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Dark Fan Theories About 'Labyrinth' That Are Wild Enough To Be True

Updated June 18, 2021 559 votes 108 voters 1.8k views10 items

List RulesVote up the most believable theories about your favorite Goblin King.

The fantastically dark and dramatic film, Labyrinth, remains a cult favorite amongst those who grew up watching the spooky puppet-filled movie. Between Sarah's dangerous journey through the labyrinth to find her power and David Bowie's magnetic Jareth trying to derail her success at every turn, it's hard not to love it. Being a strange and somewhat surreal film, fans have filled in the gaps with all kinds of dark fan theories. Vote up the ones you find most believable. 

  • 1

    Jareth Went Mad And Is Doomed To Forever Search For His Long Lost Love 

    From Tumblr u/glamdamnit:

    In a time long, long ago, a sorcerer named Jareth fell in love with a girl named Sarah. Sarah’s father and stepmother 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.

    Many stories of the fairy world tell us that time moves differently there than in our world. In the time it took for Jareth to build his kingdom, which he may have thought was little more than a few years, Sarah grew old and died.

    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.

    Sarah is a Hebrew name. So, it is common and has been in use for thousands and thousands of years. 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 stepmother. 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.

    Jareth searches the mortal world from his castle, looking for her.  It does not take long to find a dark-haired girl named Sarah…

    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.)

    This is why he builds the maze. The magic bog, the junkyard of useless treasures - all tricks to slow Sarah down. Because if he can only have his Sarah for the time it takes for her to regain the stolen child, he will make it take as long as possible so he can keep her as long as possible.

    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, saying, “I’m Sarah," Hoggle responds, “That’s what I figured.”

    Because of course she’s Sarah. They were all Sarah.

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  • 2

    Jareth Created The Labyrinth Specifically To Woo Sarah

    From Redditor u/Gregorioe:

    I'll start from a base of what most people pretty much believe to be true.

    A) Jareth is in love with Sarah for one reason or another and...

    B) Jareth is incredibly powerful, to the point of being able grant one's wishes, change shapes, alter natural laws like time and physics, even creating creatures (like the snake out of the crystal ball).

    So, what does an incredibly powerful, more or less demigod do when he has fallen in love? He tries to woo her. And not just by taking her brother, but by making all of her fantasies come true. The idea here is that all of the things in her room (all of which appear in the movie as many others have pointed out), are not projected into the labyrinth as some psychotic break, and they're not there in her room as artifacts of a real but forgotten realm. Jareth created it all for her, the Fireys (the creepy limb-removing dancers), Hoggle, the labyrinth itself, even the plot of her being able to reject him (incorporating her favorite play), and his looks (picture of David Bowie in her room), to give her everything she ever wanted.

    "I have been generous up till now, but I can be cruel... Everything you have wanted, I have done. You asked that the child be taken; I took him. You cowered before me; I was frightening. I have reordered time, I have turned the world upside-down, and I have done it all for you! I am exhausted from living up to your expectations of me. Isn't that generous?"

    Remember how bored Jareth seems the whole time? Completely disinterested in his role as oppressor and King of the Goblins? It was all a labor of love, and it wore on him. He was exhausted. The sad part is, Sarah rejects Jareth but accepts his gifts. Even the goblins are present at the end party, but Jareth is left in his owl form to sulk.

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  • 3

    All Of The Goblins Were Once Babies That Jareth Kidnapped

    From Redditor u/mybustersword:

    Jareth is a very mysterious and powerful dude running the show it seems. All of the goblins fear him and follow him, and he is challenged by no one until Sarah arrives. However, if you really watch most of his "magic" seems to be kind of... lacking in effect, wouldn't you say? He often wears disguises, he is adept at slight of hand as we see with those Fushigi balls he's always spinning. The balls seem to hold some magic itself, having clairvoyant properties and the ability to summon with the cleaners. Which can easily be utilized by a trickster. And he has been know to use poison, fear, trickery, and threats to get what he needs but never really does any direct confrontation. He's the only other being in the place that looks like a human. Even at the end, against Sarah, he is easily defeated by a few lines of affirmation. How is this so?

    Easy - Jareth arrived in the world of Labyrinth somehow, perhaps he stumbled onto it... like Captain Hook in Never Never Land. For whatever reason, he arrived and he took over.

    In the movie, it explicitly states Toby will become a goblin babe, "one of us forever," if Sarah doesn't find and rescue him in time. No similar threat is ever uttered to Sarah, as it doesn't work that way. Maybe there was a process and he was just giving a fair timeline, maybe there was a a time limit to the effects taking place, but either way, it clearly only works on babies. Think of the evidence - all goblins are tiny, child-like and baby-like in appearance despite their goblin traits. Often cooing and making odd noises and crawling around quickly. It would seem whatever turns the babes into goblins keeps them at that size. They are easily fooled by parlor tricks and threats, and Jareth exploits their naivete for his power. Goblins also "remind him of the babe."

    Why does he kidnap Toby? To get Sarah's attention? Likely that was an aside of his, but in all honesty, he probably makes a run of kidnapping children to turn them into goblins for his kingdom. Because it only works on babies. Why else go through the fuss of doing it in the first place?

    Sarah also seems to hold importance, and the exact importance is never stated. Jareth found her endearing, and in the labyrinth, she is able to overcome the trials using her vast fantasy knowledge. I propose she also was able to solve the puzzles because they are mostly puzzles built to fool and trick only goblins, and an intelligent, adult human could easily figure it out. And goblins are not intelligent, because they once were babies. The babies that Jareth spends his time kidnapping to turn into goblins for his kingdom.

    Perhaps his pattern is taking a baby or small child and drawing in its caretaker. Once they fail, they choose to remain in the world to be as close to the child, where they are bogged down by memorabilia and nostalgia from when their child was still human and become the Junk Ladies seen in the junkyard.

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  • 4

    The Point Of The Labyrinth Was Not To Kill Sarah, But To Break Her Spirit

    From Redditor u/Dragon_Slinky:

    I just finished watching Labyrinth for the first time... In the scene where Sarah falls into the oubliette, Jareth is seen watching her through his Fushigi thing and says (I'm totally paraphrasing), "She's in the oubliette." Goblins cheer, Jareth stays serious, and says, "She should've given up by now." And that got me thinking, almost every obstacle thrown in Sarah's path is trying to convince her to give up. Very rarely does it seem like the goal is her death.

    At the very beginning, Hoggle only opens the door to the labyrinth when Sarah asks him how to get in. The only way to get in is to want to get in.

    Then, cute worm guy in the beginning tells her not to go left; she then turns right. The worm says, "[If she'd have kept on going down that way, she'd have gone] straight to the castle!" Why is going right even an option then? Shouldn't the right way lead to certain death, or at least a long and confusing dead end?

    Next is the arrows she draws. The little dudes either cover them up or turn them the opposite way. This on top of the labyrinth constantly changing means she should've been making literally no progress. If Jareth can change the very walls and manipulate the labyrinth like that then there's no question. It's like trying to box with god - our arms are just too short. There's no fight.

    Yet somehow, she still makes it to the weird shield guys. One of them always lies, and the other one always tells the truth. We all know how this goes. One door leads to certain death and the other to the castle. She can only ask one of them which door to go through. She goes through one of the doors and falls into a pit. The helping hands catch her and give her the option of either up or down.

    She chooses down, which leads to the oubliette. Now there's no way of knowing if this was the right or wrong choice, because we don't know what's the other way. I don't think it matters; no matter which way she chose, she would've been going the right way. Then there's the giant stone heads. They don't shoot out poison darts, they say to go back.

    Hoggle obviously knows the way; he's just too much of a coward most of the movie to lead Sarah there. The fox guy also does and shows it by leading Sarah and the gang there (even if it didn't really work out.) Ludo doesn't know the way because he's never tried to get any further. 

    Then comes the peach. Jareth could've easily just poisoned Sara but doesn't. Instead, he opts to make her forget her goal and everything. He then drops her where? Not in the Bog of Eternal Stench, not in a pit of spikes, but in a junkyard full of trash people ready to both teleport and aggressively convince Sarah to go back home and give up.

    It's not until nearly the very end do we see the goblin army and the giant robot who seem like they want to kill her. Even then, it's just them waving around weapons while she briskly jogs past them. They're defeated by a bunch of rocks. Hardly a threat or a legitimate attempt at someone's life.

    Then finally, when Jareth has Sarah in the legit labyrinth, he tried to offer her everything she's ever wanted, if she just gives up. He doesn't use his magic powers to teleport her to the beginning, he doesn't kill her, he just tried his hardest to tell her to give up.

    So that's it. All the trapdoors lead to nothing dangerous, his army is all show, the giant monster ends up helping her, the guard lets you pass when you ask nicely, and the biggest threat is smelling bad.

    The one hang up is that those dudes really did seem like they wanted to take her head off. But if they really wanted to, I bet they would've.

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