Posted by nomaD on Saturday, February 27th, 2010 at 2:30 pm - filed under Lost, Lost News - (26) Comments
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The producers acknowledged the significance of the Backgammon reference in the season 1 pilot quite a long time ago. And to fully understand this allegory we must look at its inspiration- So before we get back to LOST and Backgammon lets look at where this allusion came from- Don’t let me lose you we are on to something here….

We have seen, throughout the seasons and specifically in “The Light House” many blatant references to Carroll’s books Alice’s adventures in wonderland, and Through the looking glass…

Many people are familiar with the Disney adaptation of Alice in Wonderland and also Tim Burton’s upcoming remake. However LOST CANNOT be fully understood in terms of literary perspective without understanding the LITERARY devices used in Carroll’s books.

NOTE that the devices used by Carroll in the books are largely lost in the movie adaptations. While the movies tell the great story it loses much of what made Carrol books MASTERPIECES and what LOST has used to create a similar effect.

In “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” the story was meant to symbolize a game of cards, different scenes signifying different cards in a deck….

In chapter 7, “A Mad Tea-Party,” the March Hare, the Mad Hatter, and the Dormouse give several examples in which the semantic value of a sentence A is not the same value of the converse of A (for example, “Why, you might just as well say that ‘I see what I eat’ is the same thing as ‘I eat what I see’!“); in logic and mathematics, this is discussing an inverse relationship.
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This is interesting in the light of our alternate universe.

However Carroll’s books, 2 of them, have been widely mixed together in movie and stage adaptations of the story, and there is no difference here in LOST, I would say that THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS is a more mature version of what LOST has emulated.

In “Through the looking glass” Lewis Carroll’s sequel to Alice’s adventures in wonderland, everything is mirrored. While ALICE opens outside on a sunny day in summer THE LOOKING GLASS opens indoors on a cold winter night….

The book then goes on to symbolize a game of chess, each scene in the book signifies a different move on the chessboard including Alice (a pawn) taking two spaces on her first move. This is also depicted by Alice crossing rivers in the book symbolizing advancing into a new square on the board. The book concludes with Alice placing the King in checkmate, who hasnt moved throughout the book…

When Alice first enters the world beyond the looking glass and looks “out in all directions over the country” she notices that it is all laid out like a giant chess board as far as she can see. “It’s a great huge game of chess that’s being played all over the world—if this is the world at all, you know.”

Consider the season 4 allusion, probably one of the most extensive and meaningful references from Carroll’s works–Episode 10 (“Something Nice Back Home”) . Jack reads to Aaron, straight from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:

From chapter II, “The Pool of Tears”

“Alice took up the fan and gloves, and, as the hall was very hot, she kept fanning herself all the time she went on talking: `Dear, dear! How queer everything is to-day! And yesterday things went on just as usual. I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night? Let me think: was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is, Who in the world am I? Ah, THAT’S the great puzzle!’ And she began thinking over all the children she knew that were of the same age as herself, to see if she could have been changed for any of them.”

Amazing how blatantly relevant that passage is to The show

Now lets go back to Locke’s discussion with Walt on the beach in the pilot episode of season 1. Backgammon is the oldest game- it pre-dates christ.

One side dark, the other light…( NOT

GOOD vs EVIL)

Only their pieces were made of pieces of bone!

To understand the allegory we must understand better a game of backgammon.

Backgammon is a board game for two players in which pieces are moved according to the roll of dice and the winner is the first to remove all his pieces from the board.
The game is essentially a race, and luck plays a measurable role, but backgammon offers a significant scope for strategy. With each roll of the dice, a player must choose between numerous options for moving the checkers, and plan for possible counter-moves by his or her opponent. Opportunities for raising the stakes of the game introduce more strategic intricacies.
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Backgammon is not a game of strategy alone nor is it a game of pure luck. In Backgammon Luck and Strategy are both utilized to succeed in the game.This parrallels our Fate vs. Free will in LOST. We have seen that WHATEVER HAPPENED HAPPENED and that actions taking place in the past by a losties present actions are exactly the free will that leads to fate. So in LOST it is not Fate vs. Free will it is Fate and Free will and how they are really symbiotic in relationship.

Also in a game of Backgammon we use a precise set of pieces, however these pieces interact with each other in various ways depending on the variable roll of the dice. In each roll pieces will interact with each other in different ways, sometimes aiding in the advancement of the other piece and other times blocking a piece from making a move.

When an opposing player rolls the dice, we can foresee that one of their pieces may lock in an opposing piece. This is foreseen and the opponent plays his next roll accordingly.

Jacob did not seem to try to stop his death, he accepted that this one part of a move that had been in motion since the last roll of the die and not only was he accepting of this fate but had planned his next moves accordingly.

In our Alt. timeline we may be seeing a seperate roll of the dice, and how our characters are interacting with eachother under the circumstances of this new roll. This is why they all still interact with each other, the pieces have not changed, however the circumstances have changed, drastically. A piece that may have inhibited another piece before may be helping that same piece now.

In The Lighthouse we have the most blatant refrences to Carroll’s books since our epsiode actually titled THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS.

In this episode, we actually see the cover of Carroll’s book, and a notable Easter egg that i found significant was Jack actually lifting up a white rabbit to reveal the key to the answer to the question he was seeking.

We also actually get to see THE LOOKING GLASS that apparently Jacob has been using to bring people to the island, and Jack subsequently destroying it!

Remember that the end only happens once, and everything else is just progress…

Want to delve deeper into the rabbit hole? Visit THE LOST BOOKSTORE or check out the books from Amazon below…

Amazon.com Widgets

Please come and visit us at  http://www.TheSanatorium.com

MUCH THANKS TO SCS WHO’S LITERARY ARTICLES ARE MUCH TO THANK FOR A PORTION OF THIS ARTICLE SEE MORE OF SCS AT LOST AND LIT

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26 Responses to “LOST in wonderland!”


  1. Adam says:

    Wow, good stuff, thanks!

    • nomaD says:

      Thank you sir, I have been pointing out these similarities for a few seasons now, im glad they are being more blatant with it…. What better way to write a good show than to take the greatest pieces of literature and write the show with its inspiration. Ive said for a long time that LOST is the first SHOW that is more like a BOOK than any other ive seen on TV… Just because its visual doesn’t mean the literary techniques used to make memorable stories don’t apply… I’m loving where this show has taken me…

      come check in at http://www.TheSanatorium.com
      were always looking for guest authors in all areas not just LOST……

  2. Jalocke says:

    Absolutely fantastic piece. Ive always loved those novels, but I was not aware of their direct relationship to the games. I’ll have to go back and reread for better understanding.

    I was just thinking about all these rules, and moves planned out ahead and one thing that has been bugging me is we still don’t really know what the loophole was. For some reason Ben was able to kill Jacob. Here’s where it gets wierd. I know I, and I think many people have reasoned that the loophole is that MiB must get someone else to kill Jacob as its impossible for them to do so to each other, or that only a regular human can do it, or that only a leader of the Others can do it. However, all of these strike me as rather odd. None of them seem to fit for the simple fact that each of those possibilities would have been laid out in advance. It’s not really a loophole if its just a rule.

    However, this talk of planned out moves got me thinking. Was there maybe something special and unique about Ben that allowed him to kill Jacob. And if so, how could the MiB have orchestrated that move. And I think it all goes back to his master plan of having Ben and Locke turn the wheel. We can already surmise that MiB’s biggest move was using the time jumping of Locke to create a sense of destiny, i.e. randomly appearing and disappearing, having future knowledge, meeting Richard, so that Richard and the rest of the others would think he was somehow unique, when in reality he really was no different then any of the other time jumpers.

    But what else happened. Could it be that Sayid, shooting young Ben, causing Kate to go save him in the temple, which would have put him in the waters of life, could have granted him that extra something special which would allow him to be able to kill Jacob. Maybe that was the other half of the move.

    The reason I bring this is up, is perhaps because Jacob foresaw the move as you say, and set up his own counter. Sayid again. Knowing that Sayid would return to the future, wounded and near death, Jacob made it known to Hurley that he must be saved. Perhaps by infusing him with this infection, causing his soul to be judged, hoping and relying on the free will of Sayid to overcome this peril, will grant Sayid, the long time executioner on the show, the ability to kill the Man in Black. Sayid clearly serves a purpose, and I just don’t buy that he is not going to find redemption. And perhaps this is how they intend to go about it.

    • nomaD says:

      I have faith that ALL our characters WILL find redemption. Remember that Jack is the HERO of the story and after a while we all started hating him because we got to see what makes every hero great (THE FLAW) and what makes the Hero is their overcoming of the flaw or even sacrificing themselves to the flaw that makes them truly heroic. We are seeing the Flaw of OUR hero much more in depth than most heroes we read about- nevertheless Jack is redeeming himself fantastically, and it all makes sense. Had i not hated him so much his redemption wouldn’t be as profound- Same as Sayid’s.

      Whats cool about the show is how they have stuck to literary rules that have allowed us the viewer to delve deeper into the show than even the writers themselves realized they were creating….

      When Tolkien wrote Lord of the Rings, he already had volumes and volumes of books written about this WORLD which is why LOTR seemed so immersible. Interestingly enough there was no LOST theology written before they created it and it still reaches the depths of a Tolkienesque universe.

      I said it once and ill say it again, make more movies and TV shows like books with important literary devices and voila!

      http://www.TheSanatorium.com

  3. lostinnashville says:

    I am surprised we settle for backgammon as the first game, when The Royal Game of Ur is found via simple web searches. The details of that ancient game and precursor to backgammon, named and numbered players, more complicated rules, dice made of bones, etc. I think it is a little more interesting.

    • nomaD says:

      There were several games that pre-date Backgammon, even games that have been said to have influenced it for example Egyptian Senet… However it is not the game itself that is important its the allegory of the game that makes the show so great. Even without consciously knowing why- people enjoy the show but the reason its so great is it literary splendor-

      And knowing the game they are alluding to we can make some deductions to whats going on or what the circumstance is.

      Knowing THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS was a game of chess didn’t tell us how the story would go, but did give us an idea of the rules in which the literature was being told, and also gives a hint to an end of CHECKMATE…

      remember that Backgammon ends when one player has wiped the board of all their respected pieces, maybe the reason Smocke is stuck is because his pieces haven’t been cleared yet- this gives some insight into the scene where we see Jacob watching the black rock come in and this was much to MIB’s dismay.

  4. lostinnashville says:

    I hear you nomaD…the distinction between ancient games is no more important than the differences in Mousetrap and ping pong, yet all are fun details in the allegory. I just think the specifics of some of those ancient games and connections to Lost are pretty interesting. (though I can find connections to Lost in a trip to the grocery!) Also fun and interesting: this article. Should have thanked you and mentioned how much I enjoyed it!

  5. The rabbit is NOT white. Check it again.

    • nomaD says:

      Im pretty sure it was put there as a reference to the white rabbit, do you disagree? It would be a pretty big coincidence if it was not a reference in an episode with clearly so many others imo.

      • It is NOT white – agreed!?! You want so bad to see a CERTAIN reference, but you’re seeing the wrong one – WHY did they NOT use a white rabbit is what you should ponder.

        Because…

        The magic is gone: Now the Landies have to heal and help each other through love and scarifice. No zero-point energy to lean on.

        Just a plain ol’ non-analagous rabbit…

  6. nomaD says:

    This is all the times that Backgammon was reffered to in LOST according to LOSTPEDIA
    LOSTINASHVILLE- notice the first one it references your previous comment about the game UR

    * Locke claimed Backgammon is a better game than Checkers, dating back 5,000 years. (“Pilot, Part 2″) Locke was referring to the Mesopotamian Royal Game of Ur, which is also related to the Egyptian game of senet.

    * Locke explained the rules of Backgammon to Walt, mentioning that “There are two players. One side is light, and one side is dark.” (“Pilot, Part 2″)

    * Walt was seen beating Hurley, even though Hurley claimed he was once ranked 17th in a tournament. Hurley lost $83,000 through his Backgammon games with Walt, who doesn’t know that Hurley is good for the money. (“All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues”)

    * Locke and Charlie played it on the beach, to which Locke brought up Charlies heroin addiction. (“Abandoned”)

    * Kate was playing it by herself. (“Left Behind”)

    * Locke and Sawyer played it while Locke asked if the group still had confidence in him. (“Eggtown”)

    * Even as a child, Locke liked Backgammon. (“Cabin Fever”)

    * In the non-canonical novel Endangered Species, Locke finds the backgammon set with Faith.

  7. lostinnashville says:

    I actually noticed that within the past few days (2/24 maybe?). someone edited the wikipedia entry for “Royal Game of Ur” to add that it was the game Locke mentioned to Lost. Methinks it may have been an overeager Lostpedia editor…not me though! :-)

  8. lostinnashville says:

    “er “game Locke mentioned to Walt”

    • nomaD says:

      is that what it says/?? someone jumped the gun here

      • lostinnashville says:

        What is compelling to me about Lost, right now, is the macro mythic epic story that mirrors human existence and makes me think about where I fit in the universe. It is such a funny haha that even when we can practice appreciating the journey and its large quantum mysteries, silly little details like “what was the name of the game” or “why the hell does everyone wear plaid shirts?” distract us from our truth, but spice up the whole life soup.

  9. lostinnashville says:

    hahaha…I crown you Mad Hatter of this rabbit hole in the interest of me reading a book this evening. Think I am gonna re-read Tom Robbins’ Jitterbug Perfume, which is very lost-ish in its own way.

    • nomaD says:

      Read a book called PILLARS OF THE EARTH ….. Best book you’ll ever read ill bet my life on it- AND a tv- series is coming out at the end of the year

      The book spans the entire lives of 2 generations of people during the building of a cathedral in medieval Kingsbridge, its the only story aside from LOST that i have felt so emotionally connected to the characters.

      ITS A MASTERPIECE AND A MUST READ FOR ALL LOST FANS

      EVERYONE MUST READ
      PILLARS OF THE EARTH by. KEN FOLLETT

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