- "My sickness was going to kill me. So… I took her body from her. I lived on in her body. That's fine, right? Because we're "friends"."
- ―A passage from Ellen's diary regarding Viola
|Age||100+ (7 years-old, physically) |
|Species||Human - Witch|
|Relatives||Unnamed Mother (Deceased)|
Unnamed Father (Deceased)
Ellen ( エレン, Eren) is one of the main characters of the The Witch's House and the titular protagonist of The Diary of Ellen novella.
Originally from the slums of a medieval time, Ellen was born with a curse which took the form of an incurable, terminal illness which caused her to be shunned by society. Being part of an increasingly dysfunctional family, she was strongly attached to her mother while she desperately sought her father’s affection. After an incident involving burying a black cat and subsequently failing to keep her family together, Ellen killed her mother for apparently abandoning her as well as her father for ignoring her to the bitter end, orphaning herself and inadvertently burning her own house in the process.
Having nowhere to go, Ellen opted to pass away in a dark alley outside her former home, the Demon offered her a contract which she accepted, unaware of what she got herself into as well as ignorantly accepting her sickness to be cured in the process. Upon realization that it still progressed inside of her, that she had been deceived and lied to, Ellen was reborn as a Witch. With this notion, she callously murdered various individuals, mostly children around her age, with the ultimate intention of finding a spell to cure her illness.
In the end, she was given a body switching spell, instead, befriending Viola in the process with the intention of stealing her body under the false promise that it would be “just for a day” while she was in her death bed, ultimately staying within the unfortunate girl’s body while leaving her to die in her former one.
It is revealed in the True Ending that Ellen was, in fact, inside Viola's body the entire time, that she was the player character within Viola's body and that the real Viola attempted to use the very magic Ellen used on her to trap her within her own house.
Since birth, Ellen was always scorned and avoided by the public because of her illness. Even her own father never spoke a single word to her. Living in the slums, Ellen was strongly attached to her mother, viewing her as the only person to show her love and kindness, and felt very insecure at the thought of losing that only source of "love". As a result, she would do anything out of desperation to maintain it, such as forcing herself to stay home and become more independent and productive in order not to be considered a burden to her family. In spite of their apparent closeness, it is heavily hinted that Ellen suffered from an Electra complex, as shown when she expressed animosity towards her mother because she was the only one who received any form of attention from her father. Upon discovering that her mother abandoned her, Ellen killed her in a fit of rage and despair (later killing her father, who refused to let go of his wife or take notice of his daughter until the bitter end) and quickly developed a strong inferiority complex, believing that she will never be loved because of her illness. Finding a cure eventually became her ultimate goal.
Upon becoming a Witch, Ellen’s personality takes on a much darker turn. She becomes a cold, cruel, and ruthless individual who, with no apparent remorse, would cause the deaths of others even in the most brutal ways to stay alive and achieve her goal. Her cruelty is exemplified by her amusement at Viola's misfortune at her hands. She kneels down, in the true ending, saying: "I'll show him Viola's share of love, and I'll take her share of love, too!" She then giggles at the end of the story, after Viola is killed by her father. Another demonstration of her cruelty is in her previously mentioned disregard for others' lives. This is shown by her casual use of a frog to assist her past a section of the house. This section of the game cannot be completed without being killed by the snake, so it forces the player to feed the frog to the snake, despite its trusting and friendly demeanor.
Ellen does, however, have some redeeming qualities. In spite of her notable flaws, she isn't a particularly sadistic person and does not really enjoy killing others. She claims to only do so for survival and compares it to humans killing pigs for food and sustenance. She is also not above feeling some degree of regret or disgust towards her own actions. Living in the Witch’s House for centuries, Ellen has managed to develop her literary skills and eloquence. Viola notes that she is very intelligent for someone with the stature and mind of a 7-year-old, as she is able to read several complex books and encyclopedias. Ellen also does retain some child-like traits, preferring to guzzle down tea and pastries because she had little to no interest in having proper meals.
Ellen's diary entries tells of her parents not loving her, and that she was so ill, that no one played with her. Ever since then, she had been living inside the house. The demon (the cat) ate the souls of both of her parents after she killed them with a knife, and proceeded to burning her home and guiding her to the forest. It gave Ellen the house. She made a contract with the demon and became a witch. The demon told her that "if you let me eat more people, I'll teach you a spell to cure your illness." (A letter shows that Viola's father knows of a witch in the forest, making a possibility that she had already trapped so many people in the house, that it is known even from the outside.)
The next diary entry says that her friends came into her house, and the house ate them all, but it wasn't enough.
Then Viola entered her house and became "friends" with her out of sympathy for Ellen's condition. One day, Ellen asked for a favor of Viola: to switch bodies, "Just for a day." Viola foolishly agreed to do so and was shocked to realize that Ellen's body was falling apart; before the switch, Ellen had gouged her eyes out and cut her legs off. Due to the pain of both the illness and the fresh injuries, Viola screams in agony in her new-found body. Unable to bear her own screams, Ellen gave her medicine to "sooth the pain", but it was a throat burning medicine that left Viola unable to speak (which is why Viola only gurgled throughout the game). Thus, Ellen had rendered Viola helpless so that she could not get her body back.
Ellen proceeded to leave the house, but discovered that she was blocked by roses created from Viola using the witch's own magic. (This is the beginning of the game.) So, knowing that there would be "medicine" to kill the roses, Ellen goes back inside the house to acquire it.
In the end (no matter which end), Ellen successfully leaves with Viola's father, and the real Viola (in Ellen's body) is killed by her own father (except in the "___" ending).
In her own body, Ellen's appearance is that of a seven year-old girl with fair skin, waist-length purple hair fashioned into a Hime cut, topped with a large red bow, and golden cat-like eyes. She is always seen barefoot.
When she lived in the slums, Ellen wore a short-sleeved white dress and had bandages wrapped around her calves and face where, due to her illness, her skin suffered severe inflammation. She was also frail and slightly emaciated.
Life as a Witch
Upon becoming a witch, Ellen is dressed in a red pinafore dress atop of a white button up shirt, with a black ribbon tied around her neck. Her skin was also notably smooth and seemed to lack any trace of illness. As long as she remained inside the Witch's House, any visible side-effects of Ellen's illness were greatly suppressed (despite said condition still progressing), allowing her to appear as a healthy child and move around painlessly. However, as of Chapter 3 of the novella and onward, the said symptoms resurfaced and Ellen wounded up in a weak, bedridden state.
IllnessThe Diary of Ellen features several symptoms of Ellen's illness.
- Inflammation in her joints, making it hard to walk and, at later stages, move.
- Severe and progressive skin inflammation, causing her skin to become rough, crumbly, and red (from blood).
- Frailty, paleness and muscle atrophy, giving her a fairly emaciated appearance. Viola states that Ellen's veins could be perceived through her skin.
- Blood and/or mucus discharging from the eyes, and progressive vision loss at later stages.
- Heavy wheezing
- Low body temperature
While not stated by name, it is heavily suggested that Ellen may be affected by a genetic degenerative disease, or cancer:
Her illness could only be treated, not cured, and the symptoms appeared to be irreversible; a fairly common attribute to genetic diseases and many cancers. Ellen would periodically take medicine to slow down its progress.
As her sickness is, in fact, incurable, the body-switching spell granted by the Demon was Ellen's only resort for survival.
- According to one of the documents in the library within the game, Ellen was only seven years of age when she stabbed her parents to death and made a contract with the Black Cat to become a Witch.
- Due to Viola's age being thirteen, many fans were under the assumption that Ellen was expected to be around the same age as her due to their status as "friends".
- The above assumption was rendered moot with the release of 'The Diary of Ellen' novella. It is revealed that as a result of her contract with the Black Cat, Ellen was shown to have never aged at all as her body stayed how it was when she was seven, minus the illness due to being protected by the house, and now continues to live on as a parasitic soul that inhabits Viola's body.
- While it is never mentioned what Ellen's true age might be from the game and the novella, several indications of how much time has passed during Ellen's reign as a Witch.
- In chapter one, it was indicated that Ellen lived an era where there was no decent doctors for her degenerative disease and mentioned that people saw her as repulsive to even touch. It is also implied that some sort of feudalistic system was in play as Ellen's father may have been a gardener while her mother asked if he got a loan from the union.
- An indication on religion is mentioned in the same chapter, as Ellen did pray when she buried the Black Cat's corpse, possibly Christianity.
- In chapter three, perhaps the biggest indication was that it was revealed that there was a recent breakthrough of guns as people stopped using bows and arrows. In history, guns weren't invented till the early modern age (c. 1500-1800) whereas bows and arrows existed since ancient times. However, this is considering the story takes place in Western Europe, which is likely due to the western style of the house.
- In the game, there is a newspaper article reporting Ellen's status as missing and her parents as dead, as well as the house burned down. Since the printing press was not invented until 1440-1450, this narrows down her age even further.
- By applying real world time to the story, the closest indication to when Ellen was born was somewhere after the fourteenth century, thus making Ellen's age around 100-400 years old.
- After Viola is shot to death, Ellen (in Viola's body) giggles before rushing off with her new 'daddy'.
- Ellen's appearance looks similar to Furude Hanyū from Higurashi: When They Cry .
Powers and Abilities
- Astral projection (referred as "Magic Viewing" or "Magical Sight," in the novel and manga respectively): By closing her eyes, Ellen is able to mentally project herself in any area that rests within the entire forest's range. As Ellen is forbidden to leave the Witch's House in her original body, she uses this ability to view the forest in her mind, at any possible angle, as if she were truly present. This ability allowed her to watch over the forest for wandering children and adults.
- Control over the Witch's House: The form of the Witch's House changes upon Ellen's command.
- Control over the forest: As a Witch, Ellen had complete control over the forest. She can use the forest's wildlife (both fauna and flora alike) against others. She is also able to clear and block certain paths in order to lure humans to her home, or prevent them from reaching her domain.
- Illusions: Having made a pact with a demon who specializes in illusions, Ellen herself is also able to use illusion magic to a certain extent in order to bring fear to her victims and please the Demon with more savory souls.
- Immortality: Upon becoming a Witch, Ellen was granted immortality. As a result, she did not age; which allowed her to live for centuries while maintaining her 7-year-old body. As noted by the Black Cat, because she's a Witch, even the effects of her illness (albeit still progressing to a gruesome level) wouldn't kill her. She also seemed to survive fatal wounds such as having her head cleaved off her body, because the Demon would bring her back to her original state. However, Ellen eventually learns that a Witch can indeed die once she feels despair.
- Spiritual awareness: As a Witch, Ellen is able to see the spirits of her deceased victims residing in the Witch's House.
- Several unnamed spells: Ellen is able to "purchase" spells from her Demon in exchange for souls. One of the known spells that were purchased was the body switching spell used on Viola and herself.
- Viola - Ellen became friends with Viola and tricked her to switch bodies with her. She doesn't hate her because she was the one who gave her own body. However, Ellen doesn't really like her enough to care about her not dying.
- Black cat - The cat is the demon who made a deal with Ellen in exchange of letting him eat more people. He's the one who led her to the "Witch's House." Her relationship with him appears to be very complicated. While she was initially on fairly good terms with the Demon, she eventually became rather cold towards him upon discovering the true nature of the house and himself and, much to the Demon's dismay, Ellen developed a habit of ignoring him. She also used him as a test subject for new spells, such as dropping him in the poisonous purple river (in the Poison Hallway on the 5th Floor) in order to test the spell's effects; or to simply vent off her frustration, which often results in the destruction of his host bodies. Regardless, she does turn to him for advice and information regarding the House, witches, and demons. Being the only individual she ever really spoke throughout her centuries of living in the Witch's House, the two have developed a form of mutual understanding and closeness to a certain extent. The Demon was also the one to teach Ellen how to read and write, which contributed to her extraordinary literary skills.