Dormin (Japanese: ドルミン Dorumin) is the mysterious entity residing in the Forbidden Lands, and an ambiguously-motivated pseudo-antagonist of Shadow of the Colossus. Dormin communicates with Wander both through a large sunlit aperture in the ceiling of the Shrine of Worship, and during colossus battles will provide Wander with occasional hints if he is having difficulty.
Dormin makes a deal with Wander: slay the sixteen colossi and Mono will be resurrected. Each time a colossus is killed, several black tendrils come from the fatal wound and embed themselves in Wander's body. It soon becomes clear that these tendrils are the once-separated fragments of Dormin, quarantined inside each of the sixteen colossi in hopes of preventing his resurrection. As Wander is transported back to the Shrine for the last time, the sixteen pieces of Dormin combine in Wander's lifeless body and Dormin reforms as a shadowy being as large as many of the colossi. Dormin terrorizes Lord Emon and his men in the main hall of the Shrine as they make their escape to the back of the Shrine. Dormin attempts to follow them but is slowed down due to Wander's injured leg. Upon reaching the top of the spiral staircase, Emon says an incantation and throws the Ancient Sword into the shallow pool. A whirlwind is created and the essence of Dormin is slowly stripped away until all that remains is Wander's figure, completely covered in shadow, which is presently sucked in as well. The only remnant of Dormin or Wander is a mysterious infant bearing two stubby horns on its head, which is discovered by a resurrected Mono shortly after Emon's men flee the Lands.
OriginEditDormin holds knowledge of a great power, and for this reason was sealed away as a menacing being in the ancient past. It is for this reason the ancient land is a forbidden place, and the reason making it so was seen as necessary for the people. Dropping the entirety of the bridge to seal off the land — as is done late in the game — wasn't performed, though, as it's the very thing used to walk out.
It could be said that the black bands that pierce Wander's body when each colossus falls are a symbol of Dormin's power entering his body. The silhouettes that surround Wander in the temple are each one portion of Dormin. An alternative explaination is that the black bands which pierce Wander's body once being expelled from each of the colossi are fragments of Dormin's soul, binding themselves to Wander.
The tormented human-esque silhouettes could be fragments of Wander's own soul. This is because in the beginning of the game, Dormin expells the human-esque shades with the light before they have a chance to approach Wander, perhaps in an attempt to aid or warn him some how. Wander's soul being incomplete and shattered, along with being expelled from his body are now lost and trapped within the shadowy realm between this world and the next. Filled with sorrow, confusion and all sort of dark emotion they glipse through the veil at the body they once inhabited before fate dealt them the hand of experiencing this lesser existance.
After his body becomes Dormin, it's still half-Wander and his consciousness remains able to function.
Voices and genderEdit
Voiced by Kazuhiro Nakata and Kyōko Hikami, Dormin speaks with both a male and female voice in loose synchronization. Because of this, fans have often debated over the correct pronoun to use. The plural pronouns they and them are often used because of Dormin's dual voices. Lord Emon notably refers to Dormin using the masculine pronoun he in the final scenes (though Dormin continues to use the plural we).
Origin of given nameEdit
- Dormin is possibly a misconjugation of dormit (it sleeps) or play on the Latin word dormiō, which means sleep. Dormiēns is the present active participle of dormiō. Dormin's powers remain locked away in the Forbidden Lands, where he rests in the shrine waiting to be awoken by one who possesses the Ancient Sword to awaken him and bring forth his resurrection. Thus it can be assumed that it is intended that Dormin refers to themself as "The Sleepers" or "The Sleeping".
- Dormin is a proper conjugation in Catlan, a heavily Greek and Latin influenced Romance language. It is a third-person plural present subjunctive as well as a third-person plural imperative form of the word dormir (to sleep) depending on the context.
- It could also be a composition of the Latin dormiō and the word min, which depending on the etymology could either mean "less", "a memory" or "to remember". So one could speculate that additional translations of Dormin's name result in; "The Sleepless", "Without Sleep", "A Sleeping Memory", or even the notion of sleep itself.
- Dormin is "Nimrod" backwards, which could possibly refer to the biblical king Nimrod who was said to be the originator of false worship. Also, Nimrod was to be credited with the creation of the Tower of Babel, a tower which led mortals into forbidden territory, the territory of God. King Nimrod's death resulted in his body being cut into multiple pieces and dispersed, similar to parts of Dormin's soul being held within the colossi.
- Given the many possible roots of Dormin's name deriving from sleep, and the fact that Dormin is able to bring souls back from the afterlife (seeing as Wander asks it to "Return her (Mono's) soul back to her body," and not to return her to life), one could determine that sleep in this case is referring to Eternal Sleep or Eternal Rest, i.e. death. Thus it could be inferred that Dormin is in itself death, with control over souls and the afterlife. It had its powers separated and entombed in the Forbidden Lands so that death can not manifest itself unchecked in the land of mortals.