Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight and Cinder, also known as Gwyn, Lord of Cinder, the Great Lord, or simply as Lord Gwyn is the final boss in Dark Souls and one of the original four Lords who helped defeat the dragons.
He is the father of Gwynevere, Gwyndolin, Filianore and an unknown firstborn, a God of War whom Gwyn drove away "due to [the former's] foolishness". Other comrades of him were Havel the Rock, Gwyn's Four Knights (Ornstein, Artorias, Gough and Ciaran), Smough (the royal executioner), and Seath the Scaleless, a blind and scaleless Everlasting Dragon who helped Gwyn in the first war.
Lord Gwyn wears an impressive set of royal drapes, with gold bands on his arms, and a crown atop his head. On his feet are what appear to be a form of moccasins and anklets, and he wields a greatsword imbued with the power of light and of the First Flame, which he uses to adequate effect. His face is that of an aged man with calm eyes, and he has an impressively long, grey beard and hair of the same nature. When the Chosen Undead fights Gwyn in the Kiln of the First Flame, Gwyn appears to be Hollow, evident by his haggard appearance, charred skin and missing eyes.
Lord Gwyn can be found at the Kiln of the First Flame.
After the advent of fire, Gwyn discovered a Lord Soul along with the Furtive Pygmy, Gravelord Nito, and the Witch of Izalith; he was surrounded by knights when he found the Lord Soul and was dressed in regalia, so it is possible that he may have been a king before obtaining it. His soul allowed him to manipulate light, and generate a substance called lightning. The Lords allied with Seath the Scaleless and amassed an army, and with their power granted by their souls, challenged the Everlasting Dragons for dominion of the World. His mighty bolts peeled apart their ancient scales, allowing them to be killed by other means of attack, and they were ultimately defeated, but importantly not eliminated.
And thus the Age of Fire began, with Gwyn as the king of Lordran. He lived with his clan who became a new and varied race known as Gods, in their city of Anor Londo. They often hunted the descendants of the dragons for sport, for which many of their powers were developed. This did not include Seath, for he received recognition for his deeds, and was made a part of the nobility - specifically by being deemed a Duke and given control over the Archives.
Meanwhile, Gwyn formed his Four Knights: Dragonslayer Ornstein, the captain of the guard; Hawkeye Gough, commander of the Dragonslayers; Lord's Blade Ciaran, the royal assassin; and the legendary Knight, Artorias the Abysswalker.
When the flame began to fade, Gwyn and the other Lords did all they could to find a solution. The Witch of Izalith attempted to recreate the First Flame from her own Lord Soul, but the attempt went horribly awry, mutating the Witch into the terrible Bed of Chaos, which spewed forth malformed chaos demons whom Gwyn's faithful Silver Knights fought; the Demon's flames turned their armor black. Seeing no other choice, Gwyn left Anor Londo and traveled to the Kiln of the First Flame to link it, thus prolonging the Age of Fire.  A great many of his Black Knights followed him into the Kiln and were reduced to ash when he linked the fire, wandering Lordran as disembodied spirits for eternity; the remaining Silver Knights guard Anor Londo. However before he left, Gwyn divided his own soul among his clan and children, and granted parts to both the Four Kings and Seath along with other beings. 
It is implied that at least one thousand years have passed from this point, to when the events of Dark Souls begin. Gwynevere, Princess of Sunlight, Kingseeker Frampt and Darkstalker Kaathe give the Chosen Undead alternating viewpoints of Gwyn. Gwynevere claims that it is the Chosen Undead's duty to succeed Gwyn, stating that their success would "avert further Undead sacrifices" and that without Fire, "all shall be a frigid and frightful Dark" – a perspective that Frampt shares. As this Gwynevere is actually an illusion made by her brother Gwyndolin, whether or not they are being entirely truthful is left unresolved.
On the other hand, Kaathe asserts that the Age of Dark – the apparent "age of men" – would naturally follow the Age of Fire, but Gwyn, in dire fear of both the Dark and humanity, resisted the course of nature by sacrificing himself to link the Fire. Unlike Frampt, Kaathe believes it is the Chosen Undead's fate to "destroy the fading Lord Gwyn, [...] become the Fourth Lord, [and] usher in an Age of Dark".
Gwyn is the nephew of Allfather Lloyd and father of Dark Sun Gwyndolin, a son whom he raised as a daughter, and two actual daughters Gwynevere, Princess of Sunlight and Filianore. His other son was a god of war, who inherited the sunlight through his status as firstborn. However, he sided with the Ancient Dragons, for which he was promptly stripped of his deific status and all references to him, including his very name, were erased from Lordran and the Annals of History.
Company Captain Yorshka is a possible daughter of Gwyn, although considering the facts that Gwyndolin gave her a name and that she doesn't know much about the world, this may not be true - rather, she could be an adoptive daughter. However, cut content provided some information about her, supporting that Gwyndolin is her brother and she was imprisoned for years (what can explain her little knowledge about the world). What was not put into the game is that she is crossbreed.
Although not explicitly stated, it is implied that the events of Dark Souls II take place far later – at least, in a period of enough time for several kingdoms to rise and fall within. It is also shown that regardless of the Chosen Undead's decision to link the Fire - or not - following Gwyn's death, the cycle of Light and Dark still exists. At this point, Gwyn's name has long been forgotten – only recalled as the God of Sun – and his only legacies are four of his surviving miracles: Lightning Spear, Great Lightning Spear, Sunlight Spear, and Blinding Bolt. The Sunlight Spear is stated to be "one of the ancient original miracles, said to have existed from the infancy of the very world", but its relation to Gwyn is not mentioned, further reinforcing him being past recollection; the Blinding Bolt miracle was said to be created and then later forbidden by him.
The Old King Soul is dropped by the Old Iron King if he is defeated at bonfire intensity 2+. The soul is described as a "once magnificent soul" that can be used to make either the Blinding Bolt miracle or a Dragonslayer Greatbow, thereby creating some connection between the Old Iron King and Gwyn. Aldia, Scholar of the First Sin, refers to Gwyn as the "Lord of Light" who altered the natural order and began the cycle of light and dark. He expresses his outrage at Gwyn for making men lesser than their original purpose, and elaborates that his acts were a lie - however The First Sin itself is never defined, leaving the dialogue of "Once, the Lord of Light banished Dark, and all that stemmed from Humanity" up to interpretation as to what it references; despite this, it most likely refers to when the Gods branded the Ringed Knights .
When Dark Souls III begins, Gwyn's remaining children are either scattered, dead or killed by Aldrich, Devourer of Gods. The Great Cathedral of Anor Londo has fallen into disrepair & decay, with his last remaining son Gwyndolin having taken his father's title as King of the Gods. However, even Gwyndolin is not safe; shortly before the events of the game, a coup by Pontiff Sulyvahn and Aldrich led to him being poisoned, and then devoured by the latter.
Gwyn is (presumably) reincarnated, along with all other Lords of Cinder who followed him, in the Soul of Cinder. This last defense against the Ashen One is an amalgamation of all Lords of Cinder who ever linked the First Flame. Using Gwyn's fighting style after its primary attacks proved fruitless, the Soul of Cinder serves as the final boss of Dark Souls III.
Health and Stamina management are a must in this fight, as Gwyn will rarely give the player any chances to heal. It is heavily advisable to use a fast weapon to attack with, preferably one that drains little stamina. Heavy weapons are not recommended for this fight. It may be hard for the player to find a proper opening to fight back or heal as a result of Gwyn actively seeking the player. His attacks deal a great amount of damage if they connect. If blocked, his attacks will still deal considerable damage to the player as a result of the flame damage his sword deals. A good way to reduce the damage to a slight margin is by using shields with high fire defense, such as the Black Iron Greatshield or the Black Knight Shield, which can be dropped by the nearby Black Knights; however, care should still be taken as blocking a full attack chain will cost a lot of stamina and may eventually result in losing health or dying. The Gold-Hemmed Black Set can further negate the fire damage at the cost of less physical defense against his attacks.
The pillars in the arena can be used to block his attacks, however, Gwyn will easily move around them and continue attacking. It is possible for him to keep attacking a pillar that is blocking his path, giving the player a chance to heal, however, he may simply go around it.
Parrying is a high-risk, but incredibly efficient strategy. All of Gwyn's attacks, minus the kick and grab, can be parried. Using the Hornet Ring, a single riposte can erase a large fraction of Gwyn's health. However, any mistakes can end up badly for the player. Therefore, it may be preferable to opt for heavier armor for this strategy, as dodging is not the main tactic, and the additional poise and defense leaves some margin for error. It is ideal to block the first hit of his combo, and parry the telegraphed second hit. After performing a riposte, the player will have just enough time to Estus heal.
Summoning Solaire or other players can help ease the battle, giving a chance to heal or apply buffs. For Solaire, he may be able to land several hits before dying. By using the Black Knight Halberd or a spear type weapon you can hit Gwyn through the pillars and take little damage from his attacks.
While Gwyn does not provide for a lot of openings, especially if wielding a slow weapon like the Zweihander, it is possible, through using a shield with enough stability and having enough fire resistance, to use a circling strategy.
Keeping very close to Gwyn and keeping a shield up, the player can be dealt very little damage by the flaming sword by constantly strafing to the player's left. When Gwyn attempts to grab the player or kick them, the slower animation should enable the player to get behind Gwyn's back, thus making the attack miss. At that point, there's a small window to get an attack in. With a weapon with a strong enough attack to break Gwyn's poise, the player then has a full second to finish the attack animation and get the shield back up, effectively never breaking their guard.
Use of this strategy requires the player to keep a close look on their stamina bar.
Regularly, though, the player will have to heal themselves, unless the fire damage is completely negated. Using the pillar strategy outlined above is quite efficient. It is a good idea to keep one's health high enough to that a grab attack can't kill with one hit. Therefore, having 20 estus flasks is recommended.
- Unlike any other boss in Dark Souls, Gwyn can be parried.
- Defeating Gwyn and passing into NG+ will cause the Chosen Undead to be in their hollowed state upon their awakening in the Northern Undead Asylum, even if they had reversed hollowing before the fight.
|550||0||258||0||Regular / Fire||Yes||Both||Medium|
Used by Gwyn while he's dashing. Although it is one of his linear attacks, it is possible he may switch to a slashing combo midway. It is also one of his best attacks in terms of tracking the player.
Quad-Slash Combo[note 1]
|400||0||250||0||Regular / Fire||Yes||Both||Medium|
Gwyn performs this attack in quick succession and solid tracking. It begins with an angled slash, then a horizontal one, another angled and finally a horizontal slash once more. The angled attacks can be sidestepped if the player moves early enough.
Triggered regularly when blocking close to Gwyn, it causes a large drain of stamina if it connects while blocking.
Slash and Thrust[note 1]
|388||0||250||0||Regular / Fire||Yes||Neither||Medium|
Occasionally Gwyn will interrupt his normal slash combo with a quick thrust afterwards. If it hits, the player will be stunned, leaving them open for further combos.
Slashing Upper Combo[note 1]
|550||0||250||0||Regular / Fire||Yes||Neither||Medium|
Starts with a powerful horizontal slash, which takes a large portion of stamina, followed by two more hits. The first two slashes can be difficult to evade.
|488||0||250||0||Regular / Fire||Yes||Neither||Medium|
A powerful slash used by Gwyn to break the player's guard.
Instant Dash/Double Slash[note 1]
|550||0||250||0||Regular / Fire||Yes||Neither||Medium|
A very fast attack, which comes out of Gwyn's instant dash when he glides towards the player before slashing twice.
|200||0||638||0||Fire / Regular||No||Neither||Medium|
An unblockable grab attack that deals massive fire damage. It has a high horizontal hitbox, so it is possible to roll under it to avoid it. It's relatively slow and does not track well so player can simply walk backwards to avoid it. After knocking the player away, Gwyn will follow up with a jumping slash or dashing slash. It also leaves Gwyn open to attacks for a short time.
|Physical Defenses||Elemental Defenses||Resistances|
These stats are sourced from FuturePress's Official Dark Souls Strategy Guide.
Soul of Gwyn, Lord of Cinder
- Gwyn's design and lore seems to have been heavily inspired by Zeus of ancient Greek mythology.
- Several aspects of him can also be compared to the Welsh deity Gwyn ap Nudd.
- Gwyn ap Nudd is said to be a warrior with a "blackened face" similar to Gwyn's hollowed flesh, and the King of the "fair folk." The gods of Lordran being a fair folk.
- In Arthurian legends and writings, Gwyn ap Nudd was the ruler of a delightful paradise called the otherworld, or Annwn. Such a place would be similar to Anor Londo during its glory days.
- Additionally, one can make a comparison between Gwyn ap Nudd leading the Wild Hunt in Welsh legend, and the dragon hunts of Gwyn.
- Damage is listed per slash
- Ring of the Sun's Firstborn description.
- Dark Souls opening narration.
- Ornstein's Set descriptions.
- Gough's Set descriptions.
- Lord's Blade Set descriptions.
- Set of Artorias descriptions.
- Havel's Ring description.
- Darkstalker Kaathe: "Hmm... You are astonishing. The truth I shall share, without sentiment. After the advent of Fire, the ancient Lords found the three souls. But your progenitor found a fourth, unique soul. The Dark Soul. Your ancestor claimed the Dark Soul, and waited for Fire to subside. And soon, the flames did fade, and only Dark remained. Thus began the age of men, the Age of Dark. However... Lord Gwyn trembled at the Dark. Clinging to his Age of Fire, and in dire fear of humans, and the Dark Lord who would one day be born amongst them, Lord Gwyn resisted the course of nature. By sacrificing himself to link the Fire, and commanding his children to shepherd the humans, Gwyn has blurred your past, to prevent the birth of the Dark Lord. I am the primordial serpent. I seek to right the wrongs of the past, to discover our true Lord. But the other serpent, Frampt, lost his sense, and befriended Lord Gwyn. Undead Warrior, we stand at a crossroads. Only I know the truth about your fate. You must destroy the fading Lord Gwyn, who has coddled Fire and resisted nature, and become the Fourth Lord, so that you may usher in an Age of Dark."
- Black Knight Set descriptions.
- Soul of Gwyn, Lord of Cinder description.
- Bequeathed Lord Soul Shard descriptions.
- Silver Knight Set descriptions.
- Great Lord Greatsword description.
- Kingseeker Frampt: "Heavens! You have done it! You have retrieved the Lordvessel! After a thousand years! It is you, it is really you! Hraaaoogggh! ... Forgive me. I really should calm down. Now, let us take that vessel on a journey. I assume you are ready. Now, be still!"
- Gwynevere, Princess of Sunlight: "O chosen Undead. I am Gwynevere. Daughter of Lord Gwyn; and Queen of Sunlight. Since the day Father his form did obscureth, I have await'd thee. I bequeath the Lordvessel to thee. And beseech thee. Succeed Lord Gwyn, and inheriteth the Fire of our world. Thou shall endeth this eternal twilight, and avert further Undead sacrifices."
- Gwynevere, Princess of Sunlight: "Since the day Father his form did obscureth, I have await'd thee. Once living, now Undead, and a fitting heir to father Gwyn thou art, and beseech thee succeed Lord Gwyn, and inheriteth the Fire of our world. A grave and arduous test of mettle, yea, it shall be. Indeed we had felt the warmth of Fire, its radiance, and the life it sustaineth. Without Fire, all shall be a frigid and frightful Dark."
- Kingseeker Frampt: "Ahh...ohh! The Lordvessel is satiated... Magnificent... You are the righteous successor to Gwyn, the new Great Lord. And I am Kingseeker no more... Your acquaintance was an honour. I must admit, I am fond of you humans. May you enjoy your serendipity. And may the Age of Fire perpetuate."
- Darkmoon Blade Covenant Ring description.
- White Seance Ring description.
- Moonlight Set descriptions.
- Ring of the Sun Princess description.
- Small Envoy Banner description.
- Sunlight Medal description.
- Soul of the Nameless King description.
- Yorshka's Chime description.
- Unused content of Dark Souls 3 – Ruined finger of Dark Sun Gwyndolin. The young crossbreed girl loved her brother, of whom all that remains is this ruined finger. Even so, her love for him will never falter…
- Dialogue with several NPCs, such as Straid of Olaphis, Laddersmith Gilligan and Sweet Shalquoir.
- Lightning Spear and Great Lightning Spear descriptions.
- Blinding Bolt description.
- Sunlight Spear description.
- Ringed Knight Set description
- Japanese description of the Soul of Pontiff Sulyvahn which refers to Gwyndolin as 主神 which can be translated to "main god/chief god/king of gods".