Walter Bernhard was a terrifyingly powerful vampire lord who served as the initial main antagonist in Castlevania: Lament of Innocence. However, it is later revealed that his actions, unbeknownst to him, served a higher purpose.
He is, chronologically speaking, the first vampire to be faced by the Belmont Clan and his actions would unwillingly and without his knowledge be responsible for the long confrontation between the Belmonts and Dracula.
Walter was a powerful vampire who lived in a forest called Eternal Night, given that name as it was covered in unending darkness thanks to a jewel created through alchemy, the Ebony Stone, one of two vampire treasures that he managed to obtain through unknown means. Due to this jewel, Walter was virtually invincible; it infused his body with the same energy that perpetuated the pall of darkness covering the forest, providing him formidable protection. However, not content with his still incredibly tenacious might, Walter persistently sought the other vampire treasure, the Crimson Stone, but was ultimately unsuccessful.
As a side-effect of his sheer power and the protection of the Ebony Stone, Walter frequently succumbed to boredom. To alleviate himself, he frequently indulged in games of 'cat-and-mouse' with many brave warriors of whom he found interesting; to lure them out, he routinely kidnapped anyone for which his prey deemed important, forcing his quarry to pursue him, in turn. Arrogant and utterly without conscience, Walter would often "gift" his original kidnapping target with vampirism, just to watch the resulting horror and tragedy that surely would follow, as he did with Justine Gandolfi. Her father, Rinaldo Gandolfi, attempted to rescue her from Walter, but failed and was defeated by him. Walter nonetheless allowed him to live and settle outside of his castle, knowing that Rinaldo wanted him dead and that his desire for revenge would make him aid any newcomers with his knowledge and skills, thus making the game Walter himself set more interesting in his view.
He is known, however, to have done this with several other warriors which all succumbed to his minions, and also gifted vampirism to his servant Joachim Armster. Joachim eventually rebelled against his master but failed, as Walter's protection gave him the edge needed to easily defeat him. Walter imprisoned Joachim instead of killing him, since he was amused at his attempted betrayal. He also cast Joachim as one his five minions that new warriors would have to defeat before being allowed to fight Walter directly.
Events of Castlevania: Lament of Innocence
Walter eventually met Mathias Cronqvist, who convinced him of stealing Baron Leon Belmont's beloved Sara Trantoul, promising a challenge like none before due to Leon's legendary skills. Thrilled by the offer Walter did as proposed, with the young knight forsaking his title in pursue of Walter after being told by Mathias who the "culprit" was. During an undisclosed period of time he also met the evil deity Death, although it's never known if the two met separately or in the company of Mathias.
After Leon defeated all of his five minions guarding entrance to his inner castle, the Pagoda of the Misty Moon, Walter himself welcomed Leon and could confirm himself that what "that knight" (referring to Mathias) told him was true at first glance. Leon challenged the vampire, but the Ebony Stone's protection kept him from harm. After toying with Leon, he returned his fiancee back to him but with the curse of vampirism taking place in order to thrill from Leon's suffering.
Unknowingly, this act backfired heavily at him as Sara's willing sacrifice of her tainted soul gave Leon the means to defeat him, the Vampire Killer. Once armed with the complete weapon, Leon ventured deep into the Pagoda and faced Walter himself, who still believed he would win easily. Leon, however, with his new weapon was able to break the Ebony Stone and thus cancel Walter's protection. The vampire was in utter disbelief of what happened and for the first time fearing for his life he angrily declared he would make Leon suffer beyond imagination.
However, the young knight persisted and defeated the evil vampire. Walter declared that he would revive in time with his powers and when that happened he would take revenge, and that even if he could not get the Crimson Stone in the present he would get it eventually. Nevertheless, his plans for future revenge were brought to an abrupt end as he noticed Death coming by; he then immediately realized that the evil deity had betrayed him and took his soul, which he offered to the true owner of the Crimson Stone, Mathias himself.
Mathias explained what truly happened, that he himself set up a scheme to make Walter kidnap Sara to force Leon to come and defeat the vampire, knowing that Rinaldo's skills and Walter's usual scheme of "raising the stakes" by turning his victims into vampires would result on the means to defeat the vampire and acquire his soul through the Crimson Stone, something Mathias desired in order to become a vampire himself and acquire the immortality he craved for, so that he could forever curse and hate God for eternity, blaming him for the death of his beloved Elisabetha. Mathias offered Leon the same gift, as the two had gone through the same pain, but Leon refused calling Mathias a fool for neglecting the wishes of Elisabetha, claiming she would never want Mathias to commit such atrocities. Disappointed, Mathias left and ordered Death to take care of Leon, something he failed to do with Leon claiming his kin would hunt him forever.
Mathias, using Walter's soul, became the vampire lord Dracula, and while Walter himself did not appear again, he indirectly does so each time Dracula reveals himself, using Walter's soul and the Crimson Stone as the sources of his power.
Walter, like other vampires, is malevolent, believing himself to be all-powerful. He toys with the lives of humans in order to cure the boredom of his immortality, uncaring of all damage he does and taking sadistic pleasure on the misery and suffering he spreads. As Walter's target comes closer to achieving his goals, the vampire places even more pain on his targets to delight himself on the ensuing tragedies by turning the people he kidnaps into vampires in order to see their beloved ones despair.
Not content with his great unchallenged powers, he still seeks the Crimson Stone in order to become even more powerful, and seeking stronger challenges, insatiable and unsatisfied with his current machinations. He is shown to be manipulative and cunning, as he imprisoned his servant Joachim into his castle in order to serve as a challenge for the warriors that attempted to face him. Walter also chose to spare Rinaldo, if only because he knew he would make the game more interesting by aiding warriors with his knowledge of alchemy.
Eventually, however, his arrogance and malice would prove to be his downfall, as it creates the tools that would be used to destroy him. Utterly confident of his abilities, the only time his composure is shaken is when he sees his life threatened, where he is shown in utter disbelief of the endangerment of his life and going into desperate fits of anger and plans for revenge for being defeated.
Powers and abilities
- Anger fist: Walter can channel his anger into a lunge, augmented by his vampiric strength, capable of dealing heavy damage.
- Dark powers: Walter has control over various dark powers, such as control over demons, Hellfire, Dark Inferno and other abilities.
- Invulnerability: Protected by the Ebony Stone, virtually nothing stood a chance at actually damaging Walter. It took destroying the stone itself to render the vampire vulnerable to damage by subsequent attacks, and even then, only the Vampire Killer proved powerful enough for the task.
- Immortality: Just before his death, he implies that he would ultimately come back from the dead in the near future. It's also implied that this ability was transferred over to Mathias via the Crimson Stone, and thus to Dracula.
- Teleporting: Walter, like Dracula, had the ability to teleport.
- Metamorphosis: While Walter has never shown a second form, during his most powerful attack he transforms into a demon-like creature, implying that he has the ability to shapeshift, like Dracula.
- (Using Metamorphosis) Behold my strength, now this is power!
- (Game Over) Now you join her.
- Main article: Walter Bernhard/Gallery
- Many of Walter's attacks are similar to Dracula's, most notably the famous triple fireball Hellfire attack. It seems Mathias/Dracula inherited Walter's powers upon stealing his soul (Dracula himself would later pass these inherited traits on to his son Alucard). When using his most powerful attack, Walter transforms into a demonic bat that strongly resembles the "final" or "demon" form of Dracula that appears in several games.
- His name is of West Germanic origins: Waldaharjaz "ruler of army" - fitting given the number of monsters he has command over, and Bernuharduz "bear-hard".
- Walter's name-element Wald- comes from the root h₂wolh₁-dʰ-, which also yields Common Slavic vold- > South Slavic Vlad (East Slavic Volod). Perhaps Mathias took the name Vlad as a somewhat mocking way of "honoring" the vampire who granted him eternal life.
- Walter's overall design appears to be based on the historical figure of Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary from 1458 to 1490, having long red hair and bearing a similar armor (according to some depictions of him from the era).
- Despite this, the name "Matthias Corvinus" most likely ended up being the inspiration for "Mathias Cronqvist" instead. While the roles these characters play in the game are not historically accurate, it's probable they were only included to enrich the narrative based on characters and events that took place in real life.
- It's also worth mentioning that Matthias had Vlad Drăculea (the historical figure Dracula is based upon) as his vassal (and even as his prisoner at one point).
- Walter's red hair is a traditional trait of vampires in Romanian folklore. The strigoi (those who become vampires after death) are said to almost always be redheads, as opposed to the moroi (who are vampires from birth).
- Apparently, Walter Bernhard isn't a Transylvanian Saxon or Banat Swabian, as the former group settled in Transylvania in the mid 12th century and the latter in the Banat of Temeswar in the 18th century, after Walter's final death. It's likely that he descends from, or was one of, the Migration Period's Germanic settlers.
- Vampire Killer: A Castlevania Gallery & Translation Resource (Castlevania Official Guide)
- Akumajō Dracula: Lament of Innocence. Weekly Konami. 2008.
|Castlevania: Lament of Innocence|
|Sara Trantoul • Rinaldo Gandolfi • Mathias Cronqvist|
|Joachim Armster • Walter Bernhard • Death|
|Elisabetha Cronqvist • Pumpkin|
|Undead Parasite • Golem • Succubus • Medusa • Joachim • Walter • Death|
|Flame Elemental • Frost Elemental • Thunder Elemental • Doppelganger • Forgotten One|
|Forest of Eternal Night • Castle Entrance • House of Sacred Remains • Anti-Soul Mysteries Lab • Ghostly Theatre • Dark Palace of Waterfalls|
Garden Forgotten by Time • Pagoda of the Misty Moon • Prison of Eternal Torture
|Castlevania: Lament of Innocence Original Soundtrack|
|Futabasha Guide • NTT Pub Guide • Shinkigensha Guide • BradyGames Guide|
|Bestiary • Inventory • Joachim Mode • Pumpkin Mode|