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|“|| Fire! I'm in hell! ...I'm trapped... in my past... My Wonderland's shattered! It's... dead to me...
Wonderland is an imaginary country created by Alice Liddell during her childhood. It is located in Alice's mind and a creation of her vivid imagination. Alice is able to visit it even while in a hypnotic daydream as it is similar to a dream or a lucid dream.
Alice uses Wonderland as a tool for exploring her shattered psyche and as a coping mechanism to deal with her mental health, which is usually known as "escapism." In this sense, Wonderland is Alice's method of catharsis as well as her sanctuary being perverted, and it is up to her to heal Wonderland in order to heal herself.
Wonderland merged with London when the two worlds blurred together in Alice's mind which conceived a fantastical world called Londerland after she successfully killed Angus Bumby at Moorgate Station.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Wonderland's main population consisted of anthropomorphic animals, and was governed by the Queen of Hearts' monarchy of playing cards. It was located underground, apparently somewhere beneath Oxfordshire, and reachable by traveling down a rabbit hole. It was never specified how far down it was, but Alice did speculate whether it was near the center of the earth or even at the Antipodes.
Through the Looking-Glass
Alice visited another country known as "Looking-Glass Land," which was reachable via mirror and governed by a chess monarchy.
American McGee's Alice
Wonderland had several provinces wherein the lands had different rulers. The Looking Glass Land was governed by the chess monarchy, while the card monarchy were the overall rulers for its entirety.
Being a part of her subconscious mind, the land was affected by Alice's mental and emotional health. It was once a whimsical land, reflecting Alice's innocent nature, but following the girl's mental breakdown brought on by the death of her family, Wonderland became corrupted by her insanity and turned into a considerably more macabre rendition of itself.
Alice: Madness Returns
A year after Alice had been released from Rutledge Asylum, in late 1875, she was currently living in Victorian London under the care of a psychiatrist, Dr. Angus Bumby. Although deemed sane enough to return to society, the traumatic childhood memories of the deaths of her father, mother, and older sister in a fire continued to haunt Alice, and she still fell back into spells of violence and mad ramblings, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Wonderland became destroyed and corrupted again until it was shattered and dead to Alice. Despite this, Bumby attempted to force Alice to revisit Wonderland. The White Rabbit was seen sailing along a river with Alice during her hypnosis therapy with Angus Bumby. Alice and Rabbit were having tea on a giant leaf. However, he stared at her in silence and his head began to twitch. Alice asked him if he was mad, and he replied, "Something wrong? Raaaaaather..." Rabbit began to bleed at the mouth, his left eye popped out of its socket, and eventually his head exploded altogether, bleeding a fountain on Alice's horrified face. It started the trigger of events that showed Wonderland had became polluted by Alice's insanity once again.
While visiting Pris Witless on her rooftop, Alice had another hallucination of Witless transforming into the Jabberwock. The fear Alice had from seeing Witless turn into a monster triggered an even greater mental breakdown, and Alice fell into Wonderland again, landing in the Vale of Tears. Throughout her journey, she entered and left Wonderland multiple times, eventually blurring the lines between reality and Wonderland.
After Alice learned the truth about the fire, and killed both the Dollmaker in Wonderland and Angus Bumby in the real world, she created a hybrid country called Londerland, as the Cheshire Cat stated that Wonderland had become damaged and that she cannot return to a place she was forced to call her home.
American McGee's Alice
After becoming corrupted, Wonderland was composed of nine main provinces:
- Village of the Doomed: A subterranean mining town near the coast, populated by the Torch Gnomes. The Village was composed of a network of tunnels and caves, and patrolled by the Queen of Hearts' Card Guards who forced the Gnomes to work the mines. It seemed that the Elder Gnome was once the village mayor, but lost his title after the guards took over.
- Fortress of Doors: A large, walled-in fortress on a floating island, watched over by the Card Guards. The fortress actually acted as a school of the Insane Children. Within the school was an ancient book of recipes for magic potions.
- Vale of Tears: A rough, uncharted, fog-covered flat land with a large river running through. It was mostly populated by feral insects and plants, and normal plant life appeared to be long dead. There was also an underwater passage located underground and accessible through a well inside Bill McGill's house, though the well was sealed until the Duchess was slain.
- Wonderland Woods: It was one of the largest regions and initially filled by ponds, cliffs, and jump mushrooms, but much deeper into the woods was a region of rock and magma. At least on ground-level, it was controlled by the Army Ants and the Voracious Centipede.
- Looking Glass Land: The Pale Realm made a transition to the surface of a chessboard, as delving further into this area led to the White Castle of Looking Glass Land, which was home to life-size chess pieces; the White ones joined Alice in the fight against the Red pieces, a deviation from her normally unhelpful "allies".
- Behind the Looking Glass: The Hatter's Domain was a distorted version of Rutledge Asylum ran by the Mad Hatter.
- Land of Fire and Brimstone: The path to the Jabberwock's Lair delved into a volcanic region of Wonderland. It was where that the terrible Jabberwock, a semi-mechanized servant of the Queen of Hearts, resided.
- Queen of Hearts Land: The Majestic Maze led to the road to Queen of Hearts Land, a region heavily guarded by Card Guards, Boojums, and other members of her army on the way to the Queen. It was the area which surrounds the Queen's castle.
- Queensland: It was the final province of Wonderland. In it was the Heart Palace from where the Queen of Hearts commanded. Tentacles and other repulsive appendages were seen protruding from every organic wall in the area.
Alice: Madness Returns
Wonderland had changed again due to Bumby's therapy and revisited locations had changed physically. However, like before, danger lurks in every corner and the world was still very dangerous. There were nine main provinces:
- Vale of Tears/Vale of Doom: The Vale of Tears was initially re-imagined by Alice to be a lot more tranquil, although the environment soon reflected Alice's deteriorating mental condition, with visible corruption oozing from all over. Later on, Alice visited the Vale again, but by then it had degenerated so much it resembled a wasteland of destruction and ruination.
- Hatter's Domain: A fairly remote place near the Vale, it resembled an industrial complex full of mechanical architecture powered by steam. Within appeared to be a new management running the place along with new dangers posed by cranks, cogs, gears, vents, and even molten metal.
- Tundraful: A frigid environment with childlike nocturnal artifacts around. Pathways was accessed by breaking brittle ice obstacles in the way. Quaint depictions of celestial objects in the night sky are present, if along some more macabre-looking frozen carcasses of various creatures set permanently into the landscape; a grim reminder that not all was well with Wonderland.
- Deluded Depths: The underwater area where Alice behaved almost as if it were land. A theatre and an accompanying community of fish-people presented itself as the most promising landmark in an otherwise bleak and bland looking watery grave of sunken ships and drowned sailors. Littering the environment were jellyfish-like platforms and hydrothermal vents that allowed Alice to journey through the abyss to clearer waters.
- Oriental Grove: A world that Alice entered in a much diminutive form where all inhabitants can finally compare with her in size, it was heavily influenced by Eastern cultures with mountainous landscapes and wide crevices. A community of Origami Ants reside in simple, built up areas carved from rock and bamboo. Toys pertinent to Eastern culture were magnified in size and served as physical support for Alice to travel between areas. Within the mountain rock lie a gateway to an unusual world where Eastern art came alive that Alice can use to travel through. Upsetting the peace are Samurai Wasps that brought grief upon the Ants and were hostile towards Alice.
- Cardbridge: Made of playing cards that formed various familiar environmental mechanics that helped Alice to travel, it was mostly deserted and high up in the sky above Queensland. Each individual card seemed to have a mind of its own, but some in a group behaved as one, flitting about randomly and sometimes helped Alice along her way by acting as platforms.
- Queensland: The remains of the Queen of Hearts' residence since Alice's last confrontation with her. Mostly a depiction of rot and decay within the royal grounds as much of the Queen's physical, fleshy influence were now dead remains that accompanied the inanimate architecture. However, closer to the core of Queensland, the Queen very much still remained alive in the flesh as grotesque mosses of her being stay red with life. The inhabitants of these grounds had now taken a morbid decay of their former selves, but remained ever hostile towards Alice and her allies as they had always been.
- Dollhouse: The somber corner of Wonderland when Alice's mind slipped into chaos again, this gloomy area was a product of the new abuses that came upon Alice after she was let go from Rutledge. A gloomy, unhappy place of neglect and abuse, the Insane Children were subjected to a cruel fate relating to dolls and other abominations. The innocent and colorful exterior of the Dollhouse hid a macabre secret that had to do with Alice's worsening madness, characterized by a darker and grimmer reflection of the doll world outside.
- Infernal Train: The recurring artifact that seemed to cause ruin and destruction to the Wonderland so loved by Alice, this was the place where she finally realized the truth behind the madness that had plagued her since her fateful childhood and even after her time in Rutledge.
During Alice's stay in Rutledge Asylum and the Houndsditch Home for Wayward Youth, the land underwent various changes and rulers and all of which were ended by Alice herself in her quest to regain her sanity. Wonderland transformed into a twisted demented nightmarish hell full of slavery, war, monsters, gore, corpses, animal experimentation and suffering which Alice could not escape from since Wonderland is part of her own mind.
Certain people in reality have a basis in Wonderland.
- Mad Hatter = Superintendent of Rutledge Asylum (speculated)
- Tweedledum and Tweedledee = Orderlies
- Cheshire Cat = Unknown (speculated to be an emaciated cat, Dinah, or Kitty)
- Dollmaker = Angus Bumby
- White King = Arthur Liddell
- White Queen = Mrs. Liddell
- Duchess = Nurse D-
- Insane Children = Orphans
- White Rabbit = Rabbit doll (speculated)
The Queen of Hearts is mentioned as being an "avatar" of Alice herself of sorts, connected by their psyche. In American McGee's Alice, the Queen has older Alice's head inside her mouth. In Alice: Madness Returns, the Queen has been revived as having Alice's appearance as a child.
It is implied that the Carpenter is based on a London performer named Bruno Carpentieri, who appears on a carnival poster that can be found outside the Mangled Mermaid; the last location Alice visited before entering her subconscious and encountering the Carpenter. However, it is possible that this poster is a hallucination that has been warped by Alice's subconscious.
- The map of Wonderland in the final release of American McGee's Alice is different from the map of Wonderland found in the old EA website for the game.
- Concept art of Wonderland for Alice: Madness Returns shows several domains that were "simply brainstorming ideas" according to American McGee. A majority of their names came from Ken Wong.
- Despite being located in her mind, Alice treats Wonderland and its inhabitants as if they were real living sentient beings, as shown when she cries and mourns the deaths of White Rabbit, Gryphon, and Cheshire Cat. All three of them were killed and then revived. In Alice's next visit, Rabbit and the Mad Hatter were seen dying, only to be seen "alive" later. This is likely because death is treated very abstractly and metaphorically in Wonderland, and anything/anyone may return to "life" if it still has a place in Alice's subconscious.
- The drastically different appearances and mindsets of Wonderland's citizens in Madness Returns are the result of a metaphysical "hard reboot" imposed by Doctor Bumby's treatments for Alice.
- American McGee viewed Wonderland as a manifestation of Alice's supernatural power of the mind. Not a dream, not illusion, but a reality created (and destroyed) by imagination, the only limits of which were Alice's fears and hopes.
- Wonderland returns in the form of Otherland for the finale of the series, Alice: Otherlands. Otherlands are essentially the "Wonderlands" of others.
- In Alice: Asylum, Wonderland is envisioned as being separated into fragmented domains which represent the stages of her coping with her grief, such as anger, depression, acceptance, etc.