The Demogorgon is the ultimate TV series villain. It’s a bloodthirsty monster with murder as its only motivation and there’s no real way to tell who’ll be the next victim. It’s not like you can appeal to its human side because it’s not human and probably doesn’t even understand anything you’d try to say to it.
While Eleven spends a lot of time trying to defeat the Demogorgon, she’s actually trying to defeat herself. That’s because she and the monster are one and the same. We wouldn’t say she’s controlling it, but it’s very obvious that Eleven created it and they are linked during the entire series. These two are just two sides of the same coin, meaning Eleven is the Demogorgon. That also means we may not have seen the last of this monster.
Did you miss the signs? Don’t worry, we’ve got proof to back up this bold claim.
15. The Demogorgon is a manifestation of her fears
Eleven didn’t have the same childhood as the other kids in Stranger Things. They rode their bicycles around town, played card games in the basement and ate dinner with their families. What you’re seeing is the typical ‘80s suburban life on display, which is why the town is rocked so hard when their perceived safety is interrupted by Will’s disappearance.
Elle didn’t grow up in that cocoon. She was kept in a small room and given mind-altering drugs to strengthen her abilities. There’s always the fear that she’ll underperform and be punished in some way (usually by the man she considers a father withholding his affection from her). She grew up in a world of constant terror and that’s exactly what the Demogorgon unleashes on Hawkins.
14. It also represents fears about who she may be
Eleven is being trained to pinpoint people who may be vital to finding out more about the Russians’ advantages during the Cold War. (You probably remember that she found the Demogorgon while monitoring one of those communications.) While that’s what she’s being prepared for, it’s not the skill her “father” seems most interested in.
She can kill people using her psychic powers. We see her take several lives throughout the first season; it’s something she takes no pleasure in, but uses for protection or to get approval from her guardian. The more people Eleven kills, the more worried she has to become about the type of person she is. All of those fears that she’s simply a killing machine created an actual killing machine, the Demogorgon.
13. Remember, she doesn’t find the monster in the Upside Down
While the monster lives in the Upside Down, that’s not where he came from or where he was found. Eleven is put in a sensory deprivation tank to listen in on a possible Russian operative. A skill like this would have been invaluable during the Cold War, which is one of the reasons “Papa” is pushing her so hard.
Eleven ends up in a totally dark room. While the Upside Down is a sort of post-apocalyptic looking version of Hawkins, this is nothing like that. That’s because instead of going outward into another dimension to pinpoint the operative, she apparently went inward. She accesses her own mind, where we find the Demogorgon. Since she’s feeling a lot of terror when she enters the tank, it’s no wonder that the first thing she comes across is the manifestation of her fear.
12. She’s able to bring it into the Upside Down
We know the Demogorgon eventually inhabits (and terrorizes) the Upside Down, but how does it get there? It’s not like someone handed the monster a road map that led out of her brain and into other dimensions. The best explanation is that Eleven gave it the power to travel there during her first meeting with the creature in that dark room.
She does something that none of us probably ever would—she touches it. That links them in a completely different way, making the Demogorgon a tangible thing. It also gives the monster some of her powers, which we’ll get into a little later. That fateful moment pushes the Demogorgon out of her psyche and into at least two other dimensions, the Upside Down and also the real-world version of Hawkins.
11. What happens to Eleven when she defeats the monster
Now that we’ve established how the Demogorgon is part of Eleven and given the freedom to break out of her psyche through the preteen’s actions, let’s explore some of the obvious links between them. We’ll start at the end (this is the clearest proof and will make you shake your head when you realize it) with the moment Eleven seemingly defeated the Demogorgon.
When it becomes clear that using rocks won’t defeat the monster, Eleven decides to step in and use her powers. When she drains the last bits of energy she has left to destroy the Demogorgon, but it’s not the only being that disappeared in the process. Eleven also vanishes, showing that their destinies are linked because they’re two sides of the same coin. It’s pretty hard to deny something you’re seeing with your own eyes.
10. The clue when she confronts the Demogorgon
The guys had an idea to get rid of the monster once and for all—launch rocks from their slingshots to kill it. Of course, this is the kind of thinking only a 12-year-old would come up with because it really makes no sense. It’s cute, but also could’ve resulted in all of them being taken to the Upside Down and experiencing whatever post-abduction symptoms Will has going on.
So, Eleven decides to sacrifice herself for her friends. When she confronts the Demogorgon, she raises her arm toward it. The monster replicates her actions, creating a mirror image as they both prepare for what they believe is their final moment. It’s meant to show that the two are linked, as are their fates. That definitely becomes clear when they both disappear at the same time.
9. The monster and Eleven both have telekinetic powers
It’s not clear this is part of the link created between them when Eleven touched the monster or if it’s just because it was created in her psyche, which is probably where her powers are held. Either way, they both have the power to move things with their minds. We see Eleven do this all of the time in the first season, usually getting nosebleeds from overusing this power.
You may not remember when the Demogorgon shows that it also has this skill because it happened so early in the show. When Will is being chased, he rushes into his home and engages the chain lock in the front door. To his horror (and the audience’s), it begins to move, as if someone is unlocking it. That’s the monster using telekinesis to do it from the other side of the door, as it tries to capture Will.
8. They can also both travel through dimensions
Remember when the science teacher explains the “flea and the flea theory” to the boys? The acrobat can only travel back and forth on a tightrope, meaning it can only access one dimension. Meanwhile, the flea can travel back and forth, on the side of the rope and even upside down, meaning it can go between dimensions. The problem for most people is that we’re the acrobat, so interdimensional travel isn’t possible for us.
Eleven can access different dimensions when she’s placed in a sensory deprivation tank or if she can connect with the frequency in a walkie talkie. It’s a skill that the Demogorgon can also pull off, although it seems to use a sort of hole created in dimensions to travel back and forth. If there are only two beings who can do this, it’s obvious that they’re linked.
7. Eleven admits that she’s the monster
Like most of you, we kind of brushed this one off. With everything she’s been through, it wouldn’t be odd for Elle to believe that she’s a monster. Since she actually did open the initial tear in the dimensions after touching the Demogorgon, Eleven would definitely feel responsible. But that’s really not all she’s saying with that statement.
Throughout the series, it’s really hard to tell exactly how much Elle knows. She obviously likes Mike and the other boys, so she doesn’t want to endanger them by saying too much. It seems that she actually does know there’s a link between herself and the monster. But she never elaborates on it, possibly to protect her friends. Or maybe she just doesn’t want them to think less of her if they know the entire truth.
6. Whenever she finds Will, so does the Monster
Eleven makes some sort of contact with Will at least three times, but we’re just going to focus on the two that required her to really focus to find him in the Upside Down. Maybe that extra concentration was enough to activate the link between her and the Demogorgon, leading it right to the only victim that got away.
First, let’s look at the school radio incident. Elle finds Will, which seems to knock down some boundary between the worlds that allows him to speak to his mother. As he’s communicating with her, the monster finds him and he has to run and hide. Second, there’s the moment in Eleven discovers him while in the makeshift sensory deprivation tank. Will was able to hide inside of “Castle Byers” for a while without the Demogorgon finding him, but as soon as Eleven makes contact, it somehow immediately knows where he is. She’s obviously leading him right to Will because of the link they share. Even if she knew this, it probably wouldn’t matter because her abilities are how everyone knows Will is still alive and can be saved.
5. The Demogorgon is never attracted to Eleven’s blood
We’re led to believe that the monster is summoned by blood. For example, it comes for Barb after she cuts herself while trying to cut open a beer can with a knife. (Your parents were right when they said peer pressure was dangerous.) It seems a couple of hunters, Dale and Henry, may have also gotten caught up via the blood of a kill. There seems to be at least one notable exception to the rule—Eleven.
Whenever she uses her powers, Elle gets a nosebleed. Since she’s using her telekinesis so much, she’s bleeding a lot. No matter where she’s doing it and how long it’s happening, the Demogorgon never comes for her. That’s because they’re the same being. It knows attacking her will lead to its own demise, so the monster steers clear of Eleven.
4. The Dungeons & Dragons reference you shouldn’t ignore
Here’s something it’s easy for non-D&D fans to forget: the monster doesn’t actually have a name at all. Well, at least not one that we’re made familiar with, although we’re sure the fine people at the Department of Energy call it something. The kids on the show refer to it as the Demogorgon because that’s the name of a monstrous character in Dungeons & Dragons, a game the boys often play.
Here’s what’s interesting about that: the Demogorgon has two heads in the game. Of course, the monster only has one, so this must symbolize something, right? Yep. The game piece has a dual nature, with both sides constantly in conflict. One side is hell bent on destruction (the monster) and the other is focused more on deception (Eleven, who often evades telling the full truth about what she knows), but they’re both part of the same body. We first see the Demogorgon when the boys are playing the game, a little before Will is taken, which foreshadows everything that’s about to happen.
3. The big clue in this X-Men comic book
The X-Men comic series has a lot of characters with special abilities. Some of them can read minds, others have eyes that turn into lasers and there are also the ones with super speed. It’s often been argued that the most powerful of them all if Jean Grey, who has many powers, including telekinesis. We all know who shares that gift—Eleven.
In one scene, Mike gets a copy of X-Men #134. In this comic book, Jean unlocks her psychic ability to become the Phoenix. This is a good character who’s on the right side. But this move also creates something sinister—the Dark Phoenix, an evil representation of herself. This sounds a lot like what Eleven did with the Demogorgon, doesn’t it? This is hard to miss if you’re not well-versed in comics, making it a great Easter egg.
2. Eleven & the Demogorgon bring the same traits to their worlds
Before she escapes from the Department of Energy, Elle brings a lot of bad things into the world. It’s not really her fault, since she’s being forced to do it by a group of evil government employees. Her entire life is spent learning to bend things to her telekinetic will, so she can use her powers to kill people, and learning how to spy on Russians. Eleven also has at least one fit of rage that results in multiple deaths.
It’s no wonder that the Demogorgon also brings about a reign of death and destruction. It creates a world that exists only for that purpose. The Upside Down is what would happen if Eleven filled a dimension with every awful thing she’s capable of. Since she and the Demogorgon are one in the same, she basically did.
1. She already seems to know Barb’s dead & Will’s alive
Let’s go back to when Eleven communicated with Will via radio when he was in the Upside Down version of Castle Byers. Joyce asks if she’ll be able to find him and she nods several times to let her know that it’s possible. Then, Nancy, desperate for her own answers, asks if Barb can also be found that way. Here’s the kicker—Eleven never really responds. She lifts her head a bit, but it’s nothing like the enthusiastic response Joyce gets.
This leads us to believe that she already knows who the Demogorgon has and hasn’t gotten its hands on yet. This is obviously part of their link as dual characters, similar to how the monster can find Will as soon as Eleven comes across him. Elle never outright says this is possible, but she’s often hiding what she really knows.
Maybe we’ll find out more in Season 2?
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