Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

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    Re: Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

    Post by skarekrow13 on Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:38 pm

    Nooooooooooo!!!!!! Serious don't start. Artorias just HAS to be "sinister." How's that for etymology Emergence?

    Good point though. Particularly with revisions coming to the same pic to make it more Artoriasy. I swear on my box that I couldn't determine if the guy was facing toward or away. Gonna have to go look again. Maybe check out the book it came with too for clues. Jinkies!

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    Re: Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

    Post by skarekrow13 on Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:31 am

    On a whim I decided to look up facts on Aokigahara, Japan's "suicide forest" to compare to darkroot. Visually they appear to have similar trees and the real forest is on rock, as is darkroot. That's the best links but the real forest is tied to demon lore and is described as "eerily quiet"

    ***Info added on 3/27/2012***

    I just read the original post and wanted to clarify that the ties to demon lore and it's "eerily quiet" description are similar to Darkroot. One of the reasons Aokigahara is so darn quiet is a lack of wildlife. I'll get to the wildlife of Darkroot later but for now let's say I have not noticed forest critters in Darkroot. This is especially odd with the inclusion of small, non-violent rats in the Depths and bugs in the Asylum and catacombs. From has no problem adding animals for atmosphere but didn't in Darkroot, which I have described as the only place with real "life" in the game.

    Geographically, Aokigahara is famous for caves as well (ice and wind namely). The basin has a few notable caves (Dusk, cave leading to valley of drakes) as well. Aokigahara is at the foot of Mt. Fuji. Darkroot is below Sen's fortress meaning it is at the base of the mountain that Anor Londo is on.

    The Crest of Artorias indicates it is unwise (suicide perhaps?) to enter the forest if not initiated. Similarly, the high suicide rate has prompted the government to add signs in Japanese and English asking visitors to "reconsider" their actions. Straying into some areas is also discouraged.

    DISCLAIMER....I am providing the Wikipedia link below. Due to the fascination of this forest, there are a lot of pictures available for anyone interested in doing their own research into the forest. Let me reference the points above again and say that the lack of wildlife has led to other photography subjects, many of which are graphic. Search at your own risk
    Aokigahara

    On to the wildlife:
    I cannot find information on Japanese demons resembling the crystal or stone golems, flying frogs, tree lizards or mushrooms. If anyone can help please do. The golems probably are renegades from Seath and the mushrooms could be an extension of the forest or a funny take on one of the descriptions below (you'll see what I mean). The frogs are probably somewhere if I keep looking (as anime has frog like villains) and the stone golems I believe are guardians placed there and not natural to the forest. The tree lizards seem to be similar to a demon hand that hides in trees perhaps but there's not enough similarities for my tastes.

    From least to most interesting to me:
    1. Yamata no Orochi
    Everyone knows that Japan has dragons so it's no surprise that this 8 headed guy has similar facial features to our Hydras and is associated with water. If someone can verify head count on Dark Souls Hydras please do but eight seems about right.

    2. Jubokko
    Let me ask if this sounds familiar....a tree that is fed a large quantity of blood via the roots, likely in an area of battle or violence. Not yet? Ok, these trees, when approached by a human come to life and attempt to suck the blood from their victims via tubes. These tubes used to look like branches but change. So, the ents are not Tolkien's creatures but Japanese demon trees that elongate their branches to strike, grab and steal your blood. Take that Tolkien!

    Best for Last
    3. Bakeneko
    What's a Bakeneko? A cat demon. Parallels to our story....a Bakeneko is a normal cat that became a demon from one of a few methods. Notably for our purposes, growing old (more than ten years) or growing big (8lbs.). All four forest kitties are definitely bigger than 8lbs and Alvina is supposed to be ancient. I'll focus on Alvina as she's the most significant one. It seems there's a variety of paranormal stuff attached to cat demons including talking and "menacing" humans in their home. If Darkroot is home to these cats, they sure as heck know how to menace. If you check the link there's stories of Bakeneko guiding humans via messages/actions/etc. Alvina is your guide to the Covenant andi directs your actions as such. I'll need to double check this but Alvina's tail is short. One of the methods of making sure your cat didn't turn into a demon was to cut the tail (as a third way to become Bakeneko is to grow the tail). I will have to have someone verify or get extremely luck in an invasion to look at the rolly cats but it would be interesting to see what their tails looks like. If they are either long or forked, these are hallmarks of a Bakeneko. If they are it might also explain why Alvina talks and (to some) is considered not so evil. Her tail was cut, preventing her from being a demon. Instead she's just a talking cat. I still maintain that the grins on the cats are a nod to the Cheshire Cat as I have not found Japanese illustrations which depict this grin. Alternatively, a demon called a Sekien Kash is also a cat demon. This is differentiated from Bakeneko, among origin perhaps, in that they steal corpses from funerals. Alvina rewards you for making corpses in what could be a graveyard.

    Regarding the creatures I cannot find, all but the mushrooms are outside of the Artorias/Alvina area meaning they may not be "demons" or tied to this and therefore not inherently attached to the above lore.

    **Edited again**
    The Rolly cat trio (good band name) does have pretty long tails. Thank you Youtube


    Last edited by skarekrow13 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:17 pm; edited 2 times in total

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    Re: Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

    Post by Emergence on Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:07 pm

    A little birdie told me to expect something from a skarekrow...


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    Re: Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

    Post by skarekrow13 on Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:30 pm

    More Japanese lore while I'm at it. The legend of Masamune and Muramasa ties in pretty well with the Artorias swords. I won't give a full version but the legend goes along the lines that Muramasa challenged Masamune to see who could make a better sword. When they finished the swords were said to be near to identical. To determine whose sword was better they placed the blades in a stream. Depending on version of the legend, muramasa's (who always goes first) cut either a leaf or pretty much everything. Masamune's sword cuts nothing. Sometimes his blade is depicted as cutting then restoring a leaf. The moral is that Masamune is considered the winner as his does not cut needlessly. Muramasa's weapon is depicted as having an evil spirit. Going back to our lore, Sif appears to wield a divine sword and only attacks in defense. The cursed blade is pictured as dark and cuts anything in its way

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    Re: Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

    Post by Tolvo on Sun Mar 25, 2012 11:03 pm

    I study Mythology and Theology, and I've not seen this thread until now?!?! Guys, why the hell wasn't I informed! I'll be back after I finish reading through this.
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    Re: Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

    Post by Tolvo on Sun Mar 25, 2012 11:20 pm

    Still in the midst of reading, but I would like to bring up an idea with Arthur. Arthur's relationship with Mordred. Upon hearing of the child born during a certain time taking up arms and defeating him, he had all children born during a certain time put on ships and sent out to see where they were sunk to be drowned. I'll get back to this idea, but the first born, Priscilla, the name Guinevere, it just all is making the gears turn so I'll get back to that as I look back on things a bit more and finish reading everything you two have been talking about.

    New Londo, sinking, drowning, sif, artorias, babies, so many relations and symbols!

    EDIT: By the way, some versions of Mordred depict him as the bastard child of Arthur and Morgan la Fay, a sorceress, or maybe a witch? I'm going to go nuts in this thread haha.

    EDIT 2: In regards to paintings, I believe the Stonehenge one you were talking about. To me, that looks like Kiln of the First Flame after the great fire turned most of it to ash. Here's my question, how could a painter have ever seen such a place? As well something always bugged me about one painted of an eastern looking man. First of all, people of the great swamp might have a small glitch in the character menu. The mail eastern face looks like Laurientus, of the great swamp. While the Swamp Male Face looks like the man in eastern garb in the painting in Anor Londo. Not exactly external lore but something that always puzzled me.

    EDIT 3: So I've seen all of my points have already been adressed. sad
    I know very little of japanese mythology as I'm not a fan of it, but what if a possible relation to the Muramasa and the Murakumo? The Murakumo is a weapon wielded by Shiva, a man who might not be of great intentions and uses his weapon to slay any invader in the forest he is to spot. Notice, in an area that has streams and water, etc. With that, Shiva would be invading as a Dark Spirit, as forest hunters while blue actually are counted as Dark Spirits, Shiva the wielder of a large sword used for cutting down any in its way being a "Dark Spirit." Some pretty weak links, but just thought I should mention my forest hunter brother FROM another mother software.
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    Re: Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

    Post by skarekrow13 on Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:09 am

    Oh my god.......I just found the greatest link between internal and external lore by accident. I was just eating an E.L. Fudge cookie and noticed it said "From the Hollow Tree." Obviously, the Great Hollow is based on the tree that elves make cookies in. I always wondered why I turned to stone after eating about a dozen cookies and had to run out and buy a Nabisco Purging Stone.

    In other news, perhaps it's time I take a break.

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    Re: Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

    Post by skarekrow13 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:16 pm

    Rather than make yet another post I edited my post about Aokigahara forest (post 77) to include some more info I found on that and other Japanese lore.

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    Re: Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

    Post by Emergence on Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:42 pm

    This is some cool stuff skarekrow. Not familiar at all with Japanese myth somthis has been a great read.


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    Re: Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

    Post by skarekrow13 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:22 pm

    I took a course in Japanese history as well as a healthy interest most of my teen and adult life. Had a professor/judo instructor in college too who was from Japan so the interest has been there. Interesting side note for etymology purposes (looking at you Emergence) is the term Kamikaze. This isn't a huge secret but it translates to "divine wind" and refers to the twice in a row miracle of a tsunami preventing an invasion from one of the Khan's I believe. I was reminded of this because my professor was trained in WWII to be the army equivalent of a kamikaze (still with planes). He made sure he clarified which branch of the military he was enlisted in and that he was thankful of the the Atomic Bomb as it ended the war prior to him actually being on a mission.

    I'm sad to say that of all the regions of the world we seemed to have hit Asia pretty late in the game

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    Re: Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

    Post by Emergence on Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:36 pm

    Wait, he was actually happy that hundreds of thousands died so that he didn't have to? Seems a bit morbid.

    We will have to see if Fex can jump on and illuminate any of the Japanese lore.


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    Re: Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

    Post by skarekrow13 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:02 pm

    That was the reaction of the class at first too. Then he explained that the mentality of the country was that they would not give up until completely wiped out or, as occurred, it was demonstrated that someone had the ability to do so. He believed it saved more lives in the long run but I agree, not a type of thinking we're used to. I don't believe he expressly stated this but I got the distinct impression from his stories that the decision to surrender, even after the two bomb detonations, was not a popular one. I could probably dedicate an entire off-topic thread on the stories he told and the lessons I took from them.

    Also, Fex's input would be greatly valued.

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    Re: Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

    Post by Tolvo on Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:03 pm

    If they hadn't surrendered the Americans also had an invasion planned that would have cost far more lives than we could have ever taken with our small arsenal of nukes at the time.
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    Re: Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

    Post by skarekrow13 on Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:51 am

    Tolvo.....hadn't noticed your edits. Regarding the Murakumo there's certainly a possibility. Shiva strikes me as more of a Muramasa fan. There is a "Murakumo" sword in legend that was found in the (fourth) tail of the eight headed Hydra I reference above. The sword was then apparently gifted to Amaterasu and then later gifted to a great warrior. This warrior discovered it could control the wind and used it to direct and fan a grass fire to his advantage. Prior to discovering this trick he had attempted to cut the grass to prevent injury to himself. The sword was later renamed to the "grass cutter" as a result. The original name translates to "Sword of the gathering clouds of heaven."
    Murakumo?

    I'm not really sure if, other than the name, this ties in to the game. Obviously the region is correct since it's identified as Eastern there's not a lot to go on in game. The description kinda hints you'd need to be almost a legendary warrior to wield it. The comparison to a katana is interesting as the few sources from legend also make this comparison and the use of the term "unparalleled" is interesting as well. I tried to cross reference a few accounts to make sure Wikipedia was accurate so forgive me if Wikipedia is the one who says this winking but I saw one comparison saying it's the "Excalibur of Japan."

    As for weapon design, the game version seems consistent with descriptions of katana comparisons and tied to legendary warriors. Legendary warriors always seem to have BIG weapons don't they. The Wikipedia pic doesn't look similar. However the blade, if I recall correctly, enlarges some at the end. From an historical perspective bladed weapons with heavier ends were made for one of two common purposes. First, to allow momentum to keep carrying through the swing and increase damage. Axes are one concept of heavier end but with heavy ended swords the idea was to carry through the swing, and bring it back around for another. Like a scimitar (Arabian nights style). The other purpose is to double as a machete like instrument to cut through vegetation while trekking around. Shiva is definitely a wanderer and could have use for a multi use weapon.

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    Re: Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

    Post by skarekrow13 on Fri Mar 30, 2012 11:02 am

    Fun facts regarding Masamune and Muramasa:

    I was intrigued why Masamune is glorified and Muramasa is vilified. Both were real sword makers and considered top notch. It seems like both would be respected highly.

    I had suspicions and confirmed that Muramasa lived in the more hostile climate. Masamune lived in the era in which Zen Buddhism began becoming popular, possibly explaining the ties with monks and his serene outlook on all things, including war and battle. In his time (1300s), while there was turmoil amongst groups in Japan, skirmishes for power were (relatively) scattered. Additionally, at the end of the 1200s, Japan had successfully avoided invasion by the Mongols. Despite being overthrown later, this Shogunate was likely viewed favorably for this, particularly with divine intervention strongly being attributed to success.

    Muramasa wasn't so lucky. He lived during the warring states period where civil war was (from what I can gather) more constant and violent. He may have overlapped with Oda Nobunaga. While he is credited with eventually unifying Japan under one rule, this came at the cost of a lot of bloodshed. Muramasa's swords appeared to be very popular during these wars which is likely their bloodthirsty roots. At the start of the 1600s, the new Shogun reportedly had a few buddies who were killed by Muramasa's blades and may have been injured by one himself.

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    Re: Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

    Post by Emergence on Fri Mar 30, 2012 11:52 am

    Haven't forgotten about this thread! I haven't had time to do any more research but I have been reading everything in earnest! Once everything settles down and the new mods are in place, I will dive back in to the research.


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    Re: Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

    Post by skarekrow13 on Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:04 pm

    Maybe you'll know more about it than I do......besides hat/bow/popularity with children/foresty stuff.....is there some possible connections to Pharis and Robin Hood?

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    Re: Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

    Post by Emergence on Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:17 pm

    Absolutely there is something. In fact there is something to all the forest hunters and the merry men. Think there may be a connection to King Arthur in there as well. Willing to bet we can find some strong external links.


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    Re: Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

    Post by Tolvo on Fri Mar 30, 2012 3:09 pm

    Wait a second, a civil war in the east, that might make some sense of some of Shiva's work. I've been noticing recently that his ties to the east are few and far between, and more so he has seemed to be an enemy of them. He does say his items that he sells come from slain enemies of his. Yet, he carries many eastern weapons. As well, he carries the Claws, the weapon of the Spooks of the East, like his bodyguard. Hmm, a lot of devious things are being revealed.
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    Re: Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

    Post by skarekrow13 on Fri Mar 30, 2012 3:37 pm

    Tolvo, you might be onto something with our Leafer friend. One of the (many) reasons that civil wars are so pronounced in Japanese history is due to the country's significant isolation for most of it's history. The lack of external contact (threats) meant everything was "in house." This game has an obvious bias toward Western gear with a few Eastern items thrown in (pretty much all in B. Town). So it seems that, much like real history, there weren't many people who just up and left. If they did there was always a good reason. There's a lot about Shiva that would indicate he's probably not welcome at home. My guess is he came from a well to do family based on his having a bodyguard. Most merchants or wanderers would not have the services of such. It's possible that he had saved the guy's life but that doesn't seem to fit the mold of Shiva. The bodyguard's lack of dialogue also suggests he is subservient to Shiva. The fact that the bodyguard is supposed to be a surprise (near invisible) obviously points toward a departure from an honorable warrior's code but could also indicate he is trying to hide his status or identity. His forest dialogue to me seems to indicate he is attempting to distance himself from the ninja. He keeps things general and just talks like he's one of the gang with no attachment to Shiva directly. Alvina and his presence in B. Town scream otherwise though. Going back to his origin, when you attack him he's not shy. Shiva is one of the few NPCs who actually seems like it's a battle (at least to me). This could add more weight to a well off start in life as this would have led to better training.

    His choice of weaponry, unless legendary like stated above also shows he may have put his past aside. The addition of a shield is odd too. The shield states it's part of his collection, so who knows where he found it. I'd need someone more familiar with Eastern armor variations to dissect that for sure. Based on what I have seen.....a lot of elements seem traditional but point toward it being a mish-mash of styles or pieces. The helmet is reminiscent of a Kendo mask/helm but heavier and more ornamental. Some elements (top) look like they could have origin in Samurai armor but the materials seem to be wrong and it's asymmetrical which I personally have not seen before in Samurai styling. The gloves and pants are generic enough to fit with a lot of styles. Samurai origin legs would be armored if I recall correctly though.

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    Re: Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

    Post by Tolvo on Fri Mar 30, 2012 3:55 pm

    I've actually noticed something really interesting about Shiva, in that it goes with the leaks that have been rumored, he is definitely an NPC designed for Combat. In the same sense as Lautrec, and Andre. The three of them can actually be a challenging fight, I've noticed something incredibly frightening, Shiva can dead angle.

    If I remember correctly, wandering mercenaries are not too uncommon are they in eastern lore? With that, what if Shiva is actually a servant himself. He is a part of an assassination working with a spook of a clan/etc. He is getting close to very influential figures, as well only one person suspects him of anything. Possibly he is needed to kill someone or something of importance, as such why they would require a true warrior as opposed to merely an assassin. There are the rumours of there being a black eyed orb you would invade Shiva with like Lautrec of Carim, this would support the idea.

    I've been looking at his shield and it appears western to me, in fact it reminds me of pottery from ancient Greece depicting heroic tales and battles with its circular way of forming things and placing soo many figures so closely together. It also resembles the carvings found on the coffins in the Catacombs and Tomb of the Giants. Things seem to be getting most interesting.
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    Re: Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

    Post by DoughGuy on Sat Mar 31, 2012 2:16 am

    I believe that the black eye orb is related to the black spot that you see in pirate movies. An item that marks the subject for death. Just instead of being a spot it draws upon the theme of the red eye orb and was made as the black eye orb. Just a small nugget of info.
    I agree that the shiedl looks greekish. Tolvo you pointed out the shield looks similar to the carvings in the tomb. I would like to point out Shiva's sword is a rare drop from the giants in the tomb. Why would all theese giants be carrying eastern swords? On top of that Shiva sells many demon weapons. Are there any stories of Demon hunters in asian mythology that Shiva could be linked too?


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    Re: Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

    Post by Tolvo on Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:08 am

    Hmm, well if I remember correctly Shiva himself, the god, was at war with the Naga, a species of half serpent half human looking demons...Wait a second...Hmm, I'll have to think on this some and find some of my old books on Hinduism.
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    Re: Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

    Post by WyrmHero on Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:14 am

    The Naga are somewhat like Gwyndolin, serpentine legs. Quelaag and her sister might be a reference too, although there more like centaurs. I played with Nagas in Heroes of Might and Magic, there were the melee powerful units of the Wizard faction.


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    Tolvo
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    Re: Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

    Post by Tolvo on Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:18 am

    Ganesh has to somehow fit into this!

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    Re: Linking Internal and External Lore: Norse, Arthurian, and Etymology in Dark Souls

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