Spoiler Friday: Shadow of the Colossus

By Louise Yang . January 26, 2007 . 2:25pm

sotc2.jpgHey folks, Louise here to introduce a new weekly column called Spoiler Friday, brought to you by thegamespoilers.com, a site that I run that gamers can visit to read and contribute well…game spoilers. This weekly column will highlight and discuss plot twists from various video games.


This week’s spoiler is Team Ico’s latest PS2 game that you may have heard of: Shadow of the Colossus.  This may be obvious, but if you haven’t played the game before and don’t want the plot ruined, don’t click through to the jump.


sotc.jpg So it turns out that while our protagonist, Wander, continues to slay each colossus, he’s actually restoring Dormin’s power.  It was pretty subtle, but I didn’t realize until the second playthrough that after each colossus is slain, Wander becomes less and less human while Mono looks more and more alive.  When Lord Emon casts the ancient ancient sword to defeat the Dormin monster created by inhabiting Wander’s body, both Wander and Dormin are pulled into a shadowy pool.  When Mono, the princess, awakens, she’s joined by a limping Agro and discovers an infant with horns at the bottom of the pool.


The big debate about the ending is whether Shadow of the Colossus is a prequel to the older PS2 game, Ico.  There are a couple of things that support the prequel theory.   First, in Shadow of the Colossus, there is an outline of a castle which can be seen in some areas of the world. Many people believe this to be the Ico castle.  Second, it seems too coincidental that there is a horned baby at the end and the protagonist in Ico is a horned boy.  Finally, the shadows that take over Wander’s body after defeating each colossus is reminiscent of the shadows Ico must protect Princess Yorda from.


Personally, my take on it is that Shadow of the Colossus is indirectly related to Ico.  I believe that Shadow and Ico, like Zelda games, take place in the same world.  Shadow of the Colossus takes place some undefined time before Ico and the horned boys in Ico are not direct descendants from the horned infant at the end of the game.  To say that they were seems illogical because if that infant grew up and had offspring, who would he have mated with? Mono seemed very maternal to the child, so it’s hard to imagine she later helped produce horned children.


The belief of the cursed horned boys in Ico could have been developed over generations of stories and fears and it could just be that the people in that world carry a genetic mutation that produces horned children once in a while.  Since horns are not common to people there, it’s natural that children born with horns are shunned and believed to be cursed.


While that’s my take on the ending of Shadow of the Colossus and how it relates to Ico, I’m open to other views, so feel free to comment on it.


Louise is the webmaster of thegamespoilers.com a wiki of video game spoilers. If you want to catch up on game plots so you’re not out of the loop when people say "Aeris dies" or if you want to contribute spoilers pay thegamespoilers a visit.


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  • WanderIco

    That’s pretty much what I’ve always thought. Basically Ico is sort of like the reincarnation of Wander; like the Hero of Wind is sort of like the reincarnation of, or rather comes in the same spirit as, the Hero of Time in the Zelda series. It’s all seems very Biblical, like how in the Bible the spirit of Elijah keeps coming back; Elijah to Elisha to John the Baptist to the Apocalypse. It seems many games draw inspiration from some religious source or another, whether it be Western Judeo-Christian themes like in the Zelda series or even a game like Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams, or Eastern Buddhist/Shinto/Taoist beliefs like in Okami or Kingdom Hearts. I guess it makes perfect sense though since so many games revolve around lots of archtypal themes like heroes, destiny, honor, and justice. After all, religions are pretty much entirely a collection of archtypes and deep mythology. That’s why they last so long, and that’s why games that use these archtypes for more real, spiritual purposes like Ico/SotC, and not conversion i.e. “Left Behind” purposes, also last long in the hearts of fans.

  • Gin

    Actually according to Fumito Uedo SotC is indeed Ico’s prequel and Wander sired the lineage of horned boys.

  • Dira

    I find a few theories compelling. Keep in mind most are my own and take quite a few liberty’s with the canon. The fear of the horned children probably would not have arouse until the queen discovered the remains of Dormin’s power in them, so Wander’s bloodline could remain intact. I doubt the horned trait and the ‘Dormin remnant’ lets call it, is genetic since Ico state’s clearly that a horned child is born once ever generation. If it was genetic it could create situations where there are mult. horned children being born every generation, or even skipping generations (which could starve the queen).

    It’s possible that the SOTC/ICO world is one of reincarnation. Where every creature is reincarnated provided its own bloodline survives(otherwise Wander could reincarnate on the otherside of the world or as another species perhaps) This raises the question of how can he reincarnate with the queen consuming the souls. Well some Deus ex machina can solve that. Take one multi-dimensional being, merge a fraction(I doubt ALL of Dormin’s being is merged) of that power with a human soul, and there is no telling the complications. Another possibility is that the queen suckles off the soul rather than consuming it. Its hard to explain the ‘dark Icos’ but they could be the individual portions of Dormin rather than the horned childrens souls.

    Another theory that I find amusing is that Mono is the queen. She feeds off the child’s power as it grows and slowly becomes the queen. Having passed beyond this world and brought back by Dormin’s power there is no telling what kind of power she has, perhaps she is un-dead. And even if she did not gain any power there is no telling what knowledge she could gain spending a lifetime in the Forbidden Valley.
    She could either be acting of her own free will and slowly amassing her own power. Or she could be possessed by Dormin itself, slowly regaining it’s former power.
    I found an artist who came up with the same idea.


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