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Plot & Theory Analysis FAQ

by Ryu Kaze/iamthedave

Shadow of the Colossus Plot & Theory Analysis FAQ
Ryu Kaze/Ryu Sinclair; contact: [email protected]
iamthedave/David Rodoy; contact: [email protected]

*Date of publication*
March 6, 2006

*Last updated*
August 21, 2006

*Current version*

|Notes to make yourself aware of|
Please be aware that there will be major spoilers for the storyline of Shadow
of the Colossus in this FAQ, and also spoilers for its "spiritual precursor"

Also, for your convenience, be aware that you can use the numbers to the right
of each section in the table of contents to do a ctrl+f search and instantly
get to the section of your choice.

|-Table of Contents-|
-1: Version history (001)

-2: Statement of purpose (002)

-3: Frequently asked questions (003)

-4: Theories (004)
1) Backstory theories (004.10)
*Wander & Mono's connection/Wander's motivation/Other Wander stuff (004.1A)
*The Dormin (004.1B)
*The nature of the Colossi (004.1C)
*The Forbidden Land (004.1D)
2) Ending theories (004.2)
3) After ending theories (004.3)
4) Meta Theory on the Dormin, the Colossi and Wander's motivation (004.40)
*Nature of Dormin and the Colossi (004.A)
*David Rodoy's theory on Wander's motivation to revive Mono (004.4B)
*Ryu Sinlcair's theory on Wander's motivation to revive Mono (004.4C)
5) Connections to Ico: Facts & theories (004.50)
*Ico as the prequel (004.5A)
*SotC as the prequel (004.5B)
*Other possible connections (004.5C)
6) Allusions to Hebrew legends (004.6)
7) Parallels between large and small representations (004.7)

-5: Acknowledgements about the game and this FAQ (005)

|Version history| (001)
August 21: Corrected some info about Pal the squirrel, and added a theory
          about the idols to the Dormin section
July 30:  Various small touches; adding a new theory on why the sword points
          to the Colossi, a possible explanation for the shadow figures that
          appear in the Shrine of Worship, and mention of Golems to the Hebrew
          legends section; I also think it now warrants being version 4.00
June 27:  Corrected the translation of "Veritas" to "Truth" and opted for
          "Serpent" in place of "Dragon" as the translation of "Draco," as
          it's more to the point
June 4:   Correcting a few small typos
May 3:    Expanding a few parts of the Meta Theory and adding a little bit of
          information to the Parallels between large and small representations

          Adding some more folks to the Acknowledgements section; thanks for
          your contributions

          Adding another site to the list of sites authorized to host this FAQ
March 11: Ico connection theories changed to Connections to Ico: Facts &

          Updated information on official connections between Ico and SotC
          added throughout the FAQ

          Mention of the Dormin's horns and some middle eastern cultures' view
          of horns as a sign of divinity added to the Meta Theory section and
          the Dormin section

          Elaboration on outside knowledge of the Colossi added to the Meta
          Theory section

          Elaboration on my (Ryu Sinclair) theory concerning Mono's connection
          to Wander added to the Meta Theory section, along with additional
          notes and/or observations added to Dave's personal notes on his
          theory of Wander's connection with Mono

          More information added to the Acknowledgements section's sources

          List of websites authorized to host this FAQ added to the
          Acknowledgements section
March 9: Added some more into the Frequently asked questions 
March 8: Added info on "Agro" versus "Argo" in the Frequently asked questions
March 7: Parallels between large and small representations section added
March 7: More info on the "castle" added to Other possible connections section
March 7: "Biblical allusions" changed to "Allusions to Hebrew legends"

March 6: Published

March 4-6: Version history section added
           Statement of purpose section added
           Theory sections added
           *Backstory theories
            -Wander & Mono's connection/Wander's motivation/Other Wander stuff
            -The Dormin
            -The nature of the Colossi
            -The Forbidden Land
           *Ending theories
           *After ending theories
           *Meta Theory on the Dormin, the Colossi and Wander's motivation
            -Nature of Dormin and the Colossi
            -David Rodoy's theory on Wander's motivation to revive Mono
            -Ryu Sinclair's theory on Wander's motivation to revive Mono
           *Ico connection theories
            -Ico as the prequel
            -SotC as the prequel
            -Other possible connections
           *Biblical allusions
           Acknowledgements about the game and this FAQ section added

|Statement of purpose| (002)
The purpose of this here document is to combine all known and documented
theories concerning Shadow of the Colossus' storyline into one large
reader-friendly FAQ, and this is the statement that states that as being the
purpose. The hope is that it will provide readers with the knowledge of what
ideas have been kicked around since October of 2005 and hopefully help shed
some light on some things for them, while also leaving them plenty of room to
decide for themselves what they make of the story.

Each theory presented here will be analyzed in terms of what we know about
the game and classified as either workable or unworkable within the context of
the game. We'll also be presenting our own "Meta Theory" on the origins of the
Dormin, the nature of the Colossi, and Wander's connections to Mono and the
reason for his desire to revive her after discussing all the other theories,
as the Meta Theory encompasses all of the categories that will be discussed
before its presentation.

Also, before we get into the thick of this FAQ (the theories), we'll run
through some of the more frequently asked questions about Shadow of the

Thank you, and do enjoy this FAQ.

"Shadow of the Colossus is more than just a video game. It is a spiritual
experience, and that is very much the point. A game which is so totally about
immersion and atmosphere to the point where it doesn't require much of
anything to happen.

Or, more precisely, it's a work of art. In a way few games could hope to or
would want to be."

-David Rodoy

|Frequently asked questions| (003)
Q: Is this a sequel or prequel to Ico?
A: Officially, it's a prequel, taking place at an unspecified point in Ico's
past. Wander's Ico's ancestor. This was confirmed by lead developer Fumito
Ueda on March 9, 2006 in an interview with Wired News. The interview can be
read here:,70286-0.html?tw=rss.culture

Q: What about that Nico thing? Wasn't that the original version of this?
A: That's what it was going to be called when Ueda and his team first started
working on it. It was going to be a sequel to Ico back then (the "ni" in
"nico" is a play on words; "ni" is "two" in Japanese), but they decided not to
go the predictable route and just make a sequel to a successful game, and
actually put some time and heart into making something unique yet familiar
instead, and the end result was Shadow of the Colossus. God bless 'em.

Q: I heard this was originally called "Wanda and the Colossus" in Japanese.
What's up with that?
A: What's up with that is a mistranslation, I'm afraid. The Japanese name of
the game was "Wander and the Colossus." You see, "Wander" is an English word,
and while the Japanese have a fantastic language, they're not quite as
proficient at making the "er" sound as us English-speaking gaijin. This is
mainly because they don't HAVE any words that end in "er" in Japanese.

As a result, when they try to say a word that ends in "er" it comes out
sounding like "a" or "aa" instead of "er," and since their written language is
based on their pronunciation, it looks like it would be "Wanda" instead of
"Wander." Even so, they try their best to get appropriate English characters
to represent what they intend something to be when they write in romaji (which
represents Japanese sounds in English characters), and as a matter of
preference, they tend to title things in romaji. That being the case, the name
on the cover of their version of the manual (and the disc too) is "Wander and
the Colossus."

Now that I've bored you to death with giving you a textbook answer to a
question you probably only wanted answered in a single sentence or two, we'll
move onto your next question. After you wake up.

Q: So, does that mean that my PAL version of the game's wrong? Its instruction
manual says "Wanda"'s the main character's name.
A: Yep, 'fraid so. It's a mistranslation, because for some reason, whoever
wrote the PAL manual decided to translate the Japanese instead of just looking
at the romaji written on the cover of the game case and its manual. That or
he did look at the game case and manual and decided he knew better what the
Japanese developers were trying to say than they did.

Q: So the main character's name is "Wander" then?
A: Er, not exactly. You see, he doesn't have a name that we're aware of. The
official UK website for Shadow of the Colossus says "It matters not. His
efforts were not for the cause of creating a legend for himself" under "What
is the wanderer's name?"

He's just called "Wander" because that's what he's doing: Wandering around to
hunt the Colossi, kill them, and bring Mono back to life.

Q: Hey, while we're talking about Mono, what's Wander's connection to her
anyway? Why'd he go to all this trouble to bring her back?"
A: Like his name, it's one of those things that history's forgotten (or
intentionally left open-ended, as the case may be). There's only theories
about what kind of relationship -- or lack thereof -- that they had with one
another before she died, but that's why you're here! Don't be so impatient!
The theories are further on down. We'll get to 'em, I promise.

Q: How do we know her name's "Mono" anyway?
A: It's in the credits.

Q: Oh, right. I don't know how I overlooked that.
A: You and me both. You're not the only one that managed to miss the credits,
though, I promise you, so don't feel bad.

Q: Is the horse's name "Agro" or "Argo"? I thought I heard him say "Argo" when
he called him.
A: The horse's name is "Agro," just like in your manual (the manuals were
right this time). I know a lot of people sometimes think it sounds like
"Argo," but this isn't Xena's horse. This is Wander's horse and his name is

Q: Okay, so there's no canon backstory or explanation for the ending or
anything like that?
A: Not entirely. Ueda's one of those rare gamemakers who doesn't always have
an exact intention for a story per se. He's got an intention for a plot, plot
elements, and plot devices, but not always an intended explanation. He usually
wants the gamers to take their own story away from experiences with his games.
Obviously, there's some things that can't work in the context of the game, but
we'll get to more on that later.

Ueda's got his own interpretations for the story, but he usually calls it just
that: an interpretation. He takes his own personal analysis away from his
games, but he doesn't always make it official. He makes a point to let that be
known when asked what something meant in one of his games. That said, it IS
his opinion -- and he has confirmed it as canon -- that Shadow of the Colossus
is a prequel to Ico and that Wander will begin the line of horned boys seen in
Ico, making Wander Ico's ancestor.

Q: Interesting. I think I like this Ueda guy.
A: Me too. He kicks ass.

Q: So, uh, what's that Dormin guy anyway?
A: Jumping ahead of yourself again, I see! I told you to be patient. We'll get
to THEM soon enough, and explain what we think THEY are.

Q: Well, about those Colossi. Who made them?
A: Hey, patience I said! We've got a Colossi theory section further down.

Q: Those horns on Ico's head during the ending. What do they me-
A: Patience, dammit!

Q: Sorry.
A: S'okay.

Q: Well, how about the Colossi's names? They have official names, don't they?
A: Indeed, they do:

#1- (The minotaur)
Designation: Minotaur Colossus
Proper name: Valus
Latin name: Minotaurus Colossus

#2- (The bull)
Designation: Taurus Major
Proper name: Quadratus
Latin name: Taurus Magnus

#3- (The knight)
Designation: Earth Truth
Proper name: Gaius
Latin name: Terrestris Veritas

#4- (The horse)
Designation: Elite War Horse
Proper name: Phaedra
Latin name: Equus Bellator Apex

#5- (The bird)
Designation: Bird of Prey
Proper name: Avion
Latin name: Avis Praeda

#6- (The bearded giant)
Designation: Great Beast
Proper name: Barba
Latin name: Belua Maximus

#7- (The electric eel)
Designation: Sea Serpent
Proper name: Hydrus
Latin name: Draco Marinus

#8- (The lizard)
Designation: Wall Shadow
Proper name: Kuromori
Latin name: Parietinae Umbra

#9- (The tortoise)
Designation: Storm Echo
Proper name: Basaran
Latin name: Nimbus Recanto

#10- (The sand worm)
Designation: Sand Tiger
Proper name: Dirge
Latin name: Harena Tigris

#11- (The tiger)
Designation: Flame Guardian
Proper name: Celosia
Latin name: Ignis Excubitor

#12- (The sea monster)
Designation: Great Sea Monster
Proper name: Pelagia
Latin name: Permagnus Pistrix

#13- (The flying serpent)
Designation: Air Sailer
Proper name: Phalanx
Latin name: Aeris Velivolus

#14- (The lion)
Designation: Destruction Luster 
Proper name: Cenobia
Latin name: Cladeds Candor

#15- (The warrior)
Designation: Vigilant Sentinel
Proper name: Argus
Latin name: Praesidium Vigilo

#16- (The sorcerer)
Designation: Grand Superior
Proper name: Malus
Latin name: Grandis Supernus

Q: Cool! How do you know all these are correct anyway?
A: People who pre-ordered the Japanese version of the game got a bonus DVD
that had some info from when the game was going to be Nico. Supposedly
included in its liner notes were the names of the Colossi.

Q: Is there a 17th Colossus?
A: NO! Stop asking, goddammit!

Q: Sorry.
A: S'okay.

Q: What about an alternate ending?
A: ...

Q: See above?
A: Correct.

Q: So there isn't one?
A: That's correct. There's no alternate ending. You can't kill Emon and his
men as Dormin, you can't escape the pool as Wander, and you can't make Emon's
men kill Dormin either. Their arrows can only take a certain percentage of his
health. Reducing your health with fruit from the Secret Garden before you
fight Malus and then trying to get Dormin killed isn't going to work.

Q: Hey, what's the language spoken in the game?
A: It's some kind of backwards Japanese mixed with Latin or something like
that. Don't bother trying' to understand it.

Q: Huh. So there's no English at all? I thought I might have heard Mono
speaking in English at one point after Wander passed out when killing a
Colossus. That is Mono, right?
A: Yep, that's Mono, but she's not speaking in English. You're mistaken, I'm
afraid. Trying too hard to hear something you recognize, I imagine. No, she
speaks in the same backwards Japanese/Latin combo as everyone else in the

Q: What are all the unlockable items in the game and how do you get them?
A: This is a storyline FAQ! Take that gameplay b.s. somewhere else!

Okay, fine. But just this once. And only because it lets you hear the Dormin
talk some more. And because I'm a nice guy. And because you owe me money now.

There are two sets of 8 unlockable items. After beating the game for the first
time, you unlock Hard Mode and Normal Time Attack Mode. To get the new items,
you have to play both Normal Time Attack Mode and Hard Time Attack Mode
(accessible after beating Hard Mode), both with their own sets of items.

To access a Time Attack Mode, you just save your game after beating it, load
the file, and then the game will start over, but you'll keep your health and
extra grip you acquired from the last playthrough. To fight the Colossi in
Time Attack Mode, just go up to their corresponding idols in the Shrine of
Worship and press circle. Wander will pray in front of the idol and be given
the opportunity to challenge that Colossi in Time Attack.

After beating two Colossi in Time Attack, you'll get an unlockable item. It
doesn't matter what order you fight the Colossi in, by the way, but remember
to beat them all in Time Attack before venturing out to actually finish the
game. If you end the game before beating all of them in Time Attack, you're
not going to be able to have a shot at all the Time Attack unlockables again
until your NEXT playthrough of the game. In other words, if you were to beat 6
Colossi in this playthrough, and then beat the game without fighting anymore
in Time Attack, you're going to have to fight and defeat 8 on your next game
in Time Attack to get the next unlockable.

Also, remember that you can't carry over unlockables from Normal Mode to Hard
Mode, and vice versa. And without further ado, here are all the unlockables:

-Normal Time Attack unlockables-
1-Whistling Arrows (gets a Colossus' attention; beat 2 Colossi)
2-Cloak of Force (increases the damage Wander can cause; beat 4 Colossi)
3-Mask of Strength (increases the damage Wander can cause; beat 6 Colossi)
4-Lizard Detection Stone (allows you to detect lizards; beat 8 Colossi)
5-Fruit Tree Map (allows you to detect fruit trees; beat 10 Colossi)
6-Mask of Power (increases the damage Wander can cause; beat 12 Colossi)
7-Cloak of Deception (makes Wander invisible; beat 14 Colossi)
8-Flash Arrows (powerful explosive arrows; beat 16 Colossi)
(Option to make Agro brown also unlocked)

-Hard Time Attack unlockables-
1-Harpoon of Thunder (ranged weapon more powerful than arrows; beat 2 Colossi)
2-Sword of the Sun (sword that can gather the light anywhere; beat 4 Colossi)
3-Fruit Tree Map (allows you to detect fruit trees; beat 6 Colossi)
4-Shaman's Cloak (inreases Wander's defense; beat 8 Colossi)
5-Lizard Detection Stone (allows you to detect lizards; beat 10 Colossi)
6-Shaman's Mask (increases Wander's defense; beat 12 Colossi)
7-Cloth of Desperation (acts as a parachute for Wander; beat 14 Colossi)
8-Queen's Sword (allows for extremly powerful attacks; beat 16 Colossi)
(Option to make Agro white also unlocked)

After unlocking an item, head to the pool at the back of the Shrine of Worship
to collect it.

Q: What's the Secret Garden? How do I get there?
A: Another gameplay question! Okay, fine, this one's related to important
story stuff anyway.

The Secret Garden is that garden from the ending of the game where Agro leads
Mono. To get there, you'll need quite a bit of grip strength and some
patience. That said, if you're playing the NTSC version of the game, a grasp
of the Vertical Jump Glitch will get you to the top without a lot of stamina
(this was edited out of the PAL version).

To start your way there, you'll need to go to the moss growing on the
northeast side of the temple and simply start climbing up. Follow its path to
a ledge with a bush growing on it, and then follow this ledge as it wraps
around to the north side of the temple. Once you follow this climbable path
to its end, it will deposit you near the door Wander and Agro entered to
access shrine at the beginning of the game. From there, take a left to visit
the Secret Garden, or a right to walk across the long bridge that Agro and
Wander journeyed across in the game's opening.

There's not a lot within the Secret Garden that's actually notable aside from
the fruit growing on the trees here. Eating these permanently reduces your
maximum health and grip strength. If you eat enough of these fruit, your
health and grip strength return to their base levels.

Q: What kinds of animals are in the game?
A: There's horses, doves, hawks, larger hawks, seagulls, fish, eels, lizards,
tortoises, some bats, a squirrel, and a baby deer.

Q: A squirrel? Where the hell was he?
A: He's in the PAL and Japanese versions' endings. He shows up in the Secret
Garden with the baby deer and the birds. Some fans call him "Pal the Squirrel"
because they first learned about him with regard to the PAL version, and many
of us at first believed that he was only present in the PAL version.

Q: Am I ready to move on to the theories?
A: I sure hope so.

Q: Let's do it!
A: Yes, let's do.

|Theories| (004)
1) Backstory theories (004.10)
*Wander & Mono's connection/Wander's motivation/Other Wander stuff (004.1A)
-Wander and Mono were lovers and he wished to revive her because he needed her

Explanation(s): The things Wander does for Mono are things a lover would be
likely to do, and promotional materials for the game asked "How far will you
go for love?" Further, the back of the NTSC game case calls the story of SotC
"a story of undying love." Also, a story of love would go along with the
mythical feel of this game, such tales usually concerning romantic love.

KAZE: One of the more likely possibilities, but there are some potential holes
in it. Most notably, Mono doesn't beam with recognition when she sees Agro,
which one would think she should, seeing the loyal companion of her lover.
Though she may have felt disoriented after being revived, one would think that
a familiar soul would spark something more spontaneous in Mono's behavior.

Another thing to be aware of is that even taking promotional materials into
account, that only establishes that Wander loved HER and not necessarily the
other way around. She may not have even known him very well, if at all,
mustless be famililar with his horse.

DAVE: While its ironic that the word 'undying' is used to reference a game
where literally every main character dies or appears to at some point, this
one's fairly solid. The idea that they loved each other has the flaws Kaze
points out above working against it, plus the debatable flaw that Wander
himself never really gets close to her. His treatment is very much worshipful
and respectful rather than loving, suggesting that their relationship was not
a reciprocal one. He does touch her cheek with the back of his hand at one
point, but that is all. The key point in both our minds is that she doesn't
recognise Agro.

OUR ANALYSIS: Perhaps he loved her, but we doubt it was a fully realised

-Wander was in love with Mono and she either didn't know it or didn't
reciprocate his feelings

Explanation(s): As said in the above theory, the things Wander does are things
one would be likely to do for someone they were in love with. And, again,
promotional materials asked "How far will you go for love?" and called the
story one of "undying love." Also, a story of love would go along with the
mythical feel of this game, such tales usually concerning romantic love.

Mono not being intimately acquainted and/or familiar with Wander would explain
her lack of rejoiceful recognition to the appearance of Agro.

KAZE: Among the most likely of explanations. This is especially true if one
regards the promotional materials of the game as putting forth canon
(Note: More on this theory in the "Meta Theory" section further down.)

DAVE: I don't personally agree with it, for reasons explained later, but
there's no doubt it's a solid explanation and I personally think it is the one
most players will accept when playing.

OUR ANALYSIS: This looks fairly believable.

-Wander was a templar under Emon's tutelage who sacrificed Mono and felt guilt
as a result, then desired to redeem himself by reviving Mono

Explanation(s): Wander being a templar explains his connection to Emon, why he
wears a similar cloak, his exceptional horseriding skills, his skills with a
sword and his skill with bows and arrows. It also explains how Wander could
have had access to the sword to be able to steal it in the first place.

Finally, it explains Mono's apparent lack of familiarity with Agro.

KAZE: Among the most likely of explanations, though he's a bit clumsy with a
sword in my opinion. He swings it kind of wildly. He certainly has skill in
those other areas, though, and this would explain how he had access to the
(Note: More on this theory in the "Meta Theory" section further down.)

DAVE: This was my big thing, and is explained in detail later.

OUR ANALYSIS: There's nothing in the promotional materials or the game to say
we've got this one wrong. Hence it's probably fair to go with it. It at least
explains an awful lot about our hero. The guilt part is debatably contradicted
by the promotional materials that say the story is about love, but there's
nothing to say he wasn't forced to sacrifice her regardless of his feelings,
and was in the end motivated by guilt AND love. In short, even if challenged
from the other solid standpoint, it only requires a little twisting to make
this believable.

-Wander was Mono's brother

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: Possible, but there's no reason to believe so.

DAVE: Deeply, deeply unlikely. Wander is a redhead, for one thing. While that
does not guarantee that Mono would be as well, it's unlikely that they would
have such striking differences. On top of which, Mono looks nothing like him.
We see both of them face on at various points. He has a long, angular face,
while hers is far more rounded and traditionally Japanese. While these
arguments could be discounted, the fact that they're valid and there isn't a
single bit of evidence to support their relation suggests its a fairly shaky
ground to work from.

OUR ANALYSIS: Probably not.

-Wander was Mono's son

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: Extremely unlikely. Both look to be about the same age and both
are described as "young souls" on the official UK website.

DAVE: This has frightening implications in the context of the ending. Aside
from that Mono would have to be the youngest looking thirty-odd year old in
the history of anywhere. Not likely.

OUR ANALYSIS: As close to certainly not as you can get.

-Wander and Mono were just friends

Explanation(s): -Not applicable

KAZE: Possible, though not very likely due to Mono's apparent lack of
familiarity with Agro.

DAVE: You'd need to be incredibly close friends to consider going to such
insane lengths to return them to life. Ironically here more than in the case
of them loving each other her lack of familiarity with Agro is damning. I
can't see it.

OUR ANALYSIS: They were probably more than friends, or he cared about her on
some deep level as more than a friend.

-Wander had stolen Agro recently

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: Highly unlikely. Agro's a horse much too tall for someone of
Wander's stature to logically steal. For Wander to even have such a large
horse suggests a bond with him and desire to have that particular horse as his

Further, Agro responds to Wander's calls quickly and displays constant loyalty
to him, not only because he bears him at all, but because he's willing to ride
into battle against Colossi with him and throws him to safety near the end
when the bridge beneath them was collapsing.

DAVE: Additionally, Agro would KILL Wander if he tried. Without any
exaggeration I can say a horse of Agro's size could destroy a modern car with
a back kick. He's built like a warhorse. Horses like Agro don't get stolen.

Agro and Wander are a well oiled fighting machine. Do you think it's likely
that just any horse would ride so cleanly for Wander when he wanted to stand
on its back? Even allowing for gaming conventions of 'cool', horseback archery
is not easy. Add to that Wander's genuine reaction of grief when he thinks
Agro is dead, and I think that this theory is comfortably deep sixed.

OUR ANALYSIS: Very, very unlikely.

-Agro was originally Mono's horse 

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: Not suggested or indicated at all, and hardly makes sense with Mono not
calling out his name or otherwise showing instant recognition when she awakens
to meet him.

DAVE: If Agro took one step with Mono on him she'd be launched into the
stratosphere! She weighs about fifty pounds soaking wet. I don't think this
theory is supported at all or even makes much sense. For one thing, if it's
Mono's horse it again raises all the issues of why he comes so willingly when
Wander, who is NOT his master, calls for him, not to mention how he's clearly
been trained for horseback archery.

Brief aside: Horseback archery was a big part of feudal Japanese warfare, and
both horse and rider needed to train extensively to have any degree of
accuracy with the discipline. Wander 'inheriting' Agro would not account for
his skill on the horse's back.


*The Dormin (004.1B)
-The Dormin were the old gods of the Forbidden Land

Explanation(s): The temple where Wander meets Dormin is called "the Shrine of
Worship" and bears many idols. Further, the circular opening above the altar
in the shrine and above the pool at the back was possibly designed for Dormin
to speak to their priests through. Also, in some middle eastern cultures
(which the game may have drawn on), horns are a sign of divinity, and Dormin's
corporeal form bears horns.

KAZE: Certainly possible and fits without any apparent contradictions.
(Note: More on this theory in the "Meta Theory" section further down.)

DAVE: The Forbidden Land is packed with temples either fallen down or intact,
and the Shrine of Worship is clearly decked out like a pagan temple. I've
seen pictures very much like it (on a much smaller scale) in history books and
whatnot. More on this later, however.

OUR ANALYSIS: There's nothing working against it, and it explains why they
congregate in a place called 'the shrine of worship'. Maybe.

-The Dormin were a group of evil demons sealed away by Emon's people

Explanation(s): They turn into a big demon looking thing and had been sealed.

KAZE: Not so likely based on context and circumstancial evidence. Further,
Dormin's behavior isn't consistent with that of a sterotypical treacherous
evil being: They openly warned Wander that there may be a high price to pay to
bring back Mono, said that they had borrowed his his body rather than
possessed, stolen, or even taken it, and after being reunited, honored their
agreement with Wander by bringing Mono back to life.

Further, it seems possible that they may have returned Wander's life to him in
the pool at the back of the shrine (more on this honoring of their bargain in
the "Ending theories" and the "Meta Theory" sections to follow).

DAVE: I am with Kaze on disagreeing with it, however there is more than
enough reason to believe in it. If one determines that Wander's life is
restored by accident as a side effect of Emon's sealing spell, then the rest
of their actions become far more explicable. Any D & D player understands the
concept of 'lawful evil' the creature of cruelty and violence that will still
honour any bargain it makes to the absolute letter. We all know about the
ideas behind trickster genies and the like.

However, overall I think more evidence stands against than for it.

OUR ANALYSIS: Split. We both personally go against it, but as mentioned above,
it's certainly believable if looked at from one angle.

-Dormin's power is represented by the light of the land

Explanation(s): Beams of light rise into the air from the locations of fallen
colossi, removing clouds from the map, and light shines through the holes in
the temple that Dormin speaks through.

Further, there's no night shown to us in the Forbidden Land aside from the
storm that erupts during the battle with Malus, and there doesn't seem to be
any definite location of a sun either. Moreover, in the game's opening
narration, it's said that the Dormin have the power to control beings made of

KAZE: Entirely possible. There's no reason to believe that this may not be so.

DAVE: I consider it more likely that a certain facet of Dormin's power is
represented by the light of the land. Logically, after all, if they are sealed
away the Land should be dark, going by this theory. However it's not. In fact
it doesn't go dark until the very end, after they've been resealed. I
personally doubt that Emon's little spell is a firmer seal than the idol spell,
so there must be another explanation.

OUR ANALYSIS: Split. The bone of contention comes from the inherent statement
that at the end of the game Dormin's power is broken. It seems odd that the
world was bright while Dormin was so heavily sealed with the idol spell, and
yet Emon's ten second incantation and throwing of the ancient sword seals them
even more firmly.

-The Forbidden Land's 'day' is provided by the presence of Dormin

Explanation(s): Emon declares 'begone, foul beast', when he performs the
sealing spell at the end, and after Dormin are sucked into the pool the storm
continues unabated. Throughout the game it has been bright lights all the way.
Perhaps we finally see the Forbidden Land without Dormin's presence, providing
an eternal light.

KAZE: Seems to work fine to me.

DAVE: It seems strange to me that Dormin could be sealed more powerfully by
Emon's spell than by the idol spell. In acceptance of that, perhaps Emon's
spell is designed to suck Dormin away 'somewhere else'. This is contradicted,
however, by the statement that they need to place a seal on the whole temple.
Perhaps they are buried so deep in the temple that none of their essence can,
for a time, be felt beyond it, thrusting the land into darkness. This is not
contradicted by in-game evidence, and it does offer an alternative view of
Dormin's relation to the light. Their power is not broken at the end, its
simply hidden away somewhere. For a time, it can't be seen. Regardless, I
actually consider Dormin's relation to the light to be one of the more
difficult issues this game raises.

OUR ANALYSIS: Could work under the right circumstances. Not a lot within the
game itself to really peg it down either way.

-Emon himself sealed the Dormin originally

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: Extremely unlikely. The Dormin state that they've been sealed for "an
eternity," as they put it. Assuming it to be in the neighborhood of hundreds
of years, or even just a few score, Emon was likely not yet even alive at the
time of the Dormin originally being sealed.

DAVE: Doubt it. Emon's an old man, not immortal. If Dormin were sealed by him,
surely their comments would have been much more directed if Emon was
personally responsible for their sealing. It is likely that they've been
sealed for longer than hundreds of years, too.

OUR ANALYSIS: Probably not.

-The sword Wander stole was utilized in the spell that originally sealed the

Explanation(s): The Dormin recognize the sword and know that with it, Wander
may be able to defeat the Colossi and free them from the spell.

KAZE: Extremely likely.

DAVE: Almost a guarantee. It has too much affinity with Dormin for it to be
otherwise. It catches the light, which is obviously connected to their power,
it is the only thing that can free them... it only makes sense.

OUR ANALYSIS: Nigh certain.

-The shadow beings that appear at the Shrine of Worship in the beginning are
the Dormin's followers who remained loyal to them after the religious
reformation that came over the people. Most likely killed and their bodies
mutilated or destroyed, the Dormin fashioned for their souls spiritual bodies
made with their own energy, and they are the beings made of light which the
game's opening narration says that they can control

Explanation(s): On the official PAL website, if one clicks on the question
"Who are those shadowy figures?" they receive a video response that shows the
shadow beings from the opening sequence of the game, and includes this
statement: "Everything casts a shadow. When an entity exists beyond the mortal
realm, a shadow is all men can see." This means that the beings are probably
dead, and since they cast the shadows of humans, they most likely WERE humans
when they were alive.

Also, the opening narration's reference to beings made of light that can be
controlled by the Dormin could only apply to these beings, and since -- as the
PAL website says -- "Myths speak of their [the Dormin's] ability to control
the souls of the dead", this all fits.

KAZE: An interesting theory that is both plausible and contradicted by nothing
within the game.

DAVE: -Not applicable-

OUR ANALYSIS: Only my input so far, but I'd say it works pretty darn well and
makes the most sense of anything.

-The Colossi contain the dark half of each severed part of the Dormin, while
the idols contain the light half

Explanation(s): After a Colossus is defeated, black energy erupts from the
fallen creature and enters Wander. This is what is then represented by a
shadow-like figure standing beside him when he has been returned to the Shrine
of Worship. At that point, the idol corresponding to the dead Colossus
emanates bright light and explodes. Subsequently, a dove made of light appears
around Mono.

KAZE:  It's certainly an interesting theory. The only real problems with it
are that the Dormin refer to themselves being seperated into sixteen parts
instead of thirty-two (though it's possible that the seperated halves could
still be counted as one since their bondage is shared) and that it doesn't
really seem to make sense that all aspects of the Dormin's essence wouldn't
enter Wander. The Dormin's objective would seem to have been to become whole
once again. That said, the theory WOULD fit with the Dormin's duality. The
Dormin have both male and female voices, are repesented with both light and
dark (complete with bright light and black light), and the appearance of the
shadow figures could be symbolic of the dark light that has entered Wander (a
male), while the doves made of bright light surround Mono (the female).

Despite a couple of problems, it seems like a good theory. I can't say how
likely it is, but it's a good theory. However, it's also possible that the
shadows that appear around Wander and the doves of light that surround Mono
may just be symbolic.

Dave: -Not applicable-

OUR ANALYSIS: It's only me so far, but it seems like a fairly decent theory
with a couple of possible flaws. I can't say that they definitely are flaws,
though, because it might be more a misunderstanding based on what limited
knowledge we have of the Dormin. In any case, it's a great observation.

*The nature of the Colossi (004.1C)
-They were created by a fusion of the land and the seperated essences of the

Explanations(s): Each bit of rhe Dormin's essences acted of its own accord
rather than under the influence of the Dormin once they were sealed. EAch was
bound within the confines of an area of the Forbidden Land, with the conduit
for the spell that so bound them being the idols within the temple.

This fusion of the essences of the Dormin with the part of the land to which
to which each was bound not only created the Colossi as unguided, instinctual
creatures, but confused the spell on Dormin as well, such that when the
Colossi were destroyed, the spell misinterpreted the essence of Dormin itself
as being destroyed, destroying the associated idol and releasing the seal on
that bit of the Dormin's essence.

KAZE: Extremely likely in light of what little we know for certain.
(Note: More on this theory in the "Meta Theory" section further down.)

DAVE: Fairly likely.

OUR ANALYSIS: It's a solid explanation, for certain, and it doesn't have any
glaring holes in it. That's usually a good sign.

-The Colossi are all physically trapped in their respective areas

Explanation(s): Several seem to be in areas that they may be unable to leave,
such as Gaius being on that large platform that's surrouned by water, or
Malus' feet being secured to the ground, even such that his body doesn't
collapse to the ground once he's been killed.

KAZE: Quite unlikely. While #s 3, 4, 6, 11, 12, 14, and 16 are all certianly
physically trapped, they are not the majority. #s 1, 5, 8, 9, 13, and 15
should be able to leave their areas at any time they wished unless a magical
restriction was upon them. #2 may also be able to ascend the nearby ramp to
the upper areas of the Forbidden Land if it so wished, and #s 7 and 10 --
being designed after an aquatic creature and a sand worm in the first place --
are simply in what passes for areas they have to be within in order
to move about.

DAVE: I'll be more firm than Kaze and say that this is frankly wrong. Neither
of the flying colossi are even close to being trapped. Some certainly are, but
there's more to it than mere physicality.

OUR ANALYSIS: Aside from differences in vehemence, we agree that this is
probably incorrect.

-They weren't evil and were more like animals than anything else

Explanation(s): Their behavior is consistent with that of animalistic
creatures following their instincts rather than perceptive beings like

KAZE: Very likely.

DAVE: Well, they're certainly not as intelligent as the creature they're
serving as host to. I support this as well.

OUR ANALYSIS: Very likely.

-They were evil entities under the influence of the evil Dormin

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: Not only does it seem unlikely that the Dormin were evil in the
traditional sense, and not only do the Colossi behave more like animals than
anything else, but were the Dormin controlling these creatures or influencing
them at all, they most certainly would have wanted Wander to succeed in
destroying them and would not have had them attack him.

DAVE: Neither of the flying colossi show any interest in Wander whatsoever
even once they've spotted him. The second of them never attacks him, even
when Wander is stabbing it to death. This doesn't suggest evil to me.

OUR ANALYSIS: Almost certainly not.

-They were created by the same people who seperated Dormin to contain the
essences of Dormin and guard them, and the areas they're found in were
designed as needed such that they could be used to overpower the Colossi and
kill them if the need to do so ever arose

Explanation(s): They contain the Dormin's essences, and many of the areas
where the Colossi are found are designed such that they can be used to get on
the Colossi and kill them.

KAZE: Possible, but not really indicated. While many of the locations can be
used in Wander's favor, it seems to be more out of luck -- and Wander knowing
how to use the environment around him to his advantage -- than anything else,
as is the case with #s 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, and 15. Malus' area is the
only one that seems intentionally designed for approaching the Colossus in
that location, and is hardly an indication of the majority.

For that matter, whoever contained the Dormin obviously wanted them to remain
contained. It wouldn't make sense for them to have intentionally designed a
way for someone to free them.

DAVE: Many if not most of the colossi are housed in areas that resemble the
central shrine of worship in some ways. It is highly possible that in the case
of others the shrines merely broke down over time. In short, most of the
environmental factors are explicable providing you accept that they were built
to contain the colossi in the first place. Wander simply turned these prisons
or shrines to his own advantage. For one thing, if they were designed to
actually kill the colossi, why don't they include some in-built weaponry of a
scale to achieve it? The fact is that the colossi are functionally invincible,
and it makes no sense that anybody would consider how they might be killed if
they were building them. Assuming that Dormin are evil, the consequences of
killing the Colossi would be too dire to consider their slaying.


-The spell that seperated and sealed the essences of Dormin created the
Colossi -- possibly out of the land -- intentionally, and for the purpose of
housing the essences of Dormin

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: Possible, but not indicated.

DAVE: I sort of agree with this, but I doubt it was intentional on a personal
basis. However, its significant that the only person who ever mentions the
Colossi is Dormin themselves. The suggestion is nobody else really knew about
them, if you look at the in-game material. Wander certainly didn't know about
them, which is very peculiar. All this suggests that the spell didn't create
the colossi, in my opinion. Far more likely that the spell's purpose was to
seal them into the idols.

OUR ANALYSIS: Not likely, but it is still possible. The big bone of contention
is the 'why' of the thing. Why make the Colossi? If you have an answer then
there's no reason why this theory can't fly.

-They've made the areas they chose to inhabit or were forced to inhabit into
something of a natural habitat, each according to its nature

Explanation(s): They're not only able to defend themselves in these locations,
but seem to naturally fit in these locations in some cases, such as Hydrus.

KAZE: Possibly, but in the cases of some, the locations they reside in seem to
be requirements for their movement at all (Dirge and Hydrus), and in the cases
of many others, how they defend themselves doesn't seem to be so much the
result of their areas being akin to natural environments (exceptions being #s
7, 10, and 12) as it is that they simply have become familiar with their

DAVE: I think this suggests too much activity on the Colossi's part. Let's
not forget that the majority of them are clearly inactive when Wander gets to
them, and if they had been active beforehand the signs would be everywhere
such as with the Colossus in the mausoleum who knocks all the walls down.
Also, the environments actively make it harder for them to defend themselves
on some occasions. Take the wall-crawling gecko-like Colossus. He would be
nearly impossible to attack if not for the fact you can harass him from all

OUR ANALYSIS: A double 'kinda' in this case. It's a feasible theory, so long
as you can explain why there's no evidence of their prior activity when mere
moments of battle with Wander sometimes cause massive destruction.

-They were created by the people who originally inhabited the Forbidden Land
to be servants until they rebelled against their masters

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: Possible, but not indicated.

DAVE: Unlikely. For one thing they don't look like man-made creations, several
of them are useless outside of their environment, and others are utterly
trapped. As far as servants go, the colossi would make for a frustrating

OUR ANALYSIS: Overall, not likely.

-The metal armor that some of them wore was built for them by humans who had
built the Colossi too

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: Rather unlikely. When the Colossi die, they seemingly instantly
turn to stone and are covered with moss in some cases, the materials they're
composed of returning to the earth, including the metal armor that some of
them wear.

DAVE: As Kaze says, everything they're made of returns to stone when they
die. The secondary issue is 'why bother'? If these things were built, it's
blatantly obvious they were built to be indestructible. Most of these Colossi
are nearly so, and they have no need of further enhancement. Also, assuming
that the Colossi were built by the people, why didn't they put those metal
plates right over their weak points? The theory raises hard to answer
questions, and that always sets off warning alarms in my mind.


-The sword points to the essences of Dormin, specifically areas where it's
trying to get out of the Colossi

Explanation(s): The essences of Dormin emerge from the vitals of the fallen
Colossi. Also, when the Colossi "bleed," they violently spray, as though
something is forcing its way out.

KAZE: This is highly possible, and there's nothing that really suggests
otherwise. It's somewhat curious that the essences of the Dormin do not seem
to move to other areas within the Colossi, but there may be limitations on

DAVE: This is a theory I agree with one hundred per cent.

OUR ANALYSIS: A mutual highly likely.

UPDATE: On second thought, this theory isn't very strong in light of the fact
that the light points to the Colossi in a particular order (an order provided
by the Dormin), as well as the fact that it sometimes points to Colossi that
are further away than those that are closer (example: it points to #7 before
it points to #11). Additionally, it never points to Wander himself (who
accumulates essences of the Colossi within himself).

-The sword points to the minds of the Colossi

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: Highly unlikely due to there being multiple "vitals" on the Colossi.

DAVE: I mirror Kaze's statement. It's all that needs to be said.

OUR ANALYSIS: Almost certainly not.

-The sword points to what the Dormin want it to, and it is the Dormin's
manipulation of light in the Forbidden Land that guides Wander

Explanation(s): Given that the sword guides Wander to the Colossi in a
particular order given to him by the Dormin, never points to himself, often
points to Colossi that are further away than others, and given the inference
of the Dormin's connection to light in the Forbidden Land (it is even said in
the game's opening narration that the Dormin had the power to control beings
made of light), the Dormin choose which Colossi to guide Wander to, and then
points him to the Colossi's vitals which may be either where their
essences entered the Colossi or just where they're located at that time.
Additionally, the glyph that appears at the Colossi's vitals is utilized as it
is a sign that Wander will recognize, or may have even been a symbol used in
the religion that worshipped the Dormin.

Additionally, the Dormin may have intended to guide Wander to the Colossi in
a particular order so that he would battle easier ones first. For example, the
first three Colossi are fought on wide flat, open terrain, and the objective
is fairly straightforward in that the player is simply trying to get on the
Colossi and destroy its vitals that are usually in plain sight. On many of the
following Colossi, the environment must be utilized to some degree, often
extensively, just in order to uncover a Colossus' vitals or in order to get on
the creature.

KAZE: The most likely of all explanations.

DAVE: -Not applicable- (though I'm sure he'd love it)

OUR ANALYSIS: Well, it's only my input so far, but I'd say it's pretty
darn likely, if not definite.

-The vitals of the Colossi are where the essences of Dormin entered the
material the Colossi are made from

Explanation(s): The vitals are where the entry points for the essences of
Dormin are sealed, and the majority of the essences lie at these points, this
being why "blood" sprays much more violently from these points when stabbed
than they do anywhere else.

KAZE: Possible, with no obvious contradictions.

DAVE: Certainly possible. There's nothing that really works against this

OUR ANALYSIS: It's possible, and there's not really anything that says it's

-The Colossi attack Wander because of his "sins" and/or because he is allied
with Dormin

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: Highly unlikely. Not all of the Colossi are aggressive, and while many
are, attacking Wander on sight, Avion doesn't attack Wander until he's
attacked first, and Phalanx won't attack him at all.

DAVE: Very unlikely. It's more likely they attack him because they know on an
instinctual level he's there to kill them.

OUR ANALYSIS: Not likely at all.

-The Colossi often fought one another

Explanation(s): There are damaged areas on Gaius, the Knight.

KAZE: Gaius was designed after a knight. It rather makes sense for his design
to reflect that he's been in battles. Aside from this one case, there's no
indication of there having been combat amongst the Colossi, and this one isn't
really an indication of that on its own.

DAVE: Most of them couldn't get to each other for a fight even if they wanted
to. Plus, if they DID fight, there would be evidence of it. Seriously, a fight
between any of the larger Colossi would completely reshape the landscape.
Especially since they have no way of killing each other, so once a fight began
there would be no reason for it to ever end.

OUR ANALYSIS: Almost certainly not.

*The Forbidden Land (004.1D)
-The Forbidden Land could possibly result in someone dying if they touched the
ground before crossing the bridge and touching the temple first

Explanation(s): Emon felt that the bridge collapsing would prevent anyone from
ever entering the Forbidden Land again.

KAZE: Emon probably thought that because there was a drop of several hundred
feet at the entrance to the Forbidden Land without the bridge in place. The
indication offered by the game and the official UK website is that the place
was labeled forbidden so as to prevent anyone from going there and possibly
releasing the Dormin: "It is forbidden for the good of all men. This land
contains mighty power, and this power... must be contained."

DAVE: Well, there is little evidence to suggest that this is true. Why
touching the shrine would preserve someone's life I have no idea. The simple
fact is you can't get in without using the bridge. Geographics makes it
inaccessible. For that matter, why would the Forbidden Land kill anyone who
touched it? It seems like a verdant enough place to me. There are lizards and
things on the ground, and they're unaffected by any death touch, so really I
don't even see where this thought comes from.

OUR ANALYSIS: A large "unlikely."

2) Ending theories (004.2)
Many theories have arisen concerning SotC's brilliantly executed ending, a
conclusion that for many left the story sitting wide open, but for others,
brought a beautiful sense of closure. Here they are:

-Wander is revived by the Dormin

Explanation(s): Wander was quite dead by then already. Emon's spell to
neutralize the Dormin's power shouldn't bring the dead back to life even if it
was purifying them of negative energy. Wander may have been reverted to
infancy by the purification aspect of the spell, infancy being the only point
in a human's life when they are truly pure, but returning to life itself was
a result of Dormin's influence.

KAZE: Extremely likely, and a most logical conclusion.

DAVE: I hold to this belief personally, so obviously I support it. I can't
find many problems with it, either, or evidence to suggest it's wrong.

OUR ANALYSIS: Looks good.

-Wander is reverted to infancy by Emon's purification spell and restored to
life, as well

Explanation(s): Wander could only be purified by becoming an infant once more,
and being pure made him live again.

KAZE: Not very likely. It doesn't seem to logically work that simply being
purified would return Wander to life. Even infants can die, after all.

DAVE: If it did happen it was an unexpected side effect. Emon was clearly
unsure of what had happened to the people in the temple. I personally find it
unlikely, however.

OUR ANALYSIS: Probably not. The primary bone of contention is the game's clear
statement that it's the Dormin who have power over resurrection.

-Wander and Dormin fuse into one being

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: Nothing working against it.

DAVE: Perfectly fine. Makes sense.

OUR ANALYSIS: Double thumbs up.

-Wander remains dead, but Dormin is reincarnated in his body

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: Possible, but it may not fit in with the Dormin's line of honor to leave
Wander -- whom they owed for being free to begin with -- dead while
permanently taking his body from him.

DAVE: This I find more unlikely than the former theory. For one thing we've
already seen what happens when Dormin inhabit a Human body: It doesn't work.
They're too powerful for such a fragile shell to deal. An infant's body would
likely be flatly annihilated. On top of which, to be reincarnated Dormin would
have to die. I think part of the problem is that Dormin are simply unkillable
in any literal sense. Also, if the baby was really Dormin, why does it act
like a normal baby? Did Dormin forget everything of its Godhood or whatever
you want to call it? While it works in one way, it makes no sense whatsoever
in another. You'd have thought the baby would show marks more significant than
mere horns.

OUR ANALYSIS: Split. It does make sense, but we find severe personal
disagreements with the idea, and it does raise some serious issues.

-Mono's lifeless body was possessed by the "female" aspect of Dormin

Explanation(s): The female voice of Dormin grew ever more faint toward the end
of the game, while Mono's voice grew stronger.

KAZE: Doesn't seem very likely. The Dormin were more than just two entities,
anyway, described as "many" on the official UK website. While the Dormin
clearly possessed something of a dual nature, the increase in the presence of
one over the other could be a result of any number of possibilities of which
we are not aware, including the obvious factor that Dormin's essences were
reuniting within Wander's body.

DAVE: There is never any point where any Dormin essence enters Mono's
body. While it is certain that Wander is unconscious for a long time whenever
he comes back from killing a colossus, it does make Dormin's statement at the
end that they have 'risen anew' somewhat incorrect. The whole point of their
gamble is reuniting. Surely this is flatly prevented if one of them enters
Mono's body instead? Additionally, Mono shows no sign of infection. Even after
the first battle there are signs Wander is changing if you can get the camera
close enough to him.

OUR ANALYSIS: This doesn't seem likely, for numerous reasons.

-Agro actually died when he fell into the canyon below Malus' lair, and the
Dormin revived both him and Mono

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: Extremely unlikely. Mono's revived without whatever damage that had been
taken to her body being present, and Wander's infant body bears no damage, yet
Agro comes limping into the Shrine of Worship with a broken leg. The only
revival(s) that took place involved the complete healing of whatever wounds
were rendered to cause death in the first place. Agro should not have a broken
leg if revived by the power of Dormin.

DAVE: I'll be honest, I found this hilarious the first time I heard it. It's
simply riddled with logic holes. On top of what Kaze's said already, Dormin
never made a deal to bring Agro back to life, so why would they even if the
situation came up? It requires far too much additional explanation to get
somewhere close to making this make sense for me to buy it.

This whole theory arose from the fact that Agro shouldn't have survived the
fall, even onto water. This is true. However, Agro also should have all of his
legs broken when he gets hit by the sand worm Collossus, and he shouldn't
get back up after being shot by the turtle-like one in the geyser area. We'll
have to accept that the director wanted Agro to survive and so it happened.
Call it a one in a million chance, whatever's required. The very fact that he
comes back with a sprained or broken leg is the ample proof that we are
supposed to believe he survived the fall through some means. Who knows, maybe
Agro really is the seventeenth Collossus.

OUR ANALYSIS: There's simply nothing to support it, and it makes little sense
to boot.

-Mono actually wakes up in Heaven, and this is why she finds Wander and Agro
there, them having also died

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: As with the idea that Agro was revived by Dormin, it doesn't work due to
Agro having a broken leg. Dead horses that go to Heaven shouldn't have broken
legs (not that I've been there; it just doesn't logically make sense). For
that matter, why would Mono just then be waking up in Heaven, having been dead
for quite some time, yet just getting there at the same time as the recently

Further still, why would Wander be an infant in Heaven while Mono and Agro had
the bodies they had at the time of death? And why would Heaven look like the
Forbidden Land?

All that aside, Mono's eyelids are moving even before Emon and his men
evacuate the Shrine of Worship. This one's pretty much impossible.

DAVE: Don't think I can add much to Kaze's explanation. Everything from the
promotional material through to Emon's words all contradict this theory.


UPDATE: Rendered impossible by the nature of SotC's official prequel status.
Wander begins the lined of horned boys and Ico is among his descendants.

-Emon's spell to defeat the Dormin was only temporary

Explanation(s): This is why he needed to destroy the bridge too.

KAZE: Certainly possible. Though it leaves the question of why the bridge was
allowed to remain standing as long as it was, this question is technically
appropriate anyway.

DAVE: I consider it a certainty. If Dormin could be sealed so easily, why did
they really care if they got free? Let's face it, Emon makes it look easy. The
idol approach seems excessively complex if Dormin was so easy to contain.
After all, why go to such an extent in the first place if a spell like that
would have worked then? The question of why the bridge was allowed to remain
standing applies to every possible theory. Why DID they keep that bridge up?
Perhaps they thought they would come back for conversation at some points. In
truth it's a hanging plot hole that can't be resolved.

OUR ANALYSIS: Valid theory. Makes sense depending on your angle of approach.

-The horns on baby Wander's head are simply a result of him having been the
Dormin's vessel for a time, and having been on his head when he died. As such,
they don't necessarily symbolize anything, even so much as some of Dormin's
power remaining within Wander, though it's possible.

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: Nothing to contradict it based on the context of just SotC, though if
one is assuming Wander to be the ancestor of a certain other famous horned
boy, this theory could be called into question. 

DAVE: Alternatively, the horned boys have nothing genetically to do with
Wander. After all, I doubt he'd be well received upon entering a new town, and
romance would be positively awkward. Perhaps the boys with horns are simply a
result of Dormin being existant in the world, a sign of its 'taint'.
Nonetheless, this theory doesn't work if you assume Wander is responsible for
ICO. Otherwise, it's fundamentally sound.

OUR ANALYSIS: It can work, but certain approaches necessitate its fallacy.

UPDATE: In light of official confirmation that Wander begins the line of
horned boys, it's most likely that something of the Dormin's power remained
within Wander and was passed to his descendants.

3) After ending theories (004.3)
The ending of SotC has also inspired many to conceive theories of what may
follow after the events of the game. Many of them relate to now confirmed
connections with SotC's "spiritual precursor," Ico, while others involve
connections that have yet to be confirmed, so be sure to check out the
"Connections to Ico: Facts & theories" section further down in this FAQ.

-Mono, Wander and Agro all die soon after the game ends

Explanation(s): Agro dies because he's now a limp horse and will get an
infection or be unable to move around much, and Mono and baby Wander will be
unable to eat.

KAZE: Doesn't even make sense. Agro's walking around just fine and hardly
seems concerned about his limp, which Mono should be able to help him heal
anyway. As for herself and Wander, there's plenty of food in the Forbidden
Land (lizards and fruit, most obviously), and that baby deer in the Secret
Garden sure didn't look like he was underfed.

DAVE: If Agro's leg was broken, then yes he will be crippled. However his leg
is not clearly broken, it could only be severely sprained, an injury a horse
is more than capable of recovering from. I personally take that long,
looooooong panning shot where we see that they're less than half way up that
enormous tower that in fact the 'habitable' portions of it start with the
Secret Garden. I'm aware that there's no obvious way inside if you get into
it, no way further into the building, but I think it's fairly obvious that the
rest of it isn't completely empty. I'll agree that baby Wander might be in
trouble, though, as he's not at the point, from the look of things, where he
can live on tough lizard meat and (probably) soft fruit. However, I think it's
safe to say that the trio will be just fine.

OUR ANALYSIS: It's very negative, definitely goes against the spirit of the
game, and isn't very likely given the minute facts offered in the last part of
the ending.

UPDATE: Rendered impossible by the nature of SotC's official prequel status.
Wander begins the lined of horned boys and Ico is among his descendants. While
Mono and Agro don't necessarily survive, there's no reason to think that they
wouldn't when an infant in Mono's care is confirmed as doing so.

-Mono raises Wander back to adolescence and the two have children together;
they may or may not ever find a way out of the Forbidden Land, but their
children may

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: Possible, if not the most likely possibility.

DAVE: All but required for several theories concerning inter-relations with
ICO. It makes sense, although I still consider it to be at least slightly
twisted since Mono will be about sixteen years older than him (physically)
when they have children. At least.

OUR ANALYSIS: Fairly likely and a very logical follow on from the ending.

-Mono raises Wander to adolescence and he eventually finds a way out of the
Forbidden Land and has children with someone else

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: Possible, but not really any reason to believe he won't be doing the
baby-makin' dance with Mono if he does it with anyone. There's not really any
reason to believe he'd leave Mono behind anyway if she was still alive.

DAVE: While I find this personally more appealing, who in the hell is going
to have children with Wander? Think about it for two seconds, and imagine the
responses he'll get from 'ordinary' civilised folk. Pitch forks, burning
brands, and all that. It's actually more likely he breeds with Mono, if at
all. However, short of descending deep into incest, sooner or later he or his
descendents will either die out or escape. What happens then is all

OUR ANALYSIS: As likely as the previous theory, depending on whether or not
you believe Wander and Mono will fall in love again, or indeed fall in love in
the first place, as he grows up.

-The title screen cutscenes where Agro is shown riding about on his own are
actually set after the events of SotC, and indicate that his leg healed.

Explanation(s): One of the similar cutscenes of a hawk flying about that
become viewable after having beaten the game show the bridge beneath Malus'
lair as gone.

KAZE: All that's for sure is that the hawk cutscenes take place after Malus is
defeated. Wander can be seen sleeping at save altars during these cutscenes of
Agro running about, as they simply load a location from a current save file.
That said, this is apparently impossible.

DAVE: This was actually my suggestion, and I've never noticed Wander asleep at
the save point before. So... uh... I guess this one's dead, Jim.

OUR ANALYSIS: It would be nice if it were so, but it seems that this is simply

4) Meta Theory on the Dormin, the Colossi, and Wander's motivation (004.40)
The Meta Theory is a large, fairly complex, near all-encompassing theory that
was the brainchild of David Rodoy. He came up with it while playing Shadow of
the Colossus, and it explains almost all of the plot elements of the story,
leaving few plot holes. After I read it, I added some embellishments upon it
and we were left with what we mutually feel is the single most solid Shadow of
the Colossus theory conceived. It ties all the threads up into a single
consistent package with lose ends you'd have to hunt with a microscope.

In its original form, it encompassed the nature of the Dormin and the Colossi,
as well as Wander's connection to Mono, his motivation for reviving her, his
connection to Emon, the phenomenal equestrian and archery skills he displays,
and offered a take on the ending that was a stroke of brilliance. That said,
we had two different takes on the Wander aspects of the story, while we fully
agreed on the aspects concerning the Dormin and the Colossi.

As such, we've slightly dissected the Meta theory, leaving the origins of the
Colossi and the nature of the Dormin as its basis, but with two different
"paths" branching off from there. Though we disagreed with one another quite
vehemently in our initial discussion of Wander's motivations, we both
acknowledge that -- within the context of Shadow of the Colossus alone, which
may well be how its intended to be examined -- either theory is equally

That said, I rather think his theory is more creative on the whole and I find
it extremely interesting, but the theory I came to hold it edges it out for me
in terms of satisfaction. Fortunately, we both also agree that is what the
developers of Shadow of the Colossus would hope for those who play the game 
to take from its story: their own story, built from the base elements they've
offered, cooked in a fire of the imagination to bond them together, seasoned
with personally preferred flavors, and devoured to a satisfying end.

In that spirit, we'll be presenting the Meta theory in its original sequential
form, our combined theory on the Dormin and the Colossi being presented first,
followed then by Dave's take on Wander's motivations and backstory, and then
concluded with my own take on the avatar of our wills as projected into the
Forbidden Land. As we head into the Meta Theory, I now leave you with the
closing words that David left in his original opening to this testament to the
brilliant work of art that Ueda and his development team has given us with
Shadow of the Colossus:

"What makes this theory so worthy is not its plausibility, believe it or not.
It�s the fact that it remains plausible despite flatly contradicting a fair
proportion of the promotional material that surrounds this game.

It is a theory formed from one thing and one thing only: In-game experience,
and it amounts to my interpretation of the events that unfolds, and in a big
way it encompasses the feelings that the game stirred within me. Even if you
do not agree with this theory in part or whole, it stands as a testament to
the success of Shadow of the Colossus. It made me think, it made me feel, and
it left me with just enough information and indication from which I could
craft this explanation for the game. As a writer, I can appreciate better than
most the power of saying no more than you have to. In Shadow of the Colossus,
defying all obvious expectation, in saying almost nothing at all the director
has said no more than he had to.

In presenting this theory I will break it down into a logical progression of
events and scenarios that lead into and explain the in-game events of Shadow
of the Colossus. Essentially, I present to you the plot of Shadow of the
Colossus, re-told by me, wearing Emon�s weird creepy mask."

*Nature of the Colossi and Dormin (004.4A)
The Dormin, far from being evil, were once worshipped as Gods. The people of
that land faced an entity so far above and beyond them, possessing power so
much beyond their scope of understanding and existing in a state so far beyond
their comprehension that this was the only possible relationship. Dormin forms
a dual god, light and dark, male and female, dead and alive, possessing power
over all the above in various ways. It is not to say that these times were
peaceful, however it is likely that the religion around Dormin was not an
especially violent one. Dormin themselves are enshrined in a great temple,
built to their dimensions, and around the land others are erected in worship
to them. Idols are built to paganistic design, each to worship a different
aspect of this divine entity. The status quo is set for centuries.

But eventually -- one may say inevitably -- this changes.

At some point long, long ago, a new religion rose. Perhaps it started as a new
thinker, perhaps it was someone angry at Dormin for some reason. These people
began a new religion, birthed a new god. A new, impersonal god that could not
be seen, could not be touched. More importantly, this was a god of light, and
the darkness and the death was its enemy, the sign of its displeasure and its
curses. Thus was the battle set.

The people were won over to this new religion. It preached of reward and of
punishment, of enemy and of victory. Dormin was the symbol of the enemy,
darkness and death. The people, once worshipful, rose up against Dormin, and
through the use of a magic sword first sundered then bound their former 
god, a god no longer amenable to the beliefs of the people, a relic of a time 
already gone. Binding Dormin�s soul to the idols made for its worship, each 
corresponding to a different area of the land that Dormin itself had been lord 
over, Dormin was left, trapped eternally, bound to the land itself and to the 
shrines once erected in its honour. It is sealed away, abandoned by its people 
in a land whose name would be lost, and it would be remembered only as a 
place wherein none could tread: the Forbidden Land.

Dormin is left bound into the land, never able to truly come together again,
the idols that bind its soul rendered indestructible by Dormin�s own
immunity to dissolution. Dormin is left an angry god, infuriated by betrayal
and imprisonment, burning in the impotent desire for vengeance. Dormin was
condemend to an eternity of separation, a fate worse than the oblivion it
personified and controlled, yet Dormin remained fundamentally a god of the
land. In binding its divided essences to the various parts of the land itself,
the people had given Dormin the smallest hint of power, provided a minor chink
in their own enchantment. Dormin�s fractured soul permeated the land, and
those fragments began to fuse with the land itself, to those places which they
were bound. In doing so, they created secondary, more fragile prisons, prisons
that personified the elements of Dormin�s own soul that were bound to the
land; prisons that could, theoretically, be broken. The Colossi were born.

The spell that divided the Dormin into 16 segments -- binding each piece to
one of the Dormin's own idols, each of these idols in turn themselves bound to
an aspect of the land -- was flawed in its function, ineffecient to the
purpose for which it had been cast. In binding the idols to both the divided
essences of Dormin and different parts of the land itself, the betrayers had
left a loophole that may spell their own doom: when the divided essences of
Dormin infused themselves into parts of the land to which they were bound,
they confused that enchantment which left the Dormin's power inert and

With that which was bound becoming one with that which it was bound to, should
the subsequent creations be destroyed, so too would fall those enchanted
objects of which the Colossi served as manifestations: the idols, those
conduits through which the spell that imprisoned the essences of the Dormin
was held in place.

Time passes...

Someone from outside enters the Forbidden Land. Maybe they want to see their
old gods, or perhaps they want to make sure the spell cast to bind their old
gods is doing its work, or maybe they're just curious; who knows? What they
find, however, are the idols changed, whether they discover the Colossi
roaming those areas to which the idols correspond or not. Even if they know
nothing of the Colossi or their significance, the significance of what has
taken place is realized: if the idols are destroyed, Dormin will be freed,
and in Dormin being deathless, they will inevitably reform.

Dormin�s memory is thus retained as a legend, its power becoming a cautionary
tale, a parable perhaps. The Forbidden Land should not be trespassed upon, for
it is forbidden. The idols should never fall, because they are in the
Forbidden Land. None would seek to enter the Forbidden Land and destroy the
idols, lest they should wish to revive the dead, and it is now accepted as the
way of mortals that the dead should never return to life. None would question
this, and, thus, it should never be feared that the Dormin may arise again.
None would dare to defy the laws of the mortal world and return the dead to
life. None would save one.

The opportunity for which the Dormin long await comes. One whose name history
has now forgotten journeys to their land to ask that they beqeath unto him a
boon of the old ways, to exert their dominion over that which mortal man alone
has no providence over: to bring back the soul of one who was dead.

-Notes on this section of the theory:
:Horns are a sign of divinity among some eastern and middle eastern cultures.
This may be further indication that the Dormin are the old gods of the land,
seeing as how the game apparently draws on legends that originated in the
middle east in regard to Dormin and the Shrine of Worship. For more on this
matter, see the "Allusions to Hebrew legends" section further down in this

:It's possible that whoever entered the Forbidden Land and discovered that the
idols could be destroyed realized their connection to the Colossi. This would
explain how there was knowledge of a "forbidden spell" for Emon to speak of
later, and would further explain why Wander knew to take the ancient sword
with him, in that the sword can track the Colossi and is the only thing that
can kill them. Even if Wander knew nothing of the Colossi themselves -- and he
doesn't seem to, despite knowing of the Dormin and possibly the idols -- he
was aware that he would need the sword for what he was setting out to do,
implying that the magicians/priests with the most authority among Wander's
people may know of the Colossi. At the very least, they discerned that the
sword was required in destroying the idols and freeing the Dormin, despite the
idols being invulvnerable to destruction by all other known mortal means.

:The Colossi are clearly made from the land in that they rapidly return to the
earth, becoming stone and being covered with moss. Even the metal armor which
some of them wear wastes no time in returning to the land from which it came.

:The symbol that appears at the "vitals" of the Colossi matches the symbol on
the cloaks worn by Wander and Emon. While this may seem to suggest instead
that it was the magic sword that sealed the essences of Dormin within the
Colossi, this can be accounted for in that the sword was obviously used in the
casting of the spell which bound Dormin, and, thus, it is attuned to the
essences of the Dormin.

The symbol of Wander's people that appears at the points where Wander is to
strike with the sword is quite possibly a beacon of the sword's magic, to
alert its bearer to where the essences of Dormin lie, either because it was
there that they entered the materials of the land to fuse with it and create
the Colossi, or because it is where the essences of Dormin themselves gather
in trying to force their way out of the bodies of the Colossi to freedom. It
may even be that the Dormin -- who obviously know the language of Wander's
people -- form this symbol as a beacon to the sword's wielder of where they
should strike.

While I would conclude it more likely that it is a property of the sword's own
power due to the symbols only appearing when the sword is unsheathed, the
other possibility is one to consider as well.

:The mask worn by Emon's people bears a similarity to the masks of the
Colossi, especially Malus, the final Colossi, but this need not be because
Emon's people created the Colossi. The masks worn by Emon and the priests of
his tribe may well have been carried over from the old ways, as is common.
Even while cultures move on, they don't move on all at once, carrying
traditions of the past with them for time beyond remembrance.

:While some of the idols resemble one another, and it would seem quite
intentional that all three serpent-bodied Colossi (Hydrus, Dirge, and Phalanx)
should correspond to idols that feature a representation of a coiled creature,
I believe this too may be explained by one of two possibilities:

1) Being that the game's creators were Japanese, it's quite possible that
there would be Shinto influences present within. Shinto involves the worship
of divine entities called "kami" (typically this word can be used in both the
singular and the plural), beings which are usually inseperable from nature by
their very concept. That in mind, it's quite possible that with the Dormin
being an entity that consists of many entities, each could be described as a
kami, with the Dormin as a whole being a collective of kami. In such a case,
each idol would represent a different kami, with each kami representing a
different aspect of the land.

With each connected to different areas of the land (the same region, no less;
the Dormin's realm) it's to be expected that they would be similar, yet
perhaps different at the same time. In such a case, some are inevitably going
to be more similar to others.

What's also notable about this concept is that -- by their very nature -- the
kami are dualistic entities, one placid (the nigimi-tama) and the other
aggressive (the arami-tama). This served to represent the dualistic reality of
nature itself, which can be both calm and raging. This concept is represented
not only in the dualistic behavior of the Dormin, but also in their apparent
connection to the light of the Forbidden Land, with beams of light rising from
the fallen Colossi, while the sky becomes enshrouded in darkness as a furious
storm kicks up when facing the last Colossus. Clearly, we have a dualistic
representation of nature there, as the weather is generally calm in the
Forbidden Land, yet it becomes unstable and full of rage during the final

Another possible suggestion of the kami through the Dormin are the various
shrines scattered throughout the Forbidden Land. Many shrines were built to
the kami of Shinto, of whom an infinite number are believed to exist.

2) The other possibility is this: being that the idols are connected to the
essences of Dormin and the areas of land to which those essences were bound,
and being that the Colossi are the physical manifestations of the idols,
either they took forms that corresponded to those idols, or the idols' forms
changed to match the forms of the Colossi that were created. Both Dave and I
think the first possibility is the most likely.

:The temple the game's events surround is called "the Shrine of Worship" and
has idols within, suggesting -- quite obviously -- that it was once used to
worship a deity (or deities). Being that the Dormin are omnipresent throughout
the land (their consciousness is present everywhere in the Forbidden Land, as
made evident by the fact that they will give Wander advice on how to deal with
a Colossus if he should spend a while in battle with it). Further still, they
are aware of the locations of all the Colossi, giving Wander hints as to where
they may be located, even describing those areas in vague hints.

:Though the Dormin never come out and simply tell Wander where to go to find
the Colossi, or how to beat them, with a binding spell in place on the Dormin,
it may well be that they simply cannot do so, restricted by the limitations of
the spell containing their essences.

:Though Malus' lair seems to be designed in a logical fashion such that it was
intended for one to be able to reach the Colossus under cover from Malus'
attacks, at the same time, it seems rather illogical to assume that a few
stone barricades would hold up for a prolonged period of time under an
onslaught of attacks from a creature that sends considerable amounts of rock
debris scattering from where ever its blasts land. That in mind, it hardly
seems to suggest that the area was specifically designed by human creators of
the Colossi for holding Malus and allowing someone -- one who would have to be
a warrior of considerable agility and speed at that -- to reach the Colossus.

For that matter, if one was going to go to the lengths of creating all those
underground tunnels for such a purpose, why not make it more simple in the
first place? Why space some of the barricades a dangerous distance apart? Why
not simply create an underground tunnel that led from outside the Colossus'
firing range and all the way up to its feet from the start?

-David Rodoy's personal notes on this section of the theory:
:"My thoughts on the prior religion: The simple reason I say it was likely
peaceful is that having God as a dualistic entity makes it impossible to
define an especial enemy. Neither man nor woman can be especially sinful,
because both are Godlike. The same for light and dark, or indeed life and
death. We know that Dormin have the power to bring the dead back to life, or
perhaps to restart life altogether (reincarnation). Though Dormin clearly
possesses great physical strength, there is little evidence to suggest that
they are fundamentally violent. Also, note that while Dormin is dark whenever
incarnated, it communicates via light throughout the whole of the game.
Dualistic indeed, even or perhaps especially when sub-divided so violently."

:"My presumption here is that a creature like Dormin could NOT go
unworshipped. It�s simply not possible. Similarly, it�s quite clear that
Emon�s religion is directly opposed to it. These were the thoughts, on seeing
the ending, that made this part of the world�s theoretical history fall into
place. It�s notable, however, that so many elements of the world�s religion
directly oppose Dormin. We KNOW that Mono�s sacrifice has nothing to do with
Dormin. That means that sacrifice is still a part of Emon�s religion, as are
curses. Death is a final punishment, whether or not you yourself are a guilty
party. Death is also required to free Dormin, allowing them to be �reborn� in
The Wanderer, who is in turn reborn himself as a result of his association
with Dormin. This brief roll on roll of resurrections and reincarnations is in
my opinion a very good indication of how thoroughly Dormin�s freedom would
screw things up for the new religion. Dormin is active, incarnated truly, for
less than five minutes total game time. It performs three miracles in that
time. At least. Godlike? Me thinks so."

:"I never believed the colossi were natural, and at the same time I never
bought that the spell which separated Dormin created the colossi. Dormin were
never supposed to get out. Why include such an obvious �get-out� clause? It
didn�t quite fit until I saw the way colossus no. 2�s body basically dissolves
to rock immediately. Go check it out, if you don�t believe me. It�s barely
identifiable. This convinced me absolutely of the colossi�s link to the land,
and Dormin seemed very much to be Gods of the land for reasons mentioned
already. I began to think about how Dormin helps you so much in the game, how
Dormin eggs you on and gives indications of how to beat each colossi. They are
imprisoned, yes, they have no actual control over these animalistic,
simplistic interpretations of the grand creature contained within, but they
know something of them nonetheless. Dormin has set the stage for its own
resurrection, and you�re the one who is making the moves it has waited so long
to be made. This makes Emon�s statement that �you were just being used�
exquisitely accurate. After all, if they truly knew the significance of the
Colossi, why not warn about it? Also, this explains why the colossi are so
simple, and so violent, and yet why each has different characteristics. They
are formed, in the most part, out of anger, but they are a fitting prison for
the part of Dormin within. A handful are gentle, these are the meditative,
quiet parts of the grand entity Dormin who quietly accept their imprisonment.
Most are incredibly angry, no. 16 an absolute personification of the quite
literally towering rage that has built up over an eon of entrapment. IT is
entrapped, but it is not defenseless... much like Dormin, who have a plan, and
are on the verge of seeing it completed."

[Addition from Ryu Sinclair on this point: Concerning Malus/#16, it may be
worth pondering the duality of light and darkness in relation to Dormin once
again. Dormin's essences appear as dark, as do the beings' manifestation in
Wander's body, yet it communicates through light, light rises from the points
where the fallen Colossi are located, seperating the clouds in the sky above
(refer to the map after defeating Colossi to see this), and the Forbidden Land
seems to always be encapsulated by light, yet the one Colossi that most
obviously represents the towering rage Dormin has come to feel calls up a
storm -- obscuring the sky with darkness for the only time during the course
of the game -- when one carrying the magical sword that sealed the Dormin 
long ago enters the vicinity.]

:"It�s been raised that the colossi are covered in the civilisation�s writing.
Well... how do we know that the language has changed much? For one thing its
obvious Dormin can speak the language well enough, or else he and Wanda
wouldn�t understand each other (a la ICO and Yorda). Is it inconceivable that
Dormin can also write in it? The actual symbols themselves most likely
represent the places where Dormin has been struggling hardest to free
themselves, where the colossi are weakest through Dormin�s constant struggles
for escape. This might explain why they bleed at such an incredible pressure,
as well as why Dormin burst free of these wound points."

:"It�s worth noting that the new religion obviously maintains shamanistic
elements. The introduction flashback has all the trappings of a
�vision quest�, and Emon�s mask is designed on a very similar basis to the
idols in the shrine of worship. The beliefs may have changed, but many of the
trappings have stayed the same. This is a very common part of a switch over
between faiths. The new religion adopts some of the symbols and imagery of the
old until it can be abandoned. Christianity, to use the modern day example, is
believed to have reinterpreted Easter, which was once a pagan fertility ritual
(hence the use of painted eggs) into the �rebirth� of Jesus Christ. I say
�believed� because such things are always hotly debated, but there are many
religious texts that pre-date Christianity in England and which explain this
fertility rite, which is where the assertion develops from. In Shadow of the
Colossus, the masks are probably a hangover from the worship of Dormin."

*David Rodoy's theory on Wander's motivation to revive Mono (004.4B)
Fast forward...

Wanda, who will one day be The Wanderer, is born. He believes in God totally,
is raised in the religion, and in his village he becomes a templar, a direct
servant of Lord Emon, the village priest or Shaman. He is a warrior, trained
to fight on horseback from birth, and has grown up with a horse of his own,
named "Agro," a horse that grows too big for his small boned rider, and yet
the bond between the two makes separation a non-issue. It cannot be done.
Wanda adapts to his over-sized mount, and learns to cope.

Then one day, during a sacrifice like any other, Wanda�s faith is called into
question. Told to sacrifice a girl who possesses a cursed fate, he is
presented with a woman unlike any other. Mono, beautiful and perfect, utterly
without flaw. He is struck suddenly with how unfair, how cruel and uncaring
his act is. He performs the deed, and the sacrifice. He is left guilt-ridden,
tormented by his act. He thinks back to the words of Emon, to the tales and
parables that make up his faith. He remembers a sword that sealed a creature
with power over death, and he remembers the land in which it is sealed. And
thus, he has his plan.

He travels to the Forbidden Land, to the land of Dormin, and therein he finds
the Shrine of Worship, the one untarnished relic of a civilisation once built
on the worship of an undying yet living God. There he encounters Dormin. He
puts forth his supplication, and is accepted. Dormin has its chance, for it
sees the sword that once sealed it, and recognises that this might well have
the power to destroy its secondary prisons, and give it a chance to escape
into the world once more. Whether out of pity, or out of duty, or out of mere
inclination, Dormin gives this supplicant one chance to turn back. When he
does not, Dormin lays out his path. The stones are rolling, and Dormin sees
its chance for freedom.

Wanda systematically kills the Colossi. He hears Mono�s voice, he sees an
image of her shrouded in darkness, sitting up on the altar, and he sees
himself beginning to change, to degrade as Dormin�s essence fills him. He
knows now what is happening, but it doesn�t matter. Mono�s voice tells him all
he needs to know. Dormin will hold up their end of the bargain. Beyond that,
nothing matters. The only thing that he cares about now is a chance to atone
for what he�s done, and a chance to apologise to her for his actions.

Wanda seeks out the final Colossi, with Dormin�s words of warning in his ears.
Emon is on his way to stop the spell, to stop the fall of the idols. Wanda is
finally filled with the last essence of Dormin with the death of the last
Colossus, and the loss of his beloved horse. He has sacrificed everything he
has, and he�s done everything he can. All that remains, is the resolution.

Emon sees the last idol fall, the impossible occur. He says a catechism over
the defiled body of Mono, a prayer for the dead. Then he sees the arrival once
again, for the final time, of The Wanderer, the templar that betrayed him and
undid the seal upon their religion�s ancient enemy. He is horrified that one
he knew, and trusted, betrayed him so heavily. He rambles, coming up with
reasons for The Wanderer�s death, until eventually, with Wanda staggering
towards the altar, he simply orders one of his men to quickly kill him. Wanda
is shot in the leg, and he looks up with whitened eyes into those of the man
who ends his life. Desperate to see Mono live again, he nonetheless staggers
to his feet, spraying black blood, and staggers to the altar. But his
strength fails him, and he collapses after ripping free the sword. Filled
utterly with Dormin�s essence, he is quickly reduced to a shadow like the
others. With a difference...

The Dormin take control of Wanda�s body. In him, their temporary avatar, they
are united, and their power is released in part into the world. They declare
their freedom, while Emon in horror recoils. However, Emon�s men have in luck
alone secured their victory. Dormin is lame, as Wanda is lame, unable to
properly move the leg that the arrow struck. And so Emon and his men easily
make their escape, and cast a temporary seal upon the entire shrine of
worship. A spell that will once more discorporate Dormin... for a while.

Though Dormin are pulled from Wanda, there is too much left, and Wanda himself
is now a dead man walking. He no longer belongs in this world, and the sealing
spell recognises him as part of Dormin. Though he struggles vainly to see Mono
again, he cannot. He is inexorably pulled into the pool of light, and his
struggle to see her live again ends unfulfilled. Yet Mono awakes nonetheless,
for Dormin stick by their word, and she awakes in an unfamiliar place, unsure
of what has happened or why she lives again. However she hears and sees a lame
horse, an animal she does not recognise, injured in some battle. She follows
it for lack of options, and comes upon the strangest thing: Dormin�s last gift
to Wanda, a thanks for their brief freedom and the knowledge that they will
rise again. A second life. Mono ascends with Agro to a secret garden, there to
live out her existence, to bear the children of the very man who once killed
her in another life, a man who now bears horns from the time when Dormin
inhabited his body.

Wanda�s descendents leave the Forbidden Land, and mingle with society in some
fashion. The curse of the horned children begins. Each of these children bears
within a tiny fragment of Dormin�s power, a fragment that an ancient Queen
possessed of her own dark fury recognises, and begins to gather. She hopes to
use Dormin�s power over death to reincarnate herself in the form of her own
daughter, to extend her life. She gathers the boys, killing them and releasing
the Dormin energy inside. In the end, it is one of these that kills her. But
that is a story for another time.

-David Rodoy's personal notes on this section of the theory:
:"This is pure conjecture on my part, of course. I take the flashback at the
beginning to be selective memory. Wanda is thinking back to a particular
phrase, a part of a whole tale. The way it�s told it almost suggests Emon was
a kind old man pointing him in the right direction, as in Prince of Persia.
No. That isn�t the right feel. Hence it makes more sense that Wanda is simply
recalling to mind the lines of catechism that have brought him to where he is
today. However, it�s also important that Wanda knew nothing of the Colossi.
They DO NOT feature in the baseline legend of Dormin. Why is that? The
Forbidden Spell is likely defined merely as freeing Dormin, or perhaps the
destruction of the idols. Though Wanda doesn�t say it, it�s possible he does
know about the idols and Dormin relation beforehand. In fact, nobody but
Dormin EVER mentions the Colossi. It�s like someone just forgot to include
them in the stories. In all these thoughts led to my conjuration of this idea
that other people found the Colossi, and helped the creation of this strange
tale. Dormin�s plan worked. Nobody realised what the Colossi really were."

[Addition from Ryu Sinclair on this point: It's possible that no one else knew
of the Colossi, as it's certainly supsicious that they go without mention by
anyone other than Dormin, but it does beg the question of how Emon and those
of his authority would have known the ancient sword was needed in freeing the
Dormin if it was otherwise believed that the idols were indestructible. For
more on this, refer to the notes from the previous section of the Meta 

:"Wanda is clearly too small for Agro. Agro is a MONSTROUS horse. He�s
enormous. That horse could destroy your CAR. He�s built for a man at least a
foot taller than Wanda, wearing full plate armour. There�s simply no
explanation for Wanda riding him unless he grew up with him and couldn�t
consider parting with him for that reason. Also, the fact Agro comes when his
name is called or when Wanda whistles indicates a long relationship. Agro
would not come if he was called if they did not know each other very well."

[Addition from Ryu Sinclair on this point: I'd feel foolish to not agree with

:"Wanda wasn�t some scrub. I consider this elementary. He is incredibly
skilful. His horse riding skill alone is beyond brilliant. He is far fitter
than he looks, and he is a dab hand with a sword, and an excellent archer. He
also cannot be merely a wandering swordsman. How did he come to know about
Mono? How did he have access to the sword? These were the two questions which
disspelled my first thought. As a templar, Wanda would have had ample access
to the temple and its treasures. He was clearly a man of exceptional skill,
and this gave him his chance to steal the sword and make off with Mono�s body.
Plus it�s highly possible that the legend of the Forbidden Land is not well
known about, for quite obvious reasons."

[Addition from Ryu Sinclair on this point: I'm in agreement that Wander was a

:"There�s a lot going on here, linking back to previous points. For one thing,
Dormin�s statement that �is this not the law of mortals?� suggests an
awareness of the current beliefs of the world. How better to have that
awareness than by witnessing them in the words and eyes of its foes? In my
opinion, Dormin�s very existence suggests that the rules were not always the
same. Its ironic laugh at Wanda�s request also underlines this point. Wanda is
reminding it of a time long ago when no doubt it received many such
supplications. The laugh may also contain a subtle undercurrent of: 'You are
asking US for help?' Essentially, it finds it amusing that someone would seek
it, a separated, entrapped and neutered god, for help. Like a blind man asking
a deaf man the way, if you will.

Also, Dormin�s plan is pretty much centred upon going right first time. If
even a single Colossus were to fall, and the killer were then to fail, the
chances of the escape route being discovered would be astronomically high,
seeing as Emon clearly jumped straight onto his horse and chased Wander to the
Forbidden Land when he realised what he�d done. Dormin needed to pick the
right person. It needed someone driven, and it needed someone who didn�t care
about the consequences. This explains why it gives him the chance to turn
back, why in fact it warns Wanda that there�s a heavy price to pay. It also
explains the long hesitation after Wanda says he doesn�t care. Dormin is
having their last moment of doubt, because once its thrown down its own hand,
there is no turning back. All of Dormin�s hope rests on this one mortal."

[Addition from Ryu Sinclair on this point: I'm in agreement on this, as well.]

:"I�ll admit, this theory doesn�t explain the dark-shrouded vision. It�s this
that led to the rise of the theory of her actually being possessed by the
�female� voice of Dormin. I doubt that, personally, but as stands I simply
assume its a nightmare brought about by extreme physical exertion, suffering
and a gradual infestation of divine energy in a body not built to contain it.
I also think it fairly obvious that Wanda realises at about Colossus no. 10
what exactly is happening to him. The changes are blatant, he�d have to be
blind to miss them. However, he doesn�t care, because Mono�s voice tells him
that he�s on the right track."

:"I think it�s safe to say Dormin was getting worried when it saw Emon turn
up. Note that Dormin sensed Emon the moment he entered the Forbidden Land.
It�s obvious Dormin can perceive beyond the Shrine of Worship. Dormin�s
perceptions are clearly not limited by this point in the game, if ever."

[Addition from Ryu Sinclair on this point: Further agreement with Dave on this

:"I find Emon�s words in the ending puzzling, the more I hear them. He changes
his story twice, I think, concerning what�s happened to Wanda. First he�s
cursed, then he�s possessed, then he simply wants him dead. Emon is, to me,
quite clearly goading his men to murder. He knows full well that Wander is
alive, if not well, and in control, a point driven home to us as we watch
Wanda�s vision blurring as he desperately looks past Emon to the one thing
that has driven him for so long, Mono�s still seemingly dead body. Wanda is
obviously in great pain when the arrow strikes him, so it�s not as if his
senses are even dulled. If they were he wouldn�t have fallen to the ground. He
is himself, weakened yes, but in full control of his faculties (his vision is
clear but for the fact he�s dying) and driven as always to his goal. He
doesn�t speak to Emon, I imagine, because he knows already how this will end,
how it must end. There is literally nothing worth saying. Emon doesn�t
understand, and Wanda knows it."

[Addition from Ryu Sinclair on this point: Agreeing with Dave once again.]

:"Dormin �borrow� Wanda�s body. They do not use the word �possessed� and in 
a game where that word has been bandied about so comfortably it�s safe to say
that the translation is deliberate. Dormin have no intention of keeping
Wanda�s body, though its conjecture to say whether or not they would have
given him life back. I see no reason why not, personally. Dormin owe him a
lot, and they were clearly content merely to follow him rather than take
outright control of him for a time, because it�s quite certain that they could
have. I observed on replaying the ending on hard mode that when you try to
chase Emon, the massive Dormin Wanda can only take a step with one leg. It
drags the other, and is thus unable to keep up. This suggests that Dormin were
still inherently tied to the body they�d jumped into."

[Addition from Ryu Sinclair on this point: Agreeing with Dave here too, and
complimenting him on making this observation. Good job, man. I wondered why
the hell the Dormin were moving so slowly in Hard Mode. XD]

:"I believe, had Mono and Wanda been lovers, that she would have recognised
his horse. It�s that simple. Agro�s a noticeable beast, and they would have
been together if he�d visited or she�d visited. This was my reasoning,
simplistic as it is, for discounting the love angle and following the guilt
one. This was the simple observation that began the whole thing. It has been
debated and re-debated whether or not she DOES recognise Agro, but I see
nothing that persuades me that she does. For the purpose of this theory, then,
Mono does not recognise Agro because she has likely never seen the horse
before. It is, after all, very unlikely that a horse would be necessary at a
maiden�s sacrifice. Maybe if it was a unicorn. As for Wanda�s resurrection,
why would a �sealing� spell return him to life? Surely it makes more sense for
him to suffer the exact same fate as Dormin? On top of which we�ve seen no
evidence whatsoever that Emon�s magic has power over life. The religion seems
very death obsessed, assuming ICO is set in the same world (I do), and
considering the premise of this very game. So why assume that this spell
RANDOMLY results in Wanda�s resurrection? It obviously wasn�t intended, as
Emon indicates that he isn�t sure if anyone survived. Also, considering the
difficulty in keeping Dormin sealed, I sincerely doubt that Emon�s spell has
any chance of keeping Dormin sealed forever. As far as I�m concerned, they�ve
got what they wanted. This is an irritating, minor setback. Why do they howl
 when the spell is pulling them in, then, you ask? Well, wouldn�t you? They�ve
only been up and about for ten minutes, after eons of imprisonment. I�d say
they have plenty of reason to get angry. But we know they�re patient, and such
power cannot so easily be sealed away. All in all, I find it the most likely
explanation, given Wanda�s suffering, that Dormin decided to reincarnate him,
to allow this fragment of itself to be reborn. I do not believe selfishly, for
I believe Dormin will be back, I think they do it as a thank you gift as they
quietly, yet briefly, exit the stage once more."

[Addition from Ryu Sinclair on this point: Agreement with Dave here too.]

:"I think people have tried to tie ICO and Shadow of the Colossus together too
tightly, at times. The idea that Dormin and The Dark Queen are one and the
same strikes me as faintly ludicrous. Her agenda is so utterly mundane even if
her plan is not that I can�t believe the fans of Shadow of the Colossus would
sully Dormin�s good name by comparing the two. On top of which, while the 
Dark Queen maintains the same kind of ambiguous honour that Dormin do, 
she quite clearly has an evil agenda. There�s little indication that Dormin do, 
however. They are angry, sure, and they want to kill Emon and his people. Is 
that a surprise? I think not. However, it makes perfect sense that the Dark 
Queen is trying to harness fragments of Dormin energy to extend her lifespan. 
It�s not a jump to believe Dormin are capable of such a feat, or that she can
achieve it by somehow harnessing their power."

*Ryu Sinclair's theory on Wander's motivation to revive Mono (004.4C)
My theory's (that Wander was in love with Mono and wished to revive her for
this reason) certainly not going to sound as well thought out or as well
constructed as Dave's, and in all honesty, it just stems from a few simple
things. I am, however, in agreement with Dave on several matters, as noted
above in my addendums to his personal notes on his theory.

I agree that Wander was likely a templar, that Agro was always with Wander,
that Dormin found it amusing that one from the new religion would seek them
out for aid, that Wander could perceive the deterioration of his body, that
Emon goaded his men to murder Wander with babblings, and then just outright
ordered them to do it, that Emon would have been unable to understand Wander's
feelings, that the Dormin may not have necessarily intended to keep Wander's
body, and that Mono didn't recognize Agro.

However, my interpretation (that Wander was in love with Mono and wished to
revive her, but that she either didn't know how he felt or didn't return his
feelings before her death) is different, and stems in large part from these

-1: First, the promotional materials of the game that asked "How far will you
go for love?" and referred to the story as one of "undying love." It's my
personal rule to never dismiss promotional materials' suggestions concerning
the canon nature of a story unless otherwise given reason to by the game
itself or the developers.

-2: Secondly, I can easily see myself or someone that was in love going to the
absolutely insane lengths that Wander went to. When I think of the things
Wander did, only love or guilt -- or a combination of the two -- springs to
mind as the source of an intensity such as the one Wander must carry in his
heart over this girl to go to these lengths to give her life again.

-3: Personally, I do think Wander felt guilt for Mono's death and probably
blamed himself in part, whether this was logical of him to do or not. Perhaps
it was because he was a templar (a strong possibility due to his similar
garb to Emon, his skills at horesback riding and archery, and his apparent
easy access to the magical sword) and his teacher had sacrificed Mono, or
perhaps it was because he failed to save her, or -- as I think -- both. I also
think that the words from Mono we hear after each of the Colossi fall may in
fact be Wander remembering Mono's last moments, as she sounds sorrowful and
afraid; possibly because she's begging not to be killed? Such a memory would
certainly weigh heavily on Wander if he loved her, or if he felt guilt for her
death; or both.

-4: It's a more satisfying take on the whole thing for me. Something I've come
to realize from the debates with Dave that led to the creation of this FAQ is
that in this tale, that is as important a factor as the promotional materials
of the game, which possibly lay outside what the developers intended -- but
that we'll never know.

In all honesty, I think Dave's theory is the better theory in terms of
writing. I truly can't imagine a more well-constructed take on things. But
being that I can see this theory working as easily and that I find it more
satisfying, that it touches me more in this way, and means more to me in this
way (interestingly enough, tales of redemption and such are my SECOND
favorites, so I truly did love Dave's theory from the start), it is the one to
which my heart holds, and for that reason if no other, I've come to understand
his reasons for seeing the potential fallacy in the promotional materials of
this particular game.

With our tale now told, being that the Meta Theory was born of David Rodoy, I
think it only fitting that it be closed with his words:

"In my guilt theory I created for myself a world moving on from an old
religion, a tale spanning entire cultural memes. Wanda becomes the blockade
who reaches into the past and yanks it into the present, and Emon�s
sanctimonious words become the deeply ironic words of a man who doesn�t
understand that the one he�s speaking about already feels redeemed, for he
acted out of guilt and in the clear wish only to see that guilt lifted. Dormin
are neither good nor evil, in fact by definition they are both, honourable and
cunning, vengeful and forgiving. The dualistic nature is only strengthened by
interpreting so many of the elements of the ending as being directly their
fault, yet I never felt I was stretching my theory to accomodate these ideas.
I�ve explained above my reasonings, and I consider them valid if not
sacrosanct. The truth is that this is your game, in a way Final Fantasy never
could or never would be. This is not a story for you to play. It is a story
for you to make out of base elements. This theory is not offered as a smug
declaration that I�ve figured it out. It is offered as a demonstration of what
you can forge from this game if you so choose. With only the smallest
imagination this theory could see Dormin warped into a being of 
malevolent, dictatorial evil, sealed for the good of the world, and Wanda 
himself becomes a selfish, arrogant fool who sacrifices the good of all for 
the good of one cursed woman. This game allows for these things. 

Me, I prefer a version that ends with a certain degree of bittersweet
happiness, and a promise of more tales yet to be woven. Ironically, despite
what the Shadow of the Colossus team would have liked, my version of the game
has no �the end�. It just has an end and a new beginning.

How does your tale go?"

5) Connections to Ico: Facts & theories (004.50)
There are several aspects of Shadow of the Colossus that inspired many to
believe that the two games were connected beyond simply being "spiritual
successors." Indeed, many came to believe that they not only take place in the
same world, but that the events of the two are linked in some form or another.

Lead designer, Fumito Ueda, was rather silent on this issue for quite some
time. He expressed a personal belief that the two were connected, SotC being
first chronologically, with Wander beginning the line of horned boys, making
Ico his descendant, but he maintained from October 2005 until March 9, 2006,
that this was merely his personal interpretation and that it wasn't canon.
However, that DID change on March 9. In an interview with Wired News, Ueda
confirmed not only that Ico and SotC take place in the same world, but that
SotC occurs at an unspecified point in the past, before the events of Ico. He
further confirmed that Wander did, indeed, sire the line of horned boys that
Ico will be descended from. This interview can be read here:,70286-0.html?tw=rss.culture

Despite these official confirmations, other theories are still at work in the
universe of Shadow of the Colossus concerning possible links with Ico. The
majority of the theories to have come before now had been of the nature that
SotC is a prequel to the events of Ico, or perhaps even a myth tale told in
Ico's time to explain why it is that the horned boys from Ico's village "have
to be" sacrificed. Yet others held to the belief that Ico may in fact be the
prequel, though those beliefs have now been dashed beyond recovery due to
Ueda's confirmation of SotC's prequel status.

We will here discuss each of the aspects contributing to both sets of
beliefs, both those that are no longer possible and those that may yet be, as
well as other points that may serve as connections between the two games.

*Ico as the prequel (004.5A)
NOTE: All theories in this section are no longer viable. Lead designer of SotC
and Ico has confirmed that SotC occurs at an unspecified point in time before
-Wander is Ico, or will be in a few years when he grows up again

Explanation(s): Not applicable

KAZE: While not impossible, there's definitely no indication of it being

DAVE: Contrary to Kaze, I believe this makes no sense whatsoever. ICO makes it
very clear that generations of horned children have been sacrificed in that
castle, probably over hundreds of years if not thousands (there are A LOT of
tombs in that room). What this theory requires is for Wander to get out of the
Forbidden Land before he even reaches adolescence (abandoning his 'mother' in
the process), make his way to civilisation, get taken prisoner, then get taken
to the big scary castle which JUST HAPPENS to have been set up for the
collection of these children. On top of that ICO is not a redhead while Wander
is (though he appears to have black hair as a baby in SotC, his hair is A: Wet
when he's taken from the pool and B: Could easily change colour as he gets a
little older), and for him to have any chance whatsoever of trekking the
massive distance back to civilisation (the intro makes it very clear that it's
a long way to the Forbidden Land) he'd need to be one hell of a survivalist.
The naive, innocent Ico wouldn't last that journey. It simply makes no sense
on any level.

OUR ANALYSIS: Slight split. Kaze considers it a possibility, Dave does not.
[Slight clarification from Kaze: He considers it as illogical as Dave, but
decided to be polite for the sake of doing so. XD]

UPDATE: Rendered impossible by SotC's official prequel status.

-Mono and Wander are the reincarnations of Yorda and Ico

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: There's technically nothing working against this one either, but there's
certainly no indication of it or any reason to believe it.

DAVE: Boy, that would make them very unlucky souls indeed, wouldn't it?
There's nothing wrong with it from a plot standpoint, but thematically it
makes little sense. Mono has no character, and Wander's is drastically
different from Ico's. If they're reincarnations, surely they should bear some
similarity to their previous incarnations, at least considering that this is a
fantasy story and we're talking about plotting here. Mono looks completely
different to Yorda, whose eyes are very sharply slanted and whose ears are
pointed, and let's not even go into the differences between Ico and Wander.
Even the nature of the relationship between Wander and Mono is different to
that of Ico and Yorda. This isn't similar souls replaying a great story
through time, it's completely different people playing different stories
through time. At that point, reincarnation becomes very much a moot point.
Maybe they are, but what difference does it make?

OUR ANALYSIS: While you can certainly assume this, it seems an almost random
addition, without any in-game evidence to support it.

UPDATE: Rendered impossible by SotC's official prequel status.

-All that remains of the Queen's castle is the Shrine of Worship

Explanation(s): The Queen's castle fell apart and the waters eventually
receded, leaving only the Shrine of Worship, and leaving the surrounding
landscape as what came to be known as "the Forbidden Land." Pieces of the
decayed castle were incorporated into surrounding architecture and/or
structures, while other parts remained lost and/or unused, such as these rings
from the reflector towers which can be found half buried in the sand in
Phalanx's domain:

(Original source of screenshots unknown)

KAZE: It's possible, but there's not a lot to really indicate it. The Shrine
of Worship is seemingly much taller than even the highest point of the Queen's
castle, so that doesn't support the notion very much unless the shrine was
built upon upwards. However, there's nothing to really support this notion
either. One could as easily say that the rings were excavated from the desert
and incorporated into the construction of the Queen's castle long before Ico
took place.

DAVE: I'd say the primary thing working against this is the fact that the
Forbidden Land is geologically completely different to the land around the
Queen's castle. The sheer enormity of that bridge has to be taken into
account, as does the fact that even given the wear of time it would be hard
for the Forbidden Land to become the massive island seen in ICO, and of course
it's completely impossible for it to work the other way round. The Forbidden
Land is completely ringed by mountains. I don't buy it. Even with the waters
receding from the Queen's castle, it doesn't make sense for all of that stone
to just VANISH. The rocky outcrops around the Forbidden Land are clearly
unworked stone in the majority, and wouldn't there be hundreds of those
little green idol statues all over the place, or at least one or two? The
architecture of the Forbidden Land really is very different to Ico's if you
look closely, too.

OUR ANALYSIS: This seems unlikely, for various reasons.

UPDATE: Rendered impossible by SotC's official prequel status.

-The magic sword from SotC will become the Queen's sword seen in Ico

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: Pretty much impossible. The magic sword was destroyed when Emon cast his

DAVE: That, and the Queen's sword is IN SotC. It is somewhat larger than the
ancient sword, has a much more ornate hilt, the blade is a little longer,
thicker, and it lacks the distinctive 'wave' that marks the ancient sword
about 2/3rds of the way down the blade. They're just not the same weapon. Note
that I don't think this indicates that SotC is Ico's sequel, either. I think
that sword is in there just as a nod from the developers, much like the rest
of the weapons and stuff. However, it's the same graphic and it's there for
comparison. Complete hard time attack and compare for yourself, if you don't
believe me.

OUR ANALYSIS: Nope. They just aren't the same weapons.

UPDATE: Rendered impossible by SotC's official prequel status.

*SotC as the prequel (004.5B)
NOTE: Shadow of the Colossus has been officially linked to Ico, as occurring
in the same world, and as SotC being a prequel set at an unspecified point in
the past, before the events of Ico. Further confirmed is that Wander sires the
line of horned boys, and that Ico is his descendant.

That said, not all these theories have been confirmed, and only those listed
as such are to be regarded as such.
-Wander is the ancestor of Ico and all the horned boys that have been

Explanation(s): Having been left with horns as a consequence of  his quest in
SotC, Wander and Mono -- or whatever female he reproduces with -- will sire a
lineage with Wander's horns being passed down as a biological trait that
occasionally reveals itself. As well as the horns, some of Dormin's power may
be passed on.

KAZE: There's no reason to believe that this theory couldn't work.

DAVE: Yeah, I'll buy that.

OUR ANALYSIS: Absolutely reasonable.

UPDATE: Officially confirmed.

-The evil Queen wants the horned children to gain Dormin's power

Explanation(s): Desiring to gain Dormin's power, the Queen wishes for the
horned descendants of Wander to be brought to her, as some of Dormin's power
remained within him. The horns on the heads of boys descended from him
represent that some of Dormin's power has been passed on to them. Being that
Dormin had power over the dead, the full extent of which is unknown, but which
certainly included the power to bring a soul back to the living world and
place it back into its body, and being that the Queen wishes to possess her
daughter's body, it's reasonable to assume that transferring someone's soul
from their body and into another body was within Dormin's power.

KAZE: Technically, there's nothing working against this theory, and it's one
of the more solid in terms of plot mechanics.

DAVE: This is a solid explanation that links the two games thematically. It
makes sense to me.

OUR ANALYSIS: Perfectly feasible.

-The Queen is Dormin, some of its essence having taken Mono's body

Explanation(s): With some of Dormin's power in Wander, his descendants will
each receive some of that power, as well. Thus, Mono/the Queen wishes for all
these descendants to be brought to her so that she may reacquire her lost

KAZE: Possible, but there's not really a reason to believe so. The Queen has
an obvious objective in mind that seems to suggest she would be -- at best --
utilizing the power of the Dormin to achieve that goal.

DAVE: This makes only a vague amount of sense to me. The Queen's M.O. is
similar to Dormin's only in that she has a degree of honour (it seems likely
she would let Ico go if he wanted to). Even separated, Dormin is Dormin, and
the Dark Queen actually seems to be too small an entity to adequately
represent even a fraction of Dormin's power. That and she seems to have no
real power over death itself, as she is clearly dying, while Dormin by
definition are deathless (thus necessitating that they be sealed instead of
simply killed, which you must admit would have been far more convenient if it
were possible). On the most simplistic level, shouldn't she still refer to
herself in the plural if she were Dormin? Such a being would literally be
incapable of perceiving itself in the singular, even if it were true to all
levels of thought.

OUR ANALYSIS: It follows through on one level because they are both very
dark-based creatures. Beyond that though the differences start to become
apparent very quickly. The Queen can be killed, Dormin can be sealed. The
Queen needs another to be resurrected, Dormin need only wait to be freed. She
simply isn't on the same power scale. Thus we don't really think this is

-The Queen is Mono, the fruit of the Secret Garden turning her evil

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: Not likely. The fruit seems to have purification properties, as it won't
kill Wander when he eats it, and only returns him to his normal strength and
vitality, removing the addtional power he's gained from the gathered essences
of the Dormin.

DAVE: This strikes me as unlikely. In all honesty, the Forbidden Land is not
the most mysterious of places, in that what you see before you is pretty much
what you see. A lizard is a lizard, a fruit is a fruit, a great big Colossus
is just that. 

OUR ANALYSIS: This doesn't seem likely. 

-The Queen is Mono, driven to madness by grief 

Explanations: Left immortal as a result of the Dormin reviving her, Mono
eventually goes mad with grief after the still quite mortal Wander dies a
natural death. However, Wander having been left with horns from his quest in
SotC passes this on as a genetic trait that occasionally makes itself known in
Wander's descendants. Due to her despair of losing Wander, Mono wishes for all
the horned boys to be brought to her as they make her feel the closest to
Wander she possibly can.

KAZE: Technically possible, but there's definitely nothing that stands out as
really working in this theory's favor, including what the Queen was using the
horned boys for.

DAVE: Unlike Kaze, I see something very obviously standing in this theory's
way. Where does Mono get the massive amounts of power from? A little bit of
Dormin left in her? But how does that figure, when we've already seen that
having Dormin inhabit one's body is very damaging? I must say, for my part,
that the Dark Queen is a very beautiful woman, even if obviously inhuman. On
top of this, why is she then harvesting the boy's souls to fuel the spell she
is working with her 'daughter', as that seems to be quite obviously what she
is doing in Ico's ending? When a theory raises so many questions that are not
easy to answer, I tend to turn away from it.

OUR ANALYSIS: Unlikely, for lots of reasons. However, if you can explain away
the questions that leap out immediately, go for it. Dave likes it on a pure
level, it's certainly one of the more interesting theories people have come up
with. Kaze rather dislikes it, but thinks it very touching as an idea.

-Yorda and Ico are the reincarnations of Mono and Wander

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: There's technically nothing working against this one either, but
there's not really any indication of it.

DAVE: Rather than simply cutting and pasting my objections to things when they
are the other round, I'll simply say 'no'.

OUR ANALYSIS: It's an irrelevant aside, so you can certainly assume it if you
like, but it changes absolutely nothing that occurs in either game.

-All the horned boys including Ico were reincarnations of Wander

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: Not very likely due to Ico encountering what were apparently the souls
of the other horned boys who had been sacrificed -- corrupted with negative
energy, no less -- and being forced to cut them down. It's simply not
logically reasonable for multiple souls present at the same time but seperate
from one another to all be the exact same soul.

DAVE: Obviously suggested by someone who really doesn't like Wander 
very much! How many times do you want the poor guy to suffer and die?
But Kaze puts forth the simple explanation for why this isn't likely. The
other explanation is actually simple. Souls of the dead don't come back in
this world. I take this as a fairly simple observation from what Dormin say
about 'the law of mortals'. You cannot reclaim the souls of the dead. I would
assume that also precludes reincarnation unless Dormin are involved. I guess
they are in this case, at least at some stage, if you believe in this theory,
but it doesn't add up when you factor in that Ico fights and destroys the
souls of the other boys.

OUR ANALYSIS: Doesn't seem likely.

-The Shrine of Worship will be remodeled into the Queen's castle

Explanation(s): Some of the architecture is similar.

KAZE: It's possible, sure, but there's not really any reason to believe it,
especially since the Shrine of Worship seems to be a lot taller than even the
highest point of the Queen's castle.

DAVE: Nope. This is even more absolutely impossible in reverse. Forget the
building itself. Look at its surroundings. ALL OF THAT would need to vanish in
order to become the Queen's castle. It just isn't conceivable from where I'm
sitting. If you know more about such things than me and you can see the
evolution, good for you, but it doesn't work for me.

OUR ANALYSIS: This doesn't seem likely either.

-The Queen's Sword originated in SotC

Explanation(s): The sword was given to Wander by Dormin and eventually came
into the Queen's possession somehow.

KAZE: Pretty much impossible within the context of SotC. The unlockable
items from the Time Attack Modes are not canon. To test this, one can equip
Wander with the Shaman's Mask, Shaman's Cloak, and Queen's Sword before
defeating Malus, but in the ending cutscene, Wander will be dressed in his
normal gear and carrying the sword he stole.

DAVE: Interesting, but no. The items are there for a laugh, pretty much. They
don't indicate much else.

OUR ANALYSIS: No. This doesn't work.

-The story of SotC is a myth told in Ico's time to explain why horned boys
must be sacrificed

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: Possible. Nothing that could definitely work against it.

DAVE: Now THIS, I like. I don't agree with it personally, but I love it. In
fact it's almost huggable. It's great. Double thumbs up. It makes perfect

OUR ANALYSIS: Perfectly valid approach to the game.

UPDATE: Rendered impossible by the nature of SotC's official prequel status.
Wander begins the lined of horned boys and Ico is among his descendants.

*Other possible connections (004.5C)
-Wander and Ico dress in a similar manner, and may hail from the same village.

-The dark spirits that appear at the beginning of SotC and that appear around
Wander after each Colossus he defeats are similar to those in Ico.

-The beach Ico and Yorda are seen on during the ending of Ico is similar to a
beach in the Forbidden Land of SotC.

-While traversing the bridge that Wander and Agro used to enter the Forbidden
Land, one can see a structure that lays outside the land and resembles a
castle. Near the end of the bridge, when looking to the left, this large
structure comes into view (it can be better seen if one holds up the Sword of
the Sun at this time to gather the light to the blade and out of their field
of vision).

Some believe it's simply an incomplete or glitchy graphic, or perhaps nothing
more than an oddly placed set of cliffs, but a set of cliffs nonetheless.
Decide for yourself:

(These images were taken by Scratchmyears)

(These images taken by me, Ryu Sinclair)

(This -- very high quality -- image was taken by maskrider; the image is
being hosted by in the event that the original host site should
at some point disappear; this and many other images from SotC, Ico, and other
games can be found on maskrider's very impressive and interesting site, linked
to at the end of this FAQ)]0

The layout of the structure seen outside the Forbidden Lands actually is
similar enough to possibly match the castle from Ico:

Something to keep in mind is that the room at the back of the castle -- the
throne room -- is very tall, and could possibly be the tall part (to the left)
of the structure outside the Forbidden Land. It has been suggested, however,
that the top of the throne room's tower is too flat to be the tower on the
structure seen outside the Forbidden Land, as it appears that it may bear
spires instead:

(This image also taken by maskrider)

It should be considered, though, that the images we have of this mysterious
structure are blurry even at their best, and it may well be that a battlement
rather than spires lay atop the tower to the left. Others, though, point out
that the castle from Ico is set on small islands, and that the tower at the
back is probably too small to appear as large as the "tower" on the structure
outside the Forbidden Lands (here follows an image of the tower's base):

(This image taken by maskrider, as well)

It has also been suggested that these cliffs may simply be those that Wander
passed through during the game's opening. However, geographically speaking,
those cliffs should be roughly positioned north of the entrance to the
Forbidden Land, whereas this structure is set far too considerably to the west
of the entrance.

As far as it being glitchy graphics goes, this seems somewhat unlikely due to
the fact that the form of this structure remains static with no signs of
transition or change in appearance as one would expect with graphical

Whether the structure truly is the Queen's castle from Ico, or an oddly
positioned set of cliffs with no apparent purpose in being there, or simply
glitchy graphics is unknown at this time. For now, it is left to each player
to decide for themselves.

6) Allusions to Hebrew legends (004.6)
A rather unexpected -- but at the same time, not very surprising -- allegory
to discover in Shadow of the Colossus is that of several allusions to Hebrew
legends, involving various aspects of the game centered around the Shrine of

First, and most obviously, "Dormin" is "Nimrod" spelled backwards. From there,
the next pieces fall into place rather logically. Nimrod is the figure history
-- both biblical and otherwise -- believes oversaw the construction of the
Tower of Babel, which the Shrine of Worship could easily be seen as analogous
of: the temple itself could appropriately be regarded as a tower, and its peak
the tallest point in all the Forbidden Land, viewable any point within the
Forbidden Land that is of notable height or that is without obstruction
between itself and the tower, including several of the lairs belonging to the
Colossi. Indeed, the temple is even within sight during the duration of the
battles with Colossi #s 1, 3, 9, and 16, despite being a great distance from
three of these battles sites.

Also notable concerning Nimrod is that it is held by several traditions'
accounts that his body was severed into many pieces when he was killed;
similarily, Dormin's essences were divided into sixteen parts and sealed away
seperate from one another.

It's possible that the Colossi allude to the Hebrew legend of Golems,
regardless of whether or not they were made by the hands of humans, as they're
made from the raw materials of the earth and bear important symbols (often on
their heads, no less) that must be destroyed in order to kill them (not
exactly the same thing as changing "Emet" to "Met," but it's still a similar
enough a process as to warrant mentiobn). Additionally, they revert to the
material from which they were made upon death.

Next, the Secret Garden serves as an analogy to the Garden of Eden, for the
game's purposes of it symbolizing purity and rebirth, with both the baby deer
that is found there, and the infant Wander, reverted to humanity at its purest
state. It may also be that the fruit of the Secret Garden serves to suggest
this, as the fruit diminishes the increased power that Wander receives from
his slayings of the Colossi, but will only diminish it to the point it was
when Wander first entered the Forbidden Land.

Finally -- and stemming from the last observation -- the horns that appear on
baby Wander's head and that are then passed to others might serve as an
allusion to the mark of Cain, which some traditions hold was a horn or a pair
of horns. This would have represented Wander's sins, with the curse ultimately
being symbolically (perhaps literally?) broken in Ico when his horns were
broken off during his battle with the Queen.

7) Parallels between large and small representations (004.7)

Something of note that many have noticed while playing Shadow of the Colossus
are the interesting parallels between small objects possibly having larger
representations within the game, usually between smaller animals and Colossi
of the same "species." Here follow the known cases of these parallels:

-Wander is a human, and five of the Colossi have human-like bodies: Valus,
Gaius, Barba, Argus, and Malus. Additionally, Valus, Gaius and Argus all
carry weapons in their right hands, just as Wander does.

-Agro and Phaedra are both not only equine in appearance, but Agro is built
like a war horse and Phaedra's Latin designation translates to "Elite War
Horse" in English.

-The various doves and hawks in the game are all birds, as is Avion. Perhaps
more notably, hawks are birds of prey and Avion's Latin designation translates
to "Bird of Prey" in English. Additionally, all birds, as well as Avion, can
be grabbed by Wander and can carry him into the air.

-There are many lizards in the game, and Kuromori is designed in the form of
a lizard. Further, when dislodged from walls, all lizards in the game and
Kuromori as well will land on their backs and then struggle to upright

-There are several tortoises that can be found in the game, and Basaran is
designed in the form of a tortoise.

-There are several long-bodied fish and eels that can be found in the game,
and Hydrus is a large electric eel. Further, all these aquatic creatures can
be grabbed and can drag Wander around underwater.

-South of Dirge's domain is an area with a large dead tree upon it, comparable
in size to a Colossus, whereas most trees in the game are comparatively small
fruit-growing trees.

-Most of the save shrines throughout the Forbidden Land appear to be small
representations of the Shrine of Worship. Additionally, all these save shrines
in the temple's form have a resident white-tailed lizard, as does the Shrine
of Worship itself.

-Whenever one of the large Colossi -- filled with dark energy that then flows
into Wander -- falls, a small bright dove appears around Mono.

|Acknowledgements about the game and this FAQ| (005)
-Special thanks to iamthedave/David Rodoy:
This FAQ was written with major contributions from iamthedave, and as a
result, he is listed as co-author. Much of this FAQ was written by him,
ranging from comments on other theories to the large majority of the Meta
Theory being his own writing, incorporating our ideas together into one
monstrous, beautiful work. The only parts I can lay full claim to are the
Frequently asked questions, Allusions to Hebrew legends and Parallels between
large and small representations sections, and those are hardly the meat of
this FAQ, nor are they what was originally in mind when it was conceived.

This FAQ would not be possible on any level without Dave, due, yes, in large
part to his theorizing forming the basis of the Meta Theory, but just as much
in inspiring me to expand on that idea and to create an FAQ that would serve
as a compilation of all known and documented theories concerning the storyline
of Shadow of the Colossus, something that may be -- we hope -- of invaluable
benefit to Shadow of the Colossus fans.

Thanks also go to Dave for helping me in compiling these theories, as there's
been so many I certainly couldn't remember them all or hunt them all down on
my own. Most of all, though, I thank him for opening my eyes to a new way of
looking at things, and of teaching me that it's okay to defy certain standards
of thought to build something beautiful. After all, would we have the
beautiful story -- correction, STORIES -- that are Shadow of the Colossus, if
not for Wander's defiance of the established ways of thought in his own time?
Not a chance.

Thanks again, man.

-Thanks also go to the members of GameFAQs' Shadow of the Colossus message
Much of these theories come from all of you, and as such, the FAQ is dedicated
to you lot. From the many theorists' whose names have unavoidably but
regretably been forgotten, on down to the explorers who sought out every nook
and cranny of the Forbidden Land and further on down to those of you who just
played Shadow of the Colossus to enjoy a fun game and thought-provoking story,
this is for you.

Also, thanks go to Felix M.C. Li/maskrider for his wonderful Shadow of the
Colossus screenshots.

-Thanks to Bruno de Figueiredo for some very insightful and interesting
theories that were e-mailed to me. They concerned various matters, such as
light and darkness in SotC, the symbolic significance of the doves, and also
Mono's words in the scenes following the deaths of the first 15 Colossi. Your
contribution has been significant to filling in some of the final few details
that I myself wasn't clear on.

-Thanks to Walton Wood for e-mailing Dave and I with a suggestion that led to
our inclusion of the information on the kami of Shinto and how they relate to
the Dormin. It was more Dave than myself who picked up on the connection, but
after some mutual research (well, research on my part; he already seemed to
know most of it), we came up with quite a bit of interesting stuff.

-Thanks to James Farrugia for e-mailing me with info concerning some middle
eastern cultures' view of horns, as well as insightful observations concerning
the forbidden spell Emon spoke of.

-Thanks go to darkdaxter for e-mailing me his theory concerning the origin of
the shadowy figures that appear in the Shrine of Worship.

-Thanks go to Jacob Banks for writing in about his observation of the bright
light that emerges from the idols before they shatter, how this might relate
to the dark light that emerges from the dead Colossi, and what this might
entail for the shadows that appear around Wander and doves made of light that
appear around Mono. Thanks also for the suggestion that Wander's horns may
allude to the mark of Cain.

-Thanks go to everyone who has e-mailed me for all your comments, theories,
arguments and compliments. I've tried to respond to all of you, and if I've
missed any, I would like to take this moment to apologize, but to thank you
nonetheless for all that you've said. I appreciate it.

-Thanks go to Fumito Ueda and the rest of the Shadow of the Colossus
development team a.k.a. "All you guys whose names are in the credits":
Thanks for giving us such a wonderful game. Keep up the good work! We'll be
looking forward to it.

-Finally, the most thanks go to my wife and our beautiful little girl for
being my family. That's more than I can ever show how thankful I am to have.
To my wife, thank you for putting up with me while I wrote this... and played
the game... and annoyed you with suggesting we play the game instead of going
to the movies there a couple of times. As this has been the single most
satisfying gaming experience I've had (made sweetest because I shared it with
you, my love), I think I can hang up my controller for a while without much
sorrowful parting.

To you my dear little one, when you grow up (at least 30; not a day before), I
look forward to the day you'll find someone who loves you as much as I like to
think Wander loved Mono. You deserve it, honey. Daddy loves you so much. I'll
come tuck you in and tell you a bedtime story now. It's called "Wander and the

Publications cited in this FAQ:
-Shadow of the Colossus itself
-The official UK Shadow of the Colossus website, accessible from
-Game Informer's February 16, 2006 interview with Fumito Ueda and Kenji Kaido:
-Wired News' March 9, 2006 interview with Fumito Ueda and Kenji Kaido:,70286-0.html?tw=rss.culture
-Felix M.C. Li/maskrider's video game screenshot site, Zone of the Gamers:
-Posts by members of GameFAQs' Shadow of the Colossus board

List of sites authorized to host this FAQ:
-Any site ran by Ryu Sinclair or David Rodoy, as well as any sight to which
either gives permission
-Super Cheats

Shadow of the Colossus and Ico are copyright Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
They own the rights to this fantastic game, its characters, and the designs of
the characters.

This FAQ is copyright Ryu Sinclair and David Rodoy. None of the theories in
this FAQ but the Meta Theory are really ours alone, and we don't own them.
However, the exact representation of the Meta Theory in here belongs to David
and I, and shouldn't be copied without our permission unless a link's given to
this here FAQ with acknowledgements that we wrote it (that's permission from
me not to get my permission before quoting this FAQ or something; but just
remember that acknowledgement part please).

Feel free to describe all the theories in here, including the Meta Theory,
without permission or even giving a link (though I'd definitely appreciate it
if you'd say where you got it), but please remember that quoting this FAQ
verbatim without acknowleding it as the source is a violation of copyright.
And also, publically displaying this FAQ on another website without our
permission's a violation of copyright too. Our e-mails're at the top of the
page, so please ask first. You can't miss it. Top of the page. That way: ^. I
probably wouldn't say no if you asked me to let you host it somewhere else,
but I'd like the courtesy of having the opportunity to say no anyway, and I
imagine Dave would too. Not giving us that opportunity will result in an
automatic no after the fact.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Now go make your stories~