Dark Souls: Dark Sun Gwyndolin
So with the announcement of the Dark Souls remake (YAY!) I decided it was time that I actually dived into the lore and mechanics of a Dark Souls 1 boss fight (can’t believe I haven’t done one yet!). Now there are several bosses that I believe had a strong case to have the honour of being the first Dark Souls 1 boss I discuss in detail. Ornstein is one of my favourite characters across the entire series! Gwyn was a fantastic ending to the first game, Smough has an interesting story surrounding him, Artorias is another personal favourite of mine alongside his trusted friend and companion Sif. While I do plan to discuss each of them at length, none of them are going to be the centre of attention today, no, instead I am going to talk about a boss that some may have missed in their first journey through Lordran. I promised quite a while ago in my post about Aldrich from Dark Souls 3 that I would talk about the youngest son of Gwyn. The last remain deity in Anor Londo. That’s right, today I am going to talk about the DarkSun Gwyndolin.
There is such sadness behind the story of Gwyndolin, honestly i think he has one of the mostr emotionally draining stories in the whole series. he was born a disappointment to his father, he lived to please his father, after his father links himself to the fire Gwyndolin guards his tomb. His existence is hidden.
I think the most obvious place to start has to be that although he is the youngest son of Gwyn, he wasn’t actually raised as a boy, rather he was raised as a daughter due to his strong affinity with the moon. A trait that his father Lord Gwyn simply despised, his oldest son was a god of war, shared his affinity to the sun and undoubtedly did his father proud before his ghastly betrayal that saw him stricken for the annuls of history. So for Gwyn to have this almighty powerful son that he must have been proud off to then have a younger son who was nothing like him, not even sharing the affinity for the sun, that must have not only disappointed but angered the lord greatly. For when the god of way did betray Gwyn, the lord of sunlight didn’t have in his eyes a second son, he didn’t have another child that could truly follow in his footsteps, of course it is obvious he cared for his daughter Gwynevere but she wouldn’t be able to take after her father. Nor could Gwyndolin in the eyes of Gwyn, a harsh truth for the sun of the darkmoon. Growing up must have been hell for Gwyndolin, the love and respect Gwyn had for his oldest children was shown in Anor Londo, beside his grand statues of himself are a statue of Gwynevere and a destroyed statue of his first born son, yet there is no sign of his third child. A cruel gesture that displayed his distain for his youngest child.
Following Lord Gwyns linking of the flame, many deities including Gwynevre fled Anor Londo, leaving only Gwyndolin remaing. “The Dark Sun Gwyndolin is the onlyremainingdeity in Anor Londo.” Darkmoon séance ring. “Gwyndolin, god of the dark sun andguardian of desterted Anor Londo” soul of Gwyndolin “Gwyndolin, Darkmoon deity who watches over the abandoned city of gods, Anor Londo.” Darkmoon bow.
It is clear to see from the above item descriptions that Gwyndolin was alone, he truly was the only remaining deity in Anor Londo during the events of the first game. Though the Dark Sun was an incredibly intelligent god, he had mastered illusions, no doubt thanks to his affinity with the moon rather than his family’s affinity to the sun. because of his masterful illusions when the undead first arrives in the city of the gods it looks glorious, truly a spectacular sight as the sun shines bright above the city. Once the undead has fought their way through the cathedral taking on two of the biggest legends the series has to offer, they shall meet Gwynevre the princess off sunlight, or so you may think that is who you have met. But you would be wrong, if for whatever reason you decide that this peaceful looking (and large chested…) deity needs to go then you will discover that it was never really Gwynevere. Rather it was an illusion being conjured by this hidden child of Gwyn. But that wasn’t the only illusion Gwyndolin was conjuring, upon returning outside you will see that Anor Londo has descended into darkness, for you see this is the true Anor Londo. Now that you have lifted this veil that Gwyndolin had placed over the city of gods you may face him, another illusion has been removed. Behind what was once a statue of Gwyn below the spiral staircase lies the honorary tomb of the lord of sunlight, here is where you will find his youngest son. I would just like to mention here that if you do decide to fight Gwyndolin you are permanently banished from joining his covenant.
Gwyndolin didn’t choose to have his affinity of the moon, the crown he wears upon his head is a representation of his admiration for the sun. “The image of the sun manifests Gwyndolins deep adoration of the sun” Crown of the dark sun. I think that Gwyndolin wore this crown to show his father that he did have the sun in him, to show that he did care about the sun, about the affinity he unfortunately doesn’t have. It is a harsh reality for this lonely deity, that not matter how hard he tries, no matter how much he adores the sun, he doesn’t share any affinity with the sun, he may call himself the dark sun because of being affiliated with the moon but that would never be good enough for Gwyn, Gwyndolin would never have sunlight. For all his effort and adoration Gwyndolin was always destined to be shunned by his father, I think that when Gwyn died a huge weight must have been lifted from Gwyndolins shoulders in the sense that he would no longer be verbally degraded by his father, but there is no doubt that he felt he still had a point to prove, he was still a son of Gwyn after all.
The physical appearance of Gwyndolins has always been interesting to me, if it wasn’t for his surrounding lore you would absolutely believe that he was a girl (congrats Gwyn you did an excellent job…), since his voice is feminine, he has long delicate blonde hair, he does have breasts and his physique is slender and dainty. Putting all that aside however, the thing that fascinates me most are his legs. The snakes protruding from under his robe, are they real or are they yet another illusion to give him a more intimidating appearance? The following item description seems to support the former, “Gwyndolin, all too aware of his repulsive, frail appearance, created the illusion of a sister Gwynevere.” Darkmoon Blade covenant ring.
I would still like to believe that he knows he isn’t an intimidating foe, he needed to add a more menacing look to his appearance, perhaps that would make the would be trespassers of his fathers tomb think twice before tainting the sacred ground.
Since I have mentioned a couple of the covenant items by this point, now might be the time to discuss one of my favourite covenants across the entire series. The blades of the darkmoon are a covenant run by Gwyndolin, as I have already mentioned it becomes impossible to join them if you kill Gwyndolin, it is possible to still join after killing Gwynevere but that does require gaining absolution from Oswald, I wont go into too much detail here as I will do various posts covering the different covenants in time for the release of the remastered version. What is vital to know is that Gwyndolin heads this covenant. You do have to wonder if during the events of Dark Souls 1 he is actually responsible for 2 covenants, Gwynevere has a covenant called the princess guard and considering she is an Illusion manifested by gwyndolin, you have to wonder if he is calling the shots behind that covenant as well.
Moving on from the Gwyndolin we meet in Dark Souls 1, we meet him once again in Dark Souls 3 albeit under pretty horrific circumstances, he is a frail shell of the formidable sorcerer we meet in Lordran. We find the Dark Sun Gwyndolin in the process of being devoured by Aldrich, one of the lords of cinder we find ourselves facing in the game. It is a sad sight to see, the only true remaining deity in Anor Londo and youngest son of Gwyn meets his end in a grisly way. If it wasn’t for him becoming stricken with illness I’d imagine that Pontiff Sulyvhan would have struggled a lot more or perhaps he would have failed completely to imprison the god inside the chapel of the now ruined Anor Londo. The only thing worse than discovering Gwyndolin was being eaten alive is knowing that he has also been turned into a puppet, Aldrich visibly uses Gwyndolins body during his boss fight, this gives the lord of cinder access to an array of spells the prince was known to use. He also utilises the Darkmoon Longbow, a known weapon of Gwyndolins, it is also devastating spelling certain death should you be caught up in the onslaught of arrows.
Moving onto Gwyndolins boss fight, if you manage to reach this fight on your first journey through Lordran without looking at a guide then I have to congratulate you, this tricky god has done a good job of hiding himself. It is quite unique and I would have to say that there isn’t any other fight in the SoulsBorne series like it, though I will also say that it doesn’t necessarily appeal to everybody. You will come face to face with Gwyndolin down a long hallway where he will proceed to cast various spells at you which can give you cause for concern should they hit you, he also utilises his longbow to shoot arrows at you. If you are good at dodging then you will find this fight to be quick and easy, nothing more than a bump in the road. If you can dodge through the spells rather than hide behind the pillars then you will find it a lot quicker to reach Gwyndolin, then you get a few hits in before he teleports further down the corridor, this continues until you have either depleted his health bar or he has run out of illusionary corridor. for me while I do appreciate that they tried to do something different with this fight, I do believe that the appeal of Gwyndolin comes from who he is and his lore.
Overall I would say that this is quite an easy boss fight who can be dealt with using most builds and as someone that is capable of dodging it doesn’t usually take me too long to rid Anor Londo of its final deity. Even if you haven’t mastered the art of dodging, you will still find it easy, hiding behind the pillars just makes the fight last a bit longer, a good shield with high magic defence is also going to add to the easiness of the fight, if your shield is high enough in magic defence then you might not even need to bother with the pillars, your shield should be sufficient enough.
The boss room is well designed holding a certain charm, it could have the light shining through from the sun or it could be dark after the illusion was lifted. I like that the fight takes place in the corridor leading to the tomb of Gwyn, it makes the ensuing fight that bit more personal, the fact that Gwyndolin is willing to die to prevent it from being tainted speaks volumes. I do think that perhaps there could have been a bit more to this encounter, I find myself thinking about my fights with the Nameless King and I think we can all agree he is a truly formidable foe, just what we would have expected from the god of war, a son of Gwyn. We don’t get that with Gwyndolin though, truth be told I do think he should pose a greater threat than he does, I should regret my actions in walking through that fog gate, but I don’t, his threats are empty, he poses no challenge to me and that is where Gwyndolin is let down as a boss.
If I was to rank him amongst all the bosses in the Souls series I would probably have him ranked in between the 70-80th place range, he has some of the best lore but the fight itself does leave a lot to be desired. If my boss rankings were based on Lore alone however Gwyndolin would be placed much higher, his lore is some of my favourite and I look forward to experiencing it all again come May 25th.