So, Daisy and I were discussing the exact location of the Research Hall and I thought you guys may be interested in our findings ;)
Comparing the Grand Cathedral in the Waking World and the one with Laurence’s human skull in the Nightmare, the research hall is clearly located above the nave of the cathedral. If you look down from the Living Failures arena (outlined in blue) you can see the Lumenflower Garden (red) where we fight the Celestial Emissary in the Waking World.
The Waking World Lumenflower garden and the one in the Nightmare (where we pick up the Blacksky eye) look a bit different but they both connect to the upper level of the nave, the narrow path we take to get to Ebrietas in the Waking World and where A Call Beyond is located. And if you need further proof that they’re the same place, here’s one of the most overlooked clues regarding the timeline:
Lumenflower Garden, present day. Moon Presence statues EVERYWHERE. The dream was created, Laurence was alive and well, he and his associates not only beckoned MP but even had the time to worship her. Gehrman was probably already in the dream, but Laurence promised that he was going to free him from it at some point. The Hunter’s Dream worked as intended for some time until Laurence turned into a beast.
Lumenflower Garden as it appears in the Hunter’s Nightmare which is supposed to be a snapshot from the past. No statues. No dream. No Moon Presence. Not yet. (crappy pic, I’m lazy today :P)
If you look up from the present day Lumenflower Garden you can see that there is a bridge above your head (it’s quite hard to tilt the camera tho. There are a bunch of unfinished textures that From doesn’t want you to see :P) that connects the Grand Cathedral to the clocktower. That ‘bridge’ is the Living Failures’ arena, the Lumenwood Garden.
Maria’s arena is suspended above the entrance of the Cathedral itself, right above your head as you walk up the stairs where the 2 Church Servants with the wooden weapons that inflict Frenzy are.
The Orphan of Kos and Gehrman: Thoughts and analysis
Aegon of Astora did a video proving that the sobbing sound in the Orphan of Kos cutscene is the same soundbite as Gehrman’s sobbing in his rare “dreaming” dialogue, where he calls out to Laurence and Willem and begs to be unshackled from dreaming. Given that they bothered to splice the new audio of a baby crying into it, this is probably not a recycled asset but a deliberate choice. Gehrman also has another “sleeping” dialogue where he’s addressing Laurence directly, who also happens to be in the Hunter’s Nightmare.
After defeating the OoK, the Doll has an extra dialogue where she talks about how she can hear Gehrman sleeping soundly, and that on any other night he would be restless and suffering.
This is less concrete, but IMO the OoK is visually and pacing-wise pretty similar to Gehrman. It’s placenta weapon (definitely a placenta btw, if you look closely it’s still connected by umbilical cord) kind of reminds me of the Burial Blade’s cleaving edge and the transformation into it’s second stage feels like Gehrman’s own power-up.
So with that in mind here is what I think happened:
Kos washed up dead in the Fishing Hamlet but it was pregnant with child, and this foetal Great One was still alive and gestating inside of Kos’ carcass, subsisting off it’s placenta.
When the Byrgenwerth scholars came, they extracted the still-living Orphan from it’s womb, a forced traumatic birth, and performed live experiments on it. This is where they obtained the Third Umbilical Chord that Gehrman kept at his Workshop, the Umbilical Chord that precipitated (accelerated, caused) his encounter with the Moon Presence.
I think that Kos’s umbilical chord was split into three and make up three of the four umbilical chords we find in the game. The one dropped by Fakesefka, that she pillaged from Byrgenwerth and was used to ascend Rom; the one used by the School of Mensis, successors of Byrgenwerth, to grant Mensis audience with Mergo; and lastly the one in Gehrman’s workshop that was used to contact the Moon Presence. This is why the note in the Lecture Theatre reads “three one third chords” - it’s actually been split. The one that drops from Arianna, I’m not sure about. I think it might be unrelated and belongs to her own body.
Gehrman played a major role in the purging of the Fishing Hamlet and therefore holds an enormous amount of the guilt. The Great Ones are described as being “sympathetic” in spirit, and I think that’s saying that their minds basically work on a similar enough wavelength to our own that they psychically sense and respond to our emotions. Presumably this works both ways, and they are able to impart their own emotions psychically onto us.
Revising my theory on the creation of the Hunter’s Nightmare, I now believe that the encounters that pulled the Fishing Hamlet and the original Grand Cathedral into Nightmare were separate. The nightmare Fishing Hamlet was created first, by the ghost of the Orphan of Kos, initially as a prison specifically to trap and torment Gehrman. This event might also have taken place at the Byrgenwerth Lecture Theatre, which is how it became adrift in Nightmare, although it’s more likely that this was a separate event as the Lecture Hall is more of a liminal space between nightmare realms rather than being part of the Hunter’s Nightmare.
All of the characters in the Hunter’s Nightmare seem to be suffering an appropriate fate for the sins they’ve committed. Ludwig is a twisted amalgam of all the lives he’s responsible for taking; Laurence burns eternally for his part in the burning of Old Yharnam, Maria is tormented by her failure to protect the Hamlet. The Orphan basically “imprinted” upon Gehrman, and Gehrman’s punishment in the dream is that every time he falls asleep in the Hunter’s Dream he slips into Nightmare and experiences the unimaginable trauma that the Orphan felt, of being torn from the womb broken and incomplete.
EDIT:u/FLRSH pointed out that this potentially recontextualizes the game’s endings, something I hadn’t fully considered. “In the vanilla game ending where we kill Gehrman, we’re setting him free to finally die as he should have long ago, except he’s actually going straight to the Hunter’s Nightmare to suffer, likely. By defeating the Orphan of Kos and stopping the curse of the Hunter’s Nightmare, where all Hunter’s go when they die to live out some kind of torturous hell, we’re allowing Gehrman to actually rest in peace when we kill him.” I think that Gehrman’s soul and possibly his body as well is tethered to the Hunter’s Dream - this is the plane in which he “awakens”. When he sleeps in the dream, he slips into the Nightmare. Presumably, killing Gehrman frees him from the Hunter’s Dream but without defeating the Orphan he would become trapped in the Nightmare forever. Perhaps this gives further context to why Gehrman sought ascension into the Dream and is so adamant about remaining there - perhaps his motives weren’t so selfless after all, he could not stand anyone else usurping him as the Moon Presence’s prisoner because it’s the only thing keeping him from being trapped in a far worse fate.
I think that maybe Gehrman beckoned the Moon Presence and offered himself up as a surrogate hoping for some refuge (the Hunter’s Refuge, eh??) and the MP, being sympathetic to his plight, granted this to him. But I don’t think that she did this explicitly to combat the Orphan of Kos - her main motivation, if we can even fathom it, is simply to trap hunters in the Dream as surrogates, more or less playing dollhouse with their lives. Gehrman simply used this to his advantage.
Additionally, I’ve been playing around with of the Eye of a Blood Drunk Hunter being an actual portal through which we travel to the Hunter’s Nightmare. The description of the Blacksky Eye describes it’s pupil as vast stretch of black sky, a portal in which a meteor storm rumbles endlessly. The pupil of the Blood Drunk Eye is crushed by the Beast plague but strongly resembles the crushed sun in the Nightmare. Additionally, pretty much all the items that the messengers gift us in the Hunter’s Dream belonged to Gehrman (all the Bells especially) which makes sense because the Dream belongs to him in many ways, so it’s not a leap to imagine that the Eye belonged to Gehrman as well. It might not be his eye, but I believe that it belongs to him, and is portal through which the Nightmare pulls in the souls of Hunters. This is why the Orphan gazes so longingly at the sun, hoping to be freed. After defeating Amelia, Gehrman senses both your curiosity and your potential, and gifts you the eye in hopes that you might free him and his compatriots.
The apparition that hangs out around Kos’ corpse is the true ghost of the Orphan that sustains the Nightmare, with the Orphan that we fight being a constructed body based on Gehrman’s own wizened form. This doesn’t make him any less of a Great One; the Orphan we fight is still definitely the Orphan, only possessed in some part by Gehrman’s consciousness as well. When we destroy the Orphan’s ghost, we finally close off the link between the Hunter’s Nightmare and the rest of the dreamlands, which is why the crushed pupil in the sky disappears. This is why the Doll tells us that Gehrman is now sleeping soundly, having finally been freed from one of the dreams he’s shackled to.
I’m still trying to figure out what to make of the final cutscene and the deeply poetic dialogue in it. “A bottomless curse” probably refers to the curse placed upon the Hunters that traps them and all future sinners in Nightmare (curse the fiends, their children too), while “a bottomless sea” is less obvious. I think there’s a lot of associations between the dreamlands and the ocean - apart from several runes referring to great bodies of water as bulwarks guarding sleep (aka dreaming, I think this is actually alluding to blood and water being a medium through which the dreamlands can be accessed, as with the Moonlit Lake and Rom’s boss room), the Lecture Theatre is described as being “adrift” in nightmare, there’s a lot of ship imagery, etc. I think that the greater dreamlands are the metaphorical ocean, the infinitely vast bottomless sea, and when we destroy the ghost of the Orphan, we also free it from it’s own Nightmare that it had trapped itself in. The Orphan, the sweet, innocent child of Kos, was so consumed by it’s grief and pain that it had isolated itself from the greater dreamlands where the rest of the Great Ones reside and didn’t know how to find it’s way back. In freeing it, we end the curse of the Nightmare and the Orphan is returned to the oceans of dreaming, the infinitely vast freedom where all things are true and possible and accepted.
Well, it’s almost 2016 and I decided to make a follow forever post! I’ve been on tumblr for a little over 2 years by now, so it’s about time I make one! The rest of the post is under the cut so that I don’t clog up your dashboards.
Today @purrdence and I got to meet the lovely Eion Bailey. This time last week we had zero intention of going to ComicCon, then Eion was announced as a late replacement and we couldn’t NOT go.
Gosh he is even prettier in reality. And ridiculously intelligent and eloquent and perfect and ugh!
We got into the signing queue early so there wasn’t much of a crowd, so we got to talk to him for 5-10 minutes! The awesome Lindsay (@gilove2dance) allowed us to use her Webster collage to sign (also got one signed for her) and we gave a copy to Eion for him to keep. Amusingly he mentioned that he was headed to Ontario after Australia, which is where Lindsay lives. Oh, and he spelled Currahee wrong! I didn’t ask him to write that, he just did. :D :D
We mostly talked about how we’d gotten into Band of Brothers/WWII stuff and how we were headed to Europe and the US to go to a lot of the places Easy Company traveled. He was amazed and fascinated that two women from Australia were going to do a journey like that. He also said he wanted to sign my shirt. At the time I was a bit flustered and worried it would wash out so figured I’d let him do it at the photo booth. Alas, there were no pens available there so my shirt is unsigned.
He said he had read Webster’s shark book (we already knew he’d read Parachute Infantry) when we showed him our plushie sharks (named Webster and Joe) so we got talking about that, how he wanted to go surfing while he was in Perth, how I had the opportunity to go snorkelling to look for Port Jackson Sharks this morning but didn’t because I had better things to do like talk to him. :D There was also a brief mutual disdain for the shark culls that sometimes happen around here.
Eventually we had to go because a queue was forming again and he apologised for taking up OUR time. Eion you dope. He said we’d continue our conversation later during the photo op.
Next up was the Once Upon A Time panel where Eion and Christie Laing mostly discussed questions about Once Upon A Time (I have only watched the first 2 or 3 seasons, which I saw before I saw BoB and I remember thinking when August arrives on the show “Hello handsome what’s YOUR name?”)
@Purrdence asked him about his BoB boot story and he admitted that he burned his boots (which we already knew from the Blacksky Radio interview), he then went on a rant about how Corcoran boots and are awful and evil and all that stuff about how they’d break in and be super-comfortable was a BIG FAT LIE.
Someone asked a question about Centre Stage!! *squeal* She wanted to know if he could dance and if he’d demonstrate. Turns out he has a decent turn out and actually DID do a bit of ballet after filming Centre Stage (where he played about the only character who WASN’T a dancer).
He also seemed to take a while to find his words for some questions, but once he got started, man can that guy put a sentence together. He also threw out the phrase “experiential dilettante” (in describing acting) which he had also mentioned on the Blacksky Radio interview.
Then it was photos!! Eeeee. In the queue just behind us where two other obvious BoB fans, one wearing a garrison cap (OMG I need to get one) and the other had an authentic helmet that he’d restored and done up to look like Lipton’s D-Day helmet. It was fab.
Oh god he’s so huggy! He even pulled us in a bit tighter for the second photo. For the second shot the photographer asked what we wanted to do for it and we were like “We don’t know!” So after a few seconds Eion grabbed the sharks off us, put his arms RIGHT around us and told the photographer to take the shot on 3. On 3 he proceeded to attack us with the plush sharks. What a nerd. <3 <3 <3
After the photos were taken he asked me to thank Lindsay for the picture we gave him and wished us luck on our big trip. And then as we were walking out he yelled back to us about how our sharks wouldn’t have been the ones that Webster was studying because hammerheads aren’t found on the west coast. Ahahaha oh gosh.
Oh man I wish I could have had half a day to just chat to him about war and Webster and sharks and whatever. But alas, these things can’t last forever. I did catch a few more glimpses of him at the signing table before we left the con. Ugh so pretty.