Anyone who’s played the Dragon Quest games (or just about any fantasy role-playing games, really) knows that there are a lot of references in them to classical mythology and the like. While playing through Dragon Quest VI, I came across a few references that I thought were worthy of note:
Swanstone Castle – The name is a literal translation of “Schwanstein,” a German castle from the Middle Ages. In the nineteenth century, Mad King Ludwig had the famous castle of Neuschwanstein, or “New Swanstone,” built.
This ornate castle was the partial model for Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Disneyland. You’ll note that the King of Swanstone in the game is also named Ludwig.
The evil magician Spiegel’s name simply means “mirror,” and I’d be interested in knowing if there are any fairy tales involving a princess trapped in a mirror. It certainly bears some resemblance to the story of Sleeping Beauty and that of Brunhilda, but those didn’t involve mirrors. About the only thing I can think of is that Ozma was trapped in a mirror in Return to Oz.
Rubiss – The creator and guardian of the world of Alefgard shows up in this game as well, although I never would have found her if not for the Internet. She lives in an undersea castle beneath Murdaw’s island. Anyone who’s played Dragon Quest II and III will remember that Rubiss showed up in those games, and in the former she even lived under the sea. In DQ6, she tells the party she’s been helping them along, and that she created the ocarina that enabled them to get into Murdaw’s castle. What is it with video games and ocarinas, anyway? I kind of imagine Rubiss as the DQ equivalent of Lurline from the Oz books.
Poseidon and Gracos – I’m sure you all know about Poseidon, Lord of the Deep, and he shows up in DQ6. His main function is to tell you about the Seabed Shrine that’s been contaminated by the presence of the evil Gracos. So is Gracos a reference to anyone in classical mythology? My guess would be that, what with the problems inherent in Japanese transliteration, he was actually named after the Greek god Glaucus. This guy was originally a fisherman, but he ate an herb that could revive fish, and grew fins and a fish’s tail. He became a sea god and learned the art of prophecy.
Since Gracos in the game is essentially a merman, I’d say we might well have a match. Gracos fights with a trident, the preferred weapon of Poseidon.
Gerda the Snow Maiden – She’s the one who froze the entire town at Mount Snowhere because someone mentioned her in conversation. Talk about a wrathful being! She bears some resemblance to Hans Christian Andersen’s Snow Queen, but her name is actually that of the girl who set out to rescue her friend from the Queen.
Perhaps I’ll have some more references in the future, but that’s about as far as I’ve gotten so far. Looking at walkthroughs, I’ve noticed one of the next things I’ll have to do involves winning style contests, which sounds pretty tedious.