Random Labyrinth question

Discussion in 'Movies and Television' started by Mako Crab, Aug 28, 2016.

  1. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    So what's everyone's thoughts on Jareth, the Goblin King? Was he secretly in love with Sarah? Was he actually a bad guy?

    His speech during the final confrontation always led me to believe that he was fulfilling a role designated to him by the fiction Sarah believed in. He says that he's done all these things for her, and of those things he says that he was frightening (for her) & that he's grown weary of living up to her expectations.

    Plus pretty sure he outright says he loves her in the last song he sings. So whatcha think? Villain in love or good guy filling the role of a villain to fulfill Sarah's expectations?
     
  2. Dolza_Khyron

    Dolza_Khyron Well-Known Member

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    because it was david bowie. and he was drunk.
     
  3. coinilius

    coinilius Well-Known Member

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    His dialogue can be read as being that of an emotional abuser, turning it on her that she should feel obligated to him and guilty and grateful for the things that he has done; it's all her fault that he is cruel and frightening, her ungratefulness for his generosity that has made him the bad guy. He demands that she fear him and love him and let him rule over her and if she does all that then she can have everything she wants. And to defeat him, she has to realize that he has no power over her except for that which she gives him.
     
  4. Fuzz

    Fuzz Garbage Pail Kid

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    I think there's a novel and other graphic novels that delve into Jareth a lot more. Those might help answer your questions.
     
  5. Smashs

    Smashs Internet: Pure Truth Moderator

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    Pretty much this. I think he loved the power over her more than her herself.
     
  6. batfan007

    batfan007 Double Dragon Dying Mode

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    It's a fantasy film, it be viewed or interpreted on a variety of levels in parallel.
     
  7. bagofshhh

    bagofshhh Well-Known Member

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    Coincidentally, Cracked has an article running to day that may help explain it. (See #2 on the list.)
     
  8. batfan007

    batfan007 Double Dragon Dying Mode

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    He's more trickster archetype than villain. Tricksters are psychological shape shifters, often mirrors for the protagonist, they can help or appear to hinder the heroine of the story.
     
  9. batfan007

    batfan007 Double Dragon Dying Mode

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    I will address your Q more directly in another post.
    Fun Fact: I'm old enough to have seen this film in the cinema when it was first released, and many times since then!
    It has my fav musician (Bowie) the magic of Jim Henson, and the lovely Jennifer Connelly, and more all combined into one of my fav films.

    For now, some ideas to ponder, and yes there are typos, it's quite late and im rather tired...

    --

    As pure fantasy, Jareth spirits away her baby brother. In the real world if a baby was kidnapped or killed, no doubt the police would be called and Sarah would be questioned. In the fantasy world, Sarah is able to live out her dark ideas of her annoying baby brother "going away", being kidnapped or possibly killed.

    As part of Sarah's imagination, Jareth plays the part of Sarah's Shadow Self, her deepest darkest wishes and feelings she is afraid to express and own herself. In the fantasy world, a child kidnapping is turned into a playful game, a challenge, a question. It's bit of frustrating fun rather than the grim serious reality of an actual missing child which is never fun for anyone involved.

    Jareth represents a trickster, shapeshifter, prince and king. He is a misfit, the only pretty thing, and ruler of the monsters and weird creatures of the fantasy world. Sarah is also a pretty "thing" that he is jealous of and also afraid of.

    Jareth offers Sarah a life of fantasy and paradise, but part of Sarah knows that life is not just fantasy, and involves hard decisions rather than pie in the sky paradise. Jareth like the serpent in the adam and eve story is a trickster who brings knowledge and self-awareness. Often the knowledge is the painful realization that we have created our own dramas, or problems and don't want to face them, so blame an external authority figure, or fantasy figure.

    Jareth is also a romantic and sexual expression of EROS, the eternal quality of divine erotic love. Sarah is young and inexperienced, he is the fantasy of the older authoritative male lover that is depicted often in fiction. He represents not just sexuality and EROS, but Sarah's own awakening desires, and life instincts, or sexual energy if you prefer.

    Erotic dreams, like other dreams can often be nonsensical full of figures and characters who may be attractive but simultaneously repellent or "off-limits" to us, hence the danger, thrill and excitement.

    In the form of an Owl, Jareth is a guardian and watcher. he watches over Sarah like a guardian angel. Even when he seems his most villainous and manipulative (which he is, as a trickster figure) he also serves Sarah's unconscious wishes by stealing her baby brother at her command, and by helping her cheat her way through the labyrinth, or making it harder for her, when things are TOO easy and when he knows she still has lessons to learn (no shortcuts in life).

    As a Seer, or Watcher, Jareth is both part of all the events of the story, and also watching all the events unfold as a narrator and witness. He is a storyteller, and he tells whatever story his subjects desire of him. He is also a creature of desire who thrives on attention himself, and his powers fade when nobody pays attention to him, or they see through his illusions, reclaiming their own power to create and imagine their own world, rather than be subject to his whims.

    Some simultaneous possible parallel "truths" of the film:

    In one version of events Sarah is part of the world of the Labyrinth, she is Jareth's Princess, and our ordinary "real world" is the world she dreams of. Jareth indulges her games, and plays along with her. In this version, the real world can be Sarah's dream/fantasy or also mental illness.

    -

    In another version, the real world (our world) is Sarah's home and Jareth's world is the world of fantasy dreams and imagination, Sarah travels there and has adventures in her dreams, but not her physical self.

    -

    In another version, Sarah lives in the real physical world, and travels to Jareth's world through a dimensional gateway or vortex that defies our laws of physics. She really does go to another world/dimension that may be in parallel with our own, or superimposed on top of it. A world where dream logic applies, and the laws of physics do not. A world where magic is real, and imagination is King.

    -

    The strength of a good story, particularly fantasy tales, is that they work on symbolic and literal meanings, and are open to interpretation. Great stories or tales by definition are multidimensional, that is they are designed to hold many ideas, values and different subjective versions of truth in parallel, no single version or interpretation is more "true" than any other.

    A films where this is implicit for example is Christopher Nolan's Inception, which Nolan has gone on record as saying that there is no one single "true" version of events, and that all the ideas and fan theories are quite valid, the film is designed to be non-linear and have many possible "truths" in parallel. As the story is told and passed on by different storytellers, it is changed and modified to suit the audience. This is also the case in the oral tradition, the way stories were told for far longer than we have been writing them down.

    Here are some ideas I came up with while watching the film, but there are many others from fans online, these are just the tip of the ice-berg:

    *The entire film is a dream and we never leave Cobb's dream / subjective mindscape.

    *Cobb does exist in the real world, but did get stuck in the dreamspace with Mal, and Mal did commit suicide in the real world, hence Cobb's guilt and reluctance to journey back to the dream world which can be hell or paradise.

    *Cobb did get stuck in the dream world, but Mal never existed, Mal is Cobb's subconscious guilt, shame and self-loathing manifesting in physical form, but she exists as a cipher for all his mental crap. She is the wife he wishes he had, a convenient lie his subconscious invented to give him a "mission" and feeling of self importance for wasting his life.

    *Cobb does get to reunite with his kids at the end in our "real" world.

    *Cobb reunites with his kids at the end, but only in the dream world, where he now stays permanently, possibly alive, possibly dead. After life tales are rife with meeting of ones departed loved ones in all cultures around the world throughout recorded history.
    Cobb is in Seito's dream, or Seito is in Cobb's dream. We don't know for sure either way. The dream starts BEFORE any of the credits and film itself opens, hence we are ALWAYS in the dream.

    *Cobb is chased both in the dream world and seemingly real world by enemies and agents, not unlike the Matrix, his enemies seem to be everyone, and always know where he is, his paranoia increases during the film, which may be a sign of mental illness.

    *Cobb is dead from the start of the film, (or dies at virtually any point of the duration of the film) The entire story takes place in the Bardo's. The "after death" state as discussed in the Egyptian Book of the Dead and Tibetan Book of the Dead classical texts. He replays events of his life as part of his "life review" to see what he did right, and what he did wrong.
     
  10. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    This interpretation (totally valid btw) represents an even more insidious kind of evil. In our day to day lives, most people aren't that likely to run into people trying to kill them or turn their babies into goblins, but they all too often run into people that want to control them through emotional manipulation, gifting presents, & doing nice things all with the intent of being reimbursed. And they do it all with charm & feigned generosity, making those around them think that they are a stand up guy. While I was waiting to see where this discussion would go, I was looking to see if other sites had discussed this topic & found an article that goes more into this:

    We Love Villains: The Strange Appeal of Jareth From Labyrinth - Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

    It also points out how Jareth at least was always portrayed as the villain as opposed to the Edward Cullens & Christian Greys of more recent flicks where this type of emotional abuse is treated as an actual romance.

    So I looked into it & found out there's a sequel novel. Toby's all grown up & Jareth is still trying to bend Sarah to his will. It says he finally gives up & lets her return to the human world. Probably the only quasi official sequel this movie will ever see.

    The mark of a good fairy tale. :) 

    The trickster archetype is all too often cast as a 1-note villain in Hollywood too. The one article I linked mentioned Loki, & I feel it's important to point to other Norse myths, which show Loki often tasked with pulling Odin & Thor's asses out of the fire. Just read the myth about where Odin's 8 legged horse came from.
    Or like Coyote from Native American legends. Most of the time he's portrayed as an antagonist screwing with people. But he does have a dual nature & becomes a good tribe leader later on. Granted, very few mythical characters have such a distinct character arc, but it's cool to see that at least one does go through some real growth.
     
  11. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    Now that's something I never knew! Puts a whole new slant on it. Also explains why the Jareth doll in Sarah's room looks so different compared to how Bowie looks (the doll has light purple skin & horns), while everything else in her room looks as is it does in the labyrinth. Very cool read!