Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.

Following

Tear Jerker / Dark Souls III

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lord_of_cinder.jpg
"See ye not? I am a lord... A wee flame, belike, but I shoulder the world... Forgive me. Oh please... I am not to blame. I'm not"
Advertisement:

Prepare to cry.... for the last time.

Unmarked spoilers ahead.

  • The sheer soul-crushing fact that everything everyone fought, struggled, suffered, and died for in the previous two games was all for naught is a serious case of Fridge Horror. No one figured out how to stop the Curse or the cycle, countless civilizations have come and gone by building on the bones of their predecessors only for them to become the next set of bones, and nothing anyone could do could prevent this. Even Dark Souls II's revelation that Vendrick figured out how to stop the curse and break the cycle but was too late to implement it is of little comfort given that this game proves that The Bearer of the Curse a.k.a. YOU were unable to do anything even with the cure he gave you. And all of this pain and misery and senseless sacrifice is this game's set-up!
    • Perhaps more disheartening is the fact that, it's possible that the state of the world is the result of someone having broken the cycle. Scholar of the First Sin has two possible endings, after all. Either completing the cycle and sitting on the throne and perpetuating the cycle once again... or turning away, and following the path laid out by the only being in the world who escaped the cycle of life and death, of Light and Dark...
      • While this seems to not be the case, the choices you're given at the very end are definitely of the morose sort. Put simply, you can choose to "Inherit the order of the world" as Aldia put it by Linking the Fire or letting it fade, or if you completed Yuria's and Anri's side quest you can choose to "Usurp the Fire", not only letting it fade out but stealing its power away for yourself so you can become the new ruler of Londor, and presumably of all of what's left of mankind. Imagine the state of the world after you do that.
      • Honestly, can the world possibly get any worse? It's possible this ending is at the very least no worse than the ending where you extinguish the flame. At least, not the version where you DON'T murder the Fire Keeper in the closing cutscene. It's possible to view the ending as the final breaking of a perpetually melancholy cycle, and to achieve this ending you have to at least choose a path that offers some measure of kindness and mercy - you can't get the ending at all if you're a complete asshole. At least a human has control now beyond being a pawn of fate. Maybe you will make Londor whole. After all, the Dark isn't necessarily any worse or better than the Light.
      • The Fire Keeper's good ending is essentially a eulogy for Dark Souls. It is not a triumphant crowning like the Usurpation of Fire, nor a peaceful calm before the next storm like Linking the Fire. It is a goodbye, but also an affirmation, of all the suffering, victories and struggles borne by its characters. "The first flame quickly fades. Darkness will shortly settle. But one day... tiny flames will dance across the darkness. Like embers linked by Lords past."
  • The fact that the fight against Gwyn, Lord of Cinder in Dark Souls I is set up as a The Last Dance scenario makes the revival of the ancient Lords of Cinder all the more tragic. All these poor people gave everything they could to keep their respective Ages of Fire going, and now not even the release of death is enough to keep them from their self-imposed shackles. Gotta feel bad for these poor souls.
      Advertisement:
    • Even worse when you get to the Final Boss, the Soul of Cinder, which is outright stated to be an amalgamation of Gwyn and every other Lord of Cinder, possibly including the Chosen Undead and the Bearer of the Curse. Not even the death you meted out to Gwyn in the first game was enough to keep him down, and the fact the Soul also contains the Chosen Undead and Bearer of the Curse is a massive Player Punch to everyone who decided to Link the Fire in the previous games.
    • Not only is it sad for the The Chosen Undead, it's also hugely tragic for Gwyn himself. Already considered one of the most selfless and noble characters in the series, the game really hammers home the tragedy of his character. His kingdom has been destroyed. All of his champions murdered. His son betrayed him to his sworn enemies, the Dragons, and quite probably out of love at that (see below). After choosing to burn in the Kiln for all eternity, his hope of his daughter and other son to preserve his kingdom is completely crushed when it falls to ruin because of the selfishness of the both of them. Said son ends up enduring a Fate Worse than Death, being consumed by an Eldritch Abomination. Even the promise of a Mercy Kill in Dark Souls 1 is proven false. Even if you disagree with Gwyn's choice to Link the Fire, you'll want to give him a hug by the end of the game.
  • Advertisement:
  • The image of all the Fire Keeper corpses in the bottom of the tower where a Fire Keeper's Soul is found. It's equal parts disturbing and sad. And what's even sadder is the description of them being allowed to rest, which makes one wonder about what it must be like to be a Fire Keeper...
  • Farron Keep is just chock full of tears for Darkroot Forest's inhabitants, both past and future.
    • Remember the Mushroom Children and their Megaton Punching Parents? They're all dead. In a cave in the swamp you find three Abyss corrupted creatures and several Mushroom People bodies... including the children, and they'll never get up.
    • Exploring the swamp further you can find a chest, containing Dusk of Oolacile's clothes... except her crown which is found at the base of the only white tree in the swamp (Perhaps the same color of a mushroom?).
    • The fact that Abyss-tainted creatures exist here as they once did in Oolacile (which was located rather close to Darkroot Forest in the distant past) makes the fight against Manus all the more bittersweet.
    • Without even getting into the fate of the Abyss Watchers, forced to play what amounts to an endless game of Infection until they all succumb to Hollowing.
  • High Lord Wolnir was originally a mortal nobleman who fell into the Abyss. He has spent unknown eons searching desperately for an escape, driven insane by his fear of the darkness, with only his magic sword and the three glowing bangles he scavenged off some dead clerics to provide him comfort. He barely even acknowledges you during your fight, spending most of his time just trying to crawl out the way you came in. And in the end you don't even kill him. You break his grip and throw him back down the pit to the Abyss after destroying his only sources of light.
    • Considerably mitigated by the fact that you later learn he was a selfish monster that had sacrificed hundreds in order to prolong his own life - and the only reason he got stuck in the Abyss was his colossally stupid attempt of a takeover on it. So while still sad, it's mostly a Karmic Death.
  • Oceiros, the Consumed King, is a blind, dragon-like thing that was once a king of Lothric, until he was seduced by the knowledge of the Grand Archives into the worship of Seath the Scaleless. Driven to madness, he remained in the decaying Archives, deluding himself into thinking he still had his youngest child, Ocelotte, with him. Entering the arena has the insane king holding his claw to his chest, believing he's still cradling his child. As the fight goes on, he starts calling out for Ocelotte, saying they have nothing to fear and calling him "child of dragons", also still believing he's protecting his child, as a baby's cries echo through the air. The moment he realizes his arms are empty (whether Ocelotte is dead or gone is unclear), he loses it, immediately breaking down into a feral beast.
  • The Nameless King starts the second stage of his battle by laying a hand on the head of his downed Giant Flyer mount before harvesting his soul for more power. When he moves to finish him off, he hesitates for a long moment with his weapon held up. You can see it shaking in his grip. According to some item descriptions, the two shared a bond that was thought to be something of a miracle. Given we're talking about a God from before the first Age of Fire befriending a dragon and even joining the Everlasting Dragons in their war against the Gods, it was indeed considered taboo.
    • Gets even worse when you read the descriptions on his items and soul; put simply, this God is Gwyn's long-lost firstborn son that had all of his records expunged. And why, pray tell, did Gwyn pull an Un-person on him? Because he betrayed his father and sided with the Dragons. Even before all the stuff with the Linking of the Fire and committing the First Sin, Gwyn was carrying a lot of emotional baggage around from having to fight his firstborn during the war and then having to forget that he ever existed afterwards.
    • And oh, we aren't done piling on the feels yet. With this, we can see that a lot of the knights of Gwyn fought in a way that matched a particular member of their pantheon. Artorias obviously learned a lot from Gwyn and fought in a similar manner to him. Gough seems to have learned a good deal from Gwyndolin, when you put two and two together. Ciaran's sort of an odd one out but she might have learned something from the real Gwynevere. It's always been Ornstein who's the real odd one out, because he doesn't line up with anyone... except now, we can see that he was clearly a follower of the Nameless, who simply didn't follow Nameless in switching sides. But this still explains his presence in Anor Londo, which previously seemed a bit random — he was watching out for the remaining family of the Nameless. He was helping Gwyndolin maintain the light in Anor Londo via the illusory Gwynevere, before eventually leaving to search for his old teacher (judging from the Dragonslayer armour set you find after defeating the Nameless King). The Sacred Oath Miracle's lore, in fact, is a story about Nameless, Artorias, and Ornstein, back in the good old days where they fought together as one against their enemies the Dragons.
  • Gwyndolin shows up again in this game's lore, in the saddest way possible, too. He was born deformed and with the powers of the moon. His own father rejected him as his son and raised him as a daughter while clearly favoring Gwynevere. Gwyndolin is a frail God and yet was left behind in Anor Londo to watch his father's empty crypt and keep the illusion of the sun up. He wanted so badly to be accepted and loved as his siblings were. But Gwyn never gave him a chance. Yet, he clearly still had some strong sense of justice as the leader of the Darkmoon Covenant, punishing the guilty. He also showed sympathy towards fellow outcasts like the Darkmoon Knightess and Crossbreed Priscilla. It's possible Velka was his only friend. He may not have been a nice person, but who can blame him after how he was treated? He could never live up to his father's demands or wishes, was abandoned first by his elder brother who joined the Dragons, and then by his sister who got married and then ran off from the dying kingdom of Anor Londo. In the end, he falls ill, something Pontiff Sulyvahn takes advantage of to take over Anor Londo, and becomes the victim of a gruesome 'death', by being devoured slowly by Aldrich.
    • The current leader of the Darkmoon Covenant is Yorshka, and some lore suggests the only reason she wasn't devoured by Aldrich was because of Gwyndolin saving her. Gwyndolin just can't catch a break now, can he?
    • On the topic of Gwyndolin, this fanart depicts Gwyndolin being eaten by Aldrich, reaching for his staff in a feeble attempt to try and put up some semblance of a fight.
    • This all becomes even worse when you consider Pontiff Sulyvahn (possibly) deliberately poisoned Gwyndolin for the express purpose of weakening him enough to make him an easy target for Aldrich. It makes you wonder how things would have gone if Gwyndolin had been at full power when Aldrich invaded. Perhaps, instead of having to Mercy Kill him, he would be giving us Aldrich’s cinders and speeding us on our way to link the fire. Never has What Could Have Been been so absolutely tragic.
    • If you kill Company Captain Yorshka, her last words are asking for her brother Gwyndolin's forgiveness, because of you having made his sacrifice worthless.
  • Everything about Farron's Undead Legion, aka The Abyss Watchers. Essentially, a military organisation that was founded by Sir Artorias, they have sworn their lives protecting the world from the shadows and nameless horrors of the Abyss. Partaking in wolf blood and donning dark armor, they are nevertheless selfless, heroic soldiers. When they were called on to burn in the Kiln for the greater good, they decided to do it as one, as brothers. However, the Abyss, the very thing they swore to destroy, had corrupted them and driven them mad, just like their founder. Now brother kills brother in mindless, endless combat, and just like everything else the Abyss touches, they need your help to be granted their final rest.
  • The final Lord of Cinder: Lothric the Younger Prince, is even more heart-wrenching than the Abyss Watchers: Lothric was predetermined and groomed to link the First Flame, to the point that he was never given anything to wear beyond a sacrificial hairshirt he was given at birth. When you encounter him, he's been broken and disillusioned into wanting the world to fade into darkness for daring to demand he submit his essence to such agony again. And yet you force him to go back anyway, possibly for nothing if you forgo Linking the Flame yourself.
    • This extends to his brother; Lorian the Elder Prince. As Lothric grew up, it became apparent he was too physically frail to handle the strain of being a Vessel of Fire, so Lorian had to step in and bear the brunt of the Flame's power in his stead when the time came. This broke his mind and reduced him to a brute forced to crawl around on his knees.
    • This'll hit especially hard for any players that have siblings with special needs. Lothric has been bed-ridden and sickly most of his life but is still sound of mind despite Linking the Fire with his brother. It's Lorian that took the brunt of the Flame's might, and while his strength is great, he is obviously severely brain damaged to the point that the only person that can understand him is probably Lothric. The way that Lothric, for all his frailty, looks out for Lorian during the fight and talks to him during the transition cutscene shows that he still loves his brother despite what he's become, and Lorian starting the fight could be seen as him doing the one thing he knows how to do: to protect Lothric; kill anything that threatens his younger brother.
    "My brother, unyielding sword of Lothric's Prince. Rise, if you would... For that is our curse."
    • It gets worse if you read the description of the Soul Stream spell, which suggests that Lothric was privately mentored by a scholar who had doubts about the linking of the fire. This sheds even more light on Lothric's scorn for the legacy of the lords: he and his brother burnt in the Kiln, only to be reborn and find the world in essentially the same mess, if not worse, leaving him to believe that he and Lorian sacrificed themselves for nothing. No wonder he's happy to just sit in the castle with his brother and watch the Age of Fire end.
  • The final boss, Soul of Cinder, is outright stated to be the remnants of Gwyn, Lord Of Cinder AND the player characters from the first and second games. The first phase of the fight has the boss use a variety of Dark Souls I moves, even Darkwood Grain Ring flipping to dodge attacks whenever he uses his curved sword moveset, and can also use a handful of spells from the second game. Phase two begins after their health is depleted. Gwyn, Lord of Cinder from the first game's soundtrack slowly begins to take over the epic background music, until it eventually fades to just the piano. Amidst all this, the Soul of Cinder begins to spam you with souped up versions of Gwyn's moves.
    • The state of the Soul of Cinder as the Final Boss also begs the question of just what existence is like for a Lord of Cinder, even after death. After all, in Dark Souls I, you pretty conclusively killed Gwyn down in the Kiln, but here the Soul is channelling his power and using his moves against you. So, that begs the question: Is the Soul simply channelling the power of those that Linked to Fire, or are all the souls of every Lord of Cinder forever bound to the First Flame and can't achieve true peace, even in a supposed death?
    • Even his design is evocative of what it means to be the Soul of Cinder; compared to nearly every other proper armor set in the series (with the Elite Knight and Faraam sets coming readily to mind), this thing's armor is positively decrepit with the burnt tatters of what might have been a cape and tabard barely clinging to armor that's been charred so long it looks skeletal. The helmet design is also quite sad, as the back of it forms a sort of half-crown that looks to have been melted down time and again, and the shape of the visor isn't a neutral slit like with the other canon armor sets; the way it arches up and the shape of the eyeholes makes it look like the wearer is perpetually on the verge of tears. This, coupled by promo art showing it to be miserable or hopeless, only paints a clear picture as to how much agony the Soul must be feeling just from merely existing.
  • The Promise made between Siegward of Catarina and Yhorm the Giant. An oath where the former promised he'd take up arms to lay the latter to rest once again when the time came and Yhorm would come back as a Lord of Cinder torn by madness. Completing Siegward's questline will trigger a pre-battle cutscene in Yhorm's fight, where Siegward comes in as a non-Phantom assist NPC and reluctantly declares his intention to keep his word in regards to the promise made ages ago.
    • A bit of Fridge Sadness upon watching the opening cinematic after beating Yhorm: When he is shown rising from his grave in answer to the Bell of Awakening, he lets out a loud roar. On the first playthrough it sounds like a typical monster/giant roaring, but listening again you can hear what it really is: A howl of anguish. Yhorm had hoped he wouldn't be resurrected, and the moment when he realises his fate he lets out this heart-breaking sound that almost screams "WHY?!"
    • If Siegward is killed during the battle, he can only apologize for failing at everything. Considering that he had seemingly been jolly up to that point, it only adds to the sadness.
    • At the end of the battle, Siegward is grateful to the Ashen One for helping him fulfill his oath to Yhorm and offers one last toast to wish you luck on your journey. However, when he says it's his last toast, he literally means it, as the moment you turn away from him, Siegward dies. He was either mortally wounded during the battle and never told you, or he committed suicide knowing that he had fulfilled his purpose. It can also be interpreted that he died to give you his armor set and Stormruler, in hopes that they will help you on your journey, if only just a little.
  • Yhorm, like the other Lords of Cinder, did not have a happy background. Born as a giant, he already had to face discrimination and mistrust from humans. And despite being asked to become the ruler of a human kingdom by its subjects, Yhorm was never fully accepted, as his subjects only followed him so that his strength could be used to protect them from their rivals. And despite this mistrust, Yhorm continued to protect his kingdom, even gifting his enemies a Stormruler to use on him if he were to become a threat. Then, Yhorm lost someone dear to him which caused him to become a Death Seeker. With nothing left to lose, and wanting to finally end all of mistrust, Yhorm agreed to link the Fire and become a Lord of Cinder. However, something apparently went wrong and Yhorm's entire kingdom was incinerated as a result. It's not hard to understand why Yhorm would abandon his throne when he awoke to see that his attempt to save his kingdom ultimately ended up destroying it, and him knowing that he had caused the deaths of the people he protected.
  • You will find the corpse of the Giant Blacksmith in Anor Londo. Clutched tightly in his hand is an ember that will allow a blacksmith to forge the special weapons that he had once made... after your character had given him the embers to do so in the distant past. Even ages after your character was gone, he treasured the gifts you gave him, as he considered your character a true friend. Giving the coal to Andre will cause him to sadly reminisce on how good a friend the giant was, most likely echoing the player's thoughts.
  • Finding Anor Londo again will probably have players bursting with nostalgia and joy at first, but then the terrible truth starts to hit home: What was once a magnificent golden city of the Gods, swathed in sunlight, is now a dark, cold husk that has been vandalized by the Cathedral of the Deep, one of the most vile and disgusting organizations in the entire franchise. Seeing the Cathedral's deacons walking around the ruins of Anor Londo's grand cathedral will be infuriating for most players, who will just want to kick their evil asses out.
  • Getting challenged by Hawkwood at the end of his quest gets horrible really quickly when you find out where he set the duel; the same room where the remaining Abyss Watchers challenged the Ashen One and finally died. He chose to duel for Dragonhood amid the bodies of his fallen brothers. Hawkwood even fights you in the manner his brothers would have approved of, finally ditching his shield and just going for their weapon of choice. Even winning the fight carries an ashen taste on the tongue, since it means the Legion is now truly ended by your hand.
  • In an out of the way corner of the "Demon Ruins" (the lower part of Smouldering Lake), you can find a unique-looking demon corpse unlike the mounds of Capra, Taurus and Asylum Demons. What is it? It's a spider-shaped corpse, surrounded by fossilized egg sacs, with a single emaciated corpse cradling its "front" section. And at this location, you find... Quelana's Pyromancy Tome. The Fair Lady eventually died of her poisoning, Eingyi was with her to the end and beyond, and Quelana did visit her sister one last time before disappearing into the mists of history.
  • In a weird way, killing the Old Demon King. Yes, the demons were Always Chaotic Evil and were spawned from a horrible mistake, but by the point you fight him, the Old Demon King is the only one left. Even the corrupted flame that created them is fading away, having almost no presence in the game and flickering out completely when the Old Demon King dies. Having The Usual Adversaries go extinct in such a quiet and sobering manner really hammers home that the world is ending.
    • On that note, you can walk through the Demon Ruins and see that the demons went to great pains to bury and honor their dead. They went from being mindless monsters to some level of civilization prior to their dying out. They had a King, for goodness' sakes.
    • And a Prince, once upon a time. Lorian is described in some lore as killing "the Demon Prince". Small wonder why the Old King hid himself away — he has watched his Kingdom, having come from Always Chaotic Evil beginnings to create their own civilization, become hunted and devastated, his son slain and his subjects slaughtered, their corpses left littered about. Poor Old Demon King...
      • The Ringed City delves a bit further into the tragedy of this subject. The very first boss IS the Demon Prince, having "split" into the Demon in Pain and the Demon From Below. Lorian actually failed to truly kill the Prince, but he caused it to lose the remnants of the Chaos Flame, the last and only hope for demonkind to continue to survive. Since the Ashen One has to kill the Prince in order to proceed, its death marks the end of the Chaos Demons and the tragic legacy of Lost Izalith...
    • Even the act of killing the King is a solemn affair. When you get it close to death's door, it releases an extremely damaging, nigh-unblockable wave of energy that'll likely kill you if you're too close... But after that? Nothing. Until he's finally put out of his misery, the Demon King struggles (and fails) to so much as lift its club or even stand, and can only weakly swing its arm in the area directly in front of it in a clearly desperate attempt to avenge its kind.
  • After potentially reading much of the above, the first point truly hits you that this is the End of the World as We Know It, that just about every single character we've come to know over the series is dead, dying, or left in a world on the brink of darkness, and that everything that everyone has ever done in the series has, at best, bought time for the inevitable yet given hope, and at worst done nothing but doom themselves quicker. In a sense, we were here to bare witness to the beginning of the end, the effects it had on elsewhere in the world, and now the conclusion to it all. And no matter how you interpret the endings below, it all has one thing in common: there is no happy fairy tale ending, just the end of the Age of Fire and all that entails.
  • Each ending to the game comes with its own blend of Nightmare Fuel and Tear Jerker, since you are ultimately deciding the fate of this long-ruined world. Spoilers ahead;
    • To Link the First Flame: You've done your duty, slain the Soul of Cinder, and re-ignited the First Flame. Sadly, since you are just an Unkindled that can't properly Link the Fire, all you can do is embolden it with what few embers you carry around before it finally dies out entirely. Even worse is the tacit implication that there is no one else left in the world that can Link the Flame after you, meaning that all you've done is give the Hollows a chance to die in peace before the world inevitably gets subsumed by the Dark. And judging by how weak the Flame is this time around (it's barely enough to set your character on fire, compared to the world-engulfing explosion that Linking it caused in Dark Souls 1), it's possible that your sacrifice didn't even buy that much time. At least you honored the sacrifices of the Lords of Cinder before you...
    • The End of Fire: Following the Fire Keeper's vision of a world gone to the Dark, she is summoned after the fight against the Soul of Cinder to take the last vestiges of the First Flame away and let it be extinguished. A new world will rise from the ashes of the Flame and the Dark, but you most likely won't be there to see it. All you and the Fire Keeper can do is sit there and wait for the other to die.
    • Betrayal: After summoning the Fire Keeper, either in a fit of jealousy or just because you could, you kill her, step on her head, and steal away the dying embers of the First Flame for yourself, thus proving those old words true; "Ash seeketh embers." And what greater embers are there than that of the First Flame, after all? Have fun riding out the End of the World as We Know It all alone.
    • The Usurpation of Fire: Following the lead of Yuria and Yoel of Londor, you take the embers of the First Flame and use them yourself, tying them together with your piece of the Dark Soul that Yoel gave you through the Dark Sigil to rise as the newly christened Lord of Hollows, with Anri at your side to rule with you. This ending can go one of two ways depending on how you interpret the lore and the nature of Light and Dark in this universe; it's either the Golden Ending for Humanity where they can finally live and rule unquestioned and free from the vagaries of the Curse and the inscrutable whims of gods and demons that are now all dead, or it's a case of Earn Your Bad Ending since now that there is no Flame to hold back the Dark we're going to be looking at a catastrophe on the level of New Londo or Oolacile extrapolated out to the scale of the entire world. Either way, Humanity finally won, but at what cost?
  • Greirat's storyline - a petty thief asks you to bring a ring to an old woman named Loretta, nothing special, right? Well... Once you get to Undead Settlement you find a body clutching a bone named "Loretta's Bone". Once you give it to Greirat he acts surprised that she's already dead but tries to laugh it off as 'almost a relief' and tells you to keep the ring. Once you come back, however, he's curled up, repeating to himself about how Loretta's dead. And if that wasn't bad enough: The ring you were supposed to give her is the Blue Tearstone Ring. You know, the ring that significantly boosts your resilience when you are near death? Suddenly him insisting that you get the ring to her as fast as possible takes on a new meaning.
    • It could get even worse for him if you take this to its logical conclusion; throughout the game Greirat offers to go out plundering for you, and you get rewarded with new items to buy from him when he gets back. Except for the second time he goes out, where he'll get murdered in Irithyll if neither Siegward nor Patches is there to save him. And the third time, where he's guaranteed to get murdered in Lothric Castle without any way of saving him. Given that Greirat lost someone very close to him in Loretta, his plundering could be seen as attempting Suicide by Cop since he really has nothing left to live for. This poor fella just can't catch a break, can he?
  • The entire game is basically one long, utterly painful analogy for a person's last moments. Every combat-related (Siegward, Sirris, Anri, etc.) NPC quest you take will, ultimately, end up with the NPC in question dead, whilst merchant NPCs get hit with the sadness just as hard. To wit, completing Siegward's and Sirris's respective questlines will entail each of them fulfilling a Mercy Kill promise for someone dear to them; Yhorm the Giant for Siegward, Holy Knight Hodrick for Sirris. After it all, they relinquish their possessions to you and then die, alongside the people they upheld their promises to with your assistance. Anri's is sadder, as they either leave to Hollow out in the Cathedral of the Deep, presumably content with the death of Aldrich and distraught over Horace's disappearance, gets put down trying to avenge Horace's death, or are forcibly turned into a Lord/Lady of Hollows for the Ashen One. With a silent death being a HAPPY ending, you know Dark Souls III's turned up the craptasticness of the world up a notch.
  • There are two ghostly apparitions in Irithyll: two tall figures, clad in armor, slowly walking towards the bridge that leads out of the city. They cannot be stopped or interacted with in any way. During a first playthrough, their presence and meaning is probably puzzling to most players, but during a second run it's very easy to recognize one of the two as the Dancer of the Boreal Valley and suddenly realize the other one is Vordt, unrecognizable in his human form. The player is watching their departure from the city, not knowing they will never return. It's a subtle but solemn and sad moment.
  • Company Captain Yorshka still thinks Gwyndolin is alive.
  • Despite all the death and chaos that has been repeated again and again throughout the Souls series, there is one simple gesture of kindness that shines in the darkness. The Bearer of the Curse kept their promise to Lucatiel, keeping her name known even when the curse overcame her and she couldn't recall it herself.
    Mask attached to a ceremonial hat. A Hollow once fought valiantly with this mask, but feared the fading of her self, and implored a comrade remember her name. Perhaps that is why this gentleman's mask is named after a woman.
  • The apparent Happy Ending Override to Alva the Wayfarer's story. He is now an invader known as Alva, Seeker of the Spurned. Looking at the description of his weapon the Murakumo and reading between the lines reveals why he has changed: his beloved Zullie the Witch went missing and he has since been endlessly and fruitlessly searching for her. Poor Alva had to endure losing the woman he loved twice. No wonder he's so messed up now. And making things worse, it's possible he might have been very close to finding her - the description of Karla's ashes implies that she is, or rather was, Zullie.
    • The Ringed City DLC has an encounter that further expands on poor Alva's story. While you are exploring the Ringed City, you are invaded once again by the Seeker of the Spurned. You wait for a while but, no invader comes running towards you. You continue looking around the area and eventually find him standing guard over a short alley with a corpse holding loot. When you approach the alley, Alva will begin attacking you. After defeating him, you go get the loot and find out that it is the Black Witch Set, a set of armor associated with Zullie in Dark Souls II. The description of the set reveals that Zullie, after suffering an unlucky life, found a purpose for living in supporting Alva. It can be inferred that Zullie left Alva behind, for an unknown reason, and went to the Ringed City where she died. Alva eventually found her remains there and decided to guard her corpse from the hostile Hollows of the Ringed City for the rest of his life. Said life being cut short by the player, who then proceeds to strip the corpse of the woman Alva loved for everything of value. Namely, her clothes.
      Black Witch Garb: The purple garb of the witch Zullie, who intended to seduce Alva the Wayfarer, but eventually became his closest supporter, spending her entire life with him. It is said that Zullie the witch, who was never loved, nor loved another, experienced all manner of misfortune, and yet in the end, found her purpose in life.
  • A bit of fridge sadness for you; whenever you place the ashes of a Lord of Cinder on their respective throne, it takes on a shape that is similar to who they were. Yhorm's is a giant skull wearing his crown, Aldrich's is half a skull full of maggots, and the Watchers' are four skulls each wearing one of their distinctive helms. So what did they use for Lorian and Lothric? An ashy head wearing a shroud and looking profoundly downcast. The implication here is that this is Lothric's head, which raises two troubling notes; one, Lothric may have been the most recent Lord to Link the Fire (hence why he's a head and not a skull), and that Lorian will forever be forgotten or is seen as superfluous to the Flame despite the immensity of his sacrifice for his brother.
  • The cut content has some tearjerkers as well.
    Gwyndolin's Finger: Ruined finger of Dark Sun Gwyndolin. The young crossbreed girl loved her brother, of whom all that remains is this ruined finger. Even so, her love for him will never falter…
  • The Painted World of Ariandel has got it pretty rough. The whole place is just reeking of rot and decay, the majority of the Corvian residents are decrepit creatures that can barely stand or shuffle about (and it's implied that the Corvian Knights are responsible for their sorry state), and the one being that is doing anything to try and fix it is under the thumb of Sister Friede, aka Elfriede, one of the three founding sisters of the Sable Church of Londor. She doesn't want the world to be fixed or burnt away, so she's convinced Father Ariandel that flagellating himself and offering up his blood to restore the Painting is the only way to go about it. It's gotten to the point that he willingly asks for his flail when he sees even the faintest glimmer of the Flame in his bowl, and he goes absolutely mad with grief when you slay Elfriede during the boss fight against them. If he only knew what she has been doing to him and his world, instead of letting it be burnt away and painted anew...
    • It's even sadder when you look at the state of Ariandel as an allegory for Gwyn's prolonging of the Age of Fire through Linking the Flame. The whole place has long overstayed its welcome, there is rot and decay tearing it and its residents apart, and its fate is only being forestalled due to a misguided sense of preservation from Elfriede and Father Ariandel. They can't simply let the world die and be reborn in a new state like the Painter Girl wants to do, so they instead cling on to the vestiges of a dying world in a vain attempt to try and save it. It'd almost be a funny irony if it weren't so poignant.
  • "After renouncing everything, Friede discovered a people she wished to protect, and assumed the precise form, they yearned for." - A direct quote from the Ordained Set's description. Friede manipulated the Corvian Knights into working for their world's rot by defiling their memories of their beloved Priscilla. Even Father Ariandel has been deluded into thinking this abominable holy woman had anything to do with the original ruler of the Painted World. Yet Friede didn't do this out of malicious intent, but because she wanted to protect them.
  • The ending of The Ringed City, which also serves as the very Grand Finale of the series. After finally killing off the Final Boss, Gael, who had slaughtered the Pygmies for their Dark Soul, you're eventually faced with fighting the Post-Final Boss, Shira. Upon killing her, there's no celebratory message, not even the usual death sound. Just...nothing, but her final words, saying that she would never forgive you or your "lowly kind", and her fading away. She has a couple of items, but that's it. In killing her, you're the Sole Survivor of the Ringed City. All life within it is gone, rendering it a dark, ashy empty field, and almost everyone else is dead, but you. The most you can do is to fight the Darkeater Midir (if not fought beforehand), and then just leave the place to rot. You can freely roam throughout the grayscale wasteland, but have nothing to do but to travel to the burning Ariandel and give the Dark Soul to the Painter, who names the painting after you or dubs it Ash if you say you have none, all the while waiting for Gael to return so that he can live in a gentle place to call home. And the moment you do so, you've assured yourself that Dark Souls is finished, and so will its world even if you don't pick the End of Fire ending. You've seen it all, and now, no more embers remain. With this DLC being the Grand Finale, to see that this is how it ends is just...soul-crushing.
    • Shira's final moments in themselves, because its your fault, and you know it. She trusted you to save her city, and instead you condemned it to oblivion.
    • Gael's battle theme. It reeks with a sense of tragedy and finality, and nothing else. It suits everything perfectly - the World of Silence that is now the Ringed City, Gael's sanity fading to nothing from consuming the Dark Soul - before becoming its very embodiment, and just the very fact that this is the end of Dark Souls. It's not a triumphant fanfare like Soul of Cinder, nor a somber piece like Gwyn's theme or Aldia's theme. It's a dramatic, tragic song, that almost becomes nightmarish in the third phase, and it's perfect as Dark Souls' farewell piece.
  • The description of Gael's soul reveals that Gael knew that his quest for the Dark Soul would likely end with him ruined by it and that he probably wouldn't return to his lady. And sure enough, he does ends up taking the Soul for himself and becoming a mad beast who has to be put down. And if you take the Blood of the Dark Soul and give it to the Painter, she will wonder when Gael will make his return, not knowing that you had to kill him to get the blood. It's even worse if you interpret Gael's actions as a desperate Thanatos Gambit: Finding out that the blood of the Pygmy Lords had dried, he took the Dark Soul in order to create blood that could be used as pigment and hoped that you could kill him to take it to her.
  • Filianore had it almost as bad as her subjects and the rest of her family. She was given away by Gwyn to the Pygmy Lords, perhaps ostensibly as a being to worship, but in truth merely a tool to exert his control over the pygmies. Gwyn promised her that "he would come for her when the day came" (from the Small Envoy Banner's description), and we know that she was left eternally waiting for him to make good on his promise: Gwyn never came, either due to never returning from his Linking of the Flame or he never intended to come back for her (what with the whole "being a figurehead to keep the pygmies in check" thing). Then she entered a long slumber, which also effectively left the Ringed City frozen in time.... until the Ashen One comes and wakes her up. At this point, while she probably still has no idea what's going on, time catches up with her and the entire city, and she promptly becomes a desiccated corpse and dies.
    • It's also worth a note that when Filianore wakes up, golden light envelopes her and the surroundings from the broken eggshells, at which point she becomes a corpse and the Ringed City is returned to its "true" state. It's possible that whatever was sealing the time was connected to the egg she was holding. And what was the state of the egg when you found Filianore again? The shell was half-broken, and a light touch from you completely shattered it. So perhaps the spell's effect was already diminishing, and Filianore and the Ringed City probably did not have much more time before you came...
  • The unbearably sad Epilogue which plays during the credits, and after the "ending" of the Ringed City, it makes the entire trilogy seem like a belated tragedy. Everything, everyone and anyone, sacrificed was ultimately for nothing. Despite burning eternally, in constant, horrid agony, Gwyn, and the other Lords of Cinder's sacrifices were in vain, and the flame is doomed to be extinguished by the dark, no matter what anyone does. Even when they end up becoming the Soul of Cinder, their only meaning in life was to guard the Flame... and as stated before, it was ultimately fruitless. Vendrick's sacrifice was useless, and his solution never came to be, as Aldia and the Bearer of the Curse weren't able to find a meaningful solution in time. Gael's scheme to create a Painted World was for naught, as it bought whatever small figment of life that resided in it just a final margin of time before it too succumbed to the dark. The only thing that awaits the world is a barren wasteland, covered in sand, dust, and ashes, with the ruins of great civilizations sprouting out, lonely, and haunting. The ultimate Downer Ending, all the more painful, because all the countless acts of self sacrifice ultimately amounted to nothing.
  • The ultimate state of the world as a whole. Collectively, it's given everything it could just to continue existing. Countless beings fighting and sacrificing themselves, losing their minds, bodies, and souls. Desperately to trying to find some measure of salvation, in the hopes for a better future. This truly is the last gasps of a dying world, one which has fought with everything it had against the Darkness in an attempt to prolong its existence, only to find that it's best just wasn't enough. In the process, the world has burnt itself out and, like the First Flame, it has nothing else more to give. It has no fight left in it, because everything that was worth fighting for is gone. All that remains is ash.
  • Should you kill Ludleth of Courland, he will be revived upon reloading the shrine. Upon approaching him to speak to him again, he'll be asleep and dreaming of the time that he became the one to link the flame. In a few words, the excruciating pain that he experienced in the kiln becomes clear and really drives home the sacrifice these people are making... for nothing, as the fire just fades again and again.
    Ludleth of Courland: Ahh, it singeth, to the bone, it hurts... Please, help me. Be done with me... No, gods, no, I cannot bear it... It burns, burns, help me...
  • The description of the Sovereignless Soul starting gift reads: "The sovereignless soul of one who slept beside you." It could mean that after your passing, your spouse or someone else important to you came to spend his/her last moments besides you. Unfortunately, seeing how player character comes back as an Unkindled, it seems that they are not meant ot be Together in Death.
Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report