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Demerzel is one of the main characters of the Apple TV+ series Foundation. Demerzel is the enigmatic "intelligent robot" and loyal aide to the Emperor of the Galaxy. Patient and watchful, Demerzel is the last of her kind and has guided the Cleonic Dynasty for centuries. She is portrayed by Laura Birn, first appearing in the episode "The Emperor's Peace".

General Information[]

Demerzel serves as an aide and advisor to the ruling Cleons of the Galactic Empire.[1] She was aide to Cleon I, the first emperor of the Genetic Dynasty, and was fiercely loyal to him and Empire. Demerzel oversaw the gestation and births of the clones,[4] and took on a role similar to that of a guardian and mentor to the Cleons when they were Brother Dawn.[3] Among Demerzel's other duties was assisting Brother Dusk with their ascension when the time came.[4] Demerzel is a devout Luminist, and around 1,102 Era Imperial she had the opportunity to walk The Spiral on the Maiden, reaching the Womb of the Mother.[5]

During the rule of Cleon XII, she, along with the current Brother Dawn, greets the delegations from Anacreon and Thespis to Trantor, and leads them through the Mural of Souls. Demerzel explains its significance to the delegations before bringing them before Empire.[1] Following the bombing of the Star Bridge, Demerzel led Imperial troops to the dwarf planet Aethra, capturing and interrogating the biohacker Jiam Quarver who supplied the bombers with nano-lace explosives.[3]

Following the death of Proxima Opal, Demerzel accompanied Cleon XIII to the Maiden, where she helped brief him on the tenets and current religious structure of Luminism. The Emperor noted that Demerzel was a Luminist herself, to which she confirmed, noting that even though her instincts were coded, she could still believe in something greater than herself. Although she supported the Empire's efforts to instal Zephyr Gilat, who would keep invoking the New Octavo which did not preach against clones, she could not help herself from bowing when Zephyr Halima, who wished to invoke the Primary Octavo, gave a rousing speech at Opal's funeral which indicated some level of distaste for the Empire.[2]

Shortly before leaving the Maiden after Cleon XIII completed his own pilgrimage on The Spiral, Demerzel revealed her own experience on The Spiral to Zephyr Halima and that she had been blessed with a vision.[5]

From the Foundation Books[]

Eto Demerzel was the alter-ego of the robot R. Daneel Olivaw. Demerzel served as First Minister to Emperor Cleon I during the events depicted in Foundation. Demerzel used his position to manipulate events, such as ensuring that Hari Seldon continued to develop psychohistory.

Differences From the Novel Character[]

In the original Foundation series by Isaac Asimov, Eto Demerzel was present as robot whose human disguise presented as male. The character's disguise's gender was changed to female for the Foundation series.

In the original, as a robot, Demerzel was incapable of violating the three Laws of Robotics, although he modified himself to instead be incapable of violating the four Laws of Robotics:

Zeroth Law
A robot may not injure humanity, or, through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.
First Law
A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm, unless this would conflict with the Zeroth Law.
Second Law
A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the Zeroth or First Law.
Third Law
A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the Zeroth, First, or Second Law.

However, Demerzel appears to violate these laws by killing Zephyr Halima when ordered to do so by Cleon XIII, despite the First Law trumping the Second Law. She also kills Cleon XIV in violation of laws One and Two, as Cleon XIII is deliberating about what to do with him, meaning she is under orders not to make the decision for him. As there is no evidence the Zeroth Law was applicable as a "trump" in the two cases - and as the robot followed up the second murder with self-harm, in contradiction of the Third Law - the available evidence is that Demerzel is simply not subject to the Laws of Robotics.


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