Little Nightmares Follow-Up

The announcement of Little Nightmares DLC is a keen reminder that, although the overall theme might be evident, the world and characters are still tantalizingly baffling. Revisiting the game’s site, tendrils of lore and developer interviews provide vital information and encourage further speculation. So, we’d like to toss a few more crackpot theories on the table to tickle brains while awaiting new content:

Who is the janitor? Even in the Maw, there’s nothing else quite like the Janitor. His short stubby legs, smooshed face, and long arms make him look like the victim of an Acme anvil accident (at least the chefs look like analogs of the guests, yo). But, one of the creepiest things about the Janitor, other than his job of people-meat packing, is his collection of antique toys.

The Janitor’s collection of older media, cutlery, and toys might be a foreshadowing of the Maw’s levels: Books are found in the Lady’s quarters, cutlery in the kitchen, and the toys might be indicative of the captives of the lair and prison. Although it can be speculated that the Janitor takes these toys from the captives, the question remains why does he seem to treasure them? The rooms of shoes and luggage suggest that there are other cast-offs, from either the prisoners or guests, but he appears to have no interest in them. And, for a moment, a theory that the Janitor was formerly a child captive of the Maw was briefly entertained; however, his character profile describes him as being from the outside world and a keeper of “long-forgotten things.” Perhaps the Janitor’s affinity for dolls is related to the Maw’s geisha-shaped collectibles?

–Who is Six? Thelittle_nightmares_01_cover_a_aaron_alexovich-290x166-1487339443 popular theory is that Six is the Lady’s daughter, typically supported by pictures of the Lady with an unidentified little girl. However, the developers have encouraged reading the Little Nightmares comic, suggesting it to be canon; and, the comic seems to imply that Six is just another child kidnapped (or coaxed?) to the Maw. In her character profile, she’s described as being different from the other children due to her fortitude and singular yellow rain slicker. So, that left us wondering who gave Six her slicker; and, if she’s not the Lady’s daughter, who is?

–Do the Lady’s mirrors serve a greater purpose? Between the masked chefs, grotesque fattening of guests, and her preoccupation with mirror-gazing and grooming, the Lady seems like a pretty vain character. Some theories propose her conflict with Six is akin to Snow White and a matter of jealousy and fear. The broken mirrors in the Lady’s quarters are thought to represent her persistent dissatisfaction with her appearance. When read through the monocle of comparable story Spirited Away, beauty and vanity are part of the assertion of power. However, staring at a mirror doesn’t really scream “POWER,” and it doesn’t explain why an unbroken mirror is the Lady’s weakness. Or so we thought, until we started thinking about another unsolved mystery of the Maw: What about all those eyes? little-nightmares-eye

The eye motif is ubiquitous in LN; and, there are a number of eyes built specifically for watching, yet Six never stumbles across a voyeuristic nightwatchman. So, who’s watching through all those eyes? Mirrors are often associated with eyes and surveillance, thanks to the historical practice of scrying and modern two-way mirrors. Not to mention, a shattered mirror becomes a collection of facets, similar to the lenses that cover an insect’s eye. Facets provide a greater scope of view—Dude, you can see more, yo! A system of mirrors and eyes would allow the Lady to watch over the various levels of the Maw. And, a single unbroken mirror would force her to look at herself alone. She would be forced to view herself not as a powerful individual, orchestrating the horrors of the Maw, but as a solitary figure susceptible to a child’s hunger. Now, that’s vanity and power.

Have you found any more clues to the world of Little Nightmares? Any brewing speculations about the chefs? Leave ’em below and keep the theories bubblin’!

Little Nightmares: Theme, Theory, and Kamikakushi

2 thoughts on “Little Nightmares Follow-Up

  1. Pingback: Little Nightmares: 21st-Century Spirited Away | Spoils of Lore

  2. This was fascinating! I love how in-depth you went with the story – especially about the mirrors. I think it’s also interesting to think about the eyes and mirrors as a concept of the gaze? Those who are in power are the ones behind the gaze – watching, evaluating. When Six turns that concept of the gaze against those in power, she becomes the powerful, and is able to triumph over the Lady. When she becomes the perpetrator of the gaze, rather than the subject, its an interesting change in power dynamics. Its a great little game (haven’t played it in forever) and your write up was super interesting to read.

    Liked by 1 person

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