- Thu Jan 28, 2021 9:07 am
So just so we're clear on the lore, the Adjudicator's Shield mentions that "eating of birds" is forbidden to become "Hero of the Storm." It also explains that this "Golden Crow" is the Adjudicator's "master," and that displeasing it prompts the Adjudicator to devour the person in question.
That much is offered by the game, but if I may speak subjectively, the fact that the Golden Crow is not THE Adjudicator, and that the two beings are connected so symbiotically that killing the Golden Crow kills the Adjudicator, suggests they are one and the same entity anyway. Perhaps this Golden Crow is the Adjudicator's consciousness (as Freke explains, souls are how beings observe the world around them, the loss of which results in the perception of a colorless fog blanketing the world), whereas the body of the Adjudicator is controlled solely by its gluttony, being a colossal stomach in and of itself. The Golden Crow is the last, fragile semblance of reason that holds it back from devouring all in its path It's also worth mentioning that the crow is apparently in soul form, like the Old Hero later on. This furthers the dichotomy between the Adjudicator's body and its soul.
Considering the Shadowmen's evident worship of the storm and sky, the Golden Crow and its judgement could have to do with the real world ritual of sky burial, in which corpses (or sometimes punished individuals) are laid out on a high scaffold or tethered to a wooden beam to be pecked at and devoured by carrion birds. Since the demons are formed from the spiritual speculations and superstitions of the living, it could be that the Golden Crow and the Storm King are each formed of the souls of those buried by air—or at least that is what the Shadowmen believed they were. This would also explain why the consumption of birds is forbidden: it would be the equivalent of devouring the souls of those who had been returned to the skies.
In that sense, to be swallowed by the Adjudicator was merely the preferable outcome to these Shadowmen. If they failed to please the Golden Crow, death was preferable to lingering on earth without purpose. The Old Hero exemplifies this concept, having been totally mummified, his soul remaining within his body beyond death, dutifully defending the shrine of the Storm King. (Curious, however, is his apparent lack of eyes, perhaps suggesting they were plucked by crows, or that maybe he wears the blindfold to prevent them from being plucked, turning his "search" to a place within. This would later become a recurring concept in Miyazaki's works.)
Of course, the demons had not presented themselves until King Allant had unleashed the Old One once again. To the Shadowmen, the Adjudicator, the Golden Crow, and the Storm King were all merely legends. Hence, the island is littered with skeletons, their flesh having been stripped from their frame by the swirling cloud of crows long before the Slayer of Demon's arrival. When the colorless fog swept across the world, draining the living of their souls and obscuring reality, the demons were given form at last, some out of fear, others out of veneration, and sometimes, perhaps they were born from the confusion of the two.