The dream isn't Mari's way of escaping, it's her father's way of keeping her trapped.
The Sleeping Beauty
in Mary's dream records the princess being impregnated/giving birth while still Asleep; Mari probably isn't in a coma, since the radio mentions time in the gardens and she interacts with real people, but I wouldn't put it past Mari's father to keep her "dreaming" whenever possible so she won't resist him. It could be done medically or magically, and it would explain why Boaris is so insistent on Mari going further
into the dream: The deeper the dream, the more deeply Mari sleeps, the more docile she is. The radio mentions that Mary likes "longer dreams" best, probably because deeper dreams means she's less aware of the abuse she's undergoing. It also explains why Boaris is so concerned with Mary enjoying the dream, how he says that it was made 'especially for her' (which sounds like he was involved with its creation), and why he gets angry when Mary disobeys: She's not just rebelling, she's waking up, and could fight back or escape. Her father might have convinced Mary that the dream was a "reward" for obeying him: If she does what he says, she can spend her time in a pleasant dream instead of dealing with what's really happening.
Word of God says that everyone in Mari's world has some kind of power, so maybe her father's is being able to alter the worlds of others, or something along those lines. He probably made the world so saccharine, believing that's what little girls like (and explaining Boaris' gushing speech), and hid the fourth door in the hall as well as "programmed" the radio to deny that door's existence, among all the other warnings meant to keep Mary in the dream. He can't make dream-stuff real, though, and it's more static than Mary's power, which is why it starts breaking down when she starts pushing; the Dark World aspects are what Mari knows to be true, altering the world as she "remembers" them.
The Red Seeds are pomegranate seeds.
The Red Fruit from Bunnilda's statue game is probably a pomegranate, judging by the icon and the Greek myth that links the statues with the pomegranate. Eating the pomegranate's seeds made it impossible for Persephone to truly escape Hades; by collecting the Red Seeds and using them as intended, to follow Boaris further into the dream, Mary is making it impossible to escape her current circumstances, either through giving up (consciously or otherwise) or simply through ignorance, as Persephone ate the pomegranate seeds without knowing what it meant. That would explain why Penn is reluctant to give Mary the Seed (and why Foxanne and Bunnilda are so surprised that Mary would want to collect/use the Seeds), as well as why Penn encourages Mary to 'be brave': He's hoping she won't actually go through with it.
- It might also represent Mary confronting the truth about her life. She uses her dreams to escape her imprisonment and ends up in a shiny, pretty pink world full of nice friends that is much more welcoming and friendly than her real life, but even Radio Nightnight only mentions that in the real world, she's lonely and everything is drab, not how her father treats her. Exploring the dream will eventually force her to face some really ugly reality, and as expressions of her subconscious, her friends know what she's going to find down there. The girls can't fathom why she'd want to do that at all, but Penn, a supportive-but-ineffective adult figure, tells her to be brave because there's nothing he can do to protect her.
It's a narcissus, not a lily.
The flower whose petals serve as a "lifebar" is not a lily, despite lilies being referenced, but a narcissus. It resembles such a flower in the portrait found in the starting room, and when you get the flower from the vase, it gives you four petals, since the flower's already lost two; a narcissus has six petals, like a lily. The flowers depicted during the Good End credits appear to be narcissus, which is related to the statues in Bunnilda's room: Aphrodite (who plays a role in the Adonis legend) was said to have worn the flowers, and Hades used a field of narcissus to lure Persephone (also part of the legend) away from her mother so he could kidnap her. Because of this, the narcissus became associated with death and was planted around tombs; this is probably symbolic, since its appearance during the credits coincides with what could be Mari fleeing the mansion.
The Maid, the Tutor, and the Uncle are all dead.
It's implied that the "friends" from Mary's dream represent people she knows in the real world, with Bunnilda, Foxanne, and Penn based on Mari's maid, tutor, and uncle. When first exploring the Dark World, you find what are presumably their real-world representations: A taxidermy rabbit, a penguin doll, and a fox pelt. After receiving the Red Seeds, the characters are replaced with "glitch" art of two women and a man: The woman replacing Bunnilda looks like she's falling from the roof, the man replacing Penn is decapitated, and the woman replacing Foxanne appears to have had her eyes gouged. In the corridor, the rabbit, penguin, and fox items are ripped apart. Boaris/The Shadow represents Mari's father, but the only change Boaris undergoes is if Mary defies him, dropping his friendly facade.
Mari's father seems to keep his daughter as isolated as possible - living in the middle of nowhere, locking her in her room, getting her a tutor instead of sending her to school - and he might kill others if he thought they could interfere. The tutor might have had suspicions or seen evidence of abuse, explaining her ruined eyes; the maid probably lived in the house and may have witnessed something that led to an "accidental" fall. Mari's uncle may have suspected abuse, or at least that something was going on, and might have tried to gain custody of his niece, leading to his murder.
Mari is actually Gwendel's daughter.
The man she thinks is her uncle is her biological father, and the man she thinks is her father is her biological uncle. This assumes that "Ana," who wrote the journal in the hidden corridor, is Mari's mother, and "Glenn," to whom the journal is dedicated, is Mari's uncle. He's also the one who gave her the penguin doll, which is found with the journal after visiting the hidden room, which Penn can help you find. Mari's mother had an affair with Gwendel that resulted in Mari, which spurred whatever incident resulted in Mari's imprisonment and her mother's death/coma/disappearance. This likely encouraged the abuse, since Mari isn't his real child, and while Gwendel cares for Mari, he's unable to do anything because of what might happen to Mari if he tries. While the actual Ana and Glenn are not part of the game, per Wordof God
, it was also confirmed that the characters associated with those names (Mari's mother and her uncle Gwendel, respectively) will figure into the ongoing plot; with that in mind, the haiku read over the radio may also be related, as its emphasizes syllables corresponding to the journal-related names.
In the worst possible way. If Mari really isn't his daughter, he might be trying to mold her into the "faithful" wife her mother wasn't; even if it's not, he might be trying to produce an even more powerful dreamer than Mari, which may well have been his goal in marrying her mother to begin with. Since Mari's mother is out of the picture...
accha is somehow involved.
Yes, the creator of Dreaming Mary.
She seems friendly, sweet, and helpful, even cutesy, given the emojis on the official tumblr; yet, much like her characters, she hints at a darker side, creating games with innocuous surfaces and disturbing depths, and admitting that she has an affinity for "dark and twisted things." She's also present in the actual game, the chirpy voice on the radio who dispenses censored versions of Mari's life (truthful, but spun to omit the dark truth) and warnings intended to keep the player/Mary following the path of the dream. The characters in Mary's dream present themselves as fun, friendly, and helpful, yet hide a darker secret; maybe don't challenge the creator to any games, just to be safe?
Mari's Uncle's Name is Glenn Pindel
It's a pretty simple one. The character in the dreamworld who represents her uncle is named Penn Guindell. In the Darkworld, you can find a journal dedicated to "Glenn" underneath a stuffed toy penguin. Swapping the "P" and "G" in Penn's name and correcting for the pun gives you Glenn Pindel.
The two already-wilted petals
Perhaps they're the 'loss of innocence' of her mother dying and her father's original portrayal, but that brings her father 'betraying' her twice via Boaris into question... Maybe the second loss is when Mary/Mari realizes that she isn't able to defy him or escape him, and the first was realizing in the first place the he was a bad father/person? Then the other three optional petals is whether or not she realizes that her three other trusted adults (Maid, Uncle, Tutor) aren't actually helping her have a good (abuse-less) life either, even if they didn't actively help her father. I definitely think the petals are about realization rather than actual experience, since the animals still glitch whether you lose that innocence or not and if you do the best petal-wise you get the worst ending (because her relative innocence makes the father's abuse more traumatizing since it's unexpected to her, rather than being emotionally broken and used to it by now; just like the player expects a worse result if they see the nightmare faces you get when losing petals, and probably also tried to defy Boaris and got his nightmare face and had to resign themselves to just giving him the petal to get to the end, but if they end without seeing that they're only a little creeped out and so are probably startled like Mary probably is when that ending happens).
The dream characters all relate to someone Mari knows
The characters in the game might be mental recreations of people Mari knows in real life. Bunnilda is a maid and knows quite a bit about Greek history, so she represents the maid that Mari knows. Penn Guindel is obviously a representation of Maris uncle Gwendel
, considering that hes a scholar/book keeper and Gwendel allegedly gave her the penguin doll in her room
. As for Foxanne and Boaris, the theory can really go two ways with Foxanne being Maris tutor and Boaris representing an unknown sixth party (possibly the good side of Maris father
) or Foxanne being Maris mother, whether as a dream version of her mothers soul or a representation of Maris mom, and Boaris being the tutor
. Boaris is the only character that calls Mary sweetheart, which is admittedly odd if he were the tutor
, but Boaris reaction to being told no by Mary makes sense if you think about Boaris being told no by a student when hes asking for her to give him her work
and hes the only character to not get a monochrome body after Mary gives him her lily petal
. Bunnildas body continually falls from the ceiling, Penn Guindels body appears to lack a head, and Foxanne is almost slumped over while at the bar, which fits if the maid committed suicide and Maris uncle and mother were killed, but Boaris doesnt get a body and instead whispers things to Mary, which would fit Maris tutor not knowing Mari well enough to know what Maris father is doing to her or else him being paid off to not go to the police
. And then the shadow creature
is obviously Maris father, at the minimum the bad side of him