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Symbolism of the Magical Keys in Locke and Key


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It’s hard to see the magical keys in Locke & Key as being meant for anything but evil. Some, like the music box key, only bring sinister implications. Seriously, in what way is controlling others a good thing? One could also argue that the good of the keys depends on how the possessor uses them. The Locke’s have been through a great deal before the show’s start and it’s no coincidence that various family members are experiencing their internal struggles while discovering the keys. In this way, they are symbolic of their issues and their personalities. Take Bode, for example.

The matchstick key is a weapon. I don’t see any other way of looking at it. In the hands of someone like Bode, it’s used to protect himself and his family. He used it to fight the shadows by putting it at the end of his toy lightsaber to make it into a real sword. If there’s any meaning to this key, the fire could represent the will and heart of the holder. If one seeks to destroy, that’s what the key will do. But if one aims to protect, then they will. The only time Bode gets this key is to face off against Dodge bravely. Bode also found and activated a mirror with the mirror Key, but he never actually used it. It was an accident, if anything. He’s a child who didn’t know what he had, like a kid who finds matches. His innocence is literally shown when you see into his head to find an arcade. Nothing is lurking about waiting to hurt him in there.

His older brother Tyler, being the oldest of the children and the new surrogate father figure, recognizes the danger in the keys and hardly uses them, except for a few occasions. The first time he uses the head key shows us something about him. He opens his door and tosses a book in without looking, not wanting to see what is on the other side. He was with Kinsey when they first were attacked by her fear that paralyzed her during Sam’s attack, and he chastised her for rummaging around with the contents of her mind. We can only imagine what kind of monster was rattling around Tyler’s head after Rendell’s death. Bode handled his grief well. He’s a child, so it’s easier for him. Tyler outright ignores it and therefore doesn’t use the key’s full capabilities by going through his door. Aside from that, he tried to improve himself more practically, whereas Kinsey’s method was unhealthy.


Kinsey uses the keys the most irresponsibly between the siblings. Removing her fear from her head was just the start. Even if she isn’t afraid of consequences, she is still aware of them yet she still lets herself make impulsive decisions. She meant well in changing herself. She was in pain, and her fear crippled her but ridding herself of it seemed to be permission to act recklessly. Dodge saw this trait in her and, under the guise of Gabe, became the devil on her shoulder. As more keys are discovered, Kinsey may continue to be swayed by the keys moving forward, with Gabe influencing her behavior. The Plant key may have been symbolic of Kinsey’s growing obsession with the keys as it led her to a startling discovery about her father, which then led to a near-fatal incident with her friends. We can only wonder if she will become more cautious or careless as she finds more keys next season.

The Echo key was symbolic for Ellie as she had been carrying her grief with her most of her life until finally deciding to use the key to bring back Lucas. It’s also said that it brings people back as an echo of their former selves. In Nina’s hands, she may have done the same thing to bring back Rendall, only to find he wasn’t exactly as she thought he would be. In this sense, the echo and mending key symbolizes grief and the desire for things one can never have again. We saw something like this when she put her husband’s ashes into the Mending Cabinet after breaking her sobriety.

Nina was also the one initially pulled into the mirror after Bode activated it. The prison of reflections Nina found herself trapped in could symbolize her despair, but Tyler’s pulling her out is symbolic that they will all get through their pain together. Nina moved them there for a fresh start and wanted to continue to feel close to Rendall. It was a way for her to run from her grief, but she couldn’t escape it in the end.

The common theme in this article is the grief of the character. The Locke’s are haunted by the death of Rendall throughout the entire season and deal with unresolved feelings that play into their decision-making with the keys, which then reflect how they are now. With the matter of Rendall’s past put to rest and Key House presumed safe, we now await the new season on October 22 to see how the Locke’s handle new keys and new evil in their changing lives.


Locke and Key (2021) Season 2 Official Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Senior editor of Dead Talk News and University of Central Oklahoma graduate. Dakota specializes in news, entertainment pieces, reviews, and listicles.