Should you help He Who Was or Madeline in Baldur's Gate 3?

Baldur's Gate 3 He Who Was
(Image credit: Larian Studios)

He Who Was is a mysterious NPC you can encounter once you've reached Act 2 in Baldur's Gate 3. He wants to torture a dead lady because clearly, the poor woman hasn't been through enough. She's apparently guilty of certain crimes and once you've seen the evidence, you'll need to decide whether to side with one of them.

You can find He Who Was in the Shadow-Cursed Lands, so it's worthwhile picking up a Moon Lantern so you don't have to rely on torches or other light sources to fend off the curse. With that said, here are the consequences for each choice so you can decide if you want to help He Who Was or Madeline in Baldur's Gate 3.

Where to find the ledger 

When you first approach He Who Was and ask him what he's doing with the woman, he'll tell you that she's guilty of murder and needs to pay for her crimes. He'll ask for your help to find the evidence; a written record that can be found at The Waning Moon in the form of a ledger.

The inn is at Reithwin Town, which is found far to the south of Last Light Inn and across the bridge. There's a waypoint there so travel here now if you've unlocked it, otherwise follow the road south from Last Light and cross the bridge towards Moonrise Towers. The waypoint is to the right of the bridge once you're on the other side but it's hard to see from the road.

Head towards the quest marker and you'll eventually come across The Waning Moon. but you'll need to get past Thisobald Thorm to get the ledger. This next requires you to win a number of difficult rolls, so you should save before entering the building, and probably again after each roll. As you approach the bar, you'll be thrown into a conversation with Thisobald.

The poor guy just wants someone to drink with and to hear a good tale so pick up the tankard when prompted—this will be your first roll—then mime drinking to initiate a second. Next, he'll want you to delight him with a story: Choose the "Silver-tongued devil" story, then win another high roll. After more chit-chat, mime drinking again for another roll, then tell him the story about "slaying the hideous, pustule-ridden hag". Mime drinking for the last time, then wait for the inevitable outcome. 

Once you have control back, look for the loose floorboard to the left of Thisobald to locate the ledger. Now you can head back to He Who Was.

Baldur's Gate 3 He Who Was: Who should you help? 

You're given three choices. (Image credit: Larian Studios)

Hand the ledger over and He Who Was and he'll perform a ritual which allows you to hear Madeline's side of the story. Now you have a choice to make involving one of three Persuasion checks.

  • Your best option is to side with He Who Was. He seems to take a great deal of pleasure in your decision, which he doesn't deny if you confront him about it. He'll hand over Raven Gloves which let you summon a raven familiar. 
  • If you side with Madeline, He Who Was gets angry and you'll need to fight him but he doesn't drop anything useful. 

Alternatively, if you tell her to stab herself, you'll basically be stabbing He Who Was so he'll get angry and fight you for that too, and again, won't drop anything useful.


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Sarah James
Guides Writer

Sarah started as a freelance writer in 2018, writing for PCGamesN, TechRadar, GamingBible, Red Bull Gaming and more. In 2021, she was offered a full-time position on the PC Gamer team where she takes every possible opportunity to talk about World of Warcraft and Elden Ring. When not writing guides, most of her spare time is spent in Azeroth—though she's quite partial to JRPGs too. One of her fondest hopes is to one day play through the ending of Final Fantasy X without breaking down into a sobbing heap. She probably has more wolves in Valheim than you.