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All of the Corrupted were either part of Elika's family, or part of the royal court

Elika becomes especially distraught when fighting the Corrupted, despite the fact that they are clearly evil and need to be killed in order to heal the land. In fact, Elika takes The Prince's habit of taunting the Corrupted quite personally. The most obvious is of course the Concubine, who is Elika's mother (She calls herself the Queen, she is found in the portion of the world that Elika says her mother loved...), The Warrior is probably Elika's grandfather, The Hunter is likely to be her brother, and the Alchemist is probably the court vizier (which is also why Elika doesn't particularly get upset when The Prince beats him). That's why Elika is so bummed when her dad becomes The Mourning King, since it just proves that her family is tainted.

The Prince is Ormazd

It's been discussed on the Just Bugs Me page that the ending of the newest PoP may not be bad, but rather, a nessesary evil, as Ahriman's prison is suggested to be failing due to a lack of regular maintenance and the fact that even if the Prince hadn't broken the seal, someone, someday, would eventually do it again, with Elika long gone to work in stopping him. Thus, the Prince has only done what needs to be done. It's a bit of an inversion of My Death Is Just the Beginning, in that the hero causing the apocalypse is only the beginning, a necessary step to beating Ahriman for good. Who would want to beat back Ahriman for good, quite possibly doing anything necessary to make it happen? His brother and rival god, of course. Elika mentions that Ormazd eventually just up and go ride around on a gold-carrying donkey, perhaps?

The Prince is Verethragna

Contrast with the above theory. The Prince isn't Ahura Mazda (Ormazd) but another figure from old Persian mythology: Verethragna (Bahram), the vanquisher, and avatar of Ahura Mazda's glory, who the Greeks associated with Herakles. Verethragna was usually depicted with a large sword - and the Prince has a pretty spiffy one. He was associated with fire and winds - the Prince's outfit and indeed the aesthetic flow of the entire game is reminiscent of this (admittedly that might be stretching things a bit). One of his roles was defending the source of waters from the demons of Angra Mainyu (Ahriman): protecting the fertile grounds? And, on the subject of fertile grounds...

Elika is Anahita

Anahita (Nahid) was the goddess of water, and seen as an innocent and pure figure, and identified by the Greeks as Artemis. As the source and guardian of the waters she was also the source of all life: from water does all life begin. She sustained and fertilized the rivers of the world, and associated particularly with plants and healing; she was depicted as a beautiful maiden wearing golden earrings and embroidery (and also otter furs - it's not a complete match). Elika is presented as a very pure figure (and as the Prince points out repeatedly, she's innocent and very naive); she heals the fertile grounds blighted by Angra Mainyu's corruption, turning the blackened rock into verdant fields.

Ubisoft is setting up a "Rage Against the Heavens" plot

The Prince, based on his dialogue with Elika, is a fundamentally selfish character. Most of his adventuring has been done in order to get rich and live in comfort. Time after time he gets his hands on a fortune, only to lose it. He has no moral objection to looting the dead, since they can't use the treasure and he can. He has no particular use for Ormazd, and doesn't actually believe in Elika's cause.

Considering the Prince's selfishness, the only reason he's helping Elika in the first place is so he can get out of the land of Ahura, find his donkey, and continue on his way. However, in the course of his journey with Elika, he comes to care for her. He might even love her, though he does not come out and say it.

So, when Elika dies after binding Ahriman, it seems only natural that the Prince might see freeing Ahriman to save Elika as an acceptable trade. After all, Ormazd threw Elika under a bus as soon as he got what he wanted, so why should the Prince care about either of them? As far as the Prince is concerned, Ormazd should fight his own battles and leave humanity out of it.

The Prince Will Become Corrupted in The Sequel

As we know, the Corrupted are those who made a pact with Ahirman, which is why they're Cosmic Horrors now. From that, it isn't that much of a stretch to say that the Prince now qualifies, and from what we know of Ahirman, he'll jump at the oppertunity. Note that this doesn't preclude the Prince from being a hero, just a walking reminder of a thoughtless action.

  • This would also provide the Prince with additional powers after Elika leaves him in the epilogue. What about having the corruption save the Prince instead of Elika when he falls, traps throwing him back, or even teleporting like the Alchemist? Using corruption tentacles for grappling hooks in place of the double jump?

Ahriman is the darkness in Alan Wake.

After Ormazd's forces gain enough power, they manage to push him away from the old world and in desperation he withdraws to unknown lands where no one knows of him. Dark stories, which happens to be his true source of power, are not shared in these lands; thus, he grows weak and goes into a deep sleep. The people of the old world reach these lands thousands of years later, and without knowing, a gifted poet among them, a powerful story teller and a follower of darkness like all of his colleagues, tells a story on Ahriman's nest, finally waking him up.

The Prince is already Corrupted by the beginning of the story

In fact, he is the most powerful of the Corrupted, being even a better combatant than The Warrior, more cunning than The Alchemist, more agile than The Hunter, and his powers of illusion make even The Concubine look pathetic, allowing him to hide his dark presence from even the princess of the Ahuras! The entire game was an Evil Plan to free Ahriman, and it succeeded.
Edit: It just hit me! Doesn't "The Prince" actually sound an awful lot like the name of a Corrupted? It makes even more sense now!

  • No, it doesn't. IF his real goal was to free Ahriman, he should have also killed Elika, the person who had the power to seal Ahriman and possibly kill him.
    • Not saying I agree with this WMG (although I do really like it), but the trope Love Redeems exists for a reason. Assuming this WMG is true: The Prince helps Elika because he wants to eliminate his rivals, the other Corrupted. Doing so also gained him Elika's trust, meaning that once the other Corrupted were eliminated, he could easily stab her in the back. She'd never see it coming, and therefore he wouldn't have to worry about getting into a fight with her and having to contend with her powers. After that was done, there would be no one to oppose Ahriman, so the Prince could safely break all of the seals. However, over the course of the game, he fell in love with Elika. At the end, when she sacrificed herself -- something he didn't see coming -- he still freed his master, fulfilling his duty, but only if Elika could be brought back as well.
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