After plodding about in Darkroot Garden for hours, the last thing I expected was a giant wolf attacking me for approaching his old owner's grave. People wax lyrical about Fry's dog in Futurama, but that's absolutely nothing in comparison to Sif's sacrifice in Dark Souls.
Long before we meet him in Darkroot Garden, Artorias and Sif were sent on a mission to stop the spread of the Abyss in Oolacile. The task was even more immense than Knight Artorias had imagined and eventually, the Abyss started to overcome him. In a last ditch attempt to save Sif, he cast a protective spell and threw his shield down to protect his loyal wolf. Shortly after, Artorias fell. Sif was a gatekeeper, a warning for others not to tread the same path that saw the demise of his master. After you defeat him, he drops an item called the covenant of Artorias, allowing us to go to New Londo and face off against the Four Kings in the Abyss.
Even before learning of Sif's tragic tale, there was always an immense sense of grandeur upon entering the grave of Knight Artorias. The moon hangs low, the size of Artorias' Greatsword implanted into the ground wrongly temps us into approaching one of Dark Souls' most memorable boss fights.
Sif is abolutely massive. In every playthrough of Dark Souls, the fight with Sif is as inevitable as your clash with the Asylum Demon. When you get to the latter stages of the fight, he visibly becomes weaker and limps towards you as he drags the greatsword along the ground. Every time I kill him I feel awash with guilt. Players spent months discussing whether or not there might be a way to avoid killing Sif. It's not that dissimilar to Shadow of the Colossus, evoking the same pangs of guilt as you kill a magnificent creature who was minding its own business until you showed up.
Sif is the only character in Dark Souls' lore that doesn't get morally murky at any point in time. Hell, even Solaire cracked and went insane. Sif prevails in a world crumbling around him with one goal; to protect the legacy of his master. You can actually ally with Sif in the Artorias of the Abyss DLC, where you are able to summon him to fight alongside you in the battle against Manus. If you defeat Manus with Sif along your side before facing off with him in Darkroot Garden, he recognises you as a friend, and lets out a pained howl as he realises the inevitability of the upcoming battle.
There's no aspect of Sif's story that isn't tragic. Sif manages to be a beacon of loyalty, splendour and honour in a world which no longer cares. Your player leaves a trail of destruction behind them, and unfortunately Sif is in your way. Dark Souls' somber tale of a loyal Wolf is one of the most iconic bosses in modern gaming, and not one we will soon forget.
Also, Sif is technically a wolf, but all canines are born equal. #DOGCEMBER prevails.
Sayem Ahmed is a beautiful wee boy who likes his robots.