Ending

General information

Dark Souls has two different endings, depending on the player's action after defeating Gwyn, Lord of Cinder.

Ending "To Link the Fire"

Triggered when the player lights the final bonfire, after Gwyn, Lord of Cinder is defeated.

As has happened many times before, another undead soul is sacrificed to prolong an age long over and continue the chaos of undeath. While strong, the players soul is not eternal, and will soon fade as the rest did before him/her. He/She, like Lord Gwyn, have only delayed the inevitable, but now there are no heroes or leaders left in the world; they have fallen or gone Hollow. How can the world endure once the player's soul finally runs out of energy?

A video showing this ending can be found here
Spoiler

Ending "The Dark Lord"

If the player leaves the area after defeating Gwyn, Lord of Cinder, without lighting the bonfire, the player becomes the "Dark Lord".

In the end, the player has become the "Dark Lord", ruler of the world, but with the link between the bonfires, the only things holding the world together, fading, there is little left to rule over.

The Age of Fire, in its final death throes long before the player was even born, recieved its just end with the death of whatever remained of Lord Gwyn. His desperate action of linking the bonfires, which had only succeeded in prolonging the suffering in the world, would lie dead with him. Now, under new leadership, the world can finally move forward into the Age of Darkness and perhaps recover some of what it had lost.

You do not need to encounter Darkstalker Kaathe, nor join the Darkwraith covenant to trigger this ending.

A video showing this ending can be found here
(Dead link)

Spoiler

Good/Bad Ending Discussion

  • Neither of the two have a real conclusion (compared to ex: Demon's Souls), leaving lot of spaces for interpretation of what actually happens after finishing Gwyn.

To Link the Fire

  • Linking the fire restarts the age of fire (this time fueled by the player's soul). Undead sacrifices would end for the duration of the age of fire and eventually begin again when your flames start to fade. Gods would also have their powers and lead mortals in their lives as has been since the dragons were overthrown. The player prolongs life, but the cycle continues.
  • Lighting the fire would only delay the inevitable dark age merely buying few hundred years for the gods to be in power.

Dark Lord

  • The player now rules the world as the Dark Lord while the other gods have fallen. Without fire, the world would gradually wither and desolate; the chosen undead would rule the slowly dying world.

Notes

  • No matter what ending you trigger (leaving or lighting the bonfire), you'll start a New Game Plus (or consecutive NG+). So if you've got stuff to do before ending and starting all over, do it before the last fight against Gwyn Lord of Cinder.
  • Using Homeward, Homeward Bone, or Darksign after defeating Gwyn, Lord of Cinder will cause you to reappear in the same room and will make the fog gate disappear. Passing through it will still trigger the Dark Lord ending and New Game Plus.
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