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Jareth, The Goblin King is a fictional character in the 1986 movie Labyrinth. He also appears in the film's adaptations, including the Marvel comic books, story book, graphic novel, novelization, coloring books, and photo album.

Biography

Jareth is the Goblin King of The Labyrinth, a vast kingdom within a realm known as "the underground," although it is not literally under the ground. His powers include the ability to form crystal orbs in his hands, which can create illusions of all types or to view things from a distance. He can transform into a barn owl at will. According to the Return to Labyrinth manga, Jareth has ruled the Labyrinth for 1,300 years. Though ruler of the goblins, Jareth actually is not a goblin. In the manga, however, Mizumi calls him a sorcerer. He appears human but he has quite a few magic abilities and does not appear to age between the film and the events of Return to Labyrinth, which happen many years later.

Jareth is also a master of disguise. He can take the form of a barn owl, and he can disguise himself as a blind beggar as well as in the Return to Labyrinth manga as a thespian, Jareth Quinn. In Return to Labyrinth, he also slicks his hair back and wears spectacles while wearing a suit as Toby's guidance counselor.

Jareth resents his position as Goblin King and yearns for a different life, probably somewhere down in Sohomarker according to rock legend David Bowie, who first portrayed Jareth in 1986. He has a great deal of angst that only grows when he develops an affection for Labyrinth protagonist, Sarah, as revealed through David Bowie's songs from the film and the Return to Labyrinth manga.

Little is known about Jareth's personal life or history. As revealed in Volume 2 of the manga, Jareth at one point or another had a romantic relationship with Mizumi, the Queen of Moraine. However, the relationship failed when Mizumi did something Jareth could not forgive her for. To protect himself from all others, Jareth built the Labyrinth to keep everyone else out, including Mizumi.

According to the music video for Underground and Return to Labyrinth and hinted at in the Labyrinth novelization, Jareth has a human alter ego (in Return to Labyrinth he uses the alias Jareth Quinn). In the novelization of Labyrinth Jeremy (who resembles Jareth) is an actor with whom Sarah's biological mother, an actress, happened to run off years before after they starred in a show together. Jeremy is also the man who gave Sarah her music box, which in the book plays "Greensleeves," and in the movie plays "As the World Falls Down," the same song that Jareth uses to try to seduce Sarah while within his Labyrinth.

In the novelization and according to the song "Within You" part of what Jareth wants from Sarah is for her to believe in him so that he may become a real being and not just exist within her fantasy. Though Sarah renounces the power Jareth holds over her it does appear she actually gives him what he wants.

Other appearances

Jareth in music videos

Besides the film, David Bowie portrays Jareth in two music videos. One for the song "Underground" and one for the song "As the World Falls Down. The Labyrinth music videos are available on the VHS tape "The Bowie Video Collection" and the two-disc DVD set, "The Best of Bowie."

Underground

In the "Underground" music video, David Bowie seems to borrow the character of Jeremy from the Labyrinth novelization, the lover of Sarah's estranged biological mother, and merged him as a sort of alter ego for Jareth, who seems to be struggling with a desire for a human life and his love of the magic and authority he has as Goblin King. In the video, we see Jeremy performing in a literal hole in the wall style nightclub. As he walks along after the performance, he finds himself seeing various strange creatures out of the corner of his eye, beings that lure him to the magical realm of the underground where he is their king.

As the World Falls Down

In this music video, Jareth has a more subdued form and his castle has the seeming look of an office though the double doors of a castle and the fact that Hoggle, the dwarf, is doing the cleaning tend to reveal that this is no typical place of business. Jareth pines for Sarah, and an older version of the Sarah pines for Jareth and her adventure within the Labyrinth but neither one seems quite willing to go to the other.

Jareth in Return to Labyrinth

In the more recent portion of the story, Jareth establishes Sarah's then-teenaged brother Toby as his heir, leaving him in charge of the Labyrinth during a rather delicate time. The story also expands on Jareth's obsession with Sarah, embellishing on his twisted desire for both her love, and revenge upon her. In one section of book two of RTL, it could be interpreted as Jareth intending on Sarah to become his queen.


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