Silent Hill Wiki
Silent Hill Wiki

"I was weak... That's why I needed you... Needed someone to punish me for my sins... But that's all over now. I know the truth. Now it's time to end this."
— James realizing Pyramid Head's purpose and confronting them in battle

James Sunderland is the protagonist of Silent Hill 2. As the game begins, James remarks that his wife, Mary Shepherd-Sunderland, has been dead for three years. Regardless, he has received a mysterious letter in Mary's handwriting, claiming that she is waiting for him in their "special place", somewhere in Silent Hill. When James arrives at the town, he becomes ensnared in a series of bizarre and nightmarish events which force him to question his sanity, morality, memory and personality.

The character made appearances in Silent Hill: Downpour, Book of Memories, and Dead by Daylight: Chapter XVI - Silent Hill, and was reinterpreted in the upcoming retelling of Silent Hill 2.


James was originally envisioned with having two different sides to his personality.[2]

Maria describes James as kind; Mary, in her letter to Laura, describes him as a little surly and says he does not talk much, but is sweet underneath his enigmatic exterior. James is typically courteous to other characters he meets in Silent Hill. He is polite and mild-tempered. For example, he tries to help Angela Orosco cope with her emotional distress and tries to touch her shoulder to comfort her but fails. When James first encounters Eddie Dombrowski, he becomes concerned for Eddie's welfare and advises him to leave the town. He also expresses concern for Laura, attempting to follow her through Silent Hill so she won't come to harm.

Disappointed Mary

James avoids eye contact with "Mary".

However, James's darker side is revealed in some of his actions. James lost some of his confidence and self-respect when Mary became ill, progressing to deep grief and depression after her eventual passing. He is convinced that she died as a result of her illness, refusing to accept that he played any part in her death. James may be perceived as cowardly, running away from his guilt and blame - if he is directly challenged over the truth or something he finds uncomfortable, James will usually avoid eye contact, look down, turn away, or remain silent. James is rather bad at consoling people; he often falls short in regards to helping Eddie and Angela.

James is borderline suicidal, yet seems to deny his suicidal feelings. James originally came to Silent Hill to kill himself, and actually does so in the In Water ending. In the novelization, James says, "Actually, I guess I am dead, heart's as good as dead anyway." He wasn't filled with a sense of loss, he just felt like his life wasn't worth living anymore. He had become indifferent. Work and free time – none of it really mattered anymore.

James wallet

The toilet bowl that James may enter his hand.

James' mental state is rather unstable, often taking unnecessary risks or acting recklessly - he leaves his car unlocked with the door open, doesn't switch his flashlight off when hiding from Pyramid Head; reaching into a hole in a wall for a second time after being pricked by something unseen to him on the other side, plunging his unprotected hand into a filthy toilet to retrieve a wallet {neglecting to wash his hands afterwards}, jumping into deep pits with little consideration for how badly injured the fall could leave him, and bluntly asking a visibly armed and agitated Eddie if he's "gone nuts". James also asks, "Did that just move or was it only my imagination?" when checking a corpse. If the player walks up to Angela in the cemetery for a second time, she'll ask "Aren't you looking for someone?"; a forgetful James will reply "That's right" before walking away.

His determination to uncover the truth about Mary's fate combined with his apparent suicidal tendencies may explain his reckless and illogical behavior. James is in grief and mourning, and would naturally be somewhat traumatized by both Mary's and Maria's deaths. He tells Angela, "I guess I really don't care if [Silent Hill]'s dangerous." Later, when Angela questions why James is looking for his wife if she's dead, he responds, "Don't worry—I'm not crazy... at least... I don't think so..."


James was proficient in track and field in his "school days" according to the novelization. He worked as a clerk for a small company, possibly in Ashfield.[2] His father is Frank Sunderland, who is the superintendent of an apartment building in Ashfield.

James and Mary met at a house party held by a mutual friend. Their affection evolved from a blazing passion to a peaceful and stable relationship.[3] Before Mary and James were married, James would listen to Mary play the piano. Mary liked to play the piano and even though she wasn't very good at it, James still loved to hear her play.


Mary coughing in Room 312.

Prior to the events of Silent Hill 2, Mary and James decided to take a vacation in Silent Hill after reading a brochure for the town. They stayed in the Lakeview Hotel, where James recorded a videotape of Mary. Mary said in the videotape that she heard that Silent Hill used to be a "sacred place" and that loved the town and would love to go to Silent Hill again one day. She asked James to promise her to take her to Silent Hill again some day, but the video tape ends before James replies. While leaving the town, James accidentally forgot the videotape in the hotel and the couple left Silent Hill.


James kisses an ill bedridden Mary.

Three years prior to the game, Mary was struck with a terminal disease, and she deteriorated to the point of having violent mood swings, lashing out at James in anger. Her doctor predicted she would have less than three years left to live and told James that there was no effective treatment for her condition. James questioned Mary's doctors about her illness, and could not believe they would just let Mary die. He searched through medical books for information about Mary's illness, but never found anything useful. Later in her illness, James visited Mary less frequently because she was emotionally volatile. Her mood swings left him bewildered about what was "right" to do. Mary's and James' wish of having children was also put to an end due to her disease.[4]


James smothers Mary with a pillow.

James began to "drink a fair bit" to escape his pain and loneliness, but it never changed anything.[5] Mary became a burden on James and he slowly began to resent her; yet simultaneously, seeing the one he loved in such pain tormented him. The emotional trauma and emptiness left James in a constant state of mourning. Eventually he snapped, walked to Mary's bed and kissed her on her forehead before suffocating her with a pillow.

After Mary's death, James carried her body to his car and put her in the backseat. It is unknown how much time passed between Mary's death and James' arrival in Silent Hill – the novelization says he killed Mary "just a few days ago". If James lived in Ashfield, the drive between Ashfield and Silent Hill would be "about a half a day".

Silent Hill 2[]


Mary's letter is a hallucination.

James drives to Silent Hill, intending to kill himself in the town he and his wife cherished to be with her in death.[6] James is not the only one called to Silent Hill; two others, Eddie Dombrowski and Angela Orosco, have been drawn to the town by similar forces.

During the drive to Silent Hill, James apparently doesn't even look in the backseat of his car for some portion of the drive, or even the entirety of it. Sometime before James arrives, his mind snaps and he represses the memory of killing Mary. It could be theorized this is the result of post-traumatic stress disorder from the trauma of killing Mary, or perhaps James was drunk to some degree when he killed Mary and began driving to Silent Hill since he admits he would drink "a fair bit". James being drunk would also explain why he leaves his car door open in the beginning of the game. Instead, James becomes delusional; and is convinced that Mary has been dead of a terminal illness for three years, and that he has received a posthumous letter from her claiming she is waiting in Silent Hill in their "special place". In the novelization, James wonders if the letter was a prank by one of his neighbors or one of his co-workers.


James stares deeply at his reflection.

James discovers the main road to Silent Hill is blocked and breaks briefly in the Observation Deck's restroom. He takes a moment to stare deeply at his own reflection in a mirror. He exits the restroom, reminds himself of Mary, and then enters the town via a hiker's path. On the way, he meets Angela Orosco, a young woman who has also just arrived in Silent Hill. James disregards Angela's warnings about the town and reaches the main roads only to discover that the entire area is covered in fog and infested with grotesque monsters. He tries to find the "special place" mentioned in Mary's letter, where she is waiting for him.

Well, this is awkward

James encounters Eddie Dombrowski.

James's first guess as to Mary's "special place" happens to be his first destination, Rosewater Park. Because all direct routes are destroyed or barricaded, he must cross through an abandoned apartment complex, where he meets Eddie Dombrowski and reencounters a suicidal Angela. The apartments are also the scene of James's first encounter with Pyramid Head, a relentless persecutor who hunts down and attacks him at several points in the game. James also repeatedly runs into a mysterious little girl named Laura who knows of Mary's name, leaving James curious as to what else she knows.


James meeting Maria in Rosewater Park.

When James reaches Rosewater Park's lakeside observation deck, he thinks he sees his wife, but is mistaken when the woman introduces herself as Maria. James agrees to let Maria accompany him for safety's sake. He remembers his other "special place", the Lakeview Hotel. He visits Pete's Bowl-O-Rama and encounters Eddie and Laura again. Concerned for Laura's safety, James and Maria pass through Heaven's Night and follow Laura into Brookhaven Hospital. There, Maria stops to rest in a patient's room, claiming to have a mild hangover.

James and laura

James taking Laura out of the hospital.

James eventually finds Laura, who then convinces him to get a letter from Mary in a room. She then locks the door, trapping James in the room with creatures called Flesh Lips. After defeating the monsters, James finds that the hospital has been transformed into the horrific Otherworld. He finds Maria and they try to find a way out of the hospital. In the basement, Pyramid Head reappears behind both of them, and Maria is killed by the creature's spear while James is helpless to save her. Saddened by her sudden death, James refocuses on finding Mary.

After leaving the hospital and exploring the town, he finds a key that lets him into the Silent Hill Historical Society, which according to the map is also a port to get to the Lakeview Hotel. However, he soon finds a series of disturbing secret entrances and bizarre holes that lead him into Toluca Prison. Eddie resurfaces again in the cafeteria, now armed with a revolver and once more sitting in close proximity to a human corpse. James attempts to reason with Eddie, but his reasoning has no effect on him.


James talking to Maria behind bars.

As James explores the empty prison facility, he finds himself within a maze. James finds Maria, locked inside a cell, alive and unscathed following her death in Brookhaven Hospital. Maria comes onto James and beckons him to find a way into her cell. She undergoes a change in personality, alternating between Mary and Maria's personalities at random. Maria also drops clues regarding Mary's "special place" and a videotape she and James made together. James soon relocates Angela, who is about to be attacked by the Abstract Daddy, a creature representing Angela's abusive father. After injuring the monster, Angela finishes it off in a series of violent attacks and has a tense confrontation with James about how he didn't want Mary around anymore.


James kills Eddie in self-defense.

Eventually, James locates an alternate route to Maria's cell, but upon entering, finds her lying dead on the bed. James exits the cell, and jumps through a hole representing his future grave. He finds Eddie surrounded by bullet-ridden corpses. Eddie gleefully admits the solution to his problems is killing anyone who bullies him. When James protests, Eddie perceives James to be ridiculing him too and attacks him. Eddie reveals that both he and James were summoned to the town for a similar reason. James is then forced to kill Eddie in a gun battle inside a meat locker. After this, Mary's letter becomes blank.


Laura shows James Mary's letter to her.

Emerging at an old pier at the edge of Toluca Lake, James sees a bright light that is visible from the northern shore; he boards a rowboat and makes the journey to the opposite side. The light is emanating from the Lakeview Hotel, which looks exactly the same as when he stayed there with Mary. James finds Laura there and she hands him a letter that was written by Mary. It states that Mary and Laura became friends one year ago and James realizes that Mary couldn't have died three years ago. Laura then leaves him again to find another letter.


James reveals the truth of Mary's death to Laura.

James locates the old videotape mentioned earlier by Maria and finds his way to Room 312, where he and Mary had stayed on their vacation. Inserting the tape into a player, James watches a static-ridden video of himself as he smothers Mary to death with her pillow. For a few moments, James silently sits, realizing the truth and facing his own guilt. Laura enters the room and asks James if he has found Mary yet; James responds by telling her the truth, causing Laura to yell at him and run out of the room. James sits in silence for a few more moments until he receives a radio transmission from Mary, calling for him. After watching the tape, the letter from Mary vanishes completely, leaving only an empty envelope.

Silenthill2 3

James speaks to Angela the final time.

Exiting the room, James finds the hotel flooded and burnt-out and eventually finds Angela on a stairwell surrounded by fire. Angela and James speak for the last time and, despite James's pleas, Angela proceeds up the stairs and disappears past the flames, finding a way to kill herself. Entering what was once the lobby, James finds Maria, alive and tied down, screaming for James as she is flanked by two Pyramid Heads. For a third time, Maria is killed and James finally understands what Pyramid Head and Maria are. The Pyramid Heads are a part of James himself, created subconsciously to punish him for his sins. Refusing to flee from his opponents, he turns and attacks the Pyramid Heads. With James having no use for them anymore, the Pyramid Heads cease to function and they deliberately impale themselves on their spears.


Silent Hill 2 - Conversation

Mary screams at James to leave her alone.

James is led to a hallway in which the player hears a previous conversation that he and Mary had while she was still alive. In this conversation, James offers Mary flowers he has brought her. She immediately rejects them, lashing out at him and protesting that she is too disgusting and ugly to receive flowers. Shortly after this, she experiences another mood swing and begs James to forgive her, pleading for him to stay with her and assure her that she is not going to die. James finally meets a woman who resembles Mary before the final boss fight. The outcome of this encounter is determined by the player's actions during the game.



James having a final discussion with Mary in the Leave/In Water endings.

  • Leave - The woman is Maria. James rebuffs her because he doesn't need her anymore. She states that he "deserves to die too" (relating to Mary) and transforms into the final boss. After killing her, James meets with Mary. She forgives him for killing her and gives him the letter, telling him to go on with his life. In the next scene, James is seen leaving Silent Hill through the graveyard with Laura ahead of him, possibly intending to carry out Mary's wishes to adopt the girl.

In In Water, James drowns himself by suicide.

  • In Water - The woman is Maria. James rebuffs her because she's not Mary and won't be able to replace her. She states that James will never have Mary back and transforms into the final boss. After killing her, James meets with Mary. She tells James that he has suffered enough for killing her and gives him the letter. Mary dies before James can make peace with her. James is then seeing carrying Mary's corpse out of the room. According to the novelization, Mary's corpse was already in James's trunk and he takes her out and places her in the passenger seat. James arrives at the conclusion that he's unable to live without Mary and realizes that he came to Silent Hill to take his own life in a place of memories. James is heard driving his car into Toluca Lake, killing himself to be together with his wife in death. A view from under the lake with bubbles rising to the surface is seen. This ending is ironic, because James told Angela that he would never kill himself.

Maria giving James Mary's letter in the Maria ending.

  • Maria - The woman is Mary. She becomes furious with James for what he did and transforms into the final boss. After killing her, James is seen looking down at the lake in Rosewater Park. Maria appears, resurrected again, and asks James whether he killed Mary again. He believes the encounter with Mary was just another illusion and asks Maria to be with him. Maria then gives James Mary's letter. James and Maria leave Silent Hill, however, Maria coughs, implying that she will become sick like Mary and the events that drove James to murder may repeat themselves. This is another ironic ending because Angela told James that he "probably found someone else" to which James replied, "That's ridiculous."

James rowing a boat to the church with Mary's body.

  • Rebirth - The woman is Maria. James states that he can't go on without Mary, and Maria won't be able to replace his wife. Maria transforms into the final boss and James fights her. After killing her, James is seen rowing in a boat with Mary's body to the Church of the Rebirth, going to perform a ritual to revive her, with an unknown result.

James being attacked by an alien.

  • UFO - Silent Hill 2 continues the tradition of the UFO ending. James is in Room 312 when UFOs appear suddenly in the sky. The first game's protagonist, Harry Mason, appears holding the Hyper Blaster, pointing it at James. Harry says sorry, and asks James if he has seen his daughter, Cheryl. James is confused, and asks if Harry has seen Mary. James is then shot and knocked unconscious by one of the aliens. James is kidnapped by the aliens and Harry gives the alien a thumbs-up.
  • Dog - James walks into a room to find a dog with headsets on and states in disbelief that the dog was the one controlling everything that has happened in the game. James, realizing it was all the dog's work, then falls to his knees. The dog goes up to him and proceeds to lick his face.

James' fate after Silent Hill 2[]

It is uncertain what happened to James during or after the events of Silent Hill 2, so James's fate is left deliberately ambiguous. A translation of the Book of Lost Memories says "Of the four conclusions, there is no one correct interpretation. Each ending indicates a different possibility."[7] The writer of Silent Hill 2, Hiroyuki Owaku, has never made an official statement regarding a canon ending.

However, there are instances which could be interpreted as hints:

  • In Silent Hill 3, which also has plenty of Silent Hill 2 references, Douglas Cartland mentions he was involved in a missing person's case in which a man went missing in Silent Hill and was never found, and it is possible that Douglas was referring to James though he disappeared along with his wife.
  • In Silent Hill 4: The Room, upon examining a photograph in his apartment, Henry Townshend mentions he heard James and Mary "disappeared in Silent Hill", meaning they have canonically disappeared.
  • Silent Hill: Homecoming had a promotional diary on its website written by Alex Shepherd in which he writes, "Since then, no one has seen or heard anything from James Sunderland. Oh yes, and his wife's name was Mary Shepherd-Sunderland. Was she related to me?" Since Homecoming is set in late 2007, this supports James has been missing up to this date.
  • In Water is the first ending listed in the Book of Lost Memories.
  • The novelization uses the In Water ending. However, it should be noted that it was written by Sadamu Yamashita, who apparently didn't work on the games and used the Good+ ending for the first game's novelization.[8]
  • Masahiro Ito and Guy Cihi both choose "In Water" as their personal canon ending, though Ito also said "I think there are so many real ending for each user/player." Cihi prefers the "Leave" ending.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15] Cihi initially thought the Leave ending to be his personal canon as it was the best outcome for James and felt James deserves a happy ending after his guilt and suffering, but eventually changed to In Water because he felt it was more bittersweet and fit the tragic tone of the story better.[16]
  • Masahiro Ito made Pyramid Head with In Water in mind.[17]
  • The cover of the instruction manual and introduction video of Silent Hill 2 shows James carrying Mary's corpse, which only happens in the In Water ending.
  • James tells Angela that he would "never" kill himself, however the veracity of this claim is questionable because at the time he was still dealing with the emotional shock of discovering his murder of Mary. If the statement is true, this naturally rules out the In Water ending as being canon.

Regarding James's canonical disappearance, it can be inferred that James either went into hiding with Laura or Maria or kills himself in the In Water ending to be with Mary in death. It's unknown if James would go into hiding because he could have easily claimed Mary died from her terminal disease if suspicions regarding her death were aroused, considering how she was sent back home to be with James during her final days - however Mary's corpse could have started decomposition by the time he left Silent Hill depending on when Mary died. Laura is an orphan who was Mary's friend and appears to have forgiven James in the Leave ending (and Mary's letter to Laura also expresses her wish to adopt her), however it is possible that James feared Laura would accidentally let slip James' murder of Mary. This could be another potential reason for James' disappearance.

Other appearances[]

Silent Hill 3[]


James and Harry Mason.

James appears briefly in the UFO ending of Silent Hill 3. First hiding behind a curtain in Harry and Heather Mason's apartment, he holds a wooden board which Harry karate chops with his foot.

James is also referenced by Heather in an optional cutscene. In the shopping mall, she begins to dislodge a toilet but stops, saying, "Forget it. This is way too gross." She then stares at the player and asks, "Who would even think of doing something so disgusting?" This cutscene is only unlocked if the player has a Silent Hill 2 save file.

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories[]

James Sunderland in Shattered Memories

Anime James interrupting the therapy session.

James makes another cameo in the Shattered Memories UFO ending. He interrupts Cheryl and Dr. Kaufmann's appointment, much to Dr. K.'s frustration. He asks if he has the wrong day again, to which Dr. K. tells him his appointment is on the following day. Upon leaving, Dr. K. explains to Cheryl that James is one of his couples therapy patients and makes a comment about not having seen his wife in a while. A few frames later, James can be seen spying on Mira and the alien sitting in the chair. He is voiced by producer Tomm Hulett.

The text messages received by Harry Mason in Shattered Memories reveal that this incarnation of James locked his wife in their basement, believing her to be an alien. She then starved to death and her residual hatred appeared as her boss form in Dr. K's office.

Silent Hill: Downpour[]


James at Murphy's surprise party.

In Silent Hill: Downpour, James makes a third cameo in the Surprise ending, where he surprises Murphy Pendleton with cake, along with Mary, Laura, Pyramid Head and a Bubble Head Nurse.

Strangely, Mary is standing on the other side of the crowd from where James was instead of beside him. While this choice is open for interpretation, it still may have been a coincidence.

Silent Hill: Book of Memories[]

James Sunderlands BOM

James worrying about Mary's health.

James appears alongside Mary in the joke ending of Silent Hill: Book of Memories. They appear in the streets of Silent Hill and are accidentally sneezed on by Becca, which disturbs James. James becomes worried about Mary, saying she "might catch something", to which Mary replies that he "worries too much", a reference to her illness.

Aside from his appearance in the joke ending, James also appears as a playable DLC character. He is voiced by Troy Baker who also voiced him in the Silent Hill HD Collection. Several of James's quotes are references to Silent Hill 2.



A younger James and Mary in Hunger.

A younger James makes a cameo in the comic Hunger, along with Mary. When Douglas Brenneman discusses how Silent Hill is often a site for honeymoons, an image is shown of James and Mary by Toluca Lake.

Dead by Daylight: Chapter XVI - Silent Hill[]


James in Dead by Daylight.

In the crossover Dead by Daylight: Chapter XVI - Silent Hill, James appears as an unlockable cosmetic skin for Cheryl Mason. In the game's lore, Sunderland is pulled into the Dead by Daylight domain by a creature known as "the Entity" and reunites with Pyramid Head, who has injected himself with the Putrid Serum from that world.[18]

Return to Silent Hill[]

James will appear in the film Return to Silent Hill. His film counterpart will be portrayed by Jeremy Irvine.

Creator's comment[]

In the initial stages of the scenario, he was a character who had two personalities, "Joseph" and "James." The name "Joseph" was borrowed from the name of a man suspected of being Jack the Ripper, and "James" is a derivative.[2]

Other versions[]

After speaking with [Masahiro] Ito, we decided to raise James's age in the game a bit. This is in part because fans from 20 years ago are older now, and because the average age of people who play videogames has risen too. We want to depict a James who is more mature and has had to suffer through more in his life, and to do that we raised his age, though only by a bit. If he looks older to you, it's not your imagination.
Motoi Okamoto on Bloober Team's initial depiction of the character[19]


  • "Mary's going to die? You... you must be joking! But you're a doctor. It's your job to heal people! How can you just let her die!?"
  • "How... long does she have...?"
  • "Mary... could you really be in this town?"
  • "I got a letter... The name on the envelope said... Mary... my wife's name."
  • "A dead person can't write a letter. Mary died of that damn disease three years ago, so then why am I looking for her?"
  • "I guess I really don't care if it's dangerous or not. I'm going to town either way."
  • "You're not friends with that Red Pyramid Thing, are you?"
  • "Angela. Okay, I don't know what you're planning, but there's always another way."
  • "Don't worry, I'm not crazy... Least, I don't think so."
  • "Mary?! No... You're not."
  • "Don't be ridiculous." (to Maria after she accuses him of hating Mary)
  • "This town is full of monsters! How can you just sit there and eat pizza?!"
  • "Liquor bottles. I don't need that right now. It’s not that I don't drink. In fact, I drink a fair bit. To get away from the pain and the loneliness... But the drinking never changes anything... Anyway, I don't need it now. There's something I have to do."
  • "You snotty little brat! Open up!" (to Laura)
  • "Are those hands searching for something? Or are they just a sign of pain?"
  • "Once again, I couldn't do anything to help." (after Maria dies)
  • "Mary... What... What should I do? Are you... really waiting somewhere for me? Or is this your way of taking... I'm going to find Mary... It's the only thing I have left to hope for."
  • "Just for that, you KILLED him?! Eddie, you can't just kill someone cause of the way they looked at you!"
  • "...Did that just move or was it only my imagination?"
  • "...My God. In the hole... I didn't see that."
  • "How do you know about that? Aren't you Maria?"
  • "All I want from you is an answer!"
  • “Maria... Maria? Maria, no! What happened to you?! Why? Why?”
  • "Eddie! Have you gone nuts?!"
  • "You think it's okay to kill people? You need help, Eddie."
  • "Eddie? Eddie! I... I killed a... a human being... a human being..."
  • “Mary. Did you really die three years ago?”
  • "I've already read enough medical books. None of them ever did any good."
  • "So Mary couldn't have died three years ago... Could she really be here? Is this the quiet, beautiful place she was talking about?"
  • "Laura... Mary's gone... she's dead."
  • "No... I killed her."
  • "I'm sorry... The Mary you know isn't here."
  • "Laura... I'm sorry..."
  • "Me? No... I'd never kill myself." (to Angela)
  • "It's hot as hell in here..."
  • "Stop! Leave her alone! Leave us both the hell alone!"
  • "Mary? I... uh... I brought you some flowers."
  • "Yes, I wanted to see you... Even an illusion of you... that's why I came here."
  • "It's true... I may have had some of those feelings... It was a long three years... I was... tired."
  • “Maria? Maria… I’m done with you. Now I understand. The problem is… you’re not Mary.” (In Water variant)
  • "Forgive me. That's why I did it, honey. I just couldn't watch you suffer. No... that's not the whole truth... You also said that you didn't want to die. The truth is... part of me hated you. For taking away my life." (In Water variant)
  • “Maria…? It’s you… but I don’t need you anymore. I understand now. It’s time to end this nightmare.” (Leave variant)
  • "Forgive me. That's why I did it, honey. I just couldn't watch you suffer. No... that's not true... You also said you didn't want to die. The truth is... I hated you. I wanted you out of the way. I wanted my life back..." (Leave variant)
  • "Maria. I want you... I want you with me."
  • "You better do something about that cough." (to Maria in the Maria ending)
  • "Now I understand. The real reason I came to this town. I wonder what was I afraid of? Without you, Mary, I've got nothing. Now we can be together." (in the In Water ending)
  • “Maria, I’m finished with you! Because you’re not Mary. Without Mary, I just can’t go on.” (Rebirth variant)
  • "Mary. You look so peaceful. Forgive me for waking you. But without you, I just can't go on. I can't live without you, Mary. This town, Silent Hill. The Old Gods haven't left this place. And they still grant power to those who venerate them. Power to defy even death... Ah… Mary." (in the Rebirth ending)
  • "So it was all your work!" (to Mira in the Dog ending)



The save menu's background.

  • According to Masahiro Ito, the team chose to make James Sunderland forgetful of his crime and gradually remember as the game progresses, so that "the player could explore the abandoned city with James' mind."[20] The concept of denial and selective memory loss would again be used for Heather Mason, Travis Grady, and Alex Shepherd.
  • The save menu's background is of James's face stained with red, which could represent anger or blood from a murder. His face appears to be blurred by water or glass. It could also simply be James's reflection on the save point's glossy surface.

James's reality check.

  • The reason why James hovers his hand in front of his face in the beginning of the game is to "check if he is in reality or if he is dreaming". For example, lucid dreamers may perform "reality checks" such as pinching their skin, looking at their hands, feeling solid objects, etc. Those who struggle with dissassociative periods, especially derealization, may cut or injure themselves, feel their body, or touch their face to try and help them feel "real". It also serves as foreshadowing and symbolism of James's mental state, unable to determine fantasy from reality, similar to psychosis.

James's chainsaw cane.


Silent hill 2 - James screaming

James screaming.

  • If James wields the chainsaw, he may raise it above his head and scream if the player waits near a dead monster. If the player goes into standby mode with the chainsaw equipped, he will set it down blade first and lean on it like a cane.
  • It is possible to make James trip.[4]
  • It can be speculated that because James had just recently killed Mary, her corpse is actually in the trunk of James's car at the beginning of the game. The Book of Lost Memories alludes to this and the novelization affirms this with the In Water ending.[6] However, Masahiro Ito stated that he believed that Mary's body was actually in the back seat. When asked how James didn't notice her corpse, Ito replied that James had repressed the memory of her murder.[21][22]
    • James' actor, Guy Cihi, has elaborated on Ito's statement, adding that having his dead wife in the backseat as he drives into the lake is more consistent with the common Japanese way of muri-shinjū ("forced love suicide").[16][23][24]

Insert Coin James jacket.

  • The given name "James" is cognate with the name "Jacob". Jacob's Ladder is a film well stated to have influenced Team Silent in the creation of Silent Hill 2, as well as of their other games for the series.[25][26][27] Namely, James has many similarities to the film's protagonist Jacob Singer, in that they both wear M-65 olive-drab military jackets; they both grapple with guilt, lust, and lost marriages; and either of them endure a journey into his own tormented psyche. The jacket was also sold as licensed clothing for Insert Coin Clothing with the clothing name "Sunderland".[5]
  • James' surname could be seen as an allusion to his mental state; "sunder" meaning "to break or shatter", and "land" being representative of James's sense of reality, or his world.
  • James's beta design depicts him with slicked back, auburn hair. This hairstyle made him resemble Harry Mason. James shares other similarities with Harry: the two of them suffered for having lost their wives, who both died of diseases. Depending on the endings, both of them leave Silent Hill with a girl (Heather in the Good and Good+ Endings for Harry, Laura in the Leave Ending for James).
  • In the Dog ending, James has a tattoo of a heart on his left arm.

Comparison of the scenes.

  • In the Wood Side Apartments, the body of a man sitting in front of a TV displaying static can be seen after James finds a pistol. The game's art director, Masashi Tsuboyama, said in "The Making of Silent Hill 2" that the man sitting in the chair is actually James himself and that he came straight out of James's imagination.[28]
    • This scene also acts as heavy foreshadowing of the scene when James discovers the truth about his wife. He slumps back in the chair in a very similar position and the TV displays only static.
    • By hacking the game's camera, it is possible to see the face of the man sitting in the chair is in fact James'.[29]
  • Almost every corpse in the game (excluding the ones in the holes inside the prison) wears the exact same clothing as James.
  • In the Blue Creek Apartments, inside of Room 209, James may be able to hear a whisper that appears to say, "See my dead wife and come home, do some laundry, do some..." It has been speculated that it may represent a part of James's thoughts about what to do after he murdered Mary, although Japanese translator Jeremy Blaustein stated in an interview that he believes it was just one of the voice actors talking to himself in the recording booth and that the Japanese sound recorders would not have known what it had meant as it was unscripted.[30]
  • In Brookhaven Hospital, James finds records about three patients: Jack Davis, Joseph Barkin and Joshua Lewis. It may not be a coincidence that James and the three patients' names start with the letter J. It may be that Jack represents the part of James who is normally a model person, yet also has suicidal feelings. Joseph represents the part of James who feels guilt and regret for killing Mary and the delusions James is immersed in. Joshua represents the part of James who feels he needs to be persecuted and also represents his violent self (i.e. the act of killing).

Silent Hill 2 - Man Crying In Hotel

Crying in the hotel.

  • James may hear a man sobbing when he walks past Room 208 in the Lakeview Hotel. Room 208 is the room in the Wood Side Apartments where he sees the body of a man in front of a TV, which is a modified version of James's model. In Blue Creek Apartments, Room 208's doorknob may rattle if James attempts to enter and walks away from it. Room 208 is also written on the door where James discovers Maria is dead in her prison cell. The crying could be symbolic of James's inner sadness and sorrow.

James possibly weeping.

  • During the scene with Angela on the burning staircase, before James says, "It's hot as hell in here", he raises his right hand to his face. When the scene's camera angle is hacked, James is shown apparently wiping his eye. While it may be interpreted as James fidgeting; having something in his eye; or wiping sweat off of his brow from the heat, it is also possible that James may be weeping for Angela and wiping a tear away.
  • In Silent Hill: Homecoming, one of the achievements is known as "Shades of James", unlocked if the player defeats a Siam. This has led to a theory that Siam symbolizes James and Mary or actually is James and Mary, however it more likely reflects the fact that Siam's vulnerable behind is feminine in nature and the achievement was simply a reference to James.
  • In Silent Hill: Homecoming, if the player completes the game on Hard difficulty, they earn the achievement "The Old Gods haven't left this place", a reference to a comment made by James in the Rebirth Ending of Silent Hill 2.



For a complete list of images of James Sunderland, please visit our James images category.


Silent Hill 2[]

In other media[]


Inspired arts in the media[]

Silent Hill 2 (Bloober Team)[]


  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Silent Hill 2 Character Commentary: Book of Lost Memories
  3. Silent Hill 2 novelization, chapter 3
  4. Masahiro Ito, Twitter
  5. Upon examining some liquor bottles in Heaven's Night
  6. 6.0 6.1 Justice: Book of Lost Memories
  7. Silent Hill 2 Ending: Book of Lost Memories
  8. Silent Hill 2 novelization, chapter 6
  10. Masahiro Ito, Twitter
  11. Masahiro Ito, Twitter
  12. Masahiro Ito, Twitter
  13. Masahiro Ito, Twitter
  14. Masahiro Ito, Twitter
  15. Guy Cihi and David Schaufele interview
  16. 16.0 16.1 Guy Cihi and David Schaufele interview
  17. Masahiro Ito, Twitter
  21. "If I remember correctly, it's on the back seat ( not in the trunk).", Masahiro Ito
  22. "He hasn't noticed he killed her too.", Masahiro Ito
  23. "Silent Hill 2 Live Let's Play with Guy Cihi - Part 1" (10:45). Fungo, Guy Cihi. [1]
  24. "Silent Hill 2 Live Let's Play with Guy Cihi - Part 1" (12:05). Fungo, Guy Cihi. [2]
  25. Play Novel: Silent Hill Official Guidebook, pg.062.
  26., Interview with Silent Hill 2's artist Takayoshi Sato (interview) (retrieved November 25th, 2017).
  27. Masahiro Ito (@adsk4), "If I had not seen the Jacob's Ladder in those days, I would have never made such an Otherworld in that horror title. Never...". April 14, 2018. [3]
  28. Making of Silent Hill 2
  29. Off Camera Secrets | Silent Hill 2 - Boundary Break
  30. Jeremy Blaustein interview
v · e · d
Major Characters
James Sunderland - Mary Shepherd-Sunderland - Angela Orosco - Laura - Eddie Dombrowski - Maria
Other Characters
Ernest Baldwin - Amy Baldwin - Mary's Doctor - Rachel - Thomas Orosco - Mrs. Orosco - Jennifer Carroll - Patrick Chester - Mira - Harry Mason - Greys - Scott Fairbanks - Walter Sullivan
Abstract Daddy - Bubble Head Nurse - Creeper - Flesh Lip - Lying Figure - Mandarin - Mannequin - Mary - Prisoners - Pyramid Head
Chainsaw - Chinese Cleaver - Great Knife - Great Spear - Handgun - Hyper Spray - Pipe - Revolver - Rifle - Shotgun - Wooden Plank
Baldwin Mansion - Blue Creek Apartments - Brookhaven Hospital - Church of the Rebirth - Dog House - Heaven's Night - Jacks Inn - Labyrinth - Lakeview Hotel - Lake Shore Restaurant - Neely's Bar - Motor Home - Observation Deck - Pete's Bowl-O-Rama - Rosewater Park - Silent Hill Historical Society - Silent Hill Ranch - Silent Hill Woods - South Vale (Carroll Street - Katz Street - Lindsey Street - Nathan Avenue - Neely Street - Rendell Street - Saul Street - Vachss Road - Wiltse Road) - Texxon Gas - Toluca Graveyard - Toluca Lake - Toluca Lake Island - Toluca Prison - Wiltse Coal Mine - Wood Side Apartments
Flashlight - Fog World - Little Baroness - Manifestation - Map - Monster - Otherworld - Radio - Red Square - Siren - Seal of Metatron - UFO Ending - Sexuality - Toilets
Memos - Items - Keys - Puzzles - Soundtrack - Secrets and Unlockables - Pachislot
v · e · d
Major Characters
Heather Mason - Douglas Cartland - Vincent Smith - Claudia Wolf
Other Characters
Harry Mason - Alessa Gillespie - Leonard Wolf - Stanley Coleman - Lisa Garland - Cheryl Mason - Jennifer Carroll - Joseph Schreiber - James Sunderland - Greys - Happy Birthday Caller - Danny - Confessor - Robbie the Rabbit - Sewer Fairy
Beam Saber - Flamethrower - Handgun - Katana - Knife - Maul - Pipe - Shotgun - Stun Gun - Submachine Gun - Unlimited Submachine Gun
Closer - Double Head - Glutton - God - Insane Cancer - Leonard Wolf - Memory of Alessa - Missionary - Numb Body - Nurse - Pendulum - Scraper - Sewer Monster - Slurper - Split Worm - Valtiel
Borley Haunted Mansion - Brookhaven Hospital - Carroll Street - Central Square Shopping Center - Chapel - Construction Site - Daisy Villa Apartments - Happy Burger - Happy Carousel - Hazel Street Station - Heaven's Night - Hilltop Center - Jacks Inn - KMN Auto Parts - Lakeside Amusement Park - Last Drop Cafe - Nathan Avenue - Underpass
Flashlight - Fog World - God - Map - Metatron - Monster - Otherworld - Paradise - PTV - Radio - Real World - The Order - Manifestation - Seal of Metatron - UFO Ending - Sexuality - Halo of the Sun - Red Square
Items - Keys - Memos - Puzzles - Soundtrack - Limited Edition Soundtrack - Secrets and Unlockables - Pachislot
v · e · d
Major Characters
Harry Mason - Cheryl Mason - Dahlia Mason - Dr. Kaufmann - Cybil Bennett - Michelle Valdez
Other Characters
Bar Maid - The Stewarts - Mr. Gordon - Lisa Garland - John - James Sunderland - Mira - Greys
Raw Shock - Larval Stalker
Alchemilla Hospital - Alice Darling Memorial Playground - Annie's Bar - The Balkan - Caldecotte Woods - Cat House - Cine-Real - Clear Picture - Diner 52 - Dixon Bridge Control Tower - Dog House - Golden Leaf Warehouse - Good Ol' Days - Green Lion Pawn Shop - Labyrinth - Lakefront Souvenirs - Lakeside Amusement Park - Levin Street - Lighthouse Clinic - Midwich High School - Nightingale Apartments - Orion Hunting Lodge - The Orpheus - Resort Area - Sewers - Simmons Street - Theresa's - Toluca Lake - Toluca Mall - Wonderland Burger
Echo Photos - Flare - Flashlight - Harry's Phone - Real World - Ice World - Memento - Phone Numbers - Psych Profile - Tookie the Toucan - Manifestation - UFO Ending - Sexuality
Keys - Puzzles - Secrets and Unlockables - Soundtrack
v · e · d
Major Characters
Murphy Pendleton - Charlie Pendleton - Carol Pendleton - Anne Marie Cunningham - Howard Blackwood - John P. Sater - Patrick Napier - Frank Coleridge - George Sewell - Bobby Ricks - Nun
Other Characters
Sanchez - Homer - M. Koons - Bryan Handley - Ariadne Johnson - Melissa Matlan - Glen Milton - Ricky - Daniel Stephens - Chloe Zane - Mary Shepherd-Sunderland - James Sunderland - Laura - Heather Mason - Robbie the Rabbit
Baseball Bat - Bogeyman's Hammer - Bottle - Brick - Chair - Colt - Crowbar - Demon Statue - Double Headed Axe - Fire Axe - Fire Extinguisher - Fork - Frying Pan - Golden Gun - Golf Club - Hammer - Handle - Hand-to-Hand - Hatchet - Ladder Hook - Knife - Lamp - Meat Cleaver - Nailgun - Pickaxe - Pitchfork - Plank - Rake - Rifle - Rock - Shotgun - Shovel - Steel Pipe - Vase - Wrench - Tomahawk
Bogeyman - Doll (Shadow) - Monocle Man - Nurse - Prisoner Juggernaut - Prisoner Minion - Pyramid Head - Screamer - Tormented Soul - Void - Wall Corpse - Weeping Bat - Wheelman- Bubble Head Nurse
Aerial Tram Station - Centennial Building - Chastain Heights - Chastain Heights Cinema - Devil's Pit - Devil's Pitstop - Interstate Gas Station - Hardware Store - Hillside - Logan's Park - Monroe Cemetery - Overlook Penitentiary - Pearl Creek - Pearl Creek Bank - Pleasant River - Port District - Ryall State Prison - St. Maria's Monastery - Underground Subway - Toluca Lake
Trinkets - Flashlight - Fog World - Map - Monster - Otherworld - Real World - Sidequest - Siren - Walkie-talkie - Manifestation - Seal of Metatron - Welcome Sign - Halo of the Sun
Items - Keys - Puzzles - Soundtrack - Secrets and Unlockables - Memos - Pachislot
v · e · d
Major Characters
Ashley Baker - Derek Copeland - Graham Reynolds - Howard Blackwood - Jack Merrick - Katie Collins - Matthew Collins - Protagonist - Lorelai Reynolds - Shannon - Trent Baker
Other Characters
Alex Shepherd - Cybil Bennett - Emma - Harry Mason - Heather Mason - James Sunderland - Jason - Joshua Shepherd - Lisa Garland - Mary Shepherd-Sunderland - Mira - Murphy Pendleton - Travis Grady - Walter Sullivan - Robbie the Rabbit
Air Screamer - Blood Baby - Blood Guardian - Blood Mama - Bogeyman - Bubble Head Nurse - Butcher - Double Head - Earth Guardian - Fire Guardian - Flesh Lip - Ghost - Grey Child - Insane Cancer - Light Guardian - Needler - Mother - Pyramid Head - Raw Shock - Tremer - Schism - Steel Guardian - Swarm - Valtiel - Water Guardian - Wood Guardian - Wood Sapling
A. Y. Guitar - Assault Rifle - Baseball Bat - Bare Hands - Beam Saber - Bogeyman's Hammer - Chainsaw - Circular Saw - Crossbow - Crowbar - Dagger of Melchior - Earth Sword - Fire Axe - Fire Sword - Flamethrower - Great Cleaver - Great Knife - Great Spear - Grenade - Guitar - Handgun - Hyper Spray - Katana - Knife - Maul - Meat Cleaver - Laser Gun - Pickaxe - Pillow - Pipe - Princess Heart - Robbie Doll - Rock Drill - Shovel - Shotgun - Steel Sword - Stun Gun - Sword of Obedience - Submachine Gun - Television - Torch - TV Remote - Water Sword - Wine Bottle - Wood Sword - Wood Plank
Howard's Shop - Library - Forsaken Room - Otherworld
Monster - Flashlight - Accessories - Artifacts - Karma Meter - Book of Memories - Welcome Sign
Memos - Broadcasts - Michelle's Diary
v · e · d
Whately - Rosy - Aickmann - Douglas Brenneman - Mario - Bryce Canavan - Perkins - Mary Shepherd-Sunderland - James Sunderland
Insane Cancer - Nurse - Samael - Scraper
Brookhaven Hospital - Silent Hill - Silent Hill Gazette - Toluca Lake
Brand of Samael - Fog World - Monster - Otherworld - Real World - Manifestation - The Book of Samael
Scott Ciencin - IDW Publishing - Konami