Solving the “Simple” Two Door Riddle From Labyrinth

It hurt my brain as a kid

J.J. Pryor

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A blue guard and a red guard
Image owned and created by Author

If you remember the awesome movie Labyrinth by Jim Henson, you’ll probably remember three things from the movie:

  1. A young Jennifer Connelly led the movie as a curious adventurer
  2. David Bowie starred as a creepy crystal ball-holding madman
  3. The weird double-headed guards with the weird life or death, truth or lie puzzle

It turns out, the simple but somehow complicated riddle that many children didn’t stop to think about for longer than 5 minutes was a variation of an old logic puzzle called Knights and Knaves.

The same puzzle has even been featured in fun mystery shows like Doctor Who and Samurai Jack. The basic riddle has built up a bit of a fan base over the years.

Here’s how it goes.

Explaining Labyrinth’s Liar’s Paradox Riddle

The premise of the puzzle is somewhat basic. The young adventurer Sarah approaches a fork in the road of a labyrinth where there are two guards waiting in front of two doors.

  1. One of the doors leads to her freedom and the other door leads to certain death.
  2. One guard is red and the other is blue.
  3. One can only tell lies and the other can only tell the truth.
  4. Sarah is also only allowed to ask a yes or no question and to only one of the guards.
  5. The lying guard kind of wants you to die (by taking the death door).

The problem?

What question does she ask the guards so she can know for certain she won’t be walking into a certain deathtrap and the viewers can keep watching the awesome movie?

Take a moment to think about the problem and we’ll get to the answer shortly.

Now I’ll fill up some space so you don’t see the answer inadvertently.

Hmm, what to put here?

How about some fun trivia for the movie Labyrinth?

  1. The owl in the opening credits was one of the first uses of CGI in a movie (it came out in 1986)

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J.J. Pryor

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