When I listened to the song “Heaven’s Divide” my first reaction was sheer emotional upheaval. It made me FEEL so much. I wondered to myself, why? At first I thought it was the music. Certainly that plays a huge role but then I noticed that many of the lines in this song refer to specific events, ideas, and themes that are present throughout the MGS series. As an MGS fan, I’d like to share my interpretation of these lyrics. I’ll be doing this line by line to show how closely this song could be read in relation to the MGS games. Hopefully, this approach won’t be too contrived or arduous! Lastly, I’m under no pretense that my interpretation is the right one, this is just one fan’s look at an awesome franchise song.
Petals of white
Cover fields flowing in grieving tears
And all the hearts once new, old and shattered now
Love can kill, love will die
Give me wings to fly
Fleeing this world so cold
I just wonder why
The first two lines (Petals of white, Cover fields flowing in grieving tears) likely refer to the final boss fight in MGS3, where Snake faces off against Boss in a field of white flowers. The “grieving tears” point towards the mood that follows the boss fight, sadness, as the player themselves executes the boss with the square button.
I think that line 3 (And all the hearts once new, old and shattered now) could be referring to Snake’s journey from Naked Snake to Big Boss. In MGS3 he was “once new”, being referred to in that game as a “child” by Boss during her defection scene on the bridge and, time line wise, this is the youngest that we ever see Snake. His transformation into Big Boss was a traumatic one which is why I think that he is “old and shattered now”. Snake had to execute a figure who was master, teacher, mother, and comrade to him at the orders of the US government. This terrible choice between personal relationships and duty “shattered” Snake when he killed the Boss because he had effectively killed the person who made him into what he is and taught him everything he knew. Snake also says in Peace Walker that he was dead since the day he killed the Boss. So what was once new (Naked Snake) is now old and shattered (Big Boss).
“Love can kill, Love will die” I think refers to the bond of love that Boss had for her country, the USA. Her love for her country “can kill” as shown when she willingly takes part in her own character assassination done to her by the USA (where she is named as a traitor in order to cover up the political typhoon that started with Volgin’s launch of a mini nuke) and love “will die” as seen when she dies at the hands of Snake, all for the love of her country.
The last three lines in this section I think allude to the Boss’s trip to space. In Peace Walker, the player learns that the Boss looked out onto the earth from space (wings to fly) and was inspired to unite the world. I think that the last line is meant to put the listener into her frame of mind as she gazed down from space: she “just wonder”s, “Why is the world divided?”
Cold as the dark
Now my words are frosted with every breath
Still the heat burns wild, growing inside this heart
When the wind changes course, when the stars align
I will reach out to you and leave this all behind
When heavens divide
I think that the first three lines refer to the Boss’s failed atmospheric reentry, albeit referring to this event in a poetic manner. “Cold as the dark” might be referring to the coldness of space that she felt which frosted her breath as she spoke. The heat referred to in line 3 of this section might be the heat of atmospheric reentry or, more poetically, the heat of purpose that the Boss gained from her trip to space.
From the 3rd line to the 6th of this section, I read as coming from Big Boss’s perspective. Wind changing course and stars aligning could be referring to Big Boss’s efforts to change history with the creation of Outer Heaven. Big Boss goes to great lengths to try to fulfill what he thought was the Boss’s will, that soldiers lived free from controlling parties. To do so, he orchestrated a massive project to create a soldier run state. The logistics and planning that goes into this are enormous and I think that that is what the third line refers to, the winds of change and the cosmic level of effort that went into making Outer Heaven. The next two lines (I will reach out to you and leave this all behind, When heavens divide) reinforce my belief that the last three lines of this section are talking about Big Boss’s efforts to create Outer Heaven. Line 5 could be referring to Boss’s motivation in creating Outer Heaven: to be closer to Boss who he idolized (I will reach out to you and leave this all behind). He creates Outer Heaven in order to fulfill what he think is her will and thus “leave this all behind”, namely, to leave behind the corrupted corporately run governments that he despises. He does so “when heaven’s divide” which I read as the creation of Outer Heaven because Outer Heaven will “divide” soldiers from unfeeling masters.
When heavens divide
I will see the choices within my hands
How can we ever protect and fight with our tiny souls
Let me shine like the sun through the doubts and fear
Do you feel the storm approach as the end draws near
The first two lines might be Boss’s thoughts on the creation of Outer Heaven. “When heaven’s divide” (once Outer Heaven is created) Boss will have choices in his hand, namely, choices that will affect to whole world via freedom given to their militaries.
The third line (How can we ever protect and fight with our tiny souls) I think refers to the many times in the MGS series where the characters doubt that they can fulfill their missions. They wonder how they can “protect and fight with [their tiny souls]” like when Meryl gets shot by Sniper Wolf, when Naked Snake gets tortured, or when Solid Snake gets put through the microwave hallway. I think that those are the times that this line refers to, times when the characters feel their own weakness and wonder if they can make it (How can we ever protect and fight with our tiny souls?). The next line could be the resolution of those trials. Meryl survives her shooting and escapes with Snake, Naked Snake lives through the torture and goes on to become the legendary Big Boss and Solid Snake makes it through the microwave hallway in order to defeat Liquid Ocelot. These are the times that this line (Let me shine like the sun through the doubts and fear) is referring to, when the character’s shine through their doubts with their sheer effort and determination.
The last line here I think is a clever nod to The End in MGS3 (Do you feel the storm approach as the end draws near?) Every time The End appears or is suggested to be near, there is a storm on screen. Thus, “Do you feel the storm approach as the end draws near” might be referring to those times. Less cheekily read, I think this line refers to the pacing of the game when the player first hears this music in Peace Walker. The game is drawing near its end and so the song asks the player if they feel the oncoming storm of the ending.
When heavens divide
Time will come to softly lay me down
Then I can see a face that I long to see
And for you, only you I would give anything
Leaving a trace for love to find a way
When heavens divide
This section I think refers to Big Boss’s mind set when he creates Outer Heaven. Big Boss might be thinking that with the creation of Outer Heaven (When heavens divide), he will finally be able to be laid to rest at the hands of Solid Snake (Time will come to softly lay me down) who he helps infiltrate Outer Heaven. At that point, Big Boss will be able to finally see Boss on the other side (Then I can see a face that I long to see). The next two lines (And for you, only you I would give anything, Leaving a trace for love to find a way) I think refer to the Boss’s undying love for Snake. She gives up everything she has (her life and her identity) in order to keep Snake alive and remember her as she truly is, not as a war criminal but as a patriotic hero. The “Trace of love” could be referring to the Boss’s will that many characters in the MGS series have attempted to decipher in order to find their way (find a way).
I will dive into the fire
Spilling the blood of my desire
The very last time
My name scorched into the sky
The last section I will be talking about could be referring to the Boss’s mindset going into her cover-up mission in MGS3. It is an intensely emotional scene when Snake and the player learns that Boss wasn’t a traitor at all, she was the complete opposite. She gives up not only her life but the memory she leaves behind as the US government uses her as a scapegoat to avoid nuclear war. Personally, I saluted to screen when Snake salutes the Boss, so emotional was I at the time. The lines “I will dive into the fire, Spilling the blood of my desire” might be referring to the Boss’s feelings as she heads into her final mission. She dives into the fire of the mission and the blood of her desire (her desire to save the USA) is spilled as she is killed by Snake. The last two lines might be referring to how her name will be remembered and the enormous consequences the different memories of her identity create (The very last time, My name scorched into the sky). Her name being “scorched into the sky” is probably referring to how she is remembered as different figures to different characters in the series. Snake remembers her as his master and comrade, Ocelot remembers her as the greatest patriot of all time, the people of the world remember her as a war criminal. The immense consequences that these memories create (Snake creates Outer Heaven, Ocelot defeats the Patriots, the people of the world are left in ignorance) might be what is expressed by the words “My name scorched into the sky”.
Well, that’s all of it! I hope that this wasn’t too confusing as I constantly referred to events in the MGS series. What I wrote is definitely from an MGS fan to MGS fan’s, sorry to those who have not played the games and slogged through this post. Hopefully, this brought a tiny speck of new light into this awesome song and the franchise it comes from.[/url][url] read