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Just Passing Through
 Post subject: Mary's Letter
     
         
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Missing since: 12 Aug 2010
Notes left: 38
I've always considered the letter James received from Mary as a manifestation of his own creation, but I just finished up a replay of the game and came to a completely different conclusion. I did a quick search of the boards and didn't come up with anything of this nature (if I missed anything, I do apologize) but I thought I'd throw it out there.

The letter James receives from Mary in the beginning is a short version of the one read after the final cutscene, one that leads us to believe, as she states, that she's "alone in Silent Hill, waiting for [James]." but the full version reveals that this letter is written BEFORE she dies. I always attributed this to James recreating a forgiveness letter in the end, seeing as there's no way the final conversation actually happened the way it did, but I'm starting to think that this letter is legit.

James is meant to receive the letter after her death, which means that it's entirely possible that "I'm waiting for you in Silent Hill at our Special Place" might refer to something else entirely, I think it may refer to the video tape. She might be gone, but a memory of her and their time together is still there.

This also answers another problem I've always had with the series, Laura. I've always considered her, like Maria, to be a manifestation of the town, but if she received a similar "When I'm Gone" letter from Mary, it gives her not only plausible reason to be in SH, but becomes a believable part of the story.

The only part I'm fuzzy on is how, if this letter was real, James would know enough of it to selectively dump the end from his memory and chase her down via the hopeful beginning (Dead Space, anyone?) in the first place if he's instructed to get it after she's dead, but he's the one who killed her in the first place. I suppose it's entirely possible that he informed the hospital she was dead (since she was told she could go home for a 'short time', assuming she'd be back) and they gave him the letter, he read the beginning, and then went off on his delusional rescue mission.

The only part about this I don't like is that I've always preferred the "IN WATER" ending. It cleans everything up so nicely, makes the story beautiful (especially if you consider they're submerged together of one buys into the 'body in the trunk' theory DONTHITME) but then... what of Laura?

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Historical Society Historian
 Post subject: Re: Mary's Letter

Missing since: 15 Jul 2003
Notes left: 2368
Neither letter is 'real' in the sense that it was the original letter Mary wrote for James. They are manifestations created by the powers of Silent Hill in state of James' psyche at the time.

The original letter that Mary wrote for James was given to Rachel, so that it may be sent to James upon her death. What needs to be considered here is that in order for Rachel to send Mary's letter to James, she would have needed to be informed of her death. This is made unlikely since James killed her prematurely. Mary's death would be unknown to anyone, but James himself.

(A supporting evidence that Mary's death was unknown to anyone else is in Silent Hill 4 -The Room-, where both James and Frank's "daughter-in-law" are stated to have disappeared into Silent Hill.)

So, James never gets the letter, and it is in Laura's possession during the course of the game.

One of the powers of Silent Hill that generally get overlooked is its power to communicate thoughts, transcending time, manifested in the form of letters and creepy phone calls. Both letters are bi-products of that power. Mary's thoughts as written in the letter are being communicated through the power of Silent Hill.

However, like all manifestations, they can be warped through the current state of one's psyche.

Imagine someone having to listen to another, but only picking up the pieces that he wants to hear and ignoring everything else. This is what essentially happens with the initial letter. Silent Hill will communicate Mary's thoughts to him, but whether James will hear them or not is another matter.

James' denial of Mary's death made it impossible for Mary's complete thoughts to be communicated to James. Only enough thoughts are communicated to James to give him the false sense that Mary is still alive somewhere.

When James starts to realize his sins, the faux letter gradually disappears as the source of this product - denial - slowly fades out.

The final letter is another product of Silent Hill where Mary's thoughts are communicated but unlike the initial one, this one is complete because James no longer is in denial and has admitted to his sins.

It is worth noting, though, that the narration of Mary's complete letter doesn't happen in the Rebirth ending. This can be interpreted in a number of ways.

Konami's official Silent Hill 2 novelette shows Laura actually finding Mary's letter to James that she had originally implied to have lost in the hotel in the game proper. This scene from the novelette gives credit to the idea that both the initial and final letter are not the physical ones that Mary originally wrote for James.

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Subway Guard
 Post subject: Re: Mary's Letter

Missing since: 20 Jun 2010
Notes left: 1627
@Burning Man, you've just blown my mind. :shock: I never really gave much thought into the letter at the start of the game. I knew it wasn't real, but I assumed it was created by James. I guess I just assumed that he may have seen it at one stag somehow, and blocked it out. But of course I knew that couldn't be right because Laura had it.


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Historical Society Historian
 Post subject: Re: Mary's Letter
     
         
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Missing since: 29 Jun 2009
Notes left: 2301
Her letter is consistent no matter what ending you get. ( i mean the letter that is read at the end of the game)
Becuase its consistent, it means that the letter is no manifestation at all. Its the real thing, unlike the dead wife letter james carries with him, which slowly disappears the more he progresses.

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Historical Society Historian
 Post subject: Re: Mary's Letter
     
         
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Missing since: 01 May 2006
Notes left: 1881
Last seen at: in the branches that blow
Burning Man wrote:
It is worth noting, though, that the narration of Mary's complete letter doesn't happen in the Rebirth ending. This can be interpreted in a number of ways.


I always thought that was the same!
The different letters exist for this ending probably because James is in complete denial about how she died but still recognizes her death. In the ending letter he never really reads anything, the town is telling him as he goes, so I could see how neither letter is actually in his possession.
Does the first letter in the rebirth ending still disappear?

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Moderator
 Post subject: Re: Mary's Letter
     
         
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Missing since: 15 Apr 2004
Notes left: 11052
Last seen at: In the anals of forum history
Xev wrote:
Does the first letter in the rebirth ending still disappear?


It would have to, because Rebirth has only one condition and it is either 100% or 0%, unlike how the other endings clearly operate on some mystical points system which is determined by several varying factors.

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Just Passing Through
 Post subject: Re: Mary's Letter
     
         
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Missing since: 12 Aug 2010
Notes left: 38
@Burning Man

Very much what I meant in terms of the "original" physical letter. Where that ends up (which you've now clarified was with Laura) was a loose end I was willing to let go, but I'm glad there's plenty of consideration to be had about the reading in the Endings being more than just James' own creation - ie: The town still communicated real intentions and truths.

If the letter James hears in the endings (though not the original letter in Laura's possession) is based in true feelings of Mary, how would you personally interpret the "I'm there alone now, waiting for you." part? In your opinion, is this something the town took some liberties with to draw him in, or a metaphor created by Mary herself?

I was having fun playing with the idea that it was a kind-hearted reference from Mary for him to find her in the form of the tape (a memory of her still happy, beautiful and a symbol of how she'd like to be remembered) especially as the tape is what reveals to him the truth in the end, anyway. Seeing as he never ended up in the original physical "resort town" SH to begin with, it's fair to say the tape isn't the original copy either, but it still confers the truths through SH's power, following your logic (which I agree with, for the record). Again, this may just be the Dead Space pattern creeping into my SH logic.

As for the Rebirth ending, I've always written it off as one of the "Abnormal" endings (UFO, Dog) simply because of the SH4 memo you've referenced -- They never made a reappearance. That alone always stuck me with the impression that "In Water" was the only realistic ending.

I find it hard to grasp that after all that rich symbolism and raw emotion, that Laura'd just keep quiet forever, or Maria wouldn't get the generic fatal disease and die, or that James would be content living with getting away with murder just because Silent Hill conferred Mary's sentiment that "Hey, it's cool, you've suffered enough." -- all the while never making contact with his father again. Any of those other endings could have happened, but they just don't fit with the "FEEL" of SH to me. They're, for lack of a better word, just so excruciatingly anticlimactic and lame.

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RESPECT
 Post subject: Re: Mary's Letter
     
         
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Missing since: 19 Jul 2003
Notes left: 19401
Last seen at: #lfk
>is this something the town took some liberties with to draw him in, or a metaphor created by Mary herself?<
Mary's writing from the hospital. The fact "she's alone there now, waiting for you," indicates she's writing from a hospital in Silent Hill.

>As for the Rebirth ending, I've always written it off as one of the "Abnormal" endings<
I disagree.

>They're, for lack of a better word, just so excruciatingly anticlimactic and lame.<
And driving into a lake, a glorified GAME OVER, isn't anticlimactic?

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Just Passing Through
 Post subject: Re: Mary's Letter
     
         
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Missing since: 12 Aug 2010
Notes left: 38
>she's writing from [a hospital in Silent Hill.]
I was skeptical up until I got to the bits about the diary and bears. I like this theory quite a bit. And as far as the layout of Brookhaven goes, the first floor would indeed be for the less disturbed patients. Brookhaven was built in 1860, and most mental institutions built after the mid-1800s follow (at least vaguely) the Kirkbride Plan style of layout - which keeps the most successful and normal patients close to the entrance and lobby, to exhibit a look of effectiveness and normality to change the perceived atmosphere.

This would also account for why Maria acted more sickly during the visit to Brookhaven and (provided that ending is achieved) post-Hotel.

Just to play devil's advocate, not challenge a theory I rather enjoy entertaining, I just have a hard time suspending my disbelief when it comes to St. Jerome's just shipping off an enrolled patient to another facility because she preferred the locale and was sad -- and then that Brookhaven told her she's "been released" and "has got to go home," as the diary states, when the letter says she was told she can "go home for a short time." Is this a bad translation as was the "family to feed" line?

>[I Disagree]
I love the way this is presented, even if happy endings in Silent Hill bug me; even Harry got torn to pieces after escaping. I wouldn't seek to discredit this theory's plausibility, it's more solid than anything I've got to offer as far as Rebirth goes. At the very least, I'd hesitate to ever say I consider it an "abnormal" again after that presentation. I don't know that I'd buy that he pulled it off, but I'd certainly buy that the ending can be legit.

Just to be picky, though, Maria was "born" in the Foggy world, which I've always understood as separate from physical SH - if she simply went back to her job at Heaven's Night, how would she get to the physical world and live happily ever after (as happy as strippers in small resort towns get) enough to pop up in a flyer? Or would we simply consider this flyer a type of "Fallout" effect from the previous events there?

>And driving into a lake, a glorified GAME OVER, isn't anticlimactic?
Lmao! I thought it was beautiful {frown}

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Moderator
 Post subject: Re: Mary's Letter
     
         
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Missing since: 15 Apr 2004
Notes left: 11052
Last seen at: In the anals of forum history
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I've made fun of that god-awful stupid ending so many times it forms its own narrative.

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Historical Society Historian
 Post subject: Re: Mary's Letter
     
         
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Missing since: 29 Jun 2009
Notes left: 2301
That was great lol

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Gravedigger
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Missing since: 07 Mar 2007
Notes left: 541
Last seen at: South Carolina, USA
Wow lol, nice. Good points and theories here! They all sound like they could work, but we have to remember that some things must be left to how each of us percieves it.


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Historical Society Historian
 Post subject: Re: Mary's Letter
     
         
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Missing since: 18 Jul 2004
Notes left: 2099
Last seen at: Australia
I hate that ending too, Ryan. The flying car of death is awesome.

I've never felt that the letter James has is the 'real' one. I've always felt the letter that drew him to Silent Hill was 'bait' (whether it was created purely by his mind or wether Silent Hill's magic had something to do with it, I'm not certain).


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My Bestsellers Clerk
 Post subject: Re: Mary's Letter
     
         
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Missing since: 08 Aug 2010
Notes left: 362
I love the 'makeover' you gave James. That's awesome.

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