Genshin Impact: Arlecchino's Story Quest is a sad yet hopeful tale, and one of the game's best ones yet

It would always be a challenge for HoYoverse to justify Arlecchino becoming a relatable playable character and joining forces with the Traveler story-wise, but they did just that.

Arlecchino's Story Quest beautifully explores the character of the fan-favourite Fatui Harbinger and is one of Genshin Impact's best ones yet. (Photos: HoYoverse)
Arlecchino's Story Quest beautifully explores the character of the fan-favourite Fatui Harbinger and is one of Genshin Impact's best ones yet. (Photos: HoYoverse)


When the fan-favourite Fatui Harbinger Arlecchino was finally released as a playable character in Genshin Impact version 4.6, many players — myself included — were already sold on her due to her imposing yet elegant character design and top-tier gameplay.

But after finishing her accompanying Story Quest, I can confidently say that Arlecchino is also one of Genshin Impact's best-written characters yet.

As one of the highest-ranking members of the Fatui, one of the game's prime antagonistic organisations, it would always be a challenge for developer HoYoverse to justify Arlecchino becoming a relatable playable character and joining forces with the Traveler story-wise.

After all, many of the Harbingers we know are superhuman in some form, such as the former sixth-ranked Harbinger Scaramouche who was a demigod puppet created by an Archon.

But while Arlecchino does have superhuman abilities, her Story Quest revealed that her struggles and motivations are very much human.

Shortly before her release, HoYoverse released a beautiful animated short titled "The Song Burning in the Embers", which gave us a good look into Arlecchino's past. Her real name is actually Peruere and was a cursed orphan adopted into the House of the Hearth by the Harbinger Crucabena.

There, the cold and aloof Peruere developed an unlikely but strong bond with Clervie, who was later revealed to be the biological daughter of Crucabena.

Both children endured much cruelty at the hands of Crucabena. Not only were they forced to fight their fellow orphans to claim the title of "King" of the House of the Heart and become the Harbinger's heir, they also saw those deemed to be useless to the cause turned into guinea pigs in experiments conducted by another Harbinger in Dottore.

Arlecchino's Story Quest would reveal that Clervie chose to rebel against her mother's regime, resolving to become her heir and change the system once in power — even if she was repeatedly punished as a result. But tragically, Clervie couldn't bear to kill her own mother, instead choosing to fall upon Peruere's sword and letting her dear friend be the one to claim the title of King.

In the end, Peruere killed Crucabena and was granted control over the House of the Hearth, the title of Fatui Harbinger, and the name she now carries: Arlecchino.

Arlecchino's tragic past would come back to haunt her during her Story Quest, as Clervie manifested as a spirit within the House of the Hearth. While her ghost meant well and even tried helping the current members, Clervie's presence only caused chaos and prompted Arlecchino to track her down in an apparent attempt to exorcise the spirit.

The House of the Hearth trio of Lyney, Lynette, and Freminet, alongside the Traveler and Paimon, resolved to help Clervie pass on before Arlecchino could get to her. But unbeknownst to them, the Harbinger knew everything all along and were playing into her hands.

Throughout all this, our preconceived notions of the Fatui and the House of the Hearth seemed to be reinforced. According to Clervie, members of the House of the Hearth were being used as fodder in battle, subjected to inhumane experiments, or were outright executed for trying to escape.

Meanwhile, Arlecchino looked exactly like what everyone thought she was; a cruel authoritarian that only continued the cycle of abuse she was subjected to by Crucabena once she was the one on top.

But there were signs that not all was what it seemed. For one, Arlecchino was very forthcoming to the Traveler, a known enemy of the Fatui that have foiled many of their plans in the past. She also allowed Lyney's plan to slip Clervie from right under her nose play out even if she had full knowledge of it. Then there was her mysterious proposal to Neuvillette, a plan the Iudex of Fontaine readily agreed despite being very wary of Arlecchino.

And, in case you missed it, the Traveler happened upon a newsboy who looked very similar to a past House of the Hearth member that was said to have been executed by Arlecchino. Instead, he was living a normal life and was about to be married, with the Harbinger even buying three newspapers off him.

Things then culminated in one of the most tense sequences in all of Genshin Impact yet. After Arlecchino revealed her past to the Traveler, she then forced Lyney, Lynette, and Freminet into a duel for the chance to spare other 'treacherous' members of the House of the Hearth from execution.

Even with the Traveler joining the fray, it was clear Arlecchino was multiple levels above them all in strength. In one of the best, most action-packed cutscenes in the game yet, Arlecchino swept aside her three adopted children and utterly humiliated the Traveler.

Defeated, the Traveler and their allies could only look helplessly as Arlecchino proclaimed that the 'executions' would continue. But instead of losing their lives as everyone expected, the treacherous members were instead given a way out by Arlecchino. She would 'kill' them by erasing their memories of the House of the Hearth and letting them live the way they wanted to.

Instead of continuing the cycle of abuse perpetuated by Crucabena, Arlecchino was actually trying to fulfill the wishes of Clervie by stopping the human experiments and executions of the past and, most importantly, making the House of the Hearth an actual family for children like them who never had one.

Arlecchino's Story Quest then concludes with one of the most poignant sequences in the entire game. With the climactic duel over, Clervie emerges from the shadows and realises that the Harbinger Arlecchino was actually her best friend Peruere.

Since Clervie's unrealised dream was to explore the world outside of the House of the Hearth, Arlecchino tells the Traveler and Paimon to regale her old friend with tales of their adventures across Teyvat so far. As the Clervie, Traveler, and Paimon talked throughout the night, Arlecchino quietly sat in the shadows, looking at something she always used to do with her best friend... and something she can never do again.

One of the most gut-wrenching sequences in this is when Clervie tells the Traveler and Paimon that she wanted to buy a dress for Peruere before remembering that her best friend never liked wearing them.

Upon hearing this, Arlecchino turns back into Peruere for a split-second, looking up and wanting to say something. But she stops. She is Arlecchino now, the "Father" of the House of the Hearth. She must not waver and feel emotions like anger and sorrow felt and caused by their "Mother" Crucabena before.

Peruere turns back into Arlecchino and stays quiet, but her silence is defeaning. You could tell there was still so many things she wanted to say.

In the end, Clervie passes on just as the sun rises on a new day. Arlecchino could only tell her that she wishes they could meet again someday as she disappears.

And it was in those moments that Arlecchino appears the most human, far away from the monster many thought she was. She endured unimaginable cruelty and sorrow while trapped in a cycle of abuse, trying in her own way to break it.

As an orphan herself, she knows the value of having a family. And she is the "Father" of her children in the House of the Hearth more than she is a Fatui Harbinger.

Make no mistake, Arlecchino is no saint. She is still a Fatui Harbinger, a flawed person that is part of a morally questionable organisation at best. But she is trying to change it from within, starting from the House of the Hearth. And if her disdain for some of the other Harbingers is anything to go by, she may also look to rebel in the future.

Arlecchino is human, curse and all. She experienced human struggles, feels human emotions, and deals with them just like any human would. And as she silently watched the ghost of her best friend disappear before her, she made me feel the very human emotions of sorrow and hope.

Genshin Impact version 4.6 was released on 24 April and features the debut of Arlecchino alongside reruns for Lyney, Wanderer, and Baizhu. It also features a new weekly and world boss, two new areas in Fontaine, and tons of other new content.

For more information on what's new in version 4.6, check here.

After version 4.6 comes version 4.7, which will feature three new characters in Clorinde, Sigewinne, and Sethos. Genshin Impact version 4.7 is expected to be released in June.

Yan Ku is a full-time dog parent, part-time (gacha) gamer, and part-time writer.

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