Discuss Demon's Souls and the start of the Souls Series
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SeyroonTheMage

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#1
(Sorry this isn't directly related to DaS3. I am very new to lore and I planned to start with DeS and go from there, but I overestimated how quickly I could move on to subsequent titles; there was so much to learn I still haven't made it past DeS. Hopefully it won't be a problem if I share my findings here anyway.)

Selen Vinland's armor is purportedly fit to serve 'high-ranking women.'
Thus it is implied that Selen is 'high-ranking.'
However, her esteemed nature remains unclear (AFAIK).
It's possible she earned her merit by her own achievements.
It's also possibly genetically related, bestowed to her by birthright.
For all we know, it is equally likely one or the other, or both, or neither.
Let's assume for our purposes that it's tied to her biology.
If so, then by extension we may infer that Garl Vinland is also high-ranking in that regard.
Now, what's another word for 'land', or a particular type of land? A yard.
Replacing 'land' with 'yard' in the Vinland surname, we get 'Vinyard.'
Obviously, this is quite similar to 'vineyard', and identical phonetically.
A vineyard is itself an area of land, dedicated to the production of wine.
What is wine? The blood of Christ.
What is the blood of Christ? Sacred.
What is sacred? Noble.
What is noble? High-ranking.

So, there is this curious semantic synchronicity, however insignificant it may be. Like circumstantial evidence, it supports the (admittedly not-groundbreaking) hypothesis that the siblings Vinland are of special blood, whether it be sacred, noble, royal, or anything else of that nature.

Furthermore, 'Selene' is the Greek goddess of the moon.
Selen offers Dark Moon Grass for completing her quest.
It is the rarest and most potent variety of Grass, named after the corresponding moon phase in the game.
Ergo, it represents the most significant occurrence in the lunar cycle, a climax of sorts.
Her quest is completed by trading her the Crest of Vinland.
A 'crest' is the highest point or level; it's a climax, a culmination.

So, to summarize: To reach the crest of the moon goddess' quest, exchange a literal crest for a figurative crest symbolic of the cyclical crest of the moon. How sublime!

Lastly, if we attach the 'land' we displaced to make 'Vinyard' to 'Garl', we get 'Garland.'
A garland is a decorative wreathe, often floral and often worn around the neck, so that it 'guards' the body.
Garl Vinland was Saint Astraea's bodyguard.
Combined, our transposition yields 'Garland Vinyard'.

Plot twist: I have no idea what this means - probably absolutely nothing - and I don't know where I'm going with this anymore.

That's all for now. I hope some have found these details interesting. If I'm allowed to have this thread, I plan on contributing to it in the future, continuing with more DeS analyses and eventually, hopefully, progressing into DaS and ultimately DaS3. So maybe someday it will be on topic... until then, feedback would be appreciated if only to help me stay motivated. Next post I'm working on would be some notes about my favorite Souls character, Saint Astraea.

SeyroonTheMage

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#2
Formerly, Sixth Saint Astraea was like an angel, a divine icon of love and innocence; presently, she is like a fallen angel, a demonic apostate lost for innocence. Astraea is an angel; Garl is a guardian. The relationship between Astraea and Garl represents the figure of the guardian angel. Except, in practice, it's a role reversal of the traditional take on the concept: the human male is the guardian angel of the particular angelic female he protects. He is also her 'knight in shining armor'. Except, he wears the Dark Silver set; therefore he is her 'knight in dark armor', another reversal of a classical concept - a dark one, and a fitting one considering Astraea's and Garl's tragic condition.

Astraea also symbolizes a sheep, with Garl as her guardian sheepdog (a real thing used by sheep herders, similar to herding sheepdogs). Astraea is the Lamb of God, Agnus Dei, symbolizing "innocence, gentleness, peacefulness and patience under suffering". The invocation to Agnus Dei, "behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world," reinforces the Lamb God's link with Astraea, for both fulfilled the same role: working to rid the world of sin (purifying the swamp).

Astraea is also a Sacrificial Lamb. Like Jesus, she sacrificed herself for the redemption of others; like Jesus, she gave away her own perfect purity and took on the corruption of others, solely for their benefit, that they might be purified through her sacrifice. Unlike Jesus, however, she became an apostate and pledged herself to the will of a Demon's Soul, gaining its power in order to achieve her goal of easing the suffering of the damned. I guess that would be like if Jesus sold his soul to the devil, which is absurd - perhaps nearly equally absurd as Astraea doing what she did, but that's what happened in the post-apocalyptic dark fantasy world of Demon's Souls.

From the perspective of her former fellow disciples of God, Demon Astraea would be regarded as a 'black sheep'. Her once high holy status within the Church combined with her deep descent into the underworld (both figuratively and literally, in that she became a demon residing at the bottom of the swamp) make her betrayal and abandonment of faith unprecedented in their egregiousness. Likely, hers is by far the worst case - in recent memory, at least, and perhaps ever. If so, then she is in fact the official black sheep of the 'family' that is the entire religion, whether or not this information is widely distributed among its members. Ironically, and tragically, she went from exemplifying success to exemplifying failure, from pure white sheep to pitch black sheep, from good to evil - pick any duality you want, the point is, she went from extreme Yin, to extreme Yang, transcending opposite extremes.

Speaking of black sheep, as silly as this might seem, the nursery rhyme happens to be relevant to Astraea's tale as well:
Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes, sir, yes, sir,
Three bags full;
One for the master,
And one for the dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane.

As you can see, the rhyme contains the theme of self-sacrifice, true altruism at significant expense to oneself. The black sheep is so concerned with helping others, he gave away all his wool, leaving none left over to cover his own body. It's ironic he is a black sheep, given the negative connotation, considering he is so hard-working, caring and giving; he would make a fine white sheep, probably a better one than most actual white sheep.

So we see he is a black sheep in color only, not in principle. He is not a 'pure' black sheep, just as Astraea is not a pure demon; in fact, it is stated, she is the most impure demon of all by comparison. She defies the stereotypical behavior expected of a demon in every conceivable way.

Astraea personifies the expression, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Her name is lifted directly from Greek mythology, where it means "star maiden," in which she is the virgin goddess of innocence and purity closely associated with another Greek goddess, the goddess of justice, Dike (which I guess explains... er... this...). It is commonly pronounced 'ah-stray-uh', a lot alike 'astray', as in 'led astray', as a lost sheep might be, and like Saint Astraea herself actually was, in the sense that her faith lead her into the Valley of Defilement, in which she lost her way, and from which she never returned. It might also be pronounced 'as-tree-uh', or even 'ash-tree-uh'. An ash tree is, in Norse mythology, a Yggdrasil tree. Branching into heaven and rooted in hell, the Yggdrasil tree is believed to transcend opposite extremes - just like Astraea in DeS.

Moreover, consider the etymology of the words 'Yggdrasil', as well as 'maiden':
The generally accepted meaning of Old Norse Yggdrasill is "Odin's horse", meaning "gallows". This interpretation comes about because drasill means "horse" and Ygg(r) is one of Odin's many names. The Poetic Edda poem Hávamál describes how Odin sacrificed himself by hanging from a tree, making this tree Odin's gallows. This tree may have been Yggdrasil. Gallows can be called "the horse of the hanged" and therefore Odin's gallows may have developed into the expression "Odin's horse", which then became the name of the tree.

The Maiden (also known as the Scottish Maiden) is an early form of guillotine, or gibbet, that was used between the 16th and 18th centuries as a means of execution in Edinburgh, Scotland. The device was introduced in 1564 during the reign of Mary Queen of Scots, and was last used in 1716. It long predates the use of the guillotine during the French Revolution.
In horse racing a maiden race is an event for horses that have not won a race.[1] Horses that have not won a race are referred to as maidens.[1] Maiden horse races are held over a variety of distances and under conditions with eligibility based on the sex or age of the horse.

So, there are dual references to both horses and public execution apparatuses built into Saint or, as she's sometimes called, Maiden Astraea's name/title, oddly enough. Incidentally, if you think about it, a rope garland would basically be a noose, right?

And of course, there's the obvious in-game comparison of Astraea and the Virgin Mary. This comment by the Filthy Woman is one of the rare instances in which the game breaks the fourth wall, by directly referencing its source material.

This post is long enough already, so I'll leave it at that for now.
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#3
•Garland was the main protagonist of Final Fantasy.
•Garland Used time travel
•Dark Souls uses time travel
•Back to the Future uses Time Travel
•Marty Mcfly is a character in Back to the Future
•the famous actor Marty Sheen narrated the documentary Apocalypse: The Second World War
•WW2 was a tragedy
•Prometheus Bound is a Greek tragedy
•Prometheus gave man Fire
•Fire is the tools of Pyromancers
•Laurentius is a Pyromancer
•Antipope Laurentius was responsible for a Schism in the Roman Catholic Church from 498 until 506 AD.
•11 U.S. Code § 506 (b) states: (b) To the extent that an allowed secured claim is secured by property the value of which, after any recovery under subsection (c) of this section, is greater than the amount of such claim, there shall be allowed to the holder of such claim, interest on such claim, and any reasonable fees, costs, or charges provided for under the agreement or State statute under which such claim arose.
•the code uses the term reasonable which mean this line of logic is in fact reasonable.
•being that it is logical we must look a the axiomatic underpinnings of this line of reasoning
•Being that these axioms are inherently accepted as self-evidently true then it is presumptuous to not question them
•presumption is antithetical to actual proof
•proof is what we are looking for
•looking is the act of using one of your five senses
•one might sense that Garl Vinland was protecting something
•Vinland was protecting Maiden Astraea
•Maidens are women
•Woman are not men
•mankind is a term for all humanity
•humanity is an item in Dark Souls 1
•furtive pygmy found the dark soul
•pygmy sounds like Pig-Me
•Pig-Me sound like a euphemism for Gluttony
•therefore Selen Vinland is a Pig.

SeyroonTheMage

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#4
Fine then.
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#5
Moved to the Demon's Souls section
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SeyroonTheMage

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#6
I'm trapped in the Nexus now.

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#7
Flood myths are ancient tales of global catastrophes. The basic gist is God sends a flood to reset humanity for becoming too corrupt, thereby giving humanity a fresh start to try again. Common across cultures separated by space and time, they are some of the oldest human stories. They are retold endlessly, in one form or another.

In Demon's Souls, the mythical flood story is central to both the gameplay and the plot. The player character is the chosen one meant to overcome the impending chaos, who therefore holds the fate of the world in his hands. This is allegorical to the eponymous Patriarch of the story, Noah's Ark. The Old One, reawakened by man's lust for soul power, is the flood itself: the source of all demons and the thick colorless fog in which they dwell, which continues to sweep the landscape while the demons within raze civilization to vestiges along the way. Like land forever lost beneath the risen sea, half the world was permanently destroyed during the First Scourge. So, the Second Scourge is no joke. It has serious potential to wipe out humanity for good.

Like flood myths, the Old One is old. It is the first demon, "planted upon the Earth [...] on the second day." This word choice is telling. It suggests the natural power, and possibly supernatural origins, of the Old One - in conjunction with whom the word 'planted', in particular, evokes a sense of rawness, wildness, nature's fury: tornadoes, which the Old One vaguely resembles, and of course, floods. The fact that the Old One is composed entirely of plant matter supports this hypothesis. Not to mention, the way the Old One operates within the world is effectively identical to a force of nature: it emerges every so often, not of its own freewill but as a predetermined involuntary response to external factors it can't control; it's like a damn weather pattern. Oh, and don't forget the Old One usually configures its body in the shape of a wild animal, one which most people have an instinctual fear of: the serpent.

This fact alludes to another source of inspiration behind the Old One: snake mythology. Related to that is the ideal of the walled garden, a paradisaical sanctuary that keeps orderliness in and chaos out. That's the Nexus, roughly speaking, and sealed away at the bottom of it is the Old One, the proverbial 'snake in the garden', like the primordial serpent in the story of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. That serpent was ultimately responsible for giving man his God-like intellectual power; the Old One, by the mere fact of its existence, facilitates man's use of Soul Arts - magic and miracles. Each of these 'gifts' come with profound consequences, however: the falling of man from grace and the birth of evil as such, and the constant risk of inadvertently triggering the apocalypse by rousing the Old One through overuse, respectively. Both of these serpents are harbingers of chaos, fundamentally.

It was that same primordial serpent, Kingseeker Frampt, who trolled tempted Eve, who in turn tempted Adam, telling her that if she were to partake of the forbidden fruit then despite God's claims to the contrary she "surely will not die" and instead her "eyes will be opened, and ye will be like God, knowing good and evil." What the first- and best-ever clever ruseman didn't mention is that such power is a double-edged blade in its own right. While it is extremely sharp, it cuts both ways, and on top of that it can only be acquired through sin in the first place. So it is a tool man obtained at extraordinarily high cost to himself, that he wields at his own risk.

The first thing it taught Adam and Eve was shame, for example. They instantly realized was their own nakedness, and so, for the first time, they felt self-consciousness and embarrassment. It also made evil a thing that exists - in the world and, more specifically, inside ourselves. For no other creature is capable of evil: when a predator kills a prey animal, it may be tragic, but it isn't evil. That's because evil requires malicious intent. Evil, fundamentally, consists in a desire to deliberately inflict unnecessary pain and suffering. That's something only people are capable of doing. Or demons, perhaps... depending on whether they are tragic or evil. Perhaps demons in Souls games start out tragic and then become evil inadvertently, as a consequence of preying upon the tainted souls of humans? But, enough cringey digressing (for now).

So how does this relate back to Demon's Souls? Well, the soul man received on the first day - giving him "clarity" and "the means by which [to] perceive the world around [him]" - is analogous to the knowledge of good and evil bestowed by the forbidden fruit, or, by extension, the serpent. The fact that the Old One was born the following day reinforces this connection, as if the Old One is the price man must pay for that which makes him human: the divine spark, his soul, clarity; the awareness of good and evil alike. If asked to put a name on such a price as that, I would be obliged to call it, "Original Sin."

Original Sin is born soon after Adam and Eve quite literally take the bait. It is man's dark inheritance (his 'Darksign', if you will) of the punishment God dealt his most distant ancestors for their initial rebelliousness. It is a kind of curse upon humanity, which some denominations believe to be irredeemable and unforgivable. These elements are reflected in DeS with the Old One being described, metaphorically, as an incurable poison upon Earth. Poisons and curses are similar afflictions, forms of plague and ailment.

Original Sin is also known as Ancestral Sin; since the Old One is the original demon, and the origin or 'ancestor' of all other demons, the Old One might rightly also be referred to as the Ancestral Demon - an alias I feel actually better suits the mood, tone, and atmosphere of DeS than does the actual name.

So, the Old One is allegorical amalgam of several similarly significant sacred source stories, including a few from Genesis. And while the Old One does play a key role in DeS, the game itself is based, fundamentally, on Western dragon mythology.

To explain, allow me to pose a question: What is a demon? I posit that it is the same thing in the world of Demon's Souls as in reality: a monster, basically; an amalgamation of things that are chaotic; an embodied representation of chaos as such, chaos itself, meta chaos. Dragons are a classic example of this in Western culture.

With their sheer giganticness, plus possible flight and fiery breath, dragons easily overcome man's best efforts to insulate himself against the dangers of being. No man-made structure nor fortification - no garden, no matter how high or thick its walls - is ever safe from dragons, hypothetically; thus dragons are a kind of 'snake in the garden', which is also what the Old One is. Meanwhile, the hero of the tale is the one who slays the dragon, the dragon slayer (or as the Maiden in Black would surely say, the Slayer of Dragons); the one who actively routes out chaos, and, as a result, gains something very valuable, such as a hoard of gold; the one who transforms chaos into order, dragon into gold - demon into soul, as the case may be.

At its core, this story shows there is great potential to be had within the perilous unknown. Does this sound familiar, Souls fans? It should, for Souls games are fundamentally predicated on upon this story. All you do in Souls games is play out that story, over and over, with every demon slain and every soul gained, from Lesser to Arch. That's all that happens.

In DeS, for example, the Slayer of Demons (the knight, the mythical hero) voluntarily ventures into the colorless fog (the dragon's den, the underworld, the unknown) from the safety of the Nexus (the castle, the walled garden, order), and by confronting and vanquishing demons (slaying dragons, facing fear, organizing chaos) acquires souls (treasure), granting power (fortune, glory) that is, in some cases, "beyond human imagination."

Floods myths, dragon tales, Adam and Eve, and Demon's Souls all tell different stories, yet convey the same message: that it is impossible to eliminate pain, suffering, and chaos in life, because there is no way to prevent manifestations of those things from emerging in the world. The Old One never dies and the serpent of chaos always finds its way into the garden of order (even God, Himself, couldn't keep it out). So the message seems to be that these things are intrinsic to being, and the solution to that problem is to learn to live with them as best we can. So we need to know how to act properly to minimize their effects as much as possible in order improve our state of being.

Taken altogether, the course of events which transpire in Demon's Souls are a lesson on how we can do that - and what can happen if we don't. Its story is good because it aims to teach useful information, which is the nature and purpose of stories in general. That's why we consume them - in print, on screen, or otherwise.

A good story is like an Arch-demon soul: its consumption grants new understanding of something formerly beyond comprehension. It's food for the soul, soul food.