Watch For: flowers, roses, mysterious hands, ribbons, pearls, chains, cages, feathers, wings, butterflies, skulls, crowns, crosses, chessboards, curtains, stars, rabbits, mirrors, earrings, colors.

Jun loves her Victorian flower symbolism, and especially roses (Crimson Shell was all about roses, too). The "dark" Jack picture has black roses, but Jack is usually associated with yellow roses.

Yellow roses symbolize "friendship" today, but in Victorian times they meant "jealousy," feeling unworthy, and decrease of love.

Jack has, of course, felt unworthy of many things for much of his life. Unworthy of being alive, unworthy of his heritage, and perhaps unworthy of Lacie.

But are there elements of jealousy in his feelings, too? Has he felt unworthy at the expense of somebody else? Had there been a decrease of love between him and Glen?

Jack and Oz Yellow Rose
Jack, Glen, and Lacie
This brings into question what kind of relationship existed between Jack, Glen and Lacie. Here we have Jack and Glen, and between them is a woman with unbraided hair who seems to be Lacie. Glen is holding the Lacie music watch, Jack is holding the yellow rose of jealousy, while red roses sprout all around them.

What are red roses? They would normally symbolize love, passion, and desire, but it seems that in Pandora Hearts they can also have a more sinister meaning. Vincent explicitly mentions red roses: "I saw it in Sablier. Jack was covered in blood. He was heavily wounded because of fighting with Glen! His clothes were even more stained with blood red! Just like roses that had fully bloomed on him."

Red like passion, and red like blood. It is a color heavily associated with the Baskervilles as the Crimson Shinigami (death gods) and with Alice as the Bloodstained Black Rabbit. And here, they seem like blood splatter from the tragedy.

They are also surrounded by butterflies, symbols of the soul and the transformative powers of death. But while butterflies here and in the rest of Pandora Hearts art are overwhelmingly blue, the large one over Jack is bright red. This could possibly signify that there is something unique or special about his soul... or is that Lacie's red soul fluttering to Jack?

Note also the silhouettes of little Gilbert on Glen's side of the picture and little Vincent on Jack's side of the picture. And this is the picture for September 2011, the month of the chapter we found out that Gilbert was Glen's servant! Amazing timing, Jun-sama!!

The only other time I can recall Jack having black roses aside from the Yin Yang picture with Oz is the "drugged" Jack under dark Alice:

Dark Alice with "Drugged" Jack

Black roses are symbolic of death, hatred, and farewell. They're used at funerals but can also mean rebirth. Though black roses don't exist in nature, they do grow in the Pandora Hearts world, and Vincent has been known to use them as a calling card. In the picture above, it is dark Alice giving Jack black roses, likely representing whatever she's so pissed off at him about. Black roses can even indicate obsession, which would fit her attitude towards Jack very well. Him being unconscious and tied up, combined with Alice's domineering posture, makes me think there's some manipulation by her going on. The black roses in the picture suggest she's not just being horny but vengeful.

It's interesting to note that while the rest of the roses here are fully black, the one over Jack's heart still has hints of red. Perhaps that's red for love, but the tattered redness of the rest of the room suggests an overall air of violence. The passion of the color red cuts both ways. There area also two skulls on the bed - one each for Jack and Glen, or maybe the Alice twins themselves? Yellow roses line the mirror - are they one twin's jealousy of the other?

The black roses of enmity are also found between Oz and Leo at the beginning of chapter 63, at the end of which they start fighting:
Oz & Gil and Leo & Vince at the Opera

So what would the black roses in the picture of Jack and Oz mean? A contrast with Oz's white roses? Funerary/rebirth roses for Lacie?

In the picture of Oz studying the Lacie melody, there are blue roses around him.

Since blue roses are also not found in nature, they represent mystery or attaining the impossible. They are believed to be able to grant the owner youth or wishes (Chain contracts??). In Pandora Hearts, it's a theme shared by the three main players from 100 years ago: Alice, Gilbert, Vincent, and Oz.

The number of roses in a bouquet can also be significant. In the picture on the right, counting the large roses, Vincent seems like he's holding about 12 of them, which means "be mine!" But looking closer, there are three more roses smooshed between the larger ones, adding up to 15. (Hover cursor over bouquet for numbers.)

A bouquet of 15 is for saying you're sorry and to ask for forgiveness. Both numbers are very fitting for Vince towards Gil. 12 is what he outwardly shows, while 15 is the hidden meaning, just as those roses are hidden.

Gilbert and Vincent are particularly associated with blue roses and, as the picture below illustrates, are singled out for blue-ness even in an otherwise warm-toned color scheme.

Break here is biting a red rose, perhaps a reference to his bloody coughing fits. However, it is the only thorn-less one in the picture. This normally means "love at first sight," but here could be indicating that he alone presents no hidden dangers, maybe because he is very direct in his methods and has no alternate identity to muddle his motives.

The other red roses are being especially aggressive, breaking through walls and shattering mirrors. The blue roses are also cracking the walls, but aren't causing nearly as much damage as the red ones in the rest of the picture.

Gilbert and Vincent with Blue Roses Gilbert and Vincent with Blue Roses
Gilbert and Vincent with Blue Roses
Gilbert and Vincent with Blue Roses
Pandora Hearts Boys

The blue half of the picture clashing with the red, and their respective colored roses encroaching on each other, once again calls to mind a chessboard-like battlefield.

The blue/red contrast is echoed in the picture on the right, where blue Gil is next to red Oz with a chessboard in the background. The roses are mainly blue, but Oz wears red ones, and some of the blue ones are blending with the red and starting to look purple. This is an integration of duality, and even the chessboard's distinct squares are fading in and out.

There are many ribbons tying up Oz and Gil. More on that later.

How many roses was Oz holding in the previous picture? Well, it's hard to tell. Unlike Vincent's, Oz's bouquet isn't full frontal. There's bound to be some roses on the other side. I can count as many as 18 from what we do see, so the total is probably closer to 20, 21, or 24, which mean "my feelings for you are truly sincere," "I'm dedicated to you," and "I'm yours" respectively. All would fit Oz towards Alice, whose rabbit doll representation is sitting beside him.

As for Alice's blue roses below, her picture is an interesting one. Dark Alice has Black Rabbit in a cage and many red skulls at her feet - why? The last time we saw somebody on a pile of skulls - Break - it was because he sacrificed those people to the Abyss. Are these the skulls of people who died during the tragedy of Sablier? Are those their souls escaping as butterflies?

If so, then this picture is rather incriminating. Is the spider web a sign of the passage of years, or of manipulation? It's the second time dark Alice has been seen with skulls, and it's one of the reasons, along with her black rose picture, that I think Alice has some, possibly a lot of, responsibility for what happened 100 years ago.

Gilbert and Oz Blue and Red Chessboard
Alice with Blue Roses and Skulls

Alice, Oz, and Gilbert all have butterflies associated with them. These are usually blue, but are sometimes made of light.

Oz has one sitting right on the nape of his neck and others fluttering around his head - which could be indicating mental faculties, such as knowledge, memory, or identity.

Gilbert's butterflies circle overhead. Note also that Gil's left hand is wrapped in blue ribbon. More on that later.

We've already seen live butterflies around Jack and Glen, but Lottie wears artificial black butterflies in her hair, as a brooch, and as earrings.
Oz's Blue Butterfly
Gilbert with Blue Butterflies

Aside from the red butterfly hovering around Jack in the calendar picture, which could be a link to Lacie and her red eyes, Lacie also has the luminous white butterflies associated with Dark Alice and Oz (Jack's container). These are escaping a cage and fluttering up to join Jack and Lacie dance. There is more on cages later, but this is the same cage that Alice has in her room, and could be representative of her confinement in the Baskerville tower - a circumstance which Lacie shares. Her time with Jack may be the only way Lacie feels free, or at least distracted from the gloomy fate that hangs over her.

The butterflies are surrounded in the golden lights of the Abyss, linking them to death and the afterlife, as well as to Lacie's transient state as an imminent sacrifice and transcendent nature as one who sees naked reality through her intimate link with the core of the Abyss. These butterflies might also be symbolic of rebirth. The cage is not the only thing here linked to Alice. There are two rabbit dolls sitting back to back near the cage. Before these dolls literally became Oz, they were the beloved plushies of the Alice twins and still bear a strong symbolic connection to them. The angle from which they seem to be blown out from under Lacie's dress could be symbolic of her giving birth to them. The darkness and gold of the Abyss radiating from this suggestive womb reinforces their birthplace.

The scene is framed by roses, both red and white, but these roses have thorns, warning of hidden danger, accented by the skull Miranda holds in the background.

Oz shares the white rose symbolism of humility, purity, and innocence with Alyss and Lacie:
Lacie's White Roses
Alyss and BreakOz's White Roses
Break with White Rose

But whiteness isn't necessarily a sign of classical virtue in Pandora Hearts. Characters associated with it tend to be somewhat unstable if not downright insane. It seems to correlate to "purity" of self-expression without restraints, and an "innocence" that isn't bound by morality or socially acceptable norms. In Japan, the color white is associated with the paranormal, and is prevalent around magical creatures as well as those permeated by magical power.

White roses could mean "holy and spiritual union between the departed soul and God in Heaven," and are therefore used at funerals, but also during weddings and births. This ties in with Pandora Hearts' theme of contact with the dead, death itself (the Abyss seems to double as an afterlife), rebirth, and love that transcends lifetimes.

White roses can also mean secrecy. Break is normally seen with lavender roses, but the picture on the left of him with a single wilting white rose appeared during the Yura's Mansion arc, probably representing him trying to hide his fading life-force.
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DISCLAIMER: Pandora Hearts and all the characters, story, and art therein is copyright Jun Mochizuki. No copyright infringement is intended, and I hope that this essay inspires more people to read/watch Pandora Hearts! Translations are by Yen Press and Fallen Syndicate. Visit the Thanks page to see who else helped!