One Ring To Rule…
There’s much discussion and mystery surrounding the Owl Cave Ring that appears for the first time in Fire Walk With Me. What exactly is it for? What does it do? Why is it important to the Laura Palmer story?
In the following pages, we will discuss this ring and what its true meaning really is.
Before actually discussing the Owl Cave Ring, we need to backtrack and discuss the different elements from the series that involve a ring, a circular object.
The first obvious connection is Dale Cooper’s ring that the Giant takes from him at the beginning of the second season. He tells Cooper that the ring will be returned to him when he finds all of the Giant’s clues. Cooper finds the ring again in the Roadhouse a number of episodes later as he realizes the true killer of Laura Palmer.
Here we have a direct connection, that of another ring. However, throughout the series there are a variety of different circular objects including donuts, the circle of trees at Glastonbury Grove, the circular motion of a fan (in Laura’s home) to name just a few. In the Access Guide to Twin Peaks there is a cult group that is mentioned that is called The Circular Lodge (page 65).
In religious beliefs throughout the world, many people consider the circle to be a powerful symbol and is often used in rituals and ceremonies, especially within cults.
The Owl Cave Symbol
The complete owl cave symbol was first drawn by Cooper in the Double R Diner as he tried to fit together two tattoos from the Log Lady and Major Briggs. After drawing a design, Annie told him that she recognized the symbol and said it was located in Owl Cave.
Note: Cooper discovers, after being lead there by Hawk, the symbol he sketched using the two tattoos. It is etched upon a wall of the cave. After a run-in with an owl, Andy swings his pick at him and imbeds it in the stone wall in the center of the etching. A diamond shaped piece if rock falls out exposing a wooden rod, upon this rod is the Owl Cave symbol that is on Teresa’s ring.
That day, Cooper and rest of the gang ventured out to Owl Cave just north of Glastonbury Grove. They found the symbol on a rod and would return the next day to complete the journey. However Windom Earle beat them to it. He found a replica of the symbol on the ceiling of the cave inverted. He deduced that turning the rod would do something. After doing so, the sides of the cave fell away exposing a strange map. Toward the center of the map sat the Owl Cave Symbol encompassed around a flame.
Note: not sure about this (yes, and I admit to it J) I think the Jupiter and Saturn symbols are near the flame part of the petroglyph.
–FIRE WALK WITH ME AND THE RING–
Desmond, Cooper, and The Ring
The first time we see the Owl Cave Ring in Fire Walk With Me is when Desmond returns to Fat Trout Trailer Park to find the blue rose. He knows that Teresa Banks was wearing one because she had a white band where a ring should have been on her finger. He also knows she had a ring based upon a picture of her in her trailer. After Carl shows him around, Desmond walks to a trailer on the far side of the park. In the FWWM script, Desmond sees a hand waving at him which is why he walks over. It’s unclear exactly why Desmond makes his way to the trailer in the movie.
After investigating outside the trailer and noting that no one was home, he notices something underneath the trailer. He bends down as the camera focuses in on a mound of dirt with the Owl Cave Ring sitting atop, much like how Cooper would later find Laura’s necklace sitting on top of a dirt mound in the train car.
Desmond bends down and reaches for the ring as the shot fades out. We later learn that the agent has vanished.
Upon arriving in Deer Meadow, Dale Cooper walks over to an empty lot – the same lot that Desmond had bent down at. Cooper bends down in the same location investigating the ground as he asks Carl questions. We learn that a woman and her grandson by the name of Chalfont used to live in this lot. And to his surprise, Chalfont was also the name of the people that had rented the lot before them.
The mention of the grandson and old woman should immediately let the audience connect to the Tremond’s from Twin Peaks that lived next door to Harold Smith. For the audience, we had already seen the old woman and grandson during the sequence when Phillip Jeffries returns to the FBI. We see them sitting on the couch with the boy wearing a strange white mask.
FACT – Because the ring was underneath the Chalfont’s trailer, we can safely assume that the ring and the old woman and grandson are directly connected.
This fact will be later supported in the next section.
Side note – in the FWWM script, Jeffries at one point says, “The Ring…ring…”
FACT – if we take the FWWM script into use for our discussion, we can assume that Jeffries is referring to the same ring.
Laura, The Dream, and The Ring
The night after the old woman and her grandson give Laura the picture of the room, Laura has a dream.
In the dream she enters the room in the picture and makes her way through room after room and finds herself in a large room with red drapes and a zigzagged floor. We recognize it to be the Black Lodge. Toward the back of the room is an old Greek column (probably made of formica) with a small ring sitting on top.
Note: I never thought of her entering the room, I thought she was just envisioning it. I have no problem with that interpretation, just thought I’d mention it. Nice touch with the column being formica, kind of looks like it is
Cooper enters the room to find the Little Man From another Place standing by the column.
LMFAP says, “Is it future? Or is it past? Do you know who I am? I am the arm…and I sound like this…” Then, LMFAP places his hand to his mouth and makes an Indian whooping sound.
The little man then turns to Laura and picks up the ring showing her (and us) a better shot of the ring. It’s the Owl Cave Ring that Desmond had picked up.
Cooper then tells Laura, “Don’t take the ring…Laura, don’t take the ring.”
Laura then wakes from her dream (isn’t she still dreaming at this point? We see a shot of her asleep before she wakes up and sees she is not holding the ring) and her left arm is numb. She uses her right hand to move her arm and notices that someone is in bed with her. It’s Annie from the final episode of Twin Peaks.
“My name is Annie. I’ve been with Laura and Dale. The good Dale is in the lodge and he can’t leave. Write it in your diary.”
Laura then turns to her door (according to the script she hears something). She then turns back to Annie who is now gone. She looks down at her hand and opens it up to see the ring that she had seen just seconds before in her dream. She closes her hand shut and then stands up and goes to the door where she looks out. She turns around back to the picture and sees herself looking back at her.
The next morning she awakes and checks her hand. The ring is gone.
Let’s evaluate what we know so far after her dream.
First, because the picture was given to her by the Tremonds and the dream led her to the realization of the ring, we can safely connect the two which only supports our first fact above.
But more importantly is the connection with LMFAP and also Dale Cooper.
The agent warns Laura about the ring. In her mind she must have realized that the ring would be something bad, which explains her frightened response after she opens her hand to see the ring, and explains why she immediately looks at her hand again when she wakes the next morning.
But the question arises – why warn Laura? What was Cooper trying to do?
To answer this question, we would also have to answer the purpose of the ring. For the time being we’ll explore three most probably possibilities:
- Cooper was warning Laura because the Cooper in question was not the “good” Cooper. By telling her not to take the ring, it might help BOB in the long run and he would be able to possess her.
- The second option is that Cooper realized that Laura taking the ring would no doubt signal her ultimate death. He was concerned for her well being.
- The third option that has been discussed is that this was Cooper’s way of ensuring that he wouldn’t be trapped in the lodge. If Laura had not taken the ring, and had been possessed by BOB, then Cooper never would have come to Twin Peaks and never would have been trapped within the lodge.
FACT – The next fact that we can conclude, however, is that there is a connection between the ring and LMFAP since he was in the room with the ring and also picked it up. This fact will be supported in the next section.
Laura, Gerard, and The Ring
The next time we (and Laura) see the ring is when Laura and her father are confronted by a mad man – Phillip Gerard.
The night after her and Donna’s partying in Canada, Leland comes to pick up his daughter to meet Sarah for breakfast. While on their way to breakfast, Leland and Laura get stuck behind two cars while an older couple slowly walks across the street. Before coming to a stop, a vehicle had been driving behind them recklessly.
The vehicle made an illegal U-Turn in the road and came to a stop directly next to Leland’s car. From the vehicle, the bearded Gerard started a yelling match with Leland. While Leland was turned away, Gerard shoved his hand out for Laura to see. On his finger was the same ring that Laura had seen in her dream. At this point she probably had not noticed it exactly but would later put two and two together.
FACT – Gerard is directly connected to the ring.
From the series, we know that Gerard and LMFAP are directly connected. In FWWM, this is supported at the end of the show after Laura is killed when Gerard and LMFAP talk in unison about wanting the garmonbozia. LMFAP refers to himself as the arm. During this scene, LMFAP touches Gerard’s shoulder where the arm should be. We can conclude:
FACT – Gerard and LMFAP are directly connected.
From the series we also know that Gerard is possessed by a spirit named Mike which leads us to the next section of our paper.
It shouldn’t need to be stated but for clarification: because Gerard is connected to the ring, and because LMFAP is connected to Gerard, this helps support our previous fact above that LMFAP is directly connected to the ring.
COMBINED FACTS – Gerard and LMFAP are directly connected to the ring.
Later that night, Laura starts putting together the clues. She first remembers Gerard yelling at them and the ring on his finger. She then remembers the same ring from her dream. She then remembers when Ronette, Teresa and her were at the Blue Diamond Motel when Teresa had the ring then. She realizes it’s the same ring.
At this point in the movie, a blue light appears and Laura asks, “Who are you? Who are you really?”
In the FWWM script, BOB was supposed to have spoken. The scene went like this:
Laura: The same ring…
BOB’S VOICE: That’s not important. I will tell you what is important. The fan will soon be starting.
LAURA: Who are you? Who are you really?
BOB’S VOICE: I am the One who wants to breathe through your nose and taste through your mouth.
Downstairs, Leland is pacing the living room as Leland remembers what happened with Teresa Banks.
Garmonbozia and The Ring
Now we’ll be discussing an area that is not as clear and we’ll have to make some assumptions as a result.
Let’s backtrack to the Twin Peaks series. Mike tells Cooper that he and BOB used to kill together and that they are both spirits that inhabit another body – Mike inhabits Gerard’s and BOB inhabits the then unknown killer. He told him at the time that BOB fed off of (fear…and the pleasures) – we would later learn that he is referring to garmonbozia.
FACT – BOB and Mike used to be partners.
The key here is that the two of them used to be partners, but now Mike’s job is to stop BOB. From what exactly he doesn’t say but we can assume that it’s one of two things – killing or garmonbozia.
The general belief is that Mike and BOB killed together and then Mike repented of his ways after seeing the face of God. His job is now to find and stop BOB.
This ring is one of the ways that Mike accomplishes his new “holy” job. But his holy job is not totally pure.
We have to assume that at some point, Teresa received the ring from Gerard. The question arises – why? Why would Mike give the ring to Teresa? Why also would he throw the ring into the train car for Laura, assuming that he did for this essay?
These questions can all be answered by understanding the overall motive for BOB and Mike.
It is our belief that Mike’s main goal is to stop BOB from obtaining garmonbozia. The way he does this is through the ring and being “wed” to the individual who places the ring on his or her finger. This ring is a symbol of ownership and who rightfully owns the garmonbozia that is produced from the killing.
Now many would argue that the ring protected Laura. And it sorta did. It ensured that Laura wouldn’t be possessed by BOB because she now belonged to Mike. As a result, Mike/Gerard and LMFAP asked for the garmonbozia that belonged to them at the end of FWWM. They were victorious in this little game of obtaining garmonbozia. Laura and Leland were the pawns, and even though the ring protected her from BOB, it still destroyed her life.
In the case of Teresa, BOB stole the garmonbozia from Mike, just as he stated during the yelling match with Leland. The ring made Teresa the property of Mike, and also the garmonbozia from her death. However, BOB kept it for himself, angering Mike.
FACT – Whoever has the ring is protected from BOB.
If Mike’s job was to really stop BOB from killing, would he have taken the steps that he did? He easily could have shot Leland dead during the yelling match. Instead he hollered, warned Laura, gave her a small clue and then drove off. He knew who BOB was inhabiting when he met up with Dale Cooper during the series. (Note: Do we want to distinguish between meeting him in ep. 4 at the Timber Falls Motel, during which I would say Mike wasn’t present or are we just relying on the exposition of ep.13, when Mike/Gerard gives Cooper the idea that BOB is at the Great Northern) But he played a game with them. Why not just tell them who exactly was the host for BOB whom he had seen him just the week before? (Note: it’s longer than a week, e.g. when Judge Sternwood asks how long Cooper has been in TP he said 12 days. I know this is being a little picky, but I thought you would want to stay in an accurate timeline.) Instead Mike escapes from the Great Northern in an effort to track down BOB and stop him from obtaining more garmonbozia. (Good point: If Lodge spirits are connected by their “thoughts” then Mike might have known that BOB had targeted another victim).
As a wedding ring is a symbol of marriage so is this Owl Cave Ring. In the beginning of FWWM, LMFAP says during the Jeffries’ sequence: “WITH THIS RING, I THEE WED.” He’s directly referring to the only ring we have seen throughout FWWM and Twin Peaks (besides Cooper’s). This supports the idea that the Owl Cave Ring is a bond between LMFAP/MIKE/GERARD and the person who currently owns it.
FACT – The ring weds the individual to Mike.
And because BOB and Mike are now direct opposites of each other, BOB would not want to have anything to do with this ring and would not want “his property” to obtain this ring.
But in the case of Laura Palmer, she was able to obtain this ring after Gerard threw it into the train car. When she placed the ring on her hand she immediately protected herself from BOB, but at the same time gave up the garmonbozia to Mike.
Out of either rage, or necessity, BOB had to kill Laura at this point. He couldn’t use her anymore for his needs or desires. She was “wedded” to his ex-partner in crime. So he killed her. Just as he started to kill, Leland yells, “Don’t make me do this!” Some would argue that this is Leland yelling out from BOB’s control. But you could also argue that BOB is yelling it because he is now required to kill the one person that he has been trying to be for the past 6 years. (Where do the letters under the nails come in or do we even want to bring them up here, because it will just gum up the works of theorizing about the ring? Could they be a way for BOB to claim them since they are under the nail of the ring finger of the left hand?)
FACT – Because the ring belongs to Mike, it is something that BOB would despise and hate.
Let’s quickly list the facts that we have generated over the past few pages:
- The ring and the old woman and grandson are directly connected.
- Jeffries knows about this ring.
- There is a connection between the ring and LMFAP.
- Gerard and LMFAP are directly connected to the ring.
- BOB and Mike used to be partners.
- Whoever has the ring is protected from BOB.
- The ring weds the individual to Mike.
- Because the ring belongs to Mike, it is something that BOB would despise and hate.
Using these 8 facts, we can make a very consistent theory.
The main goal of BOB and Mike is to obtain garmonbozia. Both do this through possession; however, Mike has found a means to stop BOB from collecting garmonbozia – through the use of the ring. This Owl Cave Ring weds the individual to Mike, and that individual becomes bonded/property of Mike, thus protecting the person from BOB, yet ensuring that Mike will receive his garmonbozia.
The collection of garmonbozia is much like a poker. Mike and BOB are the players but Mike has an extra ace in his deck – the ring.
The only question that remains is what exactly is the symbol of the Owl Cave and why is this symbol and ring given the power that it has.
We’ll discuss this in a later essay.