The grandfather clock in 'Stranger Things'
Source: Netflix

What Is the Meaning of the Grandfather Clock in 'Stranger Things' Season 4?

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Jun. 9 2022, Published 3:26 p.m. ET

Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Season 4, Part 1 of Stranger Things.

The sci-fi '80s show fans know and love, Stranger Things, is back on Netflix for Season 4. One of the biggest questions fans have after watching Part 1 of the fourth season regards a running motif of a grandfather clock that appears every time a character is in peril.

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What does the grandfather clock mean?

Here's what we know about the grandfather clock and how it factors into Stranger Things Season 4.

The ominous Creel House grandfather clock.
Source: Netflix
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What does the grandfather clock mean in 'Stranger Things'?

The first appearance of the grandfather clock came in Netflix's promotional material for Season 4. The reveal of the Creel House and its creepy grandfather clock appeared in teaser trailers and clips, although fans weren't certain of its significance until Season 4 Part 1 premiered. The Creel House itself is a presence in the Upside Down and the world of the living, and the clock is part of the house.

Vecna, the season's villain, is similar to the Mind Flayer in that he likes to play with victims' minds before they die. As Max discovers, victims experience migraines and nightmares, and then they hallucinate traumatic moments from their lives. Finally, the victims hallucinate visions of a grandfather clock ticking, effectively implying that their days are numbered.

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Fred hallucinates the grandfather clock before he dies.
Source: Netflix

It's eventually revealed that Vecna is Henry Creel, who utilized telepathic abilities he gained through the grandfather clock in the Creel House. Henry grew to resent society after feeling ostracized for his sensitivity to the supernatural, and he murdered his family (except for Victor, his father).

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Henry was then kidnapped by Dr. Brenner for study at the Hawkins Lab, where he was dubbed "001." Later, when Dr. Brenner realized he couldn't control 001, he implanted a chip in him that subdued his powers, and Henry was renamed "Peter Ballard."

As Peter, Vecna/Henry manipulated Eleven into removing his chip and then massacred the Lab. Eleven banished Vecna into the Upside Down, where he was struck by lightning and became Vecna in full.

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Max sees the grandfather clock in Hawkins High.
Source: Netflix

There are a few theories about the meaning of the grandfather clock. The first, per ScreenRant, is that it's a gateway to the Upside Down. The characters have already determined Creel House is significant to Vecna, as it appears in the Upside Down.

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Images of the clock "cracking" in trailers could also hint that the gateway to the Upside Down is spilling into Hawkins, leaving Eleven and her friends to save the world — again.

According to Reddit, another theory points out that Henry/Vecna has already admitted to loathing the social construct of time, yet, young Henry's eyes appeared to move back and forth with the ticking of the clock to help him concentrate his powers.

Music, which characters have used to defeat Vecna's control, breaks concentration from the steady ticking noise. Could the clock be a key to undoing Vecna's villainy?

Stranger Things Season 4, Part 2 premieres on July 1, 2022, exclusively on Netflix.

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