I can’t stop thinking about it elden ring‘s Living Jars – and not in a healthy way. Yes, I got swept up in the initial surge of pot adoration, got her little arms and legs aaah and wanted to pinch her clay cheeks like an all too familiar, borderline ignorant granny.
But now I see them for the ceramic horrors they are, milkshake ducks with rotting corpses instead of racism. And while I’ve tried to get them out of my head by temporarily leaving The Lands Between to enjoy the healthier boy-juggling shenanigans of LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, the nightmare fuel just keeps flowing, even when I’m gone.
It was the fight with Starscourge Radahn and his tiny, tiny horse that initiated me into the true nature of the Jars. The needle-scratching moment came as I roamed the battlefield after Radahn fell and Alexander, Warrior Jar, pawed the ground. I went over to thank him for his help after calling him more times than was healthy. Then, after a few banal lines of conversation, he dropped this bombshell:
“Fortunately there is a veritable mountain of warrior corpses here. If I can just squeeze that bunch into me, I’ll be a mighty warrior again in no time.”
That’s great Alexander, good luck with – wait what?
I’ll admit there are clues I missed – maybe I should have wondered why Alexander’s more aggressive brothers regularly drop a “raw meat dumpling” when they’re dispatched. I definitely shouldn’t have eaten it, but I thought it was just random loot subject to the same warped RPG logic that has rats dropping gold coins in other games.
But no, what I shoved into my protagonist’s face hole was a lump of human flesh. And while From Software barely made them slosh when they move, the chilling truth of Elden Ring’s Living Jars is that these “enchanting” animated jars are crammed with the shattered and decaying remains of fallen warriors, bodies and body parts alike.
This revelation alone is horrifying, but it raises so, so many questions – few of which have been definitively answered. Take the Bloodstains, for example, which show you how another player met their death. There’s no corpse because what you’re seeing took place in a parallel universe, right? But what if the real reason is that the moment someone dies, the living jars fall down on them, greedily grasping at their lifeless flesh and shoving handful after handful of wet handfuls under their lids.
Imagine this – you lie bleeding but alive on a battlefield, the skirmish itself long overdue. You fight the pain, drag yourself across the floor, looking for something, anything, to prolong your dwindling life. You marched past a trader’s shack a mile ago, if you can make it this far, maybe you can… and then the Jars will come.
At first it’s just a few picking up the remains of a fallen comrade. You watch in horror as they crack open his skull and hold up the brain like a precious relic. You turn away before you see what they’re doing with it, but the sound is sickening enough that you struggle to get to your knees in fear of the fate that awaits you.
Then you glimpse the squat, plump figures standing a few yards away, their inscrutable faces, or whatever piece of empty glass acts as a face pointed at you, and you know you won’t get out of here alive. Maybe they’re waiting for you to breathe your last before sinking their clay claws into you. Maybe not.
And that, believe it or not, isn’t the worst part. The Living Jars think that by harvesting the flesh of the dead they gain their knowledge and these warriors live on through each Jar. Yes, you have to beat Alexander out of a hole, but a visit to the hidden village of Jarburg, home of the Living Jars (which also saw me revise my smash-on-sight policy) confirms this isn’t an isolated belief.
“There are many great warriors within me who always dream of becoming a great champion… one day we will be one great champion. The greatest of them all!” he declares. The best-case scenario is that he’s wrong, and as disconcerting as it is to see the jars full of carrion running around, any perceived improvement in combat skill is just a placebo effect.
But what if they are right and bringing someone inside gives them access to their experiences and knowledge? The Living Jar entry of the Elden Ring wiki, which I’m pretty sure was written by a Living Jar, tries to sell it as a touching form of immortality, as does the game itself to a lesser extent.
do i buy this Not in a million years. Elden Ring is a little fuzzy on whether there is life after death or whether The Lands Between is itself some sort of afterlife. Imagine decaying, only to find that instead of wandering the Elysian Fields, you’re part of a soupy, semi-sentient muck, or, if the jar in question is big enough, your broken corpse cooped up alongside a dozen others is.
If you’re lucky, you might be able to commune with your doomed souls, but much like Jordan Peele’s brilliant Get Out, you would have little control over the ship that was now your prison. Even the death of your host would not guarantee your release; As a Jarburg quest shows, jars can give their insides around, meaning you can be “around” for hundreds, maybe thousands, of years.
Admittedly, I’m a huge horror fan, which may be why my mind went down that particular rabbit hole. Elden Ring is certainly not lacking in horror; A monster is just a group of people crammed together, and your protagonist can “die” when thorny tendrils erupt from his torso, lifting his impaled corpse off the ground. But Elden Ring’s Living Jars are such brilliant, nightmarish creations that – like Doctor Who’s Weeping Angels – they almost eclipse the medium that produced them.
I don’t know if the Jars were the brainchild of Hidetaka Miyazaki or collaborator George RR Martin, although based on previous From Software games I suspect the former. What I can tell you is that the Living Jars have moved into my head, including disturbing legacies, and they’re not going away any time soon.
https://www.vg247.com/elden-ring-living-jars-nightmare-fuel The Elden Ring Living Jars are nightmare fuel that just keeps giving