"Soul of the mind, key to life's ether. Soul of the lost, withdrawn from its vessel. Let strength be granted, so the world might be mended... so the world might be mended."
A lot of people who've never played a Souls game before wonder why The Emerald Herald, the central support character of Dark Souls 2 who hands out power ups and advances the plot, is such a curiously unengaging character. People who've played Dark Souls wonder why she's such a non-event compared to previous firekeepers such as Anastacia of Astora or The Fair Lady.
People who've played Demon's Souls know exactly why The Emerald Herald is such a damp squib. It's because of The Maiden In Black.
Here comes the Maid In Black
That's the Maiden In Black, the spiel up top is The Maiden In Black's catchphrase, and people REALLY, REALLY like The Maiden In Black.
Everything about The Maiden In Black is a class act. She has a mysterious and sexy Eastern European accent. She talks in spooky poetry. She's a goddamn demon, by the way. She alternates between declaiming the plot like a Shakespearean actress and dandling her feet in the air like a child (which is adorbs, btw). And look at her, she has pancakes on her face!
The team behind Dark Souls 2 decided that they were going to recreate the fan success of The Maiden In Black, and that's the story of how The Emerald Herald was born. They gave her a fruity costume. They gave her lengthy catchphrases. They gave her kooky body language callbacks to the MiB. Did it work?
No, it didn't.
It really, REALLY, didn't. To give you some example of how badly it didn't, the Emerald Herald's catchphrase:
"Bearer of the curse…Seek souls. Larger, more powerful souls.Seek the King, that is the only way.Lest this land swallow you whole… As it has so many others."
...caused fans to nickname the character "Bear seek seek lest," because that's what you hear after irritably skipping it for the hundredth time. You can even buy a "Bear seek seek lest" T-shirt.
The joke's on the player, of course, as the Emerald Herald is revealed to be a fake firekeeper, just like the fake dragons and the fake everything else in the game. In the words of Pat from the Best Friends, "Congratulations, you are the king of BULLSHIT." I suppose that's very clever, shitting on everything the fans wanted to see in a sequel just to make your super clever fucking clever point. Hideo Kojima did it with Sons of Liberty, so it MUST be clever.
It's also an object lesson in the fact that you can't manufacture waifu.