- Johnny shows behavior like this when he gives all of Lude's dates messed up back stories, and when he tries to convince himself that he had a happy ending. Obviously, making up stories is normal for him.
- This may also explain the nature of the house Johnny wanted to make a prison for the monster that nothing could escape from, but in the form of something harmless, so there was some hint of recognition for himself. This is why the Minotaur is never actually seen. It's lost, too.
- And, as a final note, this could also explain the two uses of purple text. Most notably, in the phrase A Novel. As one troper noted, purple is the combination of red and blue. Which means the Novel could be a combination of two things,The Minotaur, a creation of Zampano, and the house, a creation of Johnny. This also means what Johnny is remembering now is a combination of what Zampano wrote about and what Johnny thinks happened to him.
"Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command. Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth — musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, strippers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies — the book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations, who not only found themselves in those strangely arranged pages but also discovered a way back into the lives of their estranged children."
The last part, "who not only found themselves in those strangely arranged pages but also discovered a way back into the lives of their estranged children," is exactly like what happens to Will Navidson in his final journey into the house - he brings along a copy of a book called House of Leaves and burns it as he reads it. He then gets out of the house for the last time after having completely burned the book.
- In German, the word "Blatt" can both mean "leaf" and "page" (of a book). A book has many pages / leaves, so it really is a house of leaves...
- Leaf is an old-fashioned term for page in English, too. Many languages, in fact.
- ..."He(Ts'ui Pên) must have said once: I am withdrawing to write a book. And another time: I am withdrawing to construct a labyrinth. Every one imagined two works; to no one did it occur that the book and the maze were one and the same thing".-Jorge Luis Borges...who just happened to write a short story called "The House of Asterion" about the Minotaur, and who went blind. Definitely not a coincidence.
- Do you remember the two identical Spanish texts? The entire incident is a very straightforward reference to Borges short story "Pierre Menard, autor del Quijote".
- Leaf is an old-fashioned term for page in English, too. Many languages, in fact.
- Johnny is the Minotaur, the deformed child in the labyrinth, his foster father is Minos, Pelafina is the one who destroys him by chopping him up with an ax. While crying.
86 is popular slang for "get rid of" or "ignore". Grasping at straws, yes, but this book has a habit of not disregarding strange connections like this.
- This is officially my favorite WMG and now I'm mad that I didn't think of it first.
- This makes a rather scary amount of sense... enough so that when I described the book in general to my sister, she immediately came up with this.
- Alternatively, it could be a dying TARDIS, since in 'The Name of the Doctor' the Doctor states that when a TARDIS is dying its "bigger on the inside" stuff starts leaking to the outside, making it grow bigger on the outside. Could explain the "infecting the house and killing Tom" incident; the dying TARDIS had a sudden 'growth spurt.'
- Try burning this figment of your imagination. Maybe you'll end up back where you started? Maybe not.
- The book house doesn't exist yet.
- Bizarre geometrics, damaging to people's sanity, utterly inexplicable. Seems pretty similar to many of the things connected to H. P. Lovecraft's alien gods and other gribly things.
- Alternatively, it is in some way connected to Silent Hill. "Physical manifestation of guilt", anybody?
- I think anybody who played the Catacombs level of Silent Hill 2 before reading this book had a very distinct mental image of the Labyrinth in this story, regardless of how the book describes it, and possibly wonders if it might be a spiritual cousin of Pyramid Head the explorers hear rampaging in the distant darkness...
- Actually it was built by M.C. Escher, on a site chosen by Lovecraft.
- Nope. Its floorplan was drawn up by Lovecraft, then it was constructed by the same guy who built the house in The Dionaea House on the site where Silent Hill was/will be.
- Alternatively, Johnny made the whole thing up. Zampano and the Navidsons never existed outside of Johnny's head. Several times, Johnny lets his own life bleed into the text supposedly written by Zampano, and many figures of speech are shared between "Zampano's" writing and Pelafina's.
- Alternatively, Pelafina made the whole thing up. The house is her own expansive yet deteriorating mind. Navidson represents her efforts to understand what is happening to her. Zampano, her effort to make sense of this attempt at understanding. All presented to Johnny, her darling child that she killed as an infant. Only Pelafina is real. ABCDEFGHI(Pelafina)johnnyZ(ampano).
- Nidhogg is also known as the infamous "carrion-remover" or corpse-eater of Helheim, the Norse land of the dead. It devours the corpses of the damned, which parallels how the "creature" consumed Holloway. This would also explain the "something" that Holloway believed the "beast" was waiting for as well as why it waited so long to strike. As a corpse-eater, Nidhogg would have no business devouring Holloway while he was alive. So it waited. Stalked him. Taunted him. Until he punched his ticket and was ready to be consumed.
- Also, Nidhogg's purpose in eating the corpses of the dead served as a janitorial duty of sorts, kind of like a maid, which one of the people who gave his two cents on the Nadvison Record described the monster of the house as.
- Not to mention that in graph theory, mazes are analogous to trees. The Yggdrasil is frequently portrayed with roots twisting like a maze.
- It also should be mentioned that one proposed theory of the term "Yggdrasil" comes from "yggr" meaning "terror". So Yggdrasil would mean "tree of terror; gallows."
- The author probably intentionally included all these interpretations without really meaning to settle on one in particular.
Not to mention Chad's School Drawing of the house show a Dragon in the "Labyrinth" that is the house
- No wonder we need so many time lords.
- And words in blue, too.
- =TV TROPES WIKI WILL RUIN YOUR LIFE=...
- "Our house is God."
- "In my Father's house, there are many rooms..."
- Little solace comesto those who grievewhen walls keep shiftingas thoughts keep driftingand this great blue world of oursseems a house of leavesmoments before the wind
Therefore, keeping the two theories above in mind, this Wiki is the house, which is the world, which is God, and because God is Love, and Love is blind, TV Tropes is secretly Zampano!
- I love you.
- This explains so much.
- In an interview with Danielewski, he says one of the first stories he wrote was a short novella about his father called "Redwood". He said his father read it and told him to get a job as a postal worker. So probably some unresolved issues there with the author's dad—an homage, a placeholder, what have you.
- In one of Pelafina's letters, the initial letters of a series of consecutive words spell out, "My dear Zampano, who did you lose?"
- Look at the date. If I'm following correctly, the "son to rend the dark" comment was from well before Johnny was born.
- Sure it was. IIRC, it was by about nine months.
- Wiki Word: Turns blue to link to another place, making each page of TV Tropes effectively Bigger on the Inside. The House: Typed in blue in the book as the first indication that the House is like a Wiki Word, linking to another place, and Bigger on the Inside.
- The pets can't go into it. When the dog and cat run through the doorway, they end up in the yard on the other side of the wall.
- Holloway goes into the Labyrinth like a conquistador, wanting to "conquer" it for his own glory. But there is no summit to climb, no end to reach, and so he goes insane.
- Also notable is that the house only starts becoming actually violent and aggressive - distorting the living space, killing Ted - after Holloway has gone mad and suicided inside it. A psychotic break, perhaps?
- Wax and Jed are running away from crazy!Holloway with no real hope of escape, and so end up in a dead-end room with a locked door.
- Both times Will Navidson goes exploring, he has a specific goal. In particular, his second exploration is in search of answers or some sort of enlightenment. It's all downhill.
- Tom is terrified when he has to stay in the Great Hall. When he tries to descend the staircase to meet Will at the bottom, it instantly starts to elongate.
- If I recall correctly, the staircase also becomes shorter once the team has reached the bottom once, and when people are going up. Psychologically, travel usually seems to take less time when you're returning or when you're confident of the destination; the house just reflects that physically.
- This idea is actually referenced in the Navidson Record.
- So, in other words, the house is the TV World?
- Alternatively, The Labyrinth is Silent Hill...
- I am deeply ashamed this took me a few moments to get.
- ...fuck, dude.
- Why, thank you. Anything to ease the Gainax Ending.
- Not just the labyrinth. When they finally get an accurate measurement of the house's interior, the extra portion corrects itself. Bear that in mind.
- If the house is a manifestation of chaos, then filming it— subjecting it to the observer effect and thus, reducing it to concrete information that can be analyzed and categorized, i.e., become ordered — deprives it of that chaos it needs to "survive". So the house may be similar to or related in some way to The Fair Folk from Discworld's Lords And Ladies; anentropic pseudolife. The reason the Eyeball Mark I doesn't have the same effect is that the human brain, while ordered, is also dynamically chaotic. Hard-copy is required to truly kill it— seeing the house with a fallible, subjective brain subject to misinterpretation and hallucination doesn't make it concrete enough to do real damage, just irritates it enough to activate its defenses.
- The house tries to kill them so that what's left of the labyrinth might stay chaotic- the invaders have already recorded and fixed the hallway, the Antechamber, the Great Hall and the staircase in place. It freaks out because they keep going to those areas and taking samples and making the wounds deeper and nastier. When Navidson comes back, he plays it by the labyrinth's terms: he wanders, he meanders, he lets the labyrinth guide him through its endless corridors and doorways and floorplan. But he records everything and fixes everything in place; faced with stability or nonexistence, the labyrinth chooses to die. Maybe.
- "Knowledge is hot water on wool. It shrinks time and space." I think we're right.
- The Labyrinth is the book and by both burning the book and filming the Labyrinth, Navidson destroyed the Labyrinth. But then the house erased all evidence of the Navidson Record, including the film itself, and the records of the tests taken on the samples. That's why Johnny couldn't find evidence of the film and why nobody remembered being interviewed about it. But since the house destroyed the Navidson Record, and Johnny went and wrote The House of Leaves, the Labyrinth is back... and doubly pissed off about attempts to destroy it.
- Alternately, it was built by whomever built the Cabinet of Curiosities, i.e. someone who was not a girl between the ages of four and eleven. Hey, at least that way we'd know something about it...
- It's useless, it's all useless!
- For a second I thought this referred to something else.
What? Normal text is in black, the name of your mii is in blue (so... what if you name your mii House?), and certain words are in red.
- It's just a really, really, really, REALLY, really, really, really big wardrobe.
- Narnia? No way. Children love Narnia; they color pictures of this place pitch black. The house is the last remaining gateway to accursed Charn...even though that world is ended, as though it had never been. Let the race of Adam and Eve take warning.
- I agree with your explanation, especially since the house is on Ash Tree lane. (The walls are described as ash-like, in theory the labyrinth is the yggdrasil tree, i.e. "Ash Tree.") It should be noted that in early sources, the Yggdrasil was an Ash tree specifically.
- The House is a Sarlacc?
- And the dog was a husky, just like the Navidson family dog, Hillary.
Since animals can't get into the house's hallway, that means one of three things: a) the hallway is somehow a mental construct that only works with humans, b) the hallway is sentient and chooses when it exists, or c) both of the above. Why any of those would also cause those who talk about it to just give it only a moment's thought is beyond me.
- Or it's Danielewski's excuse for why Reston and Navy didn't even try to bring a bloodhound along to track down the missing Expedition #4. Sure, scent-trails probably wouldn't survive long in the Labyrinth, but they had no way to know that at the time.
- The book is the House and the Labyrinth. Animals can't enter the inner Labyrinth. Animals can't enter the inner story of the book.
- Animals can't read.
- THE HOUSE. He's laughing all the way to XXX XXXXXX XXXXX XXX XXXXX
- It would also explain why the House keeps seeking for new hosts. The only one capable to tame the Labyrinth had been the Minotaur it's previous rightful owner, but he was killed long ago as seen in The House of Asterion.
- Alternatively, Slender Man is the Minotaur. Sleep tight.
- Actually, this is supported by the fact that the first Slenderblog, Just Another Fool, had its protagonist live on Ash Tree Lane.
- This actually makes sense to me. I have wondered why Tom was not able to come out, because I see the labyrinth as being the same as the well that Navidson described in his dream - if a good soul jumps in, they can escape and ascend to heaven(Navidson) while bad souls are stuck sinking into blackness forever (Halloway). But Tom was reportedly a good guy, so why couldn't he have escaped? Turns out he did - into another world, or as a changed man depending on weither you think the film and Zampano/Johnny's story existed in the same world or not. Tom escaped, became Zampano, and wrote about his experiences and his brother's based on the tapes that he either found before the house erased itself or that he was somehow able to retrive from the other world.
- The labyrinth didn't want him to write about it
- Halloway was the minotaur and he had finally caught up to his prey (see below)
- He refused to go into the labyrinth to be judged again when it was his time to die
- Alternative: Holloway hurt the house(the repeated sampling and at some point he kicks a hole through a wall), so the house hurt him back, where it hurt the most: his pride(he found nothing of value or note) and then his psyche came tumbling after.
The wandering streets from Mieville's "Reports of Certain Events in London" shift their locations and configurations much like the hallways within the House, and it's possible to get lost in either, if such shifts occur while you're traversing them. Mieville's short tale and Danielewski's long one each take Scrapbook Story form, with well-painted media, and both incorporate documents that came into their narrators' possession under rather cryptic circumstances. Might mysterious hallways like the House's be a juvenile form of Via Fera? If so, the house on Ash Tree Lane may be a nursery for baby streets, and the "allways" are Varmin Way's younger sibling.
- This could also tie into the possibility of Johnny and Johnnie being the same person. Johnnie is another potential version of Johnny.
- A house that constantly changed form depending on someone else's subjective appearance would probably drive Rand completely bonkers, considering her obsession with the "objective." No wonder she wanted to get rid of the thing.
They're both malicious little bastards who wanna kill humans. The only reason the Kite Eating Tree isn't giving people the same shit as the house is is because it's rooted in place and you can't go inside of it. The house is evilest on the inside. Also, Charlie Brown bit it once, and that scared it straight.
The Labyrinth is an Umbral sub-realm. Like the Labyrinth, the environments of the Near/Middle Umbra change with the perceptions of travellers, can't be precisely measured or mapped, and don't entirely operate according to our rules of logic (except in Weaver areas).
The maze beneath the Grand Staircase is connected to the Black Spiral Labyrinth in Malfeas, and/or to the Labyrinth in the Underworld. Which means that the creatures roaming the Labyrinth are probably spectres, banes, or Black Spiral Dancers.
And/Or Johnny is a Cult of Ecstasy mage captured by Nephandi, and the entire book is his stream-of-consciousness experience inside a Nephandic caul, which is the Labyrinth, which is an Umbral sub-realm accessed through a house.
Or is it?
The House is blue in the text, in reference to the chroma-key use of blue, because it is not a Universe any more than chroma-key is an image, but the human beings who enter it project a sort of existence onto it similar to what exists in a Universe because they bring their ability to perceive space and time with them. The greater distortions of these senses as a person goes deeper into the labyrinth reflect the greater alienation of self from self, until a complete loss of existence eventually results. Theoretically, because the labyrinth is "outside" of all Universes, a person could travel from one Universe to another through it, hence the reference to Yggdrasil.
The book is itself an example of the nothingness that is the labyrinth, but it's a more subtle form of it. Just like the house develops into more of a labyrinth as its inhabitants become aware of its unusual state, the book develops into a labyrinth as well. The physical book doesn't do that, however. Instead, the book "enters" the mind of the reader and becomes a part of them. Rather than entering the labyrinth physically, they do so mentally and involuntarily as their awareness of the nothingness increases, because they become increasingly capable of alienating the Universe from themselves. In that state, though, they will eventually alienate the self from the self, causing the death of their minds.
Copies of something like the book (although not with the Navidson story in it) exist in every Universe, usually relating an encounter with a portal into nothingness in another Universe. Zampano came into contact with one of these, and felt the need to write the manuscript as a result of that, for some motivation that is difficult to know (possibly wanting to understand the situation better without knowing how dangerous it was until it was too late, and then being unable to stop). Things like the Navidson House are the result of a person constructing a structure, rather than writing a book, to in some way experiment with their knowledge of nothingness. They build the space while they're mentally in that nothingness, and are able to build it with slightly unusual dimensions. As its future inhabitants become more aware, the spatial and temporal discrepancies become more extreme. Because of the physical rather than written nature of the medium for conveying that knowledge, the effects are physical.
Lastly, purple is associated with those who are descending into a mental version of the labyrinth, because the blue screen that has become a part of their minds is being overwhelmed by the red that is absolute nothingness. When it overwhelms them completely, they invariably die.
But the ultimate consequence is wrong. The book is not an infection, but an unstable vaccine. This explains the way those who have encountered the House sometimes recover (Karen, the children) and sometimes are overwhelmed (Holloway). The same is true for the book in-universe: the band at the end clearly found the book meaningful without being destroyed by it, while Johnny barely survived his encounter with it.
House of Leaves is not good or evil. It is a piece of nothing wrapped comfortably in narrative. Devour it. Chew on it. Taste the empty, and let your body learn to fight it. Or alternatively...let yourself be devoured. It's all up to you. Good luck.
At the center: a documentary by and about people who are relatable and ordinary (even if the events surrounding them are not.)
Around this: a semi-scholarly film review by an eccentric who gets some key points wrong, such as forgetting about terminal velocity.
Around this: commentary by an admitted chronic liar who seems to be experiencing sanity slippage.
Around this: a novel shelved as fiction.
Around this: that which we call 'reality'.
Each layer deeper into fiction we get, the less evidence remains of the Navidsons' existence. We are the fiction within the fiction within the fiction within the fiction within the Navidsons' reality.
Tl;dr: Johnny died as baby and his adult version is entirely in Pelafina's imagination, as well as Zampano (who she makes up as Johnny's father); she makes up the Navidson Record and the House to cope with her losses and illness, and as a device for Johnny's path to intersect with his fictional father's.
O.k. so bear with me.
Pelafina strangles her son Johnny to death when he's a baby and she is institutionalised in Whalestoe after that, for life. Not being able to cope with the trauma of having killed her own son, she makes up a version of reality where Johnny survived the strangling and grew up, while she still was being institutionalized for the now attempted Infanticide and her trauma of losing her husband / Johnny's father (the latter happened either way both in reality and her imaginated alternate reality).
She also imagines Johnny having a different father (seeing as she lost the real one): enter Zampano. But Johnny and Zampano don't know each other. So she makes up Zampano having written "The Navidson Record" and Johnny later editing it as a way to "flesh out" Johnny and Zampano's stories, and to let Johnny indirectly know of (though never meet) his father (without Johnny himself knowing Zampano is his father).
As for the Navidson Record itself: The House, or more accurately the Labyrinth in it, with its all-engulfing "nothingness", is her representation of her mental illness / Sanity Slippage / depression. Navidson's family's (relatively) happy ending stands for people succeeding in overcoming mental illness (something she wishes for herself).
Note that in the story:
- One of Pelafina's coded messages in her letters is "My dear Zampano, who did you lose?", indicating that they knew each other well and possibly were lovers; also that Zampano has lost a loved one.
- Zampano writes about him going to have a son exactly nine months before Johnny's birthday. He knows he is going to have (later: has) a son, but because Pelafina is married to another man—her husband who later died still exists in this reality—and her pregnancy resulted from their affair, he can't be a parent to this baby. Also this means that the "Who did you lose?" applies on three levels: first he can't be a father to the baby he fathered because the baby resulted from an affair; second he loses his lover Pelafina to her mental illness and institutionalison; third, he never gets in contact with Johnny even after Pelafina's husband is dead and Pelafina locked up (probably due to Zampano not wanting to put the additional burden of realising his supposed father wasn't his real father onto Johnny, who already is having a troubled childhood)
In The Familiar, Realic made "Clip 4". In Real Life, Danielewski published the short Clip 4, writing as the fictional "Realic" from The Familiar, and in it, Navidson from House of Leaves is mentioned: "Very Navidson-y!" is an annotation on something that indeed calls back what happened in House of Leaves.
The House will be explicitly mentioned in The Familiar. Maybe even visited by characters. Cas seems the most likely candidate, as she's touring around the U.S. anyway and might as well end up in Virginia where the House is.
Or, one of Cas's Clips from the Orb is a scene from HoL, showing the Navidsons in the House.
Or, the FBI investigate the House, find something that leads them to L.A., then have to work with Oz.
Or, Realic had (prior to his involvement with VEM and his death) visited and investigated the House, to write an article about it (like he had investigated "Clip 4" and written an article about that) and that article by Realic about the House will be shown.
Clip 4 makes it clear that characters from The Familiar know about what happened to the Navidsons, so the House and everything that happened there exists in the reality/Universe of The Familiar. Since in HoL, at the end of the story the book itself is published In Universe, the House of Leaves book we know in Real Life, also exists In Universe in The Familiar.
Someone connected to the cat (Astair, Anwar, jingjing or even Xanther herself) reads House of Leaves, and realizes the spooky events in HoL are connected to the cat (see entry about the "Minotaur/cat connection"), or starts to wonder about what "VEM" is.
Johnny Truant will be a character in The Familiar. He lives in L.A., where six of the Familiar main characters live too.
He's most likely to meet Luther. Either Johnny is still a drug addict and is buying drugs from Luther (and/or arrested by Oz), or Johnny has gotten his life back together and now owns the tattoo shop Luther visits (after all, Johnny was originally an apprentice tattoo artist in HoL, and Luther loves to get tattoos).
Or Johnny needs therapy from Astair for his trauma from reading Zampanò's records and his strained relationship with his mother Pelafina.
Navidson also might show up. His family moved to L.A. and they need therapy for the traumatizing events of House of Leaves, and Astair becomes their therapist. Or he might be called in to do his job as a photographer, e.g. by Shnorkh's friend who's trying to document the Armenian genocide.
The evil creature of House of Leaves was called Redwood. In October 2017, Volume 5 of The Familiar will be published, its title is"Redwood", AND it's announced that in this Volume, the cat will be named. Putting two and two together: the cat will be named Redwood. And it is a manifestation, reincarnation or whatever you call it, of the Minotaur.
Would be even more brilliant if Xanther actually reads House of Leaves (the book as we know it in Real Life) In Universe and gets the idea to name the cat "Redwood" from that.
Originally, the House was a real place visited by Navidson, until he created the Navidson Record. Afterward, it erased any evidence of itself from reality, and the House itself became the film.
Then, Zampano wrote his essay (with egregious summarization), which caused the film and Navidson to disappear from reality, even striking Zampano blind.Then, the House were those papers.
When Johnny compiled and published Zampano's papers, Zampano and everything detailed by Johnny vanished from reality. And then what did the House become?
A paper labyrinth. A House of Leaves.
That's why Danielewski doesn't want to make a film adaptation.