Dark Souls 3: What ending is Canon?

dark souls 3, much like its predecessors, has multiple endings at the end of Ashen One’s journey. However, in the case of Dark Souls 3, one of the endings can change the cycle of rekindling the first flame and the dark ages, but it takes a lot of time and effort to do so.

RELATED: Dark Souls 2: Every Ending Explained

But, even with the ability to change the course of history in Dark Souls 3, what does it all mean? Which ending is canonical, and is it really the series ending we all know and love? For some of these questions, there is a clear answer. Others require a much more complicated answer, which is always expected with Dark Souls.


The First Flame Oven in Dark Souls 3

As we learn quite early in Dark Souls 3, many generations have passed since the events of Dark Souls 1 and 2 and have seen many people step in and sacrifice themselves to the First Flame to keep the Age of Fire alive. . They are known as the Lords of Cinder and pledge to bind the First Flame before it is extinguished, ensuring that the Age of Fire never dies. Or so they thought.

Prince Lothric was the next to sacrifice himself to the First Flame and the last hope of his line. However, instead of rekindling the Flame, he decided to watch it die down from a distance with his brother. Prince Lothric’s decision would put the entire kingdom of Lothric in grave danger, ringing the bell that raises the former lords of Cinder from their graves in a last ditch effort to bind the flame together.

Even with the former Lords of Cinder returning from their graves, the plane continues to head south as they abandon their thrones and decide to let the first flame fade, wanting the Age of Darkness to begin. As a result, the Unkindled would rise, which is where your journey begins in Dark Souls 3. It’s up to you, Ashen One, to take down the previous Lords of Cinder and return them to their thrones to maintain the age fire. .

Transcript of Dark Souls 3 intro cinematic:

Yes indeed. It is called Lothric, where the transitional lands of the Ashen Lords converge. As they venture north, pilgrims discover the truth of the ancient words. “The fire goes out and the lords go without thrones.” When the fire bond is threatened, the bell rings, unearthing the former lords of Cinder from their graves. Aldrich, Saint of the Deep. Farron’s Undead Legion, the Watchers of the Abyss. And the reclusive lord of the Profaned Capital, Yhorm the Giant. Only, in truth… The Lords will forsake their thrones. And the Unkinded will rise. Nameless undead, cursed, even unfit to be ash. And that’s how. This ash is looking for embers.

Dark Souls 3’s first ending follows the “intended” path of the Ashen One, who is the last possible hope to link the First Flame and save the Kingdom of Lothric. After killing Aldrich, the Watchers of the Abyss, Yhorm the Giant, Prince Lothric and his older brother Prince Lorian, you return their ashes to their thrones, thus gaining access to the Furnace of the First Flame. Here you will fight the Soul of Ashen, which is the manifestation of every Ashen Lord who has pledged his life to rekindle the Flame.

After defeating the Soul of Ashes, you will sacrifice yourself to the First Flame to prolong the Age of Fire. Unlike previous entries, looking around the oven of the first flame and the general state of the outside world may indicate that this is the worst outcome and the worst decision you can make. So maybe looking into the other methods might be better for the world as a whole?

The end of the fire

The Dark Firelink Sanctuary in Savage Tombs in Dark Souls 3

Rather than binding the First Flame as expected from the Ashen One, you can choose to let it fade after battling to the First Flame Furnace. However, you must have visited the Untended Graves version of the Firelink Shrine to obtain the Eyes of the Fire Keeper. Giving the Fire Keeper the Eyes and summoning him after killing the Soul of Ashes will cause the End of Fire to end.

Although if the Firelink Shrine found in the Untended Tombs is anything to go by, going that route seems just as disastrous as linking the First Flame. Here we encounter another version of Gundyr, which has the prefix “Champion” rather than “Iudex“, which apparently implies that he was summoned into this timeline as Ashen One but arrived far too late, long after the first flame was gone. The description of the armor and soul from champion Gundyr seems to indicate that it is:

Gundyr Armor: Gundyr, or the late champion, has been defeated by an unknown warrior. It then became the scabbard of a coiled sword in hopes that one day the First Flame would be bound again.

Soul of the Gundyr Champion: Once, a champion arrived late to the festivities and was greeted by a shrine with no fire and a bell that did not ring.

However, if it’s still better for you than keeping the Age of Fire alive, you’ll need to return to the First Flame Furnace. In this ending, the Firekeeper helps you usher in the Age of Darkness by absorbing the First Flame into its bosom, which is plagued by dark humanity. Although, in the final moments, the Firekeeper leaves us with a rather sacred statement from the Dark Ages, letting us know that our efforts just don’t matter, yet again:

The First Flame is fading quickly. Darkness will soon set in. But one day, tiny flames will dance in the darkness. Like embers, bound by past lords.

The Firekeeper’s last words seem to imply, much like Straid of Olaphis in Dark Souls 2, that whatever we do, the cycle will continue. Essentially, these cycles will continue to occur with no end in sight, whether you rekindle the First Flame or let it fade. If you choose to usher in the Age of Darkness, the First Flame will rise from the ashes, while reconnecting it will only prolong it before someone else ushers in the new era.

End without flame

The Fire Keeper in Dark Souls 3

Additionally, the player can unlock an additional secret ending by giving the Firekeeper the eyes found in Unguarded Tombs. In this ending, the playable character’s bloodlust takes over and they will do whatever it takes to feel the heat of the First Flame. Instead of letting the Firekeeper absorb the First Flame into his bosom, the playable character kills it, taking the Flame for himself.

This ending doesn’t change anything in the grand scheme of things, because the First Flame will fade, or someone will come and rekindle it. Although this is technically a separate ending to “End of Fire”, it is considered an alternate ending and follows the same logic and story beats as the above entry. The only difference is that Ashen One in this tale is out of control and wants to kill everything in sight. Although with the acts you commit in the final ending, that ending could be considered tame.

The usurpation of fire

What a beautiful marriage in Dark Souls 3

Dark Souls 3’s final ending is the most interesting and the one with the most promise…despite you doing some pretty egregious acts to get there. In this ending, you decide to align yourself with the Sand Church of Londor. This group is led by a familiar face from early Dark Souls, the Primordial Serpent, Darkstalker Kaathe, who becomes evident upon hearing the last words of his young daughter Yuria of Londor:

Kaathe, I disappointed you…

When you first jump down the long path to this end, you’ll save the Pilgrim, Yoel of Londor, and ask him to give you the Dark Sigil letting him draw your true strength, resembling the Mark of the Dead. – alive (or Darksign) from the original game. After becoming Hollow, you’ll marry Anri of Astora (that’s, of course, after murdering her friend Horace in Lake Smoldering), with a wedding ceremony performed with the help of Yuria. Except, in this case, marrying Anri is more of a sacrificial ritual, where you plunge a blade into her face to absorb her Dark Sigil. But, you know, semantics and all that.

Although it may seem that your actions are simply evil, they serve a purpose. To embody the Usurper of the First Flame, you must perform these heinous acts, which will potentially allow you to break the cycle once and for all. That’s if you’re willing to believe Darkstalker Kaathe, which can be a hit or miss in all honesty. However, by the time Dark Souls 3 takes place, Kaathe realizes that ushering in the Age of Darkness is simply not enough to end the cycle and more needs to be done if it is to become a possibility. . Enter the final.

In this ending, the Ashen One – now Lord of Hollows, approaches the First Flame and begins to burn, then the Flame is just as quickly absorbed by the Dark Sigil. Although the first flame does not reignite, it does not fade either. He is usurped, stolen by the Lord of the Hollows, imbuing him with their being. This makes Unkindled, Kindled and Hollows the new “gods”, so to speak.

Unlike the other endings, this one is the most promising of the bunch and has the happiest future. Well, as happy as it gets in the world of Dark Souls. This ending involves Hollows remaining sane while the cycle is broken. But is this the canonical end?

What end is Canon?

The usurpation of fire ending in Dark Souls 3 (credit to user619 on Deviant Art)

When we finally get a “good ending” in Dark Souls, we desperately want to consider it the canonical ending and end all discussion about it. However, like every other installment in the series, it wouldn’t be a Souls title if it were that simple, would it?

Just like Dark Souls 1, there is no true “canon ending” in Dark Souls 3. And, much like the original Dark Souls title, it can feel like another escape. However, unlike its predecessors, one of its endings is greener pastures and hope and finally ends the vicious cycle of the First Flame and the Dark Ages.

The true canonical ending is whichever you choose in Dark Souls 3, which might sound corny, but stick with us here. Do you want the Age of Fire to reign supreme? So carry on. You have that choice. Want to usher in the Age of Darkness? Have it. Just know that it will eventually end. However, if you want to end it all and completely break the cycle, steal the First Flame and usher in a new era – one where the Hollows regain their sanity and rule the lands like gods.

However, from a point of view, since Hidetaka Miyazaki confirmed that this is the last episode of the series, breaking the cycle feels to the right. It feels like the perfect end to the endless cycle of desperation created by the First Flame and the Dark Ages that tried to overtake it. While it’s not the “canon ending”, it’s definitely the best.

NEXT: Dark Souls: The Stealth Pygmy, Explained

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