This walkthrough was originally written for Silent Hill 2
on the PS2, but the walkthrough is still applicable to the PC version of the game.
( ____ \\__ __/( \ ( ____ \( ( /|\__ __/
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/\____) |___) (___| (____/\| (____/\| ) \ | | |
\_______)\_______/(_______/(_______/|/ )_) )_(
_________ _ _ _______
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| ) ( |___) (___| (____/\| (____/\ ( (__/\
|/ \|\_______/(_______/(_______/ \_______/
A Plot Analysis by Vile1011
Version 1.2, 7/31/06
Dedicated to the Silent Hill forums at
Special thanks to the translators of the Lost Memories guide
to Ryan and Lobsel_Vith for previewing this guide
and for allowing me to use their findings,
to Rachenar for his theory,
to Moreau for direct translations from the Japanese
and of course, Konami for making almost every game in my top 5.
Copyright 2006: You have the right to copy this document to your
heart's content. You just don't have the right to make any money
from doing so.
////===== Table of Contents =====\\\\\
Ia. Revision History
II. Story Layer
IIa. James and Mary
IIb. The Appeal of Pyramid Head
III. Mind Layer
IIIa. Painful Reminders
IIIb. Pyramid Head
IIId. Staring Into the Abyss***
IIIe. The Final Battle
IV. Character Layer
IVa. Seeds of Darkness
IVc. The Tablets
IVd. The Inner Child
V. Town Layer
Va. The Monsters
Vb. The Environment
Vc. The Gods
Vd. The Source
Vf. World of the Gods
* Contributed in part by Ryan (email@example.com)
** Contributed in part by Lobsel_Vith (firstname.lastname@example.org)
*** Contributed in part by Rachenar(email@example.com)
//////////////===== I. Preface =====\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
Nearly all of those who prefer Silent Hill 2 over the other games
in the series feel that way for one reason: the story. For me,
the appeal of the story comes from its longevity; no matter how
much you know, there are still enough unanswered questions to
keep you combing through the script to find clues. Unlike
convoluted scripts such as Metal Gear Solid 2, there is enough
solid ground on which to build theories. This is why many fans
have independently come to the same conclusion about the meanings
of various things. Yet there is enough freedom to allow for
entirely different, but equally coherent explanations. This is my
interpretation of the story. While I made some effort to mark
what parts were my own musings and what came from external sources,
it wasn't always practical to do so. This isn't a formal thesis,
though, so what damage could be done?
The story of Silent Hill 2 also appeals to me because it exists
on several layers, each of which slowly reveals itself as more
clues are gained. In this plot guide, I will not simply list each
character and monster and attempt to explain their significance.
This has been done before, and done well. Instead, I will explore
each layer, starting with the outermost and diving deeper.
Not only is each layer a story unto itself, but each is simply a
single element of the layer beneath it. The outermost layer is
the Story Layer, which follows the journey of a man searching for
his presumably deceased soul-mate. Underneath is the Mind layer,
in which the story is reinterpreted as an internal battle within
James's mind. This is merely one part of the Character layer,
where James, Angela, and Eddies stories interweave into a single
thread, which finally leads into the Town Layer, the supernatural
backdrop on which all of the above layers are painted.
/== Ia. Revision History ==\
Version 0. Document didn't exist.
Version 1. Problems present in the previous version fixed.
Version 1.1 Added contributions from Ryan + Lobsel_Vith
- Added sections on the Otherworld and the Red God.
Version 1.2 Added a theory by Rachenar
//////////////===== II. Story Layer =====\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
When we first meet James, he is staring at his reflection in a
mirror, wondering if this is all a dream. Indeed his situation
sounds absurd: his wife Mary, who he knows to have died of a
disease three years ago, has apparently written him a letter
asking to meet him in the town of Silent Hill. It is a place of
fond memories for the couple; James and Mary had vacationed there
shortly before Mary fell ill to the life destroying disease. It
is a symbol of the life he lost with the woman he shared his
He has no doubt that Mary is dead, and he appears aware of how
irrational it was to come to the town. Yet as soon as he asks
himself "Why am I looking for her?" he silences it with another
question, "Our special place, what could she mean?" a question that
assumes Mary is alive. James wont let himself question his
decision to come to the town.
As we follow James through the misty, abandoned town, his story
begins to unravel. It is suggested that he did not love his wife,
and that his hands are not as clean as we are lead to believe. He
sinks deeper and deeper into a world completely unlike our own,
swarming with ghoulish creatures and recently executed corpses.
This culminates in the revelation that James has, in fact, killed
his wife and suppressed the memory of doing so. Upon learning the
truth, he confronts his demons one last time before either
succumbing to darkness or rising above it.
It should not take many playthroughs to gather this much about
Silent Hill 2's plot. This surface story, of a man searching for a
love that was torn away from him, is merely a small component of
the full plot. Since I expect any readers of this plot guide to
be generally familiar with the event of the game, I will not
devote as much time to exploring this layer.
/== IIa. James and Mary ==\
It is established that Mary did not die three years ago, but
quite recently. The Japanese script gives us an additional clue:
the letter Mary wrote to Laura was written on the day of her 8th
birthday. She had been alive for at most one week before SH2
Mary痴 disease has snuffed the joy of life out of her. James
suffers too, not only from seeing the one he loves in pain, but
also because his natural needs are no longer being fulfilled.
Paradoxically, the love each feels for each other has caused
frustration to build up, creating an anger between the both of
them. Mary lashes out at James, who in turn refuses to visit her
After three years, with the only thing to look forward to being
death, Mary eventually comes to terms with her condition. She
writes goodbye letters to Laura, an orphan she had befriended in
the hospital, and James, who by now has not visited her in some
time. Mary mentions Silent Hill in the opening of her letter, the
last place in which she was happy. Thoughts of returning to the
town have kept her sane, and she eventually grew to see the town
as a paradise. Before the disease can claim her life, however,
James intervenes. He smothers Mary to death with a pillow, to
end the nightmare the two of them had endured for all of this time.
/== IIb. The Appeal of Pyramid Head ==\
There is no denying the appeal of Pyramid Head. When someone can
happily skewer exotic dancers, double rape and kill two other
monsters, push people off rooftops, and still receive daily
marriage proposals from dedicated Silent Hill fangirls, you know
he must have something special. However, there are some who do
not understand Pyramid Heads appeal. After all, he isn稚 the only
near-invincible villain who relentlessly pursues the protagonist
of a horror story, nor is he even the most powerful.
Fear, as well as intrigue, depends on a proper mixture of
knowledge and uncertainty. Too much knowledge is the death of
fear; once a villain is fully understood, it can no longer evoke
the same horror as a villain whose next action is completely
unpredictable. Therein lies the failings of most other villains
in Pyramid Heads league; they are simply powerful creatures who
pursue the protagonist, bent on killing them. The only
uncertainty lies in when and how the creature will attack next.
Pyramid Head can not be so easily classified. It becomes clear
that he is not simply trying to kill James. At times he barely
acknowledges him, and when they do fight, he simply leaves on his
own accord after some time. This creates a sense that there is
something more to his actions than the surface will tell.
Leaving the battles also serves another purpose. It tells us that
Pyramid Head is always in control of the situation, and we are
simply playing by his rules. Whenever a protagonist escapes from
a monster in a horror story, it counts as a failure on the
monsters part. The creature then becomes less potent and less
frightening. Pyramid Head is never once defeated by James, hence
he becomes even more powerful in the player痴 eyes with each
Much of Pyramid Heads appeal stems from his design. The earliest
conception of Pyramid Head was "a man without a face". After all,
human empathy is built around facial recognition. A man without a
face is a man who we can not read. Unfortunately, his first
designs failed to invoke this sense of the unknown, because they
were invariably just a man with a mask. He was not complete until
he was given his eponymous pyramid helmet.
His pyramid gives him something that other monsters don稚 have, an
identity. Other monsters may have fangs, horns, and claws, but we
have seen so many creatures of this type that we tend to simply
abstract them all into "big scary monster". Pyramid Head's form, on
the other hand, is instantly recognizable. It is minimalistic,
hence it is more easily remembered.
/== IIc. Maria ==\
The complex interaction between James and Maria adds much to the
story. On the one hand, James sees Maria as a burden, an obstacle
on his path to find Mary. Yet, he acknowledges that his pursuit
may be hopeless, and going home with Maria may be the best thing
he could do.
There are some who believe Maria represents the parts of Mary
that James liked most, or wishes Mary had. Personally, I don稚
find this to be entirely true; if James wanted a woman like
Maria, he wouldn稚 have married a woman like Mary. However, Maria
does possess many of the qualities which Mary lost once she
became ill. She is attractive, seductive, and dedicated to James.
She is what James had been missing for the three years of Mary痴
Despite Maria痴 obvious advances, she never manages to get
anywhere with James. In fact James becomes visibly nervous
whenever Maria becomes particularly flirtatious. This is not
because James is unwilling or even afraid, but because he is
uncertain about whether his pursuit of Mary will be fruitful.
Maria dies and is reborn several times within the span of the
story. However, her demeanor changes with each rebirth. When
James meets Maria in the labyrinth, not only is she even more
seductive than before, but she has also developed a split
personality. She begins talking like Mary, even mentioning facts
from her life that Maria should not have known. The last time
James talks with Maria, she is open about James痴 crime, and
straightforward in her attempts to make him abandon the thought
of Mary. All of this no doubt confuses poor James and the player
/== IId. Laura ==\
Laura seems to be a bit of an anomaly in the story. It is
established that she does not see monsters, but it is still
strange for a child her age to be wandering throughout an
abandoned town without a hint of fear. Some believe that Laura
exists in the real world, where Silent Hill is an ordinary
American town. However, she does talk with James in public
places, and people would probably take note of a little girl
wandering all by herself talking to invisible people. Laura can
also be seen using a flashlight in the hospital, suggesting the
building is dark and abandoned to her eyes as well.
Towards the end of the game, we learn not only that Laura stayed
at the same hospital as Mary, but that she is an orphan as well.
She mentions running away a lot, and coupled with her unusually
independent personality, this hints that she never found a true
mother figure to guide her through life. When she met Mary,
however, she formed such a strong bond with her that Laura began
to see Mary as the one who could fulfill such an important role.
Mary writes Laura on the day of her 8th birthday, explaining that
she is going away to "a quiet, beautiful place". Mary can not tell
Laura that she is dying, either because she does not wish to
break her heart, or because she doesn稚 think Laura would be able
to understand the gravity of the situation. Thus Laura believes
that Mary is still alive. After reading the letter meant for
James, she deduces that Mary is waiting in Silent Hill.
Laura arrives at Silent Hill after being given a ride by Eddie
(this is revealed by the developers, although it is never
explained in the game). I believe that she sees the town as
abandoned, although perhaps not foggy. This is suggested by the
fact that she has to use a flashlight to navigate the hospital.
She is willing to be in such a lonely environment, however,
because of how important it is for her to find Mary.
//////////////===== III. Mind Layer =====\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
Had Silent Hill 2 possessed no depth beyond the Story Layer, it
would still be a worthwhile game. Yet there is a lot missing; too
much that simply doesn稚 make sense if we take it at face value.
Another layer of the story opens itself up to us when we ask this
question: Who is the villain of Silent Hill 2?
It is not common for a work of fiction, especially once based on
horror and suspense, to lack a villain. Even if it isn稚 another
character, there must always be some force preventing the
protagonist from achieving his or her goal. Pyramid Head appears
to play the part, yet he doesn稚 seem to do much to impede James痴
progress. In fact he helps him advance at times. Although the
monsters do attack James, their role in the story is largely
peripheral and thus they do not fulfill the role of villain either.
If a villain is the force preventing the protagonist from
realizing a goal, then we can identify him by asking what James痴
goal is. While we are lead to believe that James came to the town
to find Mary, we later learn that this is not the case. Instead,
the goal of James痴 journey was to open his eyes up to the truth.
What force has kept James deluded? That痴 right, James himself.
Thus the hero and villain of Silent Hill 2 are James...and James!
The story of Silent Hill 2 is thus centered on an internal
conflict between two parts of James痴 mind, the repressor and the
repressed. At the story痴 opening, James has all but snuffed out
three years of painful memories. Yet those memories did not
vanish. They grew like a hidden cancer, torturing James and
darkening his heart.
At the game's opening, the repressed part of James痴 mind no
longer has the power to influence him. However, Silent Hill is
able to give form to ones deepest thoughts. Nearly everything
James sees; from the monsters to much of the scenery; is simply
a manifestation of something James has kept hidden. Silent Hill
immerses James in representations of these locked-away feelings.
Although he is consciously unaware of their significance, they
nonetheless are slowly chipping away at his denial.
/== IIIa. Painful Reminders ==\
The story of Silent Hill 2 is like a fugue, with a main theme
that is played in many different variations by many different
voices. The theme in question is the act of killing Mary and the
air of emotions surrounding it. It is James痴 repressed mind who
plays the instruments, forcing James to see again and again what
he had done to Mary without being consciously aware of it.
Consider the first time James meets a monster. The creature does
nothing to hurt him at first, and does not appear to posses any
means of inflicting harm. It even appears more worthy of pity
than malice. Yet James immediately reaches for a plank with the
intention of bashing the monsters brains out. Unless, of course,
you are Gandhi and don稚 hurt the monsters when you play. He has
once again "solved" a problem through violence. It doesn稚 end
there, though. Look at the color of the Lying Figure, and of the
Mannequin for that matter. Their sickly light-brown hues match
with those of Mary痴 hospital outfit, which itself matches her
diseased skin. From a distance and in the same pose, Mary herself
would not look much different from a Lying Figure. "I look like a
monster!" indeed. The lying figures also attack by coughing, the
importance of which will be explained shortly.
The patient records in Brookhaven痴 reception office serve as
another mirror into James痴 soul. Each patient has a condition
which is plainly analogous to one of the three main characters.
Joseph Barkin, in particular, is a patient who believes he killed
his daughter and has been living with guilt since. A fourth
record, written by a patient on the roof, reflects the sentiments
of Mary during her final days. In fact, if one believes that Mary
stayed at Brookhaven in the last week of her life, the diary could
very well be hers.
The article on Walter Sullivan seems somewhat out of place. What
could a story about a murderous psychopath have to do with James?
Sullivan is mentioned again in a bizarre radio game show directed
at James, along with two other notable serial killers. His name
makes a final appearance in the Abyss, where his tombstone is
next to those of James, Angela, and Eddie. The message suddenly
makes sense; James was initially shown just the article with no
explanation, which lead him to judge Walter as a horrible
criminal. The juxtaposed tombstones, then, send the message that
James and Sullivan are of the same ilk! In reality, Sullivan is
far worse, but the message of James being a murderer remains.
Most people have caught that the many deaths of Maria are a clear
example of the town making James relive his crime. However, it
goes much deeper than that. The time Maria spends in Brookhaven
is strongly analogous to Mary痴 time in her hospital. In fact some
people believe Mary herself stayed at Brookhaven during the last
week of her life. The analogy starts when Maria becomes sick and
has to lie down. This is clearly symbolic of Mary痴 disease; Maria
gives the same cough that we see Mary giving in the video. It is
but the first signs of the three year illness.
All of this time, James has seen Maria as a burden and thus
leaves her alone, despite the obvious danger. This represents how
he mostly abandoned Mary when he saw her as an obstacle to a
happy life. When Maria and James meet again in the basement,
Maria first responds angrily, but then switches tone and cries
out for James to protect her and stay with her. This matches well
with a conversation between James and Mary during her final days,
in which she is first angry: "I don稚 want any damn flowers! Get the
hell out of here!" but later pleads for James not to leave her.
All of this culminates in the murder of Maria, which is easily
seen as representing Mary痴 death.
The song Magdalene perfectly illustrates how James feels at this
time. It is melancholy, no doubt, but it is also entirely devoid
of energy. It is lifeless, and hopeless, just as James feels. The
movie version embellishes the song with strings and whatnot, and
hence fails to be nearly as effective.
/== IIIb. Pyramid Head ==\
Previously, I had claimed that uncertainty was a key ingredient
of Pyramid Heads appeal. Many of the questions raised in the
Story Layer become clearer when PH is viewed under the lens of
the Mind Layer. We are given a major clue to Pyramid Heads
purpose near the end of the game. "I was weak, that痴 why I need
you. Needed someone to punish me for my sins." Or in the Japanese
script "I was weak, and so I desired your existence".
Punishment and judgment, then, are the driving force behind
Pyramid Head. We must remember, though, that punishment is not
simply torture. Inflicting pain upon James would be useless if
James did not know why he was being harmed. However, he could not
simply be told from the start that he is being punished because
he killed his wife. His denial is so strong at first that he
would immediately reject it and sink further into darkness.
Hence, Pyramid Head punishes James in more subtle and psychological
Pyramid Head reflects James darker desires. Seeing Pyramid Head
rape and kill monsters is like looking at himself from the
outside. The sexual frustration he held for those three years has
been eating away at him, and Pyramid Head is quick to bring these
feelings to the surface.
PH's antagonism against Maria serves this end as well, but there
is another reason why he repeatedly murders her. Pyramid Head and
Maria are the most powerful manifestations of James痴 repressed
and repressor mind, and thus their battles are symbolic of James痴
internal struggle. Pyramid Heads goal is to slowly open James痴
eyes to the truth, so that he may be properly judged. Maria has
the opposite goal: to make James abandon Mary and remain in
denial. "All you care about is that dead wife of yours!", cries
Maria after James doesn稚 come to her rescue. This leads us to a
curious conclusion; if the goal of Pyramid Head is to make James
face up to what he痴 done, then he is no longer an enemy but a hero!
Pyramid Head's goal becomes complete after James sees the
videotape. His repressed mind has gained enough strength to allow
the truth in, and when James sees what he had done, he does not
question it. He remembers the murder, and the pain caused by it.
Shortly afterwards, he meets Pyramid Head again, who has somehow
brought a copy of himself along for the job. Numerous theories
exist as to why there are suddenly two of them. A common theory
is that the second one represents his guilt for killing Eddie,
although I don稚 believe James feels nearly as much remorse for
that act. One should note that the image of the two Pyramid Heads
to either side of a hanged Maria reflects a crude drawing on the
After testing James one last time, the Pyramid Heads end the
battle by impaling themselves. James has seen the truth, and
suffered accordingly, and hence the role of Pyramid Head is
complete. Having lost the desire to be punished, James is able to
leave the triangle headed executioners behind as he ascends to
face the avatar of his delusion: Maria.
/== IIIc. Maria ==\
Just as Pyramid Head was borne of James痴 unconscious desire for
punishment, Maria was borne of James痴 conscious desire for
physical intimacy. She is a creation of his repressor mind,
designed to make James stray from his path so that he will remain
deluded. However, she also becomes a tool of the repressed mind
as well, which uses her to remind James of his crime.
Maria痴 first life is the one most people refer to when talking
about her. In this life, she is not aware of her role in James痴
journey. This is proven by the Born from a Wish scenario, in
which we see Maria acting independently of James, oblivious of
her purpose. Silent Hill 3 even suggests that Maria was a real
person, who痴 memory was erased and form changed to better
Part of James created Maria and imbibed her with some of Mary痴
qualities. The intent was to create something which could lure
James away from his quest to find Mary. However, by making her so
much like Mary, James痴 repressed mind was able to use her to
remind him of his crime. Poor Maria, of course, is unaware of the
two rival puppetmasters controlling her.
Maria痴 ignorance does not carry over into her next life though.
When James meets her again in the Labyrinth, she has taken on a
new persona. At first, she no longer speaks in her seductive
tone, and even recalls memories of Mary. An instant later,
however, Maria-the-seductress is back and ready for her "hero" to
to save her. She tells James "I知 here for you", beckoning for him
to "come and get me."
This scene was mentioned by the developers as one of the key
elements of the plot. It is, indeed, the tipping point in the
battle between the repressor and the repressed. When Maria is
speaking as Mary, she gives James a clue by mentioning the
videotape at the hotel. This would suggest that she is trying to
lead James toward discovering the truth. When Maria痴 original
personality takes over, she attempts the opposite goal by asking
James to save her instead of looking for Mary. Her promise of "I知
here for you" seems to be her way of saying "You can have me
instead of Mary". Hence, this scene is another war between the two
sides of James痴 mind. By this time in the game his delusions have
begun to unwind, especially after hearing that Mary was friends
with Laura a year ago. His repressed mind is making itself be
heard; for a brief moment it was able to speak to James through
Maria. Hence, she behaved like Mary, had her thoughts, and lead
James towards learning the truth. His repressor mind, however,
regained control, and the Maria of old was back.
Maria痴 final speaking appearance (her short-lived performance as
a human shish-kebob notwithstanding) is the most different of
all. While her dialogue differs slightly depending on the ending
(except for one in which the woman James meets claims to be
Mary), she pretty much says the same thing in all of them: Mary
is dead, it was your fault, but I知 better than her and you can
have me instead. She mentions Mary痴 death, reflecting James痴
recently restored knowledge, and also becomes much more direct.
This shows that James痴 repressor mind has weakened, and is now
acting in desperation in order to keep James under control. When
it realizes that converting James is hopeless, his repressor mind
takes on a demonic form and attempts to destroy him. Killing this
final monster is symbolic of James purging those harmful thoughts
from his mind and restoring him to his real self.
The exception to this is the Maria ending. The woman James meets
looks identical to the "Maria" of the other endings, but claims to
be Mary. The truth of this is debatable, but James speaks to "Mary"
in the other endings as well. Whether this is Mary痴 ghost, or
simply James痴 memories of Mary is uncertain. I, however, believe
the woman James meets in the Maria ending is still Maria. This is
the ending in which James痴 repressor mind wins, even after James
learns the truth. Because Maria claims to be Mary, but then
becomes a demon and attacks James, this final fight could instead
be symbolic of James severing his bond with Mary once and for
all. The victory is short-lived though; Maria gives a familiar cough
at the last minute, signifying that James痴 punishment is not yet
/== IIId. Staring into the Abyss ==\
James's repressed mind and repressor mind are locked in a bitter
duel over one thing: the truth. The repressed mind is attempting
to make James aware of his crime, while his repressor mind wishes
to comfort him with delusions. It is for this reason that the
so-called "Abyss" is of critical importance to the battle for
We learn of the Abyss from the hospital director's memos. It is
a place where hidden, painful truths may be revealed. One may only
learn these truths, however, if they are willing to have them
laid bare for all to see. In other words, by keeping the truth
hidden from others, one keeps the truth hidden from himself as well.
Hence, "He who is not bold enough to be stared at from across
the Abyss is not bold enough to stare into it himself."
Simply getting James to enter the Abyss is a significant
victory for the repressed mind. Yet at the point in the story
where James enters the Historic Society, he is still deeply
in denial. His repressed mind has the strength still to keep
his eyes shut.
The following is a theory by Rachenar(firstname.lastname@example.org),
concerning James's journey through this realm.
On James' first trip to the Abyss, via the Historical
Society, there are three instances where James is faced
with a choice between truth and delusion. All three times,
James chooses delusion.
1. James chooses to go after Maria, because she is
"what James wants her to be". In other words, a delusion.
2. Angela asks James about Mary's death, and James mentions
the illness. Angela then explicitly tells James that he
killed her, and that he found Maria as a replacement,
and our friend James denies it all.
3. Eddie says "This town called you, too. You and me are
the same. We池e not like other people. Don稚 you know
that?!" Obviously, James doesn't. He's still refusing to
face the truth, or simply unaware of it.
Thus after these three trials, James was deemed "not bold
enough to be stared at from across the abyss", so he could
no longer "stare into it himself". James leaves the Abyss
right after killing Eddie and returns to his vision of the
misty world of Silent Hill. However, James sees Silent Hill
at that point the same way he saw it 3 years ago.
Then there's the third memo, a section of which reads: "A part
of that abyss is in the old society." It would appear that
the HS is a universal access to the Abyss to whomever has
reason to visit it, but also that there are different ways
one can access it. Upon learning the truth after viewing the
video, James becomes "bold enough to be stared at from across
the Abyss" as he no longer denies the truth. Thus he returns
to it upon leaving room 312, because for James, another part
of the Abyss was in the hotel.
Proof that James has returned to the Abyss: The warping hallways
and James' visit to what most likely is a flaming staircase in
Angela's house; in other words, the lack of physical consistency
that occurs after James has viewed the tape.
Now let's return to the HOLE memo. It would appear that the person
who wrote it saw a hole in Neely's bar (a delusion due to drinking
problems, perhaps?), learned the truth by "marching forward", and
upon his return, the hole was gone. Similarly, if James returned
to the HS after finishing his business in the hotel, he would no
longer see a hole either, because he no longer has reason to
access the Abyss.
/== IIIe. The Final Battle ==\
As we can see, James was bold enough to enter the Abyss, but not
bold enough to stare into it. While his denial has been slowly
cracking, his desire to suppress those painful memories is still
strong. In fact, his delusions become even more severe after first
leaving the Abyss.
Before his initial descent into the Abyss, nearly all of the
manifestations conjured up from his pysche seemed to reflect his
crime and the emotions he held during Mary's three year
hospitalization. Even the overall theme of the environment
coincided with his feelings about Mary; the town is decayed and
lifeless, yet was once beautiful and serene.
However, the atmosphere of the hotel departs significantly from
the previous theme of decay. In stark contrast to the apartment
building and hospital, the hotel is in near pristine condition.
The manifestations no longer hint at Mary's death but instead
lead James to believe that she is actually waiting for him
in room 302. It seems as if his repressor mind has taken
complete control over James's perception.
His repressed mind is not yet defeated though. It is able to
manifest a few small, but important artifacts. First and
foremost, it bars the path to the third floor. It diverts
his path to the first floor office, via an elevator which
refuses to move due to a weight allowance limit. Since there
were mentions of "the weight of one's crimes", this is
likely an allusion to the burden of guilt James is carrying.
The most important artifact created from James's repressed
mind is the videotape. It is, in essence "the truth". Had
James been shown this tape at any point prior to the hotel,
it is likely that he would have cast it off a delusion. Now,
his repressed mind hopes that James will listen to its cries.
James's repressor mind has convinced him that not only did
he not kill his wife, but that she is alive and waiting for
him in Room 302. However, in doing so it has worked itself
into a corner. If James walks into Room 302 and finds that
Mary isn't there, he will be fully aware of her death. There
is no longer the sense that she could be in some "other
special place" as when James looked for her in Rosewater Park.
By making him believe that he will see Mary again, James
When James walks into Room 302, its as if he had never
left it. It is immaculately clean and illuminated by a
heavenly light from outside. Yet Mary is not there. His
repressor mind was unable to conjure up her image. His hopes
crushed, James watches the videotape, and his delusions
James does not question the tape, nor does he deny it. He
admits to himself and to Laura that he killed Mary. Hence,
he shows that he is able to "be stared at from across the
abyss", as per Rachenar's theory. Yet his hope of seeing
Mary is once again rekindled when he hears her voice
on the radio. It is an act of desperation on the part of
his repressor mind.
Having lost the battle for the truth, there is only one
thing left to fight for: will James resolve his guilt
and release the burden, or cling onto it and drown in
despair (and water)? Which side ultimately emerges
victorious is up to the player's choices throughout the game.
//////////////===== IV. Character Layer =====\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
Many who have seen the story of Silent Hill 2 complain that
Angela and Eddie are superfluous characters who add little to the
plot. Perhaps this may be true in the Story and Mind Layers,
where they are simply two people James meets along the way to
find his wife. The story isn稚 only about James, though. Each of
the three main characters has endured analogous struggles, and
seeing how the other two behave is like looking at one痴 self
through a distorted mirror.
Many people believe that the towns purpose is simply to punish
sinners. If you were to ask most fans why each of the three
characters was called to the town, they would likely point out
that each of them has committed murder. Yet neither James,
Angela, nor Eddie is unambiguously evil. They are not drug
pushers, corrupt CEOs, criminal overlords, or ruthless dictators.
It is not their crimes which have sent them to Silent Hill, but
the feelings of guilt they hold inside.
Guilt is felt when one does something far outside what they
accept as decent, thus guilt is the province of "good" people.
Prior to their life changing killings, James, Angela, and Eddie
were all good people who would not be expected to commit murder.
James adored Mary and wished to spend his life with her. To
murder his one true love would be absurd. Angela had well
accepted her inferiority in the dominance hierarchy her family
had placed her in. To murder her father would place her in
control of the situation, which would be unheard of to her. Eddie
was a total softie who always let people walk all over him,
while doing nothing to stop it and everything to encourage it.
In spite of this, years of tension drove each of the three to
commit murder: James euthanizing his sick wife, Angela murdering
her father, and Eddie killing a dog and wounding its owner. Each
felt tremendous guilt over the act, but none were able to deal
with it openly. Instead, each developed a defense mechanism
centered on their key character flaws.
/== IVa. Seeds of Darkness ==\
James always kept his feelings hidden, to the point where others
(e.g. Laura) often thought lacked any. Thus, James痴 defense was
to suppress the memories of his actions, keeping them hidden to
himself and everyone else. He became convinced that Mary died
three years ago, and placed the blame on the disease rather than
Angela has always had an inferiority complex. Whether it resulted
from her abuse or factored in its origins, Angela has always seen
herself at the bottom of the totem pole. Unable to deal with the
lack of an abuser, Angela痴 defense mechanism was to become her
own aggressor. She abused herself psychologically in the ways
that her father had once done.
Eddie always had a persecution complex. It is highly unusual for
people Eddies age to insult one another in a manner typical of
young teens. Most of his abuse is either imagined or brought on
by Eddie himself. Because he believes the world is laughing at
him, his defense was to believe that they deserved death.
Far from solving their problems, their defense mechanisms only
worsened the situation. It is the ensuing "darkness in their
hearts" that drove them to Silent Hill, not the murders themselves.
Upon meeting each other, Angela and Eddie realized that they were
in the same predicament as James (who in his denial could not see
this fact). Rather than form any sort of solidarity, each berates
the other for how they致e dealt with their crime. James scolds
Angela for wallowing self pity (which James is quite guilty of),
and Eddie for acting on impulse (ditto). Meanwhile, Angela and
Eddie scold James for his willful ignorance as to the purpose of
their journeys, which too is hypocritical since they are delusional
/== IVb. Judgment ==\
Perceptions of judgment differ in each character. Angela and
Eddie are inversely symmetrical in this regard, with James acting
as the middle ground. For Angela, she openly judges herself,
while most outsiders would not judge her at all. Eddie does not
judge himself, but most outsiders would be quick to judge him.
James lies in the middle; the ambiguity of his crime prevents
anyone, including himself, from drawing clear judgment. Some
believe he is undeniably guilty, some believe he has suffered
enough. On the one hand, he murdered Mary to get her out of his
life. Yet he only needed to do this because he loved Mary so much
that he couldn稚 bear to take another lover while she still drew
breath. Mary痴 conflicting sentiments about assisted suicide only
increase the confusion.
/== IVc. The Tablets ==\
During his time in the prison, James finds three tablets: the
Tablet of the Oppressor, the Tablet of the Seductress, and the
Tablet of the Gluttonous Pig. The meaning of these tablets was
not immediately clear to me. Although there were numerous obvious
matches for each tablet (Maria as the seductress, Eddie as the
gluttonous pig, Pyramid Head or Angela痴 father as the oppressor),
there was no symmetry to the mappings.
Supposedly, the developers have revealed that each tablet
represents one of the three main characters: The Oppressor being
James, the Angela the Seductress, and Eddie the Gluttonous Pig.
While Eddies tablet seems appropriate, the other two don稚 seem to
match well at all. That is, until we realize that the tablets
don稚 represent each character as they are in reality, but instead
represent each character as they see themselves.
It is difficult to place the label of Seductress on the victim of
abuse. Yet it is not uncommon for the consistently abused to
begin to believe that they are at fault. Indeed, Angela seems to
believe that she is deserving of abuse. "Mama said it best, I
deserved what happened." It is even clearer in the Japanese
script: "Mama knew I was that kind of person".
At first, "Gluttonous Pig" seems to be an apt description of Eddie.
Yet in making this judgment, we fall victim to his game. It is
made clear that much, if not all, of the ridicule Eddie faces is
created by Eddie himself. He is a man who is so deeply affected
by how others perceive him that he believes all of the insults
levied in his direction. Thus, throughout his life Eddie has
crafted himself into the archetype of the fat, lazy slob. This
has created an infinite feedback loop which ensures that Eddie
will be laughed at his whole life. Eddie is also a glutton for
ridicule, but this tablet seems to be referencing food more directly.
The love James held for Mary was unquestionably pure. How then
can we call him "The Oppressor?" A significant portion of the
Silent Hill 2 fan base, however, does not see James as a loving
husband, but instead as a sex starved maniac who only loved Mary
in the carnal sense. To them, it is easy to see how James is an
oppressor: he demanded sexual dominance over Mary, and when the
disease took that luxury away from him, he killed her before the
disease could in order to achieve dominance once again. There are
numerous flaws with this reasoning, yet it is suggested that
James himself has begun to believe it. Three years without
intimacy has caused tremendous sexual frustration to accumulate
within him. Yet this tension also brings him guilt, as it suggests
that he only cares for sex.
Feeding these thoughts, Laura, Maria, and Angela all assert that
James did not love Mary. Maria herself is an embodiment of this
very sentiment. If James left the town with Maria, it would prove
that he did not love Mary for who she was, but only for sexual
Two of the monsters directly convey this notion as well, the
Mannequins and the Flesh Lips. Because they have legs but no
body, the Mannequins portray sexuality without humanity. Thus,
they represent the notion that James only cared for sex. The
Flesh Lips is an even darker symbol. The Lost Memories book calls
them "Lustful Lips", and indeed these "lips" are placed between the
creatures dangling legs. This shows that they aren稚 referring to
the lips you kiss your kids goodnight with. Furthermore the
lattice in which they hang represents a bed (I myself thought
they were bed-ridden patients hanging from the ceiling at first),
another reference to sexuality. However, the Flesh Lips is so
horribly twisted beyond all recognition that it is impossible to
feel any sexual attraction towards it (and by god seek help if
you do). Thus, it represents the disgust James felt for Mary when
he tried to view her in a sexual light. The disease had ruined
her figure, thus creating a painful tension between the part of
James who loved Mary and wanted intimacy with her, and James痴
natural repulsion towards her sickly appearance.
/== IVd. The Inner Child ==\
Laura is not the only young child roaming the streets of Silent
Hill. Angela, Eddie, and to a lesser extent James all exhibit
childlike tendencies. Yet far from being their innocent sides,
these childish components of their personalities have allowed
darkness to take hold of their hearts. A child is unaware of the
world, dependant on adults, very sensitive to criticism from
peers, and often powerless against those who may take advantage
The abuse levied onto Angela has stunted her emotional growth.
She feels highly dependant on her family, despite their hostility
towards her. She barely knows any world outside of her abusive
home. She is unable to exert any power over another person, and
as such apologizes to James numerous times for trivial things.
Her voice and posture display a lack of maturity. Angela is aware
of this however; after saying "I知 looking for my mama", she
immediately corrects herself: "I mean my mother."
Her inward childishness contrasts with her aged outward
appearance. These two aspects of her being have pulled away so
much that Angela has developed a split personality. Her older
self has absorbed the cruelty of her father, prepared to
perpetuate a cycle of domestic violence even after he is gone.
Those who are made to feel weak and worthless will often mask
their pain by abusing someone else in later years. Had Angela
grown up to have a family of her own, she may have abused her own
children just as her father had abused her. Angela痴 violent
temper toward James during the later parts of the game strongly
suggests that this part of her has been growing.
It is this side of Angela who scolds James for "saving" her from
the Abstract Daddy. "Don稚 order me around!" she yells. In this, she
is attempting to compensate for her lack of power over her father
by putting on a show of dominance over James. Yet this dominance
is delusional and futile, and does little more than sink Angela
Angela even further.
Eddie too is a beacon of immaturity. His appearance and speech
are highly child-like, such as the whiny "She said a fatso like me
would just slow her down!". His account of the insults he has
endured brings to mind a grade-school environment, which a man
his age should be well away from by now. His conception of
fairness is entirely juvenile as well; he believes that since
people made fun of him, then he should be allowed to hurt or even
kill them in return.
James may appear to be the most collected and reasonable of the
three main characters, but this is only a front. The childlike
traits of James are mostly present in his dependence on Mary for
happiness, as a child may depend on his mother. James is also
known to take action to achieve a proximate goal without regards
to the consequences, another childlike quality. A shining
examples of this are when he reaches through a hole in a wall to
get a key, even when he cant see what痴 in there and even seems to
get bitten once. The infamous and lauded toilet-bowl scene reflects
this aspect of his personality as well. Not to mention James's
reaction to Eddie's assertion that he will kill anyone who makes
fun of him: "Eddie, have you gone nuts (you big fat stupid idiot)?".
/== IVe. Reflections ==\
There are some who believe that Angela and Eddie are figments of
James's imaginations. Their reasoning is that both of them reflect
two different paths James could go through: he could continue to live
in darkness and misery, leading up to suicide, or he could embrace
the "murderer" label and feel no remorse for his actions. However,
I see the mirror going three ways; not only do Angela and Eddie show
two paths that James could take, but James also shows a path that
Angela and Eddie could take: to deny their crime and convince themselves
that it never happened.
Traits of each character are reflected in each other character. Eddie
and Angela are unbending in their decision to deal with their guilt
through violence toward others and themselves. Only James is able to
take differing paths, four different paths to be specific. The following
is an account by forum user Ryan(email@example.com), explaining
which characters are being reflected in James for each ending:
As the title suggests, this is an another analysis of the endings,
one that uses the characters as major reference points. I believe
that the characters in the game, in addition to their own
self-contained stories and importances, are also an array of
attributes that symbolize the various paths James can take upon
LEAVE = Laura
The idea is pretty obvious, but there is more to it than just
the idea that Laura leaves with James in the ending. Laura typifies
the very essence of the Leave ending. In Leave, James never falters
in his desire to find his wife, and is steadfast in his search to
find her. He keeps Maria at arm's length, and doesn't waste too
much time thinking of himself. Mary is the goal, therefore, she is
the most important.
In Leave, James finally has the opportunity to spend a last moment
with Mary, to be able to say the things he didn't say before, the
things he couldn't say or wouldn't say. He abases himself before
her, and flings aside all vestiges of the delusion he used to hide
himself from reality. Because he commits to this course of action
out of a deep and abiding love, and because he forces himself to
come to terms with his own troubled thoughts, voicing them out loud
for her to hear, Mary forgives James and puts his mind to rest. When
last we see James, he is walking through the cemetery towards the
scenic turnout, and we see Laura following closely behind. As one of
Mary's letters made clear, Mary wished to adopt Laura as her own
daughter but could not. Though it is not stated for certain this is
what happens, to me it is implied that James decides to do just that,
both out of respect for his wife, and perhaps as a thanks to Laura
herself... because out of every character, Laura is by far the most
influential in aiming him towards this conclusion.
Laura is in town for the same reason as James; she wishes to find
Mary. She is, at first, uncertain of James' motives, for she believes
James to be an uncaring, selfish lout (and at first he does little to
correct her notions). She realizes that there is more to him than meets
the eye eventually, and by the time both reach the Lakeview Hotel,
Laura is more pleasant to James and openly assists him in their shared
But, she is not just a tool for James. She is there for her reasons
as well, and would just as soon prefer James to not be an
interference. Yet, it is her actions which guide him on the proper
path, bringing him to the Hospital when no other course of action
seems viable for James to reach the hotel. This sets in motion a
chain of events that leads him where he wants to go, but in a most
Indeed, she is completely indicative of the ending, because her goal
completely typifies the context of Leave: Find Mary, and never falter
while looking. She never does. Presumably, she finds Mary (because,
otherwise, there would be no way she'd go along with James. Undoubtly,
they had their own private moment too, where Mary told her things about
James that made her overcome the incredible anger and hate she displays
in room 312.)
IN WATER = Angela
Another really simple one, perhaps the simplest; for both come to a
very similar end and parallel in other ways. Both James and Angela
commit acts which are violent and deadly. Both can suitably justify
their deeds if either desired to. The problem here is that neither
wishes to justify. Justification would lead in a very different
direction. Instead, both decide that instead of vindication, they
deserve punishment instead. Both desire punishment, but neither
possesses a full-blown deathwish until the end, when all hope is
truly lost. Of all the supporting characters, Angela's ultimate
purpose is the least clear, and this is because she has none at all.
Like James, Angela does not desire her own death from the beginning
(this is evident in the Blue Creek encounter, when Angela surrenders
her knife to James. She pointedly states she is doing so to prevent
unpleasant things, and considering her position when we find her in
that room, the 'unpleasant thing' is very clearly suicide.) Perhaps
she still holds hope for redemption of some kind, or perhaps she has
just not resigned herself to the inevitable. Regardless, by the end,
she has. Whether she dies on the stairs of fire are not clear, but
certainly, no other end is likely. Either she will die or wander
endlessly, dead in spirit and soul, if not in body.
This is analogous to James in the same role. He does not begin with
a deathwish. In fact, the thought never really seems to cross his mind.
He will expressly deny thoughts of suicide when Angela makes a remark.
But, in the end, he has his moment with Mary, in which he gets to clear
his conscience. But, his eyes are opened to the truth, and even though
his conscience is clear, all that does is expose him to the rest of the
truth, about himself and his life. He loves Mary. Deeply. To the point
where he decides that he cannot live without her. He surrenders notions
of life and future. Possibly, it is a gambit, to see if he might find
Mary in the afterlife, but the underlying fact is that he has given up
on life, just as Angela has. It's not a desire to kill himself, but
rather a lack of desire to continue living.
MARIA = Eddie
Now the territory is not so clear, and since I use Maria as an
example for a different ending, you might just cry foul. But, the
Maria ending really isn't about Maria, it's about James, as all
endings are. In the Maria ending, James does falter in his search
for Mary, and falters badly. Maria is a seductress, a lookalike of
his wife designed by his repressor mind to cling to the delusion
in which he spends much of the story. Maria's appearance and
personality are contrasted to Mary in several key ways, yet
retaining a painfully obvious familiarity. She is, perhaps, the
ideal Mary, especially in contrast to her later days. She is
attractive, energetic, provocative and, in some ways, as caring
and empathetic as Mary. She is the Siren of his delusional mind,
seeking to retain its existence.
What Maria also signifies is James' surrender to his desires.
This isn't just a carnal statement, though that is likely a part
of it. Certainly, he desires sex. Most people do, and her
appearance is a reflection of it. However, there's more to it
than that. She is real, to James. She isn't Mary, but maybe she's
close enough? Maybe, with Maria, James can have everything back
that he lost with Mary's illness and death? Not just sex,
but companionship, togetherness. An emotional bond. Love, even.
A replacement for his wife, as close as one can get.
Now, how does Eddie factor?
Well, he has desires, too. His desire is vengeance. He views
himself as the avenging angel, and considering his state of
mind in the final encounter, it's not a new concept to him.
For years he has desired to lash out against those he considers
his tormentors, to visit upon them the suffering and pain he
feels he has recieved. It is perhaps this thinking come to a
head that results in his murder of a dog, and the subsequent
maiming of its presumed owner. He has a taste of the Avenging
Angel, but it's a bitter taste at first. His moment of dominance
is fleeting, for the law will be far more dominant than he, or
any of his oppressors. Thus, he escapes to Silent Hill, a place
that shows him things that torment him as badly as anyone he has
encountered in his life.
What Silent Hill also offers is the chance to strike back at this
percieved oppression, in the same manner as what brought him here.
He kills those who laugh at him. Whether or not they actually do is
irrelevant, because Eddie is going to assume the worst. It's a
natural response for someone of his mindset. At first, his exercise
of this control is unnatural to him and he is unsure of how to react.
Except, this time, there is no law to fear, there is no stronger
and more dominant force to stop him. He is the law now, and by the
end, he is a man without mercy. He has surrendered to his delusional
thinking, that everyone is out to get him. He has surrendered, but
he's glad to have done it, because now, those thoughts of vengeance
that have been brewing in him for his entire life are no longer an
urge he needs to supress. He is allowed to do what he wants, and he
is going to take it for everything it's worth. Like James, Eddie goes
down the wrong path out of selfish desires and skewed priorities.
Eddie's decision ultimately destroys him. James' do not, at least
right away. The final scenes of the Maria ending very strongly
imply that such a fate is all but inevitable, that he is doomed to
repeat his tragedy, as Eddie did with his attack on the dog, and
that the conclusion is going to be far from ideal.
[my own take on this is both Maria and the people who taunt Eddie
are creations meant to tempt those into darkness by preying on one
of their weaknesses.]
REBIRTH = Maria
This one is actually more obvious than it looks, and it has less to
do with Maria's character traits than her origins. The obvious
connection is the concept of rebirth itself. Maria is reborn twice
in the game after being quite noticeably dead. However, the strongest
indicator is her origin story, "Born From a Wish" which is very heavy
with references to the Rebirth Ending. She begins with no coherent
memory or even a real identity. She knows her name, and has a
grasp on her situation, but little else. Wandering around more or
less aimlessly, she finds the spirit of Ernest Baldwin in his
eponymous mansion. Searching this mansion leads her to discover
the fate of Amy Baldwin, Ernest's daughter. Ernest decides that
the only way he can find peace is to bring his daughter back to
life, by performing a sacred ceremony using occult items.
In actuality, Ernest is more symbolic than Maria for this purpose,
but it is Maria who acts as a tool to further Ernest's wishes,
rather than her own person. Through her journey we learn much
about the Ceremony of Resurrection of the Dead, and the items
required to perform it. This is very important for James, even
though he himself is ignorant of Maria's experience. I believe
"Born" is the vehicle to better explain the mysterious fourth
ending, and Maria's character is the vessel through which we
//////////////===== V. Town Layer =====\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
Looking at the Character Layer told us why each characters sees
what he or she does. The question now is, how do they see what
they do? Who is pulling the strings; leading James, Angela and
Eddie along a path of punishment? What interest do they have in
exploiting their guilt? How can one person endure a swarm of
monsters, only to find that a little girl has never caught
glimpse of a single one?
There is a simple explanation to all this: the entire story is in
James痴 head. Angela, Eddie, and Laura were merely part of this
dream. Yet like the shower incident of Dallas, this explanation
fails to satisfy the inquisitive audience.
Are James, Angela, and Eddie just seeing things? Is James
swinging a plank at the air and jumping off rooftops pretending
to have been hit by Pyramid Head? Some believe that James is
walking around in an ordinary, populated town, perceiving
civilians as monsters. This is highly unlikely, however. I知
sure the townsfolk would be able to subdue James without much
While this would explain why each character sees the world
differently, it likely is not the whole story. The most
significant problem with this theory is the hotel. It was
destroyed by fire before James came to the town, yet its three
floors are structurally intact when James visits.
Furthermore, were given little evidence that people see any
structural differences to their environments while their in the
same place. As evidence for this, consider the fact that whenever
James meets Angela or Eddie, there is something about the
surroundings that is symbolic of their struggles. Perhaps the
powers of Silent Hill have decorated the town with images meant
to stir distress within the three, plotting unique pathways
through the town for each so that they only meet each other
when the time is right.
/== Va. The Monsters ==\
Creatures, on the other hand, are clearly seen in different
light. The faceless corpses that James comes across are seen by
Eddie as ordinary people. Could it be that the same figures are
encountered by both Eddie and James? If the two of them were to
both look upon one of these creatures, would James see it as a
monster while Eddie sees it as a person? Has Angela been seeing
them as her family members? How is it that Laura can not see
them at all?
Angela痴 two final scenes give us key insights into these
questions. The scene depicting the Abstract Daddy is especially
important because it is the only time in the game where two
people see the same creature at once. To James, it is a terrible
creature of great strength, while to Angela, it is her father.
When James next meets her, Angela mistakes him for her mother.
This is clearly not an easy mistake, so just what exactly
The key lies in what the Abstract Daddy represents. It is a clear
symbol of Angela痴 abuse; depicting a larger figure looming over a
small one, atop a bed frame. At the same time, it is symbolic of
James as well. The juxtaposition of sex and violence mirrors the
sexual frustrations James felt which eventually lead him to
to murder. Hence, at an abstract level, it speaks to both of them.
In the Mind Layer, I mentioned that the town immerses James in
his guilt. So too does it immerse the other characters in their
pain. The powers of the town cause each of them to see what is in
their own hearts rather than what is actually there. Perhaps it
is the case that the Abstract Daddy has no true physical form.
Instead, it is somewhat of a template; the essence of a certain
emotion. Because it invokes the same feelings of fear and
powerlessness that Angela had for her father, she sees it as her
father. Another victim of abuse would see the creature as its
aggressor. Perhaps Eddie would have seen it as someone who had
not only been verbally abusive to him, but physically abusive
Why does James see it as a monster? We have already seen how the
other monsters James faces are symbolic of his pain. Perhaps it
is because of his denial that the monsters can only take abstract
form, as opposed to the more direct shapes portrayed to Angela
and Eddie. It may also be that James sees the Abstract Daddy in
its true form, because he has not been a victim of abuse and thus
can not make that emotional connection with it.
Is this power to be seen differently a property of the monster
itself? No, because James himself fills this role when Angela
sees him for the last time. How could she possibly mistake James
for her mother? When James "saved" Angela from the Abstract Daddy,
she began to see him as a protector. For any child, the first
person to be associated with such a role is the mother. While
Angela痴 mother clearly did little to stop the abuse (and was
likely both of victim of it herself), the biological drive for
children to seek their mothers for safety is hard to escape. When
Angela saw James on the burning staircase, she saw her protector,
instead of James himself.
This also helps explain why Laura cant see the monsters; the
emotions which each of them invoke are not present within Laura.
They fail to make a connection with her psyche, and as such she
sees them as nothing at all. It is possible that she sees them as
ordinary people, but she never makes any reference to meeting
anyone other than Eddie and James. If the monsters do have
physical form (and I believe they do), they would have to
actively avoid Laura. Perhaps her innocence is poison to them,
because they have no power over her.
This leads us to the question, what exactly is the Abstract
Daddy, and for that matter all of the monsters? They do not act
in ways typical of humans, so it is unlikely that they are
ordinary people. Is it possible that they once were human, who
have succumbed to the towns power, becoming embodiments of the
emotions they died with? Vincent痴 speech in SH3 seems to
/== Vb. The Environment ==\
The second piece of this puzzle is how the town itself appears to
James, Angela, and Eddie. The environment seems to shape itself
to reflect the darkness in the hearts of those called to the
town. Unlike the monsters, these changes are objective; they are
visible to anyone who happens to be in the same place. It is my
belief that each character has a unique pathway through the town,
separated by roadblocks and locked doors. They meet each other
only when the controlling powers of the town will it so.
When James meets Angela for the second time in the apartments,
she is behind a white door. This door is unlike any other in the
apartments, and what痴 more it has the same appearance as the door
to the Abstract Daddy痴 room. Could it be that this is the same
door to Angela痴 room in her own home, duplicated by the powers of
the town in order to constantly remind her of her past? White is
also a symbol of purity, and as such may be deliberately mocking
Angela痴 abuse. The fiery staircase on which we meet Angela for
the last time is much larger than normal stairs, representing how
a child might perceive an ordinary staircase.
Angela also claims to see fire everywhere, however she does not
acknowledge it at all until the very end. Since we are to assume
that all three characters have only been in Silent Hill for a
matter of hours, not days, it is unlikely that Angela has simply
become accustomed to them. It may be that Angela痴 otherworld is
based on fire, as opposed to the decay and darkness present in
James痴 conception of it.
Eddie is also constantly surrounded by painful images from his
past. James first meets Eddie next to a room full of football
posters. The stereotypical football player is the antipode of
Eddie, someone who is in shape, well liked by his peers, and
brimming with confidence. We can see Eddie's contempt for football
when he talks about the man he shot in the leg: "He痴 going to
have a hard time playing football on what痴 left of that knee!"
Furthermore, Eddie is always found in a place associated with
food. He is seen with a pizza in the bowling alley (an anomaly in
James痴 perception of the town), then in a cafeteria, and finally
in a walk-in freezer. This feeds Eddies image as a fat slob who
who can not resist the temptation of food.
/== Vc. The Gods ==\
We now come to the ultimate foundation of the story: what is
primary source of influence in Silent Hill? Is the psyche the
master, drawing upon the powers of the town to give form to ones
delusions? Are sentient supernatural beings in control, who pry
into the minds of the guilty to unearth their innermost thoughts?
Perhaps it is both, but then what is the balance? Is that blasted
dog behind it all? This issue does not appear to have a clear
solution, and equally compelling theories can be built assuming
a mind-centered view of the story or a god-centered view.
Throughout this plot guide, I have made numerous references to
the "power of the town". However, I never had the feeling that
there was a puppetmaster in the heavens directing the show. The
"gods" of the town do not seem to be the kind of god that the
Western mind is accustomed to. Instead, I believe the power of
the town is like clay; inherently formless, but able to be molded
into any shape. It has no agenda, no will, no sentience.
It just IS.
Whatever this power may be, it has existed long before the
English settled on its holy grounds. The settlers brought with
them disease and death, which slowly corrupted the spiritual
power of the town. This is what leads me toward the conclusion
that the power of the town is not so much an authority figure as
is the traditional concept of God. Instead it appears to reflect
the sentiments of those who live near it.
The Order speaks of many gods and angels, the Red God, the Yellow
God, "The" God, Valtiel, Metatron, Samael, among others. What is
the reality of these gods, though? The religious traditions of
the Order are known to have been influenced by Christian
teachings and the indigenous religions of the land. This makes it
unlikely that the Orders teachings represent the spirit world as
it actually is. Metatron and Sammeal in particular are the most
likely candidates for entirely fictional beings, and this is even
suggested in Silent Hill 3 where the Seal of Metatron is shown
to be a useless trinket.
/== Vd. The Source ==\
Why do the powers of the town deliver judgment to those with
darkness in their hearts? What benefit do they gain from leading
the guilty on a path of pain? Some believe that the gods feed off
of negative emotions. However, I do not see emotions as a
commodity. Furthermore, the plights of James, Angela, and Eddie
would be but a light snack in comparison to the horrors the town
has experienced before. Here, I see another benefit of an
an interpretation of the gods as formless and malleable.
Prisons and prison camps have adorned much of Silent Hills
history. After an epidemic ravaged the land, the English settlers
gave up on establishing a settlement there. Instead, the land was
used as a penal colony. Later, during the civil war, the area was
used to hold prisoners of war. This prison camp then evolved into
In these times, judgment was passed on the suspected, and justice
was delivered to the guilty. Yet there was no sense that this
"justice" was based on what is right and fair. This was a perverted
form of judgment, one which served to give power to the accusers
instead of dealing justice to those who were wronged. The
innocent and guilty were judged alike, bringing more death upon
the land. It is in this era that Pyramid Head's inspirations, clad
in the traditional garb of Valtiel, decided who should live and
who should die.
This overwhelming sense of judgment and punishment became etched
into the spiritual fabric of Silent Hill. The towns desire to
continue judging the guilty coupled with the subconscious desires
of James, Angela and Eddie to be judged. A bond was formed
between the mind and the powers of the town, and each drew from
one another to meet its end.
/== Ve. Xuchilbara ==\
Lobsel_Vith(the forum user, not the god. Lobsel Vith the god
never returns my e-mails) takes a more god-centered view of the
story than I do. Nevertheless, many of her findings should
not be ignored; whatever reality the "gods" of Silent Hill
have, they do play a significant role in the series. This section
includes information she has found about the Red God, Xuchilbara.
Gods do not take center stage in SH2, unlike its predecessor and
successor. However, the Red God, Xuchilbara, is mentioned in
an artifact James can find: the Crimson Tome:
I am the Crimson One.
The lies and the mist are
not they but I.
You all know that I am One.
Yes, and the One is I.
Believers hearken to me!
Twenty score men and
seven thousand beasts.
Heed my words and speaketh them
to all, that they shall ever be
obeyed even under the light of
the proud and merciless sun.
I shall bring down bitter vengeance
upon thee and thou shalt suffer
my eternal wrath.
The beauty of the withering flower
and the last struggles of the dying
man, they are my blessings.
Thou shalt ever call upon me and
all that is me in the place that is
Oh, proud fragrance of life which
flies towards the heart. Oh Cup
which brims with the whitest of
wine, it is in thee that all begins.
The Crimson Ceremony seems to suggest that the Red God is
the source of the delusions shown to James, Angela, and
Eddie. The "mist" likely refers to the pervasive fog,
who's presence signifies that we are in the Red God's
domain. The poem also mentions decay and judgement,
which are vital elements of the story's plot.
Perhaps most importantly, it also mentions
"the last struggles of the dying man". This suggests
that Xuchilbara's domain is the place where
life and death meet. Perhaps it is for this reason that
he(or she?) is considered the God of Rebirth.
/== Vf. World of the Gods ==\
So how does the Red God fit into an interpretation of the
story that sees the gods as formless? I do not wish to
rescind my statement that there are no puppet-masters
guiding James, nor do I wish to ignore the gods
altogether. The Crimson Ceremony suggests that the events
experienced by James are nothing new; the town has been
creating delusions long before he ever knew about it.
There is another element of the story which I have not
addressed proper: the Otherworld. The popular belief is
that the Otherworld is another dimension in which the
Gods have more influence. Some even see the foggy world
as its own dimension, existing atop an ordinary, populated
However, there are problems with this naive interpretation.
For one, the otherworld is not an entirely different space,
but rather a perversion of the existing environment. This is
also true of the foggy realm, but on a smaller scale. However,
towards the end of the game, we see an Otherworld that is
entirely divorced from reality. In fact, this is true of each
game in the Silent Hill series. Considering each of these
worlds its own dimension requires believing in a myriad of
unique realms. As a strong advocate of Occam's Razor, I don't
take well to theories like these.
Instead, I believe there are only two distinct worlds: the
ordinary, human realm, and the world of the gods. The god's
realm, however, is not physical. Space and time have no meaning,
and there is no conception of "objects". It is an entirely
metaphysical realm, hence it's pure form is unknowable by humans,
who are so dependant on labels to classify their world.
The human world and the god world are seperated by more than
distance or time. However, in the area of Silent Hill, the
worlds seem "closer" than elsewhere. The worlds bleed into
eachother, creating a hybrid realm that bridges the two realities
As evidence for the notion that the god's world is not
material, consider the gradual loss of the rules of time
and space as James descends further into the town. At first,
James sees the town as relatively unchanged, save for the
series staple fog. There are a handful of artifacts created
from James's pysche, but they are merely decorations. Monsters
aside, there is little about this environment that could not
exist in the real world.
Midway through the game, however, James slips into the
nightmarish Otherworld. The ability of the town to alter
James's surroundings increases dramatically in this realm,
yet it is still close enough to the human world that it
retains its basic shape. In the basement, however, the laws
of space are temporarily disregarded. Beneath the ground, where
the basement should be, lies a long and winding hallway that
was never a part of the real hospital. The elevator at its end
turns out to be the real basement elevator, which returns
James to the first floor.
The laws of space are also seen decaying when James reads the
memos from the hospital director. At first, they seem like
ordinary memos, the likes of which James has seen throughout
his journey. In his first memo, he mentions that "the truth
can only be learned by marching foward" and leads James towards
a letter placed on a house's doorstep. Yet when James finds
the letter, it immediately continues the narrative of the previous
memo, and more disturbingly it mentions James directly. It is
similair to the Stanley memos in Silent Hill 3 and may hint at
an active world beneath the protagonist's eyes.
The laws of space and time are completely thrown out the window
once James reaches the Historical Society. Here, there is no
longer any coherence to the environment. It is not simply a
repainting of an existing structure, but the disorganized
fragments of several places throughout the town's history
cobbled together. The prison's of the town's past have
resurfaced, along with remants of the Wiltse Coal Mines,
bleeding into the historical society such that it is not clear
where one begins and the other ends.
It is also here that James is forced to jump down a series
of holes. Had the laws of space been preserved, James would be
clutching his knee and screaming like a preteen at an N'Sync
concert after falling down the first one. Yet he falls through
several with no ill effect. Furthermore, one of the holes is
actually an ordinary prison hallway oriented vertically! The
Labryinth is even worse. It almost seems as if its twisted hallways
are being constructed as James walks through them.
After facing the mind-bending terrors of the Labyrinth, the
laws of space are once again slapped in the face as James
finds himself at ground level once again, not anywhere near
as deep or as far as his previous journey would have indicated.
James crosses Toluca Lake en route to the Lakeview Hotel. As
stated earlier, the Hotel was destroyed by fire sometime
between the time of his vacation and the time of the story.
Thus, the hotel James sees is not simply the real hotel with
an altered appearance. Rather, it seems to have been built
entirely out of James's memories.
The poor laws of time and space which have endured such a
beating throughout the story are given one final knockout
punch after James watches the videotape. The "alternate"
Hotel he finds himself in is completely unlike the alternate
hospital. Going through one door leads one across the entire
buildling, hallways that could not exist in reality wrap around
the premise, doors lead to one place the first time James
enters them only to lead to somewhere entirely different
the next time, and a winding metallic staircase leads to a
wire mesh floor surrounded by the hotel's outer shell.
This slow descent from a mostly normal world to a completely
nightmarish algamation of reality and delusion is also seen
in SH3 (and presumably in SH1 although I've never played it).
As one gets closer to the "gods", the laws of time and space
disintegrate. As corporeal entities, the protagonists could
never completely reach the god's world without leaving their
physical bodies behind, and it is not clear precisely how close
any of them ever got.
Within their own realm, the gods are shapeless and timeless.
Yet in this state the powers of the town are unable to effect
the human world. Yet just as James descends from the human
world to the god world, so too do the gods ascend from their
realm into the human world, becoming more corporeal in the
In the REAL real world, our ancestors attributed the forces
of nature to gods, giving a name and a likeness to phenomena
they could not understand. So too may be the basis of the
"gods" of Silent Hill. The inhabitants learned of the
spirit's powers, giving names to particular aspects. Most
relevant to SH2 is the aforementioned Red God, a name
given to the town's power to give life to delusion. In the
process, however, this "label" became an entity unto itself,
thus creating an avatar of the town's power worshipped by the
The gods of the town, then, are the interface between the
entirely immaterial spirit world and the entirely material
human world. Yet just as the human protagonists become
weaker as they get closer to the god's world, the gods
too become weaker when they enter the human realm. As
distinct and physical beings, they are unable to cause much
harm and are defeated with ordinary weapons.
//////////////===== VI. Closing =====\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
/== VIa. Frequently asked questions ==\
Nobody has read this yet, so how could there be any questions
about it, much less frequently asked ones?
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