Jareth: The Upper Half
This is the very top of Jareth and one of the first things you notice about him.
He has long, darkish-blonde hair that's pretty straight. This seems like high-maintenance hair, but we never see him managing it. It looks the same and keeps its shape well, even in wind. It could be Magic Hair that's always cooperative because he can just snap his fingers and fix it.
It looks a little dry at the ends, but who knows what kind of conditioner is available Underground. For sure, his hair is Rock-star awesome. It has that wispy look with some parts longer or shorter, and it gives him that
wild-and-cool attitude that's perfect for when he sings with the goblins. And sometimes he colors it, like the blue streaks in the ballroom sequence. That's for a more serene look.
This is one of Jareth's greatest attributes, but we don't get to see it directly. Jareth has a big,
attractive brain that gives him his personality and makes him do all his interesting and romantic bad boy stuff. Jareth is
delightfully complex and mysterious. We don't know anything about where he came from or how he grew up,
but he is both adult and child-like in behavior. As King, he seems lonely, but at times he does have
fun with his goblin minions. He's mature enough to keep the Underground running smoothly, and he's calculating and
very intelligent in some ways.
Jareth is some kind of immortal being with supernatural powers, so his brain is intricate and superior to a human's. He
can travel between worlds and perform magic, so he must be able to think on other levels, stuff we can't even
Jareth's Brain is one of his sexiest and most appealing body parts.
Bowie has the most beautiful eyes in the universe, and they are Jareth's, too - complete with dilated pupil. The right one is silvery, storm blue. The left is supposed to be the same, but always looks darker, smoked blue because of the dilation. The light hits it
differently, shifting the color and giving it such a gloss. People who have met Bowie sometimes mention how noticeable this is in person. The blue eye looks out at you, but the dark one seems to beckon both directions. It focuses, but it also pulls inward on some glittered, searching path to his
secrets. It just makes you want to stare at Bowie and get lost in his sparkly, uber-coolness until you can't even remember your own name.
Because Jareth is a Bad Boy, the mismatched eyes give him a sinister, Bond-villain look, but it isn't obvious. Jareth has very few closeups, so it's even possible to watch Labyrinth without noticing Bowie's
At any rate, Jareth has the same gleam and quickness in his eyes. They're expressive and always glancing some way, sometimes betraying his motives and whatever else is going on in that mind of his.
Jareth is not quite human, but some kind of Humanoid Goblin. They rendered this artificially in hair and makeup, and it looks like they shaved either
side of Bowie's eyebrows to do it. But for Jareth, this seems to be a biological feature of species.
slant down, and he has bluish-purple and black striping around them. This makes him look naturally evil and sort of
Vulcan. At times he also looks cat-like or tiger-like.
When Jareth is weakened, his eyebrow coloring actually changes to yellowish
(per the end of the film). This could be like jaundice, suggesting that Jareth's blood may actually
be light bluish-purple. We know that Vulcan blood is green and Klingons' is neon pinkish,
but maybe all goblin blood is light blue?
The Mug !
This Jareth is brought to us by David Bowie, who has the cutest mug ever. This, the face we met on The
Cavett Show, Thomas Newton the Hypoglycemic Alien, all the way up to the modern establishment of Mature Sex Symbol; yes, the
world loves Bowie and his amazing mug. All the genders are in love with him, even hetero guys (which makes them
confused and uncomfortable).
People call him "androgynous" because he's too beautiful to be male, but he's way too handsome to be female.
Actually it's guys who tend to call him Androgynous - we think it's a rationalization thing to make them feel more secure in their BowieLove. But he's a dreamboat like no other.
Even his booking shot looked like the cover of Rolling Stone.
He's almost too attractive to be human. He's something superior like a dolphin or some other brilliant, graceful
creature that puts all loveliness
to shame. Or perhaps he's an unearthly, angelic being, a gift from the Rock Gods sent
to grace our lives.
(Make what you will of Angela's ridiculous book and the Crazy Pills that were doubtless integral to its creation, but her description of the "Light People"
sounds accurate to us.)
Nobody knows for sure, but it's fitting that Bowie embodies these qualities in Jareth, a supernatural King with a
flair for music. And this same, incredible face.
The Teef !
Jareth has Bowie's original teef. Toofs. Bowie didn't get veneers until the '90s, and some people still miss his original
teefs. We love the new Bowie smile (Of course. What's not to love about Bowie? Except maybe Earthling), but
his original teeth had their own charm as well. These teeth give Jareth an organic, natural look. They're a little
pointy on the sides, which makes him look carnivorous and hungry for Sarah. Then again, we never actually see Jareth eat
anything, so who knows if he even needs to, as a magical life form.
Bowie was one of few actors with crooked teeth who could wear it well and come off totally attractive. Somehow,
they were part of the appeal.
Oh goodness. The voice... Just.... WOW.
There are a few celebrities who have amazing, transcendent voices, but Bowie is #1 for us. When we hear this
guy, it's like everything stops - the world waits for him to finish. He wins Best
Jareth has some great reads in this movie and gets to use Bowie's voice to a lot of its extremes. He doesn't
get to stay in most of them, but our favorite places get some play, like:
"He's there, in my castle"... His usual, mid range.
"What's said is said"... The lower end.
"...Friends?... (To Hoggle) His super-low, sexy register.
"Oh, you didn't?"... (To Sarah) The high end, flip-over thing he does sometimes.
Obviously we wish that Jareth had gotten more lines and a larger role in the script. But there's plenty here to
satisfy your needs, the craving for Bowie's voice in all of its silky, sexy, spine-tingliness. And the accent is perfect for this villain character;
it gives him the
right amount of evil, but so suave and thoughtful.
Jareth is flexible and physically active, but not bulky. He doesn't need to be physically menacing, because he's
a threatening presence enough for his magic abilities. There's no point in being heavy and bulky in the fantasy
world of the Underground. If he needs a jar opened or a couch moved, he just points to it and it does the stuff
If they were casting Jareth today, he'd probably have to hit the weights and put on thirty pounds of muscle. But back in the
day, the body standards for both genders were a little different, or at least we didn't need to objectify everybody, or
at least we didn't objectify people in quite the same way. (If Sarah were cast today, she'd probably get more form-fitting
Also, Jareth's form is totally mutable. He can transform into anything, but he needs to be light enough that he can
still dance, and make a believable transformation to an agile, speedy owl.
Most importantly, he's designed to be Sarah's fantasy, so she's into the thin, white look.
For us, the dopey-eyed, Bowie fangirls, the chest in Labyrinth is a delight. It's the only real skin
exposure we get from Jareth. There's plenty of "suggestion" and outlines, but sometimes you just wanna see an actual
bit of his hot,
white meat so you can fantasize about getting your hands in there. This is the best kind, too, because you only get
flashes of it and it keeps you wanting and imagining more. It just looks awesome and makes the perfect backdrop for that
sparkly, swoopy goblin symbol.
This is an antagonist character who sometimes does bad things, but almost everything Jareth does is for love or
infatuation, or jealousy and bitterness related thereto. As cool and controlled as he seems to be, he's
probably just barely containing these intense feelings. Jareth seems to have the heart of a nice guy, but the
brain of a villain. Maybe he's not sure who he is. It's easy to judge him for his evil actions, as younger viewers do and are happy to keep him in the
adversary's role. But part of maturity is discovering the complexities of human behavior, the
fathoms of love, and learning about Gray Area and finding out that many people you know are living in it or at least
getting their mail there.
Labyrinth is profound for its interpretive potential. You get something different out of it depending on your
life experiences to that point. As adults, we appreciate Jareth and recognize aspects of him. Men do such things, not necessarily
because they're "evil," but because they may not know what else to do. They just feel things and react - often in physical,
demonstrative ways - because that's their nature.
This story shows what a
guy in love might do, how he could act on it if given unlimited power and resources. Spoil him with a royal bearing
and we have Jareth, a villain of sorts. But in the end, he's just a guy who wants to be loved, and he thinks she's
the cruel one.
We're not sure whatall goes on in Jareth's heart, but it sure is fascinating.
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