The Elden Ring hug lady, known as Fia, Deathbed Companion, is a character who will hug you to grant Baldachin's Blessing, as well as a red square debuff. The effect of this isn't known at first, but we can explain what Elden Ring is doing here, the advantages and disadvantages, and what it has to do with a less obvious mechanic called Poise.
So should you hug Fia, and if so, what does it do? Is Baldachin's Blessing worth it, what does it do, and what's the red square debuff? It's not very well explained, but we've got it all clearly laid out for you below in our guide to the Elden Ring red square debuff and Fia the hug lady choice.
What does Fia's hug do in Elden Ring?
Whether you should hug the lady Fia, Deathbed Companion in Elden Ring is up for debate, but you probably should if you're a shield-focused character who's about to go into a boss fight very soon.
Hugging Fia gives you a special item that boosts your Poise stat (which we'll explain momentarily), but also afflicts you with a minor penalty to your max HP that won't go away until the item is used. We'll go into the specifics below, but that's the basic choice here - whether you want this arguably good item and you're willing to tolerate a temporary reduction in health to have it.
People have turned on Fia and her offer since discovering that her embrace has its negatives, but they're arguably worth it, depending on your circumstances. If you decline to let her hold you, she'll simply say that the offer remains open regardless - which it does, you can come back for a quick hug and a pat on the head at any point, even if you have the item already.
However, if you choose to let Fia hold and hug you, you'll get a new item in your inventory, a consumable called Baldachin’s Blessing. However, there'll also be a red square with a downwards pointing arrow under your stamina bar that wasn't there before. Let's talk about that.
Elden Ring Red square debuff explained and how to remove it
The red square added for hugging Fia the Hug Lady is a marker for a debuff - specifically, a debuff that reduces your maximum HP by 5%, so the actual numerical loss varies according to how much health you started with.
This sounds pretty grim, but don't worry, it's not permanent. Using Baldachin's Blessing, along with its standard effect, will cure you of the debuff. If you regret the hug, simply use the blessing and the whole thing is over. Of course, you might think that the blessing is worth it, because of its effect.
Baldachin’s Blessing explained
Baldachin's Blessing is a single-use consumable item that costs 20 FP to use, but temporarily increases the player's Poise (the actual amount increased seems to vary according to player level and stats).
Poise itself is a stat that impacts your ability to take enemy attacks without being staggered. It won't stop you from being hurt by them any more than normal, but you're less likely to get knocked back or leave yourself open as a result. It's a very good stat for those who block attacks more than they dodge them.
Should you hug Fia in Elden Ring?
While you're in the the Roundtable Hold you might've met Brother Corhyn - only to see him leave without warning! Check our Elden Ring Brother Corhyn location guide to find out where your Incantation teacher has gone.
All this is why Fia's hug isn't so simple as being bad or good. A health penalty isn't nice, but it's not a massive one and the sooner you use the blessing, the less of an issue it is. Meanwhile, the ability to take blows without getting thrown across the room won't help ranged fighters much, but for frontline shield-wielders, it's a pretty good item to have.
It's also worth mentioning that Fia will hug you whenever you want. If you used the Blessing and decide you'd like another, just head back and speak to her - she'll be happy to oblige.