Yes, I promised a write-up on the Navlaan/Felkin/Aldia
lovescience triangle. I can assure you that it’s on the way. First, however, I’d like to discuss a topic that requires a little less research — for the sake of keeping the blog active.
It’s going to be a hard sell, but…[Here silver-impaler writes an excellent response that is far too long to include in full. For the sake of neatness, a link: http://silver-impaler.tumblr.com/post/94975606298/why-maiden-astraea-is-evil]
Here is soulsmusings response to my response (which is a big text that we will hide here for convenience)
Very well, the first thing I want to say is that I didn’t take you as being ignorant to Demon’s Souls story, quite the opposite in fact. I just disagreed with the way you interpreted some points in the story. Sorry if it sounded like something else.
“However, we don’t know whether the “fog” mentioned is specific to the Valley; it could be the outer fog that encapsulates the entire region. I’d argue that that is the case — since so many people who entered through the Fissure are spoken of in similar terms. “Never seen,” “never heard from again,” etc.”
This really doesn’t make a difference at all. It would simply mean that misery was amplified on every corner of the world: On the Boletarian Palace, that was once not really a bad place to be at; and at the Valley, a place that was putrid way before the Old One awoke again.
"But even if the Valley’s demons were not the product of Astraea’s influence — which, I concede, they may not have — it’s evident that they were subordinate to her, and served as an extension of her will/influence. Why is there a fly-ridden demon? The plague, which brings flies. Why is the plague so potent here? Astraea, who sits in the most potent plague swamp in the game.”
Is it truly evident that the Valley’s demons (as in, the Leechmonger and the Dirty Colossus and not the inhabitants of the Valley per se) were subordinate to Astraea? I think they were only subordinated to the Old One itself. I can’t really back up this with evidence, because the game gives us none about it. I just get the feeling that the demons were acting in service of the Old One only. It is clear, however, that the inhabitants could still not worship Astraea (the Filthy Woman didn’t), so this could infer that they had their own free will (I’m not saying that you pictured them as mindless zombies controlled by Astraea, but I’d like to put this here).
The plague from which the “fly-ridden demon” sprouted from was evidently already on the Valley before Astraea came (I have backed this up in my previous post hehe). Hence, it could have very little to do with Astraea.
“Taken as an isolated character, the Filthy Woman doesn’t offer much, I agree. If your only detractor is a crazy, envious herb peddler, it speaks more to your potential virtues than any true sins. However, the Filthy Woman isn’t Astraea’s only detractor.
The game makes of point of creating a certain impression: There are rumors about Astraea, floating everywhere. The individuals who spread these rumors aren’t very credible in themselves — Saint Urbain is a narrow-minded zealot, his follower is a hypocrite, etc. — but the sheer number of them (seen and unseen) speaks to some truth in what they say.
Moreover, we must consider the Filthy Woman’s son. True, he was cut from the game — but his mother’s dialogue was written under the assumption that the player would see him. I don’t have an image on hand, but he’s an emaciated little thing, awful to look at. He is the product of the Valley’s current state — and when his mother swears that Astraea is the cause of it all, it’s meant to give us pause.
"Maybe she is telling the truth, beneath it all?" That’s what we’re supposed to feel — or at the very least, that’s what I felt when I met her for the second time. As Selen Vinland says, the Filthy Woman ultimately has "no reason to lie." Would a starving, miserable person seek a probable scapegoat? Yes. Would she do it out of mere jealousy? No; her son is dying."
I understand your point here: the game wants us the really question whether or not the rumors are true (or if they are only partially true, depending on how you look at it). There’s no arguing here: I agree that this is the impression we are supposed to get from the game the first time we hear about Astraea.
The Depraved Ones are immune to poison and plague, use poison-tipped weapons, cast poison spells, and thrive in a rotten shantytown where all of the normal humans (save the Filthy Woman) have died — presumably of disease. Are we looking at the same place? Filth is in these creatures’ blood!”
I don’t see how this comes as contrary to my previous points. This could only mean that some people adapted to the place’s hostile environment and some people did not. We can’t really assume that those who survived there were under some demonic influence that allowed them to live despite the plague. The Valley was filthy before the demons came, and people lived there just as they did after the demons came.
“Again, allow me to observe: Upon entering the 5-3 boss room, we see a cliff side covered in worshiping Depraved Ones. Astraea says that “this place is a sanctuary for the lost and wretched,” and the Archstone description states that the Valley’s inhabitants offer their souls there.
Astraea has a Demon Soul; she is clutching it in her hands. Sage Freke says that “a Demon Soul is no mere amalgamation of lesser souls,” but this very remark implies that on some level, this is true. Minus the special “demon-ness” that makes it a Demon Soul, Astraea’s Demon Soul is comprised of many lesser souls.
Where might she find these souls, if not from the Valley’s tortured residents — as stated by the Archstone? Ergo, she chose to accept these souls. She allowed a Demon Soul to form from them.
Garl Vinland isn’t standing at the cave mouth, shooing the worshipers away.”
This does not disprove my previous points: she wasn’t commanding anyone to give her anything. She was not “the owner” of the Valley: she could not tell people to get out of the Valley. She isn’t to blame if people lived on that plague-ridden place before she even got there. Therefore, she didn’t “allow her worshipers to live among the disease”. They simply did, regardless of her.
The rest of this paragraph actually relates to the part I agreed with you: she was providing souls to the Old One. Souls that were offered to her by her worshipers by their own free will. She is indeed accepting their Souls, she did chose to do so. But that could probably be the only means of her to sustain her healing powers (the more souls she has, the power powerful she is = the more powerful are her healing spells = people live better. Thing is, the souls also give power to the Old One, allowing it to keep the entire world at misery, so she failed to see the hole in her logic). She is guilty of being ignorant, not evil.
"Furthermore, the lady is sitting on a mound of golden coins, chalices, jewelry, etc. I highly doubt that she brought it all herself. This gold is an offering from the Valley folk, and she sits on it without objecting…"
Interesting point. I say she didn’t have any use for the gold on that Valley. Her worshipers probably didn’t have any use for it too (they can’t buy medicine and cure themselves anyway), hence, they decided to give it to Astraea. She was probably trying to be polite by accepting their gifts. Or the denizens of the Valley simply couldn’t accept a “No! I will NOT accept your money! I’m doing my job!”. If a doctor saved my life, I would buy him a beer and wouldn’t let him deny my thanking.
"it’s safe to assume that before the Old One’s second awakening, new people were constantly entering the Valley.”
Hmm, kinda difficult to just assume that. If this is true, there is nothing saying that new people were not constantly entering the Valley even after the Old One’s awakening aswell.
“ How could these people — arguably the bulk of the Valley’s population — develop an immunity to the disease? That requires generations of living there.”
Who knows, perhaps From Software didn’t take that into account? Still, people lived on the Valley before the demons (as you and I have agreed on) and it was already a plaguefest before that (as the game says). Why would people simply stop being able to survive on the Valley because of diseases? That would only be the case if the diseases became deadlier. But then there’s the game telling us that Astraea came there and eased their suffering. Hence, living there became a little easier (if we do not take into account that there is a giant leech-monster and a filthy-colossus-demon-creature ready to kill everyone on sight there now)
“And if the Filthy Woman clone is a longtime resident of the Valley — as one would expect, given the Filthy Woman’s dialogue — why is she lying dead,presumably of poison/plague/etc.? Evidently, she didn’t have sufficient immunity. The only way that this can be true is if some of these diseases are a new development.”
Perhaps she simply died out of something else. Perhaps she didn’t have money to buy medicine (as the Filthy Woman did, since she used her son to get more money). Or perhaps she didn’t have such a good immunity system as the Filthy Woman did. People have different tolerances to disease.
“You’ve mentioned this action of “taking” the disease several times, and I can’t say that I know of any textual evidence for it. We know that the Valley’s inhabitants ended their misery by offering their souls to Astraea. We know that Astraea “relieved their suffering” and “showed them compassion.”
And that’s … about all. Nothing is stated so explicitly as, say, the Fair Lady’s treatment of Eingyi & Friends.
As for the lives that Astraea and Garl took, I didn’t mean to imply actual, real-time murders. It’s heavily implied, if not stated outright, that they are responsible for the spread and potency of the plague. The only people who benefit from this are the Depraved Ones, who are no longer human. The Filthy Woman’s son, the knights and clerics, the countless nameless dead…
They’re all worse — dead — thanks to the plague, because they don’t have any affinity for it. The Depraved Ones do have affinity for it, because of the demonic activity that allowed such filthy goblinoids to exist.. Who is the most powerful contributor to said demonic activity? Astraea. She indirectly killed everyone who wasn’t posed to benefit from her good-intentioned “help.””
I already mentioned above that I disagree that she was responsible for spreading the disease (even the fact the the disease is indeed spreading is not 100% confirmed). I feel really stupid for not seeing this “heavy implicitness” that the disease was being spread by Astraea. If you could name some things that could prove that, (things which you have not presented here already) I’d be grateful. Really, I just don’t agree here.
“True, she meant only to help. Your second point, however, is projecting thoughts and emotions onto her. We can’t know whether she was aware of the consequences of her actions.”
If she was aware of the consequences, then she didn’t really only mean to help. Hence, she would be evil. And about the word evil: I don’t really like the way you use it to denote something “against god’s will”. If god is indeed the Old One, then he is not a “good” god and those who oppose it would not be categorically “evil” as a result. King Allant seems to believe that God and the Old One are not one and the same: he says that God created the Old One. But that’s another point entirely.
At the end of the day I get that you didn’t say Maiden Astraea was in fact a hateful and deprived person despite her seemly good appearance. But the title “Why Maiden Astraea is Evil” implies exactly the opposite of that, which is somewhat misleading.