So I watched the ending to Shadow of the Colossus again, and it really hasn't aged well. (Spoilers)

I just feel that confrontation with Lord Emon and his guards was just rather too rushed imo, I know that the whole story is meant to be vague and you can figure it out for yourself, but I just feel like this should have had a bigger impact. And I wanna list some things that I just find rather dumb:

1. Ok so when Wander "dies" the deity Dormin "borrowed" his body, but before that Wander got shot in the leg from a crossbow, so Dormin while possessing Wander's body is wounded in the leg still thus he cannot stand. For a powerful deity, he doesn't have the power to heal the wound on the leg he is possessing?

2. You control Dormin and you have the ability to smash the ground with your fist and breath Blue Fire out of your mouth, and you can clearly see yourself smashing Lord Emon and his men, and yet they are still alive and still running away, why aren't they turned into Bloody Paste, heck its kind of a wasted opportunity because you might have had a different ending entirely if you did kill them!?

3. And this is a big one, they really made sealing away the just revived Dormin WAY too easy. I mean from what I know they split Dormin's essence into 16 fragments and the Colossi themselves are basically created to be "guardians" of the fragments as such the Colossi are somewhat like Golems in myth, it gives you the impression that this was a long process of doing this sort of ritual to seal Dormin away, but no, once Lord Emon got the Sword, immedietly performs a very quickly done ritual by throwing the sword in the Pool of Water which triggers a Vortex and sucks in Dormin and Wander, leaving only Wander now as a baby with Horns. So why haven't they done this sort of ritual in the first place, why have the colossi when this was way more efficient? Also when Emon and his men escapes, the Bridge starts collasping because the pillers suddenly vanish through some unexplained magic. Why wasn't that done in the first place also if this entire land was forbidden?!

The more I think about it and try to comprehend what lore and backstory this game offers, nothing really makes sense and the ending is becoming more poorer for it. Heck this whole world and setting really doesn't make sense when you actually think about it.

Now I brace myself for other people's response of my post. Because I think I mabye the first to actually criticize Shadow of the Colossus negatively, especially its ending.

1. You're trying to apply logic to a fable.
2. You're trying to apply logic to a fable.
3. You're trying to apply logic to a fable.

By keeping things vague they make sure that no rule is broken. There are easy answer to all your question that do not require any kind of retcon.

1. He just got hold of the body, he doesn't even have a form yet, it's not unreasonable to conclude that he can't heal his wound for the moment. He's not all powerful, for proof: he still require a body to posses.

2. Well why does the wanderer survives when he fall from a colossus? Or when he get hit by an attack? It's just part of the game world, i.e. stuff don't die easily (maybe his guard ate a ton of fruits). And again Dormin is immaterial (he's like smoke/half transparent), not too surprising that his attack don't kill immediately.

3. The process might just be a temporary bind, until they build new colossus. They build an entire land to seal Dormin, it's not too surprising that they would have a contingency plan in case he escape.

And they might not want to kill Dormin in the first place, maybe him being sealed but not dead has some utility for them (maybe he's there power supply). The bridge might have been held up by the power they extract from Dormin, and so now that he's imperfectly sealed the power is gone and the bridge collapse.

And that's what I could come up in 2 mins, there's probably plenty more possible explanation. That's where SoTC shine, it used as little information as possible so that there's barely anything that end up in contradiction. They even make sure that the princess is never actually called "dead", iirc the wanderer just say she was involved in a ritual or something like that, maybe she was put in a coma in some way that was related to sealing Dormin and what actually caused her to awake wasn't Dormin power but the fact that he was unsealed temporarily.

Johnny Novgorod:
1. You're trying to apply logic to a fable.
2. You're trying to apply logic to a fable.
3. You're trying to apply logic to a fable.

Its a fable with too many holes in it then.

Also what is the moral of this fable to be had here? Don't make deals with devils?, Don't do rash things in the name of love?

Meiam:
By keeping things vague they make sure that no rule is broken. There are easy answer to all your question that do not require any kind of retcon.

1. He just got hold of the body, he doesn't even have a form yet, it's not unreasonable to conclude that he can't heal his wound for the moment. He's not all powerful, for proof: he still require a body to posses.

2. Well why does the wanderer survives when he fall from a colossus? Or when he get hit by an attack? It's just part of the game world, i.e. stuff don't die easily (maybe his guard ate a ton of fruits). And again Dormin is immaterial (he's like smoke/half transparent), not too surprising that his attack don't kill immediately.

3. The process might just be a temporary bind, until they build new colossus. They build an entire land to seal Dormin, it's not too surprising that they would have a contingency plan in case he escape.

And they might not want to kill Dormin in the first place, maybe him being sealed but not dead has some utility for them (maybe he's there power supply). The bridge might have been held up by the power they extract from Dormin, and so now that he's imperfectly sealed the power is gone and the bridge collapse.

And that's what I could come up in 2 mins, there's probably plenty more possible explanation. That's where SoTC shine, it used as little information as possible so that there's barely anything that end up in contradiction. They even make sure that the princess is never actually called "dead", iirc the wanderer just say she was involved in a ritual or something like that, maybe she was put in a coma in some way that was related to sealing Dormin and what actually caused her to awake wasn't Dormin power but the fact that he was unsealed temporarily.

1. True, I mean the mere fact that when Mortals are capable of spliting essence into 16 fragments, proves he is a very poor god indeed.

2. Well from a story perspective, its safe to assume that Wander avoids falling off a Colossus or getting smashed by one despite your actions in the gameplay And regarding how Dormin being immaterial and thus doesn't have the proper mass to smash Emon and his men into bloody paste, that logic is thrown out the window in that one moment in the cutscene where right before he says "We have borrowed the body of this Warrior" he smashes the palm of his hand on the floor with clearly shown force, rocks were flying when he smashed the floor for goodness sake.

3. But the contigency plan proved to be even more simple and effective than the ritual of spliting his essence into 16 fragments so why the whole latter thing in the first place?!

Samtemdo8:

3. And this is a big one, they really made sealing away the just revived Dormin WAY too easy. I mean from what I know they split Dormin's essence into 16 fragments and the Colossi themselves are basically created to be "guardians" of the fragments as such the Colossi are somewhat like Golems in myth, it gives you the impression that this was a long process of doing this sort of ritual to seal Dormin away, but no, once Lord Emon got the Sword, immedietly performs a very quickly done ritual by throwing the sword in the Pool of Water which triggers a Vortex and sucks in Dormin and Wander, leaving only Wander now as a baby with Horns. So why haven't they done this sort of ritual in the first place, why have the colossi when this was way more efficient? Also when Emon and his men escapes, the Bridge starts collasping because the pillers suddenly vanish through some unexplained magic. Why wasn't that done in the first place also if this entire land was forbidden?!

I haven't played ICO yet, which takes place after Colossus...But from what I understand, the villain is trying to extract Dormin's essence or something from the "Horned boys" who appear to be descendants of Wander.

Soo...I'm assuming that the "Stick Dormin into 16 Colossi" is supposed to be a difficult to perform long-term fix that should prevent Dormin from ever waking up, and the "Seal him in a baby" thing was a desperate backup plan, which will lead to Dormin being in a state that can be taken advantage of for nefarious purposes. Which, of course, isn't ideal, so when Dormin wasn't angry and smashing things, they did the colossi thing but after he woke up big and angry they settled on the next best thing and hoped it wouldn't lead to problems later. Which it did.

At least, that's my take on it.

Samtemdo8:

1. Ok so when Wander "dies" the deity Dormin "borrowed" his body, but before that Wander got shot in the leg from a crossbow, so Dormin while possessing Wander's body is wounded in the leg still thus he cannot stand. For a powerful deity, he doesn't have the power to heal the wound on the leg he is possessing?

This one doesn't really seem like much of a problem to me. At this point in time, Wander is still in control of his body, and Dormin's powers seem to be making him like a zombie. Wander's body got more resilient the more colossi he defeated, and the more of Dormin's essence got inside of him. It doesn't seem like Dormin fully assumes control of Wander's body until after he dies.

Not to mention that we don't really know what Dormin's powers actually comprise of. If I remember correctly, there's a line about him having power over beings made of light or something like that? The way I interpreted it was he could keep Wander's soul inside him, keeping him living, after his body had taken lots of abuse, but he couldn't do anything to mend his body.

2. You control Dormin and you have the ability to smash the ground with your fist and breath Blue Fire out of your mouth, and you can clearly see yourself smashing Lord Emon and his men, and yet they are still alive and still running away, why aren't they turned into Bloody Paste, heck its kind of a wasted opportunity because you might have had a different ending entirely if you did kill them!?

Shoot, you can breath fire? I don't know how I didn't figure that out after who knows how many times of beating the game.

In regards to your criticism, it's not like you're turned into paste when you fight the colossi. I would agree though that it's a wasted opportunity which would have been nice to give your actions some sort of effect.

3. And this is a big one, they really made sealing away the just revived Dormin WAY too easy. I mean from what I know they split Dormin's essence into 16 fragments and the Colossi themselves are basically created to be "guardians" of the fragments as such the Colossi are somewhat like Golems in myth, it gives you the impression that this was a long process of doing this sort of ritual to seal Dormin away, but no, once Lord Emon got the Sword, immedietly performs a very quickly done ritual by throwing the sword in the Pool of Water which triggers a Vortex and sucks in Dormin and Wander, leaving only Wander now as a baby with Horns. So why haven't they done this sort of ritual in the first place, why have the colossi when this was way more efficient? Also when Emon and his men escapes, the Bridge starts collasping because the pillers suddenly vanish through some unexplained magic. Why wasn't that done in the first place also if this entire land was forbidden?!

Yeah, this one is more on the nose. There could be some plausible reason, but I'm not sure how much is actually suggested by the content of the game. Maybe they originally believed they could use him for something, and killing him was a last ditch attempt when he was freed? Given the bridge and the temple, it seems kind of plausible that they had some purpose for Dormin, but didn't want anyone else to have access to him, thus making the land forbidden.

Looking at the other comments, this is more or less in line with @Meiam 's post. Using him as a power source is pretty in line with the other games by Team ICO. Each game involves some less than wholesome source of power. It wouldn't be totally out of line for this one too as well.

I see your point though, my guess is mostly just speculation. That being said, the speculation is one of the things I like about the game.

EDIT:

On further thought, in addition to what I said before, it also seems likely that the sealing of Dormin into the baby was similar to the process by which they sealed him into the colossi. A baby is far more fragile than massive stone colossi, so it would serve as a far poorer cage for Dormin's being.

Samtemdo8:
And this is a big one, they really made sealing away the just revived Dormin WAY too easy. I mean from what I know they split Dormin's essence into 16 fragments and the Colossi themselves are basically created to be "guardians" of the fragments as such the Colossi are somewhat like Golems in myth, it gives you the impression that this was a long process of doing this sort of ritual to seal Dormin away, but no, once Lord Emon got the Sword, immedietly performs a very quickly done ritual by throwing the sword in the Pool of Water which triggers a Vortex and sucks in Dormin and Wander, leaving only Wander now as a baby with Horns. So why haven't they done this sort of ritual in the first place, why have the colossi when this was way more efficient? Also when Emon and his men escapes, the Bridge starts collasping because the pillers suddenly vanish through some unexplained magic. Why wasn't that done in the first place also if this entire land was forbidden?!

You're never specifically told what the deal is between Dormin and Lord Emon's people. For all we know they could have vanquished Dormin at any time, but since he's an entity that has the power to retrieve souls from the dead, they choose to keep him locked up in this elaborate prison. You'll note that Emon has no qualms entering the forbidden land, because he's probably a member of those in power that made that law to keep regular folks out. And why even have a sword that can free Dormin in the first place if they don't ever want him getting out? Again, probably because they're keeping him for their own purposes, because they feel he's too powerful to simply get rid of.

So Emon throwing the sword in the pool and vanquishing Dormin is basically a quick way to clean up the mess if someone ever managed to break him free.

The Almighty Aardvark:
On further thought, in addition to what I said before, it also seems likely that the sealing of Dormin into the baby was similar to the process by which they sealed him into the colossi. A baby is far more fragile than massive stone colossi, so it would serve as a far poorer cage for Dormin's being.

Was Dormin sealed in the baby? I always assumed baby Wander had horns simply as a side effect due to being possessed by a demi-god.

I never really put that much thought into it, considering how minimalistic it is. Same with ICO(I imagine The Last Guardian is the same way). It's very arty and more meant to evoke a sense of feeling and atmosphere then tell a story. It just happens to have a really solid gameplay loop to go with the "painting" quality it has going(and by that I mean, it kinda feels like you're wandering through a particularly beautiful painting at times).

If I want to go hunt obsessively for lore and answers between fights, I'll go play the BloodSouls series. These games are more "Experience" then "Analyse", IMHO.

Samtemdo8:

Johnny Novgorod:
1. You're trying to apply logic to a fable.
2. You're trying to apply logic to a fable.
3. You're trying to apply logic to a fable.

Its a fable with too many holes in it then.

Also what is the moral of this fable to be had here? Don't make deals with devils?, Don't do rash things in the name of love?

Killing beatiful, unique creatures, none of which are a threat to anyone not in their immediate domain(and sometimes not until provoked), is wrong? Wander should accept his GF is dead and move on instead of making a very shady deal with a very ominous figure?

Hell, Spec Ops kinda said it best "Do you feel like a Hero yet?"

Samtemdo8:

1. True, I mean the mere fact that when Mortals are capable of spliting essence into 16 fragments, proves he is a very poor god indeed.

By what standard? The idea of gods being all-powerful is not terribly common in religions, and is mostly Abrahamic. Often, deities will have specific patronages, but limited power outside those spheres.

In Greek mythology, there are several instances of gods overpowered by mortals (most notably Thanatos and Achelous). The Norse deities were susceptible to death. IIRC, Seth even enlisted the aid of human conspirators in overpowering and murdering Osiris.

Plus, who's to say Dormin is even a god? He could be a spirit, a demon, or a being worshipped by certain people but not truly "divine". "Divinity" is largely defined by the fictional work itself.

Samtemdo8:

2. Well from a story perspective, its safe to assume that Wander avoids falling off a Colossus or getting smashed by one despite your actions in the gameplay And regarding how Dormin being immaterial and thus doesn't have the proper mass to smash Emon and his men into bloody paste, that logic is thrown out the window in that one moment in the cutscene where right before he says "We have borrowed the body of this Warrior" he smashes the palm of his hand on the floor with clearly shown force, rocks were flying when he smashed the floor for goodness sake.

Then it's equally valid to assume that from a story perspective, Dormin simply didn't smash Emon and his men.

Asita:

Samtemdo8:

2. Well from a story perspective, its safe to assume that Wander avoids falling off a Colossus or getting smashed by one despite your actions in the gameplay And regarding how Dormin being immaterial and thus doesn't have the proper mass to smash Emon and his men into bloody paste, that logic is thrown out the window in that one moment in the cutscene where right before he says "We have borrowed the body of this Warrior" he smashes the palm of his hand on the floor with clearly shown force, rocks were flying when he smashed the floor for goodness sake.

Then it's equally valid to assume that from a story perspective, Dormin simply didn't smash Emon and his men.

I'll concede that, but I still think they made sealing Dormin way too easy.

And why give the player control over Dormin to smash Lord Emon and his men if it ends up not doing anything at all?

1. Was it ever established that Dormin is a deity or is it just some powerful entity?
Also, was it ever established that deities can neglect a body's wounds when they possess it?

2. Because the story requires Dormin to lose.

3. How do you know that the ritual was "quickly done"? For all you know, throwing the sword into the pool was just the final step of the ritual and the whole thing involved thousands of wizards doing thousands of independent rituals which combined, gave Emon the power necessary to create the portal.
Or maybe the ritual was created as a response to how hard it was to seal off Dormin to begin with and didn't exist before that?

The game doesn't really provide answers to these questions (as far as I can remember) so you have to fill in the blanks for yourself.

Casual Shinji:
Was Dormin sealed in the baby? I always assumed baby Wander had horns simply as a side effect due to being possessed by a demi-god.

Nothing is said definitively, but Dormin always speaks with several voices, making me think that he's a collection of many beings. It's very strongly implied that Wander is the progenitor of the horned boys from Ico, and...

Though it could also be a result of him being "tainted" by Dormin. I think the sealing explanation makes more sense though.

Silvanus:

Plus, who's to say Dormin is even a god? He could be a spirit, a demon, or a being worshipped by certain people but not truly "divine". "Divinity" is largely defined by the fictional work itself.

I don't think that Dormin is a proper god. One likely origin of his name is Nimrod spelled backwards, and I think Nimrod was someone who was worshipped as a false god? In addition to that, there's a lot in SotC that mirrors a Faustian Bargain. I think that he's just supposed to be a powerful being, maybe a false god, who tempted Wander with his power.

He's pretty much Darth Plagueis the Wise.

The Almighty Aardvark:

Casual Shinji:
Was Dormin sealed in the baby? I always assumed baby Wander had horns simply as a side effect due to being possessed by a demi-god.

Nothing is said definitively, but Dormin always speaks with several voices, making me think that he's a collection of many beings. It's very strongly implied that Wander is the progenitor of the horned boys from Ico, and...

Though it could also be a result of him being "tainted" by Dormin. I think the sealing explanation makes more sense though.

I suppose, but that kind of puts an uncomfortable spin on Ico for me, like those people were right to lock those children up for having Dormin sealed within them, for being "unnatural". When that kind of seems to go against what Ico was about; that these were just regular children that were born differently, and treated as outcasts by their society as a result.

I always saw the horns as just more of a mark for what their ancestor did a long, long time ago. I guess you can make a connection between the shadow figures in SotC and those in Ico, but this could also be the in-unverse depiction of the souls of the dead.

But then these games are about crafting your own lore mostly anyway.

Casual Shinji:
I suppose, but that kind of puts an uncomfortable spin on Ico for me, like those people were right to lock those children up for having Dormin sealed within them, for being "unnatural". When that kind of seems to go against what Ico was about; that these were just regular children that were born differently, and treated as outcasts by their society as a result.

I always saw the horns as just more of a mark for what their ancestor did a long, long time ago. I guess you can make a connection between the shadow figures in SotC and those in Ico, but this could also be the in-unverse depiction of the souls of the dead.

But then these games are about crafting your own lore mostly anyway.

I don't think it's necessarily bad if they have a bit of Dormin sealed in them. The Colossi were supposed to be sympathetic in SotC as well, and they had Dormin trapped in them. Personally I like it better when there's a reason that the horned boys are taken, as opposed to it just being mindless prejudice. The reason is still clearly not justified, since the Queen just wants them for power, but it makes them special in some way.

It's probably also worth noting that I have a hard time viewing Dormin as a straight villain in SotC. He fulfills his bargain, and only takes over Wander's body once he's on the verge of death.

The Almighty Aardvark:
It's probably also worth noting that I have a hard time viewing Dormin as a straight villain in SotC. He fulfills his bargain, and only takes over Wander's body once he's on the verge of death.

He's definitely a sinister fellow, but yeah, at worst he's the nemesis of Emon. He never tricks Wander or anything, he clearly states that if he performs this ritual it'll come with a heavy price.

Samtemdo8:
So why haven't they done this sort of ritual in the first place, why have the colossi when this was way more efficient?

If you think about it, the sealing of Dormin-possessed Wander isn't as much of a long term solution as the Colossi; and don't forget that a part of Dormin is also possessing Momo.

Really good remake/remaster. Though, both definitions don't really do the game justice. This is more like a 'version 2' of a classic. So much thought and care have been put into recreating the game's aesthetics yet most of the mechanical quirks have been left intact making this 'feel' very much like the original game. More than a remake or remaster this is more a homage or love letter to the original. Other than say the Resident Evil remake this game doesn't replace the original game but rather stands as it's own unique version. I wish more of my older favorite games would get such a treatment.

Shadow of the Colossus is still such a good game though. No game have ever really provided a similar experience.

 

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