An ode to Dark Souls’ mushroom lads

Deep in the Darkroot Forest, powering a door unlocked with the crest of a legendary knight, anything life among the trees which is fairly in contrast to everything else in this mournful, sombre earth. Kids dash amongst the trees beneath the watchful gaze of their dad and mom. There is life below. Not a facsimile, shadow, or twisted mockery of it, but existence. Large, residing mushrooms.

While lacking the white spots of the legendary fly agaric, the picture of crimson-capped mushrooms in an enchanted forest quickly conjures western fairy tales – although Dim Souls’ use of Nordic mythology could possibly also set us in thoughts of the fungi imbibed by viking berserkers ahead of battle, in particular considering the fact that these mushrooms pack a belter of a ideal hook. Either way, these odd creatures appear to make sense here a surprisingly harmonious section of Dark Souls’ entire world.

A temporary mushroom-splainer (fungi-ntroduction?): The function of fungi in a forest’s ecosystem is to crack down organic subject and return it to the soil. A forest devoid of mushrooms is a forest with no lifestyle. Just one of Dark Souls’ central factors of conflict is the Undead Curse, a malady that forces mortal beings to stagnate, severing them from the meant cycle. Are the living mushrooms, then, the several remaining guardians of this pure harmony that the curse has stripped from a great deal of Lordran? They are, at least, a reminder that this sort of a thing can still exist.

This lightness of objective is paired with a lightness of tone. Animism is all over the place in Dark Souls – even some of the treasure chests are sentient – but the mushrooms alone have these kinds of a whimsical, Ghibli-esque incarnation of it. Their rounded plumpness, their tendency to topple above, in contrast to the piercing branches of the area’s other floric foe, the demonic foliage.

A mushroom family in Dark Souls

Demonic foliage, in actuality, will actively attack the Picked Undead, lying in ambush and striking from afar. The Mushroom little ones are a single of the couple of non-hostile creatures in the match, and their dad and mom only assault when you get way too shut. Their job is guardianship, not aggression.

They are like punchy, protein-rich Loraxes

I assume a whole lot about the difference, in worldbuilding, amongst tonal inconsistencies and the sort of seeming aberrations that really conclusion up contributing to verisimilitude. Or, to be additional concrete about it, how something like Princess Mononoke’s Kodama are an vital portion of a largely darkish tale, since their adorable oddness gives the contrast that would make us enjoy the abnormality and peril of the world’s recent point out.

I like to feel of the living mushrooms as anything akin to Mononoke’s Kodama, a additional grounded choose on forest spirits, observed via the lens of a western fairy tale custom with one particular foot in the mundane. Stalwart survivalists in a forest of vengeful spirits, possessed branches, and feral cats. Messengers for the trees, like punchy, protein-wealthy Loraxes.

Dark Souls' mushroom lad throwing a right hook

When the Decided on Undead 1st falls to Firelink Shrine, introduced by the talons of a huge crow, it’s as a potential fulfiller of prophecy. That prophecy, we’ll later master, is a ruse. A tale seeded among the the residing by a vain lord yearning for kindling sturdy more than enough to continue to keep his legacy burning very well previous its natural span. In the same way, substantially of the magic we come across in Lordran is a fabrication. Miracles are the illusions of gods possessed of Olympian pettiness and fallibility. Sorcery is a manmade conceit.

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But there is enchantment in Lordran, shuffling all-around the Darkroot Yard or inside of the Fantastic Hollow tree. Nurturing their possess offspring in hope for the long term. Indications of the character with which the land once bloomed. A very small spark of fairy-tale whimsy, like the shimmer of a far-off bonfire, beckoning us by way of the dim.

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