Spoiler Warning: The answer to this question is a major spoiler for a significant portion of the story!
The overarching story of Bloodborne is a complex and horrifying mystery that may take the average gamer several playthroughs in order to uncover all of it. From the Hunter’s Dream to the Nightmare of Mensis and beyond, every item description and NPC conversation is important to discovering the truth and gaining “insight” into this unique world From Software has created.
That being said, even if you do stop to read every clue and speak to every character you find, the story can still be quite confusing and it may lead to a few “head-scratching” moments.
No moment in the game may be more unnerving or unsettling as the seemingly random baby cries one may hear after defeating Rom in Byrgenwerth and initiating the Blood Moon phase of the game.
Where is the baby that I am hearing? Whose baby is it? Is there any importance to it? Is it all just in my head? These are some of the commonly asked questions that, even after the credits roll, many do not have the answers to. Let’s see if we can’t give you some of those answers.
If you have already finished the game and feel that you have a good grasp on the basic story, skip down to the section on the Great Ones to start.
A Quick Summary Of Bloodborne.
First of all, you need to understand that the main theme of Bloodborne is unsurprisingly blood. Not just any blood however, but an Old Blood that was discovered in the Pthumerian Tombs (known as the Chalice Dungeons to the player), located deep below the surface of Yharnam.
Two scholars from a school known as Byrgenwerth, William and Laurence, argued over how the blood should be used. Lawrence wished to exploit its properties as a way to ascend the human race into Great Ones (beings who live in a higher plane of infinite wisdom). William feared the Old Blood too greatly to use it and Laurence left Byrgenwerth as a result.
Laurence then began the Healing Church in the Cathedral Ward of Yharnam, using the Old Blood to miraculously heal the citizens of the city of any disease or ailment thus growing the power of his church. Unbeknownst to him the Old Blood he was using was turning the people of Yharnam into beasts.
He then created three additional groups within the church, each with a specific purpose. The Choir was created to continue research of the Old Blood, the School of Mensis was made to find a way to communicate with the Great Ones, and the Workshop was created to recruit hunters to hunt the beasts their folly had made.
Gehrman, the leader of the first group of hunters then discovered the terrible truth that Laurence had been purposefully getting the citizens of Old Yharnam sick with a disease called “Ashen Blood” so they would use his cure more. He decides to burn Old Yharnam to the ground in an effort to eradicate the beasts but it was too late, and the hunters were disbanded in defeat.
Laurence would later re-institute the hunters with a man named Ludwig as the new leader. When you finally do meet Ludwig in the DLC, you will quickly wish that you had never made his acquaintance.
This is where the story of Bloodborne officially begins for the player as they are volunteering as a hunter for the Healing Church, but then they are suddenly whisked away to a place called the Hunter’s Dream. It is discovered in the end that this is not Gehrman’s dream as I thought for most of the game, but rather the nightmare of a Great One called the Moon Presence.
The Moon Presence has used you as a pawn through Gehrman to locate and kill another Great One named Mergo because she was created in what was considered an unholy way.
The Great Ones.
There are a number of Great Ones for the player to either meet in various ways or read about in Bloodborne. Here is a list of all the known Great Ones in the game, as well as where to discover them for yourself.
- Amygdala- Nightmare Frontier
- Celestial Emissary- Upper Cathedral Ward
- Ebrietas, Daughter of the Cosmos- Altair of Despair
- Mergo’s Wet Nurse- Nightmare of Mensis
- Mergo- Nightmare of Mensis
- Moon Presence- Hunter’s Dream
- Rom, the Vacuous Spider- Moonside Lake
Many believe that the Moon Presence’s secret quest to kill Mergo was because he wants to kill all other Great Ones and stand supreme as the only ascended being. I actually believe it is because Mergo was not made by defeating a Great One with the power of Insight, but rather through a secret physical relationship between an ancient Great One named Oedon and a Pthumerian Queen named Yharnam (for which the city is named).
After the Pthumerians realized what their queen had done, they ripped the baby from her, killing her in the process. It is the trapped spirit of Mergo within the Nightmare of Mensis that you hear after defeating Rom (Rom was upholding a barrier to the nightmare), and it will only grow louder and more frequent as you approach her on your mission.
If you happen to also have sixty Insight at any given time you will also then be able to hear Mergo’s cries, but you will not be able to enter the nightmare until defeating Rom at Moonside Lake.
The Moon Presence made Gehrman his ambassador and had him recruit countless hunters to reach the Nightmare of Mensis and silence the unholy child Mergo’s wailing. Upon reaching the Nightmare and defeating the boss known as Mergo’s Wet Nurse, Mergo is left helpless and dies in her crib at the center of the arena, confirmed by the slowly fading cries and the words “Nightmare Slain” appearing.
As you return down the stairs you took to reach the boss, the spirit of Yharnam will bow towards you as a sign of thanks and disappear.
Now you can move on to make one of three choices to choose how the story ends: allow Gehrman to kill you in the Hunter’s Dream causing you to awaken and forget what you have done, defeat Gehrman and accept the Moon Presences calling to become the new guardian of the Hunter’s Dream, or eat three of the “one-third umbilical cords” and defeat the Moon Presence, becoming the first human to be truly ascended to the status of a Great One.
There are many theories surrounding what role and abilities the child known as Mergo has in Bloodborne, but allow me to give mine based on item descriptions as well as explanations from other players. I personally believe that Mergo is responsible for the Nightmare of Mensis and is the reason Micolash, the head of the School of Mensis, went insane.
The name Mergo in Latin means “immerse; plunge into water; overwhelm, cover, bury, drown”, which knowing the way Miyazaki thinks when making these games, definitely has a reason. I think that Mergo because of her half- Great One and half- Pthumerian Heritage, is caught between planes of existence and the entire reason for the Nightmare Plane to exist.
Mikolash was searching for a way to contact Kos, another ancient Great One that is not shown until the DLC. I believe he accidentally found his way into the nightmare and could not find his way out, which is why his boss encounter is a gimmick one requiring you to navigate a maze in pursuit of him.
It has been four years and some change since the release of Bloodborne, and there are still many mysteries being solved all the time from overly observant players. It is a wonderful game to get in to and try to wrap your head around because there are surprise connections and discoveries happening all the time.
Some things are really even meant to be left up to the player to decide. For instance, why do the Winter Lanterns in the nightmare wear the same clothing as the doll found in the Hunter’s Dream? Is it because the doll was actually once alive in some capacity and played a part in their creation or their appearance? Or is it because the developers got a little lazy and reused some assets hoping that no one would notice? Figure it out for yourself.
All in all Bloodborne is a masterpiece that in my opinion rivals the quality of any of the other titles that From Software has made. It has just enough of the Dark Souls formula to feel rooted in what they had done right in the past and just enough fresh, new content to help it stand on its own as a true work of art.
If you love a game that slowly unfolds in an increasingly well-thought out manner and don’t mind a little challenge thrown in, then Bloodborne is a game that you cannot afford to miss out on!