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I lost him, too.
— Jill mourns Gideon's death

The Terracotta Soldier was a recurring item throughout the Saw franchise and served as a memento of Gideon Kramer after his death.


The terracotta soldier was a small, metallic minifigure with an Asian looking facial expression, depicting a soldier of the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. The figure stood on a small pedestal and wore a body armor. While the right arm lay on the side of the body, the left hand lay on his chest. Additionally, it wore a helmet and a short men's skirt.


The Year of the Pig

In his early life, John Kramer was a civil engineer and the devoted husband of Jill Tuck, with whom he expected a child which should be named Gideon. However, his life changed dramatically, when Cecil Adams, a patient of the Homeward Bound Clinic, Jill's recovery clinic for drug addicts, attempted to rob her and thereby caused a miscarriage. Some time later, life dealt John another blow when he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. His depressions worsened even more when William Easton, manager of the Umbrella Health insurance company, denied the coverage of John's treatment costs. At this point, John was so desperate that he tried to end his life by driving his car of a cliff. Albeit heavily injured, John unexpectedly survived and found a new purpose in his life. He decided to spend the time he had left to test other peoples' will to survive in order to make them appreciate their lives. (Saw, II, IV, VI)

Cecil steals the soldier

His first test subject was going to be Cecil Adams. For several weeks John observed him and felt vindicated in his belief that only those who were close to death were able to value their life, as he saw that Cecil just continued his life after Gideon's death and didn't change in the slightest. John spent much of his time following Cecil and preparing himself emotionally for the first part of his self-imposed mission. When the time had come, he followed Cecil to a Chinese festival in celebration of the year of the pig. While doing so, he saw how Cecil spoke to a saleswoman. After distracting her, he quickly stole one of the small terracotta figures from her booth before vanishing. Using a pig mask filled with chloroform, John pursued, sedated and ultimately abducted Cecil. Then, he took him to his workshop and strapped him to a chair with blades, that were adjusted to the armrests and pierced his wrists.

When Cecil woke up, he initially panicked. When he recognized John, he begged him to let him go and apologized for what happened to Gideon, begging him to let him explain his situation. John merely claimed to have forgiven Cecil and had just put him in the trap to help him change his life. After a brief discussion, John showed Cecil a vicious contraption consisting of various knives. When his frightened hostage asked him what it was, John responded that this was the tool which would save his life. Afterwards, he adjusted the device to Cecil's chair so that the eight horizontally arranged knives were positioned right in front of his face. While doing so, he reminded Cecil of his crimes and failures and told him that he'd have to press his face into the knives in order to free himself from his restraints as otherwise, he would bleed to death. Cecil angrily insulted him and yelled for help. However, eventually he pressed his face into the knives. As he did so, the immense pain caused him to scream and struggle until after a few moments, the chair unexpectedly collapsed and thereby released him. However, instead of being grateful, Cecil approached John and tried to kill him. John however evaded the attack easily, causing Cecil to fall into a cage filled with razor wire, where he ultimately died in front of John's eyes. After his death, John cut a jigsaw piece from Cecil's skin as a symbol of his lack of will to survive and also took the stolen soldier figure from his corpse, which he kept as a memento from then on. (Saw IV)

Gideon Kramer

Some time later, a saddened John visited the grave of his son at the cemetery. While standing at the grave to be with his son, he took the soldier figure from his pocket and placed it on Gideon's tombstone. When his visit came to an end, he took the figure back before leaving his son. (Saw VI)

The Final Tests

John with the terracotta soldier

Throughout his series of murders as the killer known as Jigsaw, John always kept the figure as a memento of his loss. When his identity was finally revealed, he was forced to went into hiding at the abandoned Gideon Meatpacking Plant, his very first building which had inspired him to his son's name. As his cancer worsened, he became bedridden and ultimately ordered his apprentice, Amanda Young, to abduct the surgeon Dr. Lynn Denlon to keep him alive for the duration of his final tests. As his death approached, he talked to Lynn to explain her his actions. While doing so, he held the small figure in his hands. (Saw II, III)


  • The scene in which John visits Gideon's grave was originally filmed for Saw IV but ultimately didn't make it into the final film. However, the soldier on Gideon's gravestone can be seen in Saw VI for a split second in the scene in which Jill Tuck watches an old video of her and John during an ultrasonography. However, an unedited part of the scene can be seen in the Behind-the-Scenes videos of Saw IV.
  • According to the Behind-the-Scenes footage of Saw IV, the creators wanted to use the soldier to give John's character something spiritual without assigning him to a certain religion.
  • During the scene in Saw V in which John convinces Detective Mark Hoffman to become his apprentice, the soldier can be seen on a table in the background.

Appearances and References