Arthur Morgan is the pinnacle of Rockstar’s character crafting as he's more realistic than any character who has come before him. In many ways, Red Dead Redemption 2 is more or less a character study of Arthur. Throughout the game’s six chapters, Arthur develops quite a bit more than John ever did. He has a rich arc full of ups and downs ultimately leading up to one of the saddest endings in gaming.
As the title is so huge, however, it is easy to miss out on key details about Arthur’s life. Whether it be through optional side content or just missable conversations, there is a lot to be gleaned from Arthur Morgan that you may have missed entirely.
Updated November 12, 2021 By Ben Jessey: One of the many reasons why Red Dead Redemption 2 is such an iconic and excellent game is its insane level of detail. There are so many little things in the title that most never see. But these subtleties add so much to the characters and the overall lore.
As Arthur Morgan is the protagonist, there are more details to find about him than anyone else in RDR2. So much so that we felt our previous list featuring 25 of them wasn't enough. Therefore, we've gone back to it and added a few more things that you may not have noticed about the outlaw.
Spoilers For Both Red Dead Redemption Games Below!
28 The Record Of Arthur's Charitable Donation
Saint-Denis is one of the most interesting places in Lemoyne. When Arthur visits the city, he may run into a woman asking for donations. She's looking for enough money to build an extension to the Quincy Harris Memorial Hall, which would provide extra shelter for homeless veterans.
If Arthur donates to the good cause, his name will later be added to a plaque outside the hall. However, the game doesn't tell you about the appreciation, so you have to find it yourself during the Epilogue.
27 People React To Arthur's Body Odor
Unlike most games, Red Dead Redemption 2 gives you the option to clean yourself. But as you have to go out of your way for a bath, you may prefer to leave Arthur caked in mud or generally unclean. If you do, then NPCs will start to react. Some may actively avoid you, while others might refuse your service at their establishment.
If your hygiene gets so bad, Susan Grimshaw will call you out for it and force you to wash. These are all nice details that help make you believe that you're living in a real world.
26 Arthur's Grave Is Impacted By His Honor-Level
Arthur's honor impacts plenty of things during the game, including the protagonist's resting place. People take better care of Arthur's grave if he dies with high honor than they do for an evil version of the character. Some even leave flowers for the honorable outlaw.
The inscription on the gravestone is different, too. On an honorable Arthur's tombstone, it reads, "Blessed Are Those Who Hunger And Thirst For Righteousness." In contrast, the words written about the dishonorable version of the protagonist say, "Blessed Are Those Who Mourn For They Will Be Comforted." His honor also impacts what animal is at his grave: an eagle for high honor and a black coyote for low honor.
25 Arthur Was Raised By Dutch And Hosea For Twenty Years
Although Arthur does have a biological father who raised him for quite some time, he's more a son of Dutch and Hosea than anything else. It does make a considerable amount of sense when you stop to think about it. After all, Arthur was raised by Dutch and Hosea for nearly twenty years.
Primarily through camp dialogue, you can deduce that Arthur is roughly 35 years old by the time of Chapter two. Other in-game dialogue, both main mission and otherwise, suggest that Arthur was 15 when he joined Dutch’s crew. More interestingly, it’s even implied that the gang was just the three of them for quite some time.
24 Arthur’s Father Was A Monster
Unlike John Marston who barely knew his father, Arthur did live quite a few years with his biological dad. While this is a subject he keeps relatively mum about for most of the game, a few moments in the first six chapters do reveal key tidbits about Arthur’s father: specifically, his wicked ways.
The recurring element circling Arthur’s father is how much they did not get along. While he looks back on his mother fondly, Arthur states that his father lived far too long for anyone’s goodwill. That said, Arthur does keep a portrait of his father by his bed. Granted, it’s a picture of his mugshot, but still.
23 Arthur Had A Young Son
Chapter six is an emotional roller coaster from start to finish. The moment Arthur is diagnosed, the game, in general, takes a dark turn that it never quite comes back from until the Epilogue. Even then, the final two chapters are just as emotional. For as heart-wrenching as the game becomes, nothing tugs at the heartstrings more than Isaac.
In an optional conversation with Rains Fall, Arthur will bring up his son: Isaac. A son born to a waitress, Arthur visited him off and on for ten years until, one day, he arrived to find two graves outside the house. The two lost their lives in a robbery over ten dollars, adding yet another layer of tragedy to Arthur’s life.
22 Why Arthur Doesn’t Find Company In Strangers
Naturally, the death of his son perfectly explains why Arthur Morgan does not sleep with people over the course of the game. Even Mary-Beth, who shows explicit interest in him and is in a perceived safe environment to have a family, does not spur Arthur’s interest - simply because he does not want the world to have another Isaac.
More specifically, Arthur does not want the world to force another Isaac to suffer. Isaac was a boy he could not raise born to a mother he could not be with. For all the good he did for the family, he could not be there when it most mattered, and he lost the son who he cared for so deeply. Arthur would never want to risk that again.
21 Arthur Is Forgotten By History
Arthur is among the most iconic gaming characters in recent memory, and everyone who witnesses his story will remember him forever. His legacy within the Red Dead universe isn't as large, though. In comparison, during the original Red Dead Redemption, after control switches to Jack, you’ll still find townspeople mentioning John Marston by name. Not even being gunned down by the government was enough to wipe his name away from the annals of history. Even Red Harlow, Revolver’s main character, is remembered in Redemption.
However, even in the epilogue of his own game, the world has more or less forgotten Arthur with John too uncomfortable to bring him up in constant conversation. By 1911, not a soul so much as utters the name “Arthur Morgan” from their lips. He is a forgotten man.
20 Arthur Is The Best Gunslinger In The Series
There are three gunslingers who best define the Red Dead franchise: Red Harlow, John Marston, and Arthur Morgan. Despite the legendary status of the former two, however, Arthur Morgan is actually the best gunslinger. Time and time again, members of Dutch’s gang will comment on how good of a shot Arthur is.
In gameplay, he can also simply do more than John ever could in the first game. He knows his way around his weapons and puts up a legitimate challenge in his many duels. Funny enough, despite being the best, Arthur gets in far fewer duels than Red or John ever did. Perhaps that’s why no one recognizes his talent outside the gang.
19 Arthur’s Fate Is Sealed By Chapter Two
Poor Arthur Morgan is walking to his grave by the start of Chapter two. As soon as you do Money Lending and Other Sins, Arthur’s fate is sealed. One of the lenders he goes to extort ends up coughing on him which starts the whole thing. His symptoms don’t show up until Chapter five, but his fate has been sealed by that point.
For the entire story, you’re playing as an Arthur working on borrowed time. When he finally realizes he doesn’t have much time left, he spirals into self-introspection, deciding to help John’s family leave Dutch’s gang while he can. In the end, the TB takes Arthur’s life, leaving him a better shell of the man he once was.
18 Arthur’s Lost Love: Mary Linton
One of the most important sub-plots in Red Dead Redemption 2 can be entirely skipped if you sit too long on it or if you choose not to act as a willing participant of said missions. Mary Linton is Arthur’s long-lost love, and she appears precisely three times in the game with each meeting inferring their relationship.
At some point in the far past, Arthur and Mary were at the very least engaged. Due to his life as an outlaw, however, Mary’s family disapproved of him, ultimately forcing a wedge in their relationship. Mary left Arthur, Arthur never found love again, but the two still shared feelings for each other up to the very end.
17 Arthur Adores His Horse
Canonically, it is strongly implied that Arthur took his first purchased horse up to the game’s very last mission, but that’s beside the point. Regardless of whichever horse you choose to bond with, or how many you end up with in your stables by Chapter six, one scene clearly demonstrates Arthur’s love for the animal.
In the final mission of Chapter six, Arthur’s horse will get hit with a bullet. The mount will not survive the shooting, prompting Arthur to sit back with the animal - in a moment of legitimate danger - and comfort it to its grave. It is a powerful moment, arguably more so than Arthur’s fate, that solidifies who the outlaw is as a man.
16 Arthur Morgan’s Short Temper
Arthur Morgan is not a patient man. Time and time again, he carries himself with a considerable temper. It is only with men like Dutch - men who absolutely demand his respect - that Arthur controls himself around. Otherwise, he is prone to letting loose and succumbing to his most carnal temptations.
Just look at the frequency in which Arthur beats men into the ground. The game opens with Arthur’s intensity upfront and center. Chapter two reiterates his rage in the great brawl of the 19th century, and while Arthur certainly mellows out as the story progresses, he never stops getting ticked off as evidenced by the many Money Lending and Other Sins missions.
15 What Loyalty Means To Arthur
Faith. Loyalty and faith are the two defining features of Dutch’s gang with the former more presently defining Arthur as a character. When all is said and done, when the sun has set on Arthur Morgan for the last time, the world will remember him - if they do - as a loyal man. Not to Dutch, but to his ideals.
Up to the very end, Arthur carries on the belief that there must be something better out there, not for himself, but for someone. He brings this concept into fruition through John, staying loyal to what he believes in and never allowing himself to waver. When Dutch finally snaps, Arthur does not blindly side with the man who raised him, but stands up for his ideals.
14 Arthur Is A Talented Writer
Arthur’s journal isn’t just a narrative tool used as a means of characterization - you can actually read it in-game should you find it in your satchel. Upon flipping through the pages, you’ll come to the very quick realization that Arthur Morgan is actually quite the talented writer, putting a good deal of emphasis on his craft.
Arthur’s style of writing takes on a very introspective, almost existential tone. He perfectly conveys how at odds he is with Dutch’s descent into madness and is able to convey emotion incredibly well. Maybe some of his sentences are fragmented, but they’re done so deliberately to prove a point. The man knows how to write.
13 Arthur Loves Jack
With the implication that John is fairly distant towards Jack prior to the start of the game, the young Marston spawn needs a strong male presence in his life. Before John gets his act together and starts to turn his life around, that role is filled by none other than Arthur Morgan himself.
Arthur loves it, too. He may not show it, but he's closer to Jack than almost everyone else in the gang. Maybe Arthur sees a bit of Isaac in Jack, but their interactions are fully supportive with Arthur acting as a better father figure than John ever would. Arthur’s sacrifice is just as much for Jack as it was for John.
12 Arthur Is Rockstar’s Most In-Depth Character
Rockstar’s protagonists are almost always likable and a joy to watch, but how many of them actually have depth? A case can be made for both Michael and Jimmy, but only Niko and John can definitively be called fully fleshed-out characters with complete, thematically cohesive, arcs. Until Arthur Morgan that is.
In a twist of fate, Arthur has gone on to perhaps be Rockstar’s most in-depth character. There are so many layers to his persona that just about every piece of dialogue, every action, can be analyzed for an incredible amount of nuance. John does give him a run for his money in the two epilogue chapters, but Arthur just barely comes out the more complex character.
11 The Symbol Of The Stag And The Wolf
Chances are you’ve seen either a stag or a wolf during Arthur’s many ethereal visions. These moments are symbolic, reflecting where Arthur is as a character. More pressingly, they are symbolic of where YOU are as a player. Whether you see the stag or the wolf are tied to the game’s core mechanics.
If you are playing a high honor Arthur, you will see visions of the stag - a serene, majestic creature whose gentle nature and regal stature make him the king of the forest. If you are playing a low honor Arthur, you will see visions of a wolf - a callous, cold predator who stalks the woods, but not without his own sense of self or solitude.
10 John Carries Arthur’s Legacy
At the end of Chapter six’s final mission, Arthur gives everything he owns to John. His guns, his satchel, his journal - everything. This is the last John and Arthur ever see of each other as the latter immediately goes off to confront Micah and Dutch one last time. Where Arthur perishes, John thrives.
Not just thrives, though, John carries about Arthur’s legacy. Simply by the virtue of being alive, John is able to carry about Arthur’s final will and testament. Of course, things don’t end all too well for John Marston, but he keeps Arthur’s journal intact and even writes in it. In a sense, the world remembering John after he’s gone is also the world remembering Arthur.
9 Jack Takes As Much From Arthur As He Does John
By the time the first game’s epilogue hits, it’s hard to deny that Jack Marston is John’s son. He looks like him, he talks like him, and he even moves like him. Jack Marston may as well be John’s twin. At the same time, however, he doesn’t inherit all that much personality-wise from his father.
While Jack does model himself after John in the epilogue, it’s actually Arthur who he most closely resembles. Both are sensitive, both like reading, both like writing, and both are inherently artistic folk. Jack is John’s son, but Arthur clearly had a massive influence on him. It’s just a shame the cards life dealt the boy.
Feeling cautious about how Sifu will turn out eventually