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BowieTalk
   >> Interpretation
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Starlite
(electric tomato)
12/31/02 04:37 AM
As the World Falls Underground new  

Yes, a Labyrinth-themed thread. I'm sorry.
I'm not living up to my professed dislike of this movie, am I?

Anyway, I just got the BoB DVD two days ago, so I've been watching it, and today was the first time I saw the Underground and As The World Falls Down videos. They really surprised me, because I'd expected them to be much more based on the movie, and was already dreading Bowie-as-Jareth. Instead, I was really intrigued in the presentation of the songs, Underground especially. One of the things I'd always taken for granted was that when Bowie sings "Gotta gotta get me outta here!" he's talking as Jareth, saying that he wants to get out into the real world. It never occured to me that he was instead talking about the real world, and wanting to get in, as the video seems to suggest. I suppose I thought this because the rest of the song is addressed to "little girl" Sarah, and I thought that him being already Underground, getting out would of necessity mean getting to the surface, not going down.

This led me to wonder, are there any Laby fanfics that are based, or draw from, the music videos for their interpretation of Jareth? Someone, I don't remember who, talking about the preliminary script for the movie once said that she couldn't understand how they'd make Jareth-magician visit Sarah and have him be both recognizable and yet believable. She meant that he'd either look mysterious and goblin-like, but be utterly out of place, or he'd look too average. Well, the video provides a possible way for how he'd look in "real-life," and also provides the idea that Jareth has a "real life" as well. People have said that for Sarah, the Labyrinth is something inside her head, a waking dream, but most assume that Jareth exists only inside the Labyrinth. Here we see that he might have his own life outside of it.

The reason I'm so hung up on this is, I've always wanted to know Jareth's origins. My previous idea of his past went like this: (this is half-narrative, half-speculation)

He was a fifteen-year old (or so) noble living in 18th century Europe, a typical sullen, spoiled brat of a teenager. Just like Sarah, he felt he was much put-upon, he was dissatisfied with everything, and wished he could go somewhere where he'd be better appreciated and could have his way in everything. On his 15th birthday, his grandmother gave him a family herloom, an amulet (the one he always wears on his neck). She told him to be very careful with it, because it had the power to grant all his wishes, but only once, and with consequences. Jareth of course disregarded her completely, and as soon as he was alone, made a wish on the amulet. A faerie being appeared to him, and made him the same offer he would later make to Sarah, except the difference being, Jareth agreed.

He was then transported to the Underground, where he would henceforth and forever be the Goblin King, with a whole land under his control--thus fulfilling his wishes of being appreciated and special and having things his way.

For a long while, Jareth lived like that, and being a teenager, he was satisfied.

Jareth as 15 year old boy ruling the Labyrinth would explain the extreme adolescent streak pervading all of it--all the phallic symbols, the bully-like violence, the frustrated sexual agression--it seems to me something like a maladjusted boy his age might dream up. Also, in this stagnant pool of forever-adolescence, one does not age as quickly, and mental and emotional growth gets stunted almost completely. A century or so later, however, Jareth realizes his mistake as it all began to grow weary, and he got tired of mindless subjects and empty power. However, he couldn't figure out how to deal with it, being still a very child-like and bratty half-adult, and he couldn't get out, the catch being that he couldn't leave the post unless he either
a) Got someone else to accept the position (as he'd just done)
b) Got an heir
c) Got someone to join him, thus taking him out.

How this would work is, all these things require him to grow up in a place that makes growing up impossible (because in this interpreation, the Labyrinth's function is as a reform ground, trapping one particularly hard case inside so that he may save others, like Sarah). So he's stuck being petty and malicious and jaded and desperate, as we see him at the opening of the movie. If he suceeds in getting Sarah to let him grant all her dreams, it means there's someone else even more in need of being shut away in the Labyrinth than he, and he'll go free. If he succeeds in getting an heir, in actually raising one, then he should mature enough that the labyrinth would fall away. But really, none of these are options, only the third is--to get someone to join him, to maintain an actual relationship, because if he finds himself a Queen, his role will turn from Villain to Prince, and the Prince is guaranteed a happy ending. Also, once he is in a relationship, he will be neirher alone nor will he be able to be selfish and immature as before, and the Labyrinth-as-prison will lose all its power, its very essense will change, and it will become something else instead, something that might indeed be able to grant dreams, not nightmares.

God, that was long.

Anyway... back to what I was saying originally... The video provides an alternate view, but I as yet can't quite formulate what. That the Jareth character is also just a fantasy-escape alter ego of another bored, dissatisfied person? That while for Sarah the Labyrinth is entrapment, for someone else it could be liberation? That all our desires and night-fancies and whims coagulate to form our own Underground?

I don't know, so I want your opinions, ideas, etc. I'm not going to go into the As the World Falls Down video now, because I think you'd all kill me, but the Underground one by itself could make for an interesting fanfic (if there's been one already, can someone provide a link?). Two people, bith finding their escape in a dreamland, who could perhaps help each other out, but end up passing each other by... Or maybe, by themselves, the Underground would for each be their ideal place (Bowie looks like he wants to get there), but once the other steps in, in becomes a torment (Sartre, "hell is other people"?).

Hmmm, actually I'd be surprised if anyone even read through this whole thing. Oh well.



JellicleCat
(wild eyed peoploid)
12/31/02 09:22 AM
Re: As the World Falls Underground new [re: Starlite]  

.:. I would encourage you to visit Elizabeth Allan's website, Jareth's Realm. It's chock-full of essays regarding Jareth, his background, his reasons for his behaviour, etc., and all of them are VERY good. They even discuss his wardrobe and his amulet, which you mentioned before. This site opened up a lot of new concepts regarding the Goblin King, and I think you'll enjoy it. :)

http://www.oddpla.net/jareth/

~ Jelli

Nobody told her that little girls don't have to have the softest curls for love.

Starlite
(electric tomato)
12/31/02 03:03 PM
Re: As the World Falls Underground new [re: JellicleCat]  

^_^ I know Elizabeth very well (or used to, I somehow lost contact with her)--in fact the speculations on Jareth's background here posted originated from a series of email discussions with her I had. There was much, much more to it, and I actually debated posting the rest here, but I think I won't for now. :)


P.S. The "someone, don't remember who" I mentioned, talking about Jareth's portrayal in the preliminary script was, I think, actually Allie (Elizabeth). I'm not 100% sure it was her though, but I think it was.


JellicleCat
(wild eyed peoploid)
12/31/02 03:04 PM
Re: As the World Falls Underground new [re: Starlite]  

.:. Wow. That's neat. You can tell her I think she's brilliant. ;) And actually, I'd be interested to read anything else you've come up with.

~ Jelli

Nobody told her that little girls don't have to have the softest curls for love.

Sysiyo
(acolyte)
01/07/03 05:15 AM
Re: As the World Falls Underground [re: Starlite]  

In reply to:

"Gotta gotta get me outta here!"


Quite well, but that line is not 'gotta gotta get me out of here', it's 'daddy daddy get me out of here' (see the complete lyrics here). So naturaly that's actually Sarah singing there.

I must also say that I think the Underground vid is much better than the actual movie.



WildWind
(acolyte)
01/08/03 10:56 PM
Oh daddy, I think I've lost my way new [re: Sysiyo]  

In reply to:

'daddy daddy get me out of here'


I always thought it was "dammit, dammit, get me out of here!" And I prefer it that way.

WW

What's this? Another door?


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