“It is a mistake to fancy that horror is associated inextricably with darkness, silence, and solitude.”
H. P. Lovecraft
Bloodborne draws heavily from the themes and characters of H.P. Lovecraft in its setting. Replaying the game, I had a completely new experience, different from before. Why? Because at this point, I was familiar with a significant amount of works by the recluse from Providence.
Reimmersing myself in the world of Bloodborne, now armed with the knowledge (so coveted in this story) of the construction of the world created by Lovecraft, resulted in a new discovery that I will share with you today.
What do the streets of Yharnam hide?
As you wander through the city shrouded in the darkness of the night and plagued by disease, you may come across its inhabitants. Some of them, perhaps luckier or wiser, have locked themselves in their homes. One such individual is the subject of this article, Arianna.
You can encounter her while strolling through the Cathedral Ward. When you knock on the appropriate door, you’ll hear a woman’s voice. From the words she utters, you can gather that she is a lady of companionship, a woman of the night, as she is referred to in the game.
“Oh, my, what a queer scent… But I’d take it over the stench of blood and beasts any day. What is it, then? I’m off during hunts, so if that’s what you’re here for, I’ll leave you to your own devices. If that doesn’t do it, come back in the morning, darling.”
During the course of the night, you can return to Arianna. She is no longer as busy, and by slaying more beasts, you make it clear that you are a hunter. She then asks for your help in finding a safe place where she can patiently wait until dawn. If you choose the chapel, you will meet again.
“Oh, thank goodness. You’re a hunter, right? Might you know of a safe place? The night is long and I’ve very little of the incense left… Please, there must be some nice place to run off to?”
Why choose the chapel? In theory, we have two safe options. However, it’s worth noting that Arianna mentions incense. Its intense fragrance repels the beasts roaming the streets. As we have observed earlier, it is the chapel that is surrounded by numerous incense, making it a safer place for the residents of Yharnam during the night of the hunt. That’s why we should guide Arianna there… for her own good.
Asylum in a Nightmare
As we continue to explore the world and get to know more characters who are trying not only to survive but also to fulfill their destinies or simply exist, we begin to notice further dangers and threads of a sad yet fascinating story.
Our acquaintance with Arianna continues.
When we first have the opportunity to see the lady in all her splendor, she is already in the chapel. For our kindness and willingness to help, she expresses her gratitude and offers the only thing she has, the only thing that is valued in this world – blood.
“Oh, hello dear. You weren’t lying, this is a safe place. Thank you. I am in your debt.
I’d like to tender my thanks, but I haven’t much to offer…all I can give is my blood. But would you even take a whore’s blood?”
The story is approaching its conclusion.
During her stay in the chapel, if no harm has befallen our Arianna, she will begin to sense the presence of the Great Ones. Specifically, one of them. Seeking this presence, she will descend to a lower level, heading towards the Tomb of Oedon, the entity to which this chapel is dedicated.
Neither we nor the lady herself know that this is the beginning of her greatest horror.
The contact of humans with something indescribable and unknown doesn’t necessarily have to be malevolent. In Lovecraft’s works, people often worshiped enigmatic entities, paid them homage, and even sought transcendence with them. In Bloodborne itself, despite its horror aesthetics, which might suggest that contact with the unknown would be detrimental, it presents an ambivalent assessment of such situations.
We have characters like the hunters, including the protagonist, who fight everything inhuman. However, there are scholars who, in contact with the Great Ones, see the possibility of evolution for the human species. What about our heroine?
For Arianna, the ending of her story was undeniably horrific.
The ending is what stuck in my memory the most. We have a scene where we see the lady to whom we offered help, and she repaid us. During that one dreadful night, we could show a bit of ordinary kindness, and someone showed it to us in return. Arianna sits alone under the chapel, and beneath her feet in the water crawls a creature. It resembles a snail the most in shape, but with visible front limbs and a disproportionately large head.
I mentioned at the beginning that I returned to the game after reading Lovecraft’s works. Among his stories, there is one often considered one of the most iconic: ‘The Dunwich Horror’. I bring it up for a reason. Although I didn’t particularly enjoy the story itself, I find its ending to be quite skillfully written. The whole thing concludes with the sentence:
“It was his twin brother, but it looked more like the father than he did.”
We have an equivalent in the ending of the story involving Arianna. In the ending of her story. The Great Ones, those mysterious entities presented in the world of Bloodborne, have a need for offspring. Unfortunately, they cannot produce it among themselves and are forced to crossbreed with humans. What crawls in the water beneath Arianna’s feet is her child… but it looks more like its father.