The Childlike Empress is Desire.Think about it: the golden-eyed commander of wishes. And she(or s/he?) is described as "neither human nor Fantastican" and as more beautiful than any other character or person. What's more, it would not be out of character for Desire to set up a realm like the Dreaming and make itself the fickle ruler of it, just to piss Dream off.
The Neverending Story is one big metaphor of the Thelemic philosophy/religionThe entire story is built around the desire to realize one's True Will through going through multitudes of inferior wishes that may help or hinder you in this search. The AURYN is inscribed with the words "Do what you wish", a variation of the Code of Thelema: "Do what thou Wilt, shall be whole of the Law". Like many unfamiliar with the philosophy, Bastian assumes it's a hedonistic command to do as you please, when its real purpose is to encourage you to find your deepest Wish, that is, your True Will. And Bastian's true wish at the end is to love and be loved, which mirrors how the Code continues: "Love is the Law, Love under Will". And finally, the name which Bastian gives to the Childlike Empress is Moon Child, which is almost certainly a direct reference to a novel and ritual by the same name from Aleister Crowley, the founder of the Thelemic faith. There are many other lesser parallels, but these are the most noticeable.
The Neverending Story is influenced by Ancient Egyptian religion.The Nothing is strikingly similar to Isfet, the Egyptians' Big Bad, while G'mork takes the role of Apep, its (fairly literal) dragon.
The Childlike Empress is actually evilShe's been around for thousands of years, so the only way she can entertain herself is by torturing whoever picks up the book. Bastian was just lucky enough to get away.
Ende named the sorceress Xayide so he would have an "X."The book's chapters follow an alphabetical order pattern of the first word, thus her name serves well for the difficult "X" word in Chapter 24. After all, it would be hard to start a chapter with "X-ray" or "Xylophone." A similar case can be made for Chapter 26, maybe Chapter 25 (I can't remember).
The Sphinxes let people through based on how good their stories are.Engywook can't find any scientific pattern based on physical traits, causes, or anything else that he can observe. However, he can't tell which of the inhabitants of Fantastica is leading the most interesting life and is the hero of an important story. What could be a more diverse group, in such a manner that only them being let through seems random, than the protagonists of stories? Red Shirts, Mooks, Flat Characters, and others of their ilk are kept out, while people who are the heroes of important stories get through, regardless of why they have come. This ensures that the ones who really need to get to the Oracle will get through, and not just anyone will be able to get Uyulala's advice.
The Old Man of Wandering Mountain is Michael Ende himself .Think about it. He writes the story as it happens, the way that the author would, and he's not just recording events, no, no, no. "Everything I write down, happens." He's also one of the most powerful beings in Fantastica, the only one who is of a stature similar to the Empress, and Bastian refers to him again later in the story as the one writing the book.
The Childlike Empress is a Hive Mind.Every person who visits Fantastica but doesn't succeed in leaving it ends up as a lobotomized zombie imprisoned in the City of Old Emperors for all eternity. This happens because, at the moment they crown themselves Emperor or Empress, the Childlike Empress sucks out their mind and soul and melds them into her personality, leaving only a clueless body who is too incompetent to operate a blanket behind. This explains why the Empress is so unfathomably neutral; she's taken on the minds and personalities of so many distinct humans that she can no longer take just one opinion on anything, except preserving and continuing Fantastica.
The Character Derailment in the third film was intended to come after the Nasties stole the bookPerhaps it was just a relic from an earlier script and the Nasties were supposed to alter Fantastica more drastically than they did and Bastian was meant to have to escape their warped Fantastica but they didn't have the funds to make a more realistic Fantastica, so they rewrote it to mostly take place in the real world and already had the 'altered' character's scenes made (once more, no reshoots due to lack of funds). This would also explain why the subtitle is "Escape From Fantastica", despite in the actual movie, that's insanely easy to do. Think about it, wouldn't it make sense?...Or at least be a much better story?
Everything is really Fantasia and there is no real worldI have been able to successfully wish things into existence and there's a book with a weird snake symbol in my room.
MirrorMask is the Neverending StoryAnd Helena has the Auryn somewhere on her. Maybe it's a small sun logo on her pajamas or... OH! The Charm!!
The deterioration in Fantasia, the character derailment, bad pop culture references and a lot of the other "quirks" in the 3rd movie are a result of TV rotting Bastian's imaginationIt makes sense. The world becomes less vivid and cohesive, everyone becomes more shallow and changes in nonsensical ways, and Bastian can no longer think with as much imagination as before. The Childlike Empress arbitrarily restricts his wish, because that's what they do in Fairy Odd Parents
Bastian's mother was not named "Moon Child"She had the Japanese name "Tsukiko" or something similar, and told Bastian what it meant.
Obviously Bastian is a Reality WarperOr maybe, his father had an Imaginary Wife.
Luck Dragons genitalia are behind their right earsBased on this is all I need to prove as much.
Atreyu actually failed the test of self-worth in the movie.The point of the first gate in the movie is that you must feel your own self-worth and pass the Sphinxes without getting zapped. If this is so, then Atreyu technically failed. Sure he dodges their attack and runs through safely, but this means he only "passes" in the sense that he has quick feet and good reflexes. He still failed the test of self-worth because the Sphinxes didn't keep their eyes closed and attacked him.
The Empress changes to suit whomever's reading the book.No one knows what she looks like, few have met her, and her appearance is said to change. The fact she is Childlike suggests that appearing as a young girl is a conceit she adopts. Whether this is her choosing A Form You Are Comfortable With or if she too is being shaped by Bastian's expectations isn't clear, but it is surely no accident that she, Bastian, and Atreyu are all children. Coreander would likely have met an old woman version of the Empress (which only leaves one left to complete The Hecate Sisters...). ~Ingonyama
Hero Hynreck is the one who set the Ivory Tower on fireAs a hero, it would be his duty to help Atreyu save Bastian from himself, and what better way to prevent Bastian from crowning himself Emperor than by burning down the place where the ceremony would have taken place?
Bastian caused the Nothing by stealing the book from Mr. CorianderBecause Bastian stole the book while Mr. Coriander was in the middle of reading it, Fantastica had to go through a "reset" sequence before the normal story could take place. This is because a new reader would require a new story to draw them into Fantastica. But because cause and effect tend to run back on each other (not unlike the double-Ouroboros emblem), the reset sequence becomes a critical part of Bastian's story.
Mr. Coriander is re-reading his own adventuresQuite simply, once you have gone through The Neverending Story you can never go back, but only re-read about your past adventure there. In the same way that a book is always new and unexpected the first time you read it, but doesn't change for the second reading.
Bastian's father is abusive] and probably caused his wife's death, somehow. Bastian is a lot like his mother, so he gets a lot of abuse from his father. He reads books to escape thinking about it. Fantasia represents his childhood, memories of his mother, the things he likes in books, The Nothing is anxieties and fears, especially about growing up and living without his mother.
The Manipulators are The Grey Men from Momo
The second half of the book is a metaphor for the Mary Sue conceptImagination gives life to the world of fiction, but the more wishes are fulfilled the more empty a character ultimately becomes. Bastian strives to become an idealised version of himself, but instead comes close to becoming an inhuman abomination.