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“Welcome home, good hunter. What is it you desire?”
Throughout your journey in Bloodborne, you will seldom come across friendly characters. While there are a few, Yharnam and beyond are filled with beasts and abominations eagerly waiting for their chance to destroy you. One of the most notable friendly NPCs you will encounter in your quest for the Great Ones is the Doll. This Doll will always be waiting for you in the Hunters Dream, giving you the chance to exchange your blood echoes for levels and talk with you about the various mysteries surrounding this place.
As you progress in your journey through the wretched streets of Central Yharnam, you are likely to die quite a few times. You will notice that in the early game, the Doll will not have life and be lying in the corner where she usually stands. This lifelessness is because you likely have not encountered the Cleric Beast, the giant beast boss at the end of the bridge in Central Yharnam. Dying in this boss fight for the first time will result in the Doll being awoken from her sleep, and approaching her will trigger this dialogue.
“Hello good hunter. I am a doll, here in this Dream to look after you. Honorable hunter, pursue the echoes of blood, and I will channel them into your strength. You will hunt beasts, and I will be here for you to embolden your sickly spirit.”
She pretty much lays out her role perfectly in this quote, and she gives off a feeling of safety and relief similar to how it feels to find a bonfire in Dark Souls. However, you may have a few questions when you first encounter her, which was the case with me at the start of my first playthrough.
How Is the Doll Talking?
This is a surprisingly tricky question. You will need one insight to be able to talk to the Doll, as with zero insight, she will seemingly be inanimate. You can still level up when she is in this state. However, you will want to talk with the Doll frequently, as she is the key to unraveling the secrets about this nightmare.
Gaining one insight will result in the Doll standing up, usually at the foot of the stairs leading to the Hunters Workshop. You will be prompted with a menu by talking to her, giving you the option to channel your blood echoes or speak to her. Most people will only use the Doll to level up, but those interested in the story will want to exhaust her dialogue as much as possible.
Sad Story of Gherman
Gherman is responsible for this Doll being alive, and this is obvious given that he is the only other person in the Hunters Dream. The immediate thought that comes to our head is that Gherman was lonely in the Dream, as throughout the game, we discover that he has advised a long line of hunters before us. Through dialogue with the Doll, we can gain insight into Gherman’s role within the Hunters Dream, with her saying;
“He was a hunter long, long ago, but now serves only to advise them. He is obscure, unseen in the dreaming world. Still, he stays here, in this Dream…such is his purpose.”
Gherman is bound to the Hunters Dream to serve as a mentor for hunters to have them kill Great Ones and beasts. He is awaiting the return of Laurence or Master Wilhelm because they were supposed to collect him and end the Dream when they completed the task; however, we know that this time never comes. Gherman is unaware of their fate, as Wilhelm is mere seconds away from dying before we reach him in Byrgenwerth, and Laurence becomes the morbid beast known as the First Vicar.
At a certain point in the game, we can find Gherman deep in the corners of the Hunters Dream, weeping to himself and begging for help, saying;
“Oh, Laurence…Master Wilhelm…Somebody, help me…Unshackle me, please, anybody… I’ve had enough of this Dream…The night blocks all sight…Oh, somebody, please….”
Gherman does not want to be in the Dream and longs to be reunited with someone within the Waking World. If you have played the Hunter’s Nightmare DLC, you will remember the thrilling battle you had with Lady Maria. If you had the chance to get a good look at her face, you would notice that it resembles the Doll within the Dream.
Lady Maria and Gherman
Gherman grew very fond of Lady Maria while she was a student under him, which turned into an obsessive love for him. After her days as a student were over, Lady Maria disappeared, leaving Gherman longing for her return. While he is stuck within the Hunters Dream, he decides that he would need a companion, and that companion would resemble Lady Maria. The Doll features the same size and looks that Lady Maria has, and when we fight Lady Maria in the Astral Clocktower, we hear her speak. She and the Doll both have the same soft, quiet voice, and Gherman did this on purpose.
The Doll was constructed explicitly by Gherman to be Lady Maria; however, Gherman was able to manipulate the feelings within the Doll. This is elaborated on this through a voice line coming from the Doll, with her saying;
“Hunters have told me about the church. About the gods, and their love. But…do the gods love their creations? I am a doll, created by you humans. Would you ever think to love me? Of course…I do love you. Isn’t that how you’ve made me?”
The quote above shows us why the Doll is so friendly and encouraging during our journey. Gherman copied everything about Lady Maria and put them into a doll, however, he had to change her feelings towards him, which extend to you. He seems to distance himself from the Doll, likely because her personality doesn’t resemble Maria’s, and she serves as a constant reminder of a past love that he will never be reunited with. She has been given the eternal role of loving servant, which wears Gherman’s feelings for the Doll more and more as time goes on.
Although Gherman manufactures the Doll’s constant encouragement, having someone in our corner is still lovely. We don’t have the same feelings as Gherman, so her dialogue instills a sense of comfort when we return to the Dream after a grueling death. In rare instances, you can catch the Doll praying for your well-being, saying;
“O flora, of the moon, of the Dream. O little ones, oh fleeting will of the ancients. Let the hunter be safe, let him find comfort. And let this Dream his captor, foretell a pleasant awakening. Be one day, a fond, distant memory.”
This is my favorite line of dialogue because any support is welcome in places as dark and depraved as Yharnam and beyond. The Doll will constantly ask you questions as she struggles to understand who she is. Sadly, our character can only sit in silence, offering such a supportive character no clarity in a time of distress.
Boss-Specific Voice Lines
As your journey progresses, you should check in with the Doll, as she has specific dialogue triggered after you kill particular bosses. The bosses that trigger voice lines from her are listed below:
- Lady Maria
- Rom, the Vacuous Spider
- Orphan of Kos
The Doll in the Waking World
You will be able to find the Doll within your exploration of the waking world, but it will take some traversal skill and a keen eye. You will need to have beaten the Blood Starved Beast to access this area and head to Cathedral Ward. The door on the right side will now be open, and you can take an elevator up to the Upper Cathedral Ward.
Reaching the Old Abandoned Workshop
Once you are upstairs, beware of the wheelchair enemy in the middle of the big room in front of you. He has a minigun, so I run forward as soon as I enter the room and quickly take him out. Then sprint over the bridge towards the Healing Church workshop to dodge the bullets coming from above.
Once you cross the bridge, take a right and follow the path until it drops off. Here, you will want to jump down below and continue down the way until you reach a doorway on your left. Walk into the entrance to witness an area that has killed me more than I can remember.
You will see a small, narrow wooden path stretching out in front of you, and below there are many wooden platforms and beams scattered around. You are supposed to traverse down these platforms to the bottom, however, we want only to go about halfway down. To do this, head out towards the middle of the platform. When here, turn around to face the doorway and look down.
Far down below, on the right side against the wall, there is a platform protruding out, and we will want to land on that. Take about 4 to five steps towards the doorway, and then sprint off at a 45-degree angle to hit the platform. This may take many attempts, but you will likely get it done after a few tries. Make sure you are fully healed, as this jump will take a lot of health away.
After landing on that platform, heal up and drop down to the platform below on the right. This will put you in front of a large door, so open it and head down the tunnel until you reach a familiar area. The Hunters Dream was modeled directly after the Old Abandonded Workshop, however this one is missing life. Head up to the Workshop, and interact with the lantern to save progress.
What Is in the Abandoned Workshop?
On the altar where you would typically adjust your Runes, there will be a one Third umbilical cord. Be sure to eat this as soon as you get it because you will not be able to fight the moon’s presence without having eaten three of these. To the left of the altar, we can see the actual version of the Doll, lying lifeless on the ground. In the area where the merchants are, you will find a chest containing the whole outfit of the Doll.
This was where Gherman worked before relegating to the Dream, so it makes sense that both the Doll and the outfit were still there long after abandonment. Reaching this area not only gives us valuable tools and items, but it gives us perspective on the history of the Hunters Dream and the Doll.
Doll and Endgame
After you have slain Mergo’s Wet Nurse and returned to the Hunters Dream, you will notice that it has gone through somewhat of a makeover. The Workshop has been set ablaze, and the Doll still stands in her usual spot. Approaching her will trigger this dialogue:
“Good hunter, you have come. Dawn will soon break, this night and this Dream will end. Gherman awaits you, at the foot of the Great Tree.”
This is right before your battle with Gherman, should you take that course of action. In my playthrough, I gathered the idea that the Doll knew the plan for me and was happy for me. It seems morbid, as she knows that Gherman is about to offer to decapitate me, however, she knows that it will end the constant loop that we are stuck in within the Hunters Dream. She is happy that you will not have to encounter the foul beasts and monstrous Great Ones again and that you can go back to everyday life. Well, when most players are given the option to have their head removed, most will say no. We may not be thinking about the consequences of winning this fight. However, after all we have been through, there is no way we can let our mentor kill us without a fight.
This battle speaks to how much Gherman cares about us, too, because he is not fighting us out of hate. He is offering to kill us so that we will not suffer the same fate as him. No other hunters had gone as far as we had gone and killed as many beasts as we killed, and Gherman knew that the only outcome of our journey would lead to us being bound by the Dream. This care we see at this moment reflects the emotions and feelings he portrayed within the Doll. He viewed Lady Maria as the perfect person and replicated his idea of her within the Doll.
If you overcome the battle with Gherman, you will be rewarded with one of two endings. Directly after the battle, the Moon Presence will enter the Dream, coming down to eat you. If you have eaten three umbilical cords throughout the game, the Moon Presence will not be able to eat you, and now you will have to battle it out with the Great One behind it all. If you have not eaten the umbilical cords, the Moon Presence will absorb and eat you.
Doll and the Endings
I bring up these endings because the Doll is there with you for both of them. If you win the battle with the Moon Presence, you will be reawakened as a baby Great One, with the doll picking you up and saying;
“Are you cold? Oh, Good Hunter.”
If the Moon Presence eats you, you will reawaken in a wheelchair, forced to lead other hunters into the slaughter with the hopes of taking down Great Ones. In this ending, the Doll is by your side, saying;
“And so…the Hunt begins again.”
These were not the outcomes that she was initially expecting, however, she is with us through it all and remains by our side even when we are turned into a squid. Although the circumstances of her existence are dark and lonely, the Doll acts as a light for us to follow. Her constant motivation and encouragement urge us to continue our journey, and finding out more about her throughout the game are fascinating. The Doll is one of my favorite NPCs within the Soulsbourne franchise and will always be a reminder to stay positive in times of darkness.
“Farewell, good hunter. May you find your worth in the waking world.”
Question: Can you kill the Doll?
Answer: Yes, sadly the doll can be killed. I have seen that it is a speedrunning strategy to shorten her dialogue and save times, and it hurts to watch every time.
Question: What Happens if I hit the Doll?
Answer: Her dialogue will essentially reset to when she first met you, and she will bleed a white blood.
Question: What Happens if I give the Doll a Small Hair Ornament?
Answer: Giving the Doll a Small Hair Ornament will trigger some special dialogue, and you will be rewarded with a Tear Stone.
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