- Gehrman’s plea for release from the Hunter’s Dream showcases the tragic consequences of the endless hunt.
- The Young Girl’s heartbreaking questline ends in tragedy, regardless of the choices made by the player.
- The Doll’s existence is tied to its creator, Lady Maria, highlighting themes of unrequited love and dependency.
As is tradition for any Dark Souls or soulslike games made by FromSoftware Inc., Bloodborne is filled with morose characters and storylines, which lends itself to an abundance of upsetting, gut-wrenching quotes. Released a year before the final Dark Souls game, Bloodborne has the dark premise of a widespread illness that transforms the world’s inhabitants into warped creatures, and controversial ‘blood ministrations’ are the main remedy supplied by the Healing Church.
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Playing as a Hunter that hunts the rogue beasts and seeks blood to grant them the powers of the ‘Great Ones’, otherworldly gods that cross multiple planes of existence, gameplay is bleak in more ways than one. Does Bloodborne contain the most unsettling quotes in any soulslike game? Players can be the judge.
6 “Somebody Help Me… Unshackle Me Please, Anybody… I’ve Had Enough Of This Dream…”
Gehrman was the first to hunt the beasts that plague Bloodborne and is now destined to guide every new hunter that passes through his workshop. Gehrman is trapped eternally in the Hunter’s Dream, another dimension created by an enlightened being (known as the Moon Presence) which recreates an idealized version of the dilapidated hunter’s workshop in the real world. His fate was sealed by Laurence the First Vicar, who seemingly promised to deliver the Moon Presence an infant in exchange for empowerment. When Gehrman sleeps, players hear him beg Laurence to be freed from the ‘dream’, unaware that Laurence will never return to rescue him (players had to defeat flaming boss Laurence in early gameplay).
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As one of the final bosses, Gehrman gives the player a choice: submit their life willingly and allow Gehrman to mercy kill the player or refuse. The countless gravestones in the Hunter’s Dream suggest Gehrman has sacrificed hundreds of hunters to spare them from the horrors of the endless hunt. If players refuse, it triggers a final battle with Gehrman, whereby each opponent is trying to selflessly free each other from their painful existence. Successfully fighting and killing Gehrman results in an ending where players are bound to Gehrman’s wheelchair in the Hunter’s Dream with the Plain Doll by their side, doomed to suffer the life that Gehrman was desperate to escape.
5 “If You Find My Mum, Give Her This Music Box. When Daddy Forgets Us, We Play It For Him, So He Remembers.”
Young Yharnam Girl
In Central Yharnam, players may come across a polite NPC behind a barred window known as the ‘Young Yharnam Girl’ who is seeking her mother, Viola, and her missing father, Father Gascoigne. Formerly a legendary hunter, Father Gascoigne began massacring innocents after becoming blood-drunk and would forget his family. The child gives the player a tiny music box, explaining that whenever Viola went looking for Gascoigne, playing the music box would break him from his frenzy. Players are told to look out for Viola’s Red Jeweled Brooch, but searching will lead gamers to Viola’s corpse in the Tomb of Oedon.
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Faced with a choice, players can either return the Red Jewelled Brooch to the Young Girl and confirm her mother’s death (triggering sobbing for her mother and the end of her questline) or they can lie. Lying appears to present opportunities to shelter the Young Girl at the Oedon Chapel or the Iosefka Clinic. At the Oedon Chapel, the Young Girl is murdered by the Maneater Boar, who will drop her Red Messenger Ribbon when defeated. If players give this Ribbon to the Young Girl’s sister, she seems to have a sinister joy at getting to own the Ribbon at last, but upon the next visit, the sister is dead on the ground, perhaps after committing suicide. At the Iosefka Clinic, Iosefka’s impostor mutates the Young Girl into a ‘Celestial Minion’ which remains docile to the player. The Young Girl was sweet, grateful, and loved the player like a family member for basic human kindness, landing her a place in many player’s hearts, making it all the more devastating that no matter which path is taken, she suffers tragedy.
3 “I Am A Doll Created By You Humans, Would You Ever Think To Love Me? Of Course, I Do Love You, Isn’t That How You’ve Made Me?”
When players encounter The Doll, she is an inanimate life-size porcelain object, who can only speak and move after having received affection. It is rumored that Gehrman created his companion, The Plain Doll, to look like Lady Maria, his first student; this implies Gehrman had an unreciprocated devotion or “mania” towards Maria and crafted the Doll to immortalize her. However, Gehrman appears to resent his creation for shortcomings and deprive her of love, hence why she is inanimate before the player’s arrival. Nonetheless, The Doll is a loyal and helpful hunter’s assistant.
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Both Lady Maria and her porcelain likeness have a tragic existence. Maria participated in a legendary massacre to uncover secrets; these atrocities created the ‘Hunter’s Nightmare’ where perpetrators and fallen Hunters would be trapped. Regretting her sacrilegious actions, Maria discarded her beloved weapon and killed herself, but she became trapped in the Nightmare. Players find her corpse in the Astral Clocktower (where her spirit is resigned to overlooking the mutilated patients), but Maria resurrects to initiate one of the most powerful boss fights in Bloodborne. Once players defeat Maria, The Doll says she feels “a liberation from heavy shackles”, insinuating the ties between herself and Maria have been severed, but The Doll is still dependent on ownership to exist.
2 “I Haven’t Much To Offer… All I Can Give Is My Blood.”
A lady of the night, Arianna is a kindly character found living in the Cathedral Ward wearing a Cainhurst gown, which suggests she is descended from nobility and likely uses these connections to gain clients. The people of Cainhurst Castle were scorned by the Healing Church as “Vilebloods” and Arianna’s blood is similarly deemed “forbidden”, perhaps cementing this idea of her Cainhurst heritage. Players can advise Arianna to seek shelter in Oedon Chapel to avoid being mauled by the beasts outside. As thanks for saving her, Arianna will offer her blood, aware of how condemned she and her blood are.
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If players accept three vials of Arianna’s blood consecutively, a local NPC Sister Adella will murder Arianna and attempt to kill the ‘tainted’ Hunter, out of jealous, heretical rage. Once players have defeated Rom the Vacuous Spider and battled and killed Micolash, Host of the Nightmare, Arianna goes missing, leaving trails of blood behind her. Alone in the Tomb of Oedon, players discover Arianna sobbing “This is a nightmare”, having been impregnated by one of the Great Ones. She has given birth to a Celestial Child, writhing, grotesquely on the floor, resembling a slug. Executing the child will kill Arianna, as the two are forever linked, but leaving Arianna relegates her to a life of misery that the world believed she deserved.
1 “I Won’t Do It Again, I Promise. The Damp Darkness, It Frightens Me… And What Rises From Its Very Depths.”
The Clocktower Patients were victims of experiments performed by the Healing Church. Believing the Great Ones to be linked to the sea, the Healing Church filled the patient’s heads with water in the hope of giving them internal eyes to see the Great Ones. When players encounter the patients in the Research Hall, they are all in a state of misery and their gray heads appear painfully swollen and ‘enlarged’.
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Lady Maria resides in the Astral Clocktower to supervise the living experiments, and it is implied that her kindness was used to keep the patients compliant. As such, several of the patients cry for Lady Maria, one urging her “help me, don’t let me drown” and another lamenting about being a “robin” and wondering if they can revert to the innocence of being “an egg”. Every patient has haunting lines, with one patient horrifyingly asking “Has anyone seen my eyes?” and worrying that they had been dropped “in a puddle”. All begging for death or life, the patients have undoubtedly experienced unimaginable horrors as a result of cruel and chilling experiments in search of enlightenment.
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