Before Edward Cullen, There was Jareth the Goblin King

So tonight I was revising all four of my currently published books (Thieves of Nottica had all the funky tabs fixed – I need new glasses) and I was listening to some songs from the 1986 film Labyrinth.

That entire movie was a thinly veiled metaphor. It warns the young audience against abusive relationships. That’s the kind of great entertainment we had back then. It not only made us laugh but it made us think too. Now we have entertainment that teaches young people to think abusive relationships are “love.”

(Ugh. Every time I use the phrase “young people” I grow a gray hair)

Jareth the Goblin King is the epitome of the unhealthy fantasy existing in a teenage girl’s head (though not every one, as misogynists would have you believe). In his song “Within You” we can see that he knows he’s a figment of Sarah’s imagination, and that as soon as she grows up, he will stop existing.

Because Jareth the Goblin King is a narcissist, like all people with the disorder, he thrives on being worshiped and having attention. The second Sarah breaks from his thrall and grows up and stops worshiping at his altar, he will vanish. And he’s fucking terrified of that.

People like Jareth are creepy childish fantasies that some of us (not me) have when we’re young and we don’t yet have a full grasp on what emotional abuse is and how damaging it is. Jareth was controlling and vicious to Sarah in ways masked by snide charm throughout the entire movie, and in its climax, Sarah finally overcomes her childish fantasies by growing up and not being such a brat anymore.

Sarah wins and Jareth fades away into nothing.

That’s the way it’s supposed to be. We aren’t supposed to be celebrating lovers and spouses who are stalking, manipulating, and controlling. But look at today’s young adult literature. It’s truly . . . . disturbing. To say the least.