The Sigurd Stones are a group of 8 Viking Age
runestones located in Sweden. Each stone depicts, in some way, images from the
Norse legend of Sigurd the dragon slayer. They are the earliest known Norse
representations of this legend, which also expands into German lore as the
Nibelungenlied: an epic poem written in Middle-High German that tells the story
of Siegfried and his wife Kriemhild. The Vikings even erected stones in Great
Britain depicting aspects of these stories after their invasion. As such, the
legend is considered amongst one of the many stories Vikings told to understand
themselves and the world they lived in.
One of the
more famous, and more impressive, Sigurd stones is the Ramsund Carving, which
I’ll talk more about in the next post!
I’ve decided to go on a rant, so for everyone’s sake I’ll make it short and honest.
1.The Voting Gauntlet on Fire Emblem Heroes IS a popularity contest. That’s the whole point of it, I have no idea what else you expected it to be. If you don’t like it, then don’t participate I guess? Delete FEH? Live your life?
2.No one cares how many Fire Emblem games you’ve played, or how many of the older games you beat. To be honest all anyone cares about are their favorite characters from the games. Even then, fans enjoy things for different reasons and no one is above anyone else.
Now this last one I know is going to make people mad, but it’s the truth.
3.Fire Emblem Awakening saved Fire Emblem. I don’t care if you like it or hate it, the simple fact is that if it weren’t for Awakening then FE wouldn’t be here today. We wouldn’t have a growing fanbase or 3 new games coming out this year. You don’t have to love it, but it does deserve respect.
So all I’m trying to get across is that no one should be shamed for which FE game they like. Or for which character they choose in the Voting Gauntlet. Or because they know less about FE than you. If this post makes you upset, I’m sorry that I’m not sorry, you’re turning this fanbase toxic. /END RANT
I can’t draw flowers. Cheers to Goku and Chi-Chi’s long, happy marriage 🍾🥂💙 …tho I pray just putting this up won’t cause any needless commotion. I ain’t here for repeats of that. ’S'why I don’t bother posting these two together anymore anyway. (This was done like, last year actually… part of a DBZ art meme. But it never really got posted till now, huh? (at least on my terms anyway on my blog))
The first image was also featured as a thumbnail on Geekdom101’s video here: https://youtu.be/Ayo7SQZoq5c and used for the GoChi Week (March 12-17th 2016) Banner~ (cuz well… I had something beforehand)
So before I go on, I guess I should make it clear that I haven’t played DS3 or DS2. So, if there’s any information that contradicts or explains something, I probably don’t know about it. I’ve just got what I absorbed through pop cultural osmosis.
I don’t really have any particular order or priority in mind for what I’ve got to say, so this could be kind of all over the place. If you want to know my opinions on something in particular, you should probably drop me a message or a leave a comment or something. With that said, let’s start at the very beginning. I understand that it’s a very good place to start.
Dragons in Dark Souls
So, the Everlasting Dragons. I guess they’re the start of Dark Souls. In the beginning, it was all stone and mist and arch-trees and dragons. Everybody and their mother knows from the interviews with Miyazaki that the dragons are more like elementals than flesh and blood creatures. Their scales are made of stone, the same way the arch-trees are made of stone. So the dragons, the trees, and the earth are essentially all one in the same, to some degree. At the very least, the dragons are part of the landscape and the trees might be their own separate things, what with being the pillars of worlds and all.
Anyway, this is all to get around that whole disparity of existence thing. Rocks don’t die; they’re not alive, but they don’t die, or become undead, or whatever. They still succumb to entropy, but that’s real-world science being applied to a very broadly painted mythic portrait. The way I figure it, the dragons just sat around for millennia, fusing with the ground, coming out of the ground, going back to the ground, all in an endless cycle with no actual beginning or end. Seems appropriate.
Now here’s where things get tricky; did the Everlasting Dragons know about the First Flame and the Lord Souls? Were they trying to keep them down? If they didn’t, then the war against the dragons was perpetuated solely by the Lords; they began a fight with creatures completely beyond their comprehension and perspective. But then, why have a fight? The Lords didn’t even want the place that the dragons had; that would become Ash Lake. The Lords wanted the luxury suite in the arch-tree’s branches. (Whether that refers to exclusively Anor Londo or reality as a whole, I don’t know. We’ll get there when we get there.)
The way I see it, the Dragons did have some agency in this conflict. They didn’t just happen to be there. They were guarding the arch-trees, trying to stop the Lords from establishing reality. They actively opposed the First Flame and the cycle it brought. But why exactly? Well, the obvious, existential answer is that they wanted to avoid the pain and chaos of being. Why go through life and death and all that humdrum when you can be an Everlasting Dragon? Then I thought that it might be to avoid The Dark, or Death, or whatever else; something so horrible that the high point isn’t worth it, that an eternal purgatory is better than having to live with the worst. But then I started noticing details about the dragons;
Stone Dragon. Last of the OG Everlasting Dragons. Hatched in secret or hid away somewhere. Possibly also a Bonfire Maiden, but that doesn’t make any sense (or does it?). Offers Nirvana by offering an escape from the cycle of Light and Dark by becoming somebody’s scale-sona. Anyway, count the limbs on this guy and the dragons from the opening cut scene; four legs, four wings. That’s eight limbs in total.
The Gaping Dragon. Coolest dragon in dark fantasy. Succumbs to the pleasures of the flesh and grows a giant ass mouth to feed its gluttony, because Soulsborne runs on that kind of fairy tale logic. Locked up in Blighttown for a long while until its jailers were too weak to contain it or feed it; probably both. Got hungry, escapes, rampage. I like to think it was worshiped as some kind of sewer god for a while, but that’s pure fancy. On topic; four wings, and… well, eight legs. Twelve limbs in total, but I think we can make an exception given the whole freakish mutation thing.
Now Seath? Seath’s another horrible, freakish mutant. He’s got two arms, six wings, and a whole bunch of tentacles/tails. So that’s eight limbs plus whatever’s going on down south. I’ll be honest, I was going to cover Seath as his own separate business later. But Seath is important; Seath is described as being born. Not fissioning out of the stone, but being born. Birth is tied to death, implying that Seat, unlike the Everlasting Dragons, is tied to the cycle of existence. The whole point that I’m making over these last three is that the original Everlasting Dragons come with eight limbs.
Cut to Kalameet. So called by Gough as the ‘last of the great dragons’. Big boy. (That gemstone in his head might be a nifty callback to draconic lore; in both the East and the West, dragons were described as having magical glowing gems that they stored in their head. In the East, these were the pearls that lung used for flight and to control the sea, while in the West, these gems were the dragon’s actual brain, and had fantastic divinatory and alchemical properties.) I imagine he started rampaging around Oolacile after the Dark hit and the Four Knights fell to shit. But count his limbs; two wings, four legs. Six limbs. If Kalameet is the ‘last’ of the great dragons, then that means he is well after the Lords won against the Everlasting Dragons. He may even have been born in the last days of the war proper. But in any case, Kalameet is literally lesser than the Everlasting Dragons.
Similarly, we don’t know a lot about the undead dragons, but they follow the same basic rules. Four legs, two wings; less than the Everlasting Dragons. What’s more, they’re actually well and proper dead. I mean as much as anything that’s undead (and not an Undead) is dead. They’re corpses animated by some kind of magic or willpower, that’s all. But the cycle of life and death has absolutely affected them.
Also, their asses are in Izalith. I have no idea what that’s about. It honestly kind of infuriates me. I feel like I could just put the word “IZALITH” in great big, bold letters over these things and anybody who actually played this game would understand. Maybe something cool happened. Maybe the Lords fought their last epic battle against the dragons at Izalith, and dragon butts are all that remain. Maybe the Witches tried to enslave or tame the dragons, and when the Flame of Chaos destroyed Izalith, it killed the dragons, and the demons and dragons fought in some Heavy Metal war of fire and claws! Yeah! But probably not. Because it’s Izalith. So the answer is ‘rushed development’.
And at the very bottom are the dragons of today. Interchangeably called ‘drakes’ or ‘wyverns’, they have two wings and two legs; a paltry four limbs compared to the Everlasting. The Hellkite is a dangerous enemy, but the Blues are easy pickings for the patient knight. Ornstein hunts them for sport. (Have to guess that he must have started slacking off if something as big as the Hellkite could grow up there.) Even their habitat doesn’t acknowledge them as dragons; it’s ‘Valley of the Drakes’, not ‘Valley of the Dragons’. In essence, the Everlasting Dragons devolved; over the generations, they became less and less until their current descendants are no better than animals. Could it get any lower than this?
The answer is yes. The hydra is barely even acknowledged as a pseudo-dragon. The only thing that even ties them to dragons is that they drop dragon scales and are in the vicinity of dragons or something that a dragon made. It has no limbs, unless you count its ray-like flippers, and a bunch of seemingly useless tendrils hanging off it. I’ll be honest, the hydras kind of piss me off; the one in Darkroot I can understand, but how the Hell did one get into Ash Lake? It’s one thing for basilisks and mushroom folk to be there; they came in through the arch-tree. But how did a sixty foot long aquatic reptile get there?
I don’t know; frankly, I don’t think there is an answer. The best I can come up with riffs from Norse mythology. If we assume that the arch-tree is Yggdrasil, then the Stone Dragon is Nidhoggr, the dragon at the bottom of the world. In some versions of the myth, Nidhoggr is surrounded by a nest of lesser serpents. So the hydra is the Stone Dragon’s guardian? Offspring?
I guess I’m not really talking about all the dragons of Dark Souls if I don’t talk about the Path of the Dragon covenant as well. It really is kind of analagous to Buddhism in a weird way; through the Stone Dragon, you can escape the cycle of life and death, becoming, like the Everlasting Dragons themselves, something beyond any of the Lord Souls. In a way, it’s perfect for Undead; as a being already outside the cycle of life and death, an Undead is closer to escaping it than almost any other creature in Lordran. All they would need would be that final push to make the transformation a permanent part of themselves.
Of course, there may be a more petty side to the covenant; given that the covenant operates on dragon scales, it might be that the Stone Dragon intends for its servants to hunt down lesser dragons like the drakes and hydras. There’s no evidence to that, however, and it frankly seems beneath the Stone Dragon. Remember, its motivations and mindset are unknowable to anything derived from the Lord Souls. Petty vengeance doesn’t seem like it’s M.O.
So what’s all this add up to? Nothing much, really. It’s just what motivated the Everlasting Dragons, the setup to the establishing conflict of the Dark Souls mythos. The Dragons weren’t afraid of dying or the Dark; they were afraid of watching their own devolution. Somehow, I think, they knew that the cycle would wear on them, generation after generation, until dragons were little more than animals. Time ruins all things; it’s one of the big recurring themes of the Souls series. Even Dark Souls 2 (which, as I understand it, is stuffed to the gills with dragons) understood that.
The Dragons’ fight was the fight against definition itself; not as simple as stagnation versus chaos, but against the very act of being in and of itself. And I guess that adds up to what’s valued as important in the Souls universe; ‘existence’ is synonymous with ‘definition’. The very act of perception and processing that perception is the heart of reality, a notion that goes all the way back to Demon’s Souls.
Ultimately, like I said, it doesn’t really matter. The dragons are dead, stupid, or in hiding. But they tell us about the tone of the universe, and I had to start somewhere. Thanks for reading this far! Anything to add or ask for the next rambling?