The lore surrounding FromSoft’s 2015 action RPG masterpiece Bloodborne is, much like the proceeding Demon Souls and Dark Souls series, almost impenetrable. While there are literally hundreds of YouTube videos, articles, and forum posts dedicated to piecing together the game’s plot, there’s so much detail in the haunted land of Yharnam that committing the whole thing to memory seems nearly impossible.
What’s more, the game never outright informs the player of what’s going on, and most new hunters work entirely on the assumption that they’ve got beasts to slay and abominations to unmake. So, in lou of any definite story, the community has resorted to theory-crafting, and, while a ton of insight-ful knowledge has been passed around, some ideas out there are just plain ridiculous. Here are some of our favorite fan theories that could be true, as well as some which we’d really rather just forget about.
10 Could Be True: The Doll Is A Great One
It’s been over four years since release, and we still don’t know all that much about the Doll found in the Hunter’s Dream. We know that she’s connected to Gehrman, the First Hunter, but the game doesn’t seem eager to explain exactly how. Some fans have theorized that she was granted sentience by a Great One, but others seem to think that she is a Great One herself. This is suggested by the fact that the player needs at least one insight to see her, she is pale-blooded, and she seems to be in search of a surrogate, much like many of the other deities encountered throughout the game.
9 Hope Isn’t True: Menstrual Blood
There’s been a rumor going around for quite some time that the Old Blood is actually the menstrual blood of the Great Ones… or some such variation on that general idea. To be fair, there does seem to be a lot of evidence to support this; Bloodborne plays heavily with fertility motifs, the player must collect umbilical cords to discover the game’s true ending, and a bunch of women end up inexplicably pregnant. Still, these ideas sort of contrast with the title’s pervasive Lovecraftian theme, and, while there are certainly several weird blood-related things at play here, the solution to this mystery probably isn’t as simple as this. It’s a cool theory, though.
8 Could Be True: Byrgenwerth Is Lovecraft’s Miskatonic University
Those even vaguely familiar with Bloodborne lore will know that the developers drew heavily from the works of acclaimed horror fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft. He was among the first to take the idea of cosmic nihilism and run with it, and that sort of sentiment is pervasive in the game.
A more subtle nod to the 20th-century writer comes in the form of Byrgenwerth University. Players will recognize this as the location of the fight against Rom the Vacuous Spider, but there’s far more to it than that. Some believe it to be a direct reference to Lovecraft’s Miskatonic University, a fictional New England-based institution which was said to have a major role in the study of dark arts and cosmic beings. There are a ton of parallels between what’s described in Lovecraft’s works and what we see in the game.
7 Hope Isn’t True: Yharnam Is A Painting
If the player defeats Slave Knight Gael in Dark Souls 3’s Ringed City DLC, retrieves the Blood of the Dark Soul, and takes it to the painter woman from the Ashes of Ariandel DLC, she will thank the player and state that she intends to use it to “paint a world.” Some have theorized that the world she eventually paints becomes Yharnam, and this means that the worlds of Dark Souls and Bloodborne share a tenuous link.
The game, of course, never comes close to hinting at this, and, though the world the woman describes could roughly fit what we see in Bloodborne, it could also be applied to just about any location in FromSoft’s soulsborne line. She also describes it as “gentle,” which seems to describe the Hunters Dream more than any other location in the previous game.
6 Could Be True: Oedon Is The Moon
This is a bit of an out-there theory which would take an extensive knowledge of Bloodborne lore to prove or even adequately suggest, but it could be that Oedon, the ethereal, bodiless Great One referenced at several points throughout the game. Some seem to think that Oedon could be Mergo, while others believe it’s The Orphan of Kos, but a few have advanced the idea that Oedon is the Moon itself… or at least part of his being.
We know that Oedon has ascended beyond even the other Great Ones and that he is never directly encountered in-game, but the idea that he either is or somehow controls the moon stems from the fact that Rom the Vacuous Spider has the power to repel him. Once Rom is defeated, the blood moon rises, and Yharnam becomes even more chaotic.
5 Hope Isn’t True: Yharnam’s “Beast Scourge” Is Actually Syphilis
This one sounds really outlandish, but there’s at least an inkling of sense here. The city of Yharnam is strikingly reminiscent of Industrial Revolution-era London, and Syphilis was more than prevalent in the city at that time—as were most diseases. That said, this particular ailment was known to be disfiguring in extreme cases and had adverse effects on the mental constitution of those afflicted. While it’s certainly a stretch, that sounds like a toned-down version of so-called Beast Scourge seen in Yharnam. The Healing Church’s overuse of the Old Blood could also parallel the adverse effects of modern-day antibiotic overuse, but now we’re really entering some strange territory. Also, for the record, this is just plain gross, and we would prefer this theory to be incorrect.
4 Could Be True: The Blood Minister In Isofeka’s Clinic
This is another hotly debated theory, but tons of players have claimed that The Blood Minister’s half-eaten corpse can be seen near the exit of Isofeka’s Clinic. For those who don’t know, the Blood Minister is the enigmatic entity who performs a blood transfusion on the player in the very beginning of the game.
It was initially assumed that the Blood Minister was killed by the beast later encountered in an adjacent room—the very first encounterable enemy. The Blood Minister, of course, was wheelchair-bound and didn’t come off as much of a fighter, so this seems like a very possible outcome, but then how could he have ended up at Iosefka's Clinic? It’s possible that the beast dragged him all the way there, albeit extremely unlikely.
3 Hope Isn’t True: Bloodborne Is A Vietnam War Flashback
Alright, in the interest of transparency, it must be said that not even the Reddit poster behind this crackpot theory believes it to be true. Still, it’s funny enough to mention, and it could be used as a good joke to troll those who, in reference to the ame’s lore, tend to make mountains out of molehills.
The theory posits that Bloodborne is actually a tragic, aggrandized depiction of a Vietnam War flashback. How could this possibly be the case? Well, Yharnam is obviously a place fraught with disease, death, and interminable odds, not unlike what those who fought in ‘Nam would have faced. However, the true correlation comes from the name: Yharnam. Yhar-nam. Yh-ar-nam. You’re in ‘Nam. This is second only to the idea that the Orphan of Kos only attacks the player because he has a toothache.
2 Could Be True: The Winter Lantern Enemies Are Copies Of The Doll In The Hunter’s Dream
This one sounds insane, but there’s a good amount of evidence backing this one up, though it still relies on a good amount of conjecture. Everyone who has made it to the Nightmare Frontier will be familiar with the Winter Lantern enemies. Formerly known as Brain Trusts, these are one of the few enemy types in Bloodborne which players are actively dissuaded from engaging.
Creepy and abominable though they are, some believe that they are actually failed copies of the Doll in the Hunter’s Dream. The theory has it that Gehrman made a deal with a Great One that, in exchange for confinement within the Dream, the doll would be given sentience to counteract his loneliness. The Great One made several malformed doll clones before getting it right, and these become the Winter Lanterns. If you look closely, these enemies are actually wearing the same attire as the doll. They are also connected to the Brain of Mensis, which could have been the Great One with whom Gehrman bargained.
1 Hope Isn’t True: Kos And Kosm Are Separate Entities
Ah, Kos, or some say Kosm. This is an infamous Bloodborne meme based on a line spoken by Micolash, who, as we all know, could literally make anything sound funny. He’s speaking of the deity Kos, the mother of the Orphan of Kos, but a few players have put forth the notion that these are actually different entities.
Kos may, in fact, have been the daughter of the yet-to-be-identified Kosm, a Great One beyond our realm of understanding. If this were to be true, it seems like, in keeping with the Lovecraftian theme of the game, Kos would be to Kosm as Cthulhu is to Azathoth. We’re obviously looking way too hard into a stupid line of dialogue, but, hey, Bloodborne doesn’t exactly have all that many lines of dialogue to meme in the first place, so we have to make it count.