Before I dive into this little Baldur’s Gate 3 revelation—this article contains big, stonking spoilers for the game’s third act. I’m talking about twists that are of major importance to a key figure in the game’s plot—you have been warned, adventurer. The third act of Baldur’s Gate 3 sees a handful of shocking reveals concerning the Guardian, that helpfully dreamy visitor you create at the start of the game.
First off—again, spoiler alert, this is the last time I’m gonna say it—the Guardian is actually a mind flayer named the Emperor, who escaped from the Elder Brain and sought to thwart the Absolute. Secondly, as discovered in the depths under Baldur’s Gate, he’s… well, he’s the Balduran. The gate master himself, founder of the city. Captured by Mind Flayers, turned into a squid, but still Balduran all the same.
As discovered on the Baldur’s Gate 3 subreddit by user CaptainChalky, the Emperor’s room in the Elfsong Tavern basically waves this in front of your face in the form of a fork. “My cutlery set”, the Emperor speaks as you go around rooting through his stuff. “A gift from my mother. The butter knife is missing, but otherwise it looks to be complete. I don’t need it anymore, but the memory stirs something within me still.”
Turns out, that’s a direct reference to Baldur’s Gate 1. As someone who hasn’t played the first two games, this reference skimmed over my head—though I did think at the time that the long line of dialogue felt out of place. CaptainChalky explains: “Late in Baldur’s Gate 1, you’re given a quest to try and locate the shipwreck of Balduran’s final voyage and find out what happened to him along with recovering any relics relating to him.”
One of these is a butter knife, of which the item description reads: “Legends often speak of Balduran’s Butter Knife … it is believed that his mother gave the ornate butter knife to him as an eighteenth birthday gift.” Anyone who played Baldur’s Gate 1 (and is blessed with the Keen Mind feature in real life) must’ve stopped dead in their tracks. That’s a pretty straightforward confirmation, akin to Larian’s writers making bunny ears behind our backs.
Except there’s an even more blatant reveal in the game itself, one that really twists in the butter knife. As commenter Wutras points out, the Song of Balduran, which plays in the Elfsong Tavern camp, pretty much spells the damn thing out word for word. “O, sing a song of Balduran / Who founded Baldur′s Gate … Transformed, he fell their thrall / Succumbed as threat from nether years / Arose to conquer all.”
All of this makes me feel a touch sheepish for listening to that song for however many hours in the Elfsong, chatting to my companions, organising my inventory—and then genuinely being blindsided by the reveal later on. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to answer this Sending spell—there’s a very nice man from the Counting House with a bridge to sell me.