Stranger Things Series 1

I have just finished watching the first series of “Stranger Things” on Netflix and have thoroughly enjoyed it, but it made me want to delve a little more into the mythology and D&D lore surrounding such a large part of the show.

In D&D lore, Demogorgon is a demon prince with two heads that strive to dominate one another but are unable to do so. In mythology, Demogorgon is a god or demon associated with the underworld, and whose name is taboo and should not be spoken.

Perhaps the only thing preventing Demogorgon from taking over the rest of the Abyss was his own dual nature. If you want to have even a chance at stopping him, you need to distract him. That is Demogorgon’s weakness. Have the two heads in conflict with one another!

Demogorgon is a deity or demon, associated with the underworld (the Upside down?). Although often ascribed to Greek mythology, the name probably arises from an unknown copyist’s misreading of a commentary by a fourth-century scholar, Lactantius Placidus. The concept itself can be traced back to the original misread term demiurge.

Lactantius Placidus

The Demogorgon appears in Milton’s major work Paradise lost:

Orcus and Ades, and the dreaded name
Of Demogorgon — John Milton, Paradise Lost II. 966.

Note, however, Milton does not refer to the inhabitants of Hell, but of an unformed region where Chaos rules with Night. In Milton’s epic poem Satan passes through this region while traveling from Hell to Earth.

Abaddon, an angel of the abyss, is depicted as a 7 foot tall, reptilian hermaphroditic tanar’ri (a type of demon) with a somewhat humanoid form. Two heads sprout from his twin snake-like necks, and his arms end in long tentacles. His two heads have individual minds. So the Demogorgon is well entrenched in myth and literature.

For all of its pillow-clenching moments of horror and sweet ’80s nostalgia, though, the deeper appeal of Stranger Things lies in its exploration of relationships. In particular, there is the interplay between the masculine and the feminine; also the themes of freindship, fatherhood, motherhood, and self-giving love. Ultimately, the show’s heart and humour stops it from being a simple gore-fest, transcending geek appeal to become a powerful story about friendship, redemption, and the victory of good against evil.

The end is predictable, but isn’t that what the themes genre is all about. There is also a sense of a blurring the lines between good and evil as characters resort to more and more desperate measures to achieve victory. The character of Elle and the use of her powers can be seen as treading a fine line but she has a strong sense of friendship and belonging despite her upbringing.

While we contain the potential for what evil that is within us, it’s only ever a distortion or destruction of the good that is our true nature.

Throughout the show, we see the best and the worst sides of human nature, but dare I say when masculine bravado and feminine insight work together in harmony (whether in individual characters or in the balancing of the two forces within one character), the light prevails and true human heroism emerges.

The characters of sheriff Jim Hopper and mother Joyce Byers demonstrate this quite starkly as they undergo significant changes throughout the movie and more particularly when working together.

I am looking forward to watching season 2.

13 thoughts on “Stranger Things Series 1

  1. I like the series, and recently watched season 4, now just have to wait for season 5 ! LOL can’t say too much as I don’t want to give anything away.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Guru PIG.
    As you say the show has heart. I can see Stranger Things degree courses or modules in tracing the good and evil , father / son, parent / child, lost child, bromances and unlikely couples themes etc.

    But “the end is predictable …” ? You say that now. Each end episode of a series has a small amount of closure but a tantalising tiny flip, shift or nod to “it’s over! But it’s not over yet …” to bring you back for more. Clever.

    Once you’ve watched season 4, you will want to watch Season 1 again.

    And now several years of fan theorising and filming leaks as people wait for and predict the ‘final’ Season 5.

    Such a shame it wasn’t set in Britain / the UK in the 80s though as I mumbled about yesterday: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2022/07/31/that-kate-bush-experiment-iv-video-a-british-stranger-things-c-1986/

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    1. I much prefer British Drama so set in England would be great, but I don’t thin k it matters. The predictability I was talking about is the triumph of good over evil. If that is indeed a theme we should not be surprised this occurs. The twists are excellent and Season three that I have just started has a hint of that Weird War theme as well. NO SPOILERS PLEASE!

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      1. Yes I understand your point that you expect good to triumph over evil (but the threat or hint of its return means that you cannot relax just yet)
        There are some excellent 1980s cartoon Cold War / Bond style / pulp gaming stereotypes to look forward to! NO SPOILERS.
        The Jon Pertwee era Third Doctor Who that I remember watching as a child (from behind the sofa), where he is exiled / stuck on earth in 1970s Britain with UNIT and the Brigadier is good “British drama” as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Trust me it gets better! 😉

    Probably the best show of the ;last ten years.

    Since you appear to have Netflix, can I recommend “Glow” and “Dead to me”, neither were show that I’d usually watch, but I enjoyed them both a lot.

    Cheers Roger.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So many folks have recommended this series to me, now with you and all your commenters comments, I guess I’ll need a rainy weekend to dive into this series along with all the other ones I’ve been hooked into! First world problems I guess!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Nice background on Demogorgon and comments regarding the show. It’s definitely enjoyable. Being a kid growing up in the 70s/80s in America, it hits a lot of my nostalgia buttons. It’s amazing how well the sets are done and how true they’ve kept to those times. A lot of shows mess up in that regard and loses the realism, but they have been really good at getting the dialogue and all the little details just right.

    Liked by 1 person

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