There's a fan theory out there that suggests Ashlynn in Dragon Quest VI is actually the golden dragon seen in the game (and on the Super Famicom cover). There's evidence to suggest this is – and isn't – the case, so today we'll be exploring all of those routes.
It might seem like a weird fan theory, but there's actually plenty of evidence to suggest Ashlynn is the golden dragon. This mysterious dragon transports the party to Murdaw's Keep from the cliffside campsite in DQ VI, and it's featured on the SFC cover, but its origins are really unknown. So, just where did that dragon come from? And is it really Ashlynn?
Why Ashlynn Could Be The Dragon In DQ VI
The primary source of this fan theory is that Ashlynn doesn't appear alongside the golden dragon during the course of the game on the DS. She even goes out of her way to stay on the ship when the rest of the party goes to Murdaw's Keep. That's pretty suspicious, and it could explain how she's the dragon (although not really why she wants to keep it a secret).
In the past, Yuji Horii has also admitted the evidence points to Ashlynn really being the dragon. And he's also admitted he was a bit preoccupied with Chrono Trigger at the time, which is why some planned story beats ended up on the cutting room floor. One of those story beats? A subplot involving Ashlynn, the dragon, Milly and her ocarina, and the Goddess Rubiss.
Another tidbit that fans use to support this theory: an NPC in Sorceria says that Ashlynn is so powerful, “I bet she could turn into anything…even a dragon!” Add this to the fact that the other characters who need to be reconnected to their bodies succeed (except for poor Ashlynn), and it could all mean that, yes, Ashlynn is actually the dragon.
Why Ashlynn Might Not Be The Dragon In Dragon Quest VI
All of this sounds pretty promising, but there are a couple caveats here. First, Ashlynn and the golden dragon can appear together in the Super Famicom version of Dragon Quest VI. This was changed for the DS remake though, so perhaps developers decided this was an error on the SFC and fixed it so that Ashlynn could indeed be the dragon in the DS version.
However, Ashlynn appears on top of that golden dragon in the manga (pictured above), which seems to settle once and for all that she isn't the dragon. It really comes down to this: Do you consider the manga to be canon, or is it an ancillary text that's separate from DQ 6′s universe?
Depending on your answer, this probably lets you decide for yourself if Ashlynn is actually the golden dragon or not. What do I think? Personally, I think that…yes, she's probably the dragon. The subplot was most likely cut because of Yuji Horii's attention on Chrono Trigger, and it was meant to be revealed at some point later in the game. I rarely consider manga or novel adaptations of JRPGs to be canon, though. So, it's really up to you. Believe whatever you want!
Either way, it's a really great fan theory – and it actually makes a lot of sense.
Special thanks to SphynxScion, Jexog from DQ Spain, and Guiry Stark for help with the manga and some of the other research for this post! If you want to hear more Dragon Quest mysteries, be sure to listen to our Dragon Quest FM episodes dealing with that.