There are many reasons to love Pyre, the delightful fantasy-sports hybrid from Supergiant Games, but what lifts it an extra notch is its endlessly charming roster of characters. The companions (and enemies) you encounter as you make your way through the story are all fascinating in their own right, but there was one plucky little Wyrm who really stole my heart: the indomitable Sir Gilman.
*STORY SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE*
You first meet Sir Gilman when battling against him and his triumvirate, the Pyrehearts, who are led by Gilman’s spineless captain, Sir Deluge. Despite being an adversary, Gilman endears himself immediately by taking a stand against his cowardly superior, and after the battle is over, clearly sick of his captain’s shit, he defects and begs to join your team, the Nightwings, in an attempt to reclaim his honour. I’m not sure what would have happened in the game if I had declined his offer, but I do know that if I had turned him away, I would have a small, Wyrm-shaped hole in my life.
Sir Gilman is the character in Pyre whom I least expected to love, but he quickly grew on me and is easily my favourite character in this game, and perhaps any game I’ve played recently. For starters, he’s a more-than-useful teammate in the Rites (the main game mode in Pyre) due to his lightning quickness; to quote Futurama, he makes Speedy Gonzales look like Regular Gonzales. I’ve lost count of the number of times I dunked on the enemy’s pyre by just taking control of Sir Gilman, squeezing R2 and whipping past my statuesque opponents; no complicated tactics, just pure speed. There’s something glorious in it.
Off the battlefield, Sir Gilman is by far the funniest character in the game. He’s prone to outbursts of unbridled emotion, delivered in a faux-Olde-English dialect that just makes his sudden eruptions even funnier. Gilman is the most overtly expressive character you’ll meet; whereas others will have subtle changes in body language that hint at their feelings, Sir Gilman literally has a pink heart for an eye when he’s happy. I love his over-the-top, anime-style design – actual fire in his eye when he’s angry, a genuine star in his eye when he’s in awe. It might have been out of place with any other character, but it works so well with Sir Gilman.
Of all the team members you meet in Pyre, Sir Gilman is probably the most transparent. He’s proud, yet endearingly humble, and noble to a fault. He gives himself completely to the team, concerned with his own quest but never at the expense of the Nightwings’ success. He is out to regain his honour, which was only ever questioned by himself as a result of the dizzying moral standard to which he adheres. When it came time to choose Nightwing members to leave the party and ascend to freedom, I picked other teammates before Sir Gilman, partly because he was such a valuable player, and partly because I felt that he would insist that others went before him, so strong was his moral compass. And when I did finally grant him his freedom, I was happier for him than for any other character. He’s selfless, more-than-slightly ridiculous and utterly adorable. He is Sir Gilman.