If you've been glued to a screen and controller for the past month exploring the vast world of Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption 2, you're certainly not alone. It's a completely addicting game that just keeps giving, even when you reach its ultimate end. It's no surprise that Red Dead Redemption 2 became one of the most talked about releases when it debuted back in October. Many would consider the prequel to be even better than the first game, though that is certainly up for debate. The sales don't lie, though. It meshes RPGs with action-adventure and a Wild West story unlike any other out there. What's better than that?
Besides the improved gameplay, captivating storyline, and beautiful cinematic scenery, one of the most attractive traits of the game has to be the complex and interesting journey of Arthur Morgan, the main character that you make honorable (or dishonorable) decisions for throughout the game. You may learn a lot about the gritty-voiced gunslinger throughout the game, but there are still a lot of surprising facts about him that aren't really revealed in the game. Some of these facts are also hidden in specific missions that you might miss on your first playthrough or are revealed towards its conclusion. He's mysterious for a reason, but we're going to crack the code that is Arthur Morgan's past.
If you haven't finished Red Dead Redemption 2, be wary of the spoilers that lie ahead! Learn more about this anti-hero with these 20 Wild Details About Red Dead Redemption 2's Arthur.
20 He's considered the best gunslinger in the RDR franchise
One could say this is less of a fact and more of an opinion. But when you look at the three pistol whippin' cowboys of the Red Dead Redemption saga (Red, John, Arthur) the gun gameplay for Arthur is just plain superior. The Dutch gang members talk about Arthur's skill throughout the game and no matter how you look at it, this is probably less about story and more about just improving on a game's mechanics. You can do substantially more with weapons with Arthur in Red Dead Redemption 2 than you could with John in Red Dead Redemption.
One has to wonder why Arthur gets so few duels in the prequel compared to the other two despite being the best at them.
19 He contracts tuberculosis in Chapter 2
Ah, the big tuberculosis reveal in Chapter Five. It really freaking sucked and we can pinpoint exactly when Arthur contracted the deadly disease.
In the first "Money Lending and Other Sins" main story mission campaign in Chapter Two, you pay Thomas Downes a visit to collect a debt he owed Leopold Strauss. When you first play the game it's easy to forget this part, but it's what causes Arthur to contract TB even if you don't find out until Chapter Five. When you think of it, the tuberculosis diagnosis was ultimately a redeeming event for Arthur. He began to think about what kind of man he was and passed as a bit of a better one.
18 He had a son named Isaac with a waitress
In Chapter Six you encounter quite a few situations that are really emotionally exhausting. One that may be easy to miss is the reveal that Arthur had a son who passed.
In a conversation with Rains Fall (it's a voluntary conversation, so it's easy to miss if you're driving towards finishing the game), Arthur reveals his son Isaac. Isaac was born to a waitress who raised him on her own, but Arthur was involved in his life periodically for ten years. Both his son and the mother were taken in a robbery over a measly ten dollars. Arthur talking about it is definitely one of the saddest and most surprising moments in the game.
17 He's ultimately forgotten by time
Arthur becomes very meaningful to the player the longer one plays him, no matter what choices you make through the game. He's easy to humanize and relate to in some ways. That's why it really puts a stake in the heart of the player when one realizes that Arthur is ultimately forgotten by time and history.
When you play Red Dead Redemption and begin playing as Jack, you'll notice that people around town still mentioned John. Red Harlow from Revolver is mentioned in Red Dead Redemption as well. The only main character in the Red Dead saga that isn't ever mentioned is, unfortunately, Arthur. John never mentions him, and so Arthur Morgan is eventually lost to history along with his story.
16 He's fiercely dedicated to loyalty
When you look at Dutch's gang, the most recurring feature would definitely be loyalty. That loyalty rubs off on Arthur in a very substantial way and it becomes one of his most defining traits as a character. When you think about the plot of Red Dead Redemption 2, none of its events would have really even happened in Arthur wasn't an incredibly loyal man. Not loyal to Dutch particularly, but just his beliefs. It's why he helps John's family and stands firm in front of Dutch.
Arthur always believed throughout the game that there has to be a better way of life for people, even if he isn't one of the people who can gain it.
15 The loss of his son is the reason he doesn't have many partners
When you look at a lot of Rockstar's games, they don't really skimp out on showing every aspect of a relationship. So it's a bit strange that despite being propositioned multiple times throughout the game (especially by Mary-Beth), Arthur never takes in some special company. The reason is actually really sad.
The untimely death of Arthur's 10-year-old son Isaac and the boy's mother is the ultimate reason that Arthur stays a lonely man. I mean, who would want to risk bringing a child into such a chaotic world, especially if you've already lost one to its evils? Arthur couldn't protect his son, so he pretty much abstains to prevent getting anybody pregnant with his child.
14 John ends up carrying on Arthur's legacy
We mentioned that Chapter Six is a serious emotional rollercoaster. One of the most intense scenes is when Arthur gives all of his possessions to John, including money, weapons, and his diary. Arthur ultimately dies confronting Dutch and Micah or from tuberculosis, but John carries on with Arthur's legacy on his shoulders. Just surviving and getting out of the gang makes him the prime candidate for Arthur's legacy-bearer.
All Arthur wanted was for someone to get out of this criminal life and shoot for something better. He helps John and his family do that. Even though John's story doesn't end well either, he at least was able to continue reading Arthur's diary and keep his memory alive for a bit longer.
13 If it weren't for getting stranded on Guarma, he would have left the gang
You only find out this little nugget of truth after completing Mary's second mission from Chapter Four. Arthur agrees to ditch the gang and be with Mary after the "final" bank robbery. Of course, the heist goes wrong and Arthur ends up stuck on Guarma for what we can assume was a very long time. When he returns, he finds a letter from Mary stating that she wasn't going to wait for him anymore and he wasn't going to change. The sad thing is that Arthur did change and if the bank robbery went the way it was supposed to, he would have ran away with her. Tragedy just seems to keep following Arthur around.
12 John inherits Arthur's hat
When you switch to John in Chapter Six and inherit all of Arthur's stuff from his inventory, you of course get Arthur's hat as well. But throughout the first Red Dead Redemption, you see John wearing a familiar-looking hat throughout the game. Up until Chapter Six in the prequel, you never see John wearing this specific hat. It's safe to say that the hat he wears through Red Dead Redemption is indeed Arthur's and he likely wears it to help carry on his memory.
Some would debate this as a fact, as the hats do look a bit different between Red Dead Redemption 2 and Red Dead Redemption, but one should account for time and wear.
11 Your sense of honor controls Arthur's ultimate end
It's no secret that playing High Honor or Low Honor is a part of the game, but its effect on the course you take throughout the game and the ultimate ending you build up for Arthur through your honorable choices is much more substantial than many players realized. Honor was a pretty nonexistent feature in the first Red Dead Redemption that served little purpose, so it's natural that players weren't that invested in making particular choices. However, the honorable or less-honorable path you take in the game ultimately decides how Arthur eventually passes.
A low honor route results in Micah taking him out. A high honor route (and arguably the best one) leads to Arthur passing from TB.
10 Pretty much everything he does in the game is pointless
We know a lot of these facts about Arthur Morgan are depressing. Red Dead Redemption 2 is a gritty game.
Ultimately, when you look at the course of the game, he doesn't impact history at all. He doesn't even impact his own storyline in a way. Jack doesn't grow up to be what Arthur believes he could be and ends up avenging his father. John ends up getting taken out by Edgar Ross. Dutch gets away no matter what and John has to take care of it. Arthur couldn't really stop Micah's ascent to power, either. No matter what honor path you take, the story is still pretty much the same. Arthur really wasn't able to change much.
9 He still believed that Dutch could be redeemed, even in the end
We've mentioned Arthur's dedication to his virtues and loyalty to his beliefs. They are so strong that he betrays Dutch in order to help John, Jack, and Abigail escape from the gang. Despite this, Arthur still believed in Dutch.
During the final fight to save John, it's hard to miss that Arthur doesn't shoot back at Dutch. He doesn't have some furious monologue about betrayal. He doesn't have any ill will or spite towards Dutch at all. Arthur believed until the end of Dutch's life that there was some goodness in him, some semblance of the Dutch that raised him like a father would. Whether or not that's actually true, it's kind of an inspiring trait of Arthur's.
8 There's some hat symbolism between Arthur and Micah
When you look at traditional Western cowboy films, series, and art, there's a fairly common theme among them when it comes to hats. The hat is an almost mandatory article of clothing worn in stories of the Wild West, so it's natural that they eventually came to hold a bit of symbolism. Typically, a white or light-colored hat is associated with the protagonist or hero of the story. A black or dark-colored hat is usually associated with the antagonist of the story. In Red Dead Redemption 2, this is switched up. Micah sports a light hat while Arthur wears a black one.
It's not clear if this was some intentional commentary on the duality of man.
7 He was raised by Dutch and Hosea for two decades
You find out that Arthur does (or did) have a biological father who raised him until he was about fifteen, but he was an awful man. Dutch and Hosea are clearly more like his parents than his actual parents were.
While it isn't said in plain terms that he ran with the gang for twenty years, you can deduce that this is true when you look at game dialogue and diary entries. It is implied that Arthur was only fifteen when he joined the gang and that he is thirty-five years old when you get to Chapter Two. It is also implied that the gang was only the three of them for quite a long time.
6 His biological father was a horrible man
Arthur Morgan is not a good man. He wanted to be in some way and he ultimately redeems himself at the end of the game by getting the Marston family out of the gang in hopes of a better future, but he does a lot of bad stuff through the game, even if you play him straight. He's nothing, however, when compared to his father.
Arthur doesn't talk about his father much throughout the game, but there are some details you can pick up on in the first few chapters. Arthur did not get along with his father and said that his father "lived far too long for anyone's goodwill." Why keep your evil dad's mugshot by your bed, then?
5 He's actually a really good writer
The diary or journal that Arthur keeps throughout the game is a useful tool for picking up key facts about Arthur and who he is. Some players don't bother reading it, but it's definitely worth doing. You can read the whole thing in-game if you can find it in your satchel.
It is surprising that such a rough and tumble guy could be such a prolific and honest writer, but he actually is. He's extremely thoughtful and has a unique ability to express emotion beautifully. Seriously, give us some tips Arthur! He could have been a Hemingway in his own way and it is certainly interesting to imagine, but unfortunately Arthur Morgan became an outlaw instead.
4 He genuinely loves Jack
Arthur Morgan may not be a good person in a lot of ways, but he certainly cared deeply for little Jack. It is implied that Jack's father, John, isn't too involved in the boy's life. He eventually gets it together, but in the meantime, Jack finds a sort of father figure in Arthur Morgan.
It's sad to think that perhaps Arthur sees his late son Isaac in Jack in a way, but their interractions are nothing but positive when they are together in the game. When Arthur makes the ultimate sacrifice, he does so for Jack more than anyone else. His strong belief that there is a better way to live and someone out there can do it was probably with Jack in mind.
3 He's Rockstar's most complex character to date
Arthur Morgan is a truly fascinating man. Rockstar has produced a ton of interesting and relatable characters through Grand Theft Auto and the previous Red Dead Redemption games, but none are quite like Arthur. Even his predecessor (or successor, technically) John didn't have the intensity and multi-leveled persona that Arthur Morgan has.
Everything he says draws you in, his beliefs and intricacies as a man are captivating, and all of his actions serve some greater purpose for the story. While John Marston is certainly a well-made and engaging character, Arthur is more relatable and charming in his own way. It'll be tough for Rockstar to beat Arthur character quality-wise in whatever upcoming games they produce.
2 The stag and wolf symbolize the choices you've made as Arthur in the game
A lot of players who are deep in the game have probably figured this one out, but it's a fascinating little piece of symbolism nonetheless. It's very likely that you've come across (or been attacked by) a wolf or deer at some point in Red Dead Redemption 2.
You've also probably seen Arthur's vision of either one of the beasts throughout the game. These animals can be looked at as "spirit animals" in a loose way. The choices you make, be they honorable or not honorable, are reflected in the visions that Arthur has. If you're going the High Honor route, Arthur will see a stag. If you're playing low honor, you'll see a wolf.
1 If you sit still on your horse, sometimes Arthur will sing
Well, we needed to throw something positive into this list, didn't we? If Arthur's such a good writer, it's no wonder that he's got a little bit of talent in the singing arts. If you stay still and don't touch any game controls, Arthur will eventually begin singing. Some players have reported that even while moving on very rare occasions will Arthur sing.
There are a ton of little Easter Eggs in the game in this vein, like tapping LB or L1 will make Arthur twirl his gun before holstering it or that lightning sometimes strikes trees and makes them explode. There's a lot more, too!
Which fact surprised you most? Let us know in the comments!!