In Westworld, everything means something. A fly landed on someone's face? That's some deep meaning right there. A character briefly touched their stomach? So symbolic. Someone blinked three times? Quick, get the morse code handbook! Oh wait, wrong show.
With a surprisingly small amount of red herrings throughout the season, it seems that almost everything that was interpreted as having a double meaning was indeed significant. Which is why our last glimpse of Logan was all the more confusing.
What's Going On Here?
Logan doesn't seem like the kind of guy to shy away from some impromptu nudity, but he's not so keen when it involves being murdered by his brother in law. The most popular theory is that by sending the horse running toward the edge of the park, its self-destruct mechanism will be triggered when it reaches the perimeter, blowing up the host and killing Logan with it. This is further implied by William's last words to him:
"You always wanted to get to the end of the rainbow, didn't you? This looks like the place."
Flawed as his plan may be (who says the horse is actually going to make it to the edge anyway?), there's more important things to consider here— like William's farewell gift of a single black feather, carefully positioned in a rather suggestive place.
What Does The Feather Represent?
The feather looks to belong to a crow or raven (fun fact: both crows and ravens belong to the Corvidae family). These birds are often connected to black magic and bad luck. But when you're talking about #Westworld, you have to go a little deeper into the potential cultural significance.
Ready to take another dizzying journey down the Westworld theories rabbit hole? Then take a look at the many possible meanings behind Logan's mysterious black feather:
5. The Man In Black Sends His Regards
You might have noticed the addition of a familiar-looking brooch to Logan's attire after he became a high-ranking member of the Confederados. It's strikingly similar the the pin worn by Westeros' many appointed Hands of the King in #GameOfThrones:
But that brooch is more than just an obvious plug for another HBO show. Everyone who's worn that brooch on Game of Thrones has died a horrible death, with the exception of Tyrion, who lost his title after fleeing the city. This would make Logan's brooch heavy foreshadowing of his own terrible demise.
So what's the relation to the feather? Well, ravens are a common feature in Game of Thrones. Did you know that the show's storyboard artist, who designed the concept for the three-eyed raven, is called William Simpson?
Okay, that correlation might be a bit of a reach. But the important thing here is that Logan's Westeros-inspired brooch establishes a link to the symbolism of Game of Thrones, a show that uses ravens as its main method of sending messages across kingdoms. And with the possibility of another park just over the border, it's possible that William was trying to send a message. So how would the hosts from the other park interpret Logan's arrival?
4. A Sign From The Gods
It's unknown what the new 'SW' logo shown in the season finale means, but there's a strong possibility that it could be Samurai or Shinto world:
In the Shinto religion, Yatagarasu is a three-legged mythological raven. When sighted, Yatagarasu symbolizes a higher power interfering with the matters of humans. With Logan stripped of his Western attire and possibly sent into Samurai/Shinto World holding a raven feather, he could be interpreted by the Japanese hosts as a sign that the gods are meddling in their world; a way of stirring the pot, perhaps. Did William have a bigger plan in mind than to just find Arnold's maze? We already know that Ed Harris is returning for Westworld Season 2. Does this mean he's going to escape to the other park and run into Logan more than 30 years later?
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3. Missing Person
Don't get too excited for Logan's return just yet. According to the word of God, Logan is likely gone for good.
In biblical story of Noah's Ark, a raven was the first animal Noah released from his floating zoo. He hoped that the raven would find dry land somewhere amongst the flooded landscape. But the raven never returned. If William was paying attention in Sunday school, he might have intended the raven feather to be a symbol of Logan's permanent disappearance.
2. A Particularly Bad Omen
In his poem 'The Raven', Edgar Allen Poe claimed that that the bird represented "Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance". William gifting Logan a raven feather as a sign of death certainly aligns with other folk tales, such as that of Morríghan, the mythological Irish crow queen who foretold death in battle.
Taking Logan's steed into consideration, the combination of a horse and black feathers is very evocative of Aganippe, an incarnation of Artemis, the Greek goddess who represents the cycle of life and death. Aganippe is a destructive black-winged horse who reserves no mercy for her victims. And if Logan's nude horseback ride of shame is anything to go by, William is definitely a man without mercy.
1. It's All About The Hats
The symbolism in Westworld is often used to convey information on a character rather than narrative possibilities. While we're wasting our precious time speculating over the death of the show's worst frat boy, the writers might be dropping some major hints about character development.
The mythology of some cultures suggests that ravens weren't always black. In Ancient Greece, Apollo burned the feathers of a white raven as punishment. And get this: Apollo was born on the Greek island of Delos, which is indeed a very real place.
William claims to have been metaphorically "born" in the park. This indicates that either the feather is a sign of him punishing Logan for his transgressions, or a more subtle symbol of his own progression from white hat to black.
The Native American Sioux tribes also have a story about a white crow. Legend says that the crow would warn the buffalo of hunters, saving them from death. The humans caught the crow and turned its feathers black for its betrayal, and the crow promised to never aid the buffalo again.
In Westworld, William is the crow, and Dolores is the buffalo; trading his white "feathers" (hat) for black is a way for him to signify an end to his attempts to help Dolores.
The indigenous North American Tlingit people have two very different raven characters in their folklore: one is the selfish, cunning trickster, and the other is the creator, who brings light to the world's darkness. It's not too hard to see how William and Logan reflected the polarity of these two avian deities.
Still confused about Westworld's finer details? Check out our condensed 90-second timeline!