The Dark Sun Gwyndolin first appeared in the original Dark Souls as a covenant leader and as an optional boss. He was a character who could be easily missed, as finding him required some additional actions and items, yet he played one of the key roles in the game’s story, and elements like that are one of the reasons we love Souls games. According to what we can find in the game, Dark Sun Gwyndolin is the last deity remaining in the once proud capital of Anor Londo. Now deserted by the gods, he secretly rules it, maintaining an illusion of the Sun, the Princess and the Knights of Anor Londo. In fact it’s him, not Gwynevere, who is responsible for guiding the Chosen Undead to link the fire according to the will of Lord Gwyn. It’s not shocking that he just secretly does so, it’s that we could beat the game several times without even realizing that he was the one behind all of the game’s machinations.
As for his personality, we know that he was Lord Gwyn’s lastborn, raised as a goddess, due to his affinity for the moon, which makes his character even more interesting. As for the meaning of his name, it’s composed of words “White/Blessed/Fair” and “Ring”, while his father’s name is the word for “White/Blessed/Fair” in Welsh.
And so, Gwyndolin makes his return in Dark Souls III, but now it’s somewhat of a saddder scene. We find him devoured by Aldrich, the Saint of the Deep, and even if he’s still somehow alive, he shows no signs of resisting the Devourer of Gods, making him lost anyway.
But what does he leave for us to discover? We all know that he fell stricken by some illness and was imprisoned by Pontiff (or Pope, in a more literal translation of original term in Japanese) Sulyvahn to be fed to Aldrich, and we know that from a certain girl, who claims to be his sister (and being a half-dragon girl, this is rather unusual).
But it seems there’s more to the story than that, as it was in Dark Souls and Gwyndolin once again had one of the most significant roles, which, could be easily overlooked.
In the video I discuss all the points about him, his heir as the Darkmoon covenant leader, Yorshka, the one responsible for his current state, Sulyvahn and the old city of Irithyll, to find what exactly happened between the events as they’re shown in Dark Souls I and Dark Souls III, and the legacy that Gwyndolin leaves behind himself.
For example, we can find some statues in the Pontiff Sulyvhan boss room.
The faces of these statues are covered with hoods, so we can’t discern their identity, however the clothes they wear are very much the same as the robes worn by Dark Sun Gwyndolin in Dark Souls I. And if we look at the catalysts the statues are holding, they are in fact the catalyst used by Gwyndolin in Dark Souls I.
And more than that, we can find symbols of the Dark Sun around the Irithyll Cathedral:
The word Irithyll means “Moon” in the Elvish language developed by J.R.R. Tolkien for the Lord of the Rings and his other stories. Similarly “Anor” in “Anor Londo” is the Elvish word for “Sun”. So putting all of this together we can see, that being left alone, at some point, Gwyndolin is forced to come out from the shadows, and guide humans (undead) directly, no longer hiding behind the images of Sister Gwynevere and Father Gwyn. At the place of what once was Anor Londo he establishes a new moon capital in the twilight of the frigid valley, with a cathedral built in the name of Dark Sun, where he leads humans as the “Nameless Moon”.
However, as we know, at some point Pontiff Sulyvhan appears. Waiting for a moment when Gwyndolin falls stricken by illness, he uses his magic and profaned flame to take over Irithyll. And as we can see, when fighting him, Sulyvahn wears robes over his armor and clothes that are suspiciously similar to Gwyndolin’s:
So, he simply usurps power in the church, but at the same time he sticks to tradition. Not only because of the robes, of course, as there are more points that hint to that discussed in the title video. We also know that Sulyvahn uses the “Small Dolls” as the keys to Irithyll; he gives them to the most valuable subjects so they would be able to return to Irithyll. However, at the same time, he bans similar statues of the young squires – we can find the large statues piled up in Yorshka’s church and other places where they’re taken out of sight. These “Young Squires” are the future Silver Knights, as they hold the Silver Knight Swords in their hands. So it gives us yet another piece of the picture of what kind of city Irithyll was during Gwyndolin’s rule.
There are more points in the title video, some facts, theories, speculations, about Gwyndolin, Yorshka, Sulyvahn and his reasoning and involvement in Irithyll’s fate that should be of interest for lore enthusiasts. It was riveting to discover the role such a compelling character as Gwyndolin plays once more, and how much of himself remains, even after being devoured.
We also see how he grows: in Dark Souls I he ruled by hiding behind the illusions of his Sister and the authority of his Father, but in Dark Souls III we see that he, at some point, began ruling on his own, no longer hiding in shadows behind the names of his legendary Father and Sister.
Thoughts on the ideas presented here? Let’s get a compelling discussion started in the comments!
Visit the Dark Souls 3 Wiki
More Game Articles