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Dark Souls 3 guide: Grand Archives walkthrough

PREPARE TO DIE LESS

Your journey through Lothric doesn't end here. Be sure to check out the rest of Polygon's Dark Souls 3 guide, which offers everything from tips for beginners and returning masochists to detailed walkthroughs of every area — including all of the secret, bonus content.

Map

Click the map to make it larger, and be sure to check out all of our Dark Souls 3 maps.

How To Get There

Continuing forward across the bridge after defeating Dragonslayer Armour brings you to the Grand Archives. This is another area with only one bonfire, but a multitude of expanding shortcuts, much like Cathedral of the Deep.

The Grand Archives bonfire

The Grand Archives bonfire is a straight walk from the Dragonslayer Armour bonfire. Go through the arch and down the stairs. Continue up the stairs to the Grand Archives bonfire.

Interior and Crystal Sage

To your right is an elevator that you will unlock later. Instead, continue forward. Pick up the Gotthard Twinswords and Grand Archives Key. Go up the stairs and unlock the Grand Archives door with the key you just picked up.

Go up another flight of stairs and enter the Archives. Here, you will have your first encounter with a Crystal Sage. Deal some damage, and he'll flee. Turn left and head up yet another flight of stairs. Continuing forward, you'll come to stairs on the right that descend to the hallway where the Crystal Sage appeared. Keeping to the left, you'll drop into another hallway that leads you deeper into the Grand Archives. Follow the hallway around to the right and go up the stairs where you'll encounter your first Grand Archives Scholar. Turn left and you'll see three more guarding a basin of melted wax. Dunk your head in the wax to gain temporary protection from the ghostly arms in the bookcases.

Go through the door on your right. Watch for two crystal lizards in the mist. Go up the stairs on the right and then take another right out onto the second level of the Archives. Right in front of you will be a ladder to kick down, providing a shortcut for later. Keep moving along the walkway until it turns to the right. Follow it around the turn and up the stairs to refresh your head's wax coating. Be careful, as this wax pool is protected by three thralls. In the center of the walkway's bend, opposite the doors, is a lever that will drop a bookcase out of the way on the main floor, providing another shortcut for later.

Keep an eye out here for long-range attacks from the Crystal Sage as you go outside and up the ladder on the left. At the top, you will find a balcony where you will have another encounter with the Crystal Sage. He is supported by two Scholars and Thralls, but will flee again after you've dealt enough damage.

Go up the staircase on the left, but be prepared for ambushes from a Thrall, more ghostly arms and a hidden Scholar, all attacking from your left. Continue forward and enter a room behind an illusory wall in the corner opposite the Scholar. Here you can fight a Boreal Outrider Knight and pick up the Outrider Knight Armor Set and the Soul Stream sorcery. If that's not a fight you want to take on, bear right instead and go down the ladder. Turn left and finish your fight with the Crystal Sage to earn the Crystal Scroll. Give this to Orbeck of Vinheim to learn three powerful crystal sorceries.

To the right of the bridge is a lever that will retract two bookcases on your right, giving you the Scholar's Ring as well as a shortcut back to a wax pool. On the far end of the bridge, watch for a Scholar sniping at you from your right. Continue across the bridge and up more stairs.

Up On The Rooftop

Ahead and to the right is an elevator that you can take down to open a shortcut to the beginning of the Grand Archives. In the room at the bottom of the elevator, pull the lever to move the bookcase blocking your way. Dispatch the two Thralls and take a left to return to the Grand Archives bonfire.

To continue forward, take the elevator back up, turn left and keep climbing. You'll encounter four more Scholars at the top of the next set of stairs with a fifth sniping from a walkway above. The first is at the top of the stairs. Try to take him out quickly before The second is to the right, but watch for ghost arms if your wax coating has worn off. Another will enter from the doorway across the room, but keep your eye on both the sniping Scholar on the walkway above and the last row of books where the final Scholar is hiding. Before you leave, don't miss the chest containing Titanite Scales to the left of the door.

There is a Large Soul of a Crestfallen Knight back in the stacks on your right, but there are a ton of ghostly arms between it and you, so weigh its value if your head isn't waxed. There's a wax pool back down the stairs, across the bridge and through the hidden room where you picked up the Scholar's Ring if you need a new coat, but watch out for the Thralls.

Exit through the doorway and climb the stairs. Take an immediate right to find a crystal lizard and the Fleshbite Ring, but again watch out for the ghost arms all along the path.

Head outside, turn left and head down the ladder. There is an optional area to the right. At the end of the roof, there is a flat area where you will encounter a gargoyle. These gargoyles are much more agile and aggressive than their headless counterparts in the Profaned Capital and they have the same invincibility frames during nearly all of their attacks. These gargoyles take a few more hits to kill, so be prepared to roll under and behind them to catch your breath.

After defeating this gargoyle, grab the Titanite Chunk at the end of the roof. You can also drop off either side to find a Hollow Gem in a hallway underneath.

Continuing the way you were originally headed, you'll find four Corvians surrounding a Corvian Storyteller, but it is far easier to head backward through the tunnel and turn to the right, where you can drop onto a balcony right behind the Crystal Sage's bridge. From there you can work your way back up to the roof.

Either avoid the gargoyle on the right, or your second time through, bear left and walk forward and over two roof peaks. Follow the path to the left. When the wall on your left ends, a gargoyle will be waiting for you. Head up two slanted roof sections until you can turn left. If you hug the wall to the right, you can avoid another gargoyle ambush, or you can head to the peak of the roof to your left to trigger the fight and find a pair of crystal lizards.

Continue forward and climb up to a landing. Keep going until you can drop onto the next roof. There's another gargoyle waiting for you around the corner. Be careful during this fight because there's one more gargoyle waiting to attack if you stray too far forward.

Dispatch both of these gargoyles and continue walking along the wall. Pass under the archway and onto the next roof. Turn right and drop onto the next level.

Walk through the broken window directly ahead of you, but be prepared for the Scholar that attacks from your right. Follow the walkway to the left until you come to another ladder you can kick down. This creates another shortcut that will let you bypass the gargoyles on subsequent trips.

Unkindled and the Lothric Castle Elevator

Continuing along the pathway brings you to another wax pool. Feel free to refresh your head wax, but it's not necessary as the critical path lies outside. A few steps further down the walkway, take the door to the left to enter a courtyard. Ahead and to the right there are several more flights of stairs and three powerful Unkindled to fight. Defeat them for a Golden Wing Crest Shield, the katanas, Onikiri and Ubadachi, and the Sage's Crystal Staff.

At the top of the stairs is a room with an elevator that leads directly to the Grand Archives bonfire. Continue up and out of this room. There is a stairway to the immediate left that leads up to the roof where there are many souls to earn and items find, but this path is optional. If you chose to head this way, make your way up the roofs and mostly straight forward until you see a staircase. Proceed slowly from here and you'll soon trigger a trio of Ascended Winged Knights.

These are much different from the Winged Knights you've seen before due to their fully functional wings. Many of their moves are the same, but watch for their new Divine Pillars of Light miracle attack. If you kite them carefully back down the stairs, you can tackle them one at a time. Around the back side of the dome's roof, opposite of where you started, grab an Estus Shard. Continue climbing up the stairs and ladder at the back of the central spire to grab the Hunter's Ring. Work you way back down to the roof and enter the central spire, then drop through the open trapdoor and onto the rafters.

Find all of the rings

Dark Souls 3 is filled with rings, and our guide to rings will tell you how to find every one of them and explain what they do.

From here, drop onto, then into, the oversized birdcage to find the Divine Pillars of Light miracle.

Drop out of the cage and onto the next level of rafters. Watch out for the Man-grub casting spells at you from below and to your left. At the far end of the central rafter, behind the cage, is a Blessed Gem. Drop one more time onto the next layer of rafters, and work your way to the left side, where you'll find a ladder. Take the ladder down to a walkway where you'll find two non-Mimic chests containing one Divine Blessing and three Twinkling Titanite.

Head forward to the broken window, which will deposit you in the room where you picked up the Fleshbite Ring and where you can pick up your path again.

Keep climbing the stairs.

The path forward is a gauntlet of barricades, hidden hollow soldiers and archers. Charging blindly forward is a sure way to get yourself overwhelmed, so keep to the sides and work your way forward slowly to give yourself an edge.

Once you've made your way through the barricades and archers, you'll find yourself facing three hollow soldiers with shields and spears escorting a knight. Approach them carefully and you should be able to kite the knight away from the slower soldiers, allowing you to handle them each at your own pace. Defeating them will reward you with more stairs and three more knights. Again, focus on handling them one at a time.

At the top of these stairs, turn right to unlock an elevator down to Lothric Castle.

Continuing forward and, you guessed it, up, will lead you to the fight against the Lothric Princes.

Boss fight: Lorian and Lothric, the Two Princes

Short version

Beat up Hodor, then you can focus on Bran.

Tactics (first phase)

For the first phase of this battle, you'll only be fighting Lorian, The Elder Prince. What he lacks in mobility, he makes up for with teleportation and vicious surprise attacks with his flaming sword.

Lorian's sweeping attacks are easy enough to avoid. He moves around the room slowly and timing your rolls to his telegraphed attacks will get you clear of his weapon. You can pick away at his health from a distance or up close, depending on your play style. However, when he glows white and teleports, it's very easy for him to quite literally get the drop on you. If he's glowing white and he looks like he's about to teleport, get ready to dodge and create some distance while you regroup.

Tactics (second phase)

After you defeat Loriain, his brother joins the battle. Lothric resurrects Lorian, climbs onto his back and adds magical attacks to the mix. Lorian continues to attack with his flaming sword while Lothric provides ranged attacks, all while the brothers teleport around the room to get a better angle on you. You'll have to keep dodging Lorian's weapon, but now you'll also have to keep an eye out for Lothric's two main attacks ‒ a powerful direct blast and a weaker-but-still-dangerous area attack that rains down on you. Both can be avoided by well-timed rolls.

The key to the second phase is damaging Lothric. Melee attacks from the back damage both brothers. Alternately, dealing enough damage to drop Lorain creates a window to attack Lothric while he resurrects his brother again (and again). Make sure you switch your target to Lothric and attack as much as you can until you have to again focus on Lorian.

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