Not sure if any of this is still up for discussion but does anyone have any insight on what "turning the radio on" might have? At least twice the wife/son mention turning the radio on "to keep him company"
I think it's just that.. They believe he can hear them and so that he doesn't feel alone, they turn on the radio so he has something to listen to when they aren't by his side...
I think it's just that.. They believe he can hear them and so that he doesn't feel alone, they turn on the radio so he has something to listen to when they aren't by his side...

It almost makes you wonder if anything playing on the radio is affecting his "dream world".

Anyways, looking to fire this thread up again as I've read through the comments and there are some interesting "ideals". :)

A question I had posted in another thread was basically asking if the wife is continuing in her infidelity during the 7 years? "burden of guilt" and "you must believe I tried" have made me rethink that maybe the wiki entry was right and she still is cheating on him. Hmmmm.
Hey people!

I don't have the energy to go back throughout this thread to see if this was already discussed or not, but a post at another forum that I visit on occasion forced me to elaborate a bit on the bone-marrow issue, that apparently didn't seem to make sense to some.

Here goes:

I know this is dated, but thanks for this. My biggest question was why the wife allowed the procedure to go forward, or why would she be surprised it didn't work, but I think your explanation on the link above helped me out. (I never took it to the level of whether or not all bone-marrow procedures were followed...I just pictured the wife knowing it wasn't likely to work.)

I can't wait to listen to the album again. I just might do that today!
Hey guys,

I'm quiet new to SW... I basically started to listen to Mercy Falls 2 weeks ago after I saw Kamelot and Tommy was a guest singer... And I have to say, Mercy Falls is really a masterpiece, it's really fucking brilliant. Concerning the cheesiness... all concept albums are somehow cheesy, Ayreon is, Kamelot is, Aina is etc... only if you start to look behind the mask which is carried "on the outside and prevents the inside frim shining through" ;) you can connect the lyrics to deep feelings... A bit like Lennon singing this cheesy line: "I never ment to hurt you" not meaning hurting Yoko's feelings, but hurting her physically, as it's known that he was beating her and so on... So, for those who think it's cheesy: Try to understand the message and the story, then the cheesy lyrics turn to epic and deep words ;)
Anyways, this album lines up to my favorites.
I was reading your interpretations and I agree with most of them. However, here some of my ideas:

From the beginning the story reminded me of the movie "Stay" with Ewan McGregor. If you haven't seen this movie and you want, stop reading here! :) I'm spoiling the the whole idea ;)

So Stay:
A guy is involved in a car crash and lies unconscious on the street. A crowd is standing around him, some are talking to him and are trying to wake him. However, this is the last scene. What happens before is the following: that this guy is walking around and strange things are happening... strangers are talking to him... He meets all the time the same people... So, basically he is dreaming in his unconscious state and incorporating every noise, scent, feeling, face, picture etc into his dream.

I think the comatose protagonist is experiencing the same. So, he really hears all the people talking to him and he is absorbing everything into the imagined world in Mercy Falls.
I don't have such an overview, because I'm still not so familiar with the whole story, so sorry if make some major mistakes.

Who is visiting him? Mother, Wife, Son. Ok, also the Doctor, but he isn't very close to him, so I would leave him out. From this point of view:

1. Theory: He is himself, the widow is his mother because of the back hurting thing.
But, why the hell did she forgot about him and is alone etc? There would be no reason. But:
2. Theory: The widow is his wife. This makes somehow maybe sence, as she has alcohol issues in the real world, the son is noticing that they are not honest with him ("I smell their little lies, Father"... I wouldn't say Father=God, it doesn't fit in this whole thing in my opinion...), she is basically responsible for the death of the father... Somehow it seems to me, that this is somehow a future vision. When she will be a widow and depressed, an alcoholic etc and forgets about his son, or he turns away from her.
So, maybe the widow is both... wife and mother? considering that he's catching pieces of the real world and putting them together in his mind.
However, I will think about this whole second idea a bit more carefully, as it's not consistent, yet.

I would agree that the Storm is the Bone marrow which was transplanted and so Mercy Falls should be himself, his body (his mind, his feelings, memories?). After he looked in the mirror and realized the solution for this riddle, he feels he is ready to escape from Mercy Falls... Which would mean, that his soul is ready to be released from his body, as his body is dead.
However, on the other hand it feels that he is ready to come back alive to the real world, as his mind isn't struggling anymore, but his body is destroyed. So, first it was his mind which was holding him back and now it's his body which doesn't allow him to return. However again ;), this makes no sense considering that they are stopping the machines, which is somehow the most tragic part of the story.

So, maybe the town is not destroyed by the storm, the bone marrow is accepted and his son is really his son, and his wife was wrong with her theory. Then he is really ready to come back, but they are shutting off the machines at the same moment...

Maybe it seems strange, but what if the story is written in such a way, that it is "Two Stories":

First listening:
In the beginning you know: He is the father, his son is his biological son. But it is not the truth. He is not the biological son. Therefore his body dies because of the transplant. But in his mind he is ok with it, so he is ready to go to heaven. Also his wife is letting go of him. So the stroy has an happy end.

Second listening:
In the beginning you know: He is not the biological father. This is why you assume, that he will not accept the transplant. But he is infact the biological father. So, he is accepting it. He is ready to return, but his wife stops the machine... Bad ending.

Do you have some arguments which are showing that this Two Story Theory is wrong? Was Mercy Falls destroyed by the Strom? I mean it was a bad storm, but is there a hint if it's completely destroyed?

Probably I'm overinterpreting because I only listened and read the lyrics twice till now. But if this would be correct and they wrote Two Stories in One Story, then these guys are really genii.
Thanks Virtus, for digging into the storyline and for your large post.
You could give the lyrics a bit more thought though: twice is really not enough for this multi-layered story ;).

....In the beginning you know: He is the father, his son is his biological son. But it is not the truth. He is not the biological son. Therefore his body dies because of the transplant. But in his mind he is ok with it, so he is ready to go to heaven. Also his wife is letting go of him. So the story has an happy end...

Maybe it's good to know that his body doesn't die BECAUSE of the transplant.
From Andreas' explanation regarding the bone marrow treatment: "...there are no negative side effects of the treatment if they weren't HLA-compatible. It would simply not have any effect, which is why the doctor never put the patient at risk...".
Also, he is not ready to go to heaven: on the contrary, he is "ready to live now". He wants to return to his wife and the boy. At that moment they are 'pulling the plug' though - no happy ending.

.....In the beginning you know: He is not the biological father.This is why you assume, that he will not accept the transplant. But he is infact the biological father. So, he is accepting it. He is ready to return, but his wife stops the machine... Bad ending

He definitely is not the biological father. From 'Back in Time': "I'm so sorry but....God, I don't know how to say this...It's not your child..".
In the end, he has accepted the fact that he is not the biological father - he wants to acknowledge/accept the boy as his son though - and decides to live/return to his family again. At that moment they 'pull the plug' - no happy ending.

...Was Mercy Falls destroyed by the Strom? I mean it was a bad storm, but is there a hint if it's completely destroyed?...

Take a look at the two album-covers that exist.
The 'yellow one' is MF before the storm, the 'blue one' is MF after the storm...;)
To my understanding, "One Last Goodbye" is essentially the song in which the character physchologically is ready to "wake" out of the Coma, as his mind was keeping him in the Coma until he was ready to move past the emotional pain caused by his wife and reunite with his son and wife (forgiveness). However, by this point its just a little to late. First off, coma time (or dream time) doesn't necessarily match up with real life time. The second thing is that someone generally comes out of a coma very slowly with "subtle" sometimes even hardly noticed signs. Also, comas are in stages of depth and if he was in a stage 4 coma, he might have to rise slowly to 3, 2, 1, and then awake, slowly showing signs of coming out by stages 2 and 1.

The main point is that it can take hours or days to fully come out of a coma once "climbing out" (sometimes it can be just a few minutes, it all depends). Therefore, it appears that he couldn't fully rise out of the coma in time, even though BOTH the wife and and husband came to their decisions.
I’ve given it some thought (again) and I'll give it another shot... :)

Since the beginning of the thread, we've all been talking about different characters in the 'coma-story' representing different characters in the 'real life-story'.

But what if our comapatient embodies BOTH main characters - the boy AND the widow -in his 'Mercy Falls dream'...?!
He is the boy with joy in life (being the image of his own youth) and he is the lonely, ‘dark minded’ widow who lost a loved one and who lost the will to live (being a possible image of his future).
The storm and (especially) their meeting changes the negative future image though.
While being together they definitely feel some sort of connection, but they can’t figure out why and what it is?

From 'Break the Silence' and 'Hide and Seek':
“...But the face in my mind is it her...?”.
“...Alone yet in the best of company...”.
“...So confusing am I insane? This old widow plays tricks with my brain. I can feel her pain, running through my veins. A feeling I cannot explain...”.
“...And every time I look at her I see myself somehow...”.

They are one and the same.

“...I can sense the joy from this little boy, the hole in my soul starts to heal...”
The boy’s presence and joy in life completes the widow again.
They are ‘one ‘ again!

Taken that in mind, ‘Destiny Calls’ becomes some sort of greyish area (still in his dream) where the boy and the widow ‘become’ the man/our comapatient ("..the two were gone forever in time..”) and he realises he wants to go back to the real life again. He knows he has been lied to, he knows the truth about his ‘son’ but he is ready to accept him as his own. The love for his family is very strong in the end and he wants to be reunited with his wife/son again.
The sad ending is still the same....
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Sorry to disappoint you, MorbidMe, but we have to presume that's not gonna happen.

At first, SW intended to release the official storyline a few months after the release but in the end they didn't: they decided to make the story 'your personal story' as well - create your own story/interpretation within your own mind.

Just dive into the album again (no problem of course ;) ) and maybe re-read this thread to see some of the forummembers' ideas regarding the story.
I know, it's AN interpretation but it COULD clarify some difficult sections from which you'll choose your own path again in the storyline.
holy shit. This is not only a BRILLIANT master piece of music and vocals. It´s also has a great script.
As I mentioned before on a youtube post, you guys, came from out of this world. Science should study all of you, just to understand how you can put all this pieces together and make this unlimited piece of art. And the funny thing is Tommy, has repleced my favorite singer in Kamelot.
Goob bless scandinavia !!!!
Hey guys, just listened to the album for the third time and read this forum, and decided to revive it :p I was thinking about the part about the patient's memory remaining. Could this be about how mercy falls might continue to exist after the plug is pulled? I'm not the best at analysis, but I thought I would give it a go.

I realize I'm super late to this party, but I've just discovered this fantastic band about a month ago and have listened to pretty much this album non-stop since then - I would say at least 40 times at this point. I LOVE the puzzle that you get to solve when listening to good concept albums. I've been a Dream Theater fan for 35 years, and I have to tell you, while many feel Scenes From a Memory is the seminal concept masterpiece of this generation, I would put Mercy Falls right alongside it. As for my take on the story...

I would say the main character is both the old woman locked in the tower (as he is trapped in his coma) and the young boy. They are clearly both the same person in Destiny Calls. Especially the last little bits during the acoustic part at the end where he looks in the mirror, and sees someone else. He sees her and realizes they are both the same person, and is then ready to emerge from the coma a new man having made peace with himself.

The woman to me represents the main character as he lived his life previously, feeling the guilt of both ignoring his wife and not loving his son. The child is the new version of him full of life and eager to learn and discover. We all must be as little children before the Lord. Students of Scripture can see that reference right away.

Paradise is absolutely a prayer to God. They aren't saying everyone needs to believe in God, but recognize the power that belief in a higher power gives people while at the same time also understanding many people who turn to God and don't get the answers they want also end up forsaking Him. The storm allegory representing both his inner turmoil and the biological storm his body is undergoing simultaneously is simply brilliant parallelling of the storylines. I love all of it. The story is what drives that for me.

The religious aspect becomes even more clear in Black Parade as the "live your life through a child's eyes" theme becomes even more prevalent. As a child = sumbissive to the Father = a pious/Godfearing person.

There is one tiny mention of the eye of Ike - in Hawaiian culture 'Ike represents the eye of enlightenment. This story is more uplifting than people think. And I love that. Or a we learn in Scenes.... "Death is not then end...only a transition"
Not sure if any of this is still up for discussion but does anyone have any insight on what "turning the radio on" might have? At least twice the wife/son mention turning the radio on "to keep him company"

It might be silly to reply to a post written 7 years ago, but anyway... I've always thought that the radio is actually playing this album - Mercy Falls. This adds a nice recursive feel to it.
Wow, what an album! And, what a post! I had great fun reading through what everyone thinks about the story and now would like to add my interpretation to the discussion.

I like the idea that it's the problem of the mind that restrains the body. The old lady in Mercy Falls is a reflection of our patient, and we could see her progress and change as our patient overcomes his mental burdens.

In 'Welcome to Mercy Falls', we are told that 'Unconditional love remains our burning flame; hope our guiding light'. So then the shadow is where light can't reach - our patient has lost both love and hope. In 'Unbreakable', descriptions of the lady - 'a darkened mind whose lust for life has left for paradise', 'Watching every single daybreak without hope', 'taking her own life, breath by breath prepares for death', 'trapped without her dreams' - are references to our patient. He has lost the will to wake up to a life that brings him pain and he wants to leave all behind. As to why he sees himself as a woman and not as a man - firstly I think it's because his wife is perhaps the person he cares for the most and she is the center of this drama. Also in our dreams the reality gets distorted in certain ways. Finally it adds to the twist of the story - a man in shadow would have been too obvious and spoiled the fun. 'There are places in her memory she just cannot reach' - this suggests that our patient has lost the memory where the wife reveals her infidelity. This explains why he doesn't recognise the lady as a reflection of himself straight away. A question I would post to you guys is - what IS the unbreakable? - love, family perhaps.

In 'Tears For a Father', the son tells a story of stealing apples with his friend and worrying about disappointing his mother. We can see that real life events have an impact on our patient's experience in Mercy Falls, because immediately he dreams up something similar - sneaking out in the middle of the night to 'climb up way higher than the sun' to reach the 'ripe ones so far out', but 'inside I hear the warnings - please don't let me down'. At the end of the song, the son turns the radio on - this echos what the wife does earlier and will make sense later on...

In 'Tears For a Son', we feel the pain of his parent watching his/her son 'living his life an empty shell'. I think the part 'My back hurts and ruins my sleep, the man next door plays evil music he's such a creep' comes from our patient. Musically it is reflected by the change in Tommy's voice. Storywise it makes sense - our patient has lied in bed for years so back pain is to be expected and later the lady (=himself) in Mercy Falls also complained about back pain. Music refers to his wife and son leaving the radio on. Since he wants to stay in Mercy Falls so music is seen as an annoyance - this attitude later changes. The last paragraph also indicates that there will be 'one last try' to save his life, which provokes the lady's resistance in 'Paradise' - 'will you force another year for us'. 'Father' seems a religious reference to me, as some have posted earlier, especially with phrases like 'breathe life in to mine'. In the first part of this song, the lady doesn't care and just wants to be gone. Perhaps our patient wants to use his death as a revenge for his wife's betrayal ('I will feast on all your tears').

'Fall In Line' is a very clever song where the body's immune response to foreign stem cells is reflected in the town's people fencing off the storm that would have destroyed Mercy Falls due to the patient waking up from his coma.

'Breaking The Silence' is the changer for the story. The wife revealed the reason behind her betrayal - she was ignored when she 'needed love, a touch from your hand'. Now seeing her husband in a coma 'this burden of guilt' is tearing her up. Our patient feels her pain and in Mercy Falls the lady starts to show signs of life and we the first interaction between her and our patient ('the boy'). Full forgiveness doesn't happen straight away and it takes time to rebuild trust after a betrayal ('Make sure you stay in front of me!
The rascal will steal')
but at least we start to see change. Consequently instead of 'evil' music we now have 'Let the music play.
Let it go all the way

'Hide and Seek' refers to the search for the lost memory before the car crash. I guess it's the combination of music calling him back to life and forgiveness setting in his mind, our patient is getting ready to wake up and face the truth, even when it hurts ('Although it's an inferno,you can not step back for your fears.') He begins to realise that the lady is a reflection of his emotions ('and every time I look at her I see myself somehow.')

In 'Destiny Calls', our patient has reconciled with his emotions and decided to leave his anger and pain behind ('when destiny calls I'm a man who will rise above the fire'). 'When love hurts... I will always find a way to carry you since we have the truth' - the wife has confessed her betrayal and our patient has forgiven her and chooses unconditional love. Now we see the lady transformed to show 'warm embrace' and 'loving face' as a reflection of our patient. And the mystery part at 4:17 - I think our patient just woke up ... now that he can live in peace with his feelings - but he quickly descends back to unconsciousness and his feeling of being scared in Mercy Falls is a continuation of how he feels in his brief moment of real life. 'Not one of us will leave tonight,but only one will stay' - that's because our patient knows the lady is himself and Mercy Falls is all but a dream.

What can I say about 'One Last Goodbye'? It's epic and tragic all at the same time. The family have decided to let our patient go after years of crying and waiting, right when he's ready to open his eyes and hold his family again. The part 'I'm hungry for life again. Oh, what a rush, hold my family I'm never letting go!' - Tommy's singing is tuned down to reveal the fatal decision to switch off his life support - OMG it brings me to tears!

The phrase 'black parade' means death to me and the song is about our patient leaving his final words of wisdom as he goes to afterlife. He urges people to 'search and find the light' - unconditional love and hope, or the spirit of Mercy Falls if you will. Because when the time runs out, everyone will face death and all our sorrows and regrets will be in vain.

And finally, 'Mercy Falls' is a wordplay of merciful to be. It's the place where our patient gains forgiveness before moving on to the afterlife. And perhaps that's the greatest mercy that can be given to a man.

Album of this century! Just complete brilliance in songwriting, music arrangements, vocal and instrumental performance and everything really. I love you Seventh Wonder!
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