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Analysis / Dark Souls I

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The Fair Lady as the Microcosm to the Age of Fire's Macrocosm (SPOILERS)

The Fair Lady is quite possibly the most important character to understanding the lore and the main themes of the game. In many ways, she acts as the microcosm to the game world's macrocosm, specifically:

  • Both the Fair Lady and the Age of Fire didn't die when they were supposed to, thanks to the continuous self-sacrifice of a person who loves them (Quelaag and Lord Gwyn, respectively).
  • In both cases, however, the person who loves them is inevitably killed by you, the Chosen Undead, who is then given a choice: to continue their thankless task or to put their wards out of their misery.
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  • If you choose to keep the Fair Lady or the Age of Fire alive, you will inevitably realize the simple yet awful fact: they are both broken beyond repair. No matter how good you are, you cannot restore health to the Fair Lady, just as you cannot bring back the Age of Fire's heyday.

The one major difference is that with the First Flame, the decision is a one-time event whose consequence you see in a cutscene. Caring for the Fair Lady, however, lets you experience the despair that comes from the slow realization of the futility of your efforts first-hand. It forces you to again and again make the decision between continuing and stopping to care, every time you give her another Humanity. More than anything, this puts you in the shoes of Lord Gwyn, who had to make that same decision for centuries—except he fed the First Flame with his own soul.

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By letting you experience this choice early in the game, the writers set up the context for the final decision (which essentially questions the ethics of euthanasia) that makes it a lot more meaningful than if you had only learned about your options from dialogue and cutscenes.


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