this is no longer where I belong

I am so glad I left the world
And found the wildness beyond in you
I am so glad I was brave enough
To leave the place in me that was not wild
To go into the cave of life that is not dead Dorothea Lasky, “You Are Not Dead”

There you are, your role that of a soldier’s (a pawn’s), leading by example (as your sister did), your life devoted to duty (so you tell yourself), but you’ve got a heart that you can’t quite swallow, and feelings that you can’t quite keep down. But what do you do with a love that won’t be returned, a yearning never truly acknowledged; what do you do with a heart that refuses to be steeled? Do you choose duty, quietly murdering that wishing heart, do you choose love, forsaking duty — is there a choice at all, and is that the only choice?

Welcome to Sway, a shrine dedicated to the character Gwendolyn from the video game Odin Sphere (and Odin Sphere Leifthrasir). The current layout was optimized for Chrome and desktop view.

Back when Odin Sphere was only available for the PlayStation 2, I fell in love with Gwendolyn’s character design at first sight, and wanted to experience the game to see what kind of role she played. The difficulty of the original version made me quit in frustration right away, and it wouldn’t be until years later that I’d get to play the game in its entirety, its mechanics reworked so thoroughly that none of the past frustration remained. By the time I reached its conclusion, I realized that it had earned its place in my heart as one of my favourite video games due to its strong themes, and that Gwendolyn had joined the ranks of my favourite video game characters due to the personal resonance of her own story.

From the prelude to the very end, Gwendolyn’s story centers around love: different kinds of love for different people, including the love for oneself, with romantic love arguably being the least significant. Her search for love ends where she concludes her search for identity — not the other way around. The way the importance of self-worth, the process of healing and the necessity of human connection take front and center in Odin Sphere is nothing short of impressive, as is its way of imparting the message of loving and valuing yourself. Sway was created to capture both Gwendolyn’s as well as my own love, so as to put that love into words.

This shrine is under construction! Sway is a participant in Amassment’s Construction Zone Challenge, wherein shrines are released incomplete as public works in progress. As such, Sway’s contents are not yet complete and certain pages may undergo some changes at a later point. Major updates are recorded in the update log and at my CZ topic. Please check back later to see what has been added!

Note that there are unmarked spoilers all across the site. World serves as a spoiler-free introduction to the game, its mechanics and Gwendolyn, whereas Journey examines Gwendolyn’s characterization and development through her relationships. The first page of Journey can be read as an introduction as well, as events covered therein occur during the game’s prologue. Depth is a thematic exploration of the elements that make up the game, going far beyond Gwendolyn’s story so as to look at Odin Sphere’s narrative as a whole. Encore is a collection of miscellaneous things.

This shrine’s content is based on the English version of Odin Sphere Leifthrasir, the HD rework. Any descriptions concerning gameplay thus refer to the revised systems. Cited passages also use the slightly updated translation.

If there’s anything you’d like to say about this dedication, I’d be delighted about any feedback in my guestbook! Thanks a lot for your visit.

listed at: Amassment
last update: September 2016