Understanding the Lore of Dark Souls III: A Beginners Guide

Noelle Westbrook


Understanding the Lore of Dark Souls III: A Beginners Guide

At the heart of the critically acclaimed video game Dark Souls III lies a complex and rich lore that is as convoluted as it is fascinating. From the moment players set foot in the enigmatic world of Lothric, they are immersed in a universe filled with ancient legends, cryptic tales, and characters whose motivations and backgrounds are intricate. However, navigating the lore of Dark Souls III can be as challenging as the gameplay itself. This aims to unravel the mysteries of Dark Souls III, providing beginners with a comprehensive understanding of the game's story, characters, and world.

The World of Dark Souls III: An Overview

Dark Souls III continues the series' tradition of setting its narrative in a world on the brink of the apocalypse. The game takes place in the Kingdom of Lothric, a realm once lavish and powerful, now teetering on the edge of ruin. The central concept in the game is the cycle of light and dark, a repeating period of prosperity and downfall, maintained by the linking of the First Flame.

The First Flame, which is crucial for the survival of the world, is fading. In response, the bell tolls, awakening the Unkindled, beings who have previously attempted and failed to link the flame, to find and return the Lords of Cinder, those who once successfully linked the flame, back to their thrones at Firelink Shrine to link the flame once more. This cycle has repeated countless times, but the world grows ever closer to eternal darkness as the flame dims with each linking.

The Ashen One: The Player's Role

Dark Souls III

Players assume the role of the Ashen One, an Unkindled individual resurrected to find the Lords of Cinder and persuade them to fulfill their duties. Each Lord of Cinder represents a different aspect of the world's history and presents the player with not only a physical challenge but a glimpse into the lore of the world.

The Ashen One's journey is not merely a quest for power but a personal pilgrimage to understand the nature of the cycle and the fate of the world. This journey takes the Ashen One across various kingdoms, through ruins of grandeur past, and into confrontations with beings twisted by the world's decaying nature.

The Lords of Cinder: Guardians of the Flame

Central to the lore of Dark Souls III are the Lords of Cinder, legendary beings who once linked the First Flame and sustained the world's balance. Each Lord represents a different epoch and faced their trials to protect the world.

1. Ludleth of Courland: Unlike his fellow Lords, Ludleth willingly returned to his throne, showcasing the duty and sacrifice at the core of the role of a Lord of Cinder. Ludleth's tale emphasizes the theme of willpower and the burdens of leadership.

2. The Abyss Watchers: Inspired by the legend of Artorias the Abysswalker, this legion of warriors dedicated themselves to fighting the Abyss, a dark force corrupting the world. Their resolve led them to link the flame together, becoming a single Lord of Cinder.

Dark Souls III

3. Yhorm the Giant: Once a ruler who genuinely cared for his subjects, Yhorm linked the flame in hopes of protecting his people, only to inadvertently cause their downfall. Yhorm's story highlights tragedy intertwined with nobility.

4. Aldrich, Devourer of Gods: A stark contrast to the other Lords, Aldrich envisioned a world consumed by the deep sea, a dark, formless place. His cruel nature and dark ambitions represent the corrupting influence of power.

5. Lothric, Younger Prince: Born to link the flame, Prince Lothric, influenced by his mentor, chose to let the flame fade. His refusal is a significant act of defiance against the established order and raises questions about the cycle's righteousness.

Themes and Symbolism in Dark Souls III

Dark Souls III is replete with themes of cyclicality, sacrifice, corruption, and defiance. The game's world, its characters, and the lore all serve as vehicles to explore these ideas. The recurring motif of fire and darkness symbolizes hope and despair, respectively, while the linking of the flame represents the ongoing struggle between preserving the past and embracing the inevitable change.

The Lords of Cinder each embody different aspects of these themes, from Ludleth's sacrifice to Lothric's defiance against destiny. Through its lore, Dark Souls III encourages players to ponder profound questions about duty, fate, and the value of continuing age-old cycles at great personal cost.

Understanding the Lore: A Deep Dive

Dark Souls III

Grasping the full extent of Dark Souls III's lore requires attention to the game's world, dialogue, item descriptions, and environmental storytelling. Unlike many games, Dark Souls III does not present its story through direct exposition but prefers a more subtle approach that combines gameplay with lore discovery.

Players are encouraged to piece together the narrative from fragments scattered throughout the game. This method not only reinforces the game's themes of exploration and discovery but also creates a deeply personal experience as players interpret the lore based on their journey.

Conclusion: The Legacy of Dark Souls III

Dark Souls III is a culmination of the series' exploration of dark fantasy, weaving a complex tapestry of lore that engages players on a level seldom found in video games. The lore of Dark Souls III is both a challenge and a reward, offering a depth of storytelling that encourages exploration, interpretation, and discussion.

For beginners, diving into the lore of Dark Souls III may seem daunting, but it is an immensely rewarding journey. Understanding the lore enhances the gameplay experience, enriching the world and its characters. Whether you're delving into the motivations of the Lords of Cinder or uncovering the secrets of the First Flame, the lore of Dark Souls III is a testament to the power of storytelling in video games.

As you step into the world of Lothric, remember that every encounter, every item, and every location has a story. The lore of Dark Souls III is a puzzle waiting to be solved, and you, the Ashen One, have the unique opportunity to uncover the mysteries of a world teetering on the brink of darkness.

Embark on your quest with an open mind and a keen eye, for the world of Dark Souls III is rich with tales of bravery, sacrifice, and intrigue. Welcome to the world of Lothric, where the lore is as captivating as the gameplay itself.