Pied Piper Theory
It’s important to note that the Germans weren’t the only ones shipping children overseas during the war. The British government made the emotional decision to relocate as many children as possible out of urban centers to places with lower risk of being bombed. Almost 3 million people, mostly children, were evacuated during the first four days of Operation Pied Piper.
This wouldn’t be the first reference to the story of the Pied Piper featured in We Happy Few. The village is called Hamlynn, which is strikingly similar to the Hamelin of the story. This alone would be easy enough to dismiss, but the story of the Pied Piper happens to be one of the fairy tales that Uncle Jack reads during his ‘Nighty Night’ segments. There are a few key differences between the story most of us remember and the one that Uncle Jack shares that are worth noting.
“Strange things happen in fairy tales, but even stranger and nastier things happen in the past.” -Uncle Jack.
In Jack’s telling of the story, after a difficult winter the town of Hamelin is overrun by rats who arrived on a ship sailing from France. Not only did the rats arrive from a German occupied country, but Jack also helpfully gives them German accents in the story.
Once they’d arrived the Nazi rats proceeded to eat all the food in the town, which explains the scarcity of foodstuffs prevalent throughout the game.
Naturally the villagers were upset. Then one day a piper arrived and offered to rid the town of it’s rat problem. Here Jack gives the Piper a Churchill-esque accent. The Piper promises the townsfolk that although it will cost them a great deal, he will get rid of the rats. Naturally once the rats are gone, they see no reason to pay the piper.
In the story we grew up with this is where the Piper returns and leads away all the town’s children. In Jack’s version of events all of the people of the town are lead away, never to be seen again. Seems like a dark story for a world so preoccupied with maintaining happiness.
“Somehow you know that it must be true because who could invent such a horror?” -Uncle Jack
What if, instead of the Nazi’s taking the children, the British government took them away. What if the people of Wellington Wells sent their children away to keep them safe only to have a worse fate befall them? That would certainly be ‘A Very Bad Thing.’