Beware the Jabberwock: Part 4
This is part of a four-part series. Throughout the series, Jaz will explore the classic Lewis Carroll poem in history and pop culture. Come back each Thursday for a new part.
- Genesis of the Jabberwock
- A Century (and a half) of Jabberwocks
- The Jabberwock in Literature
- The Jabberwock In Games
After three episodes of reading about stories featuring the Jabberwock, why not take part in one, and face the dragon yourself? Games are an oft-neglected but deeply immersive method of storytelling. So of course, we couldn’t ignore all the games in which the Jabberwock made an appearance as a protagonist.
Let’s Explore Games
Dragon’s Lair II: Timewarp
As early as 1991, the Jabberwock appears as one the antagonists in stage three of the game, the Wonderland stage. It appears to be a caricature of Tenniel’s original drawing, with a bright green hide.
American McGee’s Alice
The Jabberwock makes another appearance in the third person psychological horror game American McGee’s Alice, released in December 2000. The game features a crueler version of Carroll’s dreamscape. The timeline plays out well after the original stories. A traumatized Alice returns to Wonderland after years of psychiatric treatment for the loss of her parents. There, she encounters the Jabberwock, who after his defeat by the hero–wielding the vorpal blade–has had several body parts replaced with mechanical prosthetics and has become the Queen of Hearts’s most powerful servant.
Warhammer, Seventh Edition
In 2006, the Jabberwock makes its–not too flattering–debut as a class of dangerous forest creatures in the seventh edition of Warhammer.
Though this iteration has wings, it doesn’t fly. That makes sense as the wings appear to small to actually provide enough lift for the creature’s bulk. Instead, they flap them when he gets excited, creating a characteristic noise.
While this Jabberwock is a fearsome sight, you can still recognize the original artwork by Tenniel, with the elongated neck and characteristic pronounced incisor teeth.
A Witch’s Tale
In October 2009, the Nintendo DS game A Witch’s Tale came out. Here, the Jabberwock takes the form of a jester, and again, he’s not quite as malicious as we usually see him. Instead, he is a whimsical character, leaving cards throughout the game for Lidell, the main character, to find. Though Alice plays a role in the game, she is the antagonist here, and the Jabberwock has thrown off his customary role as champion or antagonizing force.
Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland
Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, came out in 2010, the same year as the film it was based on. As far as I could find, the portrayal was fairly consistent with how he appeared in the movie.
Alice: Madness Returns
In 2011, Alice: Madness Returns was released. In this game, Alice is back in London where she is haunted by hallucinations though the Jabberwock himself does not get another reincarnation. Instead, Alice comes across Jabberwock figures who have a humanoid body but the heads strongly resembles the Jabberwock’s head as originally portrayed by Tenniel.
2011 also saw the advent of a robotic Jabberwock in Disney Universe, where he is the final antagonist of the Wonderland level.
Kingdom Hearts III
The third iteration of Kingdom Hearts features Wonderland, where the Jabberwock is awakened as a main supporting antagonist, which you will face off against multiple times during the game. He looks more like a classic western dragon with a long snout, sharp teeth and claws.
Farewell to the Jabberwock
I can’t believe we’ve come to the end. I for one will miss our beloved Jabberwock. I hope you’ve enjoyed this deep dive into one iconic dragon. If you find other Jabberwock incarnations, please do let us know.
Which was your favourite one?
Jaz, also known as the Wolf Mother, is a writer, poet, narrator, and vessel of chaos. She is eternally grateful for her mother’s refusal to curtail her children in their choices–whether that was literature, spirituality, studies, or appearance–and grew up devouring her older brother’s collection of fantasy novels. In hindsight, telling stories of her own seems inevitable, but it took her a while to accept this and find the courage to begin.
Want to find out more? Check out our sources:
- Poetry Foundation
- Merriam Webster
- Jabberwocky Film 1971
- Interesting Literature analysis of the Jabberwocky
- Disney Fandom, 1951 Film
- American McGee’s Alice Jabberwock
- Alice: Madness Returns
- Alice In Wonderland 1985 Movie
- Alice In Wonderland 2010 Video Game
- Pandora Hearts Fandom
- Villians Fandom
- The Looking Glass Wars
- Warhammer Fantasy