Giant Blacksmith

As we make our infiltration of Anor Londo, we come across the giant blacksmith in the royal smithy, dead. The fact that his corpse lays atop Aldrich’s corruption indicates that he was killed in the Deep adherents’ recent raid. However, the threat to his life seems to have been longstanding, as Andre fully expected to hear as much. And yet, the death in question was caused by events which the blacksmith of Firelink Shrine certainly can’t already know about. Rather, this implies that his concern for the giant’s safety stems from older circumstances, namely when Sulyvahn took power just before the Undead fled Irithyll. Evidently, his fears were mostly unwarranted. The blacksmith is the only giant slave not to be subjected to the same barbaric treatment, presumably due to his unique talents. His resting place, with a wooden hammer in one hand and a lightning-imbued smithing flame in the other, proves that his work continued as usual. Forging divine equipment was, naturally, too valuable to risk hampering with physical abuse.

But this doesn’t mean that the new Pontiff simply trusted the blacksmith to remain loyal. Why was a giant slave made Irithyll Dungeon’s first prisoner? This detail is especially odd when he has already received the same cruel treatment as the others. Perhaps even then he remained a rebellious worker. Hidden in the far corner of a chamber leading out of the giant’s cell sits a mimic containing Dragonslayer Lightning Arrows. This room is part of a route to the upper level where the jailers monitor said giant. So then, why have large iron spears for sniping dragons along the way? Most likely, they were confiscated from the oversized prisoner and swiftly tucked away nearby in a security chest, reaffirming his aggressive defiance even in confinement — in case his response to us disturbing his sleep wasn’t a clue. Curiously, these spears, as well as the lightning bolts possessed by a human corpse in the cell — apparently too small for the jailers to have noticed before — connect this giant to the blacksmith who made them.

On that note, there is another mimic preceding the giant’s cell block, this one securing an Estus Shard. Unlike the lightning arrows, this poses no threat, so the added security only conveys Sulyvahn’s value for the item, for future study. The shard was thus one more belonging confiscated from the prisoner in all likelihood. And what do you know? The only other shard acquired from a chest is in the cathedral, an ordinary chest on the side closest to the royal smithy. Perhaps the church’s latest visitors stuffed the fragment infused with the bonfire’s warmth away absent a mimic on hand, or perhaps Sulyvahn and his cronies felt the location accessible only from Irithyll’s cathedral was security enough. Regardless, their presence implies that Estus Flasks were being brought there and either broken or potentially worked upon. Indeed, who else would be in charge of making, repairing, and enhancing the local Undeads’ treasures except the giant handling all other smithing for the gods? Andre certainly must have received his new know-how with Estus Flasks from somewhere.

True enough, the Undead blacksmith showcases various skills he previously lacked during the events of the original Dark Souls. (DS1) His knowledge of infusing gems into weapons via smithing flames is already novel, a trick the old dog would have picked up living in a region inheriting its smithing culture from the New World. But what flames he is able to use now is far broader compared to his time in the Old World. Andre notes the Sage’s Coal to be the first he has seen of a magic smithing flame, yet still he accepts it with confidence; the same man wouldn’t even bother to try working such a flame in DS1. But this can be credited to his new ability to work an even more difficult flame, the lighting-imbued fire only ever handled by the giant blacksmith previously. In fact, the only major difference between Andre now and Andre back then is that he just so happened to become well acquainted with that incredibly talented giant in the interim. And where would an Undead smith in Irithyll continue cultivating his craft besides at the royal smithy where all such smithing is occurring?

Put simply, the giant prisoner and Andre were both working under Anor Londo’s blacksmith before Sulyvahn’s coup. Recall that the giant was a kind but lonely soul in DS1, valuing any form of companionship no matter how brief it lasted. So if others came asking to learn from him, he would doubtless welcome their stay for a lifetime. Andre likely knew him for longer, but the giant took on an eager apprentice of his own race probably to be his successor; the former could always hollow, and the aging blacksmith needed to start thinking ahead. Even so, both learned everything they needed to know as Irithyllian smiths from lightning infusion to flask reinforcement, and Andre’s wistful melancholy over the master’s death shows their rapport.

But then they too felt the pressure of the Pontiff’s crackdown, Andre soon fleeing for Lothric while the slaves remained behind. Assuming that this wasn’t simply cowardice fearing for his life, the man might have hoped to alert their neighbor of what was transpiring and let another state power handle the situation; if nothing else, the government did listen considering the Undead was later made the shrine blacksmith. He didn’t witness his sibling disciple get imprisoned while their mentor was kept working. Like Gwyndolin and Yorshka’s situation, keeping the recalcitrant apprentice alive was likely conditioned on the master’s continued cooperation with the regime — and we know how important his friends are. This way, Sulyvahn could immediately secure control over military production and prevent a potential variable for the nearby Allfather to exploit. The vital import of this monopoly of arms is why a giant slave was made his dungeon’s first prisoner and why the giant blacksmith was left untouched. And with Lothric ultimately not intervening, that was how it would remain.

Nevertheless, none could foresee the machination of Aldrich, and the giant blacksmith lost his life before we could reconnect him with Andre and potentially the giant prisoner. Andre himself presses on with facilitating our mission even knowing his old friend’s fate. Helping preserve the Age of Fire is the one thing both longtime servants of the gods would agree takes precedence over their lives. Even as circumstances look so dire, he maintains hope that the beautiful world we know won’t be wholly consumed by the Dark — for this once ordinary blacksmith of Astora, that future is a current worth fighting against. Although mourning the giant’s passing, he considers the best memorial service he could provide to be forging amazing weapons with that lightning flame. On his honor, he won’t let his friend’s legacy go to waste.

Oh, is this… the source flame of that giant? How nostalgic. Just as I expected, he’ll live no longer… It’s sad, he was a good guy… Thank you. His source flame can’t go to waste. I’ll be sure to forge amazing weapons. For him, that would be the best tribute.