The Knights of the Round (ナイトオブラウンズ, Naito Obu Raunzu; Knight of Rounds) or formerly known as the 12 Horsemen is a unit of twelve elite knights in the Holy Britannian Empire, each being assigned into the group by royalty and under direct command of the Emperor. The Knights of the Round date back to at least the 18th century, with the first Knight of One being Sir Richard Hector. Named after the Arthurian Knights of the Round Table, they operate outside the standard Britannian military and are given special privileges and authority. Many of the Knights of the Round are somewhat out of touch with the real world, Gino Weinberg even considering the Rounds to just be a gathering of eccentrics.
Aside from the Knight of One, there were no known distinctions in privileges between the numbers as they existed in the era; however, all Knights of the Round are given a higher rank than many nobles, behind the Imperial family. They are also given clearance to enter highly restricted areas such as Elball Villa, the only others allowed to be there without invitation being members of the royal family. Regardless of birth as a Britannian commoner or a Number, all members of the Knights of the Round are given a form of authority as seen with Suzaku who ordered Lloyd, an Earl, to give him the Lancelot Albion. All Rounds customarily address each other by their first names. During Lelouch's era, nobility is no longer awarded to the Knights of the Round and all of its' members were stripped of their nobility. However, all Knights of the Round were still given a high position of authority in the Britannian military and in political matters. A Round cannot be punished for his crimes by anyone other than the Britannian Emperor, as shown when Schneizel was unable to punish Suzaku for meeting with Lelouch behind his back.
The Knight of One may request governance of any colonial area of his choosing from the Emperor. After a person is captured for assaulting a knight, the knight can then decide the fate of the captured person, as seen after an attempt to assassinate Suzaku by an Eleven; he was asked for the severity of the punishment for the Eleven. Only eight of the twelve Knights have been revealed. Former members are later revealed to be the leaders of the Four Knights of Order in Euro Britannia in Code Geass Akito The Exiled. Former Knight of Two Beatrice Franks resigned her position to be Secretary to the Head Minister and the Special Duty General Inspector, which made her responsible for the defences surrounding the emperor and deployment of Knights of the Round. While the Knight of One leads the Rounds, in his absence, she commands them.
In the 1860s, the Rounds numbered thirteen, the last Knight of Thirteen known to be Barbaros. At some point prior to Charles zi Britannia's reign, the position was dissolved. A special title, the Knight of Zero, was created by Lelouch vi Britannia following his ascension to the throne. This title was specifically given to Suzaku Kururugi, who was thereby classified as a Knight of the Round above all others, giving him the highest authority as a Britannian Knight, even over the Knight of One. This name is also a double entendre, as the Knight of Zero suggests that he is Zero, or Lelouch's, knight, and he is higher than the Knight of One, which going by the numbering order, zero would be higher than one in this case.
In the Code Geass light novels it says that not all of the seats are filled, and that there has always been vacancies. Objectively, this is not ideal as since their creation, the Knight of the Rounds were intended to number twelve members. Even if all seats were filled only for the sake of showing off the Emperor’s strength, it would be without purpose. Both outside and within Britannia, that very act of having someone in the seats has a very real effect, as each is an embodiment of the emperor's will.
Suzaku Kururugi, Anya Alstreim, Gino Weinberg and Nonette Enneagram are the only Knights of the Round members who are confirmed to have survived the events of R2.
|Suzaku Kururugi (Knight of Zero) - (Previously Knight of Seven) (officially deceased)|
|Bismarck Waldstein (Knight of One) - (Previously Knight of Five) (Deceased)|
|Gino Weinberg (Knight of Three)|
|Dorothea Ernst (Knight of Four) - (Deceased)|
|Anya Alstreim (Knight of Six)|
|Nonette Enneagram (Knight of Nine)|
|Luciano Bradley (Knight of Ten) - (Deceased)|
|Monica Krushevsky (Knight of Twelve) - (Deceased)|
|Beatrice Franks (Knight of Two) - (Former)|
|Michele Manfredi (Knight of Two) - (Former) (Deceased)|
|Marianne vi Britannia (Knight of Six) - (Former) (Deceased)|
|Olivia Zevon (Unknown)|
|Christoph Chamberlain (Knight of One) - (Renya of Darkness)|
|Victoria (Knight of Eight) - (Renya of Darkness)|
|Barbaros (Knight of Thirteen) - (Renya of Darkness)|
By the end of the anime, it is assumed that only four of the Knights of the Round, from Charles zi Britannia's era, are currently alive. Suzaku Kururugi lives as the new Zero, though he is officially labeled dead to the local public, assisting empress Nunnally in remaking Britannia. Gino Weinberg resumes attending Ashford Academy as part of Rivalz's Student Council. Anya Alstreim was seen cultivating an orange farm with Jeremiah. In Oz the Reflection O2, Nonette Enneagram is shown to have joined Schneizel's faction with the former Glinda Knights but did not take part in Bismarck Waldstein's failed coup d'état to overthrow Lelouch. After she discovers Schneizel's plan and that he had Cornelia shot, she boards the Damocles mid-Battle of Mt. Fuji to retrieve her, after which she withdraws from the battle. She later joins the rebellion against him by joining the Zevon siblings in there battle to destroy Damocles. After Lelouch is assassinated, she joins the reformed Glinda Knights under Oldrin Zevon .
Appearances in Other Media
Code Geass: The Manga
Knights of the Round have lesser emphasis in the manga due to the appearance of Suzaku, Gino, and Anya. They appear to have dissolved due to Emperor Lelouch's ascension to the throne and may still be after Zero Requiem, or merged with the Glinda Knights as they are seen wearing the same capes in Re;surrection.
Code Geass: Oz the Reflection
In this manga and photo-novel spin-offs Knights of the Round, namely Monica Kruszewski and Nonette Enneagram, got more expanded characterisation than in original series. After Lelouch's ascension to the throne, the rest of the Knights discussed with Schneizel of how to deal with Lelouch only to end up being interrupted by Nunnally's personal request regarding her brother and as a result, the deal was shattered with the latter two attempting to stop Lelouch in their own ways.
Nightmare of Nunnally
In the manga spin-off Nightmare of Nunnally, a group of former knights of the kingdom are revived by Charles zi Britannia's Geass "The Dead Rise." They each pilot Sutherland Sieg-like Knightmares. The only named member of this group is Bismarck Waldstein.
In the spin-off game, Code Geass: Lost Colors, Nonette Enneagram appears as a Knight of Round and acts as a mentor to the protagonist character. Her appearance in Code Geass R2 is a salute to her appearance in the game, despite not having any role in the anime.
Renya of Darkness
After the death of Emperor Aurelien, assassination of Crown Prince Basilio, and disappearance of Knight of One Christoph Chamberlain, Britannia broke into a season of struggle for power, with various factions supporting various Royal lines. Without anyone to administer the Knights of the Round, they scattered. Two members, Victoria and Barbaros, joined Lorenzo il Soresi's faction.
- The Knights of the Round are based on the Arthurian Knights of the Round Table, all Knightmare pilots using machines named after said legendary knights. However, the reference is very surface, or at least fittingly corrupted. The Arthurian knights sat at a round table so there were no heads of the table, signalling that all knights at the table were equals, and there was only one seat reserved for someone to be held higher than the others, which was actually filled by Galahad. The ranked system of the Rounds betrays the original concept, but fits Britannia's national policy of Social Darwinism.
- There are only two Knightmares named after Knights of the Round Table that don't belong to the Rounds, them being Gawain piloted by Zero/Lelouch vi Britannia and Agravain piloted by the Wizard/Oiagros Zevon.
- Nonette Enneagram is the only Round to not have her own named Knightmare. Her Knightmare is a variant of the Lancelot called the Lancelot Club, which is the machine used by Rai in the Britannian Military route in Lost Colors. She was also supposed to receive the Sheffield Eye, which ended up being piloted by Sokkia Sherpa. If she had received it, she would have been the only Round to pilot a Knightmare not related to the Round Table.