If there’s one character in Elden Ring that I both get annoyed and can relate with, it’s Sir Gideon Ofnir, the All-Knowing. That combination makes him insufferable, and that’s what also makes him a memorable character, especially near the end of the game. But I didn’t have to finish the game to get his schtick since that had been spelled out by the intro. The epithet of “All-Knowing” is not to be taken lightly, and it’s also his undoing.
Sir Gideon Ofnir, the All-Knowing is introduced in the opening cutscene when you start a new game in Elden Ring as one of the renowned Tarnished, alongside Hoarah Loux, Goldmask, Fia the Deathbed Companion, and the loathsome Dung Eater. He’s the very last to be named among them before mentioning the Tarnished of no renown, which is the player character.
What makes Gideon special is how he serves as a guide for most of the game, sitting behind his desk surrounded by books in his room at the Roundtable Hold. For players who are experiencing the game for the first time without online guides, he’s somewhat helpful until near the end of the game. Let’s talk about this character, his progression throughout the narrative, and what makes him a lesson for whoever encounters him.
NOTE: This post contains major spoilers for Elden Ring. You’ve been warned.
I wrote a whole post about this character because I’m basically a lot like Gideon. I’m doing in the real world exactly what he’s doing in the game, except I’m neither as magical nor vying to become Elden Lord.
Gideon Does Know All, But Does Nothing
In the context of the in-game world, he does know all as most others in the Lands Between don’t know what he and the player knows. Of course, the player — especially if they’re already spoiled or have finished the game before — may find him to be quite informative since he enumerates every demigod you had to kill in order to reach the Erdtree and claim the throne to become Elden Lord.
While some may think that he has no ambitions whatsoever to ascend to the Elden Throne, especially when they reach near the end of the game when they have to fight Gideon and he mentions that Marika has high hopes for us and we must forever struggle, that’s a big fat lie. He himself had mentioned his aspirations to become Elden Lord himself.
“You’ve received the wisdom of the Two Fingers, have you not? Then, just as promised, I bid you welcome, as a true member of the Roundtable. I am known as Gideon Ofnir. As a Tarnished who wishes to stand before the Elden Ring and become Elden Lord, I am accumulating knowledge. To be all-knowing. You now belong to a select group of fellows. As such, I ask that you remain constant.” — Sir Gideon Ofnir, the All-Knowing
Gideon is doing all that nerding out in order to gain as much as insight and informational advantage as possible so he could do what the player character is also aspiring to do. However, the old codger is a perfect example of analysis paralysis, which I’ve talked about here in this blog post over 9 years ago as of this writing. I still haven’t written a follow-up to that post even now, which is ironic since that’s due to my own analysis paralysis.
It’s common for people who have little to no experience in an endeavor to want to wait and prepare until they feel they’re truly ready. But since they don’t have experience in embarking on such a task in the first place, how could they know if they’re truly ready in the first place? How can they predict what’s to come and prepare contingencies to deal with every scenario?
The best possible way to know beforehand is to have a mentor who has gone through it before to guide them through the process. However, even if they have such a person to consult, that mentor can only show the door. It’s still up to the individual to walk through it, and that’s the hard part. However, with enough initiative, the seemingly improbable can be made possible.
What Gideon truly shows is anxiety and even cowardice with his constant need for never-ending preparation. Perhaps he liked studying more than the process of ascension to Elden Lord. That’s not a bad thing if he never had any pretensions to begin with, but he does. That’s what serves as his hamartia — his fatal flaw in the tragedy that is his life and thereafter.
Comparing Gideon and Rykard
Rykard, Lord of Blasphemy is on the other side of things while also in the same scenario of analysis paralysis. He let himself be eaten by the God-devouring Serpent to gain the power to devour the gods, but he has since remained underneath the Volcano Manor to gorge on every living thing that’s sent down to him by Lady Tanith. He eats to become more powerful, but he then doesn’t stop and never goes anywhere else, thus worrying his recusant followers.
Gideon and Rykard pretty much do (or don’t do) the same thing. They wait for too long before doing what they’re supposed to do. However, the difference between them is that Gideon springs into action only after realizing that the player character accomplishes what he could not. Meanwhile, Rykard still doesn’t do anything at all and just keeps gorging, even if he has long been ready to devour the gods well before the start of the game’s events.
Rykard became a glutton who couldn’t be bothered anymore, while Gideon just never felt ready enough until it was way too late. He had been more powerful than the player character during the start of the game, having mastered many high-level skills and sorceries at that point. You may even get a sense that he has spies following you as his skills are derived from the demigods you would defeat throughout your journey.
As you slay all the shardbearers and assemble the runes of the Elden Ring, he would sit on his hands, perhaps thinking that either nothing will come of your efforts past a certain point or he’d then be able to pounce on your when you least expect it and scavenge the spoils afterwards. Perhaps he couldn’t figure out for sure how to enter the Erdtree or knew how but didn’t want to fight Maliketh to acquire the Rune of Death. Who knows what he had been planning?
The Erdtree would get set on fire. Maybe by then, Gideon had started worrying, but he still remained behind his desk. And then, when the thorns of the Erdtree were finally burned away thanks to the unlocking of the Rune of Death, that’s when he made a beeline for the Ashen Capital to intercept you. He then makes a speech about Marika expecting all Tarnished to struggle forever, which is without any doubt a whole crock of manure.
It didn’t take me that long to figure out that Sir Gideon Ofnir, the All-Coping was written to be full of crap. By the time I killed Rennala and was heading towards Altus Plateau, seeing him still sitting there told me everything I needed to know about the character. Him practically disowning his step-daughter Nepheli Loux didn’t help either as it showed how he valued his research more than his relationships. As is in the real world, being a bad father says a lot about a man.
Hidetaka Miyazaki likes to write fatal flaws and weaknesses into his characters. No one is in their prime, everyone is a walking tragedy, and the same is possible for the player character as well due to the cruel and solitary nature of the worlds he creates for his games. In the case of Sir Gideon Ofnir, the All-Knowing, he’s a warrior-scholar who had all the resources to become Elden Lord, but his lack of foresight kept him from getting off his chair and fighting for what he wants and believes in.
And in the end, all he could do was deceive himself and huff on that copium before being slain by the protagonist, whose flame of ambition compelled them to do what Gideon could not.
Have something to say? Do you agree or am I off-base? Did I miss a crucial detail or get something wrong? Please leave whatever reactions, questions, or suggestions you may have in the comment section below.
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