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 symbolize "friendship" today, but
in Victorian times they meant "jealousy," feeling
unworthy, and decrease of
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?
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
"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
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:
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
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:
So what would the black roses in the
Jack and Oz mean? A contrast with Oz's white roses?
Funerary/rebirth roses for Lacie?
of Oz studying the Lacie melody, there are blue roses
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,
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.)
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
We've already seen live butterflies around Jack and Glen, but
Lottie wears artificial black butterflies in her
hair, as a
brooch, and as
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:
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
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.
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
Syndicate. Visit the
page to see who else helped!