Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What's Really Going On In Bloodborne - The Hunters and The Heir

Rich Stanton of Kotaku wrote a very extensive interpretation of the narrative of Bloodborne that you can find here. The following is an excerpt from the article in which Rich presents his interpretation of humanity's motivation to commune with the Great Ones, and I highly recommend reading the original article in it's entirety. All content presented is the work of Rich Stanton and Kotaku, with only minor formatting changes made.

The Hunters and the Heir

One of the Caryll runes, Heir, says: “Perhaps the 'Heir' is a hunter who bears the echoing will of those that went before him.” We've already touched on the idea of the Great Ones requiring a surrogate but what exactly does that mean? We know that every Great One loses its child and yearns for a surrogate, which implies that though these beings can impregnate humans the resulting child never survives long. This can be seen lategame when the prostitute Arianna gives birth, an event precipitated by the encroaching red moon, and the 'child' is briefly alive.

The frame of a human infant is incapable of containing or supporting a Great One's being. But despite the child's death the being's power still resides therein. And so the Great Ones and their knowing or unknowing followers strive to create a surrogate being powerful enough to play host.

This was the goal of the School of Mensis, a splinter of the Healing Church. Mensis may have been an individual, but the name also refers to the group as a collective, and they sought communion with Mergo, Queen Yharnam's child. This was achieved and they entered a nightmare – though the experience resulted in the “stillbirth of their brains.” In the Unseen Village the Mensis acolytes' withered corpses can be seen positioned at various points, with every one turned towards the moon.

The School of Mensis takes a ritual approach to creating a surrogate, believing basically that quantity equals power: so the more human blood, the better. This ritual, doubtless inspired by Laurence's insights, involved bringing the moon close and using bizarre antennae to blur the dimensions –

The School of Mensis had its own hunters, who kidnapped citizens for sacrifice, and in the Unseen Village these victims can be seen petrified as they tried to escape the ritual – men, women, children all.

The ritual killed all of them, left the braindead Mensis acolytes to rot, but also resulted in two things: the retrieval of a Great One, albeit a terribly rotten brain, and the creation in the Unseen Village of the One Reborn. The One Reborn, clearly a reference to the Formless One Oedon, is in fact nothing of the sort – it is a grotesque monster formed of body parts, kept whole only by blood and bell maidens.

After defeating this abomination the player can enter the Nightmare created by Mensis, and eventually meet the nightmare's host Micolash – clearly the most powerful acolyte. Though he uses the augur of Ebrietas, suggesting how close Mensis and the Choir are, it is an unusually easy fight – that ends in a surprising way when he laments that, following his death, he'll wake up. As we know from his body in the real world, Micolash won't be waking up anywhere.

Incidentally, the presence of the bell maidens here emphasises the importance of 'echoing' as a theme and explains the reasoning behind multiplayer. The original bells were discovered in the labyrinth and their chimes echo across worlds, allowing hunters to cross dimensions, albeit briefly, and aid each other in different dreams.

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