Jump to content

The Grieving Mother


Recommended Posts

Hats off to Chris Avellone for the general idea of this character -- in a story where children are being born without souls, the character of a midwife is especially appropriate and I'm glad to see such an authric profession in this setting. 

 

However, one thing I am having trouble understanding is the idea that a Cipher can cover themselves in some sort of glamour (a typically more magical concept from the realm of faerie) that prevents other people from ever acknowledging her yet still makes her just as susceptible to random enemies in combat?  I ask because, upon first meeting her, I had either interpreted her as a bystander (less involvement in combat but less threatened) or as a character with extremely high stealth.  I even liked the idea of an extremely vulnerable companion who tends to be ignored by most enemies unless she directly intervenes -- it would be a new level of strategy, a bold and original concept, and an idea that could still be balanced by having a sort of "stealth check" or "threat level" associated with the character.  However she is none of these things -- just as easily spotted by random enemies and just as durable as any other lightly armored character in spite of her inability to even stand up when you first meet her.  Even then, other characters completely miss her, which makes you wonder how enemies can focus on her when your own group doesn't know she's there.

 

The story writing for her is still very good and the voice acting is well done, I just don't completely understand her abilities inside and outside of combat and how they work. 

 

For immersion purposes, however, I'm still curious. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree and years from now I'm sure there'll be mods that incorporate ideas like that. In general a lot of the companions would really have blossomed with ingame representations of their unique qualities. Aloth's personalities, Durance's Soul etc.

 

In the end however I'm afraid budget and time was the biggest enemies to seeing that happen.

  • Like 4

Fortune favors the bald.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

People still recognize her, but she appears as a generic person without any distinguishing features. Then, shortly after, they begin to forget about her. So in combat, they just see her as a faceless enemy combatant. Your allies see her as hired help, but then forgot about her after any fight ends. When she's pointed out, the party members see a peasant woman. This seems to be a very specific and powerful cipher technique that she utilizes, but she can still be recognized by watchers, ciphers, and other people able to manipulate souls (like Thaos).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I enjoy telling her off. And I believe her story is a allusion to the real life pro-life vs. pro-choice debate. I take issue with her manipulation / violation of mothers' minds. And if she's doing it to the rest of my crew I certainly won't tolerate it.

 

Hell, she even tried to feed the PC false memories during her companion quest.

 

The way she explains it it doesn't seem like she does the "caul" thing on purpose though. Her actual words were "they don't see past my caul", which would imply it's just there and people can't see through it.

 

She has no right to do it to people she travels with (or anyone really). Not if she's doing it on purpose.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

People still recognize her, but she appears as a generic person without any distinguishing features. Then, shortly after, they begin to forget about her. So in combat, they just see her as a faceless enemy combatant. Your allies see her as hired help, but then forgot about her after any fight ends. When she's pointed out, the party members see a peasant woman. This seems to be a very specific and powerful cipher technique that she utilizes, but she can still be recognized by watchers, ciphers, and other people able to manipulate souls (like Thaos).

 

That's actually a pretty good explanation.  At one point she does mention how she had to use more and more Cipher powers to shield her from the people who were "onto her" but I was curious if there was a more specific explanation that I'd missed.  Still a good breakdown, though. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

People still recognize her, but she appears as a generic person without any distinguishing features. Then, shortly after, they begin to forget about her. So in combat, they just see her as a faceless enemy combatant. Your allies see her as hired help, but then forgot about her after any fight ends. When she's pointed out, the party members see a peasant woman. This seems to be a very specific and powerful cipher technique that she utilizes, but she can still be recognized by watchers, ciphers, and other people able to manipulate souls (like Thaos).

 

That's actually a pretty good explanation.  At one point she does mention how she had to use more and more Cipher powers to shield her from the people who were "onto her" but I was curious if there was a more specific explanation that I'd missed.  Still a good breakdown, though. 

 

Who's "onto" her anyways? She lived in a village. Yes she essentially murdered a young mother and but her guilt in the matter was never proven. And she admittedly ran due to her paranoia. Villages typically don't have that kinda of resolve or resources to track her down this far away.

 

I just find it unacceptable that she continually does this to people she travels with. This thread is making me realize I should've gotten rid of her when I had the chance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But if you want a way to square it with lore, perhaps not all ciphers have or utilize the glamour that Grieving Mother does.

 

That's a given, I think. GM implies that her glamour is not something she can willingly suppress - it may even be a natural talent.

 

(My headcanon is that she's the reincarnation of Eothas.)

If I'm typing in red, it means I'm being sarcastic. But not this time.

Dark green, on the other hand, is for jokes and irony in general.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seems to me that she basically gives us the explanation in Act 3 when she confesses that she lost control of her illusion weaving and it became so powerful that it took on a life of it's own, ensnaring her so deeply that she came to believe that she was just another Hollowborn's mother.

"Walk away, before you get hurt." [benevolent] - Luma Akasha

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

But if you want a way to square it with lore, perhaps not all ciphers have or utilize the glamour that Grieving Mother does.

 

That's a given, I think. GM implies that her glamour is not something she can willingly suppress - it may even be a natural talent.

 

(My headcanon is that she's the reincarnation of Eothas.)

 

Wouldn't that make her a teenager? Eder fought in the Saint's War as a young man and he looks to be in his 30s tops.

 

Maybe she came out of the Les Enfantes Terrible project alongside Solidus Snake...

Edited by LaSpeakeasi
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

But if you want a way to square it with lore, perhaps not all ciphers have or utilize the glamour that Grieving Mother does.

 

That's a given, I think. GM implies that her glamour is not something she can willingly suppress - it may even be a natural talent.

 

(My headcanon is that she's the reincarnation of Eothas.)

 

 

That's actually brilliant and I really like the idea, though LaSpeakeasi is right -- she's probably too old for that to be the case.  It's still a fascinating idea, though.  I always liked Eothas and am hoping for more story based around him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seems to me that she basically gives us the explanation in Act 3 when she confesses that she lost control of her illusion weaving and it became so powerful that it took on a life of it's own, ensnaring her so deeply that she came to believe that she was just another Hollowborn's mother.

 

Assuming anything she said or showed the Watcher is true. The worst kind of liars are those that first convince themselves of a lie. Since they believe in that lie there is no way to tell if they are not telling the truth. GM is this type of person by her own admission, and with her cipher powers added into the mix there is no way to tell if any of her memories have any truth in them. For all we know there was no village, no Birthing Bell, no midwife job and she actually is a grieving mother that keeps lying to avoid facing the truth of her own Hollowborn baby or something like that.

Several things fail to check out about her own story as well. She is not old enough, if you add the years since the Hollowborn Epidemic and the fact that she delivered children before that incident that she kept connected to well into puberty/adulthood, plus the time needed to be old enough and train to be a midwife she should be 60+.

Also the "special" connection to the Watcher... while the Watcher gets the impression that he can do anything to her with that connection it is in fact under GM control and she can cut it off at any time forcing the Watcher to instantly forget about her, as it is shown in a certain quest near the end of the game if the "baby juice" option is selected.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

It seems to me that she basically gives us the explanation in Act 3 when she confesses that she lost control of her illusion weaving and it became so powerful that it took on a life of it's own, ensnaring her so deeply that she came to believe that she was just another Hollowborn's mother.

 

Assuming anything she said or showed the Watcher is true. The worst kind of liars are those that first convince themselves of a lie. Since they believe in that lie there is no way to tell if they are not telling the truth. GM is this type of person by her own admission, and with her cipher powers added into the mix there is no way to tell if any of her memories have any truth in them. For all we know there was no village, no Birthing Bell, no midwife job and she actually is a grieving mother that keeps lying to avoid facing the truth of her own Hollowborn baby or something like that.

Several things fail to check out about her own story as well. She is not old enough, if you add the years since the Hollowborn Epidemic and the fact that she delivered children before that incident that she kept connected to well into puberty/adulthood, plus the time needed to be old enough and train to be a midwife she should be 60+.

Also the "special" connection to the Watcher... while the Watcher gets the impression that he can do anything to her with that connection it is in fact under GM control and she can cut it off at any time forcing the Watcher to instantly forget about her, as it is shown in a certain quest near the end of the game if the "baby juice" option is selected.

 

The problem with this argument is that it's infinitely recursive. It adds no value to the narrative. It is not a vehicle of suspense or drama, humor or relief. It doesn't matter if it is resolved one way or the other. The premise becomes irrelevant and her character superfluous. For all the flaws in the game mechanics, I do believe that character development is a hallmark of Obsidian.

 

In some primitive cultures, roles were assigned at birth, often, but not always, along familial lines. It is quite likely that even a non-cypher would be a competent midwife in her late 20's to early 30's. I don't recall any specificity about her age other than her portrait.

 

I have never taken the 'baby juice' option. I'm pretty sure that even Satan or Iblis would pull back from that one. I can suppose that GM would be so violently opposed to the idea of such a thing that every planck charge of psychic/soul energy of her being would assault any connection you may have had. It is a two way street - in conversation she often says she will not oppose you looking into her mind, implying that she certainly could have. She's clearly very powerful. If you were unprepared, I think she'd be able to wipe her existence from your consciousness, or at least set up a strong block.

"Walk away, before you get hurt." [benevolent] - Luma Akasha

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the subject of GM's age: I think she's explicitly stated to be middle-aged when you first recruit her?

qKz5nVP.png

tumblr_ntb1sfqeVI1rxxgfbo3_400.png                                                         

I stream every Friday at 9pm EST: http://www.twitch.tv/ladaarehn  Currently streaming: KOTOR 2.

 

Pillars of Eternity homebrew tabletop thread: https://forums.obsidian.net/topic/84662-pillars-of-eternity-homebrew-wip/

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 If you were unprepared, I think she'd be able to wipe her existence from your consciousness, or at least set up a strong block.

She actually does that if you 'fail' her quest I believe.

"That rabbit's dynamite!" - King Arthur, Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail

"Space is big, really big." - Douglas Adams

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like the Grieving Mother's backstory a lot. Very dark and fit in perfectly with the lore of the game.

 

But I had a really hard time with her manner of speaking. I think they tried a bit hard with making her "mysterious" and otherwordly, just comes off as silly. It's probably the companion I use the least because of that. Once I complete her quest, she never goes into the party again.

  • Like 1

Listen to my home-made recordings (some original songs, some not): http://www.youtube.c...low=grid&view=0

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did anyone understand how she could forget her past altogether?

 

I mean, she does mention trying to suppress the memories of what she had done but ... I don't know, it felt kinda forced for some reason. She used her Cipher powers to suppress her memory of what had happened and ... well, if she didn't remember what had happened in the village, why did she leave? If she left while still remembering, why didn't she go back after forgetting? If you choose to erase the memory from her mind when she asks you to, the end-game slide says she goes back to the Birthing Bell, waiting for more women to come deliver. So why didn't her suppression yield the same effect?

 

(And why did she keep the caul up if she didn't remember why she was doing that?)

"Time is not your enemy. Forever is."

— Fall-From-Grace, Planescape: Torment

"It's the questions we can't answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question, and he'll look for his own answers."

— Kvothe, The Wise Man's Fears

My Deadfire mods: Brilliant Mod | Faster Deadfire | Deadfire Unnerfed | Helwalker Rekke | Permanent Per-Rest Bonuses | PoE Items for Deadfire | No Recyled Icons | Soul Charged Nautilus

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did anyone understand how she could forget her past altogether?

 

I mean, she does mention trying to suppress the memories of what she had done but ... I don't know, it felt kinda forced for some reason. She used her Cipher powers to suppress her memory of what had happened and ... well, if she didn't remember what had happened in the village, why did she leave? If she left while still remembering, why didn't she go back after forgetting? If you choose to erase the memory from her mind when she asks you to, the end-game slide says she goes back to the Birthing Bell, waiting for more women to come deliver. So why didn't her suppression yield the same effect?

 

(And why did she keep the caul up if she didn't remember why she was doing that?)

I don't think *uses* her power per se. When you discuss her cipher abilities with her she mentions she has no cipher training and doesn't consider herself one. So it's possible her cipher abilities yields itself entirely without her conscious control.

 

Which would explain why she puts on the caul involuntarily and can't take it off if she wanted to; and how she doesn't have access to her own memory without the Watcher reading it for her. They are all unwitting defense mechanisms of hers.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did anyone understand how she could forget her past altogether?

 

I mean, she does mention trying to suppress the memories of what she had done but ... I don't know, it felt kinda forced for some reason. She used her Cipher powers to suppress her memory of what had happened and ... well, if she didn't remember what had happened in the village, why did she leave? If she left while still remembering, why didn't she go back after forgetting? If you choose to erase the memory from her mind when she asks you to, the end-game slide says she goes back to the Birthing Bell, waiting for more women to come deliver. So why didn't her suppression yield the same effect?

 

(And why did she keep the caul up if she didn't remember why she was doing that?)

She did say that she was trying so hard to maintain the illusions of so many people that her own psyche was unable to handle the strain and she got lost in her own illusions. I imagine at that point her reality would be fractured with truth and various falsehoods all woven together. She seems not to understand the dreams until you talk through them. The need to escape without knowing why. The caul being like a spider lost in it's own web.

 

I believe the birthing bell was because you suppressed everything painful, leaving her with an incomplete picture. She remembered helping women there, but not the Legacy effects.

"Walk away, before you get hurt." [benevolent] - Luma Akasha

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@AC - In-universe, LaSpeakeasi's got it. She can use some of her powers voluntarily, but some are involuntary.

 

From a meta perspective, Avellone originally intended her to have a shared past with Durance. IIRC, she would have somehow attempted to use her powers on him, and the both of them were to have been "burned" in the process. This was cut, along with the mental mazes Avellone wanted to build into their quests.

 

 

 

 

 

But if you want a way to square it with lore, perhaps not all ciphers have or utilize the glamour that Grieving Mother does.

That's a given, I think. GM implies that her glamour is not something she can willingly suppress - it may even be a natural talent.

 

(My headcanon is that she's the reincarnation of Eothas.)

That's actually brilliant and I really like the idea, though LaSpeakeasi is right -- she's probably too old for that to be the case. It's still a fascinating idea, though. I always liked Eothas and am hoping for more story based around him.

I just sort of assume that even her appearance and physical body are just a form the Watcher can perceive comfortably. The Watcher sees a Grieving Mother because as a god of rebirth in a place where rebirth has been broken, that's kinda what she is. (Again: headcanon.)

Edited by gkathellar

If I'm typing in red, it means I'm being sarcastic. But not this time.

Dark green, on the other hand, is for jokes and irony in general.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Head...canon? *checks to make sure this isn't BSN*

 

On a more serious note, Grieving Mother has a lot stuff about her that's not well explained and comes off as forced or arbitrary, and likely not because that's what they were going for with her. (Heck, the entire 'Watcher' thing itself isn't handled well, either). That said, she's still one of the bright parts in and otherwise blah narrative experience, the other being Durance. And both are brought down by how they don't fit very well into the larger narrative. Not sure exactly why it's the case, could be time constraints, too many cooks in the kitchen, not wanting to shackle a story to the player, less value placed on story v. gameplay, or just poor execution. 

 

Those few spikes in quality during those two's char quests makes it shame to me that MCA didn't want or wasn't given a larger role in the narrative, as this seems just like one of his stories. Present life being driven by a past life to slowly merge paths throughout the game, ending at the same point but with the present succeeding where the past failed. Of course, being so similar to his past works could've been the reason; it doesn't take a ton of imagination to see how this could basically been bit of a narrative retread for Obsidian.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Truly well written and charismatic character, but I really didn't like voice acting, felt too unnatural and compulsive.

 

I doubt she is old as stated above, she seems more like middle-aged woman, but her combat finesse is certainly more of a young woman... feels a bit odd, maybe she's hiding her true age?

 

Also I don't think she could be reincarnation of Eothas, but idea is brilliant really. Just because I don't thing "Gods" can be reincarnated, they seem more like artificial constructs without souls to me, but I don't want to get into deep PoE Gods discussion in this thread.

 

There's some staggering, splendid and terrific bordering with creepy moment in journey with her. If you never tried to sacrifice her at Blood Pool, you may wanna do that, well, I did that with some other chraracters and reactions of party members were there but with Grieving Mother, well, it felt something else...

 

Really wished she was romance-able, I fell in love with her at first sight...

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Bump.

 

Hiya, I have a question for ya.

 

This is the text from the Durance wiki page: http://pillarsofeternity.gamepedia.com/Durance

 

Durance spent many years following the Saint’s War, rooting out Eothas sympathizers; then not long after, rooting out those he believed responsible for the Hollowborn crisis. This led him to torture and ruin the soul of the Grieving Mother (in defense, she was forced to wound his soul to make him stop). Neither one of them recognizes the other when and if they meet.

 

Unfortunately there is no source to that information. Does anybody know something about that?

It would be of small avail to talk of magic in the air...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I remember correctly, Chris Avellone initially planned for that to be part of the game but it ended up getting cut before release.  No idea whether the content was ever actually written and I don't think the devs have said whether they consider it to be canon.

Edited by jsaving
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...