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Dark Souls Interpretation

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1 Dark Souls Interpretation on Mon Feb 09, 2015 11:08 am

So obviously you guys heard the toned-down version of my interpretation of Dark Souls, but I would love to hear anyone else's interpretations of the game as a whole. Its theme, or characters, or anything else speculative-wise.


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2 Re: Dark Souls Interpretation on Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:59 am

I saw your video Arch and liked your interpretation but I believe that while the first part of it "try your best all the time or you will fail" is right, the part with "but the best you can do is stagnate" is off. The whole idea behind the game for me is overcoming the impossible through determination. Your character starts off as an average human and through sheer force of will overcomes the very gods themselves. The key here is to never give up. When does an undead hollow? When they run out of humanity? No, that's not true. Your character can be in "hollow" form for as long as he wants. An undead hollows when he gives up or loses his will. You see this everywhere.
Laurentius - couldn't find Queelana or maybe found her and was rejected and turned hollow
Griggs - couldn't pass Sen's fortress and lost track of Logan, went hollow.
Crestfallen Warrior - Had his home and last refuge taken away. Went to new londo and realized there was no place left for him.
Seigmeyer - Honor tarnished, final journey overcome, finally met his daughter and was bested, died happy.
Solaire - found his sun, his journey is over, went hollow... or did he?
If you 'save' Solaire he never turns hollow. He keeps slogging on. He never gives up and meets you at the final boss. He links the flame (confirmed by developers.) He links the flame because he never gives up and accomplishes the inconceivable. The same as you. When do you hollow? You don't... unless you stop playing. Unless you give up and delete your save you never go all the way. Just like Solaire you make it to the final area and then you have a choice: save everyone or keep going. It's a little better than give up or keep going but the choice is still there. Will your undead persist and grow and change the world or will he end his journey there? This game isn't about loss of ability or the delaying of the inevitable. This game is about going beyond the impossible through willpower alone.

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3 Re: Dark Souls Interpretation on Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:34 am

I will admit that much of my "head canon" has been established by the "Prepare to Cry" series by VaatiVidya. When it comes to my own speculation, Dark Souls 2 lends for more room in that regard because I don't think even the developers know exactly where they wanted to go with the lore, and that may be one of the reasons DkS2 felt lacking. This has become more apparent in the PS4/XBone version where enemy placement has been rearranged, and the reveal of a new major boss.

But that's an entirely different topic for another thread on another day.

That being said, I'm going to have to give it some more thought, and then report back.


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4 Re: Dark Souls Interpretation on Tue Feb 10, 2015 6:59 am

I enjoy the Souls games well enough but understand that there are things about them that make them utterly impenetrable to a great many people. Indeed the games were actually a pretty slow burn for me, in that my appreciation for the things they do wonderfully well grew sloooooooowly over time.

In any case, to Arch's point that the themes of Dark Souls make it depressingly melancholic and gloomy, I would say that he's absolutely right, but qualify that accord by pointing out that I see that as a great strength of the game, not a detriment. Why? Because it adds tension, horror and an unapologetic denseness to the game that helps marks it out as something very different from near everything else on the market.

What would an upbeat Souls game even look like?



Last edited by MugWump on Wed Feb 11, 2015 4:33 am; edited 1 time in total

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5 Re: Dark Souls Interpretation on Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:48 am

In response to MugWump, probably something like this: http://i.imgur.com/zgSW2.jpg


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6 Re: Dark Souls Interpretation on Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:26 am

Ha, I cant decide if that's adorable or terrifying.

EDIT:

Arch, the OP states that your video offers a toned-down version of your views on the game. Care to offer the unabridged version?

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7 Re: Dark Souls Interpretation on Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:01 pm

I'd also highly recommend Vaati's Dark Souls Lore series for anyone trying to get into it:

/watch?v=7eJeUG1m6eI&list=PLWLedd0Zw3c5RCXboUsPwHsZJlXB2CzCz

(although it's pretty hard to believe anyone hasn't seen these already lol)

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8 Re: Dark Souls Interpretation on Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:26 pm

The unabridged version is something I don't like thinking about that has to do with how it'd be better if we were never born at all or, if we're lucky, killed when we're young.


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9 Re: Dark Souls Interpretation on Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:50 pm

@ Arch

Hmmm, so it appears that Dark Souls is less 'coffee' for you than it is 'cyanide'. In any case, I'm genuinely sorry to learn that you feel that way about any game man. Truly.

@ DragFive

Aye, Vaati's channel is an absolute delight. Moreover, Dark Souls is a game that has inspired some really entertaining user generated content.

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10 Re: Dark Souls Interpretation on Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:09 pm

One of the things that surprised me about Dark Souls is that many of the bosses aren't as evil as they seem.

*Warning. Long text is long*

Getting into DLC lore, Sif is one of the more heartfelt bosses in the game. Sif or course is Artorias' faithful companion, and you fight him at Artorias' grave site. If you beat Artorias and rescue young Sif before you fight the Sif boss in the main game, you will encounter a slightly different cutscene. Sif will pause and howl at the moon as if he recognizes you.

This can be interpreted in different ways, but it is implied that the "legendary" Artorias, who repelled the Dark was you all along, and the real Artorias failed in his mission. You were essentially transported back in time and rewrote history. Why then would Sif continue to attack you if he remembers his rescue? He's actually trying to save you from being corrupted by the dark because he knows how awful the corruption can be. In order to traverse the Abyss you must obtain the ring from Artorias' grave. Rather than see you corrupted like his friend Artorias, Sif must stop you at all costs, as painful as it may be.

Upon seeing the abomination that is Queelag, it's pretty easy to jump to conclusions. It's not until you encounter the Fair Lady, Queelag's sister, you begin to feel bad about slaying the boss. If the Old Witch's Ring is equipped, The Fair Lady, now blind, will talk to you as if you were Queelag herself. Apparently, poison (likely from Eingy) was accidentally unleashed in the swamp, leading to the decay of Blighttown. In an attempt to cure it's citizen's, The Fair Lady consumed the poison from them, but failed. Only humanity keeps the poisoned Fair Lady alive, thus Queelag has been ambushing travelers in order to save her sister's life.

Though not as tragic as the previous two, Ornstein and Smough have merely been protecting Gwynevere from hostile attacks - well I'll say just Ornstein was protecting her because Smough is just doing it because he enjoys killing (even the gods disapproved of Smough). Were they aware of the illusion, or were they too tricked by Gwyndolin's illusion? That's up for debate, but either is correct. There are many ways you can spin it, but I wouldn't be surprised if the honorable Ornstein, was tricked. Unless he was commanded by Gwyn to protect the thrown, I don't see why Ornstein would stay behind to preserve the illusion, considering most of the other gods left Anor Lando.

Then there is Priscilla in the Painted World, a boss who is completely harmless unless attacked first.

On a different topic, there is a theory that the goddess, Velka has been aiding the many attempts of the chosen undead's journey for quite some time, in hopes of capturing Gwyn's power or something along those lines. It's clear that Velka opposed the other gods. Supposedly that giant raven that takes you to Lordran could be interpreted as aid from Velka or even Velka herself (Velka is always associated with ravens). When visiting the Painted World, Velka's lore is heavily prominent, and it's important to note the Painted World is a place to seal away undesirables. It is here the occult ember can be found which is an extremely dangerous tool against the gods. Perhaps Velka's previous plan was thwarted, and she was then using chosen undead as a backup plan.


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11 Re: Dark Souls Interpretation on Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:03 am

Terrific Post Maz - I had no idea about Sif's alt cutscene, though I've always found that encounter to be oddly distressing. Interesting! As for Dark Souls' cast of sympathetic boss characters, I think they add so much to the discussion surrounding the game. Indeed, DragFive mentioned Vaati's channel earlier in the thread and your post immediately brought to mind his video on Pinwheel:



How tragic!

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12 Re: Dark Souls Interpretation on Thu Feb 12, 2015 9:44 pm

This is an interesting theory I stumbled on while reading Youtube comments. Since Dark Souls 2, we know the fragments of Manus (a product of the Dark Soul) want to join together until it is whole once again. Basically the bonfires and firekeepers were created by Gwyn as tools to gather and split humanity, preventing the rejoining of the Dark Soul, and preserving his security. The title of "The Chosen Undead", was just a lie in attempt to get undead to gather a huge amount of humanity to then be scattered once more.

The Dark Soul is so powerful that the Lords split it, and hollows that walked beside dragons got these fragments which made them human.The humans loved their new form and thus they wanted to keep the humanity which made the lords happy because in that way the Dark Soul was split. But the "curse" is actually a mechanism with which the Dark Soul tries to merge back together. Humans go insane and revert to their original hollow form. The humanity leaves them and thus it is one step closer to merging back together. Witch of Izalith failed with her plan but Gwyn made the bonfires and the firekeepers. A system with which he can make humans burn humanity on the bonfire which would go to the fire keeper. When he and the church wanted they could kill the firekeeper and thus split all the humanity within her again. The chosen undead was the guy who would collect so much humanity that the Dark Soul would be almost complete.So they created the "chosen undead" lie so that person burns him/her self and splits the Dark Soul to pieces again. Hence the name of the game Dark SoulS.´╗┐

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13 Re: Dark Souls Interpretation on Fri Feb 13, 2015 10:11 am

I really should get around to finishing Dark Souls (those two Knight Archers in Anor Londo better get ready)!

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14 Re: Dark Souls Interpretation on Sat Feb 14, 2015 12:02 am

Maz wrote:This is an interesting theory I stumbled on while reading Youtube comments. Since Dark Souls 2, we know the fragments of Manus (a product of the Dark Soul) want to join together until it is whole once again.  Basically the bonfires and firekeepers were created by Gwyn as tools to gather and split humanity, preventing the rejoining of the Dark Soul, and preserving his security. The title of "The Chosen Undead", was just a lie in attempt to get undead to gather a huge amount of humanity to then be scattered once more.

The Dark Soul is so powerful that the Lords split it, and hollows that walked beside dragons got these fragments which made them human.The humans loved their new form and thus they wanted to keep the humanity which made the lords happy because in that way the Dark Soul was split. But the "curse" is actually a mechanism with which the Dark Soul tries to merge back together. Humans go insane and revert to their original hollow form. The humanity leaves them and thus it is one step closer to merging back together. Witch of Izalith failed with her plan but Gwyn made the bonfires and the firekeepers. A system with which he can make humans burn humanity on the bonfire which would go to the fire keeper. When he and the church wanted they could kill the firekeeper and thus split all the humanity within her again. The chosen undead was the guy who would collect so much humanity that the Dark Soul would be almost complete.So they created the "chosen undead" lie so that person burns him/her self and splits the Dark Soul to pieces again. Hence the name of the game Dark SoulS.´╗┐
Mmm few things I want to comment on that.
1. Both humans and lords came from hollows. If you see the beginning intro it clearly shows all of the pink zombies being illuminated by the flame. These are NOT humans because humans came from the pygmy. The pygmy is the father/progenitor of humanity and gives them form by giving them a shard of the dark soul.
2. Splitting the dark soul was most likely the fault of Oolacile. Manus is for all intents and purposes the pygmy and it was the sorcerors that tortured him and made him go crazy. The abyss and the monsters that come out of it were basically dark versions of the "chaos" created by the witch of Izalith.
3. Feeding the bonfires humanity seems to be like an invention of circumstance instead of a conspiracy. Undead naturally want greater bonfires and probably stumbled on the process on accident.
4. The curse is just a reversion to the original state of the world. Think of the world as a pendulum. When it swings right, there is an age of fire. When it swings left, the world is in an age of dark. As the fire runs out, the pendulum reaches the bottom point and humans begin to revert to the hollows they once were and thus the "curse" isn't so much a curse at all. If anything, the mask of life and death comes off. I really don't think Gwyn invented a weird curse to inflict upon humanity because that seems entirely unreasonable. If anything, Gwyn delayed the curse by pushing the pendulum back up.

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15 Re: Dark Souls Interpretation on Sun Feb 15, 2015 7:41 pm

I agree, Gwyn didn't invent the curse. He may have invented a special title for the undead called, "The Chosen Undead", but he didn't invent the curse. That's not what this guy was insinuating. The title would motivate ambitious undead to make his work easier. We know for sure that Gwyn feared the Age of Dark; he sacrificed all his power to delay it, after all.

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16 Re: Dark Souls Interpretation on Sun Feb 15, 2015 8:57 pm

Don't forget the literal, metaphorical, or both implied burning alive for however long it's been since he lit the flame for Gwyn. Lovely thing to endure, there.


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17 Re: Dark Souls Interpretation on Mon Feb 16, 2015 2:22 pm

There's a lot of room for interpretation in this game which is part of what makes it amazing. The amount of creative content people churn out is ridiculous.
Here's another awesome channel. Dude makes incredibly well edited and produced movies covering a wide array of subjects from the game. Even has a "movie version" of the game itself.

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18 Re: Dark Souls Interpretation on Mon Feb 16, 2015 5:00 pm

Wow, I never encountered his videos. I'm gonna have to check them out. Thanks!

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19 Re: Dark Souls Interpretation on Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:30 am

Apart from enjoying the challenges in beating the game with different character types, which other people may not like I had a different reaction to the game. Overcoming the challenges, (often frustrating), provided moments of joy and a sense of accomplishment. What stood out to me looking back was the fact that only giving up can defeat you. This might tie into the themes of despair/losing oneself and how the victor (player) really is the chosen undead.

The lore is actually pretty vague and hidden tbh. I didn't figure a lot of it out and relied on other people better at deciphering it than myself. I found it worth researching. But without youtube I would have failed to experience the game to that standard. Refreshingly brutal game and experience overall, which obviously spills over into unusual areas for game analysis.

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