Gwyn is one of the gods that defeated the Everlasting Dragons long ago. His Lord Soul granted him deific power over the sun and lightning, earning him the epithet Lord of Sunlight. He had three children to an unknown mother; Gwynevere, Gwyndolin, and a male firstborn, a war god whose name has been lost by the time of Dark Souls owing to his godhood being rescinded by Gwyn.
Thousands of years before the events of the game, the First Flame began to dim. The Witch of Izalith attempted to duplicate the First Flame from a soul, but failed and her actions eventuated in the creation of a hellish wellspring of chaos and fire, known as the Bed of Chaos. After this incident, Gwyn departed from Anor Londo to rekindle the First Flame, bringing half of his knights with him, while the rest stayed behind to guard Anor Londo. Before he departed, he bequeathed fragments of his Lord Soul to the Four Kings of New Londo, and Seath the Scaleless. After linking the Fire, the First Flame burned his knights and made Gwyn himself its fuel. Thus, he became known as Lord of Cinder.
He is the final boss in the game, and is inaccessible until all Lord Souls have been gathered.
LocationKiln of the First Flame
At the end of the area, behind the final Black Knight
Solaire of Astora
You must have saved Solaire by killing the red Chaos Bug in Lost Izalith shortcut (the one that needs +2 Chaos Servant covenant to unlock) to be able to summon him here. His Soul Sign is after the third Black Knight (straightsword-wielder). Look to your left before you walk down the staircase.
- Leap Strike - Jumps towards the player when at range, performing a large overhead slash.
- Lunge - Lunges and stabs forward with his sword when the player is just out of range or attempting to consume Estus.
- Slash Combo - Attacks in quick succession (up to 4 one-handed slashes)
- Strike Combo - Wields his sword in both hands, performing a slower succession of blows.
- Grab Raises his free hand and attempts to grab the player. If successful he becomes invulnerable as he launches his target away with a fire blast dealing high fire damage. Cannot be mitigated by alternating shoulder buttons.
- Kick - Kicks the player when close dealing high stamina damage if blocking, usually followed by a grab.
This is the final and arguably most difficult boss in the game due to his speed and high damage. Make sure your equipment is as powerful as you can get it and use any souls you have if you need a level or to improve your equipment. Farm the Black Knights for titanite chunks to get your armour to +9 and use any slabs you have. Any items you were saving for a tough fight, now is the time to consider them.
Note if you need to consume Estus he will not give you an opportunity to do so, doing a running lunge attack the moment you try. Put a pillar or other terrain block between him and he will usually either take too long navigating the block or will lunge straight into it. Don't stand too close to the terrain as he can hit you through it. Another opportunity is while he misses a kick or grab.
If running past all the black knights, note that the two closest to the Fog Gate can attack you as you pass through it so killing them is advised.
Dodging and Blocking
Dodging all his attacks is practically impossible due to the speed at which he can swing his sword, the best you should hope for is a combination of dodging and blocking.
The Black Knight Shield is often dropped by the Black Knights in the Kiln of the First Flame and is highly effective in this fight, offering both high poise and fire resistance. Havel's Ring can be used by lighter builds to equip it without sacrificing mobility. Stamina regen (either Mask of the Child or Cloranthy Ring) greatly improves your ability to sustain a shield, and briefly dropping your guard between his attacks keeps your stamina healthy.
If you are capable, a medium or heavy build is recommended. Dodging his attacks does not give you an opportunity to counter and he can easily wear your stamina down and get in a hit or two. Especially for newer players, blocking is more effective and far more reliable.
A very heavy build with high Vitality and Iron Flesh or Flash Sweat is capable of tanking his hits without being staggered or taking too much damage. You can then use a heavy two-handed weapon to keep him staggered which gives you opportunities to heal when you need to.
The Ring of Steel Protection and Flame Stoneplate Ring provide excellent defence from all Gwyn's attacks, if you can only choose one then consider how he is most likely to hit you. If you find yourself getting grabbed a lot then take the fire defence, and physical defence is better against his sword attacks. If your equipment is severely lacking in either defence then take whichever brings up the lower stat.
Flash Sweat can be used to further mitigate his fire damage but note there are few opportunities you will get to cast it during the fight unless you have summoned assistance.
Keeping Gwyn on higher ground will cause most of his attacks to miss, simplifying a melee approach.
A heavy weapon to stagger Gwyn will make this fight a lot easier, and some health and sturdy armour to survive a few hits. Failing these (for example if you are a light build Cleric) you are safest holding him off with a decent shield and being patient, getting a single attack in when safe. The best opportunity is right after he misses a kick or grab. A fairly easy strategy against Gwyn is to use a greatshield with high stability (ideally the greatshield of Artorias) and a good spear (Silver Knight spear was used for this) and to simply let him hit with his attacks, while exchanging with the spear. If using the Silver Knight spear or a Pike, you can hit him from outside the maximum range of most of his attacks.
- Dark Hand (130 Occult aux.)
- Priscilla's Dagger (110 Occult aux.)
- Velka's Rapier (110 Occult aux. - highly recommended for Intelligence builds, note it can be used with a shield up but watch your stamina)
For a slightly riskier but rewarding play, all his attacks except the grab attack can be parried allowing you to deal high counter damage. With good timing he can be killed very quickly in this way. The Hornet Ring will further improve your damage, and the Target Shield makes parrying easier although blocking will be far less effective. His lunge attack is simple to bait by getting a little distance and one of the easiest to parry. Note that due to the long reach of his sword, it is easy to parry an attack without being in range to riposte, so step forward first. You can watch a video here.
Great Combustion will usually cause him to attempt to dodge the attack. Lock on and you can follow him around forcing him to dodge for a simple fight (have your shield ready).
Gwyn is fast and his leap attack closes a lot of distance very quickly, so keeping him at range is not an option. Additionally his attacks are very fast and generally do not give you enough time to safely cast a spell. Note that lightning has little effect so Clerics will predominantly have to rely on weapons.
A bow or crossbow is fast enough to get a hit in here and there, particularly the Avelyn which staggers him after two successive rounds. Stay locked on and roll back from his attacks - a shield may still be necessary as his sword has a long reach and his combos are fast. Dark Wood Grain Ring gives you a bit more time to shoot.
A Sorcerer will get almost no chances of casting any Sorceries during the fight without assistance. It is highly recommended to summon help, online or Solaire of Astora to distract Gwyn while you cast. Note he will occasionally switch focus so be prepared to block or dodge his attacks. If online play is not available or there are no summon signs, and Solaire was killed, you are better off using Velka's Rapier.
A risky solo Sorcerer play is to use Homing Crystal Soulmass as Gwyn will usually try to dodge as you cast it. The delay will allow him to land before hitting him for full damage, staggering him and allowing you to cast it again.
Pillars can be used to disrupt Gwyn's attacks, forcing him to walk around to engage you. This gives you time to cast buffs, heal, or you can even hit him through the rock with a Spear (or other long reach weapon) if he is close enough. He also cannot leap or lunge through pillars so you can take advantage of a distance between you.
With good timing, Great Chaos Fireball can be used while he is circling around a pillar to hit him just as he comes into view and deal extra damage with the lava, and Fire Tempest or similar can be used while on the other side of a pillar. Note that long cast times carry a risk as he can sprint around to hit you.
Stealth and Diversion
Solaire of Astora, if he is alive, does not do much damage but is great for taking hits while you hit Gwyn with projectiles. Not recommended for melee approaches as this often makes bosses unpredictable.
After defeating Gwyn, you get to choose an Ending. Lighting the bonfire unlocks the To Link the Fire ending, while walking out to where the fog gate was unlocks the Dark Lord ending. There are no prerequisites for either ending, and which ending you choose will have no bearing on the next playthrough.