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 “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 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…
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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
From TVFrenzy: 2015 Emmy Nominations