1986's cult fantasy movie Labyrinth is one surreal and bizarre cinematic trip - not least because of David Bowie's performance as the glam-rock Goblin King! But even though it's a super strange film, I thought I had a pretty good grasp on its plot... until I heard about this theory, that is.
Blog poster Glam Damnit has clearly spent a lot of time thinking about the movie - perhaps more than is healthy. However, all that concentrated theorizing has led to a rather revelatory breakthrough. Check it out:
Jareth Falls in Love
In a time long long ago a sorcerer named Jareth fell in love with a girl named Sarah. Sarah’s father and step-mother would not let her marry Jareth because they wanted to keep her, as a servant, to care for their other child. In a fit of rage Jareth kidnapped this other child and spirited it away to the fairy world. In this new world Jareth built a palace for his Sarah. He turned the spoiled child into a goblin, and kept it to be a servant.
So far, so good.
But He Waits Too Long
But, time moves differently in the fairy world, which meant by the time Jareth was done building his kingdom, Sarah had died.
So He Resolves to Find Another...
Overcome by grief and addled by a lifetime spent in a strange world filled with monsters, Jareth goes mad. He refuses to believe that he has lost his love. He searches the mortal world from his castle, looking for her.
And Does - Many Others!
It does not take long (for him) to find a dark haired girl named Sarah, who has a younger sibling, and who feels that she is treated unfairly by her step mother. In a fit of rage he kidnaps this other child and spirits it away to the fairy world. Perhaps this new Sarah dies in the quest to find the child, perhaps she wins her sibling back and flees.
So he's done this hundreds of times before!
Every Goblin is a Lost Child
This is how Jareth becomes the goblin king. Every goblin in the goblin city is a child Jareth has stolen, who was not recovered by a Sarah (he told the current Sarah that Toby would become a goblin if she did not find him in time).
That makes so much sense!
The Tale is Passed on...
This is why there exists in our world a book containing the story. Because it has happened before. So many times. At some point some lucky Sarah must have returned to our world to tell the story. This is why when the most recent Sarah first meets Hoggle at the start of the labyrinth, and introduces herself; “I’m Sarah”, Hoggle responds “That’s what I figured.”
Because, of course she’s Sarah. They were all Sarah!