- I'm Doctor Emil Hartman. I would like to invite you to stay at the Cauldron Lake Lodge, Mr. Wake
- ―Emil Hartman, Episode 2: Taken
Dr. Emil Hartman is a psychiatrist and the author of The Creator's Dilemma. He runs an unorthodox clinic for troubled artists at Cauldron Lake Lodge in Bright Falls, Washington. While presenting himself as an intelligent and benevolent if somewhat arrogant man of science, Hartman is implied to have much more sinister motives, willing to deceive and even kill in order to achieve his ends.
In his younger years, Hartman was an assistant to Thomas Zane, a poet who lived in the Bright Falls area. Through Zane, Hartman discovered the power of Cauldron Lake to turn works of art into reality, and become obsessed with it. When Zane's lover, Barbara Jagger, mysteriously drowned in Cauldron Lake, it was Hartman who convinced Zane to use Cauldron Lake's power to write her back, with disastrous results.
Hartman continued to study the phenomena occurring in Bright Falls for years thereafter, eventually converting the Cauldron Lake Lodge to a clinic for the ostensible purpose of helping tortured artists recover from mental health issues. His book, The Creator's Dilemma, described his unorthodox methods and claimed that treatment at the Cauldron Lake Lodge was the only viable option for tortured artists to recover from their dilemmas. In reality, Hartman's lodge was his testing ground in which he attempted to use artists as subjects to manipulate reality using Cauldron Lake.
Hartman was eventually contacted by Alice Wake, who sought therapy for her husband, Alan, a bestselling novelist experiencing extreme writer's block. Hartman deemed Alan an ideal candidate and invited Alice to take Alan to his clinic. When Alan and Alice disappeared, Hartman was furious, realizing that Alan's writing was already beginning to influence reality. When Alan resurfaced, Hartman had his lackey, Mott, lure Alan to them by claiming to have kidnapped Alice and demanding Alan's manuscript. However, Mott was soon killed by the Dark Presence, and Hartman took matters into his own hands, kidnapping Alan and taking him to the Cauldron Lake Lodge.
Hartman claimed to Alan that he had suffered a psychotic breakdown over Alice's death. Alan, however, did not believe Hartman and attempted to escape. In the process, the Dark Presence attacked Cauldron Lake Lodge, trapping Hartman with it, apparently killing him. However, Hartman was revealed to have survived the attack, and continued his work at Cauldron Lake Lodge.
The Creator's Dilemma
- Dr. Emil Hartman's The Creator's Dilemma was an unusual publication in that while it targeted a mass-audience with its promises of creative growth and renewal, it was underpinned by vaguely cosmic theories relating to the power of artists. His insistent caveat that one could only hope to benefit from these methods by becoming a "guest" at the Cauldron Lake Lodge suggests, in his editor's opinion, that he was motivated by an ulterior agenda. Whether it be financial or another, darker purpose remains difficult to assess.
- ―Clay Steward, author of The Alan Wake Files.
The complete preface is included in The Alan Wake Files.
- His surname Hartman (art man) may be a reference to the fact that his patients are all artists. Another possibility is that, his name is a reference to Johan Haartman (b. 1725 - d. 1787), a finnish doctor of some historical significance.
- The etymology of his first name in the game, "Emil", is derived from the Latin "aemulus," meaning "imitating, rivaling or emulating", This is a reference to how he is always trying to control the creativity of the many patients at the Cauldron Lake Lodge into something beneficial for himself.
- In the prequel, when Jake Fischer flips through his notes while driving, the writings refer to Hartman as "Sydney" not "Emil".
- In the Bright Falls mini-series Dr. Hartman may know what is happening to Jake, at his office when Jake asked him a question about weird blackouts and a vision of the deer he hit, Hartman pulls out a flashlight out with a smile.
- Easter egg: After scanning the Microsoft Tag in "Episode 4 The Truth" on the second floor of the clinic you are given Dr. Emil Hartman's phone number: 1-857-239-7601
- This is an actual number, if you call it, Hartman will explain his clinics purpose, it also sounds like a Taken is echoing his words. As of August 2011, this number no longer appears to be valid.
- In a few places, Cynthia Weaver writes in the light-sensitive paint "Don't Trust Emil".
- In the Bright Falls AWE supplemental report in Control, it is mentioned that Hartman vanished without a trace along with Alan Wake and Robert Nightingale.