The Glade of Dreams
The Crossroads of Dreams was a place of heavenly bliss where calm, happiness and the joys of life seemed to reign forever. Some of the inhabitants even began to feel that the hours and days passed a little too slowly.—Manual, Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc
The Glade of Dreams, also known as the Crossroads of Dreams, is the world in which the Rayman series takes place. Surrounded by the Sea of Lums, the Glade consists of a single large landmass with an Archipelago of small islands off its south-west shore. It is filled with diverse environments which range from the natural (forests, lakes, rivers, mountain ranges, caves, volcanoes) to the surreal (lands composed entirely of music, art supplies or sweets). The Glade of Dreams was created by Polokus, the Bubble Dreamer, whose power is so great that his slightest dream or desire becomes reality.
The name of Rayman's world was first used on a printed map that came packaged with copies of the PC and N64 versions of Rayman 2: The Great Escape. The French version of the map identified the world as La Croisée des Rêves (meaning The Crossroads of Dreams), but the English localisation changed this name to The Glade of Dreams.
The world's name was next mentioned in the manual for Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc. The French version of the manual used La Croisée des Rêves, while the English version of the manual reverted to a more direct translation, The Crossroads of Dreams.
The French and English versions of Rayman Origins use La Croisée des Rêves and The Glade of Dreams respectively. This is the first game in which the name of the world is mentioned outright; all previous mentions had occurred in supplemental material and documentation.
For a more detailed overview of the events which have occurred in the Glade of Dreams, see Rayman (series).
In the beginning, there were only the Lums – beings of pure energy that initially came in yellow, red, purple and blue varieties, each with their own special properties. One day, the Lums focused themselves into thought, and brought forth Polokus the Bubble Dreamer, a divine being whose power was so great that his every thought or desire became a reality. With nothing but his imagination, Polokus dreamt the Glade of Dreams into existence, and populated it with a wide variety of fantastical creatures. The Glade's balance and harmony were maintained by the Heart of the World – a magical energy core consisting of the original 1,000 Yellow Lums. Polokus's dreams – and, therefore, the Glade itself – are composed of Electoons, benevolent little pink creatures.
When Polokus had completed the Glade of Dreams, one task remained: creating time. Polokus entered a deep sleep, and travelled in his dreams to the place where all the gods of all the worlds meet. Together they set about dreaming up the future.
Unfortunately, Polokus's nightmares could manifest themselves in reality just as well as his dreams. When he had his First Bad Dream, Polokus inadvertently created the monstrous Jano, who began to spawn Darktoons, the nightmarish antitheses of the Electoons. As the Darktoons multiplied, they spread discord and evil throughout the Glade. In order to stop Jano and the Darktoons, the nymphs – a family of fairies dreamt into existence by Polokus – joined forces to create a hero dedicated to preserving the balance of the world: Rayman. After stopping Jano, Rayman went on to have many more adventures, foiling the schemes of such villains as Mr Dark, Admiral Razorbeard, André and the Magician.
In Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, one of the threats made by disgruntled tortoises is 'If I were three hundred years younger...', indicating that the Glade of Dreams is at least three centuries old by the time of this game.
For a complete list, see Characters.
The Glade of Dreams is home to a wide variety of fantastical beings, ranging from intelligent to animalistic, many with their own unique magical powers. The first creatures Polokus created were the fairies, his emissaries. From their base in the Fairy Council, they carry out various tasks in the interests of the Glade's well-being. Next he created the Teensies – little wizards whose purpose is to watch over the secret passageways of the world. However, the Teensies were not created through Polokus's dreams; they were the offspring of Polokus and a mysterious female being known only as the muse of the poets. Several different Teensy tribes eventually developed, each with their own unique culture. After the Teensies came Clark, a muscular giant whom Polokus created to help carve interesting landscapes. Next came the amphibious glutes: Globox, his wife Uglette, and their 650 children. It is said that Polokus used his sense of humour when creating this gentle race. Polokus created a multitude of other strange creatures, such as Murfy the sarcastic greenbottle, and Eig the drunken sea-monster.
In the original game, most of the characters were limbless, like Rayman himself. In Rayman 2 and Rayman 3, most characters have both arms and legs, which may give the impression that Rayman's species is very rare, and perhaps exclusive to the valley. Rayman Origins attempts to reconcile the previous games by bringing back numerous characters from the original game, but giving limbs to most of them, and even going to far as to turn some of them into Teensies. In this game, it is revealed that Rayman was originally created by the nymphs, and that the reason for his limblessness is that they lost a bag of Lums on the way to the ritual, resulting in an incomplete hero. Since only a few members of Rayman's species are seen in the series, it has been speculated that the others were also created by the nymphs.
In Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, a strange new race is revealed: the Knaaren. These vicious warriors inhabit the tunnels beneath the Desert of the Knaaren, and have long terrorised the Teensies. The Knaaren were not created by Polokus at all, and are instead the offspring of the Leptys, a dark god about whom little is known.
The Heart of the World
The Glade of Dreams is sustained by the Heart of the World, the most important object in the cosmology of the Rayman series. This mystical keystone comprises the 1,000 Yellow Lums that existed before the creation of Polokus. The Heart of the World, which usually takes the form of a shimmering pink sphere, provides and maintains the harmony, balance and energy of the Glade. The games often begin with the Heart being attacked by a villain; this usually results in cosmic unbalance, and the proliferation of strange phenomena and malevolent creatures. At the time of Rayman 3, the Heart is located in a chamber deep within the Fairy Council. It is guarded constantly by the fairies, and also by the King of the Teensies, whose family has carried out this task all the way back to their most distant ancestor. The Heart's chamber doubles as the royal Teensie throne room.
In the original Rayman game, the world is sustained by an object known as the Great Protoon. Like the Heart of the World, the Great Protoon is a pink orb which emanates harmony and balance. It also has a strong connection to the Electoons, who gravitate around it, and become scattered across the world when the Protoon is stolen by the villainous Mr Dark. The Protoon is never mentioned in the later games, where its place is largely taken by the Heart. It is never confirmed whether they are different names for the same object.
The geography of the Glade of Dreams is inconsistent from one game to the next.
The original Rayman takes place in a small valley located somewhere in the Glade of Dreams (perhaps in the Archipelago). The valley features a mixture of naturalistic environments (forests, mountains, caves) and surrealistic ones (music, art, sweets).
In Rayman 2: The Great Escape, the Glade is explored in far greater depth, though only naturalistic environments such as mountains, forests, lakes, caves, beaches, swamps and fields are seen. There is significant overlap between these locations, giving a greater feel of cohesion and realism. In the previous game, Rayman simply walked from one location to the next, but here he uses the Hall of Doors to teleport from place to place. The official map that came with this game shows the Glade to be a single large island, with an Archipelago consisting of seven small islands located off its south-east shore. The Glade is surrounded by an ocean known as the Sea of Lums. At one point in the game, Rayman encounters his old enemy, Jano, who now resides in the Cave of Bad Dreams, an otherworldly grotto where the nightmares of Polokus are now confined.
Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc features naturalistic locations that are similar to those of Rayman 2. However, the locations of Rayman 3 do not flow seamlessly like those of Rayman 2, but contrast sharply with one another, like those of the original game. For example, Rayman travels from an idyllic Celtic landscape to a scorched desert, and from an icy mountain range to an outlandish factory. One official Rayman 3 website contained an interactive map showing the geographical relationship between the game's levels, but this map has since been lost.
The next game, Rayman Origins, takes place on a group of islands. Harking back to the original game, they are clearly distinct, and some are naturalistic (forest, mountain, sea), while others are surrealistic (music, food, machinery). While some of these locations strongly resemble areas of the valley, they do not seem to be located in the valley in the literal sense. Rayman Origins also introduces the Snoring Tree as the central resting place of Polokus, and the Land of the Livid Dead as the Glade's nightmarish underworld. Though both are referred to as 'the Glade of Dreams', it is not clear how the islands of Rayman Origins relate to the large island of Rayman 2. It could be that the large island dissolved into smaller ones at the beginning of Origins, when the Livid Dead invaded and the dreams underlying reality began to disintegrate. It could also be that Origins simply takes place on the Archipelago, a series of small islands shown to be located off the south-east shore on the Rayman 2 map. The large, shadowy landscape that can be glimpsed at the bottom edge and corners of the Rayman Origins map supports this idea.
Most Rayman games seem to take place on the mainland of the Glade, so very little is known about the rest of Rayman's universe. The map indicates an Archipelago off the south-east coast of the Glade, but this is never visited in the games.
The Glade's planet has two Moons, one of which is seen as larger than the other; these can be seen prominently at certain points in Rayman and Rayman 3. However, there are points in both Rayman and Rayman 2 during which there appears to be only one Moon; it is unknown what orbital quirk causes this apparent fluctuation.
Rayman's planet is part of a binary star system with two yellow Suns, one of which is larger than the other; these Suns can both be seen in Rayman 3, but not in Rayman, and only in some parts of Rayman 2, making it seem very likely that the smaller sun orbits the larger one.
The menu for Rayman M shows various parts of the solar system, including a Sun, a Moon, and two planets. One planet, which is covered in greenish-blue clouds, is presumably the planet on which the Glade of Dreams is located; the other planet appears to be dry and desert-like. The solar system is part of a galaxy throughout which Admiral Razorbeard and his Robo-Pirates are known and feared for having reduced over one hundred peaceful planets to cosmic dust after enslaving their extra-terrestrial inhabitants. There are also a great many points in each game in which stars are visible in the sky, and the Yellow Lums in Rayman 2 inform Rayman that there are other gods which exist on other 'worlds', all of which suggests that Rayman's universe may be far more vast than that which is shown in the games.