Solaire of Astora Lore: Praising The Sun in Dark Souls

Solaire of Astora Main Image

Everybody knows Solaire of Astora in Darks Souls. Whether you played the game or not, memes hailing from a long, forgotten era forced you or somebody you know to “Praise the Sun” at some point.  

Solaire, also known informally as Sunbro, is one of the first friendly NPCs that you may encounter in the lands of Lordran during your difficult quest to link the fire. 
Surely his positivity and optimism, unique in a game full of grim and unforgiving characters, gives us a glimpse of hope in a land of hopelessness. But even the Knight of Sunlight is not immune to tragedy, as a Twisted Sun awaits him in Lost Izalith. 

Join me in some jolly cooperation and let me tell you the story of Solaire of Astora, seeker of the sun.  

From Humble Knight to Sun-Seeker: Solaire’s Origins and motivations 

While Solaire beginnings remain unknown, we know that he is in Lordran by choice. One of the dialogues with him clearly states that he became undead specifically to follow his quest: to find his very own sun. 

“I did not find my own sun[…] But I cannot give up. I became Undead to pursue this! But when I peer at the Sun up above, it occurs to me… What if I am seen as a laughing stock, as a blind fool without reason?” 

What kind of sun, you may ask? That is up to speculations, since there is nothing that can give us final proof about that. 
Some may interpret this “sun” as guidance or something more metaphysical, while others see the “sun” as something more material, be it the comfort found in the light and warmth of the sun. This second theory is supported by what can eventually happen in Lost Izalith, which revolves around a very physical representation of a blinding light. We’ll talk about this later, though! 

I, for instance, think that Solaire’s quest is all about finding his own identity: a reason for him to exist… to wake up in the morning and feel satisfied and proud of himself.  

Sun Power and Purpose: Examining Solaire’s Symbolism and Quest 

Solaire is the embodiment of tenacity. Unlike many in Lordran, this knight of Astora’s power comes from diligent training, not magic equipment. This is proven by reading the description of Solaire’s armor: 

The large holy symbol of the Sun, while powerless, was painted by Solaire himself. Solaire’s incredible prowess must have come from rigorous training alone, for his equipment exhibits no special traits.” 

He is such a sun fanboy that he drew the sun in his shield and tabard. This kind of dedication is one of the reasons that made Solaire one of the most beloved characters in the Dark Souls Franchise! 

Jolly Cooperation: How Solaire Aids Players in Dark Souls 

Solaire appears as a Summon
Solaire getting summoned, via Fandom

Solaire is also a character that we can summon in battle against some of Dark Soul’s bosses. It is important to specify that the ability to summon people in battle is given to us by the Sunbro himself, along with a very important piece of information regarding Lordran as a whole.  

The knight will hand us the White Sign Soapstone, an item that we can use to be summoned in other people’s games and vice versa, and he will introduce us to Lordran’s non-linear flow of time: 

“The flow of time itself is convoluted; with heroes centuries old phasing in and out. The very fabric wavers, and relations shift and obscure. There’s no telling how much longer your world and mine will remain in contact.” 

While not necessarily important while playing the game, knowing about this will help us to better understand how and why the worlds in the Dark Souls franchise are interconnected. A fantastic example is when the player reaches Anor Londo in Dark Souls 3, a place we visit in the first game.  

But how can Solaire have this knowledge? This question, along with other glimpses of lore, ended up creating the biggest fan theory ever in Dark Souls, and Solaire of Astora was at the center of it. 

Fan Theory: was Solaire Gwyn’s firstborn? 

After the first Dark Souls was released, speculations about the lore of the game tried to fill the void intentionally left by Dark Souls’ creator, Hidetaka Miyazaki.  

One of these voids was the identity of Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight’s firstborn, who is described as a god of war which Godhood was rescinded because of something that he did.
We find this piece of information in the description of the “Ring of the Sun’s Firstborn”, which states: 

“Lord Gwyn’s firstborn was a god of war, but his foolishness led to a loss of the annals, and rescinding of his deific status. Today, even his name is not known.” 

From here, people started to think that Gwyn’s firstborn was indeed Solaire. The idea was that after having lost his Godhood, Solaire would have lost his memories, and his search for “his own sun” was none other than searching for his father. 
Other things that supported the theory were items like the “Sunlight Medal”, which describes its symbol (the same sun as Solaire’s tabard and shield) as representing Lord Gwyn’s firstborn. Even Solaire’s abilities were the same abilities that Gwyn’s firstborn wielded in battle.  

The ruins of Gwyn's Firstborn statues
A statue of Gwyn’s Firstborn, via Fandom

However, There were people debunking this theory. 
One of their biggest claims was referencing the remains of the statue of Gwyn’s firstborn, which depicted him possibly wielding a great spear. For them, Solaire was only a warrior belonging to the same covenant as Gwyn’s firstborn, hence his ability to use the same miracles and abilities. 

The Nameless King and the End of the Theory 

After the release of Dark Souls 3, this theory was ultimately silenced after encountering “The Nameless King”, a boss who, while not directly confirmed to be Gwyn’s firstborn, is linked to dozens of proofs heavily hinting at this. 
The most important one is the “Soul of The Nameless King” in Dark Souls 3, which says: 

“The Nameless King was once a dragon-slaying god of war, before he sacrificed everything to ally himself with the ancient dragons.” 

Solaire’s Sun was indeed not Gwyn, and the knight also did not find it in Anor Londo or Blighttown.  
Hints of doubt and despair started to grasp Solaire’s heart. Maybe there was nothing for him.  

Tragedy in Lost Izalith: Solaire’s Descent into Madness 

The Sunlight Maggot

While advancing our quest in Lordran, we will encounter Solaire several times, and each time his research turns out to be unsuccessful. The last place where we will meet the knight will be in Lost Izalith, and it will not be on the best of terms.  

Solaire will manage to find a “sun”, but I don’t think this one was exactly what the Knight of Astora wanted.  
In a shortcut that connects the Demon Ruins to Lost Izalith, Solaire will fall prey to a red-eyed Chaos Bug. He will end up wearing on his head a parasite belonging to this monster, which will drive the Sunbro mad with its blinding light. 

He will start screaming something about having finally found his own sun in between nonsense and will attack us on sight. Striking him down out of pity will trigger his final words:  

“…Ahh, it’s over… …My Sun…it’s setting… …It’s dark, so dark…” 

Thus, this concludes Solaire’s quest for his own sun. Tragedy struck him, as did many other characters in Dark Souls lore.  

Or is it? Is there no way to have an happier ending for Mr. Praise the Sun?  
Brace yourself, because turns out there is a way. 

A Sun of Hope: Saving Solaire from Chaos 

Since Solaire goes mad after encountering the Red-eyed Chaos Bug, what would happen if we could reach that monster before him and kill it for good? After all, this particular bug will not respawn once killed. 

There is one door that leads us to Lost Inalith through a secret pathway, but that door is locked. In order to unlock it and reach the bug faster than Solaire, we have to join and progress at least 2 ranks in the “Chaos Servant Covenant”, which we can do by speaking to the White Lady, Queelag’s sister, and offering her 30 Humanity.  

To be able to talk to her, you need to equip the Old Witch’s Ring, which you may get by taking it as starting gift at the beginning of the game, or by trading the Sunlight Maggot (Solaire’s parasite) to Snuggly the Crow.  

After killing the bug, Solaire will eventually survive. While we do not have access to other pieces of dialogues with him, we will be able to summon him to fight alongside us in our last battle against Gwyn, Lords of Cinder. 
This will make the boss fight incredibly easy (while being already easy in solo), but hey: I can’t say no to one last time with Solaire! 

Praise the Sun! Exploring Further Lore and Connections 

I love Solaire, and I always wanted to write an article honoring his presence in the Dark Souls’ universe. I really hope that after this article, I managed to entice you, dear reader, to either play the game or study more the lore around this masterpiece.  

If you wan to to know more about the lore of Lordran, here’s an article I wrote about Dark Souls Lore! 

I’ll see you in the next article, and remember to praise the sun! 

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