anyone to know that she is a robot. When Penny's robotic nature is exposed in "PvP", he manages to maintain his composure amidst the tragedy. In "A New Approach", he told Penny, Winter and the Ace-Ops about Salem and the Maidens. In "Cordially Invited", Ironwood defends Penny from Jacques' accusation against her while he told Jacques that the video about Penny murdering the people in Mantle was doctored.

In "Divide", After Penny becomes the Winter Maiden and betrays Ironwood by escaping Atlas along with Ruby's Group, Ironwood tries to call Penny and convince her to return to Atlas citing that the city needs her. When Ruby tells Ironwood that she isn't going anywhere until he changes his mind about abandoning Mantle, he retorts that if Atlas falls, then all of Remnant is doomed, and if that happens, all the loss of life will be on their hands, a statement that leaves Penny visibly distraught.

In "Strings", in his endeavor to reclaim the Winter Maiden powers and have the Vault opened, Ironwood forces Watts to try and hack into Penny's systems so he can return her to his side against her will.

Ace Operatives[edit | edit source]

Clover Ebi[edit | edit source]

As one of Ironwood's subordinates, James held Clover to a high standard based on his long-standing reputation as one of Atlas' greatest Huntsmen, even making him leader of the Ace-Ops unit.

Harriet Bree[edit | edit source]

Along with the rest of her comrades, Harriet is trusted to mentor and help train Ruby's group to similar standards as herself and her own comrades.

Vine Zeki[edit | edit source]

It is unknown what Ironwood's feelings and professional relationship with Vine is beyond recognizing his talent as being sufficient to join such an elite and illustrious squad as the Ace-Ops.

Elm Ederne[edit | edit source]

As one of the most elite groups of Huntsmen and Huntresses in Atlas, Elm must have impressed Ironwood considerably to appoint her to such a position compared to ordinary members of the military.

Marrow Amin[edit | edit source]

As the rookie of the Ace-Ops, Marrow is a considerably skilled Huntsman and soldier. However, his inexperience and excitable demeanor are something of a source of both annoyance and embarrassment for the otherwise stoic Atlesian General. Despite this, however, Ironwood shows no discrimination at all towards Marrow for his Faunus heritage, treating him just like the other Ace Ops.

Salem's Inner Circle[edit | edit source]

Salem[edit | edit source]

As a member of Ozpin's inner circle, Ironwood is aware of Salem's existence and the threat she poses to Remnant. His ultimate plan is to restore global communications and reveal her existence to first Atlas, and then all of Remnant, in order to combat her as a united force.

In "Worst Case Scenario", it is revealed that Ironwood developed substantial Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder following the Battle of Beacon due to Salem's actions, when his fleet and army were dismantled.

When Salem manifested through a Seer in "Gravity", his terror of her reached a breaking point and provoked him into attempting to raise Atlas into the stratosphere, far from her reach. Ironwood feels like her coming to Atlas is personal and felt like he had to come up with a solution.[4]

Arthur Watts[edit | edit source]

James Ironwood has an antagonistic professional history with Watts. During his time as a military scientist in Atlas, Watts contributed greatly the automated security of the kingdom. However, when the project that gave rise to Penny Polendina was initiated, Arthur soon after faked his death. Ironwood personally considered him "a pain in the ass" and likely took issue with Watts' arrogance regarding his intellect and scientific contributions to the military. Ironwood finds Watts to be spoiled, overindulged, and far too enabled by the Atlesian military in his endeavors.

In "Strings", Ironwood releases Watts to him to help him hack Penny's systems to regain the Winter Maiden powers, having his men hold him at gunpoint to ensure he doesn't sabotage him.

Ironwood was also known to be familiar with Watts' fighting style, able to keep up with his constant manipulation of the arena and knowing of Watts' tendency to count his shots.

Later, Ironwood forces Watts to work under him at gunpoint in order to re-secure Penny. Watts implies that Ironwood had used physical force to get him to work with the group. James lacks trust in Watts, and is easily angered by the scientist's snarky attitude.

Cinder's Faction[edit | edit source]

Cinder Fall[edit | edit source]

Although Ironwood does not know Cinder's identity, much of his recent precautions have been in an attempt to thwart her plans. When Cinder later announces her plans publicly, she proclaims Ironwood a dictator who holds far too much power, an accusation which visibly angers Ironwood.

Roman Torchwick[edit | edit source]

Ironwood speaking with the imprisoned criminal

Ironwood took Roman Torchwick into custody following the Grimm attack in "Breach". He imprisoned Torchwick on an airship, informing him that he's been given the authority to hold onto him indefinitely. Ironwood attempted to interrogate Torchwick, but was unable to get any pertinent answers. He was, however, confident that there would be plenty of chances to "talk" with the felon.

After Torchwick was broken out by Neopolitan and they commandeered the airship, Ironwood referred to the thief as a "vagabond", though it's unclear if he knew for certain that Torchwick had the ship.

Team RWBY[edit | edit source]

Ruby Rose[edit | edit source]

Ironwood seems to be grateful for Ruby for her efforts in the incident at the Cross Continental Transmit Tower, believing her actions to be just and right, as expected of a true Huntress. Ruby herself seems to be appreciative of such comments.

When the two meet again in "A New Approach", Ironwood informs Ruby's Group of his plan to update the communication system of Remnant through Amity Colosseum and revealing the existence of Salem to the world. He also returns the Relic of Knowledge to Ruby as his biggest sign of trust, believing she and her team are qualified enough to keep it safe.[5] He was even willing to have her and her friend's weapons updated and even officially making them Huntresses in "Pomp and Circumstance" due to how much faith he had in them.

Ruby, for the most part, was grateful for this generosity, and even though she was willing to help with his plan along with her friends, she also lies to him about how the Relic of Knowledge's questions have all been used, and the reasons for Ozpin disappearing.

However, during "Gravity", after Ironwood defeats and detains Watts, discovers Cinder's calling card, and learns that Salem was on her way right now to retrieve the Relics, in addition to learning the truth about Salem and the Relic of Knowledge from Oscar prior, Ironwood loses his faith in Ruby and their relationship becomes strained, as shown when he retracted his statement about letting her team keep the Relic of Knowledge. He also ordered she and her team be arrested by the Ace-Ops so he could declare martial law and move Atlas far into the sky with the Relic of Creation.

In "Divide", Ironwood questions why Ruby and her group even care about Mantle after Salem's arrival, placing the blame that if Atlas falls due to the military's lack of access to the Maiden powers and Relics, the lives lost will be on Ruby's hands.

Weiss Schnee[edit | edit source]

In "Remembrance", Ironwood is shown to be courteous towards the Schnee heiress, apologizing for "overstaying his welcome." Before he departs, the general invites Weiss to join Atlas Academy. When Weiss unintentionally summons a Boarbatusk from her glyphs, Ironwood refuses when a woman demands that she be arrested, arguing that "she's the only one making sense around here".

Ironwood maintains his courtesy towards her after her return to Atlas alongside her teammates in "A New Approach" by giving the Relic of Knowledge back to her team. In "Pomp and Circumstance", he stood up for her when Jacques started talking back to her and later and the rest of her teammates to official Huntsman and Huntresses.

In "Gravity", however, Ironwood's faith in Weiss shatters along with the rest of her team after discovering Cinder's calling card and learning that Salem was on her way to Atlas, as well as all the lies they had told him since arriving. Afterwards he has no qualm ordering her and the rest of Team RWBY arrested when she stood against his extreme plan.

Yang Xiao Long[edit | edit source]

After Yang apparently attacks Mercury Black unprovoked, Ironwood is seen breaking the news to her and her team that they have been disqualified from the Vytal Festival. He doubts Yang's claim that she struck Mercury in self-defense, instead attributing her actions to stress-induced hallucinations. When Yang continues to protest, he sternly silences her before leaving.

Ironwood personally ordered that a replacement arm be built for Yang after the Battle of Beacon, to be given with the message that she fought admirably and should be proud of herself.

Atlas Council[edit | edit source]

Sleet[edit | edit source]

Sleet had a relatively poor working relationship with General Ironwood. Due to James commanding 40% of the council's power for many years, he had managed to overrule and run roughshod over the remaining members of the council for years.

After Jacques becomes a member of the council, Sleet and Camilla are among the few council members invited to his manor to question Ironwood over his actions. After Jacques' true nature is exposed and learning that the heating in Mantle has been shut off, Sleet ended up learning from Ironwood about Salem's existence and became worried if he can truly stop her.

When Sleet and Camilla learn about Ironwood declaring martial law, he tried to confront Ironwood over his paranoid actions and apparent fear of Salem only to be shot dead by Ironwood in front of everyone present.

Camilla[edit | edit source]

Councilwoman Camilla considers many of James' endeavors to have been murky at best, and finds his use of his power as both General and Headmaster to be somewhat impudent. She dislikes his lack of trust in others outside of his own inner circle.

Schnee Dust Company[edit | edit source]

Jacques Schnee[edit | edit source]

The General and the Schnee patriarch during the discussion about Winter's report in Mistral

Ironwood has known the Schnee patriarch for many years, and has worked with him on several projects, including the development of the Atlesian Knight-200 as well as the Atlesian Paladin-290 units. Though relations between the two men have been strained in light of the Dust embargo imposed upon Atlas by its ruling council.

Ironwood also seems to favor Weiss' judgment over that of her father, seeing Jacques as increasingly greedy, and citing that Weiss' outburst was the only bit of sense that he witnessed at the Schnee family fundraiser for the citizens of Vale. Given Ironwood's military background, he seems to respect the warriors of the Schnee family such as Winter and Weiss substantially more than the purely entrepreneurial Jacques.

Ironwood's relationship with Jacques reaches a boiling point when it is revealed by Weiss Schnee that her father had conspired with Arthur Watts to steal the election from Robin Hill, allowing Watts a backdoor into all of Atlas' power and cyber-security systems. He consequently enforces Weiss' arrest of her father and has Jacques escorted into Atlas Military custody from his own home.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. RWBY Volume 7 Crew Commentary - Chapter 3
  2. RWBY Volume 7 Crew Commentary - Chapter 13
  3. RWBY Volume 7 Crew Commentary - Chapter 2
  4. RWBY Volume 7 Crew Commentary - Chapter 11
  5. RWBY Volume 7 Crew Commentary - Chapter 2
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