The thoughtful and analytical Louisa Hammond just sent me 8 pages of her thoughts on Labyrinth. Thank you! I’m not going to quote her extensively because I don’t know if I have her permission, but I’d just like to paraphrase some of her ideas on certain topics because I think they are thought-provoking…
Louisa thinks that various characters represent positive and negative aspects of Sarah’s fantasy life. Didymus and Ludo represent the values of loyalty and friendship. Hoggle starts off as a cowardly traitor, but soon he embodies the virtues of friendship as well. Louisa writes, “Hoggle learns that he must look out for others, in order to gain the blessings of friendship, and in rescuing them from the metal giant redeems his selfish behaviour, and makes him the hero too. This is another lesson [Sarah] learns, reflected through a character in her own dream.” Louisa sees minor characters like the Wise Man as indicative of Sarah’s intellect, “showing her she holds all the answers, she just needs to look a little harder.”
Meanwhile, on the negative side of the balance, Jareth represents self-indulgence and escapism. The Fireys, who dance and distract Sarah, trying to lead her off course, stand for “indulgent dreams that come along and put us onto a path that leads nowhere.” Finally, in an insightful note on the goblins, Louisa interprets their drinking as an excess that warns Sarah of the dangers of selfishness: “The goblins are people who, having become overpowered by their desires and dreams, turn into slaves to them; they drink and alcoholics become eventual slaves to their drink.”
Louisa also has an interesting take on the climax and end of L. As you recall, everything starts literally coming apart toward the denouement. First Sarah pops the ballroom bubble. Then she breaks down the walls of her fake bedroom. When she and her friends approach the castle through the Goblin City, the goblins are blowing the city to smithereens. Finally, when Sarah leaps for Toby in the Escher room, the fabric of the castle comes apart, leaving her and Jareth in a piece of wreckage somewhere in space. Louisa concludes, “It occurred to me that I can’t think of any other movie where the villain’s world is destroyed, simply because they are defeated. Jareth’s is the most beautiful ‘death’ scene I have ever seen. I think this supports the reading that Jareth and the Labyrinth were part of Sarah’s own creation.”
At the end, she had such a sweet message that I’m quoting it in full just to remind myself why I work on the Realm in the first place: “I admire the workings on your site and look forward to reading all the new material. Now I have found your new updated version. To discover you analyse Mirror Mask too is fabulous. I can’t wait to read through your interpretations of it and your comparisons to its mother, the greatest film in my life, Labyrinth. I apologise if I cover old ground with my observations, but I really just wanted you to read my thoughts. This movie is so close to me in the issues it raises, and I can’t thank you enough for giving it the respect it deserves by preserving its messages through your site.”
That’s why I do the site: because, for every 500 squealy raves about the hotness of Jareth, there are 1 or 2 genuinely original pieces of work, whether analyses or art or humor, that make the fandom worthwhile. Louisa, you just made my week. ^_^
Note to self: Possible essay topics generated by this set of thoughts include a) symbolism of Sarah’s compatriots, b) what the point of the goblins is and c) the significance of everything literally falling apart.