I can’t stop thinking Eldon RingThe living jar – not in a wholesome way.yes i was involved The initial wave of pot worshiplooking at their little arms and calves and wanting to pinch their clay cheeks like some over-familiar, borderless grandma.
But now, I see them because they are ceramic horrors, milkshake duck carcasses rotting rather than racism. While I’ve tried to get them out of my mind and temporarily get out of the land between the lands to play a healthier, younger version of LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga shenanigans, the nightmare fuel has been flowing, even as I leaving.
It was the battle with Star Calamity Ladahn and his ponies that taught me the true nature of the jar. The time for the needles came, and as I roamed the battlefield after the fall of Radhan, I saw Alexander, the warrior jar, with claws on the ground. I walked over and thanked him for his help, calling him more than technically healthy. Then, after a few mundane conversations, he dropped the bombshell:
“Fortunately, there’s a veritable corpse of a samurai here. If I can squeeze this group inside me, I’ll soon be a formidable warrior again.”
That’s great Alexander, good luck – wait, what?
I’ll admit, I’ve missed some clues – maybe I should be wondering why the more aggressive bros in Alexander regularly drop a “raw dumpling” when they’re dispatched. I definitely shouldn’t eat it, but I think it’s just random loot subject to the same twisted RPG logic that mice drop gold coins in other games.
But no, what I shoved into the protagonist’s face was a mass of human flesh. While From Software doesn’t make them jiggle as they move, the scary truth about Living Jars at Elden Ring is that these “cute” animated jars are stuffed with the remains and rotting remains of fallen warriors, corpses and body parts.
This discovery alone is nauseating, but it raises so many questions – only a few of which are finally resolved. Take the bloodstain for example, it shows you how another player died. No corpses, because what you’re seeing happens in some parallel universe, right? But if the real reason is that the moment someone dies, the living jar descends upon them, greedily grabbing their lifeless flesh and shoving the wet one under their eyelids one by one .
Just imagine – you bleed on some battlefield but you are still alive, the conflict itself is over long ago. Fighting the pain, you drag yourself to the ground, looking for something, anything to prolong your debilitating life. You pass a merchant’s shack a mile later, and if you can get that far, maybe you can…that’s when the jars start arriving.
At first it was just a couple, picking up the body of a fallen comrade. You watch in horror as they open his skull and hold his brain up like some precious relic. You turn away before seeing what they do with it, but the sound is disgusting enough and you struggle to your feet in fear of the fate that awaits you.
That’s when you see those pudgy people squatting a few meters away, their incomprehensible faces, or any blank jars like faces, training you, and you know you’re not going to get out of here alive. Maybe they’ll wait for you to take your last breath before sticking the mudclaws inside you. Maybe they don’t.
And, believe it or not, it’s not the worst. Living jars believed that by harvesting the flesh of the dead, they could gain knowledge, and these warriors continued to survive through each jar. Yes, you have to punch Alexander out of a hole, but visiting the hidden village of Jarburg, home to the Living Jars (which also made me revise my love at first sight policy), proves that this isn’t an isolated belief.
“Many great fighters are in my heart and dream of being a great champion…One day we will be a great champion. The greatest of them all!” he explained. At best he’s wrong, disturbingly, the jar is full of rotten flesh and any perceived improvement in combat skills is just a placebo effect.
But what if they were right and dig someone into their hearts and give them their experience and knowledge?this Living Jar entry on the Elden Ring WikiI’m pretty sure it’s written by Living Jar, which tries to sell it as a touching form of immortality, like the game itself, and to a lesser extent.
do i buy that? Not in a million years. Elden Ring is a bit murky as to whether there is an afterlife, or in fact, whether The Lands Between itself is some kind of afterlife. Imagine when you die only to find you’re not wandering around in Elysium, but being part of some semi-conscious sticky sludge, or, if the jar in question is big enough, your broken corpse joins other A dozen corpses crowded together.
If you’re lucky, you might be able to communicate with your doomed soulmate, but unlike Jordan Peele’s excellent Get Out, you have little influence over the ship that’s now your prison. Even if your host dies, you’re not guaranteed to be released; as one of Jarburg’s missions revealed, jars can pass their insides, meaning you can “live” for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
Admittedly, I’m a huge horror fan, and that’s probably why my mind went down this particular rabbit hole. There’s certainly no shortage of horror in Elden Ring. A monster is just a bunch of people grafted together, and your protagonist may “die” as thorny vines burst from their torso, lifting their strung corpses off the ground. But Elden Ring’s Living Jars are such brilliant, nightmarish creations — like Doctor Who’s Weeping Angels — that they almost eclipse the medium that produced them.
I don’t know if these jars came from the idea 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 live jars have entered my mind, including disturbing old ones, and they’re not going away anytime soon.