Gabriel Knight 2: Lilies of the valley

(This is part of my journey playing through Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

So interesting story: This past weekend I was visiting my parents, who are preparing to go on another European trip.  We got on the subject of castles and I mentioned how this video game I was playing had us take a virtual tour of Neuschwanstein.  My parents told me that they visited there on their last trip and we spent 10 minutes comparing notes.  Apparently the game is incredibly faithful to the actual tour and details.  Neat!

w1Grace goes back to her boyfriend, the slightly offputting Georg, who talks about the wolf panels at the castle and mentions that they might be related to the lost Wagner opera.  Georg thinks that Wagner was too egotistical to have worked on a secret opera that he didn’t talk about, but Grace wonders if there was a reason for that secrecy.  A sponsorship deal with Reebok, perhaps?

w2Then it’s back to what this game does best: letter writing!  On typewriters!  What, is this 1972?  Where are the bloomin’ werewolves?  Why does playing Grace’s storyline feel like a developer is farming out his bachelors research project to me?

w3If you wanted to get a character in an adventure game arrested, you would simply have to make everything lootable.  They’d shoplift themselves right into a 20-year sentence by the time they walked down a city block.  So I’m not surprised that Grace is captivated by lillies outside of a church — because they’re clickable.  Dunno why random flowers are such a big deal, but the pastor gives her one.  Maybe he’s putting a curse on her and by accepting the lilly she’ll turn inside-out within the day.

Hey, I need to amuse myself when they’re talking in un-subtitled German.  Give me a break.

So now that Grace has a lilly, what to do with it?  If you answered, “Go to the lake where Ludwig II drowned and throw it in as a tribute,” then you defy video game logic as much as this game does.  Seriously, how was I supposed to know how to do that?

w4Good thing I did, because as Grace puts the lilly in and says a prayer (to whom?  Ludwig?), a face pops out of the water’s reflection.  Guess ol’ Luddie is haunting the riverbanks and makes a rare appearance whenever someone throws a lilly on his watery grave.  Next show at 3pm, kids!

OK, I head back to the museum and see one of the entries mention “by the power of the lily,” so I guess Ludwig had a thing for them.  And swans.  And wolves.  Too much symbolism, perhaps?

w5A stroke of good fortune (and programming) — the son of the guy who got to read and interpret Ludwig’s diary faxes me a copy.  In it, it shows how the guy struggled with his werewolfy nature and how Wagner’s music had an impact on it.  Guess the connection is becoming more clear!

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