I'm a fool. A fool in Elden Ring. I've been through this rodeo so many times and I should know better and I still fall for it. FromSoftware introduces me to some cool freaking NPCs, I get attached, and then the story gets more and more dour and before I know it, horrible things happen to these ill-fated pals. I should have known it would also happen in Elden Ring, and yet I was having so much fun I forgot which developer's games I was playing for a sec.
Spoiler Warning! Said NPCs are mentioned below!
Are you still here? Did you read my warning above?
I'll wait a second more if you don't want to be spoiled.
Good? Good. Good...
Aaaah!!! Screw you, Miyazaki! How could you make a dude this cool and then do what you did to him?!
For those who may have missed this fellow, he's a half-man, half-wolf warrior and protector of Ranni the Witch. She's the one who meets you at one of the first Sites of Grace at the Church of Elleh in Limgrave and gives you the Summoning Bell, as well as the Lone Wolves Spirit. You won't meet him right away. Instead, you might hear him before you ever see him. He's hanging out around the Mistwood Ruins howling from the top of a spire.
After you hear his howls, you can go to the Wandering Merchant Kale at the Church of Elleh and ask him about it. He'll give you one of the coolest gestures in the game, the finger snap, and that will allow you to signal Blaidd from below his perch that you are a friend.
He's a giant! Towering well over any Tarnished, he is easily recognized by his shiny armor, fuzzy cloak, mighty-looking greatsword, and, of course, his wolf head. Moreover, Blaidd is a fierce warrior searching for a traitor. Once you help him find said traitor, Blaidd proves to be an even more fierce ally.
Moreover, your adventures with Blaidd take on a bigger role as you lend aid to Ranni in her questline. Blaidd is her shadow, a companion gifted to her and, even beyond his artificial existence, loyal to her beyond his very life's purpose. His journey alongside you leads him to aid you in one of the toughest boss fights in the game like the glorious mountain of man-wolf he is.
However, his loyalty becomes a tragic part of Blaidd's storyline. You see, Blaidd was created by the Two Fingers to protect Ranni. But it was also the Two Fingers intention for Blaidd to police her in case she should ever turn against the Golden Order. That is her secret goal: to rebel against the Fingers and Gods and remove their meddlesome influence from humanity, allowing the world to grow without the Golden Order's corrupting hand.
And that is where Blaidd's very being comes into turmoil. He loves Ranni. He loves her beyond his programmed purpose. In the end, it causes him severe suffering. He tries to turn his back on the Order in loyalty to Ranni and even kills assassins sent by the Black Knife to protect her. He can't hold out in the end, and it falls to you, his friend, to lay him to rest.
I am not joking when I say I was upset as upset can be to fight Blaidd. I know I'm not alone. Nearly everyone I've ever seen on social media who has ever spent time with Blaidd agrees he's the goodest boy. Heck sake, if we rewrote the best NPCs in FromSoftware games feature now, I would be twisting everyone's arms to include Blaidd in the Top 3. He's that cool.
FromSoftware always does this
Blaidd is far from the only cool character FromSoftware has ever done dirty, even in Elden Ring alone. I'm not going to go into as much detail on some of the other characters, but Rya? Wonderful character. The most adorable meek gal with a cruel fate kept from her. Iron Fist Alexander? The most stalwart warrior hoping to prove himself and hearty friend! But he can't measure up in the end. Sorcerer Rogier? Lovely magical fellow. But his body fails him before he can achieve his goals.
And then there's some of our favorite character from other FromSoftware games. Siegmeyer of Catarina? Lucatiel of Mirrah? Ostravia of Boletaria? Solaire of Astora? (okay, yes, I know Solaire can be saved, but his bad end is pretty bad!) Many of our favorite characters throughout FromSoftware Soulsborne meet their fates in dastardly unfortunate ways despite their best efforts and interests. Miyazaki sure does love giving us a cool character and then doing bad things to them. I think one of the very few characters that manages to be cool, have a good story, and lead a good end is Eileen the Crow, and that's with substantial help from you, the player.
You know who the unsung heroes of this situation are? The community. The fans. And especially the artists. They give these characters life and meaning beyond their tragic fates and immortalize them beyond Miyazaki's ploys to end them terribly! For heckin' sake, just look at this fanart of little Rya and Tanith's Crucible Knight. Just look at it, I say!
There's a good chance I'm just plain salty in the moment. Blaidd was my bro. He was my man-wolf in arms. He helped me in a glorious battle against Radahn. I was quite mad to see how it came out in the end. You did your best, Blaidd. Rest easy. And shame on you, Miyazaki and FromSoftware. Stop killing off my favorite folks