Plot Analysis

If you've beaten Silent Hill 2 you've probably gotten a sense that its story is a heavy one. While one experience through it provides you with most of the key details and major plot points, it is one-hundred-percent not even close to being sufficient for anyone to fully digest the story and all its intricacies.

Surely you've heard of the phrase, "just the tip of the iceberg". Have you also seen a photo of what an iceberg looks like both above and below the surface, with the top composing of 10% or less of its total mass, while the rest is hidden below? Forgive me if it sounds cheesy or cliche, but it's literally the perfect analogy to compare to Silent Hill 2's plot. You may have seen the tip of the iceberg above surface, but that is only the introduction to the plot. A starting point.

In fact, there's more below the surface than will likely ever be fully understood or at least known with certainty due to the full information not being out there. Therefore at times we'll delve into theories or plausible explanations which, while not confirmed by Team Silent, do exist as strong possibilities or even likelihoods.

However, even accounting for only what we know or what we can muster together through observation, there's still loads of mind-blowing truths and intricacies to uncover. And while there's an outrageous amount of detail and depth we could dive into, let's stay focused mostly on the town and each of the main characters of Silent Hill 2. You'll see what I mean about this whole iceberg thing in due time, that much is certain.


I. Silent Hill
II. James
III. Mary
IV. Maria
V. Laura
VI. Angela
VII. Eddie
VIII. Pyramid Head
IX. Born from a Wish

I. Silent Hill

But is it something wrong with the town or is it the minds of those who pass through it? Ernest provides an insightful glance into this question when asked by Maria in the sub scenario.

"You want to be alone in this insane asylum?"

"Yes, exactly. But how can you say that it is this town that is insane? Perhaps it is we who are insane. Both of us... hopelessly insane."

What is certainly clear is that Silent Hill holds a soul-drawing power, able reach out to troubled minds. James meets Eddie puking in a toilet in the apartments, trying to explain what brought him here, but he can't quite explain it on his own.

"I'm not even from this town. I just, I just..."

"You too, huh. Something just brought you here, right?"

"Umm... yeah. You could say that..."

Deeper into his journey, Eddie finally realizes exactly what James was talking about. While opening up to his crimes in the meat freezer, he has finally become wise to the powers of the town.

"You think it's okay to kill people? You need help, Eddie!"

"Don't get all holy on me, James. This town called you, too. You and me are the same. We're not like other people. Don't you know that?"

Silent Hill calls to those that bear the weight of their sins and crimes, giving discernible form their innermost thoughts, delusions, secrets and desires. It is a town that sends its guilty traversers down a pathway of judgment through the subconscious. It manifests their greatest delusions and fears as the ultimate test of will, mental strength, ability to atone for sins, willingness to forgive the self and to allow for personal growth.

It offers the ultimate litmus test of one's psyche. But not everyone is able to survive it, many succumbing to their fragile but dangerous minds. The guilt is too great, the pain is too much, or the will is not strong enough. This journey is not for the mentally weak.

But what is this path of judgment? It may take the form of providing roadblocks and challenges in uncovering or accepting the ultimate truth. Of our main four souls traversing the town, one witnesses monsters, another sees people laughing at and bullying them, another experiences their whole world burning around them, and one sees nothing out of the ordinary, holding no darkness in their mind.

Whatever each person sees comes right from the inside. What is their past and what are their greatest fears and hidden truths? It is unique for each individual who sees a unique, crafted world relevant to one's self. We can read some insight into this phenomenon in one of the six scattered memos next to a corpse on north Neely Street.

"I saw those demons. They were there, I'm certain. But my friend says he didn't see anything. If that's true, does that mean that what I saw was an illusion?

But whether that demon that ate human beings was real, or whether it was just some kind of hallucination that my mind dreamed up... one thing I know for sure is that I'm beyond all hope."

As he suspected, he did see an illusion, one manifested from his own mind. His friend did not hold the same darkness inside. Perhaps his was delivered in a different form or he did not bear the weight of any sin. But the last line ties back to what we explained before. "I'm beyond all hope." His corpse proves as much right beside the memo. He did not have the capacity to survive the test.

But while different people are able to experience different things, they can experience some level of overlap with other sinners. James' witnesses Angela's burning world of despair in the hotel and Eddie's self-body-shaming meat freezer, while perhaps Eddie witnesses some of James' monsters in the apartments, among several other overlapping experiences.

And what of the otherworld that James experiences in the hospital and hotel? Both areas undergo an extreme transformation, and while we'll uncover the hotel instead reaches a more truthful state, the hospital transformation perhaps represents reaching into the furthest depths of the subconscious.

Upon arriving at the hospital, James discovers a doctor's memo on his patient's experience with this otherworld or "other side".

"The potential for this illness exists in all people and, under the right circumstances, any man or woman would be driven, like him, to "the other side."

The 'other side' perhaps may not be the best way to phrase it. After all, there is no wall between here and there. It lies on the borders where reality and unreality intersect. It is a place both close and distant.

Some say it isn't even an illness. I cannot agree with them. I'm a doctor, not a philosopher or even a psychiatrist."

As he says, each and every person is capable of reaching this other side, which has no borders or walls but is entered through the transformation of the world around one's self, which can happen in an instant depending on the mental state of the subject. It is a blending of reality and unreality, but impossible to specifically discern.

But enough about the powers; how did Silent Hill become this way? For this we must dive into its history, and while we may not arrive at concrete answers, we're left with a lot of intrigue from a mysterious past. The Lost Memories book found at the Texxon Gas station (once unlocked) helps set the groundwork.

"The name comes from the legend of the people whose land was stolen from them.

They called this place 'The Place of the Silent Spirits.' By 'Spirits,' they meant not only their dead relatives, but also the spirits that they believed inhabited the trees, rocks and water around them.

According to legend, this was where the holiest ceremonies took place.

But it was not the ancestors of those who now live in this town that first stole the land from these people. There were others who came before.

In those days, this town went by another name. But that name is now hopelessly lost in the veils of times.

All we know is that there was another name, and that for some reason the town was once abandoned by its residents."

Further, a gossip magazine in the prison dives into one of the town's deepest mysteries.

"Toluca Lake, the town's main tourist attraction. This clear, beautiful lake has another side as well.

It may seem like just a typical ghost story that you might find in any number of old towns across the country. But in this case, the legend is true.

On a fog-bound November day in 1918, the Little Baroness, a ship filled with tourists, failed to return to port. A newspaper article from back then simply says 'It most likely sunk for some reason'. Despite an extensive police search, not a single fragment of the ship nor any of the 14 bodies of passengers or crew has ever been recovered to this day. In 1939, an even stranger incident occurred. (There are many pages torn out.) Many corpses rest at the bottom of this lake. Their bony hands reach up towards the boats that pass overhead. Perhaps they reach for their comrades."

What was the "even stranger incident"? Perhaps it could have something to do with the Rosewater Park monument, "In memory of the sixty seven who died of illness and now sleep beneath the lake." Or maybe another folklore story entirely.

More town lore can be found in the Silent Hill Historical Society, including the "Misty day, remains of the Judgment" painting, or others of the history of the Toluca Prison which was created as a POW camp in the civil war and carried out executions by pyramid-helmeted executioners, or the building of Brookhaven Hospital as the response to a great plague.

Ultimately, while Silent Hill's history will forever be a mystery, it is perhaps the mixing of these energies from its dark past with the guilty souls of its traversers that bring form to their greatest nightmares and truths.

II. James

Where do we start with this intricately-woven character called James? Right from the beginning of course. The letter.

"In my restless dreams, I see that town. Silent Hill. You promised you'd take me there again someday. But you never did. Well I'm alone there now... In our 'special place'... Waiting for you..."

This is the letter that beckons James to the town of Silent Hill, and thus the beginning of our story. But is it really?

James explains that the letter is certainly written in Mary's handwriting; there's no mistaking it. But she died three years ago. Surely the post office isn't that behind, right? How could Mary have possibly written this letter to James if she were dead? Keep that question in your mind, because even if you've seen the ending you probably still don't understand this letter. We'll explain it all in due time.

James ponders and believes Rosewater Park to be his and Mary's "special place". And upon arriving, he sees a female figure waiting along the pier.


No. Maria. A near-identical twin of Mary, instead having the more desirable attributes of a woman in the eyes of James. This is not a coincidence, nor that she waits in their "special place". But first we must take a step back.

As James ventures through Silent Hill, he comes across Neely's Bar where a conspicuous message is spray painted over some papers sticking to the window.

"There was a HOLE here. It's gone now."

On his pathway to the abyss, perhaps better identified as the Labyrinth, James comes across a series of holes that he submerges. Perhaps the message is referring to these holes.

The first hole James descends leads into a well, but the very next hole holds a key revelation. After finding the Spiral-Writing Key and escaping the roach surprise in the nearby trap room, James uses the key to open a gate door... on the floor.

Further, the hole itself is a vertical hallway. There are several doors placed horizontally along the wall, lights along the "roof", and floor tiles on the "floor". But everything is shifted and James jumps literally "down" the hallway. This is because James is not seeing reality.

Further, have you ever examined the key that unlocks the gate to this "hallway"? The tag reads "'Tis doubt which leadeth thee to Purgatory." This nearly gives it away on its own. "Purgatory" is a condition or place of temporary punishment, suffering and atonement. It is James' doubt, questioning if Mary is really alive and waiting for him after the tragedy of Maria's death in the hospital, that leads him to this purgatory.

James falls through several of these holes as if lured by his desire to be punished and to cleanse his soul of his sins. One can interpret these holes as the entryway into "the abyss" of the soul. James dives into his own subconscious, where his darkest fears, pains, secrets and truths lie.

It is through this passage into the abyss that, despite jumping down a series of holes, a minute-long elevator descent and a long, descending pathway from the Historical Society, James arrives upon the surface of Toluca Lake immediately behind the museum, and completes the final leg of his journey inside his preserved memory of Lake View Hotel from three years ago, to uncover his deepest secret and truth. The videotape.

And the words on the window in Neely's Bar? It seems that in Silent Hill, holes open up to lure those who hold darkness in their hearts. These holes provide passage deep into the abyss of the unconscious mind for those that bear the weight of their crimes. James fights through the worst of his inner subconscious in a type of civil war to uncover what he is hiding from himself.

But what of the videotape and its truth? It is upon the shocking revelation of James witnessing himself smothering Mary with her own pillow that this meshed together world of memory and desire collapses, revealing the hotel in its true state: burnt from the fire from one year ago. But what fire?

Inside a cell in Toluca Prison, James finds three very peculiar paintings, including one entitled, "Burning Man". It depicts a large, three-storey building on fire. If one were to compare this painting to an image of the Lake View Hotel's exterior, seen on multiple billboards in town, it's a spot-on match.

Three storeys, with one triangular arch on the center of the roof and two on each side. Even the north shore dock is depicted, along with the familiar stairway leading into the courtyard, and another set of steps up to the rear entrance that James uses to enter the sanctuary of memories. Make no mistake -- this burning building is the Lake View Hotel.

Perhaps the painting could be a fantasy or a prisoner's crazed imagination? But no. James comes across a whiteboard in Employee Lounge on the first floor.

"There is a schedule book here. The date is from one year ago."

It hasn't been updated since the hotel burned down exactly a year ago. If one were to come back here with the flashlight, an additional note can be found on the small circular heater in the corner by the window. Suspiciously it reads, "I'm Johnny, one hot guy." Just a cute little joke about a heater, or perhaps a glance into the cause of the fire one year ago? Notice the curtain drooping just above it...

The schedule book, and perhaps the heater note, is only a tiny sprinkle of truth shining through James' false recreation of the past.

"This place hasn't changed at all in three years..."

James tells himself upon arriving on the hotel dock. You're right, James. It hasn't. You've made sure of that.

Another revelation around arriving at the hotel involves Mary's letter. After killing Eddie in the meat freezer along the Toluca Lake dock, James feels the guilt of what he's done. While already desensitized from killing monsters, ending Eddie's life brings James sick to his stomach.

"I... I killed a... a human being..."

James slowly collapses to his knee, overlooking Eddie's lifeless body.

"A human being..."

After briefly mourning Eddie, James springs up and looks on with a thought running through his mind.

"Mary... Did you really die three years ago?"

Why does James ask himself this question at this precise moment? Did the action of killing another human being invoke some familiar feelings? Is his inner subconscious trying to tell him something?

It is after this point that upon examining Mary's letter, which was readable for the entire game until now, James comments that the stationery inside is blank -- Mary's written words have disappeared entirely.

This is where you can begin to ask yourself an important question. Did James actually receive a letter? Is that what really brought him to Silent Hill?

And why is it that the videotape exists as it does? With a recording of James killing Mary at the end? Obviously this part was never recorded, but James witnesses it because the videotape represents his purest form of truth. The one thing that cannot be questioned. It is the form in which his subconscious hid his greatest secret.

Examining the letter again after viewing the indicting videotape, even the paper has now disappeared, leaving just an envelope. James' lie has been fully-revealed at this point, and thus his false truths and delusions are cracking. And as we've already touched on, this is also the moment where the hotel is revealed in its true, burned form.

This is also the point however, where James actually begins to accept and take responsibility for his actions. We realize for the first time that James has been struggling from an internal conflict all along. One side of him is running away from the truth, while the other is actively trying to uncover it.

For the majority of the game his deluded side is winning the war, and while we start to see cracks in this delusion leading up to the hotel, it is the videotape that cannot be disputed. James realizes a truth that he hid from himself with a damaged, unstable, and repressed mind. He killed Mary. He is a murderer.

In the prison, James comes across three tablets. "Gluttonous Pig", "The Seductress" and "The Oppressor". These three tablets represent Eddie, Angela and James. Eddie, the "Gluttonous Pig", is overweight and is found in the same, fitting place as the tablet -- the prison's cafeteria.

"The Seductress" is a more difficult one to understand because it sounds more like Maria. But perhaps in some twisted and deluded way, Angela was an unwilling seductress to her father. Further, the tablet is found in an open shower in the shower room of the prison. The shower is a likely destination for any rape victim to cleanse away the wrongs done to them.

Lastly, James is "The Oppressor", responsible for Mary's death. Fittingly, the tablet is found in a prison cell where upon attempting to leave (and only after taking it), the cell door jams and traps James for a few moments. In the very place a murderer belongs. This is not coincidental.

Back to room 312, Laura enters the room, catching James in his most vulnerable state. He remains frozen in his cacophony of despair as the TV emits its static, despite Laura's friendly behaviour extending to the furthest point of her entire relationship with James.

"So there you are, James. Did you get the letter? Did you find Mary? If not, let's get going already. Okay?"

James doesn't take the opportunity to feed her any lies, but only the truth. And not without a heavy heart.

"Laura... Mary's gone. She's dead."

Laura steps back and calls him a liar, uncomfortable with hearing her dearest friend, the only person in her world that she meant anything to, is dead. James assures her it isn't a lie.

This is also where Laura is fully-exposed in her most vulnerable state, hanging onto James' every word as she hesitantly looks for the truth.

"She... she died 'cause she was sick?"

Yes, that is what James has been telling himself up until now and what he passed on to Laura in the restaurant downstairs. He could confirm the notion and leave the town with Laura. But he knows he can't hide from the truth anymore and treats Laura like an adult with his response.

"No. I killed her."

Not "she was very ill", "I didn't want her to suffer anymore", or "she's in a more peaceful place now". Just the truth, that he killed her. Against her will.

Despite mustering the courage to tell her the truth, James cowers in shame as he breaks eye contact with Laura and shifts his head away. He can hardly bear to be himself in this moment.

Laura launches a tirade, berating James for not caring about Mary and exclaiming that she hates him. Understandable.

"She was always waiting for you... Why? Why..."

James offers all he can, an apology. Both to her face before she leaves and then more sincerely again after she leaves the room.

But despite James' acceptance of his hidden truth, his inner delusions are not going down without a fight. James' radio begins to crackle as he sits shamefully in front of the TV. It's not over yet.

"James. Where are you? I'm waiting. I'm waiting for you." Please come to me. Do you hate me? Is that why you won't come?

James looks more closely at the radio. "That voice..." Mary's voice grows more and more desperate in a (excuse the pun but it's just too fitting) hail-Mary attempt to get James back on the delusional trail.

"James... James... Please hurry. Are you lost? I'm near. I'm waiting nearby, James. Please. I want to see you, James. Can't you hear me? James... Please, James... James... James... James..."

This is not Mary, but just another vehicle of James' inner subconscious, trying to win the most important battle of his inner civil war. It's enough to push James further, but his alternate universe is already crumbling.

Upon reaching the lobby of the burnt and leaky hotel, James witnesses a demonstration from the other side of his inner civil war. The side pushing for the truth. Pyramid Head.

Maria cries out while hanging upside-down, tied to a bed frame, with a desperate plea not at all unlike Mary's cries on the radio.


James has already witnessed Maria's death by Pyramid Head in the hospital basement, but behind the closing doors without any... closure, and simply found Maria's corpse in the Labyrinth cell without any explanation. But this time she's about to be executed right in front of him. No more skirting around it.

One Pyramid Head wasn't enough for his good side to reveal the truth, so to combat the desperate plea of Mary's voice begging James to find her over the radio, James' inner desire for the truth ups the ante and doubles down with two Pyramid Heads, opting to execute Maria with a good, old-fashioned skewering straight from the civil war days of Silent Hill. And fittingly as a part of James' own civil war.

"Stop! Leave her alone!! Leave us both the hell alone!"

The lead Pyramid Head looks over its shoulder and waves the other one in. That's it, James won't accept it. He is still fighting within himself. So there will be no mercy. Time to kill this Maria creation right in front of his eyes.

The spear pierces Maria's abdomen. Without a single whimper, her life fades away. James falls to his knees and finally overcomes his delusions. Perhaps even further vulnerable than after the videotape, he talks himself through the truth. This is the very peak of his emotional journey. His most significant moment of realization.

"I was weak. That's why I needed you. Needed someone to punish me for my sins. But that's all over now... I know the truth. Now it's time to end this."

Just who is he talking about? Maria? Pyramid Head? Perhaps it is both. The two sides fighting amongst themselves to both hide and reveal the ultimate truth, that James killed Mary. Each and every time Maria is killed, and even when he kills Eddie himself, James turns his mind to Mary, as if slowly but surely letting some of the truth slip into his conscious mind. And it is this scene where he fully and completely accepts it all.

After briefly fighting the Pyramid Head twins and thus proving he has the mental strength to continue on his own to fight his biggest inner demon of them all, Maria, the Pyramid Heads have served their purpose. They have repeatedly reminded him of his crime by murdering Maria, his own creation of an idealized Mary.

Because as shown time after time, Pyramid Head cannot actually kill Maria for good. Only James can do that. Once the Pyramid Heads realize James is finally capable of this task, they commit suicide. James now has the will to end this nightmare by himself.

We thought Pyramid Head was a bad guy all along when all he was trying to do was and hold James responsible for his crimes. As amazing as it sounds, Pyramid Head is the real hero of Silent Hill 2. He is also entirely the creation of James, pushing for the truth.

Furthering the idea that James has the mental capacity to kill Maria, Mary's letter (that was previously reduced to an empty envelope) finally disappears from James' inventory entirely during this final Pyramid Head encounter. It's nowhere to be found. Because it never existed. Not in James' hands anyhow, but we'll clarify where it came from soon enough.

After climbing the rainy staircase and seeing a woman wearing those familiar pink and white clothes, James perhaps believes his new drive for the truth has rewarded him with his dear wife. Now this is where things can diverge depending on your ending, but we'll use a mix of the Leave and In Water endings, both of which feature Maria at the top. Refer to the Maria section for the other ending with Mary on the bed.

"Mary!" he blurts out. The woman turns around, and while certainly bearing Mary's appearance in every way down to her eye colour and hair style, her body language suspiciously suggests it's not her.

"When will you ever stop making that mistake? Mary's dead. You killed her."


James has had enough of her games at this point, and he doesn't need to keep the illusion going.

"Maria? It's you... But I don't need you anymore."

This sets her off. Maria is the perfect recreation of Mary, created entirely from the fantasies of James' mind. How can he not need her anymore? It doesn't make any sense to her.

"What? You must be joking! But I can be yours... I'll be here for you forever. And I'll never yell at you or make you feel bad. That's what you wanted. I'm different than Mary... How can you throw me away?"

We can hear the same desperation from the earlier radio call. But this time James is wise to his inner deception.

"I understand now. It's time to end this nightmare. The problem is... you're not Mary."

James has finally let go of this fantastical creation of his. He finally realizes how special his dear Mary was and even through his desire to create a more idealized version of her, he loved Mary for all her imperfections that made her who she was. In a sweet moment of realization, Mary is worth more to James than a million Marias. Simply just her memory on its own is worth fighting for rather than this "perfect" alternate creation of her. Mary is and always will be James' sweetheart.

But Maria won't let James end his nightmare just like that.

"You deserve to die too James."

Maria transforms into a lethal demon, fittingly lying between a bed frame. Despite putting up a grand fight, James' unwavering mental strength overpowers Maria, and she falls helplessly to the ground.

Utterly helpless, she turns to the soft, sweet, soothing voice of Mary -- James' greatest weakness -- and whispers desperately. A final hail-Mary.

"James... James... James..."

But it's too late, James has finally won the civil war. He doesn't need this "perfect" recreation of his wife. She is his greatest demon and he must destroy her. And he does so, ending his nightmare for good.

James then transitions into a dreamlike state where he witnesses Mary's final breaths on her sickbed. This is not reality but instead a fantasy that James allows to play out in his head. It is the reward he gives himself for enduring this terrible journey.

"Forgive me..."

Mary, coughing on her sickbed, soothes her sweetheart's conscience.

"I told you that I wanted to die, James. I wanted the pain to end."

James holds onto that statement to explain his actions.

"That's why I did it, honey. I just couldn't watch you suffer."

He couldn't bear to see her like that, so he ended her pain for the better. But is that the truth, James? After all, now is your moment of inner acceptance and closure. James realizes this and is done telling lies.

"No! That's not true... You also said that you didn't want to die. The truth is I hated you. I wanted you out of the way. I wanted my life back..."

Mary stops him.

"James... if that were true, then why do you look so sad?" You killed me and you're suffering for it. It's enough, James."

In the Leave ending, Mary has one more thing to ask of James, handing him a letter.

"James... Please... Please do something for me. Go on with your life."

In her final moments in the In Water ending, Mary hands over the same letter. She begins to cough and shrieks out to James, her dear sweetheart, who holds her hand as she breathes her last breath and passes away.

And now we have come a full circle... The letter. It opens with the same few paragraphs as the letter that brought James to Silent Hill. The letter that didn't really exist and slowly vanished as James uncovered the truth.

James did not receive a letter from Mary. Mary did not die three years ago. These are the lies that he forced and tricked himself into believing were true. And to him they really were true, but deep down in his inner, unrepressed conscience was the truth all along.

But Mary did write a letter, which is read in full during the ending, and it opens with the same few paragraphs as the initial letter James forced himself to believe he received. And despite this sweet little scene of James with Mary in her final moments where she hands him the letter, this is not real. This never happened. And therefore, James did not receive a letter. Ever... But he was meant to. At the appropriate time.

So where did this letter come from? How has James recreated a letter he never received, down to the exact intricacies of its introduction, even if it stops there?

First it's important to remember Mary's letter to Laura that James reads in the hotel restaurant.

"My dearest Laura, I'm leaving this letter with Rachel to give to you after I'm gone."

Further, Laura reveals that she took the letter from the locker of their shared nurse at the hospital, the very same Rachel. In the letter addressed to James, the one we're trying to discover the origin of, Mary writes:

"I told the nurse to give this to you after I'm gone. That means that as you read this, I'm already dead."

So Mary never intended on giving this to James directly. Additionally, do you remember when Laura explained there was another letter upon reading the letter to Laura?

"Maybe you'll get it if you see the other letter. The one Mary... huh? I must have dropped it! I gotta find it!"

That letter. That is the letter written to James. The very one read by Mary in the ending. Whether James will ever read this emotional and beautiful letter from his sweetheart depends on Laura's ability to find it, but considering she asks James in room 312 afterwards if he's found the letter, we can make the assumption that the letter has been forever lost, never to be read by James Sunderland. A sad reality.

But we mustn't get sidetracked. How does James know the full introduction? There's a part in the full letter where Mary explains that her doctor told her she could go home for a short stay. Not because she was getting better but because she didn't have much time left.

Thus Mary began writing the letter to James while still in the hospital. But she says she's waiting in Silent Hill... Is this true? Or perhaps she just means figuratively as in her "restless dreams"?

While I have previously held the theory that Mary may have been granted a short stay at Brookhaven (yes, primarily a mental hospital but not beyond reason for a terminally-ill patient with Mary's behaviour), and there's certainly enough potential evidence and hints for a very enticing argument, it's ultimately the fact that the two letters (to James and Laura) must've been written at the same time (they both also use the exact same stationery) that seems to undo the theory, along with the diary on the rooftop appearing a lot more suicidal (and thus unlikely hers) than Mary makes it known elsewhere.

Because Mary writes to Laura while still in the same hospital as her, allowing Laura to steal both letters from their nurse's locker, she is believed to have stayed in St. Jerome's Hospital in South Ashfield (from Silent Hill 4), just outside of Silent Hill. Additionally, there is a nurse named Rachel referenced in Silent Hill 4, along with a Frank Sunderland as the superintendent of the nearby apartments, South Ashfield Heights, both hinting further at the connection. So perhaps we can settle on Mary being "alone there now" in Silent Hill only in her restless dreams and memories.

From here we can make the conclusion that James arrived at the hospital to bring Mary home upon her release. Perhaps she wasn't quite ready for him and had left her written letter on the nightstand beside her bed. Perhaps while Mary was gathering her things, James was able to take a quick peak at it and read only what he could see of the multi-page letter -- the first page introduction. "In my restless dreams, I see that town. Silent Hill." Up until "Waiting for you..." And thus, our riddle has found the beginning of its conclusion.

From here, an unknown timeline plays out where James takes Mary home and smothers her to death in her sickbed. He suffers a traumatic inner conflict of fear, panic, regret, love and desperation.

Perhaps he places Mary's lifeless body in the trunk of his car and drinks his immense depression and rainbow of emotions away (James reveals himself as a potential alcoholic if you examine some bottles in Heaven's Night) and ultimately manages to repress his recent, tragic memory into a condensed ball of delusion and hide it somewhere deep inside his subconscious.

And thus his inner civl war begins and he covers up his tracks in his new alternate universe. He didn't kill Mary. She died three years ago. And suddenly he receives a letter in the mail with Mary's handwriting, conjured out of thin air from his memory of the first page of Mary's letter on her nightstand in the hospital.

There is no letter, but he has forced himself to believe there actually is one. And of course there is... he's holding it in his very hand. It has her handwriting... this letter was sent by Mary.

James is beckoned to Silent Hill ultimately by himself, not Mary. Perhaps considering suicide right then and there by driving straight off into Toluca Lake, James parks and takes a breather. He steps inside the nearby restroom and stares himself down in the mirror. Perhaps with some small recollection of feelings or thoughts from the tragedy he has since repressed, he reaches out and studies his hand. Is he questioning himself? "Is this reality?" Perhaps that is what he's thinking.

But it's time to begin his journey. He steps outside, walks over to the edge of the observation deck and recounts the new timeline of events as Mary narrates the introduction of her letter to James.

"In my restless dreams, I see that town. Silent Hill. You promised you'd take me there again someday. But you never did. Well I'm alone there now... In our 'special place'... Waiting for you..."

It's much more tragic reading this time, isn't it? And you may wonder, what of Mary's body? After all I suggested he put her in the trunk of his car. But that would mean...

That would mean Mary's body is in the trunk of his car during the very beginning of the story as she narrates the letter?


Before you think I'm reaching here, Team Silent pose this question to the reader in their Book of "Lost Memories" that glosses over several important plot details.

"The real reason James came to Silent Hill was to take his own life in a place of memories. If this is the case, could Mary's body be in the car!?"

- Lost Memories, XI: Justice

While not outright revealing it to be true, the suggestion alone is certainly provoking, along with everything else we've brought up here.

Mary is right under James' nose right from the beginning. In the In Water ending he is able to drive into the water and kill himself with Mary in his arms, while we can only imagine what he does with her body in the Leave and Maria endings.

And further, this is how he is able to attempt Mary's resurrection in the Rebirth ending, because he has her body all along, but doesn't realize it until defeating his greatest inner demon, Maria.

We can even witness James carrying Mary's body in what looks like the prison in the opening cutscene. Perhaps he has retrieved her body from the car and is carrying her back to the center of Toluca Lake where he performs the ritual.

We have challenged the prison and Labyrinth as not being reality, but the same can be said for most of James' journey as well, and perhaps he allows his delusions to continue in some form of another to perform what already feels like a deluded ritual. Or perhaps not... But either way, food for thought.

As one final analysis of James' original delusion, why did he think Mary had died three years ago? Was it just a random timeline that he told himself? Well, perhaps there's a meaning behind it.

While the precise details of Mary's death get lost in his memory repression, what he is recalling is what the doctor told him. We can hear this in the tape cassette recording with the headphones in the hotel Reading Room.

"How long does she have?"
"I'm afraid I'm not sure. 3 years at most... Perhaps 6 months... It's impossible to say with certainty."

Through his delusional repression, he mixes up her having three years to live with her dying three years ago. Or perhaps he is simply recalling this event itself, which was three years ago. Maybe James even mentally jotted that date down as the beginning of the death of Mary. While she didn't actually die three years ago, the events were set into motion during that time period.

In reality, she died very close to the start of the game, perhaps as much as one week ago but more likely no more than a single day or two. It is all very much fresh, albeit in the very back of James' mind.

III. Mary

The late wife of James Sunderland, Mary serves as the centerpiece of the story. Everything revolves around her.

Some years ago, James and Mary vacationed in Silent Hill, where they absolutely adored and fell in love with the small tourist town. They spent a whole day together at the romantic park and particularly had a pleasant stay in the beautiful Lake View Hotel overlooking Toluca Lake.

In James' videotape left in the hotel, we bear witness to these brighter days as Mary looks out of the window from room 312.

"I don't know why, but I just love it here. It's so peaceful. You know what I heard? This whole area used to be a sacred place. I think I can see why. It's too bad we have to leave... Please promise you'll take me again, James."

A series of coughs interrupt her pure bliss of admiring the town. The story begins to take a darker turn. Something is wrong with Mary.

Back from their vacation, James takes Mary to the doctor where he receives shocking news. We can hear this scene play out with the headphones and tape player in the Reading Room of the hotel after viewing the videotape.

"Mary's going to die...? You... you must be joking..."

Mary's doctor tries to assert James, but he can only tell him the reality of the situation.

"As her doctor, I promise I'll do what I can. But... there's still no effective treatment for her condition."

An untreatable disease. James gathers himself and asks the inevitable question.

"How long does she have?"
"I'm afraid I'm not sure. 3 years at most... Perhaps 6 months... It's impossible to say with certainty."

Three years of hospitalization pass as Mary fights the disease to the fullest extent that her doctor predicted was possible.

Three long years...

Not only for Mary, but also for James, taking over his life. It consumed him. Not that he had it any worse than Mary, a woman with a ticking internal clock edging closer and closer to death every day, but we cannot forget that it ruined James' life as well. It even extended into sexual frustrations, which we'll explain more in the Pyramid Head section below.

But still, it took the biggest toll on Mary, who was normally a sweet, loving and caring woman with a soft, soothing voice. She was certainly the "better half" off the surly James.

But her sickness changed everything. She became a different person, lashing out on her doctors, nurses, and even James. She explains as much in her letter.

"Every day I stare up at the cracks in the ceiling and all I can think about is how unfair it all is..."


"When I first learned that I was going to die, I just didn't want to accept it.

I was so angry all the time and I struck out at everyone I loved most. Especially you, James."

This is further demonstrated in the recording from the long hotel corridor after the two Pyramid Heads commit suicide. James brings flowers as he comes to visit Mary in the hospital, but it doesn't go so well.

"What do you want, James?"
"I, uh, I brought you some flowers."
"Flowers? I don't want any damn flowers. Just go home already."
"Mary, what are you saying?"

James can hardly recognize this woman anymore. This isn't who he married.

"Look! I'm disgusting! I don't deserve flowers. Between the disease and the drugs, I look like a monster. Well, what are you looking at? Get the hell out of here! Leave me alone already!"

James plays the right hand and stays in the room, understanding his wife's damaged psyche. She continues her rant.

"I'm no use to anyone. I'll be dead soon anyway. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow... It'd be easier if they'd just kill me. But I guess the hospital is making a nice profit off me. They want to keep me alive... Are you still here? I told you to go! Are you deaf?! Don't come back!"

This time James heeds her words. Even if he knows she doesn't mean it, perhaps he can't bear to see her like this. A moment passes and Mary's emotions reverse.

"James... Wait... Please, don't go... Stay with me. Don't leave me alone. I didn't mean what I said. Please, James..."

But it's too late, he's gone. Yet Mary continues her cries to James.

"Tell me I'll be okay. Tell me I'm not going to die. Help me..."

She isn't going to be okay. She is going to die. No one can help her. Mary's tragic reality.

This scene demonstrates Mary's almost bipolar nature as she approached her death. Angry, she'd lash out, but scared and lonely she never wanted James to leave her side.

But it ultimately proved too much for him to handle. Mary could sense it as well, and James took a long break from seeing her. Her letter certainly suggests as much.

"Waiting for you... Waiting for you to come to see me. But you never do."

Perhaps it was this "flowers" meeting that was the last one for a while, allowing Mary to develop her relationship with Laura in the same hospital as a much-needed friend.

Mary's image of James wasn't too positive at this time and she likely revealed some of these more negative aspects to Laura, fueling her obvious grudge. As an orphan, the feeling of being unwanted was not unfamiliar to Laura, so it was very easy to hate him. Meanwhile, James never even heard of her up until the events of the game, likely because of the long break from visiting Mary.

Because of this, a rift grew between James and Mary. And once it became time for her to go home, Mary was apprehensive.

"But I'm afraid James. I'm afraid you don't really want me to come home. Whenever you come see me, I can tell how hard it is on you... I don't know if you hate me or pity me... Or maybe I just disgust you... I'm sorry about that."

James reveals she was right in the Leave and In Water endings.

"The truth is I hated you. I wanted you out of the way. I wanted my life back..."

And thus the seed was planted. When he brought her home from the hospital, rather than waiting for her to die peacefully at home, he smothered her with her own pillow.

With a guilty conscience, he repressed and hid everything away deep in his subconscious and concocted the letter (which did exist and was stolen from Rachel's locker by Laura before being eventually lost) to beckon him to Silent Hill. The place where he intended to commit suicide, together with Mary's body. But he couldn't do it. Thus he allowed the delusion to grow further and began to search for her. He regretted everything.

IV. Maria

Maria is very much the enigma of Silent Hill 2, perhaps serving as the third member of the love triangle between herself, James and Mary. Upon searching for Mary in their "special place", James arrives at Rosewater Park to find a woman standing along the pier.


The woman turns around and smiles seductively. James realizes his mistake.

"No... you're not."

She finally speaks as James fascination grows.

"Do I look like your girlfriend?"
"No... my late wife. I can't believe it... You could be her twin. Your face, your voice... Just your hair and clothes are different."

This is no coincidence. Maria is a near identical twin to Mary because she is James' creation. She is dressed more provocatively and is generally more attractive and sexual because she is an idealized Mary. James loved his wife, but he always had his inner fantasies. When putting his subconscious to the task, he rewarded himself with the version of Mary he wanted.

But this is not Mary. With James fanboying over how identical she looks and sounds to his wife, she doesn't really want to hear it. She admires her nails with her back turned to James and finally rolls her eyes as she's heard enough. She interrupts him.

"My name... is Maria."

She is not Mary. She's better. Forget about that dead wife of yours already, James. But we begin to see Maria's earliest insecurity immediately afterward. She breaks eye contact with James in the middle of her next question.

"I don't look like a ghost. Do I?"

Playing through the Born From A Wish scenario may clear this part up. James is the first person Maria comes to see during her existence. She has conversations with Ernest Baldwin but learns the man is a ghost. Perhaps while James was so caught up with her looking like Mary, she recalled why she was created by James. She isn't a ghost, is she? She's really standing here talking to him, right? She takes it a step further make sure she really appears as a human to James. She grabs his hand and places it up by her breast.

"See? Feel how warm I am?"

She is convincing herself that she's real, but perhaps also reminding James that she isn't a ghost of Mary. She's a human composed of blood, bone, flesh, and certainly breast.

"You're really not Mary..."
"I told you... I'm Maria."

Maria is glad to have gotten that out of the way. She certainly isn't Mary but rather the part of James that wants to forget and replace her entirely. She doesn't even like hearing the name Mary. As James apologizes and awkwardly begins to walk away after the interaction so far, Maria ask him where he's going. She doesn't want him to leave.

"I'm looking for Mary. Have you seen her?"

Again about Mary... While talking sense anyway, Maria has no problem reminding him that she's dead.

"Didn't you say she died?"

James explains he got a letter from her, that she was waiting in their "special place". Upon questioning the park, James thinks it could've been the hotel as well.

"So, the hotel was your "special place", huh? I'll bet it was."

Maria is toying with James here, revealing her more sexual nature. You had some good times in that hotel room, didn't you James?

While James mopes about and starts to leave in the wrong direction, Maria points him the right way and he begins to leave. But he sets off without Maria, who begins to follow.

"You're coming with me?"

James asks her. Maria pulls the damsel in distress card, making James feel like a real jerk.

"You were gonna just leave me? With all these monsters around? I'm all alone here. Everyone else is gone..."

While Maria is very much working James to slowly make her way into his heart, she's already grown quite an attachment to him. It began even before she met him, recounting the Born From A Wish ending.

Maria even resorts to reminding him about Mary, the name that already bothers her and she will grow to hate even more, to convince him to let her come with. She also takes a jab at him in the process.

"I look like Mary, don't I? You loved her, right? Or maybe you hated her..."

What an ominous quote. It is our first glimpse that Maria knows a lot more than she lets on. It is because she shares Mary's memories and is slowly acquiring or "remembering" them. Perhaps she doesn't yet know the full truth between James and Mary, but she certainly knows something about the growing hatred and James' desire to get his life back during the hospital days, as hinted here.

Interestingly, James simply responds rather matter-of-factly rather than questioning her.

"Don't be ridiculous."

James decides it's ok and Maria can accompany him on the way to the hotel. As an aside, you may have noticed James never tells this woman his name during this entire conversation or any other, but she knows it anyway, doesn't she? Of course she does.

And what about that butterfly tattoo on the side of her belly? Well, a butterfly is a symbol of rebirth, isn't it? An ugly slug transfixed inside of a cocoon, waiting to be reborn as a beautiful butterfly... Does that not sound like Mary and Maria? Or perhaps Maria is more of an insufferable moth? After all, Mary/Maria uses a swarm of moths as a weapon in her final form. Perhaps the game asks the player to decide if the butterfly or moth imagery is more suitable, first teasing the player with a butterfly farm in room 202 of Wood Side after finding a fashion dummy wearing Mary's clothes in 205 of the very same hallway.

But anyway, instead of finding a way to the hotel, James finds a map that leads them both to the bowling alley. But after following James thus far, she refuses to come in.

"I'll wait here. I hate bowling."

Obviously James is not here to play, so why does she say this? Because she senses Laura inside and she knows her limitations as James creation. Laura will not be able to see her and James may become aware of the illusion. It's best to play it safe.

Once James comes back outside, Maria comes running to inform him where Laura went. Did Laura get spooked by Maria? No, she didn't even see her because she couldn't. She simply wasn't there.

James and Maria chase after her and find a small gap between a building and a wall that Laura slipped by. Maria points James to the nearby door to get around. It's locked... But Maria brushes him aside and uses three different keys from her skirt, boots and cleavage to unlock it, much to James' adoring eyes.

This isn't just any building. It's Heaven's Night, a gentleman's club, or most bluntly, a strip club. So Maria is a stripper... and she's not trying to hide it one bit. But what does that make of her origin? Wasn't she just created and only for James? Sure, but it doesn't mean she wasn't derived in some form from a real human being.

One important but easy-to-miss detail is found in the washroom at the very beginning of the game. If one looks closely at the wall by the exit, there are posters of Maria that say "HEAVEN'S NIGHT" on them. It's rather unmistakable once you spot it -- it's definitely Maria. You may also remember the Lady Maria poster inside Heaven's Night in Silent Hill 3 (if played with a Silent Hill 2 save on your memory card).

With all this information, we can gather that a dancer named Maria likely did work at Heaven's Night. Perhaps she even looked a lot like Maria does. Her image in James' creation could've been conjured up with that dancer in mind. But that would likely mean James must've visited Heaven's Night at some point, right? Possibly. Or perhaps all it took was those posters inside the washroom?

As James and Maria continue into the hospital, Maria begins to feel tired and sits on the bed inside room S3. She pops a pill but insists it's just a hangover. But why does this happen here? Perhaps being in the confines of a hospital is negatively responding to the concoction of Mary's memories of her hospitalization within Maria's mind.

James encourages her to lay down and rest while he looks for Laura. Perhaps Pyramid Head sees this as an opportunity to warn James about Maria. He smacks him with the blunt edge of his great knife, knocking James off the rooftop and through the roof back onto the third floor. Be careful, James... you are playing with fire. Stay away from Maria.

In his pursuit of Laura, James gets tricked by the little girl and locked in an examining room with the Flesh Lips creatures. As described by Masahiro Ito, the creature designer, the large lips of these monsters represent Mary's vocal abuse of James during her hospitalization, while being constricted in a bed frame drives home the metaphor even further.

And upon defeating these creatures, James witnesses a transformation to the otherworld. Sirens sound, the screen blurs and becomes wobbly before focusing on the roof. We hear gurney wheels and Mary's voice, "James..." as if we're being wheeled through the hospital. It is a brief insight into Mary's hospitalization.

In this nightmare version of the hospital, Maria is now gone from her room on the third floor, but there are pill bottles to remind us she certainly was here. It also clearly invokes more images of Mary and her hospitalization. But why does Maria also require medication if she's James perfect recreation of his wife? Perhaps it is the one little concession his inner self allowed to hold the truth or even the real connection to Mary (after all, she is an improved Mary rather than simply any dream woman). Or maybe it's just his mind playing cruel tricks on him... This again.

James doesn't find Maria until accessing the basement's basement, upon which she pops through the door and cries out to James.

"Mary! Oh Maria it's you... I thought you were... Sorry..."

Not the response Maria wanted... And she really doesn't like being called by that name.

"Anyway, I'm glad you're alive..."

Maria's anger grows and she screams at him. Here we go.

"'Anyway'!? What do you mean 'Anyway'!? You don't sound very happy to see me. I was almost killed back there! Why didn't you try to save me? All you care about is that dead wife of yours! I've never been so scared in my whole life!"

Again we see how much the mention of Mary bothers her, especially being mistaken for her again. But Maria wants James to feel guilty.

"You couldn't care less about me, could you?"

James doesn't exactly give the best response.

"No, I just..."

Without waiting for an answer that's not going to be good enough anyway, Maria forgives him and pulls in close as she blurts out.

"Then stay with me! Don't ever leave me alone! You're supposed to take care of me!"

Take care of you? Perhaps this is coming from her memories of Mary. The partial abandonment of James during her most difficult times, when her emotions were all over the place and she struck out at James, and he couldn't bear to see her like that and stopped visiting her for a while. Remember, "Stay with me. Don't leave me alone. Tell me I'll be okay. Tell me I'm not going to die. Help me..."

Maria then changes the subject to Laura, growing evermore anxious to find her for some reason.

"So what about Laura? Did you find her?"
"Yeah, but she ran away."
"We've got to find her!"

James notices she's suddenly showing an odd attachment to her.

"You really seem to care about her. Do you know her?"
"I never met her before I just feel sorry for her. She's all alone... And for some reason... I feel like it's up to me to protect her."

This is because Mary is gradually receiving or "remembering" all of Mary's memories. The attachment is growing because Laura was a very dear friend of Mary's, perhaps her best friend, and she wished to protect her. And to even adopt her if she weren't about to die.

In the Born From A Wish scenario before having even the slightest hint of Laura's existence, if you examine the stuffed animals in Amy's bedroom of the Baldwin Mansion, Maria will comment that Laura would love them. Then she catches herself and thinks, who am I even talking about? Even as early as here her memories are starting to trickle into her expanding mind. They continue to develop further throughout James' adventure.

Back to the hospital basement, perhaps her temper at the beginning of the conversation also comes from Mary, as she developed a type of bipolarity as demonstrated in the hallway recording with her and James. She's becoming more and more like Mary as time goes on, despite trying to replace her in James' heart. Further, Maria and James are growing more and more attached.

What does that mean? Time for Pyramid Head to do something about it. And he does. While running for the elevator in the basement hallway, Pyramid Head appears from around the corner and chases them both. James slips through the closing doors, but Maria doesn't make it. She calls out for James to save her but it's too late.

You had your warning earlier, James. Pyramid Head stabs the seductress. Maria is killed right in front of his eyes before the doors close to hide her body.

James sits helplessly in a trance of despair as the elevator rides up to the first floor. What does this scene remind him of? Stepping outside the hospital, he talks to himself.

"Maria's dead. I couldn't protect her. Once again, I couldn't do anything to help."

Once again... the image of Mary dying from her disease as James could do nothing about it. But there's more to this one. What does he say next?

"Mary... What... What should I do? Are you... really waiting somewhere for me? Or is this your way of taking..."

James stops himself from going further, but taking what James? Taking revenge? This one is quite the revelation. Rather than Mary being the one for taking revenge, it is James' inner desire to accept the truth, represented by Pyramid Head in form. The basement scene played out exactly as that truthful part of James wanted it to. It both punished him for growing attached to Maria and reminded him that he killed Mary, to the point that he has to stop himself short of indicting himself with his own words.

This thought is followed up even further with the new note on the wall inside Neely's Bar:

"If you ReaLly want to sEE Mary, you shOUld just DiE But You mIght be hEadiNg to A diffErent place than MARY, James."

Mary is dead. If you really want to see her, James, you should join her in death. But you probably won't find her in your version of death... Conjuring up images of Heaven and Hell.

Did someone write this note to James? The same person who wrote the message about the abyss in the hospital and the letter addressed specifically to James by the wrench? Or is this just another one of his mind's fabrications to lead him towards the truth? After all, we just saw an early crack in the delusion once he left the hospital.

Or could the hospital and wrench notes even be authored by Ernest Baldwin? A man who has made his strange knowledge of James known to Maria. And a man that knows about pain, loss and regret... And his own abyss. Perhaps he can't help but reach out to another self-tortured soul? Would this place Ernest as the former director of Brookhaven? Perhaps, and it could also potentially explain that nice, big mansion of his, couldn't it? It's all not a certainty, but a provoking line of thought, isn't it?

But we move on and discover the hospital was not the end of Maria... Upon traversing through the Labyrinth, the abyss of his own mind, James comes across a mysterious prison cell. Maria sits on the other side, as if patiently waiting for him. What unfolds is perhaps the most fascinating scene in the entire game. Note that James finally doesn't mistake her for Mary in an interesting piece of irony with the way the scene unfolds.

"You're alive! Maria...! I thought that thing killed you...! Are you hurt bad?"

Maria remains calmly seated.

"Not at all, silly."

James doesn't understand. Why isn't she reacting? Does she not remember this? Just who is this woman sitting here?

"...Maria? That thing... it stabbed you. There was blood everywhere."
"Stabbed me? What do you mean?"
"It chased us to the elevator. And then..."
"James, what are you talking about?"
"Just before! Don't you remember?"

Did James imagine the scene entirely? Is Maria with a new body and mind that doesn't recall what James is talking about?

Notice the tone of her voice. It doesn't sound like Maria at all. The soft, sweet, soothing voice of Mary is shining through... Further, an almost angelic halo of light emits from above her, a very intentional choice from the developers. This is the "sweetest" and "cutest" Maria has appeared thus far. The closest she's ever been to Mary in behaviour and appearance. But we're just getting started...

"James honey... Did something happen to you? After we got separated in that long hallway? Are you confusing me with someone else?"

So she does remember it? But what does she mean about confusing with someone else? ...Mary? Is that you? She chuckles and dismisses James' silliness, but her following monologue is the most striking of all.

"You were always so forgetful... Remember that time in the hotel?"
"You said you took everything... But you forgot that videotape we made. I wonder if it's still there..."

If we hadn't suspected it by now, Maria's powers have become very clear. She is inheriting the memories of Mary at an ever-increasing rate, now recalling an event from three years ago before Mary even fell sick. James, who hasn't spoken a word about this videotape, asks the appropriate question.

"How do you know about that!" Aren't you Maria?"

She suddenly snaps out of the all-loving and sweet Mary persona.

"I'm not your Mary."

Could've fooled me... Maria won't give James a straight answer as they go back and forth, ultimately settling with a mysterious statement that reveals her true intentions. Again, she's done with the Mary acting and speaks in her familiar seductive voice.

"It doesn't matter who I am. I'm here for you, James. See? I'm real."

She is whoever James wants her to be. She is the perfect lover, here for him and only him. And she's real, as she tries to convince him again while holding the flesh and bones of her hand to his face. Then things take a sexual turn.

"Don't you want to touch me?"
"I don't know..."
"Come and get me. I can't do anything through these bars."

The perfect dream girl James always desired waits right in front of him, offering herself up for sex. But with or without the bars, James clearly sounds like he's feeling guilty. "I don't know..." One side of him wants Maria badly; it's the side that created a more attractive and sexual version of his wife after all. But the other side knows it's not right. He's here to find Mary... Isn't it fitting that bars divide the room? The temptation of what he cannot have...

Once James does reach the other side of the bars, Maria lies on the bed, but it's too late. She's been murdered. Is anything familiar about this scene? Maria lying dead in a narrow sickbed with James at her side? Her face bloodied and somewhat disfigured, not unlike Mary's by the end... There's even an IV stand at the foot of the bed... James' reminded himself of being unable to save Mary after Maria's first death in the hospital. Now we have the reminder in visual form.

As an aside, note the room number on the white door. 208. The same room number in Wood Side Apartments where James finds the corpse (the same character model as his own) sitting directly in front of a bloodied TV blaring static. Does this scene look familiar? Or even the TV? It matches that of room 312 in the hotel. Perhaps this is the representation of James viewing the videotape in room 312, and his desire to blow his brains out after discovering the truth. Or simply a metaphor for the bullet of truth that is the videotape. Foreshadowing. And this scene with Maria... The other side of that videotape... Mary dead in her sickbed. Both visualized in a room 208.

The truth is being sprinkled into James' delusional journey. But who killed Mary this time? Pyramid Head. Again. After all, it is Pyramid Head that stands just outside apartment room 208 with the symbolized corpse of James in front of the TV, and he's also seen roaming around the nearby watery corridors of the Labyrinth, which even hold the creature's very lair where James finds the Great Knife. Maria was never going to survive down here.

To further drive home the 208 connection, what room was it where James acquires the key to the Blue Creek stairwell to fight Pyramid Head for the first time? 208 of course. How fitting for the bringer of judgment and truth to be connected to these images of truths in such a way. Indeed he is the same figure that first stands as a reflection of James behind the bars in Wood Side.

If still having some doubts, remember that it was Pyramid Head that killed Maria in the hospital and he will do the very same in the hotel at the end of the game, this time with a twin. The only creature that has it out for Maria is Pyramid Head, who represents James trying to tell himself the truth.

By repeatedly killing Maria through Pyramid Head as a vehicle, James is is not only trying to remind himself that he's a murderer who killed Mary, but is also fighting his biggest inner demon, Maria herself, who represents all the lies and delusions from his twisted mind.

Like a game of devil and angel on his shoulder, Maria as the devil tries to pull James away from the truth and reinforce his own deception, while Pyramid Head as perhaps the most hilarious and ironic version of the angel you've ever seen in this scenario, fights to bring James back to the path of truth.

The side of Maria is winning this battle all along until James views the videotape in the hotel to reveal his crime, but as we discussed in James' section, that side of his subconscious then kicks into overdrive with Mary's desperate calls from James' radio.

The other side, Pyramid Head, responds by organizing the execution of Maria right in front of James. Not to kill off Maria because Pyramid Head is not capable of doing so, but as a final presentation of his good side fighting the bad. Each time Maria's been killed it's made James question himself, and now he finally realizes the meaning of it.

"I was weak. That's why I needed you. Needed someone to punish me for my sins. But that's all over now... I know the truth. Now it's time to end this."

As we discussed in James' section, this speaks of both Maria and Pyramid Head, the two sides of the inner civil war. He needed them both to remind him of the truth and punish him for his sins.

The Pyramid Heads commit suicide once they realize they have served their purpose and believe James to be capable of ending his nightmare by climbing the rainy staircase to eliminate Maria.

However, things take a complicated turn if James has shown enough comfort and attention to Maria, locking him into the Maria ending. Despite still accepting that he murdered Mary in this ending, he still wishes to believe in his delusion of Maria. He turns all his attention and desires to her, to the point that it is not Maria waiting for him as his final inner demon at the top of the rainy staircase, but Mary lying on the bed.

In this ending, James doesn't sound very happy to finally see Mary. Instead it plays out like an awkward breakup scene. Mary explains that she's been waiting, upset that it took so long for James to find her.

"Didn't you want to see me?"
"Yes, I wanted to see you. Even an illusion of you... That's why I came here."

And thus Maria, the illusion, was born. But Mary retorts and James offers his excuses.

"That's not true, is it? You killed me..."
"I couldn't watch you suffer."
"Don't make excuses, James. I know I was a burden to you. You must have hated me. That's why you got rid of me."

No point lying anymore, James humours her, providing an insight to those three years of Mary's hospitalization.

"It's true... I may have had some of those feelings. It was a long three years... I was... tired."
"And that's why you needed this 'Maria' person?"

He didn't want Mary anymore. She was sick, ugly, pathetic and disgusting. He wanted to find someone new, to fall in love again, to act on his sexual desires, and start a new life. But this representation of Mary, who is in fact not actually real and just another creation in James' head to represent the more truthful Mary, wants to punish James.

"James, do you really think I could ever forgive you for what you did?"

And thus she transforms but cannot overcome James, who kills Mary for a second time, although again just an embodiment of his subconscious and memory of Mary.

Next we see James standing along the Rosewater Park pier where he met Maria. Her voice is heard as she approaches him.

"You killed Mary again?"
"That wasn't Mary. Mary's gone."
" That was just something I..."

Confirming what we've already discussed. His memory and representation of Mary playing out for some closure. But we can hear the extreme sorrow in his voice. He is not happy Mary is gone at all. But he is able to turn to the next best thing, as he realizes just who he's talking to.


Offering support with her hand over his, Maria behaves the most delicately we've yet seen of her as James makes a proposal.

"What, James?"
"I want you... I want you with me..."
"Are you sure?"
"C'mon. Let's get out of here."

And so James chooses to be with Maria. Not necessarily because he'd rather her over Mary, but Mary's gone. He can't have her. But he can have his idealized version of her, and that's the next best thing. He asserts this when Maria questions him.

"What about Mary?"
"It's okay, I have you."

Maria offers up a letter, which is Mary's final letter to James, and they both leave the park. Once they near James' car on the observation deck, Maria stops and lets out of series of coughs. James stops and eyes her, offering up a snarky and almost sinister comment.

"You'd better do something about that cough..."

And thus we have come a full circle. James has effectively learned nothing and is right back where he started, watching his loved one deteriorate from a disease. But this time his lover is a figment of his imagination. Oh, James...

V. Laura

At first glance in the apartments, this little girl comes off as little more than an ill-mannered brat, kicking an important key away from James' reach. It's not until their second meeting in the back alleyway to Rosewater Park that we understand that, while James has no idea who this little munchkin is, she certainly knows about him.

Sitting atop a wall not unlike one out of Humpty-Dumpty, Laura smugly taunts James when he brings up the earlier incident. James lets it go and the conversation quickly escalates before ending with a crescendo of intrigue.

"What's a little girl like you doing here anyway?"
"Huh? Are you blind or something?"
"What's that letter?"
"None of your business. You didn't love Mary anyway."

This back and forth makes a lot more sense upon viewing the whole story, doesn't it? Laura came to Silent Hill with the sole purpose of finding her dear friend Mary from the hospital. But why must James be blind? It's still a confusing quote since how is James to know any better when he's never met Laura before, but perhaps she think it's obvious why she's here: the same reason he is.

And the letter? We can safely assume it's the very same one Laura gives to James in the hotel (or possibly the letter for James which she loses at some point before the hotel). But anyway, James has to wait a little longer to learn her intentions.

A strange map guides James to Pete's Bowl-O-Rama where Eddie and Laura are already having a pizza party. We join them mid-conversation, but from their relationship here and a quick snapshot of them together from the game's opening cutscene, we can gather that they came to Silent Hill together, or met each other along the way and agreed to assist each other in some form.

Laura pesters Eddie to learn what he's running from, but he doesn't reveal very much. With James entering the back room, we hear Eddie ask a question that confirms what we've already gathered.

"Did ya find the lady you're looking for... What's her name... Mary?"

By this point, James enters the room and scares Laura off, but the brief conversation with Eddie provides some insight, or rather questions.

"Eddie! Let's go after her!"
"Huh? Laura? But why...?"

...Because she's a little girl all alone in a town filled with monsters.

"She said she was fine by herself... She said a fatso like me would just slow her down."

So even Laura doesn't see why she'd need the help of an adult. And the thought of this does not even register with Eddie. Why is that? Perhaps you might ask yourself where he got the pizza from as well? Could it be that Laura, and even Eddie for that matter, isn't seeing the same town that James is?

Once James finds the little rascal in the hospital, we get a clearer answer, but not before some background regarding Laura and Mary.

"How do you know about Mary?"
"What's the big deal?"
"Why can't you just tell me?"
"You gonna yell at me if I don't?"

It seems Mary told Laura enough about James to know about his bad temper. We read as much in Mary's letter to Laura later in the hotel. Laura finally spills the beans after James assures her he won't yell at her.

"I was friends with Mary... We met at the hospital. It was last year..."

James calls her a liar while very much being a liar himself as he raises his voice, but quickly calms down. He thinks out loud that it doesn't make sense given Mary died well before that. But Laura is very much telling the truth. She met Mary one year ago in what's believed to be St. Jerome's Hospital in South Ashfield (from Silent Hill 4). She didn't even know who Mary was three years ago.

James decides to be sensible and apologizes as the two make their way out of the hospital. But the following lines reveal a very important detail of Laura's Silent Hill, as James leads her out of the room.

"We can talk about this later. This is no place for a kid. There are all sorts of strange things around here... I can't believe you haven't even gotten a scratch on you."
"Why should I?"

What are you talking about, James? Why should I have a scratch on me? This reveals that Laura does not see the monsters that roam around the streets and buildings. She doesn't see the rusty, bloody, dirty and disturbing imagery that James does. Because she holds no darkness in her heart.

Laura was not drawn to Silent Hill from any crime or to serve as any punishment, but rather to find her friend Mary. Guilty of nothing more than being a little brat (and certainly not remorseful for it), her visit is completely innocent in nature. And thus her world is not affected accordingly like James, Eddie and Angela's.

Because of this she couldn't possibly know of the dangerous situation she puts James in by locking him in the examining room down the hall. To her there are no creatures in there. What might there be instead? We don't really know since we don't get to see through her eyes.

But nonetheless she is a smart girl and wishes to continue her pursuit of Mary on her own rather than be pushed around by the man that Mary told her some bad things about. So she fools him with the promise of a letter suspiciously deep inside of another room. A letter she does have and he will get to read. But not yet.

James doesn't see Laura again for quite some time, and certainly not in the abyss like Eddie and Angela because there is nothing for her there. Instead, she likely takes the perfectly intact Nathan Avenue up to Sandford Street, from where she walks into the hotel. There, she surprises James at the press of piano keys in the hotel's restaurant. She comes out to have a friendly chat with her pal James.

"You're here to find Mary, aren't you, James? Well... have you?"
"No... is that why you're here, too?"
"She's here, isn't she? If you know where she is, tell me! I'm tired of walking."

Laura is running out of places to search for her friend, now at the end of the line in the hotel Mary stayed at three years ago. While eager to search on her own up until now, she's finally willing to cooperate with James. But he doesn't have the information she's looking for.

"I wish I knew..."
"But she said it in her letter..."

James is sick of hearing about this letter. Is it even real? But yes, it is. Laura finally lets him read its full contents.

"My dearest Laura, I'm leaving this letter with Rachel to give to you after I'm gone.

I'm far away now. In a quiet, beautiful place. Please forgive me for not saying goodbye before I left.

Be well, Laura. Don't be too hard on the sisters.

And Laura, about James... I know you hate him because you think he isn't nice to me, but please give him a chance.

It's true he may be a little surly sometimes, and he doesn't laugh much. But underneath he's really a sweet person.

Laura... I love you like my very own daughter. If things had worked out differently, I was hoping to adopt you.

Happy 8th birthday, Laura.

Your friend forever, Mary"

There's a lot of information to digest here, including some insight into Laura's background. We can deduce that Laura is an orphan from Mary hoping to adopt her, along with "Don't be too hard on the sisters." Not blood sisters, but those from her orphanage. It also helps explain her nature, a young girl roaming a large town all by herself, avoiding James and telling Eddie he's a gutless fatso that would only slow her down. She's used to watching out for herself without a mother and father to care for her.

Her bratty nature of kicking the key away from James and laughing at him perhaps gives us an insight into what being hard on the sisters would be like. And further why she held such a grudge against James -- because Mary clearly told him enough to indicate his poor temper.

We do not know why Laura required a stay in the hospital, but she did stay long enough to become close friends with Mary. But there is a very important date here, crucial to understanding the timeline of the game. Mary finishes the letter by wishing a happy 8th birthday to Laura. Luckily she's right here for James to clarify that.

"Laura... How old are you?"
"Um, I turned eight last week."

As James gathers, then Mary couldn't have died three years ago... She couldn't have died more than a week or so ago. Already with some cracks showing, this letter completely dismantles the notion that Mary died three years ago. Laura listens to James processing this all out loud and offers her own insight.

"Me and Mary talked a lot about Silent Hill. She even showed me all her pictures. She really wanted to come back. That's why I'm here."

But unfortunately this isn't the "quiet, beautiful place" she was talking about. With the letter meant to reach Laura after Mary's death (instead of her stealing it from their nurse's locker), Mary puts a bright spin on her death. Perhaps she's even hinting at a burial in Silent Hill, who knows. But the letter is no more than a sincere goodbye to her dear friend.

"Maybe you'll get it if you see the other letter... The one Mary.. huh? I must have dropped it!"

And what of this letter? Simple. It's the letter Mary wrote for James and left with their nurse, the very same Rachel whose locker Laura broke into to steal both letters.

As an aside, we've already established in James' section that this current form of the hotel is constructed from his memories rather than reality. But does Laura see the hotel the same way? Perhaps she does and perhaps she doesn't. She may simply be witnessing it in its burned, leaky form, just like Angela witnesses her world burning all the time despite James not becoming aware of it until the overlap near the very end.

But perhaps there's another explanation. Could it be that the energy of James' reconstructed hotel is combining with Laura's pursuit to find her friend, fueled in some way by the photos and memories shared by Mary in the hospital? And therefore they could both see the hotel the same way? Worth a thought.

As with James, it is not until the videotape is viewed in room 312 that Laura finally learns the truth about her friend. Laura discovers James frozen in his chair after the shocking videotape. She's ready to get going already and perhaps search elsewhere.

But James knows he owes her the truth. Hardly able to muster the energy, he tries to explain what he now knows.

"Laura... Mary's gone. She's dead."
"Liar! That's a lie!"

This won't be easy... Laura came all the way here to an unfamiliar town to find Mary. She wasn't just another person to her. She was everything. It's going to be hard for her to accept her death. And even worse to hear it straight from the mouth of her killer...

"No, that's not true..."
"She... she died 'cause she was sick?"
"No. I killed her."

The brutal truth. But she deserved to hear what happened to the only person in the world that cared for her. Her best friend. She outbursts in sadness and anger. And James deserves to hear every word of it. He knows it.

"You killer! Why'd you do it?! I hate you!! I want her back! Give her back to me! I knew it! You didn't care about her! I hate you, James! I hate you! I hate you! I hate you! She was always waiting for you... Why? Why..."

But it wasn't that simple, was it? He could never fully explain it to Laura. And in the end it wouldn't change a thing. He murdered her friend. Still struggling to accept the revelation himself, James doesn't have much left to offer Laura.

"I'm sorry... The Mary you know isn't here."

And thus Laura leaves, her adventure coming to a sad conclusion. Now alone in the room, James bears the weight of the pain he's caused her.

"Laura, I'm sorry."

The very last we see of Laura is in the Leave ending. As Mary narrates her letter, we witness Laura walking back through the graveyard along the nature trail to Silent Hill. She heads towards the observation deck. James follows from a distance behind, with the same destination in mind. After passing the graves, Laura even stops and turns towards James. She lets him take the lead and follows thereafter. Do these two have a future together? After all, Mary hoped to adopt her. Could it be that James takes it upon himself to care for the girl that Mary saw as her own daughter? Perhaps in some form to preserve her legacy as the mother she never got to be? Perhaps that is best left for the player to decide.

VI. Angela

Angela is the first person James comes across on his journey, startling her as she overlooks some headstones in the graveyard. Although she may look and sound like an older adult (perhaps indicative of her emotional mileage), Angela is actually just a 19-year-old. And while she appears puzzled to hear that James is lost, she is very much a lost soul herself.

Even the first few seconds of interaction set the tone for her troubled character as James takes her by surprise.

"I, I'm sorry...I, I... I was just..."

It's as if she feels she has to explain her actions. Like a child caught doing something wrong, or perhaps having to answer to strict authority. Is she used to being in this position?

After James inquires for directions, Angela assists but warns him that there's something wrong with the town... it might be dangerous. But that won't stop James from continuing along the trail. His commitment catches Angela's interest as she asks him why. He keeps his answers on the vaguer side, not wanting to get too personal.

"I'm looking for... someone."
"Who, who, who is it?"
"Someone... very important to me. I'd do anything if I could be with her again."

This strikes close to home for Angela, who reveals that she's here for a very similar reason.

"Me too. I'm looking for my mama... I mean my mother. It's been so long since I've seen her. I thought my father and brother were here, but I can't find them either..."

These words alone provide us with a lot of information or at least thoughts about Angela's past. Notice she stresses how long it's been since she's seen her mother. It doesn't sound like days, weeks or even months... but more like years. She's also looking in a graveyard... Has her mother passed away?

Further, she first refers to her as her "mama", a term generally used by children. A 19-year-old should have outgrown that term by now, and she catches and corrects herself in front of James. But has it been long enough that when she was last around she was calling her "mama"? This seems quite telling.

What of her father and brother? Did she also think they were in the graveyard, or perhaps in the town itself? James and Angela exchange their good lucks and goodbyes, and James leaves the girl as he found her in the foggy graveyard.

Their second meeting in the apartments carries a much darker tone as we are fed more details and observations about a very dark past. James finds Angela lying on the floor, holding a large knife as she stares into her reflection in a large mirror. James understands the delicacy of the situation and offers advice.

"I don't know what you're planning... But there's always another way."

Seemingly dazed and confused through her despair, she fires back.

"Really? But... You're the same as me. It's easier just to run. Besides, it's what we deserve."

"You're the same as me." A telling quote. James and Angela both came to Silent Hill to look for someone very dear to them. Perhaps she also senses some of the weight James' mind carries. The same weight that she carries herself that brought her to this town. She knows James is the same coward that she is.

James denies it and Angela snaps out of it, apologizing for her behaviour. But James forgives her and changes the subject to her mother. Angela reveals she can't find her anywhere, but the conversation then takes an odd turn.

"Did she live in this apartment building."
"I don't know..."
"So all you know is she lived in this town."
"What did you say? How do you know that?"

With Angela's voice portraying her confusion while almost demanding he explain himself, James tries to defuse her with reasonable logic. That this is where she's looking for her, so she must've lived in the town, right?

But is she really even looking for anyone at all? It seems she just stumbled upon this room to contemplate taking her life. She told James she's looking for her mother, but does this look like someone on such a mission?

James continues to ask Angela questions. If he was right about her living here or why she came to the town anyway, but Angela brushes him off and shifts the subject back to him and his search of Mary. She has no interest in providing him with any more answers that may lead to more questions. Questions she doesn't have the answers to.

James reveals he's still looking too, but he takes the opportunity to show her a photo. Angela doesn't recognize Mary, and James gives her the news.

"Anyway, she's dead. I don't know why I think she's here."
"...She's dead?"

James tries to explain but it's already too late. Angela is completely spooked by the thought of being around a man searching for his dead wife. Or perhaps there's another explanation for her reaction that we'll soon uncover...

Angela insists she doesn't need James' help and tries to leave the room, but James shows concern for her and the knife.

"What about that?"
"Will you hold it for me?"
"Sure. No problem."
"If I kept it... I'm not sure what I might do."

But as James reaches for the knife, it triggers Angela. As if conjuring up an image from her past, she turns the knife on James and screams out, defending herself.

"No!! I'm sorry... I've been bad... Please don't..."

She puts the knife down and leaves the room. But again the interaction has left us with lots to think about. She realized (or thought) she had done something wrong ("I'm sorry") and admitted as much ("I've been bad") to defuse the situation, following up with a plea for no further retaliation ("Please don't).

This is a clear indication that Angela has suffered from significant physical abuse, initially interpreting James as an attacker in this scenario.

Before leaving the room however, there is a very telling clue that helps clarify Angela's past. In the center of the room there is a torn photograph of a family -- husband, wife and a daughter (there is also a son in the original photo but it's folded over his position). Note the tear separates the father from the mother and the daughter.

Angela and her parents... From all that we've learned so far, it's fairly safe to say Angela was abused by her father. The full extent we are about to soon find out.

The instruction booklet of the game also provides some more information regarding her past. It informs us that she ran away from home but her father dragged her back. She then ran away again and this time wandered to Silent Hill. This is the place in the timeline where James meets her in the graveyard and later this apartment.

But clearly the physical abuse falls in line with her desire to run away from home. There's also no mention of her mother, whom she came here looking for. Again we're left thinking she must've passed away.

A very interesting metaphor surrounding this room is at its entrance. Before entering the mirror room, take a look at the door and the other one beside it. One door is pure white and clean, while the other is black and boarded shut. Two complete opposite images. There's also a teddy bear on the floor by the boarded up black door. Perhaps this is a metaphor to indicate Angela's past, very much the black door. And perhaps her soul represents the innocent pure white of the door she passes through to, tragically, contemplate suicide. The poor soul.

It's also interesting that Angela's mirror room is where the prisoner coin (which has a woman drawn on it) for the old coin puzzle is found. Angela, a prisoner of her own father.

As James traverses holes in the Labyrinth, he also finds Angela on her own personal journey through her "abyss". But immediately before their third interaction, there is a blood-soaked newspaper on the ground which fills in more of her story. Normally it is partially-illegible, but the complete contents are as follows.

"The body of a man later identified as Thomas Orosco (Lumberjack, age 39) was discovered in the middle of his room lying face up.

The probable cause of death was multiple stab wounds to the front of the neck and the left side of the torso by a sharp edged weapon. The estimated time of death was somewhere between 11:00 p.m. and 12:30 midnight.

Due to signs of struggle in the room and the lack of a murder weapon, police are considering this a homicide and have opened a murder investigation.

Furthermore, given the fact that the cash in the room was untouched and Mr. Orosco had a history of drunkenness and violence, the police suspect that the motive was not robbery but some sort of crime of passion."

Thomas Orosco. While Angela never tells us her last name, we can read her full name on a metaphorical tombstone in the catacomb at the end of the Labyrinth: Angela Orosco. So Angela's father was murdered. But the cash in the room wasn't touched and the police suspected it to be a crime of passion. A crime of revenge.

Simply put, Angela murdered her father. Note that we have already seen her hold a knife and almost stab James with it. It is a weapon she is familiar with. Further, the blade of her knife is stained with red... Could this even be the very knife she used to kill him? The article does explain there was no murder weapon found at the scene...

And when did this murder take place? If you examine any of the newspapers strewn across the next hallway, James comments that they're from today's date. We can safely assume the article we just read was from the same newspaper, implying the murder happened yesterday.

After years of abuse, Angela couldn't take it anymore and acted out her revenge. She murdered her father at home and ran away to Silent Hill, arriving the next day. She repressed her darkest secret and convinced herself that she came to look for her mother.

As James approaches the following room after the newspaper article, he hears Angela's voice cry out.

"No daddy! Please! Don't!"

Inside the room, Angela cowers in the corner as a disgusting creature stands to her side. The Abstract Daddy. Daddy...? Further, the room contains highly-suggestive sexual imagery. Many holes line the upper walls as pistons slide back forth through them. Like a penis thrusting into a vagina over and over.

Even the creature is a bed frame, with one person in power on top of another, helpless. Rape. This room and this creature reveal the precise nature of Angela's past and her relationship with her father. He raped her, likely regularly. "Please! Don't!" she said from the hallway. About to perform the act again?

But the paper said her father was dead... Well, through Silent Hill's powers James is able to see Mary (and Maria). It is not beyond reach to bring someone back from the dead in image and form. And that's all this is. This is not her father, but the image of him.

But why does he appear as this disgusting creature? Well, keep in mind we are playing as James, who doesn't necessarily see the same Silent Hill as Angela. In fact, we'll soon understand exactly what she does see later in the hotel. But for now we can gather that she probably sees her father as she remembered him, and perhaps as James and Angela's worlds merge for a brief moment, James' mind conjures him up as a creature carrying the spirit of Angela's memories, and thus the image of rape.

After James fights the creature (or Angela's "father"), Angela rushes over to kick his sad sack of a body, and finishes him off by smashing a TV over his body. James tries to calm her down.

"Angela! Relax!"
"Don't order me around!"

This is the first time Angela has spoken this way. Finally she stands up for herself. Immediately after attacking her accuser, her mental state is certainly aggravated. But James is only here to defuse the situation, even though she isn't having any of it.

"I'm not trying to order you."
"So what do you want then?"

Angela's poor, damaged mind sees James the same as her father. She knows what he wants.

"Oh I see, you're trying to be nice to me, right? I know what you're up to. It's always the same. You're only after one thing."
"No, that's not true at all."
"You don't have to lie. Go ahead and say it. Or you could just force me. Beat me up like he always did."

She continues to berate James, perhaps misassociating him with her father but maybe also seeing through his own illusory wall of deception.

"You only care about yourself anyway. You disgusting pig. You make me sick."

As James reaches out to comfort her, she keeps lashing out.

"Don't touch me!! You make me sick!"

But in this moment, things take an interesting turn. As if through their two worlds coming together, she has learned some of James' truth. That he holds something dark in his heart.

"You said your wife Mary was dead, right?"
"Yes, she was ill..."
"Liar! I know about you... You didn't want her around anymore. You probably found someone else."

She leaves the room, allowing James to ponder how ridiculous the claim is. But it is not. As James reveals at the end, he was sick of Mary and her disease. He wanted his life back. And someone else? Maria fits that description, doesn't she? Through the power of the town and perhaps a shared concoction of their memories, secrets and truths in this very room, Angela is wise to James' deception. But she continues to live through her own.

The final interaction between these two takes place in the hotel. After viewing the videotape, James' recreation of the hotel straight from his memory starts to collapse, revealing the burnt, leaky hallways. But on his way to the lobby he witnesses something profound from beyond the depths of his own subconscious.

A burning, steep staircase like nothing James has seen before. Angela stands midway up the steps, staring at a twisted piece of sexualized art, perhaps as a metaphor of her past.

With the fire surrounding them both, Angela turns and approaches James with excitement.

"Mama! Mama, I was looking for you. Now you're the only one left. Maybe then... Maybe then I can rest."

Not wanting to contribute any more to Angela's suffering but unsure how to respond, he backs away. Angela persists until she touches his face, which breaks her delusion.

"Mama, why are you running away? You're not my Mama!"

By now we can safely conclude that Angela's mother is dead. Angela didn't come to Silent Hill to search for her, but rather to escape the reality of her father's death by her own hand. Similarly to James' own delusion, she convinced herself this did not happen, that her mother didn't die and that she came here to find her.

Perhaps back in the Labyrinth she saw the image of her father trying to rape her as a way of reminding herself of all wrongs he did to her, and thus give rise to the hatred in her heart. The hatred that pushed her to his murder and what might remind her of the truth while wanting to be punished for it. But James interrupts and prevents her from re-living this horror, allowing her delusional search of her mother to continue.

So deep in this delusion, her desperation grows to the point that she sees James as her mother. Perhaps she really does see her in that moment, but upon closer look the illusion cannot stand. In some way it's almost like James repeatedly thinking he's found Mary before realizing it's just Maria.

Angela initially shows disgust upon realizing it's James, but she feels guilt and apologizes before advancing the conversation.

"Thank you for saving me... But I wish you hadn't. Even Mama said it... I deserved what happened." "No Angela, that's wrong!" "No. Don't pity me. I'm not worth it..."

She deserved the rape and torture endured from her father? Is this from her mother's mouth, or perhaps through her twisted, guilty mind, the truth was lost in the abyss of her subconscious?

Don't forget that James also misremembered certain things, including Mary dying three years ago when it was her sickness that began three years ago.

But Angela convinced herself that she deserved everything. Perhaps because of something she caused... Or believed was her fault.

After toying with James about healing her psychological wounds, she makes her next intentions clear. But James won't play any part in it.

"James. Give me back that knife."
"No... I, I won't."
"Saving it for yourself?"
"Me? No... I'd never kill myself..."

Interestingly enough, James does kill himself moments later in the In Water ending if that is his desired path. Nonetheless, Angela is ready to end her nightmare. But there is no chance of a happy ending for her.

She turns away and ascends the scorching staircase. James takes the opportunity to break the long silence by addressing the environment, giving us our very last glance into understanding Angela's world.

"It's hot as hell in here."
"You see it too? For me, it's always like this."

And now we know what Silent Hill manifests from Angela's mind as her inner demons. While James sees menacing creatures representing his sexual desires and oppressed mind, Angela sees no monsters but rather her whole world on fire. With Pyramid Head, James' inner mind re-enacts the killing of Mary (through Maria) over and over to remind himself of his guilt. Angela re-enacts the rape and abuse thrust upon her by her father to remind her of her own truth. Further, she wants to experience the pain again because she thinks she deserves it.

Both James and Angela's worlds seemed to overlap somewhat in their previous meeting, but here as both their delusions grow deeper and to their most desperate, their mutual energies flowing about perhaps allow James this brief look into Angela's world. And thus he can see the despair she has to endure at every waking moment in this town. Everything engulfed by fire.

But why does Angela see fire? Perhaps this resembles how her mother died, in a house fire. And further having established the idea that Angela "deserved" what happened, perhaps she was the one responsible for the fire. This staircase scene could even be a glance into a recreation of her family home.

We can also conclude that her brother was killed in this fire. "Now you're the only one left", Angela tells James while she perceives him as her mama. We already know she killed her father, so this explains the remaining brother that allows "mama" to be the only one left instead.

It should now make a lot more sense why Angela is initially found in a graveyard while looking for her mama, father and brother. They are all dead. Does it also make more sense why Angela was spooked and tried to run away when James told her he was searching for his dead wife back in the apartments? It hit a little too close to home for her, didn't it? And so she ran from the truth as usual...

It would make even more sense if her father blamed her for the fire, thus making her deserving of all the assault he threw upon her. But perhaps she didn't cause the fire. Maybe it was entirely the fault of Thomas Orosco, who had a history of drunkenness and violence as the paper article explained. It could've been through his own negligence that he caused his house to burn down one drunken night, killing his wife and son while leaving just him and his daughter alive.

The one whom he then turned to satisfy his sexual desires. The one who took all the blame through his twisted delusions. Nothing was ever Thomas' fault. It was all the fault of his young daughter Angela. She had to be punished. And she believed everything.

Already having made her intentions clear, Angela has no more purpose in this world. She climbs the staircase as the flames eventually swallow her up. She does not have a happy ending and does not survive Silent Hill. Her full story is certainly the most tragic of all told in Silent Hill 2.

It wasn't her fault.

VII. Eddie

While exploring Wood Side Apartments, James is introduced to Eddie in a very precarious situation. Upon entering room 101, James is welcomed by the sounds of someone puking in the washroom. But the most shocking thing about the room is the open bloody fridge inside the kitchenette, which has a pair of legs poking out. Did someone try to hide a body in there?

When James checks on the man in the washroom, Eddie, he immediately gets defensive.

"It wasn't me! I didn't do it!"
"Do what?"
"I didn't do anything. I, I swear! He was like this when I got here..."

Eddie is clearly speaking about the dead man in the fridge, while being overly-defensive without James suggesting anything. Both men share their introductions before the situation grows even more awkward, and then James still has some questions.

"Eddie, who's that dead guy in the kitchen?"
"I didn't do it. I swear I didn't kill anybody."

Going nowhere with the overly-defensive man puking in the toilet, James changes the subject.

"You're not friends with that red, pyramid thing, are you?"
"Red pyramid thing? I don't know what yer talkin' about. Honest. But I did see some weird-lookin' monsters. They scared the hell outta me, so I ran in here..."

While this whole situation is certainly suspicious, Eddie sounds truthful that he doesn't know what James is talking about here. He hasn't seen Pyramid Head (and he has no reason to lie about it either). After all, the town manifests delusions differently for everyone.

But Eddie does say he saw some monsters... perhaps he is running from his own inner demons, or possibly being near James overlapped their worlds and he saw James' disgusting creatures walking around? But that doesn't explain what happened in this room... James is still curious.

"What happened here anyway?"
"Uh I, I told ya I don't know. I'm not even from this town. I just, I just..."
"You too, huh? Something just brought you here, right?"
"Umm... yeah. You could say that..."

Silent Hill calls those who hold darkness in their hearts and minds. Eddie reveals here that he was lured to the town similarly to James and Angela. He holds dark secrets, but at this point he is very early in his personal journey. He very much appears afraid, running from something.

James exchanges goodbyes with Eddie and leaves, but there's another room just past the washroom that provides some more context in understanding Eddie's past, although only subtle for now. On the wall in this room are several football posters, an actual football on the floor, and another poster of a woman with the title of "Physical Beauty".

Eddie is overweight, unathletic and unattractive. These posters and objects are not coincidental but rather represent themes from Eddie's past that haunt him. James is experiencing a slight overlap into Eddie's world that allows him to see them, but we'll have to wait a while to learn more details.

But let's take a step back. How did Eddie get to Silent Hill? In the opening movie of the game, there is one scene of Eddie sitting beside a white van, looking at a map with Laura at his side. This same white van is seen parked on the observation deck at the beginning of the game, right near the stairs.

We can gather that this is Eddie's van that he used to get to Silent Hill, and along the way he met Laura and offered her a ride to their mutual destination. But did Eddie originally set out for the town or did something draw him there?

Right above Eddie's parked van is a large sign for Pete's Bowl-O-Rama, which must've caught his attention as it's the next location we meet Eddie, along with Laura again at his side. She presses him for more information on why he came to the town, as he gobbles down a slice of never-ending pizza.

"So what'd you do? Robbery? Murder?"
"Nah, nothing like that."
"Hah! You're just a gutless fatso!"
"Whadda you have to say that for?"

Obviously an incredibly rude comment by Laura, notice how it bothers Eddie? It seems like something he might've heard before. Yet he doesn't get overly angry at it but lets it slide.

"I thought you said the cops were after you."
"No, I just ran 'cause I was scared. I don't know what the cops are doing."

Laura clearly thought Eddie was running away from a significant crime, but he just says he was scared. Although from our first meeting in the apartments, he doesn't appear very trustworthy. He is hiding something.

"But if you did something bad, why don't you just say you were sorry? Well... I guess I run away a lots too."
"It's no good. They wouldn't listen. Nobody will ever forgive me."

Notice how this time as Laura again brings up the idea of doing something bad, Eddie doesn't deny that he did. Rather, he tells her nobody would listen or forgive him for what he's done. Laura was right, it was something serious.

James eventually enters the room and spooks Laura away, but James tries to enlist Eddie's help to chase after her. Although Eddie would rather just sit there and continue eating his pizza, angering James.

"This town is full of monsters! How can you sit there and eat pizza!?"
"She said she was fine by herself. She said a fatso like me would just slow her down."

His tone reveals again that he was hurt by the fatso comment, something we can imagine Eddie might've dealt with most of his life. And while the pizza adds some fun humour to the scene, it's worth examining. Just where did he get that pizza from?

In James' Silent Hill, the town is completely abandoned, with no sight of a human beyond the lost souls of Angela, Eddie and Laura, along with himself and Maria. But does Eddie see the town the same way? Perhaps being able to order a pizza tells us he doesn't. He may not even see monsters at all, only claiming to have seen some earlier while potentially experiencing an overlap with James' world. But in that case, just what is he running from?

Their next interaction occurs near the beginning of the abyss, just inside the Toluca Prison. This stretch up until the end of the Labyrinth includes the greatest fears, secrets, truths and delusions of those who traverse it, taking them on a very personal, tailored journey through the deepest corners of their subconscious.

While we meet Angela thick in the middle of hers down here, we instead meet Eddie fairly close to the beginning of his accelerated journey. The point where his delusions begin to grow even deeper and he finally chooses to fight rather than run.

Once landing inside the prison cafeteria from a deep hole, James finds Eddie resting against the door next to a corpse with its blood splattered all over a table. Eddie stops James' flashlight from hitting his eyes, but otherwise hardly notices him as he remains in a trance state, recalling what just happened.

"Killin' a person ain't no big deal. Just put the gun to their head... pow!"

James is shocked by the revelation and begins questioning Eddie.

"You... you killed him?"
"B, but... it wasn't my fault!"

Here we go again... We've heard this before. Nothing is his fault.

"He, he made me do it!"
"Calm down, Eddie. Tell me what happened."
"That guy... he, he had it coming!"

Every second, he's stalling. He doesn't have a valid reason. He rushes to fabricate a story as James intently waits for a proper explanation.

"I didn't do anything. He just came after me! Besides, he was making fun of me with his eyes! Like that other one..."

The other one? This wasn't even the first time?

"Just for that you killed him?"
"Whadda ya mean, 'Just for that?'"
"Eddie, you can't just kill someone 'cause of the way they looked at you!"
"Oh yeah? Why not? Till now, I always let people walk all over me. Just like that stupid dog. He had it coming, too!"

This is escalating too quickly for James. He's witnessing the transformation of a poor, abused soul, now well on his way to becoming a psychopath -- even during this conversation alone. Until now he let people walk all over him. They called him a "gutless fatso" and bullied him about his looks and weight.

Now he's finally decided to fight back by attacking his abusers. Perhaps a very disturbing commentary into the reality of bullying and how it affects its victims, Eddie has turned to revenge. Murder.

And the dog? We'll come back to that in the final meeting. But Eddie realizes he's said too much and plays it off as he prepares to continue his journey in the abyss of his subconscious.

"He he. I was just jokin', James. He was dead when I got here. Honest. Anyway, I gotta run."
"You're going out there alone?"

Eddie says "yeah" with almost an air of excitement. You're damn right I'm going out there. I'm a changed man and I've got a gun. Anyone bothers me, I'll just kill them. And thus Eddie continues down the dangerous path, completely consumed by revenge for his past horrors.

Note the location of the "Gluttonous Pig" tablet in the back of the room, clearly representing Eddie. And fittingly in a cafeteria. A welcome place for an overweight person. Food will never laugh at you. Perhaps Eddie even used food to eat his sorrows away but it only amplified his problems, similarly to how James used alcohol to battle loneliness.

The next time we come across Eddie he is severely deep into his delusion. He stands over multiple corpses in a walk-in freezer. James immediately understands the horror of what happened, while Eddie is very blunt.

"Eddie! What are you doing!?"
"What does it look like?"

Finally, no more hiding, no more lying. Eddie wastes no time, progressing into a disturbing monologue that highlights all the verbal abuse he endured while growing up.

"He always busted my balls. 'You fat, disgusting piece of shit! You make me sick!' 'Fat-ass, yer nothin' but a waste of skin!' 'You're so ugly, even your mama don't love you!' Well, maybe he was right. Maybe I am nothing but a fat, disgusting piece of shit. But ya know what? It doesn't matter if you're smart, dumb, ugly, pretty... It's all the same once yer dead! And a corpse can't laugh. From now on, if anyone makes fun of me... I'll kill 'em. Just like that."

It's very clear. Eddie has snapped. He's no longer able to tolerate the bullying anymore. It has completely broken and consumed him.

But who is the "He" that he begins his monologue with? His father? Or perhaps his biggest bully from school?

And what of the five corpses in this room, or the one in the prison cafeteria? Eddie glances over them with a disgusting look as he recalls all the nasty insults dished out at him, making a clear implication.

Rather than seeing sexualized monsters like James, Eddie sees people laughing at him. Mocking him, calling him fat, ugly, useless. Perhaps they do even appear as monsters laughing at him. Before, he ran from these encounters, but ever since entering his personal abyss, he's decided to face his greatest fears by killing them.

Whether or not these are actual people is debatable. Masahiro Ito, the creature designer of Silent Hill 2, strongly implies that Eddie doesn't kill any humans during his journey. The same can likely be said about the creatures James faces on his own journey (or even Mary and Maria), or Angela and her father.

But whether they are real people or not is hardly the point. Eddie has gone past the point of no return, clearly willing to murder to solve his problems.

James doesn't realize the delicacy of Eddie's psyche and puts an honest question to him. But it's not what he wants to hear. James gets a direct glimpse into how Eddie's previous interactions might've escalated to their conclusions. Too scarred from his past, he assumes the worst of intentions.

"Eddie, have you gone nuts?"
"I knew it. You, too... You're just like 'em, James."
"Hey, I didn't mean anything..."
"Don't bother. I understand. You've been laughin' at me all along, haven't you? Ever since we first met. I'll kill you, James!"

And thus James becomes Eddie's next target. James' concern for his mental state, questioning his sanity, was taken as him laughing at Eddie. He thought he was a fat, disgusting and pathetic human being all along, didn't he? He even made a point about him eating pizza back at Pete's where Laura also called him a gutless fatso...

After a brief tussle in the first room, Eddie retreats to the larger meat freezer next door. James must face Eddie to reach the end of his own personal Labyrinth, and thus follows.

Simply observe your surroundings in this room. A giant freezer with racks and racks of meat. Our first meeting with Eddie involved a refrigerator. Perhaps he even tried to see what food was inside before he was greeted with a pair of legs. Next he eats a pizza in the bowling alley, then is found in a prison cafeteria. And now a giant meat freezer.

Further, take a closer look at the meat racks. Do they remind you of anything? Perhaps Eddie himself? The way the meat protrudes outward like Eddie's large gut... they even wear lower covers that strongly resemble Eddie's shorts, don't they?

Eddie's cruel world, which James has overlapped into during this interaction, is constantly reminding him how fat and disgusting he is. He is the "Gluttonous Pig" after all.

But further, it is this room that we finally get to fill in the gaps as to how Eddie ended up in Silent Hill. He continues where he left off with another sad and twisted monologue, hidden by the very meat racks that resemble him.

"Do you know what it does to you, James? When you're hated, picked on, spit on, just 'cause of the way you look? After you've been laughed at your whole friggin' life? That's why I ran away after I killed the dog. Ran away like a scared little girl. Yeah, I killed that dog. It was fun. It tried to chew its own guts out! Finally died all curled up in a ball."

There's the mention of the dog again. The one that had it coming. His sadistic, twisted inner side clearly came through as he watched it die in fascination. But why did he kill the dog?

"Then 'He' came after me. I shot him, too. Right in the leg. He cried more than the dog! He's gonna have a hard time playing football on what's left of that knee."

These few lines help us fill in a lot of information. Did Eddie just pick a random dog, kill it and have its owner come after him? No. He picked that dog. Because he knew what it meant to its owner. And he hated its owner.

Remember that Eddie started his monologue in the previous room by saying "He always busted my balls", before launching into a series of quotes spoken to him over the years. It seems these nasty insults mostly came from one person with the constant mention of "He". But who is "He"?

The clue about "playing football" ties all the way back to the football and posters in the apartment room he's found in. The posters and football that appear there through the forces of Eddie's mind as his world slightly overlaps with James', not unlike here again.

Perhaps Eddie had dreams of playing football and tried out for his high school team. But being unathletic, he wasn't good enough to make the team. Perhaps another player and schoolmate could never let him live this down, constantly pointing out how pathetic and useless he was. How could someone as unattractive and unfit as Eddie even think he could make the team?

"'Fat-ass, yer nothin' but a waste of skin. You're so ugly, even your mama don't love you!'" Others would also take part and laugh at him, female attention was constantly driven away, but it was this one bully that got the best of him.

Working as a gas station attendant before arriving in Silent Hill, perhaps he was still unable to escape the reach of this bully and all the abuse of his past. He couldn't take it anymore. He stole his father's revolver and set out to get his revenge.

He found the bully's house and saw his dog in the yard. Already filled with hatred, he convinced himself it was making fun of him with its eyes. So he shot the dog and felt the power he finally had over another being. He was fascinated by it. But then its owner, his bully, came running out.

Eddie shot him in the knee. "He cried more than the dog! He's gonna have a hard time playing football on what's left of that knee." Now they'll both know what it's like to have their dreams crushed.

To expand on that, there is one little touch in the football poster room in the apartment. One poster of a player has the word "RIP" spray-painted in red beside it. Is this a poster of his bully himself? Perhaps a professional or minor league player? Rest in peace to his career? Perhaps it could be just any football poster but the RIP seems to be Eddie's way of laughing at his bully, whom he didn't kill, but surely took away his dreams of football.

Killing a dog was one thing, but shooting another human brought Eddie back to reality. It terrified him. Rather than killing the bully, he ran away. After all, he was an ordinary human, not a cold-blooded killer. Yet.

He jumped in his van and drove off, ultimately drawn to the place where people face the weight of their crimes. Silent Hill.

Laura says she thought the cops were after him, and they almost certainly were. He likely implied as much with a previous statement to Laura on their way to Silent Hill.

"Nobody will ever forgive me" for what I've done, he thought. Upon exploring the apartments, he stumbled upon a fridge. He was hungry and opened it up. What was inside? A pair of legs. His greatest comfort (food) had reminded him of his darkest secret. Legs of the bully he shot.

We can interpret this however we want, but knowing that Silent Hill tailors the experience of those that bear the weight of their sins, it's not unreasonable that this was an early reflection of his mind trying to tell him the truth. To stop him from running. To turn himself in.

Similarly, James finds a mannequin dummy wearing Mary's clothes, also in the apartments near the beginning of his journey. Ultimately a reminder of his crime. It shouldn't be there, but it is...

So how does James witness the delusions of Eddie's mind? We've already established a few times that the different worlds of those traversing the town can overlap, as they obviously do on multiple occasions. Perhaps Angela's stairway of fire is the most obvious, along with the rape-themed room in the Labyrinth, while the meat freezer represents more of Eddie's world than James'.

Perhaps this is why James can see the legs in the fridge that terrified Eddie into puking, and further the football and beauty posters in the next room.

Eddie immediately asserts his innocence to James in the apartment washroom, and it's likely he's telling the truth. He probably didn't kill the guy (or the "legs" if that's all that's there). But there is still something about the image that he wants to force to the back of his mind. Forgotten, as if it never happened.

He continues to run away from the truth until he's finally willing to embrace it down in the Labyrinth.

Still in the meat freezer listening to Eddie's recounting of the dog he killed and the owner he shot, James interjects.

"You think it's okay to kill people? You need help, Eddie!"
"Don't get all holy on me, James. This town called you, too. You and me are the same. We're not like other people. Don't you know that?"

Eddie knows James is a hypocrite. They both shared a moment in the apartments, revealing that something just brought them to the town. Eddie knows that he must also hold darkness inside if he's taking the same personal journey. "Don't get all holy on me, James. This town called you too."

And he's right. James is suffering from his own delusions, and while Eddie has completely accepted everything and embraced his new world and behaviour by this point, James continues to lie to himself.

Their final duel plays out and Eddie falls to the ground, succumbing to the injuries inflicted by James. The reality of the situation hits James quite hard.

"Eddie? Eddie! I... I killed a... a human being... A human being..."

As we suggested earlier, Eddie perhaps didn't kill a soul beyond the dog (and shooting but not killing its owner), making James the ultimate villain. He is the real murderer.

It's perhaps not that black and white since Eddie became a delusional psychopath and tried to kill James, who only defended himself. But it's an interesting metaphor, isn't it? James is the ultimate villain, a hypocrite who called out his friend for killing others and proceeded to kill him. Thus the ultimate hypocrite as well.

But it's also important to analyze how James fits into Eddie's delusion. Pyramid Head represents James' inner desire to accept the truth. The Abstract Daddy is perhaps Angela's equivalent. But what about Eddie? Who is his ultimate adversary, who despite what it appears to him, is only trying to help him reveal the truth?

It's James. James is Eddie's Pyramid Head. The difference is that Eddie does not survive the encounter, the test of his ability to accept the truth and its consequences. He is too far gone, too far deluded. A lost cause.

But Eddie has also played a similar role for James. The reality of him killing another human being leaves him in a state of despair and mourning, but immediately afterwards, James questions if he's hiding the truth from himself.

"Mary... Did you really die three years ago?"

And thus begins his path to the truth. Mary's words disappear from the letter. James views the videotape in room 312. The paper disappears from the envelope and the envelope disappears entirely after the Pyramid Heads execute Maria. And James ascends the rainy staircase to finish Maria himself, putting an end to his nightmare.

In some form because of Eddie, James saw the dangers of falling too deep into one's own delusions. He began questioning his world and himself. And while there were other major factors as well, he saw exactly the path he couldn't let himself fall into. Eddie's mistake was a lesson learned for James.

VIII. Pyramid Head

In order to uncover and comprehend the full plot of Silent Hill 2, it's crucially important to understand the role of James' ultimate adversary, Pyramid Head. But beware, while his intentions appear to challenge and stop James from completing his journey, this creature has a much more significant place in the story. And perhaps the notion that he is an adversary at all is far from the truth...

Even the very first appearance of Pyramid Head stands as a metaphor for his place in the rest of the game. A muffled scream in the apartments guides James to a set of bars blocking a hallway, and on the other side stands the ominous creature.

Black boots, white gloves, a butcher's gown, and a pyramid helmet over its head. Pyramid Head.

Note that as James observes the creature, it stares back through the bars as if a reflection... This is not a coincidence.

Inside the nearby room, a corpse sits in front of a TV blaring static. The corpse is the same character model as James, and to the observant eye the TV also looks very similar to the one in room 312. It serves as a foreshadowing metaphor of James' bullet of truth. The videotape.

And it is no coincidence that this is just after the very first sighting of Pyramid Head and what he represents. But we'll get into this shortly.

Our next meeting with the creature provides a disturbing insight into the sexual themes that are so interwoven throughout the plot. James walks in on Pyramid Head molesting two mannequins from behind. The mannequin bodies and limbs rub against one another, one lifts its legs over the other, perhaps invoking imagery of a lesbian or threesome fantasy.

But more significantly, images of sexual assault and abuse. Pyramid Head controls the mannequins from the dominant position behind them, his crotch against their "bodies", and they drop dead.

James even hides in the nearby closet to witness the voyeuristic scene unfold. Pyramid Head senses his presence, but is driven away by James' handgun fire.

This sexual imagery is demonstrated even more directly at the end of Blue Creek Apartments. James again walks in on Pyramid Head pleasuring himself inside the exit stairwell. Pyramid Head pulls in a Lying Figure by its buttocks, forcing its face into his crotch as he moans out of unmistakable and disturbing sexual pleasure.

In order to understand these sexual themes, what they mean and from where they're derived, we must take a step back. All the way back to Mary's hospitalization.

Before facing Mary in her bed at the very end of the game while locked into the Maria ending, James provides us with the appropriate insight.

"It was a long three years... I was... tired."

Unable to be intimate and have sexual intercourse with his hospitalized wife, and perhaps losing any desire to do so as her body and face transformed into what even Mary described as a "monster", James sexual desires and frustrations increased.

Every visit to the hospital to see Mary amplified his sexual urges. Nurses, perhaps among the most sexualized fantasies a man could imagine, surrounded him on each and every visit.

Their high heels clicking underneath their sexy legs, covered by form-fitting, white leotards. Leading up underneath their short skirts that James wished were even shorter. But if he were lucky with the right angle while walking up the stairs, he could get just a glimpse of their white panties covering their most private of parts. He could only fantasize further from there.

Even in Mary's hospital room, perhaps James would be tempted. A young 20s nurse, with beautiful blue eyes and a fit body, changing the bed sheets. Bent forward to lay the sheets would offer him a window to her bouncing breasts, and perhaps if he were the luckiest of boys, even a peak at a nipple with her bending further to tuck the sheets in.

His imagination running wild, he'd turn and see Mary. The bubbles of her diseased, discoloured skin, so bad that she could hardly keep one of her eyes fully open towards the end. His dear wife... yet ugly, bloated, disgusting... a monster. Of course he was attracted to anyone and everyone else.

Without trying to sound like an erotic romance novel with the above paragraphs, one has to truly put themselves in James' shoes and imagine what that might've been like to fully understand his frustrations. As a man, further who couldn't turn to his wife for sexual pleasure, his urges were uncontrollable. The more time that went on, the more extreme his urges became. Even walking behind a nurse in the hospital could get him going. Everything was a tease. This is an extremely important aspect to understand in the context of the game.

It is for this reason that every creature in the game is extremely sexual in nature. The Lying Figure with its shiny, wet skin and curvy buttocks, its arms tied up in a straitjacket of its own skin, as if waiting to be taken advantage of from behind. It even crawls around on the ground, ready in submission for rear entry from above.

The Mannequin... two "business ends" of a mannequin stacked on top of each other, only containing the vaginal sections and legs. While the breasts of a mannequin could perhaps be sexually-stimulating, they aren't actual sexual organs and thus not fully necessary for sexual imagery. But just the idea of two vaginas and sets of legs on top of each other seems fairly direct and to the point.

The Nurses are the most obvious of all. Low cut tops exposing their cleavage, extremely short miniskirts, way too short for any nurse to be wearing in a professional capacity. As sexually revealing as James wished they were in reality.

Mandarins and the Flesh Lips creatures with their large, wet and sexual lips (perhaps more resembling a different kind of lips?).

The Abstract Daddy, while perhaps merging from Angela's world, is a bed frame with one person on top of another, both covered with skin, merging them together as one. It clearly invokes the image of rape. Again, more connected to Angela's relationship with her father in taking the sexual imagery that far, but otherwise fitting in with the rest.

And lastly, Pyramid Head himself. Rather than him taking on a sexual appearance, he resembles the alpha. Notice that he is attracted to and harasses the same enemies that James sees (Lying Figures, Mannequins, and additionally Nurses in pre-release trailers)?

If you thought at any point here that I was overplaying the sexual nature of this game, including James frustrations demonstrated above, you are mistaken. The imagery is extremely clear, particularly with Pyramid Head, and important in setting the tone and themes that comprise the game.

Just as James wished he could act on his fantasies with nurses in Mary's hospital along with whatever other sexual urges he had, Pyramid Head acts on his urges entirely rent free. He is James without a leash. And he is a wild, sexual hunter. The alpha of all the sexual creatures.

All the creatures in Silent Hill 2 visually represent James' sexual frustrations during Mary's hospitalization. Pyramid Head represents his inner desire to act on those same frustrations and desires. But the connection to James is even stronger than that.

Notice that immediately upon leaving Maria in a patient room of the hospital, James gets knocked off the rooftop by Pyramid Head? Is this a warning? He's getting too close to Maria... an inner creation that is not real.

And further, once he reunites with Maria and tries to escape the hospital through the basement, it is Pyramid Head that no longer warns James. He outright attacks and kills Maria. Pyramid Head is making his intentions clear. He does not like Maria. But why?

In Maria's section, we've already established that she represents the delusions of James' mind. She is the perfect and improved recreation of Mary. But she is not real. She leads James on a path towards replacing Mary as James' love interest and preventing him from discovering the truth. She represents the deception of James' subconscious.

Pyramid Head is the opposite. Despite appearing as everything a villain should look and behave like, he has James' best interests at heart. He represents James' desire for the truth and to be punished for this truth. Thus Pyramid Head warns James on the hospital rooftop for getting too close, and kills the seductress in the basement hallway.

But alas, that is not the end of Maria. She reappears in the Labyrinth behind a set of bars while James aims to find her on the other side. But it's never going to work out down here, is it? After all, the Labyrinth holds Pyramid Head's lair.

And thus James discovers her murdered on the other side of the cell. Was it Pyramid Head that killed her? Absolutely.

Pyramid Head is not just killing her because they are adversaries, but more importantly to remind James that he killed Mary. The image of James watching over Maria's dead body on the narrow bed in the cell conjures up images of James killing Mary... again at her bedside.

We don't see Pyramid Head again until after the videotape where James finally learns the truth. By this point though, Maria kicks into hyperdrive to extend James' delusion, parading as Mary's desperate voice over his radio.

But on his way to her, Pyramid Head has one final test for James, and this time he brought a partner. There are two Pyramid Heads. And they have Maria hanging from a frame, waiting to be executed. It's almost straight out of the Misty day painting from the Historical Society, but keep that in mind as we'll get to it shortly.

James demands they leave them both the hell alone, still consumed by his delusion that Mary is still alive. Perpetuated by Maria, her ultimate replacement.

One Pyramid Head glances at the other. It's time. The other steps in and uses its spear to skewer Maria right in front of James. It's a final lesson demonstrating the balance of good vs evil in James' Silent Hill. The truth fighting the deception.

After all, Pyramid Head is not James's greatest adversary, but his greatest watcher and protector. Guiding him through the deceptive grasp of his true ultimate adversary, Maria.

As originally demonstrated in the very first appearance behind the bars in the apartments hallway, Pyramid Head is a reflection of James Sunderland. His desire to be punished and reminded of the truth, all while acting on the same sexual urges that consumed James over the last three years.

James collapses to his knees after witnessing the latest execution of Maria and finally acknowledges what we've already suspected.

"I was weak. That's why I needed you. Needed someone to punish me for my sins. But that's all over now... I know the truth. Now it's time to end this."

This speaks of Maria just as much as Pyramid Head as both sides were needed to guide him to the truth. Perhaps relevant, consider the following quote:

"In the absence of that which is not, that which is, is not."

Effectively here, without bad how can you know what is good? And without good how can you know what is bad? James needed both sides of his subconscious to help him uncover the truth, since without the other side the truth or delusion would've been unchallenged.

Once James has made his final realization and acceptance of the truth, the Pyramid Heads have served their purpose. They stick around a little longer to test James' will. His ability to fight back against his delusions, which he'll need to do to defeat his greatest demon, Maria.

Once the Pyramid Heads see that James has learned and is mentally capable, they kill themselves with their spears. Their existence is no longer necessary. They have accomplished their ultimate goal. It is now all in James' hands.

But we're still left with some questions. What is Pyramid Head's origin? Where did he come from? Can only James see him? To understand all this, we have to go all the way back to the civil war in the town of Silent Hill.

Inside the Historical Society, James finds a large painting from the town's past. It depicts several hanging corpses, held within metal frames not at all unlike the Flesh Lips and Mary/Maria's final form. A man in a familiar butcher's gown, wearing a pyramid-shaped helmet and holding a spear, stares towards the viewer. Underneath, a caption.

"Misty day, remains of the Judgment"

This painting certainly comes off under the context of a mass execution. It's not the only association between Pyramid Head and execution either. Engraved into the gallows in the Toluca Prison courtyard is an image of a man hanging by a noose, flanked by two Pyramid Heads holding spears. This image itself essentially becomes recreated with Maria near the end of the game. For a little more context, there is a small room with some captioned paintings in a corridor underneath the Historical Society but before the start of the prison. One of them touches on the creation of the prison.

"Toluca Prison Camp

Built during the Civil War. Later became Toluca Prison."

So Toluca Prison was built as a POW camp during the civil war. Another painting in the room shows two men wearing white robes and red hoods, to the caption of "Crimson and White Banquet for the Gods". As if the very inspiration for the eventual Pyramid Head garb and helmet.

Another painting illustrates several corpses on skewers.

"Death by Skewering

An execution at the prison.
Death by Skewering or Strangling.
To choose his death is the prisoner's last taste of freedom."

The idea of skewering also falls in line with spears that the Pyramid Heads hold in the Misty day painting and the prison gallows.

With all this context, we can gather that the white robes and pyramid helmet were the guise of Silent Hill's executioners during the civil war. They carried out public executions of POWs at Toluca Prison Camp, where prisoners had the choice of hanging or skewering to end their lives. The Pyramid Head executioners represented the image of judgment in the town.

How does all this fall into line with the Pyramid Head James sees? Does he exist to execute James? Well, not quite. But the image of an executioner represents punishment very appropriately, doesn't it?

While visiting Silent Hill three years ago, James must've seen the "Misty day" painting on a trip to the Historical Society with Mary -- likely her idea, infatuated with the town and wanting to know more. The striking image of "judgment" stuck with James, and while needing a form and "face" to represent his desire for punishment and truth, he turned to this image. And thus Pyramid Head was manifested from James' memory of the painting as the ultimate symbol of judgment. And truth.

While his image and history is very much a part of the town's past, "Pyramid Head" is entirely of James' creation, only for his eyes to see. Eddie specifically reveals he hasn't seen the thing in the apartments and the only character beyond James to interact with it in any form is Maria, another of his mind's manifestations.

And it is for this very interaction between Pyramid Head and Maria, the repeated killing of James' greatest inner demon and delusion, that Pyramid Head primarily exists. To both combat James' denial of the truth and remind him of the murder of his wife.

It's also of note that the hanging bodies in frames from the painting also contribute to the imagery of Mary/Maria's final form, along with the Flesh Lips. After all, every creature and manifestation comes from the depths of James' subconscious. A mash of memories, feelings, pains, desires, lies and truths.

IX. Born from a Wish

Already with a general understanding of Maria from the main scenario, Born From A Wish offers up a unique insight into her inception and how she came to understand and embrace her purpose. It also allows us to see a whole different range of emotions from who she later becomes, as she has yet to find herself. Ask yourself if you recognize this person as you progress through it.

Maria explains her earliest thoughts and memories at the beginning of the scenario.

"When I woke up, I was all alone."

She was all alone because she awoke into existence in a version of the town manifested from James' delusions. And she is the centerpiece of it all. James' greatest desire and demon. But she doesn't know it yet.

As we discussed in Maria's section, she takes the form of a dancer who worked at Heaven's Night, and perhaps she was partially created in the image of a dancer who really did work there.

"Everyone's gone... Is it because of those monsters?"

Why does she see monsters? Because she is wholly a part of James' manifestations. She sees creatures just as they see each other (in fact she is one herself, just in another form). And further, Maria doesn't see any creature that James doesn't see himself. Just Lying Figures, Mannequins and Creepers.

"But I'm scared to die. I'm so afraid of pain."

And thus begins the slowly-infiltrating presence of Mary's memories and persona. Maria is both a concoction of what Mary was and what James wished she was. An idealized Mary.

"I want to find somebody. I don't like being alone..."

Maria was created to serve as James' companion. Thus to her it's instinct to find another human. She simply doesn't yet know that it's James she's meant to find.

Through her desire to find another soul, she discovers a mansion owned by Ernest Baldwin, whom she finds hiding behind a door on the second floor. She just wants to see another human face, but he refuses to open the door and would rather Maria leave him alone. His voice speaks that of a damaged soul.

Maria asks if he knows about the monsters, to which he replies yes, but it's of no concern to him. Maria questions him further.

"You want to be alone in this insane asylum?"
"Yes, exactly."

But the lingering thought of Maria's previous question bothers him. He addresses it.

"But how can you say that it is this town that is insane? Perhaps it is we who are insane. Both of us... hopelessly insane."

And we are left with a perfect summation of the town of Silent Hill. The town that manifests the delusions of those who bear the weight of their crimes. You can only blame yourself for what you see...

But does Ernest see the same creatures? Likely not. He's demonstrated that he knows how the town works regardless, so he could simply just understand what Maria talks of. Further, he tells her they've got nothing to do with him. Because those creatures are instead of James' concern.

Maria eventually leaves Ernest alone, allowing her to hear a thump and a series of steps coming from the living room. Inside, the fireplace cover has fallen, revealing a ladder.

At the top of the ladder is a gravestone memorial, perhaps offering some early context into Ernest's story. The engraved epitaph on it reads:

"Along with you died joy. All that remains is despair and a future of meaningless tomorrows.

But I will never give up. One, to see your beautiful smile again. One, to beg the blessings of the Gods. I wait for that day.

When the boards cover all All sadness too will be covered But until my dreams return to reality I will have to swallow all the pain."

The first paragraph clearly implies a lost loved one, leaving Ernest in his evident state of despair. While this epitaph also serves as a riddle in the scenario, it does hint at some hope... blessing of the Gods. By observing the board backgrounds you may understand what that means.

Maria soon stumbles across a child's room which begins to tell more of the story. Everything in the room is covered with dust while a calendar from ten years ago hangs on the wall. Interestingly, a box of matches sits on the nightstand.

As an aside, if Maria examines the stuffed animals on the dresser, she offers up some extremely interesting comments.

"Oh is this a teddy bear? It's not very well-made, but it's sort of cute anyway. I bet Laura would love it. She loves bears. ..."Laura"?? Who am I talking about...?"

Where is this coming from? Simple. Mary's memories are slowly slipping into her mind. Remember that Maria starts to show an attachment towards Laura while in the hospital with James later on, despite having never met her. And even further on in the Labyrinth she remembers the videotape that James left at the hotel three years ago. She is gradually becoming wise to her past and what her purpose is. But right now it's nothing more than a blip.

In the nearby attic, Maria is disrupted by a ruckus of sounds and overlapping voices in a state of panic.

"Oh no, she fell out the window!"
"Call an ambulance!"
"Don't move her!"
"What happened?"

But no one is in the attic. In fact, it's dark enough that Maria needs to light a candle up here with the matches she found in the child's room. Were those forgotten? The new light source reveals a wrapped present and birthday card hidden under a chair. It reads the following.


And we begin to understand just what happened here... As Maria attempts to leave, the voice of a young girl speaks out.

"Give it... to my daddy..."

The ghost of the girl remains in the place of her death, asking Maria to do what she wasn't able to: give her father his birthday gift.

Upon returning to Ernest, he no longer waits in lounge but instead the study on the other side of the house. He wished to slip away and be left alone but Maria found him anyway, and she has some questions for him.

"Do you know a little girl named Amy?"
"Why do you ask me that?"
"This letter, 'TO MY DEAREST DADDY'... It's from a girl named Amy Baldwin."

And then it suddenly clicks.

"You're 'DADDY'?"
"Yes. Where did you find that?"
"Up in the attic."

And this time Ernest puts it all together. What happened on that day...

"Oh... What a fool... Now... when it's too late, I finally understand why. Why she was there... Why she was holding that empty envelope when she... when she fell..."

This helps us paint the picture a little more clearly. That Amy hid up in the attic to wrap his birthday present and card. But it was so dark up there and she forgot the matches in her room.

Perhaps she needed some light to write "Daddy" on the envelope, or perhaps what makes the most sense of all, is that she heard her daddy coming up the steps to see what she was doing. She panicked, hid the present and card under the table and tried to escape through the window so that she didn't have to explain herself and ruin the surprise.

But through her rushing panic, she slipped and fell out the window with the envelope still in her hand, and her father just caught the glimpse of her falling. She didn't survive...

He never found the card or the present and always wondered why she was holding that empty envelope... Until today, thanks to Maria.

Maria apologizes for erupting those memories from the past.

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry I reminded you."
"No need to apologize. You didn't remind me. I've never forgotten... Maria. Some things we forget and some things we can never forget."

He asks for the letter he never got to see, and Maria slips it under the door. And then suddenly he realizes something...

"Maria...? So you must be... That's why. That's why you could see me."
"So perhaps that means that I can hope for a miracle as well?"
"What do you mean?"

Ernest clearly realizes that Maria isn't any normal human. The line about "That's why you could see me" is perhaps a translation mistake, perhaps more referring to interacting with him rather than seeing per se. But we'll have to wait a little longer to fully understand what' he's getting at.

Ernest explains that there's a bottle of white liquid in the apartment next door that he'd like Maria to get for him. Because he can't. But why?

White liquid... white chrism? This is a piece of the ritual to bring back the dead. One of the four ceremonial pieces James needs to perform the rebirth of Mary in the Rebirth ending. Ernest wants to try the same ritual....

You'll notice the familiar "Lost Memories" book on a table in the room, which further discusses the "Resurrection of the Dead" as Maria flips through it. The three boards that had to be inserted into the gravestone above the fireplace also contained images of the white chrism (white board), obsidian goblet (black board) and "Crimson Ceremony" book (red board).

Notice anything about where the boards are located? The black and red boards are right beside the grave, within reach of ending his sadness. But the white board is across the mansion on a far away balcony... out of reach. It represents the final piece he was unable to obtain. And we've already witnessed the green "Lost Memories" book in his possession in this room.

Maria has read the book and seen the written notes left by Ernest, now piecing together what he's attempting.

"Ernest, do you really believe it will work?"
"I don't know..."

Uncertain, but truthful. And so Maria sets out to complete the final leg of Ernest's search for the last ceremonial item and returns it to him. Ernest offers thanks and enlightens her as to why he had her collect it.

"That's the only item I couldn't get myself. By the time I found out about it, I could no longer leave this house. So long..."
"Yes, but will..."
"Maria, the Gods are here. You know it too. You were born in this town."

Indeed, born from a wish. The wish of James Sunderland. But she fires back at the notion of Gods.

"I'm not sure 'God' is the right word."
"Do you believe in Fate?"
"Not really."
"That's fine then."

But Maria wants to see the man's face. After doing what he wanted, the least he could do is offer a face-to-face conversation. But he won't open the door.

"This is a dead end. There's nothing beyond here."
"I know."

But she doesn't understand what he truly means. She rewinds her thoughts to his previous question, provoking an intriguing direction for the conversation.

"So... What if I had said I believed in Fate?"
"That James, he's a bad man."

The name sounds familiar but Maria can't quite place it... She mulls it over until she's able to dive deep enough into her mind, full of someone else's memories waiting to be unlocked.

"Y, yes... I know."
"He's looking for the you that isn't you."

The you that is Mary, not Maria.

"Because he's kind."

Maria says, almost asking herself. And then she realizes what is happening here. How does he know these things?

"Do you... know something?"
"Yes... Maria, you're..."

Scared of his answer, she stops him.

"Anyway that's just what you think. You don't really know anything. That's fine."

It is this moment that Maria learns she was created by and for James. Up until now she was not necessarily bound by him, or didn't realize it. The thought that she's not just a normal, real human being and instead just an illusion of someone's lost mind frightens her, leading to her response above.

Ernest doesn't challenge her further, but he has already planted the seed. And thus he's set Maria on her path.

Maria takes the opportunity to open the door, revealing an empty room. As he said, "This is a dead end. There's nothing beyond here." Ernest is a ghost. Perhaps it is even his own body that lies just outside the entrance to his mansion, going the same way his daughter did but through suicide. Driven to the very end through his own suffering.

Perhaps now we understand why he couldn't leave to acquire the white liquid, as he may be confined to just his house where the spirit of his memory is strong enough to withhold his alternate existence. But not elsewhere.

But how does he know about James? Perhaps it is the energy in the air surrounding Maria. Through his supernatural state he can sense the connection to her creator and his intentions... That he is a "bad man", here to be punished.

The empty room leaves an overbearing weight of sadness on Maria's face. In this moment she is well and truly alone, having failed her mission to find somebody.

Maria leaves the mansion and passes through the apartment building to the alleyway leading to the park. The discovery of Ernest's truth has brought her to an extreme state of despair. She raises her revolver to her head.

Perhaps she recalls Ernest's suggestion. That she exists purely for James. Is this what she wants? Is it worth it to go on and serve someone else? We continue to see Maria in her greatest moment of despair, showing a level of emotion and seriousness that we do not witness anywhere else.

And then... her arm begins to lower, and she flicks the gun away.

She has accepted her role. And she sets out towards Rosewater Park. To wait for her creator. The man that conjured up an idealized fantasy of his wife. The man that wants her.