How You Turn My World, You Precious Thing: 10 Life Lessons We Learned From ‘Labyrinth’

Get ready to feel old. Pull up a chair, grab the grey hair dye and the walker, because this year will be the 30th anniversary of the release of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth.It’s hard to believe it’s been 30 years since cult movie Labyrinth first hit screens. Even though the film itself was a box office bomb and a low point in Henson’s career, it’s gone on to become widely loved — and not just because of David Bowie’s infamous crotch bulge.The death of Bowie earlier this year brought a lot of us back to remembering the world of the Goblin King Jareth, so it’s only fair that now, as we approach the 30th anniversary, we take a look back at all the things we learned from Labyrinth. That, and a hell of a lot of David Bowie GIFs. Settle in.
1. Life Isn’t Fair

Given that Labyrinth is concerned with giving Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) some harsh life lessons, it seems apt to point this one out first. Several times throughout the movie the whiny Sarah complains about the unfairness of the world, until Jareth delivers one of the best lines of the script:

Sarah: “That’s not fair!”
Jareth: “You say that so often, I wonder what your basis for comparison is?”

2. Look At Things From A Different Perspective

When Sarah first stumbles into the labyrinth she believes the walls just go on forever and can’t find a way through. And then she meet the Worm, who tells her the labyrinth is full of openings, she just “ain’t looking right.”
She doesn’t realize the potential that was there until she takes a leap (or a step) of faith and goes through the optical illusion. As the Worm says, “Things are not always what they seem in this place. So, you can’t take anything for granted.”3. Words Are Weapons

The Sarah we meet at the beginning of the film is very different to the one we’re left with, especially in the way she reacts to other people. She starts out selfish and spoiled, playing games and not worrying about how she treats others.Once she realizes that she’s made a mistake by asking the Goblin King to take her brother, Jareth tells her that it doesn’t matter whether or not she meant it, because she said it and can’t take it back.

Sarah: “You’re him, aren’t you? You’re the Goblin King! I want my brother back, please, if it’s all the same.”
Jareth: “What’s said is said.”
Sarah: “But, I didn’t mean it.”
Jareth: “Oh, you didn’t?”

4. Beware Of Fairytale Princes

According to Jim Henson, the character of Jareth was designed in every aspect to be desirable. Henson describes him as a romantic hero, a knight, and “a young girl’s dream of a pop star.”But as Sarah discovers, these qualities mask darker attributes, so don’t believe everything you see in pop stars and fairytale princes.
5. Courage Comes In Many Sizes

Sarah and Hoggle meet the headstrong Sir Didymus guarding a bridge in the Bog of Eternal Stench, and the proud little puppet eventually joins them on their quest with his faithful but cowardly steed, Ambrosius. Despite Sir Didymus’s small size and the running joke that is his general ineffectualness, he’s a brave companion throughout, proving that courage comes in all shapes and sizes.6. People Are More Important Than Possessions

After eating the enchanted peach and waking up in the dream-like labyrinth’s junkyard, Sarah meets the Junk Lady, who tries to distract her from her quest by handing her various toys and mementos from Sarah’s room.
Sarah is able to overcome the spell when she realizes that her toys are all “junk,” and that saving her brother is more important than preserving her possessions.7. Responsibility Is Not A Bad Thing

In many ways, Labyrinth is a coming of age story. Her journey through the labyrinth begins when she shirks her responsibilities to her baby brother in order to play games. By doing so, she causes much more trouble for herself than looking after him would’ve been.
By the time she reaches the labyrinth’s end, she’s learned these lessons and is able to retrieve her brother from the Goblin King as a result. But taking responsibility doesn’t mean you have to grow up, as we see when the movie ends with Sarah and her new friends having a party in her room.8. It’s Okay To Need People

When we first meet Sarah she’s a bit of a loner, acting out and reciting books and plays to herself (and an owl). But by the end of the movie she’s forged great friendships on her journey through the labyrinth with Ludo, Hoggle and Sir Didymus, and she’s learned it’s alright to need your friends for no particular reason.

Sarah: [nods] “I don’t know why, but every now and again in my life — for no reason at all — I need you. All of you.”

9. Move The Stars For No One

Jareth: “Everything that you wanted, I have done. You asked that child be taken, I took him. You cowered before me, and 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?”

A lesson Jareth should’ve learned is to make sure that the object of your affections has at least some indication of reciprocating your feelings before you remake your world for them, or kidnap their baby brother. It also helps if they aren’t 15 years old. Jareth, you are a bit creepy.
10. You Have No Power Over Me

And of course, the final lesson learned by Sarah. When Jareth confronts her at the end and offers Sarah everything she could ever want — her dreams, his love and his servitude — all he asks in exchange is that she fear him, and allow him to rule her.
She responds with the line she couldn’t quite remember earlier in the movie —”You have no power over me!” — showing that not only has she grown and matured over the course of her journey, she’s also learned that no man can rule her.What did you learn from Labyrinth? Tell us in the comments below!