By Jonathan Wojcik and Rev Storm
ENTRY 30: LIVING JARS!
We've finally come to the one creature that feels most like the "mascot monster" of Elden Ring. Its Goomba, Creeper or Headcrab. Something they could put on merchandise that no one would confuse with any other IP. The Living Jar, or sometimes Warrior Jar, is a large, roundish clay or stone pot with short legs and elongated arms. The limbs have the appearance of being made from black clay and bits of gravel, with pointed claw-like digits. There are no facial features, and the open top of the jar is filled in with a red wax seal bearing the image of the Erdtree.
Lovable enough at a glance, the jars are among the game's least hostile nonhuman monstrosities, typically minding their own business or even outright peaceful. In fact, there's an entire precious little village of them, Jarburg, where they waddle around admiring the flowers or playing with sticks or sort of crudely mirroring the typical things humans would do in some sort of community where NOTHING BAD EVER HAPPENS TO ANY OF THEM SO YOU SHUT YOUR MOUTH I'M NOT LISTENING ANYWAY.
There's even one little jar child, the Jar Bairn, who can hold enough of a conversation to gush about his favorite legendary hero...
...And that hero is the beloved Iron Fist Alexander, a massive and quite powerful jar on his own quest to become a legendary warrior! Fearless, chivalrous and jovial, he stands out as such a welcome beacon of fairy-tale levity in a game setting filled with so much gloom and despair, you'll never get your fill of him by the time his dialog and story events are expended, but you can enjoy the opportunity to fight alongside him.
You can also battle against him, of course, either when you decide to be a big dumb jerkoff or when he demands to test his strength in a friendly little deathmatch and you just can't say no to that faceless area a face might have hypothetically gone. Defeat him, and he goes out laughing over his final "marvelous" battle, but only after giving you a little present.
And unlike many of our previous creatures, Elden Ring leaves no question as to what these angels really are...
The common Living Jar item drop is the Warrior Jar Shard, and its description reads "Scraps of stewed flesh cling to the shard, and tatters of ornaments can be seen mingled within the slime. Relics of ancient royal warriors, perhaps."
Alexander, on his defeat, hands you an extra-special globule of gore, Alexander's Innards, which reads: "A keepsake of the warrior jar Alexander. Found at the core of the dead flesh that once filled the great jar. The jars contain drags inherited from those who came before. Thus are warriors passed from jar to jar, carrying dreams of greatness."
Alexander himself also says at one point:
"I was created to be a warrior vessel.
Many great warriors reside within me, ever dreaming of becoming a great champion.
It's my destiny. And the reason for which I quest.
It is my ordeal, you could say. To test myself, to better myself, to fell ever greater foes.
And then, one day, we'll be a single great champion. The greatest of them all!"
You can actually hand his innards over to his biggest fan, the Jar Bairn kid, who's none too broken up over his "invincible" "uncle Alexander's" defeat now that he can add his hero's giblets to his own inner gumbo and continue where the Iron Fist left off. Perhaps created as another weird way to cheat the system of a quasi-deathless world, Living Jars are nothing but countless minced-up corpses sloshing around in pottery given sapience and combat prowess by collective scraps of memory, driven to collect even more beefaroni and train in even more combat with the ultimate goal of consolidating all the finest, most experienced kibble into one unstoppable superjar. We don't know who invented them and gave them this purpose, but one thing I think we can all agree on is that they were someone very normal with ideas that aren't hilariously insane.
So if you don't have the heart to give Alexander a warrior's death, don't worry! You can just leave him rooting happily around the bloody carnage of the battlefield as he scavenges for fresh goodies with which to improve himself.
The Jars are a grisly and arguably disturbing concept, but in the game's own words, they're also just "friendly folk!" It's a combination that feels straight out of yokai mythology, but also oddly reminiscent of personified AI like the machines from Nier: Automata or the droids from Star Wars; artificial beings that can be fairly capable and even formidable, but just vulnerable and naive enough to tug at your sympathy. They are enchanted tubs of long pork salad that live only for the thrill of senseless bloodshed and the harvesting of semi-conscious kidneys, but they are also, canonically, roly-poly huggable sweetie pies who deserve nothing but happiness forever and ever.