The loneliness of Malus
Acknowledgement: Thanks to the Malus page on Team Ico Wiki for some of the information used in this post
I’m a bit obsessed with Malus, the sixteenth colossus. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that there is just so much which can be theorised about his character. I think that Malus is one of the loneliness characters in fiction, and here is why.
What we must begin with is, admittedly, two pieces of ‘information’ which are no more than speculation, but which I consider to be canon. First, that Malus, and indeed all of the colossi, aware that they are not alone: that there are fifteen others of their kind scattered throughout the Forbidden Lands. It’s even possible that they have met at some point, though there are some which are unlikely to have had contact with their brethren (Dirge and Hydrus, for example).
I think that Malus would most likely by one of these colossi, aware of his siblings but not necessary meeting any of them. (There is scope, however, for him to have met Phalanx and Avion in the flesh.)
Second, that the colossi are aware that they are vessels for the sixteen scattered pieces of Dormin, and that their deaths will release those pieces. It is also important to establish that I am assuming in this scenario that Dormin is a baddie, and that the colossi are goodies by keeping him separated.
From this starting point, we can begin to see why Malus is extraordinary lonely.
First, look at how Malus must be reached: Wander cannot get to Malus until he uses the Ancient Sword to shine a beam of light into a specific point of a door, so that said door will open. Not only that, but this will only work when the Ancient Sword has already been used to kill the first fifteen colossi.
This means that Malus will only ever get one visitor: the possessor of the Ancient Sword, and the murderer of his fifteen siblings. When Malus has a visitor, he knows that his siblings are dead.
At this point, Malus is thrust into a kill-or-be-killed situation. The murderer of the first fifteen colossi wants to kill him too, and so he must either kill that person (after which he is left completely alone in the world, with the knowledge that his entire family is dead) or be killed by that person (at which point Dormin will be released, which could spell untold disaster).
Not only that, but Malus – at 196.8ft – is tall enough to be able to see the beams of light marking the places where his siblings fell. Throughout the game, Malus can only watch, helpless, as his siblings are slaughtered, and lie in wait for when the murderer will come for him as well.