Time waits for no man, it delivers us all to the same end."

Welcome to Transience, a one page tribute to Pharos from Atlus's Persona 3 (all incarnations) for Playstation 2 and Playstation Portable. This site contains unmarked spoilers for Persona 3, this is your only warning! That being said this site follows only Pharos as he appears as the little spirit boy for the death arcana social link. Don't worry, I won't ask you to sign a contract or give you cryptic messages to decipher about the end.

Transience is defined as the state of being transient. But transient is defined as "passing especially quickly into and out of existence, passing through or by a place with only a brief stay or sojourn" and "affecting something or producing results beyond itself" all of which I believe fit Pharos and his role. Pharos appears and disappears quickly and stays only for short amounts of time. The protagonist is affected by Pharos and vice versa as they have spent the last ten years together.

Persona 3 follows the journey of a high school junior, referred to here as "protagonist". Protagonist joins the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad (SEES), a group of students, to investigate a phenomenon known as Dark Hour. Most people are unaware of this hidden hour, as they generally transmogrify into coffins. Sometimes people wake and their minds are preyed on by shadows, this creates the Lost. In very rare cases, those conscious of the Dark Hour have the potential which allow them to summon special Persona. SEES works to stop shadows as they venture into the Tartarus to find the cause of shadows. Each member of SEES uses a specific Persona, a facet of their true selves to fight the darkness. As the game progresses, SEES realizes they are not only fighting Shadows but they are trying to stop The Fall or the end of mankind.

While each person has one specific persona, the protagonist has a special ability called "wild card" that gives them access to 170 different persona. The strength of his/her persona is based on the bonds that they create with others. Transience focuses on just one bond. The Bond of Death with the amnesiac little boy, Pharos.

Death Arcana

Protagonist first meets Pharos when they arrive in Iwatodai Dorms. This mysterious little boy in striped pajamas talks about a contract and asks that the protagonist keep their word. In the Persona 3 FES manga during protagonist's first summoning of his persona, he has a flash of Pharos putting his finger to his head, asking "Can you do it?" This is in reference to how to use the dropped evoker. The game offers no explanation for this situation. For me, this shows that Pharos and Protagonist are in some way connected. As the game progresses, Pharos visits protagonist on nights that the party does not go to Tartarus. He reveals that he does not remember much, in fact, he doesn't even remember his own name until June. He does, however, know that there will be ordeals and that all the things the protagonist faces lead to the Fall. He is a curious little boy, often asking questions. He has a mysterious aura as he talks about the future and the downfall of man. He remembers more as SEES defeats the full moon shadows. In fact, he also states that he and the protagonist will always be together and that he will always be with them. He is always watching.

Pharos does not stay long when he visits. He says three or so sentences before leaving, often giving the protagonist hints about what is to come. The protagonist is given the chance to answer one of Pharos's questions each time they meet. The week before the full moon, Pharos always visits telling that the ordeal will be soon and that he's curious about how things will turn out. As more time passes, Pharos remembers more, including that people wish for the Fall. He finds it an odd thing to wish for and will disagree with the protagonist if they state that no one wants that. Then why would it be coming? Pharos warns protagonist about more than just bosses. He warns about poisonous flowers blooming in the garden, three in the opposite garden and one in their own. Pharos tries to help out the protagonist by sharing the information that he has. His words are often cryptic and he leaves with a smile. He reminds me of the cheshire cat (it could be the stripes too).

Death Arcana

Pharos represents the Death Arcana Social Link. His social link is special in that it can gain two levels at a time (and frequently does). Regardless of the choices made the link will rise and complete throughout the course of the game. By maxing this social link the protagonist gains the ultimate Death Persona, Thanatos. Persona of this arcana are usually mudo (dark) based and are weak against hama (light) based attacks.

In tarot the death card represents (but is not limited to) endings, loss, conclusions, sadness, transition, finishing, regeneration, being caught in the inescapable, goodbyes, and deep change. Although it is not likely that it represents physical death so much as change (or end of something). This is fitting for Pharos who is regenerating within the protagonist. As time progresses with the protagonist Pharos becomes attached and begins to change, becoming more cheerful. He represents a parting and gives protagonist a choice in which the end must come about. It is only through protagonist that the choice is ever given, ultimately resulting in the protagonist's final goodbye and sacrifice.

The arcana is associated with foreboding and doom but also symbolizes metamorphosis and change as well as regeneration and cycles. This is fitting for Pharos who gives warnings of the future and trials to the protagonist. Through the protagonist's relationship with Pharos, Pharos begins to change and develop feelings and understanding. This is particularly important for his role as Nyx's arbiter in terms that he will not obliterate everyone without someone else's opinion. He relents because he has changed.

As stated earlier, the protagonist receives the ability to use the persona Thanatos. This representation of death is directly linked to Nyx within the game as her reaper. He is the true form of Pharos. Thanatos is the embodiment of death, usually he embodies peaceful death. And this is apparent when the offer is made to protagonist that he can erase the memories of SEES until the Fall. It is only through the protagonist's choices and social link that "Death" gives the choice to people. In mythology he was thought to be a grim, sword wielding figure in which he hated mortals and was happy to guide them to their demise. Persona 3's Thanatos has a grim appearance and fights with swords, taking from the original mythology of the character. His personality also mirrors this in his ruthlessness to bring about the fall, changing and offering choice only after having spent ten years with the protagonist.

It is revealed that ten years ago, Aigis defeated the ultimate shadow, Death. Unable to kill it, it was sealed within a child (the protagonist). Pharos represents Death within the protagonist. Through the choices protagonist makes, Pharos becomes more human. Pharos's true role is that of Nyx's arbiter and he will bring down the fall of humanity. His form as Pharos awakens when protagonist returns to the city as the shadows are awakening once more. It could also be theorized that when protagonist first summons their persona that the creature that rips through Orpheus is Death (not the persona Thanatos, though they look identical). The shadow itself could have risen and started the process of merging with the others again. Although, I would assume it was greatly weakened, if it were in fact Death rather than Thanatos (as it could have also been Thanatos). I feel that the initial rush of power was Pharos protecting protagonist (in terms of protecting himself). After the social link is completed and the hanged man has been defeated Death makes another appearance. He also appears in a human form called Mochizuki Ryoji, in which he is biding time until the fall. He befriends protagonist as well, appearing almost immediately after Pharos says his final goodbye.


Pharos, Thanatos, Death, and Ryoji are all parts of the same being but different facets. Pharos, in particular, is not all dark and gloomy. He's actually quite a cheery child often having a smile or joyful tone when speaking. More than anything, I believe he's curious as he is always asking questions. He also strikes me as mysterious and lonely, he does not wish for the death and destruction of all, but he does wonder about it. He is a curious creature that wants to understand more. He gains this through his relationship with protagonist (taking a much more affectionate approach if the protagonist is female). Pharos means Lighthouse and is most commonly associated with the Pharos at Alexandria.

In the manga he chooses the name, stating its inconvenient not to have one when the protagonist asks for his name. He understands that while it doesn't matter to him, it is important for the protagonist to address him as something. He chooses the name, "Pharos." Within the game he merely states that he remembers his name, "Pharos." My initial thought upon playing was of the lighthouse at Alexandria, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. I find this intriguing on two levels.


First, lighthouses are made to prevent disaster. In fact they are often solitary beacons, mysterious, and alone. I think this fits Pharos well, who offers a bit of guidance but has no real control of how the protagonist handles the information. He has no real influence on how events turn out - his words are just words. They could be ignored, but, they hold much meaning to them. His words act as guide points and warning to prevent protagonist from crashing upon the rocky shores. Second, the Pharos at Alexandria is long gone, there's nothing left to it. It is merely a shadow of the past. This is also true for Pharos who is nowhere near what he used to be. It also hints at how time continues to march on and that though things change, there is something of the old within everything. This is ever more true for Pharos as the interactions and social link for the death arcana ultimately affect the protagonist's ability to choose whether or not to fight Nyx and stop the fall.

As far as death and mythos go, I am head over heels for the idea that death is accepting and kind. It welcomes people, doesn't want them to suffer, and accepts them without hesitation (as it does for us all)! I am quite pleased with the personification of death as a curious and gentle being that wants to understand why people work the way they do. I think that providing this personification as a child that has little control over outcomes is another fantastic facet of his character. Even if Pharos wanted to do something more, he can only manifest for certain amounts of time to warn the protagonist about things that are going to happen - I think this also plays a role in how definite death is. It will happen and for that reason, the only thing certain about the future is that we will die. I think this is, in part, what allows Pharos to predict and warn about.

As far as Pharos goes, he's equal parts adorable and creepy. He's reminiscent of a favorite character from a nonsensical perspective. He tries to understand despite having interaction with a single person. That person's views ultimately shape him. I love that the influence protagonist has is enough to change an entire world. For me, this states how much one person can really change your life. This also ties back to death arcana representing deep change.


Layout coded in Notepad, graphics edited with Paintshop Pro by Snow Rayjah. Images from teh Persona 3 FES manga found at MangaHere. Sprites/Images from Persona 3: FES from Spriter's Resource ripped by Barubary and Ken28. Favicon created at Dynamic Drive.Thank you to Cherri and Mikari for positioning, adjustment, and design inspiration.

I do not own Persona 3, this is just a fansite. No copyright inringement or dishonor intended. Persona 3, Pharos, and all recognizable characters are copyright to Atlus, 2006-Present. Transience is © to Snow Rayjah, 2013.

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