‘Stranger Things’ Season 4: What Does the Grandfather Clock Mean?

The grandfather clock was an important image in teasers and promotional materials for Stranger Things Season 4. The Duffer Brothers previously teased the significance of this odd object. It’s now clear what the grandfather clock means for those who see it, but there are still some unanswered questions that volume 2 will need to address. Here’s everything we know so far.

[WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for Stranger Things Season 4 Volume I.]

Steve, Dustin, Max, Nancy, Robin and Lucas investigate the Creel house in Stranger Things Season 4.
Joe Keery, Gaten Matarazzo, Natalie Dyer, Sadie Sink, Maya Hawke, and Caleb McLaughlin in ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4 | Netflix

Vecna’s victims see a grandfather clock 24 hours before they die

Before Stranger Things Season 4 dropped on Netflix, the Duffer Brothers warned that the grandfather clock isn’t a good sign. While speaking with IGN, Matt stated, “You don’t want to see the clock! If you see the clock, it’s not great. Max, unfortunately, did see the clock, and as we see her levitating later in the trailer, it doesn’t seem like that was a good thing.”

Now fans know why seeing the clock is so bad. Vecna’s victims all experience similar symptoms, including headaches, nosebleeds, and visions of their past trauma. Each victim also hallucinates a grandfather clock. The victims die 24 hours after the hallucinations begin. As the Duffer Brothers pointed out, Max does see the clock as well, but luckily her friends are able to save her.

What is the significance of the grandfather clock?

Stranger Things Season 4 introduced a very different villain. Vecna is a human who has been living in the Upside Down for decades and is able to open portals using human sacrifices. Vecna was once known as Henry Creel, a child with supernatural abilities who killed his mother and sister. After this, Henry became Dr. Brenner’s first “experiment” known as One.

The grandfather clock serves as a countdown for Vecna’s victims, symbolizing that they only have 24 hours left to live. It is also a reflection of his hatred for humans and the rules they create. “Where others saw the order, I saw a straight jacket. A cruel oppressive world dictated by made-up rules — seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades,” Vecna tells Eleven.

While Vecna explains this to Eleven, he is shown as a young boy staring at the grandfather clock in the Creel home. A popular fan theory exists that the clock is actually a gate to the Upside Down. Some fans believe the Duffer Brothers may have already subtly hinted at this.

A fan pointed out on Reddit, “At the end of S02e04, you hear the chime of a grandfather clock when Hopper jumps down into the Upside Down tunnels.” Another fan added, “In season 1 when Eleven found the Demogorgon and touched it you can hear a clock ticking loudly.”

Grandfather clocks symbolize structure and order

The image of the grandfather clock may also hold an even deeper meaning in Stranger Things Season 4. ScreenRant points out that in the real world, seeing a grandfather clock in one’s dreams symbolizes a person’s past catching up to them. This makes a lot of sense in terms of Vecna’s victims, who are also plagued with visions of past trauma.

The grandfather clock also represents everything that Vecna hates. Medium.com writes, “The grandfather clock was a fixture of plantation life around which life revolved, for it told the family and workers when to work, when to eat, and when to rest.” This is the very structure that Vecna rants against when he reveals his identity to Eleven.

Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 1 is currently streaming on Netflix.

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