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Shadow of the Colossus

[ Edited ]

I recently completed this game and the ending really moved me. Taking my search for answers online, I came across this incredibly insightful post. All credits for this post go towards Ryu and Dave who posted this original article over at . For those of you who have an interest in artistic video games, I can't stress enough how beautifully engaging this game can be.



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

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

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

Thank you, and do enjoy this FAQ.

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

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

-David Rodoy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Sorry.
A: S'okay.

Message Edited by Kiryu on 08-01-2009 11:46 AM
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Re: Shadow of the Colossus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Sorry.
A: S'okay.

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

Q: See above?
A: Correct.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Let's do it!
A: Yes, let's do.
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Re: Shadow of the Colossus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OUR ANALYSIS: This looks fairly believable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Wander was Mono's brother

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

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

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

OUR ANALYSIS: Probably not.

-Wander was Mono's son

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

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

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

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

-Wander and Mono were just friends

Explanation(s): -Not applicable

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

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

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

-Wander had stolen Agro recently

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

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

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

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

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

OUR ANALYSIS: Very, very unlikely.

-Agro was originally Mono's horse

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Re: Shadow of the Colossus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KAZE: Seems to work fine to me.

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

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

-Emon himself sealed the Dormin originally

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

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

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

OUR ANALYSIS: Probably not.

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

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

KAZE: Extremely likely.

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

OUR ANALYSIS: Nigh certain.

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

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

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

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

DAVE: -Not applicable-

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

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

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

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

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

Dave: -Not applicable-

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

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

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

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

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

DAVE: Fairly likely.

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

-The Colossi are all physically trapped in their respective areas

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

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

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

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

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

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

KAZE: Very likely.

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

OUR ANALYSIS: Very likely.

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

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

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

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

OUR ANALYSIS: Almost certainly not.

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

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

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

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

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


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

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: Possible, but not indicated.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: Possible, but not indicated.

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

OUR ANALYSIS: Overall, not likely.

Posts: 13
Registered: ‎07-21-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Shadow of the Colossus

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

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

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

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


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

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

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

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

OUR ANALYSIS: A mutual highly likely.

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

-The sword points to the minds of the Colossi

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

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

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

OUR ANALYSIS: Almost certainly not.

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

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

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

KAZE: The most likely of all explanations.

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

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

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

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

KAZE: Possible, with no obvious contradictions.

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

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

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

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

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

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

OUR ANALYSIS: Not likely at all.

-The Colossi often fought one another

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

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

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

OUR ANALYSIS: Almost certainly not.

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

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

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

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

OUR ANALYSIS: A large "unlikely."

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

-Wander is revived by the Dormin

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

KAZE: Extremely likely, and a most logical conclusion.

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

OUR ANALYSIS: Looks good.

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

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

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

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

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

-Wander and Dormin fuse into one being

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

KAZE: Nothing working against it.

DAVE: Perfectly fine. Makes sense.

OUR ANALYSIS: Double thumbs up.

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

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

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

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

OUR ANALYSIS: Split. It does make sense, but we find severe personal
disagreements with the idea, and it does raise some serious issues.
-Mono's lifeless body was possessed by the "female" aspect of Dormin

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

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

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

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

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

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

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

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

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

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

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

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Explanation(s): -Not applicable-

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

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

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

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