Zankou is a demonic television character who features in Charmed.
Zankou was a highly powerful and ambitious demon, incarcerated by The Source for inciting a failed coup against him and opposing the Source’s power. Whilst he was incarcerated, Zankou’s power was still great enough that he still had knowledge of recent events. Such knowledge included the presence of the Charmed Ones, the death of the Source, the threat from The Avatars,[episodes 1] the Seer’s vision of utopia and even the objections of a demon in his midst to his release. In response to the then-impending threat of the Avatars' plan to create utopia and destroy all demons, a group of demons, in their desperation to seek a way to stop the Avatars, released Zankou from his prison. Zankou immediately began organizing the Underworld’s forces. He killed weaker demons, adding their powers to his own, and took every opportunity he could to learn all he could of the Charmed Ones.
In the wake of the Avatars creating a utopian world, Zankou was forced into hiding. Zankou sought out and tried to convince Leo (now an Avatar) to see that the Avatar’s utopian world was far from perfect. Zankou had discovered an ancient tomb detailing the events of the Avatar’s last attempt to create utopia on Earth, but the tale revealed that utopia could only be maintained by removing “creators of conflict” (human, demonic or otherwise) from existence. These ancients then battled the Avatars with a potion created to vanquish an avatar. Zankou eventually persuaded Leo to participate in a plan which would create an alliance between himself and the Charmed Ones in order to restore the world to its pre-utopian state. His plan succeeded and, with the help of the Charmed Ones, made the Avatars restore the world to its former state, including those the Avatars removed when they created conflict (but not Agent Brody because that had happened before utopia). Now with the Avatar threat gone, he could turn his intentions to domination of the Underworld and the destruction of the Charmed Ones.
Zankou for a while retreated to the Underworld in order to strengthen his resolve and begin mobilizing his already loyal followers to take control of the Underworld. Zankou’s plan included placing high-level demons above ground in key positions in society (such as judges, CEOs of major companies and politicians), but his plan was dependent on one highly ambitious maneuver; taking control of the Spiritual Nexus residing under the Halliwell Manor, a maneuver which called for the removal of the “Good” in the manor, meaning Zankou had to find a way of removing the sisters' influence on the manor if he was to succeed in absorbing the Shadow of the Nexus without it destroying himself and his demon followers (an example of this is when Zankou opened the Nexus after removing Phoebe and Paige, but instead of the Shadow entering him, it killed three of his demons. It was at that point he realized that Piper was still somewhere in the house). Zankou therefore abandoned the offensive approach on the sisters. He began by studying the sisters' behavior more and watched for signs of emotional weakness. He began integrating himself into their lives through the use of his shapeshifting power. After some weeks, Zankou finally revealed his true intentions; exploiting his knowledge of the sisters' lives and attacking them on an emotional level by bringing back to life innocents the sisters had lost with the help of a demonic alchemist. Zankou weakened them emotionally and therefore made their Book of Shadows vulnerable as the book's powers are tied to the sisters' emotions. Zankou finally managed to steal the Book of Shadows as the sisters fought off the resurrected innocents they failed to save.
Now with the Book of Shadows in Zankou’s possession, the sisters retreated to Magic School for safety. This gave Zankou the opportunity he was looking for and took control of the manor. However, it was not long before the Charmed Ones and a number of magical beings made a raid on the manor to remove Zankou. The raid even got as far as Phoebe being able to get to the Book of Shadows to take it back, but as the book was under Zankou’s influence it protected itself from her and resulted in Zankou being given the opportunity to steal Phoebe’s powers with a potion he found in the Book of Shadows . Using his newly acquired power, Zankou foiled another plan made by the sisters to remove Zankou from the manor and in the process stole Piper’s powers. Now with Piper’s powers, Zankou was capable of breaching the magical defenses of Magic School and decided to come after the sisters. However the sisters were not at Magic School, but had in fact astral projected their images into Magic School and were actually in the manor, using the Power of Three to take back the Book of Shadows. The sisters open the Nexus but Zankou blasts the sisters and absorbs the Shadow. Now with the Shadow, Zankou could have destroyed the sisters, but before he had time to take any action, the Charmed Ones used a spell to vanquish the “Suxen”, the host of the Shadow of the Nexus (which was revealed to be their plan). The spell destroyed the Nexus and Zankou was destroyed along with it. The sisters appeared killed in the blast to the whole world, but it was revealed they were using Astral Projection to fake their deaths and defeat Zankou.
Personality and attributes
Zankou’s exceeding intelligence, understanding of demonic and human psychology, and his capacity to sense when an enemy was vulnerable made him an exceptional strategist which is seen in the episode “Ordinary Witches” when Zankou attacked Piper and Phoebe whilst in the process of swapping powers so Piper could witness the Seer’s vision of the Avatar’s Utopia. Zankou’s attack resulted in Piper and Phoebe’s powers being sent into two nearby civilians.
Powers and abilities
- Zankou was an antagonist created by Brad Kern and was portrayed by actor Oded Fehr