I have to say that Labyrinth is one of my lifelong favorite movies. It honestly appeals to me as much as an adult as it did as a child. It’s beautiful, imaginative, dark, creepy, and curious. The music actually holds up pretty well. David Bowie as The Goblin King just has this magnificent magnetism (prolly a result of the gravitational pull of his spandex covered balls). And the puppeteering is genius and makes me wonder if CGI has already jumped the computer-generated shark.
Labyrinth, made in 1986, is the story of a young girl who gets sick of a crying baby and wishes the exotically attractive Goblin King would come and take the baby away so she can spend more time wearing stupid costumes in the park in the rain and not having any friends. One important question isn’t addressed in the movie though: why exactly is Jareth kidnapping a baby from the young girl Sarah?
Tumblr user Glamdamnit’s sister asked about whether the events of the movie were real or just Sarah’s dreams, and it made Glamdamnit’s nerdy brain go into overdrive. She wrote a backstory that makes so much sense, it’s genius!
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 her 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 (Rip Van Winkle for one). 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 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 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.
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… This is why he builds the maze.
I feel humbled when I witness genius such as this. Still, I just think the story is better when Jareth, and all of the Labyrinth, are created by Sarah’s own mind. She is literally confronting herself and her own dreams and wishes and hopes.