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"A cleansing fire always burns little Mandus, but it purifies and it makes anew."
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Redeem us both, Daniel. Descend into the darkness where Alexander waits and murder him.

note to self.

Daniel (c. 1814-1821 to August 19th, 1839 or later, depending on player action) was a British archaeologist and research assistant, who was hunted by an unstoppable supernatural force after encountering an ancient artifact during an expedition to Algeria. He left for promised sanctuary in the castle of a mysterious Prussian baron named Alexander of Brennenburg. Some months later, he awoke in the castle, disoriented and having lost his memories, with only a single, enigmatic missive from his past self to guide him: to find and to kill Alexander.

He is the anti-hero protagonist and player character of the game Amnesia: The Dark Descent. He is voiced by British actor Richard Topping.[8]

Biography[]

Early life[]

Daniel was an Englishman born in the early 19th century in Canterbury, Kent.[10] His father was an artisan and his mother presumably was a homemaker.[3] He had one sister named Hazel, for whom he cared deeply. She was stricken with sickness at a young age and Daniel would often read to her during the summers.[4] His father was physically abusive and would often take out his anger on his children, at one point being known to have kicked Daniel in the stomach in the kitchen, as well as lock him in the dark basement.[11][12]

Young Daniel developed nyctophobia, an intense fear of the dark, as a result of being locked in the basement.[12] This was not because Daniel was literally afraid of the absence of light, but because he feared the possibility that he may be trapped forever in the darkness, with no hope of escape.[12]

Daniel's childhood was also made miserable by a school bully by the name of Henry Bedloe, who carried the bitterness of his own abusive mother.[13] Weary of being constantly tormented everywhere he went, Daniel finally gave in to peer pressure and confronted Henry, striking him with a rock.[14]

As a young adult, Daniel took up residence in Mayfair and began working at the British Museum as an archaeology research assistant to Professor Thurston Herbert, at the time when it was expanding its collection of human history and culture.[15][1]

Algerian expedition and aftermath[]

In the early months of 1839, Daniel became a member of an archaeological expedition to Algeria to uncover the Tomb of Tin Hinan, serving under Professor Herbert.[2] They arrived in Algeria in early May, and took up residence at a luxurious hotel in Algiers to make final preparations before they set out. Before he went to the tomb, Professor Herbert's team had taken shelter in Al-Mamaru Fort.[16] Meanwhile, Daniel presumably started writing a letter his sister, Hazel, on the 16th of May, 1839.[16] However, for some reason, he was never able to finish it. The team continued to search/excavate the tomb, and upon entering, Daniel was trapped inside by the collapse of the doorway.[17] Having nowhere else to go, he proceeded forward and came upon a mysterious Orb.[18]

After being freed from the tomb an hour later, Daniel was sent back to England against his wishes to recover by the expedition's leader, Herbert.[19] His duties were transferred to Khaled,[20] who analyzed the symbols on the pillars in the Champagne of Pillars[21]. In England, Daniel began to look into the origins of the Orb, noticing that its pieces changed color and shape.[22] Disturbed, Daniel went to Sir William Smith, a reputable geologist, to seek an explanation.[22]

A few days later, Daniel discovered that his expedition ended in disaster.[23] There were no traces of Herbert and his men, except for the man who gave the alarm, who was badly injured and rambled that the camp had been attacked by something terrible.[23] Two nights later, after an intense dream, Daniel managed to assemble the Orb and visited Herbert's university in order to obtain more information on it.[24] Professor Taylor told him that the Orbs were the inspiration for much Roman symbology and that they had originally been wielded by priests.[24]

While leaving, Daniel heard that the geologist, Sir William Smith, had been found dead.[24] As Daniel became more and more relentless in his pursuit of information, he stole one of Herbert's address books and wrote letters to everyone on the list.[24][6] Although most of the letters appeared to be dead ends, a reply from Alexander of Brennenburg invited Daniel to a castle in Prussia to offer him protection.[6] Since reassembling the Orb, Daniel began experiencing terrible nightmares featuring a disturbing, otherworldly voice, developing insomnia out of dread.[6] He was forced to see his physician, Doctor Tate, who he hoped would prescribe him sedatives.[6]

After three days, Daniel found out that Professor Taylor and Doctor Tate shared the horrific fate of Sir William Smith.[25] It became apparent to Daniel that he was being followed by an unknown force, which had haunted him since the expedition.[25] Scared for his own life and feeling responsible for the deaths of the people with whom he met, Daniel realized that accepting the baron's mysterious invitation was the only thing he could do.[25]

Fleeing to Castle Brennenburg[]

Daniel sailed to the port city of Bremen, paying both a carriage driver to take him overland to East Prussia, as well as an outrider, Gabriel, to guide him safely to Brennenburg Castle.[7] The last night on the road, Daniel stopped in Altstadt at the Der Mühle Inn to sleep—his appearance that of a "a thin and considerably tired man" — and arrived at Castle Brennenburg the next day.[7][26]

When Daniel arrived, he met Alexander and his servants.[27] He was pleasantly surprised by the baron’s polymathic mind and knowledge of the world's affairs, as he assumed the man would be an eccentric recluse; however, he was unnerved by Alexander’s odd servants.[27] Daniel told Alexander that he wanted to dispose of the Orb, only to be warned that if he did so, the unknown force (known as the Shadow) would kill him anyway.[28] Interested in Alexander's information on the Orb and impressed by his polymathic knowledge, Daniel began to submit more and more to the baron’s will.[29][30] Eventually, Alexander showed Daniel the Inner Sanctum, where he performed a "banishing ritual."[29] Unknown to Daniel, however, Alexander was actually trying to force the Orb to yield its power to him.[29][31] The Shadow then manifested in the Sanctum with the two; Alexander quickly covered the Orb with a cloth.[30] The following day, Alexander and Daniel made preparations for what Alexander claimed to be a "warding ritual" to keep the Shadow at bay.[32]

Descent into sadistic madness[]

Alexander began tutoring Daniel in various methods of torturing prisoners, for the purpose of extracting Vitae.[5] He claimed that the prisoners were criminals, but it is implied that most, if not all, were not. Seeing no other option but to trust Alexander, Daniel took part in gruesome rituals involving torture and murder.[33] After each round of torture, he and Alexander would feed the prisoners an Amnesia potion, so that the method of torture would always be unexpected, and they would be unable to prepare themselves mentally.[34] This way, the amount of vitae extracted from each prisoner was maximized.[34]

Daniel justified his actions as keeping the world clean, becoming more and more desensitized to the killing of these "criminals,” to the point where he began to take sadistic pleasure in the acts, which deeply troubled even Alexander.[35] But the event that made him turn away from the rituals and Alexander was when he and the baron kidnapped the dairy farming Zimmermann Family.[36]The father had been struck down by Alexander, and the mother, daughters, and farmhands were being held in the dungeons.[36] But after obtaining a hammer and chisel, the mother, Agathe Zimmermann, managed to chip out a hole in the cell. And one of the daughters, Elise Zimmermann, escaped through the hole, but Daniel found out.[37] Daniel interrogated and murdered Agathe, and then tracked down the fleeing Elise.[38]

Fearful that she would escape and alert the king's men before the banishing ritual could be completed, Daniel hunted down and stabbed Elise to death in the Storage rooms.[39] Almost immediately, the sight of her lifeless body crippled his psyche. He realized that he had killed an innocent solely to protect himself, and was filled with guilt and disgust.[40]

Alarmed by Daniel's deteriorating mental state, Alexander locked himself in the Inner Sanctum, ready to go through with a ritual that would transport him to another world, a place that was supposedly his "true home."[41] Daniel, abandoned to the approaching Shadow, flew into a rage and swore revenge on Alexander, but was still unable to cope with his guilt over the blood rituals.[41] Deciding that he couldn't bear to remember, Daniel took an Amnesia potion after leaving a final note to his future self, instructing the new Daniel to find and kill Alexander before the Shadow claimed him.[41][42] The events of Amnesia: The Dark Descent happen almost immediately afterwards.[42]

Events of Amnesia: The Dark Descent[]

Note: This summarizes what the player experiences as they play Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

Don't forget... some things mustn't be forgotten. The shadow hunting me... I must hurry. My name is Daniel, I live in London at... at... Mayfair... What have I done? This is crazy. Don't forget, don't forget. I must stop him. Focus! My name is... is... I am Daniel.

Daniel, at the very beginning of the game.

Daniel fumbled with his memories, and wandered blindly through the castle. While the tonic achieved the desired effect and destroyed the guilt that crippled him, it had further consequences, as he struggled to recall where he even lived. He eventually collapsed onto a rug and was only able to remember one thing - his name and his place of residence. Shivering and confused, Daniel searched through the rooms and picked up a lantern, which he began to carry with him. As it became more apparent that he was not alone in Brennenburg, Daniel found a note written by himself on a desk that was prepared for him to find;

19th of August, 1839.
I wish I could ask you how much you remember. I don't know if there will be anything left after I consume this drink. Don't be afraid Daniel. I can't tell you why, but know this, I choose to forget. Try to find comfort and strength in that fact. There is a purpose. You are my final effort to put things right. God willing, the name Alexander of Brennenburg still invokes bitter anger in you. If not, this will sound horrible. Go to the Inner Sanctum, find Alexander and kill him. His body is old and weak, and yours, young and strong. He will be no match for you. One last thing. A Shadow is following you. It's a living nightmare - breaking down reality. I have tried everything and there is no way to fight back. You need to escape it as long as you can. Redeem us both Daniel. Descend into the darkness where Alexander waits and murder him.
Your former self,
Daniel.

Having decided to follow his former self's advice, Daniel began to travel through Brennenburg. He realised that his former self's warning about a nightmarish force following him was true. This beast, the Shadow, manifested and dogged his every footstep. Along the way, he began to uncover more and more of his past by uncovering parts of his diary and notes left by the denizens of Brennenburg. But as he goes deeper and deeper into Brennenburg, and drew closer to the Inner Sanctum, he found out that he was not alone. Deformed, violent monstrosities known as Gatherers searched for him restlessly, and Daniel used all of his wit to survive. Various times, Daniel got past environmental barriers and worked with decrepit machinery in order to move throughout the castle. But over time, Daniel began to lose his grip on his sanity as he started hallucinating and hearing voices, particularly from his victim, Elise Zimmermann. At a few points, Alexander communicated with him telepathically, and Alexander asked him if "he has changed his mind."

Eventually, Daniel managed to make it to the Nave, the area around the Inner Sanctum. There, he met Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, a famous German occult writer and supposed magician, who Alexander had trapped inside of the husk of his body. Agrippa told Daniel that Alexander would try to use Daniel's Orb in order to get back to the Other World, and asked Daniel if he could help him escape from his husk. When Daniel attempted to access the Inner Sanctum, he discovered that it was blocked by a mystical barrier that could only be bypassed with the use of another Orb. In an attempt to get into the Inner Sanctum, Daniel began to search the Transept and Choir to obtain pieces of Alexander’s broken Orb and to also mix Weyer's Tonic, which was needed to free Agrippa.

As Daniel began to make the items he needed, he discovered why his former self took the Amnesia potion. It was finally revealed to him when he remembered one of the murders he committed. Daniel’s memory was jogged when he entered into a room in the Choir Entrance with strange symbols painted on the walls and candles surrounding an altar. Slowly, the memories of the room returned. Daniel remembered having a prisoner gagged and tied down to the altar, with lines painted onto the man's chest and arms, and a jagged knife nearby on a table. In order to ward the Shadow off and extract the vitae, Daniel slowly cut open the man, using the lines painted onto him as a guide for where to cut. As the hallucination ended, Alexander communicated with him telepathically and started to taunt him, saying that Daniel was blaming him for acts of murder and torture that he himself also committed. Pushing on, with all of the guilt having returned to him, Daniel found the pieces needed to assemble the Orb and was able to concoct the potion if he so chose.

Daniel returned to the Chancel, hoping to get past the portal, but he was attacked by three Gatherers and was knocked out. He woke up in a jail cell, and Alexander telepathically asked Daniel to stay in the cell; which would allow the Shadow to kill him. Holding it off for Alexander to travel through the portal. Completing their work. The player can chose to follow Alexander’s request, or escape.

If the player had Daniel escape from the dungeon, a tense pursuit between them and the Shadow commenced. When Daniel made it back to the Nave, he finds that most of the area around the Chancel has completely collapsed. Agrippa was still alive though, and he told Daniel that he must finish concocting the potion. After doing so, Daniel fed Agrippa the tonic, and then used a bone saw to cut off Agrippa’s head in order that he would be able to move around with him. Making his way past the ruined Chancel, Daniel arrived in the Inner Sanctum.

In the Inner Sanctum, Daniel found Alexander floating naked in midair, shining blue. Surrounding the Baron were three pillars with streams of supernatural energy flowing into what would be the portal. Alexander rants to Daniel about how now he will finally be able to return "home". From here, the story can end in three different ways.

Daniel decides to take revenge, and knocks over the three pillars connecting to the portal, ruining the ritual. The Shadow overtakes the Orb Chamber but spares the young man, leaving him unharmed. Appeased that he's atoned for his earlier actions. Alexander, however, screams and is devoured. The Shadow has no more influence over the young man due to his redeeming actions. Daniel is allowed to safely leave Brennenburg forever with a guilt-free conscience. The young man knows he can't deny the terrible acts he's committed but knows he paid his "tribute" to the fallen. He avenged the innocent and his former self as he walks into the light of day. We hear Daniel walk though the main gate (leaving the grounds), the castle then crumbles behind him as he walks away (most likely caused by The Shadow, as it recedes from the castle).

If Daniel does nothing at first, the portal opens up and Alexander floats towards it, leaving Daniel to face The Shadow alone. If the player uses Agrippa's head on the portal, then the ritual will be completed before Alexander can float towards it. This results in both Alexander and Daniel being consumed by The Shadow as it does not forgive him. Daniel's spirit is now trapped in darkness, but in the distance he sees blue lights appearing before him. The voice of Agrippa is heard who seems to be pleading with Johann Weyer to take pity on the man branded by the Guardian and find a way to save him. It seems Weyer agrees and Agrippa sounds relieved and ensures Daniel that everything will be alright. The game then ends.

Daniel chooses not to do anything at all, either not having Agrippa's head or simply deciding not to use it. As Alexander enters the portal, The Shadow slowly overtakes the chamber, furious with the young man for letting the baron use the orb to escape. It taunts him with the memories of those he tortured and killed. Daniel screams knowing all is lost. It then consumes him, killing him. Daniel's body is devoured and his worst fear is finally realized as The Shadow sucks his conscious into absolute darkness that he cannot escape from. In the void, Daniel hears Alexander thanking him, saying that his 'sacrifice' will never be forgotten and he'll be celebrated forever.

Daniel is captured in the Chancel and held captive in the Cells. Here, Alexander gives Daniel the option to stay where he is and let The Shadow consume him there so that Alexander can finish his ritual uninterrupted. Should Daniel remain in the cell and wait for The Shadow to consume him, the events will be similar to the previous choice, where The Shadow taunts Daniel with the voices of people he tortured before finally consuming him, Alexander completing his ritual and returning to his world, then thanking Daniel and telling him that he'll be celebrated forever. This is the only ending where Daniel does not reach Alexander's chamber and meet him face to face.

Amnesia_-_Revenge_Ending

Amnesia - Revenge Ending

Events of Amnesia: Justine[]

Although Daniel does not appear in this expansion, an unopened letter written by him can be found.[43] Daniel, as part of his attempt to glean information about his predicament from Professor Herbert’s close contacts, wrote to Monsieur Florbelle.[6] Due to Florbelle’s death earlier in February, he never received a response.[44]

Should Justine Florbelle find the letter during the events of Amnesia: Justine, she will tell her maid, Clarice, to mail a two-decade-late response.

Events of Amnesia: Rebirth[]

Daniel is mentioned briefly in a few notes found throughout the game, mostly in those written by Professor Herbert. One of these notes was an uncompleted letter from Daniel to his sister Hazel, in which he is writing to her about their progress in the desert.[16] Hazel apperantly had asked to talk about a certain subject with their dad, which didn't go well (sentence was crossed out).

Quotes[]

  • "What have I done? This is crazy. Don't forget, Don't forget. I must stop him. Focus!"
  • "I have to get out of here."
  • "It was my greatest triumph... and I never looked back. You think I was afraid fleeing Brennenburg? Quite the contrary. I knew it was my purgatory – hellfire made to wash away my sins. There's no denying the things I've done. But I have paid my tribute. I gave them that awful man... I did the right thing."

Trivia and Speculation[]

  • His name was originally "Folke".[45]
  • Daniel owned a book called Robinson Crusoe, which was written by another "Daniel," an author named Daniel Defoe.
  • The place of his residence—Mayfair, London—was mentioned in the game Penumbra: Overture which was also developed by Frictional Games. In 1839 Mayfair was, and still is, a very affluent neighborhood. This suggests Daniel somehow has a good amount of funds at his disposal, suggesting his father was a very successful artisan.[15]
  • Daniel shares his name with the biblical seer in Book of Daniel. Agrippa comments on it when first meeting Daniel, saying, "Daniel? Like the prophet thrown into the lion's den?" and "So Babylon shall fall you say."[46]
    • Another possible reference, though remote, lies in the naming of Alexander of Brennenburg and his connection to Daniel in The Dark Descent. In his conquests, the Macedonian king Alexander "the Great" supposedly spared Jerusalem after being shown the Book of Daniel,[47] in which a prophecy was contained that predicted a "Greek king" would defeat the Persian Empire, his major military rival at that time.
Also Everyone's Girlfriend

Daniel's in-game model, a disembodied arm.

  • The in-game model of Daniel consists of just an arm.
  • Daniel may have been somehow changed by the Orb he found and touched, as he experiences things no ordinary human would experience, even given the same history and environment. While in many cases, these are instances of design for the convenience of the player, in-universe this may be explicable as due to his experience with the Orb's influence.
    • For example, in some flashbacks, Daniel is somehow able to recall events and memories that don't belong to him, such as Alexander's experiments on animals in the mid-17th Century, roughly a century and a half before Daniel was even born.
  • Daniel is the only player character in the Amnesia series to not have their surname mentioned.

Speculation on Daniel’s Age[]

  • Daniel’s age can be reasonably estimated for the following reasons: since Hazel is 15 in 1839, Daniel’s age can be estimated to be around 18 to 25, as siblings are rarely more than a decade apart in age, there is also the fact that Hazel and Daniel were close enough in age for them to experience their father’s abuse together as children. If Daniel was more than a decade her senior, this would not be as likely. However, it is also rather unlikely that Daniel is in his late teens, as he makes no mention of currently attending university for archaeology. He also owns a house in Mayfair, goes on a month-long expedition as Herbert’s main assistant, is able to arrange meetings with notable men such as Professor Taylor and Sir William Smith, and is able to travel to and stay at Brennenburg for months. So despite his relative youth, it is likely that Daniel is finished with his education and at the beginning of his career, which would put him in his early 20s.

Gallery[]

Video[]

Amnesia_The_Dark_Descent_-_Daniel's_Reactions_ramblings

Amnesia The Dark Descent - Daniel's Reactions ramblings

Daniel's many sounds

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Daniel’s Position (Rebirth)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Daniel's Diary: 16th of May 1839 (TDD)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Strappado- 6th Quote - “Artisan” (TDD)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Well- 3rd Quote - “Scheherazade” (TDD)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Daniel's Diary: 9th of August 1839, second entry (TDD)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Daniel's Diary: 14th of July 1839 (TDD)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Remember: "The Outrider"
  8. 8.0 8.1 Amnesia: The Dark Descent – English credits: "Richard Topping as Daniel"
  9. Amnesia: The Dark Descent – Russian credits, snowball.ru. Retrieved on 2020–12–16. Archived from original on Aug 07 2014.
  10. Rose - 5th Quote - “Canterbury” (TDD)
  11. Rose- 3rd Quote - “Kitchen Abuse” (TDD)
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Well- 5th Quote - “Darkness” (TDD)
  13. Well- 1st Quote - “Henry’s Mother” (TDD)
  14. Rose- 2nd Quote - “Rock” (TDD)
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Mayfair". Accessed 20 February 2023. Last revised 11 February 2023. Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayfair.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Letter to Hazel (Rebirth)
  17. Daniel's Diary: 17th of May 1839, first entry (TDD)
  18. Daniel's Diary: 17th of May 1839, second entry (TDD)
  19. Daniel's Diary: 22nd of June 1839 (TDD)
  20. Note to Abdullah (Rebirth)
  21. Note to Khaled (Rebirth)
  22. 22.0 22.1 Daniel's Diary: 25th of June 1839 (TDD)
  23. 23.0 23.1 Daniel's Diary: 2nd of July 1839 (TDD)
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 Daniel's Diary: 5th of July 1839 (TDD)
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 Daniel's Diary: 17th of July 1839 (TDD)
  26. Daniel's Diary: 2nd of August 1839 (TDD)
  27. 27.0 27.1 Daniel's Diary: 3rd of August 1839 (TDD)
  28. Daniel's Diary: 4th of August 1839 (TDD)
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 Daniel's Diary: 7th of August 1839 (TDD)
  30. 30.0 30.1 Daniel's Diary: 8th of August 1839 (TDD)
  31. Daniel's Diary: “9th of August 1839” (TDD)
  32. Daniel's Diary: 9th of August 1839, first entry (TDD)
  33. Daniel's Diary: 12th of August 1839 (TDD)
  34. 34.0 34.1 Notes on Torture (TDD)
  35. Memory capsules (The Dark Descent): “Sympathy for Daniel” (TDD)
  36. 36.0 36.1 Daniel's Diary: “18th of August 1839” (TDD)
  37. Flashback: "Elise's escape from her cell" (TDD)
  38. Flashback: "Daniel and Agathe" (TDD)
  39. Flashback: "Elise's death" (TDD)
  40. Daniel's Diary: "18th of August 1839 - Death of Elise” (TDD)
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 Daniel's Diary: “19th of August 1839” (TDD)
  42. 42.0 42.1 Notes: “Daniel’s final note to self” (TDD)
  43. Unopened Letter (Justine)
  44. Unfinished Letter (Justine)
  45. "Fun facts: The protagonist of Amnesia: TDD was once named Folke and a "cat" monster was in the design." frictionalgames, @frictionalgames. Accessed 4 October 2022. Published 31 March 2015. Twitter. https://twitter.com/frictionalgames/status/582921531023572992.
  46. Dialogue (TDD)
  47. "Alexander the Great". Accessed 4 October 2022. Last revised 1 October 2022. Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_the_Great.

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