Dionysos

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In the World of Ruin, the party's morale is at its lowest.

If the player takes Cyan to Doma Castle (the ruins of the kingdom he served, where his family and the king he had sworn to protect had been murdered by Kefka earlier in the game) and spends the night there, three 'Dream Stooges' known as Larry, Curly, and Moe (or Laragorn, Curlax, and Moebius, to give them their full names in some versions of the game) seize the opportunity to jump into Cyan's dreams and feast on his soul... It also turns out that a more powerful demon called Wrexsoul is also feasting on Cyan's torment. In an attempt to rescue Cyan from his torment, the player party follows the dream demons and somehow manage to jump into Cyan's dreams... It is a fairly weird moment among Final Fantasy scenes, but usually people just roll with it without thinking too deeply...

But let us think about this for a moment...

In Cyan's dreams (dubbed the 'Dreamscape' or 'Dream Dungeon') the player passes through various dreamlike reconstructions of locations the player has visited with Cyan during the events of the game: the Phantom Train, Narshe Mines, and then Doma Castle itself. The player sometimes catches glimpses of Cyan being chased through his dreams, and also witnesses flashbacks (or memories) to aspects of Cyan's life before he joined the party (such as family scenes like a tender scene with Cyan's wife, and Cyan training his son). Additionally, the dream-figures of Cyan's wife and child (Elayne and Owain) urge the party to help save his soul from Wrexsoul.

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These aspects of the dream are clearly manifestations of Cyan's waking regrets of not being able to save his family and kingdom. The inclusion of Phantom Train in his dream ties into this too since Cyan had seen phantoms of his wife and child board the train and leave for the afterlife earlier in the game. Cyan is dreaming about the train which took his family away from him forever...
Wrexsoul sitting in the throne of the King of Doma might signify Cyan's feeling of regret at having failed his king, and he feels that he deserves his suffering.


And yet, there are other aspects of the Dreamscape which people might overlook in the form of random encounters (many of them unique to the Dreamscape)...

For example:
AlluringRider-ffvi-ios (1).png



Is the 'Alluring Rider' (also known as 'Critic') a fantasy of Cyan's mind? Is this a 'Pink Elephants on Parade' moment in the game? Is a half-naked lady riding on a flying, green tapir-like demon a good thing, or a bad thing? The lady holds a whip, so maybe she is there to punish Cyan at the same time as taunting him with her nudity?

Or is she something that the Dream Stooges placed in Cyan's dream for a practical joke?

Likewise Coco (sometimes called Barb-e) is a confident, powerful-looking woman holding a smoking cigarette. Is this something which is intimidating to the chivalrous Cyan Garamonde? The flashback scene in dream-Doma with Cyan's wife suggests that Cyan was very conservative when it came to his behaviour towards his wife, and did not like to flirt or be seen to admit his feeling for her (he eventually does after being coerced). Maybe this is coming to haunt him in his dreams as he regrets not being more open with his feelings for his wife.

The player also encounters 'Pandora', which is a box with limbs opening its own lid clearly meant to be channeling 'Pandora's Box'... So Cyan dreaming about Pandora's Box being open and the universal ills of mankind being unleashed clearly shows his current state of mind.

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Cyan may also appear to be dreaming of dinosaurs through the random encounter monster 'Weredragon' (also called Allosaurus or Allosaur). Is Cyan afraid of dinosaurs? Is he being chased through his dreams by ferocious theropods?

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Finally, alongside many other monsters which mainly serve to represent the particular memory the Dreamscape is tapping into at any particular moment, there are also creatures called 'Parasite', which are floating parasites with skull-like heads, implying that they are sucking the life from Cyan. These may be connected with the three Dream Stooges, or perhaps to Wrexsoul (all of which are feasting on Cyan's soul)...

So... Cyan had it pretty bad that night.

But how much of the Dreamscape do you think was Cyan's own subconscious mind, and how much was manipulated / affected by the dream demons?

Discuss!
 

Ilyena

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I imagine that the dream demons could really only work with what was in his subconscious already so I think a good portion of it was his subconscious mind displaying his guilty feelings. The random encounters I'm not sure about. I imagine those were probably less tied to his mind and just dungeon-unique creations.

:chocobuncle:
 

Dionysos

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I’ve been reading a bit recently about the Baku (Japanese supernatural dream-eating tapir creatures). The Alluring Rider is riding on a tapir-like demon creature, so its placement within the nightmare realm of Cyan gains an additional level of significance.


alluringrider-ffvi-ios-1-png.6084
1024px-KonnoHachiman-Sculpture-1.jpg

Left, Alluring Rider.
Right, a Baku sculpture at the Konnoh Hachimangu Shrine,
Shibuya, Tokyo. Image by Momotarou2012.

As for whether any of these random encounter enemies were the result of intentional placement or not, that is difficult to deduce with certainty. But many of them seem quite fitting. Square Enix have done stranger things with the apt placement of monsters in dungeons, so I wouldn’t be too surprised some of them were intended to connect with their surroundings in some way.
 

Belle T

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I think you are correct that the more flirtatious encounters represent the difficulties Cyan suffers in expressing feelings of intimacy and sexuality, immensely heightened by the death of his wife and son. But I don't necessarily think they represent his regrets in not expressing these emotions when he had the chance. There is a moment in the game prior to the World of Ruin in which a couple of women flirt with Cyan and Edgar and the former is clearly uncomfortable. In my interpretation, Cyan is in a situation where he wants to move on, meet other girls, and start anew, but the idea of doing that after being married and having a child still feels wrong to him. It's only in the Dreamscape when the spirit of his deceased wife sets his heart free does Cyan allow himself to move on and create a new life for himself, which implicitly means putting himself back on the dating scene, meeting other girls, and potentially having a new child with someone else.

As for the Allosaurs, look we've all seen Jurassic Park. There's only one conclusion we can draw from this.

LSt1fUF.jpg


Some men are just sexually attracted to dinosaurs. It's part of life.
 
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