I never realised it because I was so young (I’m ready for a rant, so brace yourself and I apologise in advance), but now I know. It makes so much sense to me now and I honestly just can’t stop thinking about it!
Jareth was in love with Sarah…
All right, so it was a love that was fairly difficult to determine because Jareth seemed like the antagonist at the time. But at the end, with the mind of a young adult/adult, you realise that he had in fact not been as much of a villain as one would think. Sarah craved an adventure, a fairytale, and as our good friend James Moriarty (yes, he’s a good friend, don’t deny it) said: “Every fairytale needs a good old-fashioned villain”. Jareth was merely filling the role.
At first he might have regarded her as a plaything, someone who could amuse him while he lived in the company of drunken, foolish goblins. He manipulated her, yes, he played with her mind, yes; but at some point through the movie he became fascinated, curious even. She was not a simple young girl who dreamed of a fairy tale. She was not weak-minded, in fact she was courageous and intelligent and she did something Jareth never thought she could: she challenged him and progressed through his labyrinth.
I suppose his love for her wasn’t as obvious until the song “As the World Falls down”.
It was a bit seductive, yes, and though it seemed deeply romantic it held a foreboding and deceitful trace hidden beneath his seduction. But, honestly, that look on his face at the end when she rejects him, how can that not be genuine? He looked truly hurt from her refusal to submit to his love.
His frustration was evident, but that didn’t last long. In fact, at the end it was obvious that he was more hurt than angered. If he didn’t love her then why did he simply watch her as she desperately tried to get to her brother? Any other villain would have hindered her in her quest, but he actually threw his crystal ball and showed Sarah where Toby was (by the way, speaking of him and Toby, you have to admit he was really good with him. King of Goblins, genuinely loves you and is good with kids…Sarah, what are you doing rejecting him? I’m going to be completely honest—I am both asexual and aromantic. I’ve never loved or felt attracted to anyone and possibly won’t ever in my life. But even I have to appreciate the love Jareth had for Sarah.). And oh lord, that expression on his face while he sings “Live without the sunlight. Love without your heartbeat.” He shakes his head, as if he’s realising he loves her so much he couldn’t do that to her (okay, maybe I can’t be certain that this was exactly what he was thinking but hey! One can hope and dream, right?)
“I can’t live within you.” I confess I still can’t understand that part. But it seems like he’s finally, truly realised he can’t have her, that she doesn’t love him in return—it would make sense, I mean look at the sorrow on his face!
During the song “Within you” he had said “I move the stars for no-one.” And yet, during the ending scene we see that he has reordered time for her and even turned the world upside-down. Sweetie, if that’s not love then what is? "Everything I’ve done, I’ve done for you.” Indeed…
Some might think that this was just his cunning way of manipulating Sarah into giving in and losing. But come on, during the song he had confessed he believed in her. We could see he was torn between wanting her to lose because he didn’t want to be defeated by a young girl (or rather, should I say, defeated at all!), and also wanting her to succeed because he cared for her so much.
The way he says: “Just fear me, love me, do as I say, and I will be your slave.” He looks like he genuinely means it. He could give up everything for her, including his victory, he just yearns for her to reciprocate the love he feels for her.
He looks so desperate, the way he’s holding out the crystal ball to her, begging her with that expression on his face, to just take it and let him love her freely.
And when she persists to reject him and utters the last words to break his “spell”, he doesn’t look enraged or disappointed of his defeat; he looks heartbroken. And you know what fairy tales say; love is the ultimate magic. His love was broken by her and he was defeated.
Sarah saw only what she wanted: the daring adventure, the challenging villain, and even the fairytale during the ballroom scene (the way he held her in that scene while they danced, come on guys, that was love, right?! If it wasn’t I’ll never know what is.).
She was too young, being only fourteen, to truly recognise the love that Jareth harboured for her.
And Jareth paid the price for ever falling in love in the first place…