∆ Danny in the Games Room, in a scene of five shots; three for him and two for The Twins. We only see the Games Room in this one scene and never again in the film, though elements of the room pop up in other parts of the Hotel. This is the first time we see Danny in the Hotel and here he is, looking at the upper-right corner of the screen.
∆ Danny raises his right hand, aiming a red dart. He holds another two in his left hand. Three darts and three shots of Danny. Danny’s hand covers his right eye and the dart hovers level with his forehead (or third eye). In this way, the dart becomes an element of Danny’s minds’ eye vision.
∆ The camera zooms out as Danny prepares a second launch. We now notice a red figure flying in the background ski poster, echoing the first red dart. The ski posters form a kind of artificial window in this windowless room, echoing the famous “impossible windows” of Ullman’s office. An exit sign over a door in the upper-right corner of the screen, the door frame the same color green as the thick line bisecting the room.
∆ After Danny launches the second dart, we see a second red figure on a wall poster, to the right of the exit door. To Danny’s left is a piano, and a foosball table with red knobs and two red pool tables. (three red darts, three red games tables) Pianos are also found in the Gold Room and Colorado Lounge, his father’s hang out spots.
∆ As soon as the third red dart flies, Danny moves across the room revealing the red stripes of the American flag and photographic grid like the one Jack ends up in.
∆ The blue star field of the American flag in its upper-right corner. Danny closes his eyes as he crosses the midway point of the room. We go from macrocosm to microcosm as Danny moves from the country’s flag to the Colorado state flag. Country and state flags flank Jack’s desk in the Colorado Lounge, which places Danny’s target in the Games Room in the same relative position as Jack’s target of the Hopi wall mural in the Lounge.
∆ Danny’s eyes line up with the green band bisecting the room, reminiscent of the green hallways to the north of both the Lobby and the Lounge. It is in the green hallway north of the Lobby Danny begins his third and final Big Wheel ride before having a third and final vision of the Twins. It is also in the green hallway north of the Lobby that Danny hides from Jack and succeeds in luring him out of the Hotel and into the Maze. The green hallway is the key to Danny’s vision and survival.
∆ Danny climbs up on a chair and elevates himself to reach his target, bringing the Colorado state flag more into view. In the ‘synchromysticism’ of Jake Kotze, the bullseye and the red ‘C’ of the Colorado state flag are synonymous with the stargate. Note both the flag and the bullseye feature concentric circles between two pillars. The blackboards forming the pillars for the bullseye. The double pillar is also a feature of the Hotel’s elevators and service entrances, themselves also symbols of the stargate. Danny elevates himself before these symbols in accordance of the stargate being a metaphor for cosmic illumination or higher consciousness.
The state of Colorado takes its name from the spanish for colored red. Spanish explorers dubbed rivers in the area Rio Colorado for they ran red from the silt they carried down from the mountains. So the Colorado is a red river, just like the one we see in Danny’s bloody elevator visions. Rivers of blood hearken back to Exodus and the vengeance delivered on Egypt by the escaping Israelites. Depictions of Moses parting the Red Sea often feature his shining figure between two pillars of water.
The colors of the Colorado state flag have coloquial attributions: blue, the sky; yellow, the sun; red, the earth; white, the mountains. Taking this color code and looking at the flag as hung in the Games Room, the white mountain forms a column completely transversing the blue sky field (which is night blue not day blue). An arrow-point mountain-form can be seen piercing through the outer layer of red earth into the inner yellow sun. A rectangle of white sits on top of the earth, suggesting the path up the mountain continues beyond the solar system, or beyond the infinite. In this way, the Colorado state flag is a map of the story of The Shining. Colorado state itself is a rectangle and capital Denver is known as ‘The Mile High City’. The Shining story takes place in a mountaintop rectangle in the sky, and like the red C, the story curves in on itself, surrounding people with a second-sight or inner light. The turning point The Shining takes place inside the Gold Ball Room, where Jack makes a pact of child sacrifice to the spirits, and the rivers of blood flow down the mountain.
The four colors of the Colorado flag recall the Four Directions of Native American belief, which in turn recall the Four Corners states (of which Colorado is the north east.) Color attribution of Four Directions change from culture to culture, and we see this in the clash of cultures inherit in the Overlook’s decor (English, Modern American, American Indian, South American, etc.) Things change color in The Shining, and windowless rooms like The Games Room make it difficult to establish Cardinal Direction. (Note: cardinal means red) Another Native American word for the Four Directions is the Medicine Wheel, which relates to our second symbol, the bullseye.
∆ The bullseye is a more specific version of The Shining story, and tells more of the climax and breaking of the Hotel code. We see the country flag, then the state flag, then the target. The bullseye is composed of twenty alternating black and white spokes inside a black circle, with two concentric rings of alternating green and red, and a red center ringed with green. In the game of darts, each of the twenty spokes is assigned a scoring number from 1-20, arranged in non-numerical order around the outer black circle (which scores zero). Hitting the colored red/green sections wins higher scores, with the outer ring doubling, and the inner ring tripling the spoke score. The green outer bullseye scores 25 and the inner red bullseye doubles that to 50. But the highest score is not the center, but the colored inner ring corresponding to 20, tripled to 60. Jack scores his bullseye, killing Hallorann in the center of the Lobby set, itself red with a green hallway ringing the outside. But Danny trumps his score by hitting just north of center, the green hallway leading outside to the Maze, where Jack dies trying to leave the center.
Fans of numerology in The Shining will be happy to note there are 21 possible scores in the black and white sections of the dart board, while there are 42 possible scores in the colored sections of the board. While some see numerology as the key to opening hidden meanings in the narrative, others see numerology as a trap. Let’s just note that ‘black and white’ is the lower scoring area and ‘color’ the higher scoring. Danny is first seen wearing the number 42 on a sweat shirt with a basketball-playing Bugs Bunny on its chest, so ‘high scores’ are part of his outlook. There are 41 sections of black and white on the board, but 42 sections of color. Danny leaves his father behind in the black and white photograph, to repeat himself over and over again, but Danny moves on the next number, into the full spectrum.
The thin rings of alternating green and red presage the transformation of the green service hallway into the red hallway we see Wendy run down just before she sees the bloody elevator and finally exits the Hotel. Ace Shining decoder Juli Kearns noticed the similarity between the green and red hallways in an essay linked here. Green serves the red in the color code of the Hotel, with green outer service hallways ringing the reddish interiors of the Lobby and the Lounge where guests would be, but in Wendy’s climatic night journey of visions, the green turns red and she goes back to face what she ran from initially. Like the Red C of the Colorado flag, she turns her path to face itself and creates an opening in the closed Zero circle. The black and white flicker of the bullseye is represented in the alternating dark/light; blue/red; left/right of her series of Four Visions, each one occurring in each of the ‘Four Corners’ of the Hotel (Bear man in the upper west of the Hotel; Party man in the south east; Gold Room hallway and skeleton party in the south west; and red hallway elevator vision in the north east.) In this way, Wendy has turned the Medicine Wheel a full rotation and the green servant has become the red master.
That red and green are the Christmas colors is appropriate as the climax of the Shining occurs at Christmastime, with both stories concerning the escape of a starchild from tyranny. The Colorado flag could also tell the Christmas story, with YHWH as the white mountain force injecting the Sun (or Son) into the Earth. When He grows up, He becomes a bloody C for crucifixion. Note the number 13 on the poster next to the dart board, recalling the unlucky number of attendants at the Last Supper.
But how does Danny score in the Games Room? His three darts each have an exception: only one hit the right side of the board; only one faces downward; and only one scored any points. It’s hard to make out the number of the target spoke, but it’s a least in the double digits. Worth noting that the board in the Games Room is not in the standard numeration in the illustration above, so we are playing by non-traditional rules, with no easy north. In fact, we are not shown the top ‘20’ of the dart board. [Also of note, there is no N-for-north in the EWS acronym of Eyes Wide Shut.]
∆ Danny turns his head around to the right to look behind him and the camera zooms in to just his face, a reversal of the first image of this shot. The camera movement of this first shot in the Games Room is in a ‘C’ shape, with a zoom out, followed by a tracking shot across, then a zoom in.
∆ Now the Twins appear. This is Danny’s POV, an example of his ‘shining’ or psychic vision. Look how the Twins’ eyes are aligned with the green band of Danny’s floor-level sightline. The doorway forms a upturned green ‘C’ in contrast to the upturned red ‘C’ of the Colorado flag. Danny is standing on a chair, so his sightline is elevated above the green band, aligning the objects above the line with Danny’s ‘higher’ vision. On the right of the screen we see a foosball table with blue handles, in contrast with the red-handled table we see in Danny’s initial shot, so this view must be to Danny’s far left. The left eye is connected to the right brain, mythical source of creativity. In this vision the right brain is dominant. The Twins are dead center in the screen, with the center point between their cuffs. The Twin to the left hand represents right brain; she is dominant, a little taller, with a higher waist and longer dress; her left hand covers the right hand of the Twin on the right, which she pulls into her hemisphere. If we split the frame into quadrants we are provided a map of Danny’s consciousness and strategies for ‘winning the game’.
∆ The left hand side has four orange checkered chairs, same fabric as seen on the chair closest to Wendy in the bloody elevator vision. Combine with the red fire alarm and the cigarette machine and we have left hand / right brain associated with red, fire, heat, blood. Jack’s fate in the photographic grid is also represented on the far left, so we can associate the left hand with sacrifice. In the esoteric tradition, The Left Hand Path considers taboo-breaking as the way to enlightenment.
The right hand side has two green tables, perhaps representing the two Maze Maps. Combine with the cool blue of the mountain poster and the water cooler and we have right hand / left brain associated with blue, water, cold. The phone booth represents the ‘shining’ call Danny makes to Hallorann to bring rescue. In popular psychology, the left brain is associated with logic and communication. The ‘exit’ sign is on the right-hand side … logic is the way Danny will escape the Hotel; he calls for help, navigates the Maze and outwits Jack. Note the four orange chairs and two green tables make a nice ‘42’ … this is Danny’s figure.
The object of the game is for Danny to move from his dominant right-brain POV to his left-brain POV; this move reads from left-to-right on our screen. Notice the orange chair table is lower and seems more fit for relaxing (PLAY) while the green tables are higher are more fit for hiding cards in competitive games (WORK). If we read the upper quadrants from left to right, we get animated stories of how the game will play out.
On the left hand / right brain side, we have action moving away from the black and white photo prison. The skier on the ‘Monarch’ poster has seems to have left the snowy barn by crossing over the tall T-shaped coat rack and is moving toward the red sphere (or Earth). In a way this progression reminds us of the nursery rhyme Jack be nimble / Jack be quick / Jack jumped over the candlestick. The skier jumped over the candlestick of the coat rack to become King of the Mountain, even stealing the flame of the candle which he now holds above his head, recalling both Prometheus and Lucifer (light-bringer). Monarch also signifies the transforming butterfly and our skier is seen above the clouds. The ‘T’ of the coat rack recalls the cross upon which YHWH sacrifices his only son, just like Jack attempts to sacrifice his only son, Danny. To escape this death, Danny will have to become nimble and quick like Jack, but by becoming King of the Mountain, he will have only stepped into his father’s place, becoming like Lucifer, trapped in and perpetuating the cycle of abuse. Neurology points that under depression, right brain activity dominates as sufferers endlessly cycle through negative emotions, memories and destructive ideas. To escape this cycle, Danny must move focus to his left-brain, to the green exit sign.
On the right-hand / left brain upper quadrant, the story is much more linear and literal: “Call the cavalry! Get off the mountain!.” We have the green exit sign, the rescuing hero cowboy, Superman’s favorite phone booth, and a map of ski-trails down. There is even a white monolith-shaped list of rules or instructions next to the cowboy. Follow along the Twins’ sightline and we see different combinations of big/small and tall/short: a tall, small coat rack; a short, big cigarette machine; a short, small water cooler; a tall, big phone booth. The phone booth is both tall and big and is thus paramount: to escape the Hotel (and cycle of abuse) Danny must communicate — that is the clearest path from the lower half of the screen to the upper half.
∆ Our second shot of Danny has the camera moved more to his left side, exposing the photo death grid to his right. So the full left-to-right story of the Games Room both begins and ends in the photo grid, Jack’s eternity in July 4th, 1921. Danny’s story will move between the pillars of these left and right extremes.
∆ A second shot of The Twins, seemingly identical, except as Shining decoder Rob Ager has noticed, the chair to the left of the front green table has moved to the right a bit and the ashtray on the rear green table has moved to the left a bit — perhaps a subliminal message that elements of fire are being moved to our left hand /right brain side while the audience (in their chairs) are being moved towards our right hand / left brain side, or igniting creativity to forward logical intelligence.
With the Games Room vision mapping left hand red and right hand blue, how do we understand Wendy holding the knife in her left hand in blue rooms and the knife in her right hand in red rooms during her climactic series of Four Visions? If we equate The Twins with Wendy, then the polarity flip makes sense. The right-hand Twin is on the left-hand side in the Games Room vision, and vice-versa. In the climax, while Danny is in “the real world”, outwitting Jack in The Maze, Wendy is in “the mirror world” confronting trial spirits and undoing the psychic combination lock of the Hotel.
[More on Wendy’s path and its relation to the “water door” or stargate in a future post…]
∆ The Twins turn to each other and smile. The right-handed, left-brained Twin exposes her white bow to us, launching the arrow of the story towards the right. The shared smile shows both sides in agreement, which reverses the frown-shaped curved ‘C’ door around them.
∆ After agreeing, The Twins turn clockwise, just as Danny turned clockwise to see them. The Twins are an echo and avatar of Danny’s vision. In Danny’s Big Wheel series of visions, he first goes in counter-clockwise in a loop around the Colorado (red river, cycle of abuse). In his second ride, Danny breaks the pattern to turn clockwise around the elevator banks, discovers Room 237, touches its knob and sees The Twins a second time, signaling that he’s on the right track. On his third Big Wheel ride, Danny takes a clockwise right at the west end of the green hallway, and elevates up and switches polarity to the ‘right brain’ part of the Hotel, where after taking a left turn, he sees The Twins again. Here in the left-hand / right-brain corner of the Hotel, The Twins are sacrificed, their red blood on the walls above their blue bodies. The sacrifice of The Twins is part of the taboo-breaking of The Left Hand Path, which continues as Danny enters the forbidden Room 237, walking down a polarity-switching carpet and taking a clockwise turn to the right before entering. Room 237 could be seen as the green midway point between red right and blue left, the True North where there is no east or west.
∆ The Twins depart towards the left, just as Wendy departs to the left after seeing the Bear/Man vision and Jack after seeing his Room 237 vision. Danny (as well as Jack and Wendy) will follow them into the dangerous right brain mirror world of fire and sacrifice to find the opposite path out. Note the outside hallway to the left is dark and features a mysterious, unreadable poster; to the right is deeper, lighter and features a homey couch, with stripes angling up to the right. The challenge is to get The Twins back from the left (right brain) and into the right (left brain).
∆ Third and final shot of Danny in the Games Room sequence finds the camera has moved clockwise a bit around Danny, obscuring the photo death grid and emphasizing the green pathway up. Danny’s vision has already started on its path towards the right and to the green middle pillar…
For further exploration of Danny’s journey towards the right-handed/left-brained side of his psyche see: Tony Speaks and Every Shot Of The Twins In The Hallway.